Saturday, March 31, 2012

A good news/bad news kind of day...

You want the good news first?
  • KT was not hurt.
  • I have a brain.  It was viewable on the cat-scan.
  • I didn't break any bones.
  • They didn't have to shave my hair.
  • John was in the house when this happened.
  • I can still speak and write, and I seem to be able to move, albeit slowly.
The bad news?
  • I lost about a quart of blood.  I didn't know I had that much blood in me!
  • I have a sprained wrist.
  • I have a gash on my temple about two inches long that they glued back together with some kind of super glue (that stung like HELL) called dermabond.
  • I have a lump on top of my head the size of Rhode Island.
  • I scared KT.
  • I scared John.
  • I scared myself.
  • Emergency rooms are still as slow as ever.  If you tell them you are allergic to codeine, be sure to check the internet when you get home, because it's very likely that the pain meds they send home with you will contain....wait for it........codeine.  Yes, I have some useless medication that I can't use.  Typical.
Lesson learned?
  • I have a new respect for my stairs after taking the last 6 or 7 of them with my face and left hand.  
  • KT just sat down on that 6th step like she knew just what to do.  She is the smartest two year old that I have ever seen.

I'm fine...just a little bit of recovery time needed. Thank God I don't have any pictures to share.  I was still in my gardening clothes with flip-flops on.  I was so embarrassed!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Uncle Alvin

I also ran across this photo of my Uncle Alvin Vahalik.  I confess that I probably only briefly saw him a couple of times in my life.  It seems that they didn't come to Yoakum for holidays as much as the rest of the family did, and it was probably because of his job. I got the impression that he and Mom weren't real close, it may just have been the difference in their ages.  If I have family history right in my mind, he was a motorcycle policeman in Austin, Texas.  I hope that's right.  I tried to "google" him, but only found his name mentioned in Isabel's death notice.  I think he had two children, but again, I don't think we saw them very much, and I was probably too young to remember. Can anyone else add details about Alvin?
Alvin Vahalik

Comparison photos....

I found this picture of JR while going through some of our old family photos the other day.  I was struck with how much KT resembles him.  What do you think?  Maybe its the little smirky smile... Hey...there's Gene Michael and Pappa, too!  Looks like the boys were helping him "hold down" that board.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dinner and Frozen Yogurt with Grumpy

Happy Birthday, Grumpy!

The birthday boy!

This handsome man is turning 63 today!  Here's one of my favorite pictures of him.
Funny thing...we were supposed to be spending a long weekend at some B&B in Nacogdoches this weekend to celebrate....


then John was supposed to be in Las Vegas for a security conference, so I cancelled our plans....


those plans changed and we're now home.  And I have nothing planned.

Oh well....

Good thing we're still fairly flexible! So, it's dinner tonight with his favorite girl instead. didn't think that was me, did you?
Oh no...he has a new favorite girl....
you know who.

You bugs must DIE!!!

Went out to water the garden this morning, since this so-called rain is not happening.  This is what I saw.....

Do you see the problem?

Yes...SOMETHING chewed the leaves right off that little patch of beans!!! ARGHHHH!!!!!!  I saw red!!!
I'll show you, you pesky bugs!!

I brought out the big guns!!   DIE!!!!!

Thankfully the plants seem to have another set of small leaves coming out at the base of the bean, so all is not lost.  I shall have to be more diligent, though.  You bugs are not getting my veggies, not after all this work!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Big Bang Theory meets Spock!

John and I are totally geeked out about this! Leonard Nimoy will be guest "appearing" on the Big Bang Theory.  I Can NOT Wait!!!

The Chicklets are coming...

The baby chicks are due next week!  I'm getting their first little home ready, since it looks like Colleen is going to be the chicklets mamma for a few days when they arrive (thanks, Colleen!)
Tub, with screen top and air holes

Funny, I never noticed the name of this bedding when I bought it.  John asked me, "did you buy it because of the name?"  I was mystified, until I read the name of it. Ha! Never crossed my mind.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How does the garden grow?

Everything in the garden has sprung forth from the soil, except for those pesky Strawberry Spinach, which I've given up on.  I'll put something else in that spot.  Oh well, I guess I should expect a failure or two.
Today I added soil to the first potato tub.  The plants are tall enough, so I put about 2 inches of soil, up to the top of the shortest plant.  I'll keep adding soil as the spring moves along, until I reach the top of the bucket.
Before the soil was added
After I added soil
 The cotton plants are starting to show!  I can't wait to see how they do.
This one is trying hard to crack the surface!
These are my cucumbers around the edges, with a plant called Rat's Tail Podding Radish in the center.  These plants have pods that you eat instead of the normal radish, come from Southeast Asia, but have been around since the US Civil War.  I've never heard of them, have you?  Just a kind of oddity for my garden this year. I actually can NOT stand radish, so if they taste like radishes, John can eat them all.

I planted gourds along the outside of the garden fence.  Bottle gourds and dipper gourds.  I've had spotty luck with gourds in the past, probably the only person who can say that.  They are supposed to be as easy as weeds, but I don't think they like me.  ;-(

Yes, it was a muddy foot kind of day!

Are you tired of hearing about soap yet?

I've wrapped up the cedar soap because I have to make room for the new batch of Grammy's Lavender Soap.  It smells devine!
I only have one more recipe after this one, so there's an end to the soapy posts, I promise!

Lavender soap curing in the background. Wonder what color it will be?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making Farm House Cheese

UPDATE:  This was soooooo delicious!  It was finally about 1-1/2 cups of cheese, and we tried it on french! So good.  I'll make again!

So tonight I tried another "old school" skill.  I made farm house cheese!  It was interesting and worked just fine, but I haven't tried it yet.  It's in the fridge marinating the herbs and dried tomatoes, along with the sea salt.  I'll give it a try in the morning.  It sure looks good, like a fine ricotta or a chevre, but seriously, a full gallon of milk and 2 cups of buttermilk only made about a cup of cheese....I felt guilty throwing away all of that whey.  I'm not sure I'll do it again, but it may be that good, who knows!
 Heat the milk to 180 degrees.  I've always been nervous when I heat up milk.  I can hear my mother telling me "just scald it, don't burn it!" but of course, I always burned it. If you know me, you know my reputation.
 The necessary ingredients
 Pour into the cheesecloth in a collander
 Tie it up and hang it in the sink for about 1 hour
 The cheese as it comes out of the cheesecloth
  Other ingredients added, and into the fridge.  Looking forward to trying it tomorrow!
Recipe here!

Our Go Go Girl!

KT spent the night with us on Saturday.  She is in such a fun stage right now, and I can't tell you how much she loves her "Gumpy"! She loves swinging, riding on Grumpy's big tractor and on Grumpy's little tractor, and this weekend she got a big swing in the cedar tree in the old herb garden.  She also got to ride in the big wagon behind John's riding lawn mower.  She's our go-go-GO girl!!
Putting little rocks on Grumpy's lawnmower...
Swinging on her new swing!
KT "hiding" in the bean hoop-house (more on that in a future post!)
Feeding the deer with Grumpy
Riding in the wagon


You just never know what you're going to find is interesting! We picked up KT on Saturday afternoon and when we arrived home....these visitors were in our front yard!  About 12 of them, males and females.  Our guineas must have invited them, because they were all wandering around the yard together.
After about 1/2 hour, they wandered out the gate....
I'm glad KT got to see the peacocks!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Downton Abbey!

Season One, Episode 4 - The youngest daughter just showed up for dinner in PANTS!!!! omg!!!

Well, if you want to know what all that is about, you need to get right on this!  Rent or stream this amazing series...I don't know how I missed this the last two years.  Colleen and Jeff recommended it, and this week I started watching...they end each episode with a real CLIFF HANGER!  I absolutely am loving it!
Class envy, romance, "snakes" in the kitchen, dead Turks, American heiresses, crippled valets, women sufferages, and the truly delightful Maggie Smith. What's not to like!?

Another garden in....

I put in the watermelon and pumpkin patch today.  Whew!
There's more to do, as I will have to mulch all around it so that when these things come up and start vining, they will have a place to go.  I'm saving that for tomorrow, I'm tired!

---There are some saved seeds from our trip to the Pumpkin Patch in Medina last October. I saved the seeds from the big white pumpkin that I bought there.
---Then I planted an heirloom pumpkin called Amish Pie.  The packet says they get up to 90 pounds.  Not in Texas, I think, but I could be surprised.
---Next went in two mounds of a watermelon that I purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  It's called Osh Kirgizia, and its originally from Russia, yellow-lime colored rind (according to the package.)
---And finally a mound of another watermelon from the same seed company.  This one is called Golden Midget, and it's supposed to be ready when the melon turns gold.  The flesh is supposed to be a pinkish-salmon color, about 3 pounds when ready.
Looking forward to the first watermelon!

Today's Mini-Project

This morning I planted some teeny, tiny succulents in upside down wine bottles!  This is a project I had found online one day.  It must have been via Pinterest, but I didn't pin it, or maybe I had seen it somewhere else on the web.  I remember thinking, "what a great use for those bottles with the indention on the bottom!"
I just buried them at various heights.  Simple, easy and I love it!
What do you think?

I love succulents, they will always remind me of JR and Ashley's wedding.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What I'm Reading: The Forgotten Garden

UPDATE: I finished the book today, and surprisingly I was right about the secret, but wrong about what happened to the Authoress.  I really enjoyed this book and recommend it highly!

Do you ever wonder where you and your family came from?  Are there any mysteries in your family that no one will talk about?
This book has me totally wrapped up in the mystery of where a little girl found on a deserted wharf came from and why she was allowed to be alone there, and why no one ever came looking for her.
The story spans three generations, switching back and forth between the various families involved, slowly unraveling the story.
I'm actually listening to the book written by Kate Morton as I work outside this past week, in the garden and on the chicken house.  It's an enjoyable way to "read" and the narrator (Caroline Lee) for this novel is excellent.  Her British and Australian accents are a plus, and I never found myself lost in the back and forth of the book because of her excellent work, her voices for the various characters were spot on! (Spot on! Didn't I sound very English there?! ha!)
I'm almost done, and I think I have the mystery figured out, although there is some effort now to make me question myself, but I may be right after all.
As a bonus, one of the characters, The Authoress, writes fairy stories, which are woven throughout the book and play a part in the story.  I'm particularly enjoying those.
Sigh....I wish I could write.
I really envy people who can.

Little red chicken house...

A work in progress!
The can says "Barn Red" which is what John wanted...what do you think?  It's almost an A&M maroon to me, but maybe it will dry redder?  It's okay, I like it well enough.  I've been out there most of the day, and I'm done with everything I can do until we do more on the building because I'm not even sure what's next! Whew!
Now...I wonder if Grumpy's Cedar Hand Soap will remove all of this stain on my hands?

DIY Tiny Bird/Bee/Hummingbird Bath

Had fun making a glass totem bird bath from two glass vases (you didn't think I ever threw away all those glass vases from flowers I've been given throughout the years, did you?) and a glass bowl shaped like a flower that I bought at Big Lots about 4 years ago.  I just had to have that know when something just calls your name when you see it at the store?  But it was a lousy was just too shallow to put much in, it was large and took up a lot of counter space.  Not very practical.
But it works great here, don't you think?  I put it in the bed with the hummingbird feeders.