Monday, April 30, 2012

Another photo of mom...

Wonder if this is a photo that Mom sent to Dad?  On the back is this sentiment, "This thing is a sight but some day I'll send you a second one. I'm sorry." It's all scratched through, but I'm pretty sure that's what it says. And on the front it says, "With love, Rebecca Jo."  Again, no date.  She's pretty here!

The Schwencke Siblings

Here is a photo of my dad, Herbert Russell Schwencke, and his sister, Helen Schwencke McElvy.  There is no date on the back, so no idea when this was taken.  Dad is barefoot! Funny.

What I'm Reading --- Enclave

I've just finished reading Enclave, by Ann Aquirre.  It was recommended as a book in the same genre as The Hunger Games, and it is similar, but reminded me more of a City of Ember, if you remember that movie.  It does involve teenagers, as the entire community lives underground, and to be considered old in this society, you are in your twenties.

The teaser, from BooksonBoard where I get my eBooks: New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters--or Freaks--who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. 

I enjoyed this book, and it kept my interest to the end.  It's short, only a little over 200 pages, and definitely leads into the next book in the series.  I believe she has written three in this Razorland series.  This one ends abruptly, too much so in my opinion.  If I had one criticism, that would be it.  I'll have to continue with Deuce's story in the next book, Outpost, sometime in the future. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Garden disappointments...I've had a few!

I've had a few failures this year already...not sure if I planted too early, or just had bad seeds, or what.  But, it's time to cut my loses and MOVE ON!

The Aztec never grew any taller then 1/2"! What's up with that?  I tried everything.  I fed it, talked to it, watered it, everything but SANG to it.  Nothing.  I tried to give it encouragement, "Come on guys, grow!" and I tried to shame it, "Your Aztec ancestors would be so ashamed of you guys!"  Nothing.  So they had to go.  There's now a nice new tomato transplanted in that spot. An heirloom plant called German Johnson.  
Very small when they came up, still very small when I ripped them out.
New and improved use of space!
Ditto on the Strawberry Spinach.  Nothing even showed up.  It is now a tomato plant, also.  I put one of the plants I started from seed.

The squash, if you can believe it.  I've always had great luck with squash.  Specifically, the patti pan and the yellow squash are stunted and small.  I'm ripping them out this week.  I have extra seed, so I'm going to start these again.  I think the soil may not have been warm enough when I planted...maybe?  Not sure, but I'll try again.  The zucchini, on the other hand, are looking fine.  I already have little zucchini on them!
Stunted, ugly, going into the compost pile tomorrow!
So, not everything has been a success.  I think I pushed the season a little too soon, but it's been such a warm early spring. 
Moving on....

Chicken House progress made....

Back to work on the chicken house today....those chicks need a permanent home!  I'm a terrible carpenter's helper with this darn sprained wrist...good thing John is able to do most of this by himself.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicks on video!

Watch the chicks at age 3 weeks!

Read this...

I read this today and it really struck a chord with me.  What do you think?  From retired Lieutenant General William G. Boykin:

 "We as believers have been promised that we will spend an eternity with God. Last Saturday, I was doing a men's conference in Fredricksburg, Virginia and I was praying during the worship service and something dawned on me and it was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. And the Holy Spirit said, "this is what I want you to share with My men today", and I'm going to share it with you and this is what it is: One day, we're going to stand before the gates of Heaven. Some of us want to be able to walk up there in a white robe and we want to sing Abba Father and Amazing Grace and we want to say to the Lord, "I worshiped You." But I want you to think about this: Here's the way I want to enter the gates of Heaven. I want to come skidding in there on all fours. I want to be slipping and sliding and I want to hit the gates of heaven with a bang. And when I stand up and I stand before Christ, I want there to be blood on my knees and my elbows. I want to be covered with mud. And I want to be standing there with a ragged breast plate of righteousness. And a spear in my hand. And I want to say, "Look at me, Jesus. I've been in the battle. I've been fighting for you." Ladies and gentlemen, put your armor on and get into battle. God bless you. " 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chicks are growing fast!!

These chicks are growing so fast!  I'm going to have to move them out of the wire cage soon -- they hardly fit.  During the day, they are staying in a ground pen that John put together for me this past weekend.  It was fast and simple, but it gives them some room to flap their wings and do a little running, which they really seem to enjoy.  Hopefully we'll finish the chicken coop soon and they will have a permanent home!

 Okay, this last photo is hilarious!  John called me to the back door on Saturday morning and said "You have to see this!"  We both looked out the back door and their was Carlie, on chick duty, with a chicken who had somehow gotten loose and was perched on top of her!! Sitting.  And Carlie was just laying there!  We were amazed!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Such a busy day....

 Riding in a boat in the "big water" with only a cow for company!
 Mixing the cupcakes....
 Taste testing to be sure they would be good enough for her family!
 Helping clean up the utensils before they go in the dishwasher!
 Putting on the sprinkles!
 Finished! Aren't they beautiful?!
Her reward!

Discovery Bottle

Today KT and I made a discovery bottle.  She was really into it as she was filling it out, but once it was made, it was "meh." Ha! I think I might have had better luck if I had some glitter or something more to catch the eye.  We put in beads, buttons, sequins, rick-rack, and other small items.  Then she wanted to dye the water yellow, which I thought looked a little too much like pee, so I added some red to make orange.  We had some fun for about 20 minutes!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Heard today.....

as I was picking up KT from Grumpy and her Daddy's office after her lunch with them, I was carrying her out to the car and she shouted out, "See you later, guys!"

So so so precious!

Monday, April 16, 2012

KT's science activity!

Keeping KT this week -- It is so much fun!  We've played, watched Rapunzel for the 100th time, gone on a Donkey ride twice, played with the chicklettes twice, planted some tomatoes in pots, fed the deer, drove to Boerne for Grammy's pills, picked up lunch at Taco Cabana, napped, worked on some color sheets, played on the pavilion for a while, and did a science activity!  Whew!  We're both exhausted! (not really, KT could go on for hours, but I'm pooped!) ha! Here's the little science and color experiment that I found on Pinterest.  This egg carton can be emptied out and used again and again.  I thought it sounded like fun, and KT picked up on the idea of it right away, although being a bit creative, she wanted to mix the colors up some! This would work in the house, too, as a kind of scavenger hunt activity, I think.
 Take a cardboard egg carton and paint the insides different colors
 I put her name on the outside! KT's Science and Color Box
 We went looking for an item in nature for each of the colors.  Here she's found a yellow flower!
 She had to match the item with the correct place in the box...she did an excellent job!
 Really examining this one......
 Her finished box!  Great job, KT!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Look, Ma! We graduated!

We've been moved to the bigger cage since we're growing so fast.  We couldn't fit in the blue tub any more, so we're outside for good.  Next stop....the new chicken house, as soon as it's finished being built.  Hope its ready in about 3 weeks!

Three developments in the garden...

We found a sunflower...this is the oil crop sunflower seeds that I planted in paper pots back in January. I planted a few in a pot in front of the planting shed.
....and here's the first tomatillo!  Its enclosed in a little papery pod. This plant has gotten so tall I had to stake it up, it had fallen over during our little rain shower with some wind this morning.  Now I only need a few dozen more and I can make tomatillo sauce!
And the Scarlet Runner Beans have started to flower.  They are reaching for the fencing, too. So beautiful!

Men and their toys...

John got a new toy, a long reach chain saw for tree branches.  He's got 7 acres to clear when he retires in a year or so...this place should be ship shape in about 20 years! ha!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Movie Review --- Wrath of the Titans

Am I the only one who is totally distracted by Perseus's (Sam Worthington) hair in this movie? I mean it takes over his whole head ... its enormous!! It must have had a trailer all it's own. Why did they let him grow out his hair in this movie?  I couldn't get past it.

Oh, the movie...okay....well, it was no Clash of the Titans, but it was entertaining enough.   It moved so fast, I didn't think that they took time to let us know these new characters, and if you didn't see the first movie, this one didn't give you any back story, so you were on your own.  This time they added Ares, another son of Zeus's, and Queen Andromeda (played by one of my favorite actresses from Pride and Prejudice, Rosamund Pike.) Some complicated relationships here with Perseus that we didn't get the back story on.

There was some great cgi movie magic, and the creatures and characters were well done.  The giant Cyclops, the various demons and creatures from the underworld, the Chimera and the huge Kronos spewing fire, lava and ash everywhere...all excellently rendered.
They also went for the funny with this one, including the addition of Bill Nighy and Tony Kebbell (fans of Rock'n Rolla will know him!)  I'm not sure the comedic touches were the right way to go, I felt they were too forced.

I'd give it a 2.5 to 3.0, somewhere in there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cute little Easter chicks!!

First here's our Easter chickadee, Ms. KT!

and here's our Grand Godchild, Ms. Ella!
We're the luckiest grandparents!

Schwencke Wedding Pictures

Here's two photos from my mom and dad's wedding day.  They are in bad shape, some damage and fading, no date on them, but that would have been November 11, 1948. I still can't thank Sue enough for helping save as many of these pictures as she did after their house flood.  At least we have something.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Sue!
Rebecca Jo Vahalik and Herbert Russell Schwencke
Yoakum, Texas -- November, 1948

Mom wore a pale blue suit.  I think that might have been a popular choice back then after World War II.  She was a beauty!

My Grandparents - The Edward Vahalik's

Here are a couple of pictures of my maternal grandparents, Edward and Emily Vahalik.  Both of these photos were taken in 1972, date stamped on the photo.  My grandmother always had on one of those little shirtwaist dresses that button up in the front.  Never saw her in anything else.  She wore a little fake bun with her hair up.  I think they both wore the same glasses, don't you? Ha!  I'm sure there were a lot less choices of frames in their day.
See the cup and saucer there in front of Grandpa?  He always drank his coffee in that kind of formal china cup, I don't remember them having any such thing as a mug.  He would pour some of the hot coffee into the saucer to cool it, then sip it from the saucer.  Wonder what happened to their had little flowers on it.
I loved this house of theirs.  It had the Grandma and Grandpa smell, it creaked, it had a hidden staircase, a really neat and scary attic with beds and chests -- you know the kind that kids loved to explore.  Mom said they used to sleep up there, and I remember thinking how scary that would have been. I guess not so much, surrounded by all those brothers and sisters.
They had a pot bellied stove in the living room that Grandma would heat water and keep coffee hot on.  I want one of those...I'm on the lookout for one for our pavilion.
 Taken at their home in Yoakum, Texas
Not sure where this pic was taken.  Not at their home, though.

Yes, he smoked those cigars, and he always had a cane with him.  Grandma had one of those humps on her back from poor nutrition and calcium deficiency, what with having 12 children.  That's the reason I take two calcium pills every day.  She was a hard worker.
I have a memory of her picking up a rifle and pointing it at the chicken house and taking down two chickens for dinner once when we were there.  Can you imagine?  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mulching much....

I've been creaking around since my fall on the stairs, but this morning I'd had enough of that.  I can't stand just sitting around, and there's so much more to do in the garden.  I decided that I needed to mulch around the pumpkin and watermelon before they took off vining into the weeds, so I spent a couple of hours laying down weed block and piling on the hay.  It looks pretty good, and I think I'm just in time, since some of these plants are getting their third set of leaves.

So here I am about 12 hours after I did this work, and I'm creaking around even worse.  I think I over-did it this morning.  But it needed to be done.  I just don't think I'll be doing anything like this again for the rest of the week.  Sigh....

I'm pretty disappointed in the Amish Pie Pumpkins.  Two measly little plants came up out of the 6 seeds that I put in, and they look small and gnarly (is that a word?)  I think I'll take a few more seeds out there tomorrow and stick them in to see if I have any better luck.  Not sure about this variety.  We'll see.