Thursday, January 31, 2013

Movie Review --- Memorial Day

Do you ever run across a nice little movie that really affects you, just out of the blue.  Never heard of it before, never saw it advertised anywhere, but just stumbled on it?  That happened to us this past week....a little gem of a movie that will make you cry your eyes out.
We watched this move, Memorial Day, on Netflix this week...such a perfect movie about the "greatest generation".  Grandma and Grandpa are watching the three grandchildren out on the farm on Memorial Day when the oldest boy (about 13 years old) finds a footlocker out in the barn.
He drags it to the house and, despite being warned not to by his Grandma, he asks his Grandpa about the things that are in there....and the stories that follow weave a thread between the past, the present and the future of this young boy.
So good...John and I were both quite affected by it.  If you can find it, do yourself a it.  If you are interested in WWII at all, about the reluctance of our parents to talk about their time in the war, or how war affects the soldier, WATCH IT!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, KT!

Today is KT's actual birthday....three years old! We've enjoyed every minute of getting to know her and watching her grow!
She's such a girly-girl! She loves skirts, ruffles, keeping things neat, and doing her nails and hair! She'll wear anything that's pink or purple, her favorite colors.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Colleen!

My beautiful daughter is having a birthday.  I hope you are enjoying the thirties, they are some of the best years of your life!
I tried to post this last night, but the internet wasn't happy about me trying to computer while it was playing Netflix for us.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

We have a new raised bed!

John built the new raised bed for the garden today, number 6!  Then he started clearing the way for the hoop house cement floor, which I hope we get to work on this week.  Exciting times (I know, I know...depends on who you are.) Ha!

Just in case you think I'm not doing my part, you can see here that my job is handing him things when he asks for them. It's tough work, very demanding....
We're going to have to get some sand and compost to mix in there soon. 

Transplanting Tomatoes

Today I had to transplant some of the little tomatoes that I started a few weeks ago.  They are getting too leggy and their second set of leaves.  I kept 10 of the strongest Super Sioux (it's murder for me to decide which ones to kill off....I hate that, but it had to be done.)

Then I also transplanted a few of the Indigo Rose Cherry tomatoes that came up.  I only have 4 of those, of the fourteen I planted some haven't even germinated yet, but I'm not giving up yet.

KT had a party!

Can you believe that KT is turning three?!!  Where has the time gone?  She has been so excited to have this party...with a bouncy house and all her friends and family.  What a good time we had!
Oh, yeah....purple is her favorite color!
A big girl bike!
KT's version of the ole "stink eye!"
The star of the show!
KT and her cousin, Taylor

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Parker Schwencke!

A glow in the dark Tron party - how cool is that!?

That's our names on our cups in glow in the dark marker! Can you see it?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mom on Wednesday, January 23

Mom was having a good day!

Movie Review --- Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters

Hmmm....what to say.  It wasn't horrible, and it wasn't "OMG! The best thing ever!"  Somewhere in between.  If you enjoy a good comic book style movie, with lots of CGI blood splatter and exploding heads, then this ones for you.
I will say, whoever did the costuming and make up for the various witches and the trolls, they had a great time.  Some way over the top witches here.

I have one little criticism....why oh why did the movie maker have to add all the "f" words to the dialogue?  It made no sense and didn't fit the type of movie this was. And I don't say that as a prude or anything, I don't mind hearing an "f" word here and there if it fits the just didn't here.  It was as if they forced the use of it for some reason or other. Why????
I give it 3 stars - a good Saturday afternoon movie matinee for some mindless entertainment.

Monday, January 21, 2013

My new garden cultivator!

Since we went to raised beds in the garden last year, we decided to buy a battery operated, light weight cultivator to mix the dirt up and loosen the soil.  It works GREAT!  We bought a Troy Built model, the battery lasts for about three beds worth and then needs to be recharged, but that's about the length of my stamina anyway!  John did the work this time to "show me" how to use it, and then I just let him finish....(see how I did that?!) ha! ha!
Yesterday we pulled up everything left in four beds (one bed is full of garlic, so that won't be ready until about April or May.)  Next up, building the new bed and putting the hoop house together.  

Some help with plowing the field....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

What I'm Reading...

I just finished the first book by Lee Child in the Jack Reacher series, The Killing Floor.  I was interested after seeing the Jack Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise recently that was based on book #9, One Shot.  I found that there is a slew of books in this series, about 16 so far, I think.

Its told in first person, so immediately you feel like you're seeing the events happen through Jack's eyes.  He tells the story in a choppy, very "these are the facts" way, but very easy to read, and the story keeps you interested.  And as a bonus, you'll find out things about our currency and counterfeiting that you never knew before.

My only criticism would be that Jack just can't lose in a fight...he's just THAT good.  Hmmm..... well, maybe he is.  But against a gang in prison?  One guy? Really? (And by the way, Jack is about 6 ft 4 inches tall and blond....why did Tom Cruise get that part?)

Despite that, the book is an easy, fun read, if you like murder mysteries.  Who doesn't?!  I think I'll move on to the next book in the series.

I *HATE* cedar pollen....

The weather the past two days has been gorgeous, but I can't enjoy it! I can spend about 1/2 hour outside before I'm totally sneezing my head off, rubbing my gritty eyes, and totally miserable from the itching in my sinuses and my throat.  Then I have to take Benadryl, and recover for a few hours.

Yes.  It's cedar pollen time.

Nothing I can do about it but forge ahead, since we live in the dab-gum middle of  hill country cedar.

Thankfully John isn't affected, so he is able to get some work done...he's working on fences and re-doing the garden area.  He took down one side of the garden fence today, and we managed to dig up all of the carrots and beets that were left in the garden.  A nice haul!

John tilled up two of the beds, and this week I'll dig up the rest of the kale and chard so those beds are ready to go soon!
 The chickens enjoyed the carrot and beet tops from today...they just love to pick through what I throw in to them.  John bought them a "Flock Block" today at the feed store - and put it in their house.  I was SURE they were going to shy away from it and refuse to go into their house this evening, but they loved it.  You just never know.

They surprised me today with an actual EGG!  Hooray!  It's been months since we've had one, so perhaps the nice weather is giving them the idea that it's time to start laying again....hope so!

Flock Block (cake of seeds and molasses)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hair, hair, hair....

We kept KT on Monday since she's been fighting a nasty cough...poor thing.  The cough wasn't too bad most of the time, only when she laid down or over exerted herself.  We kept her in all day, it was pretty cold outside and we didn't want to make her cough worse.  Movies, cooking, and messing with her hair....  I tell you, she's determined to "do it myself" with her hair.  Drove John crazy, because her hair was wild all day long.  She's in a funny, cute stage right now!
Style by KT

We have some garden action!

The DIY hot house is working -- I've found a few plants sprouting. I'm obviously easy to please, I was so excited to see these little guys!
This is the purple cauliflower -- these seeds are over a year old. Glad they were still viable! 
One teeny tiny tomato sprout so far - can you see it?
I've added another tray of tomatoes, 9 pots of Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. 
And 6 pots of a free seed I got from Baker Seeds, Gypsy tomatoes. Supposed to be a purplish red heirloom. 


I've been feeling sorry for the chickens....nothing much green to eat.  So I decided to do a tray or two of sprouts for them.  They only take a few day till you get action, so I was disappointed when after all this work they turned their nose (beak?) up at them.  Hmmm....such picky pullets.  Well, I'll eat the second tray myself, since I love them in salads and in sandwiches.  I've had these trays for many, many years. There are some sprouts I don't like, anything spicy is just too much for me (broccoli, radish, etc.)  But I do love alfalfa sprouts.  Nutty and mild.

The Sprout House -- I recommend them....great service!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Movie Review --- Lincoln

First I'll say that this movie was not what I expected AT ALL.  I was expecting a movie about the civil war and Lincoln's place in it.  No.  This is about his desire and PASSION to pass the 13th amendment to the constitution and how he maneuvered the congress to get it passed.  And the movie is almost 3 hours long.

Once it was evident that we would not be getting an "action" movie from Spielberg, I was skeptical that could sit still that long for a chance to watch the congress argue with itself (we haven't changed much in all these years, have we?) But, I was quite surprised to find myself enthralled by it and the hours just flew by.
The acting by this talented cast was superb...Daniel Day Lewis played a flawless Lincoln, at least the Lincoln I think he was.  Very tall, awkward in his gait and old-age riddled, wearing blankets around his aging shoulders to stay warm, trying to be a good father despite his responsibilities to the country, dealing with a wife who has been driven insane by the death of her son.  Sally Fields really rips into playing an overweight, insane, argumentative Mary Todd Lincoln - great job. I read somewhere that she deliberately put on 25 pounds to play this part authentically.

The other talented cast members will be recognizable -- Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, James Spader plays an overweight, sweaty, and totally laugh-inducing Bilbo (this was our sex symbol back in the 80s??? Kudos to him for taking this part and making it such a scene stealer!! He was amazing.)  Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Jackie Haley plays the VP of the Confederate States, Tim Blake Nelson....I think you'll see many of your favorites in the movie.

As I watched, I was thinking that Spielberg has made a movie here that should be shown in High Schools across this country for years, but probably won't.  Liberal teachers won't want to be reminding young people that it was Republicans who worked so hard to free slaves, and Democrats who didn't want it.  I'm sure historians will find some minor points in the movie to nit-pick and argue about, but that's not one of them.
4 Stars.  GO SEE IT!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Starting my Spring 2013 garden!

I decided it was time to start the Spring garden -- using the last predicted frost date of March 15th, its time to start the tomatoes and some other longer season plants.  I've had a lot of fun ordering seeds and organizing my saved seeds for this years garden (I kind of went over-board, according to John, but -- well, its not the worst hobby in the world.  I'm not out partying every night, am I? ha!)

This year I'm experimenting with under-heating and am using this DIY set up - old Christmas lights under and spot lights over. My first tray is done (two types of tomatoes, green onions, anaheim peppers, & purple cauliflower), working on the second this weekend. It feels good to smell that dirt from the seed starter mix.  By the way, I use a purchased seed starter mix, mixed with some additional gypsum, and fertilize with a weak fish-emulsion and water.  Lets see how that works.
A nice warm little set up.

Yes, that's toilet rolls.

Indigo Rose Cherry Tomatoes

Spot lights left over
from John's 60th birthday party! That was some fun karaoke!

Used this zone map:

We're in zone 8, somewhere between 8a and 8b.

Used this zone frost dates:
USDA Hardiness ZoneFirst Frost DateLast Frost Date
1July 15thJune 15th
2August 15thMay 15th
3September 15thMay 15th
4September 15thMay 15th
5October 15thApril 15th
6October 15thApril 15th
7October 15thApril 15th
8November 15thMarch 15th
9December 15thFebruary 15th
10December 15thJanuary 31st (sometimes earlier)
11No frost.No frost.

The smoker works FINE!

John broke in the smoker last weekend -- it's an all day thing, but worth the time.  Delicious.  I can see us using this for a very long time.  Thanks, TESSI!!!