Monday, June 30, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 23

Finished up the weekend cleaning out the fridge and freezing both carrots and beans.
 Just shy of 3 pounds of carrots

We're getting lots of beans right now, and I don't always catch them before they're way to large.  I had to discard about half of what we had picked because I really can't eat them when they're too large and stringy - but I take those and grind them up and the chickens just love them.  So nothing is wasted, thank goodness.
These Peking Black cow peas are drying and I've been bringing in a handful every day to shell.  KT's been helping me with this project, too.  These go into a jar with a desiccant pack to keep the moisture out.  Black-eyed peas are not just for New Years, you know!
I brought in one head of these White Mountain Apache sorghum plants to keep for seeds in the fall.  These will be treats for the chickens.  These sorghum plants are about 7 feet tall out in the field.  The Texas Black Amber Molasses Sorghum are just as tall, but they haven't shown any sign of heading yet.  I got both of them from the Native American seed bank.
 Finally we had a fruit on that Litchi Tomato plant!  I'm afraid to try it -- this is that plant that is covered (covered as in absolutely COVERED) in barbs! It's supposed to taste like a cross between a cherry and a tomato, but I'm going to just save these seeds.  I may try one if we get more on the plant....maybe...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Putting up garden veggies....

The tomatoes have been piling up in the fridge, and today I had to do something with them.  My favorite thing to do with them is "sun" dried tomatoes -- I had so many from two years ago, but ran out last year and our tomato crop last year was terrible, so I didn't get to make any more.  I can't wait for these! Love them.
I'm still working on emptying out the raised garden beds, and today I pulled up all of the onions.  They really never had a chance, they were rooted up by the armadillo, not once, but twice! I replanted them each time, but they languished and were further pestered by the cats who decided that they made a great place to lay down.  So, I gave up today and pulled them all.
Into the food dryer with the tomatoes.
I pulled up 1/2 of the beets this morning and spent the rest of the day making another batch of pickled beets.  
Found one golden beet amongst all of the pretty pink Chiogga's! 
I had enough for 4-1/2 pints this time, so I went ahead and processed them for the pantry this time. We tasted the first batch last weekend, and they were pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.  Now, time to work on all of the carrots that I picked today - I cleared out about 1/3rd of the bed this morning and have to get them in the freezer. A chore for tomorrow, most likely.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Movie Review --- Maleficent

Jolie and her real life daughter as a baby Aurora
A retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale, from the viewpoint of the evil fairy (I was taught to think she was evil from the cartoon movie of my childhood) Maleficent.  This movie will show you just how misunderstood she was.
I have to say, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  But I will share that I was totally blown away.  Even John enjoyed the heck out of this little movie.  Well done, Disney.  
Angelina Jolie is a master actress - I've always enjoyed her work, but her brooding, anger, hurt, and disappointment at the hands of humans is a thing to behold.  I wasn't as sold on Sharlto Copley as the King, and I can't exactly say why.  

I was in tears several times during the movie, although it doesn't take much to bring me to tears.  I know you will find the honest emotions that Maleficent portrays will bring you to tears too.

You will probably recognize a few of the fairies, including the three bumbling fairies that raise Aurora from a baby.  Very cute!

Go see it, you will love it!  Trust me. Oh, and let me know if you can guess who gives Aurora her true loves kiss before the end....I did.

I hope the person who designed Maleficent's horns gets an Oscar this next year.  They were ICONIC!! Perfect.

Summer Day Camp -- Day Six

Today at summer camp we continued exploring the five senses -- starting with an exercise about using your hands/fingers to feel an item in a bag (without looking, KT!!!) and identify it.  She did pretty good, only missed one item.
 She got everything but the button -- she thought that was a piece of candy.
Then we did an exercise using ears to hear and identify sounds.  I found an app called "Sound Box" that does all kinds of funny sounds, thankfully some normal things like animal sounds.  She got all of them, including the train horn! I couldn't believe it.  Where has she been hearing train horns?
After a little break for cartoons, we did the daily photo walk - today's theme was finding colorful things outdoors.  Mostly we found lots of flowers - very colorful.  She took several photos, and Mimi did, too!

We went out to the local restaurant for lunch, La Cabana, and had some delicious enchiladas.  Did you know that KT can count to 20 in Spanish? I was floored.  Kudos to her school, they are doing an excellent job.
 KT helped me shell some more Peking Black cow peas - she counted how many peas were in each pod.  Then we did an exercise about the sense of taste.  KT, John and I all participated by tasting each of the items in the plate, deciding if it was sweet, sour, salty, or none of those.  She was a real trouper, I thought she'd refuse some of them (I know she doesn't like pickles, for instance) but when we all did it too, she followed along!
 Then she pasted a picture of each item on the graph where it belonged.  She was real happy when she found out there were more "sweet" items than any of the other.
That's enough work! Time for play -- pool time!
 The sun bather
 Where did Grumpy go?
Found him!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Summer Day Camp --- Day Five

This week we're exploring our five senses -- hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste.  First task of the day, take a highly STINKY dog to the vets for grooming, which included a good bath and getting her nails clipped!
We went to the library after taking the dog.  KT and I read several books, including one that allowed her to use her sense of touch to feel several textures.
KT is much more interested in books this summer then she was last year.  She picks them up and even goes through them all by herself.
We did a few puzzles, too!
When we got home, it was time for us to go pick up a sweet smelling dog, then we made lunch.
After lunch KT painted her Five Senses booklet,
and then we went outside for a photo hunt!  We used a new app from PBS called Plumb Landing.
We picked the theme, Under a Rock.  All three of us went outside and turned over several rocks, just to see what was under them....and we found bugs, mostly rolly-pollys!  KT took several pictures.  We'll do a new theme every camp day, it was fun!
Time for some pool fun!

That's a cannonball, Grumpy!
We had a great day! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Happy Retirement, John H!

We had a little retirement party for our good friend, John H, on Saturday evening.  It was supposed to be a surprise, but I'm not sure how well we did at that.  Anyway, we had a great time, good friends, family and good food, with a little pool time too!

Pool update....

Today we started putting on the deck coating.  Hopefully this will protect the deck and help us keep it nice longer.  With all the water that will be splashed on it, we want it to last.
Yes, I was helping -- I was on the ground going around with a brush and painting the face boards and the ends of the deck planks.

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 22

We're starting to bring in a little something every day now from the garden.  These carrots are those Atomic and some Short n' Sweet.  
We've picked just short of 5 pounds of pole beans now...I guess I'm going to have to do something with these pretty soon.
Here's KT in the bean haus, she was helping me pull a few beans and she got the chicken egg for me!  It's nice and shady in there now.
Here's the green castor bean pods.
Most of the various cow peas have pods on them now, and some are starting to dry.  We'll probably have to start picking them and shelling them soon.  These are the Peking Black.
This is a small patch of sorghum that I planted for the chickens.  The tall ones at the back are the White Mountain Apache - this is pretty tall, probably over 7 foot.  I'm sure the chickens will be enjoying those seed heads in a while! The Texas Black Amber Molasses Sorghum in the front hasn't formed heads yet.

 Back of the garden is a huge bunch of volunteer corn -- we're guessing these are from the patch of Indian corn we had there last year.
 Here's some kind of watermelon from last year that volunteered this year!  We'll see what it is in a while.
Here's the tallest sunflower so far - it's from the Havasupai Mix that I got from the Native American Seedbank.  I'm 5'5", so I'm not sure how tall this guy is!
 I've been letting these dry and then cutting them for the chickens -- they have a blast with these sunflower heads - it'll keep them busy all day.
More pretty sunflowers.  I love these, they look like pure summer to me.

 The first few lima beans have shown up.  The pods are still flat, waiting for them to fill out.  I'm thinking of just letting them dry on the vine, and then shelling for dry beans.
It's starting to get hot HOT H O T out there in the garden now -- I've already given up on five of the raised beds, today I starting pulling up the garlic and drying it, and pulling up all the stunted plants in the others. Time to start amending the soil and getting it ready for the fall.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Day Camp --- Day Four

Today we're off to the zoo to spend the morning -- our goal is to find out if the San Antonio Zoo has any sharks.  Starting off with good breakfast.....
 When we arrived at the zoo, the first task was to take the entrance picture.  We have this same pose every summer when we take KT to the zoo.
 KT showed us the big snake on the sidewalk.  If this snake poisonous? "Red and yellow, kill a fellow; Red and black, poison lack!"
 First exhibit was the snake house.  KT loves snakes... (this snake always reminds me of Harry Potter.)
 Next, we find the aquarium and start looking for some sharks.....
 Oh, yea....there are some!! And they even have KT's favorite shark, the hammerhead!
 Then we went into the butterfly house - I think this may have been the highlight of KT's visit today.  Her face just lit up when this butterfly landed on her.
 This is a nice little exhibit - there are some really beautiful butterflies - this brown one actually is much more colorful on the outside of the wings, but it holds its wings up straight when its landed on something.  Funny, they examine you before you can leave because these butterflies try to sneak out on people.  I had one on my bag at one point inside the exhibit.
 Then we spent the rest of our time just looking at animals ... it was a good day because it was overcast and most of the animals were out and about.
 These koi crawl all over each other to get to KT's fish food!
 Nope, KT, you can't get on -- it was too tall!
 Oh the excitement when KT found the merry-go-round!  Obviously she knew it was here.  This is in one of the remodeled part of the zoo - right across from the new restaurant.  She wanted to ride the shark, but he was out of commission, so her next choice was this hummingbird.  These animals, fish and birds on the merry-go-round are just beautiful, some real artistry.  Each ride was paid for by donations, too, and Colleen told us later that two of these animals are on no other merry-go-round in the world.
 These gators are from India.  Long thin snouts with teeth protruding ominously!!!
 Okay, it's shark week at Summer Day we need to explain anything else? ha!
 KT poses!
 Here's a new statue - steampunk hippos!  There's a sign that reads, "Caution, statue can be very hot in the summer sun!" ha ha ha!  You think?
 Whew! We were tired and ready to leave at about 1pm, and it was time for some lunch!  Salad buffet and mac'n cheese hit the spot, followed by some ice cream with sprinkles.  Ahhhh.......
 Home around 3pm and ready for a cool refreshing dip in the pool.  KT's new pool friend, Sally the Shark, was waiting for her to jump in.
 Yea!!! We had a great second week of summer camp!