Archive for June, 2009

Garden Update

Here’s a pictoral update on my garden.  Dad reports to me that Michelle Obama has harvested lettuce and peas from her garden and I am happy to report that I am keeping up with the Obamas.  I have harvested three heads of lettuce (and desperately need to harvest another two at least) and Clara and I pick peas for snack in the backyard every afternoon.  We are also getting raspberries and are expecting a bumper crop (a.k.a. more than I can handle) within the next week.
The blueberries are coming along nicely and we’ll likely have ripe ones in a week or two) hopefully after we return from camp so that the birds don’t eat them all.
I’ve had a hard time starting my pumpkins this year as I planted some and then a huge wood pile was put over top of them, then I planted some more and the slugs ate them. This is my third try. We’ll see how it goes.
In other squash news, I have way too many zucchini plants for my own good. It’s going to be crazy. I tried to give some away, but really only had one taker. Same with the butternut squash. You guys let me know if you’re willing to take some when they ripen. Otherwise, the zucchini in your mailbox didn’t come from me.
I can’t wait to harvest my rainbow chard… I’ve never grown it before and really don’t know what to do with it, but I’m excited to try.
My six tomato plants are doing well so far and I’m planning to make a ton of roasted tomato sauce as last year’s three gallons were gone in no time. Hopefully six plants will be enough. I would love to be able to make enough for most of the winter.
Let’s see. The basil is coming along okay, but slowly. I expect it will pick up soon. I’m starting to see some little broccoli sprouts on those plants, but my beans are doing horribly. They have become the slugs’ favorite snacks and even though I pick the slugs off and feed them to the chickens, more just seem to appear out of thin air. My artichokes are coming along nicely, although they won’t produce for another year and Adam accidentally hacked one down with the weed wacker.
I have little hope for my bell peppers, which as usual are doing horribly. I just don’t know what the trick with them is, but the cilantro right next to them is doing great. My sunflowers are coming along nicely and I’m hoping to actually be able to roast and eat seeds this year and not end up with a huge moldy seed mass in the fall. When it starts raining, remind me to cut them down!
My new favorite thing in the world is this beautiful sprinkler that Adam bought me this spring. Not only is it pretty, but the rings spin when its running and make me want to drag Clara out and run through it. It makes me smile.
Finally, the roses are doing great and smell wonderful when I pick them to put them on the dining room table. Have I mentioned how much I’m loving our back yard right now? Hummm… Urban farming is going quite well.


Homemade Chicken Feeder

Today I made a chicken feeder all by myself… well, mostly.  Adam watched and then took it over half way through.  But I did part of it myself.  I was amazed to discover when I went to the feed store that a big chicken feeder that would hold enough feed for a couple of weeks was at a minimum over $30.  I was not about to pay that much.  These chickens are supposed to be saving me money… as well as being good pets.  I looked around and found this plan for a feeder on-line. I looked briefly at it and thought, “I can do that.”  I grabbed my bucket, the base of a planter, and Adam’s drill and set about it.  First I drilled holes all the way around the base of the bucket, then I drilled one hole through the middle of the bottom of the bucket and through the planted base.  I screwed the two parts together through the hole in the middle.  Then I put in my feed.  It didn’t come out.  I needed bigger holes.  This is where Adam took over (not that I couldn’t have done it myself).  The holes had to be about an inch in diameter when it all came down to it.  But, it was a really simple, practically free project that saved me $30.  And now I can leave the chickens for a week and not worry about whether they are starving.    


Birthday Bonanza

The birthday whirlwind is over.  Three days of Grandma and Pa visiting, swim lessons for a week straight, the baking of the largest Elmo cake that I could have conceived, and one exhausted little girl have left me bone tired.   I am officially off sugar for at least the next week and a half as I’ve eaten way too much cake and frosting and it has not only grown my belly, but really has made me feel a little funky.  I would say that I’ll be off it longer, but my resistance to sugar at camp would be throughly tested.

It was a good time, though.  Clara loved her birthday party.  It could have been a bit warmer, but overall, a good time was had by all.  The cake was a hit, both in shape and in flavor.  The kids had a great time at the playground and there was no fighting or biting the whole time.  It would not have gone as well in our backyard; I can promise that.  All of Clara’s best buddies were able to make it, and she was thrilled by that.  Clara’s favorite presents included Mrs. Potato Head, Beginner Pattern Blocks, and a baby doll with one of those disappearing milk bottles that I used to have as a kid and Clara loves as much as I did.  

Here’s a pictoral review of the good times that were had by all.

Chicken Update

The girls are doing great and living full time in their coop.  Their favorite foods are strawberries, watermelon rind, and chicken scratch.  I’m trying to train them some, at least to come into the coop when I want them to and maybe to come back when they are free ranging when I want them to.   So far they are either very stubborn or not the smartest chickens in the coop.  They will come every once in a while when I call and throw out treats, but are very inconsistent about it.  At least they are cute.  Here they are when I got them up this morning, sitting on their roost, waiting for me.

Elephants on Parade!

The latest fashion craze in our household is the elephant t-shirt. They are quite trendy this year, and you and your toddler, too, can make your own. We made our first elephant t-shirt for Daddy for father’s day last week. Clara put her little hand prints on with fabric paint and then I decorated the elephants.  The sun and the bird were added to cover up Clara’s “helping.”  Then we put it downstairs to dry in a secret location and I told Clara not to tell Daddy what we made him.  What is the first thing that Clara says when Adam asked her how her day was?  “Elephants!!!”  Then she tried to drag him down the stairs, but I forbid him to let her.


That went over so well, that I decided that this may be a fun project to do with some friends.  With mommas present, we tried to make some more elephants.  Clara’s turned out much better, having made one before.

Sophia’s turned out totally cute.

And Charlotte’s was a bit more abstract.

Overall, these are a totally fun activity that kids can wear to show off their art and will be a good one to keep for posterity since their little hands are so cute.  All you need is some fabric paint (this is the kind I got) and a couple of little hands.  We printed out hands on the shirt upside down, then wiped hands and painted on the details.  Then we let it dry and ironed the paint from the back side to set it.


is my new least favorite word.  It is pronounced diff-ert in the two-year-old dialect.  Clara uses it to mean that she wants anything else and/or her own way.  For instance, if I were to say to her, “Let’s go outside, ” and head for the back door, she would tell me “Diff-ert,” and drag me to the front door.  We’ll be eating dinner and she’ll grab my plate or water and announce, “Diff-ert,” while pushing hers away and strewing mine across the table.  These sorts of things go on all day long.  I’m tired today.  Can you tell?  Independence is very demanding.

Social networking… communal habits

Social networking sites are a double edged sword. For many reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately.  I can’t decide whether I really should be spending my time doing it or not.  There are lots of things that I like about them…

  • I can keep track of my friends easily.  For instance, I know one of my friends had a great walk with her dog last  night even though I haven’t seen her since August of 2000.
  • Disseminating information is really easy… almost too easy.  This is how everyone came to see a picture of me and my sister with frosting all over our lips.  Lickety split, it was there for all to see.
  • I can find cool things to show my friends and tell them about them without ever having a conversation.  For instance, I just had to post this cool free movie listing.  
  • I can take crazy quizzes that tell me I’m Garrison Keillor and feel like I’ve accomplished some thing. 

But, I have to admit that they are also a huge pain in my butt.  I waste a lot of time on them.  I rationalize that I’m “just checking Facebook” before I do the dishes, put the chickens in for the night, get Clara up from her nap, pick up toys, or spend time with anyone in real life.  I get sucked into taking quizzes and posting how I’m feeling or what I’m doing.  

I have “friends” who I haven’t seen or talked to in 15 years (some of them) from as far away as Australia, Croatia, Sweden, Germany.  I’m not really “friends” with these people anymore.  I like them, they’re great people, but in all reality, I’m probably never going to see them again.  Not to mention the whole issue of  “friends.”  A friend used to be someone who you spent time with, ate food with, hung out with, had things in common with.  Now a friend is better described as someone who you’ve met a least  once, who has your email address, may know others who know you, and wants to be a voyeur in your life via the internet.  I know that I am guilty of this.  I “spy” on my “friends” who I haven’t seen in years just to see what they are up to and get some gossip to share with others who vaguely know them.

The other problem with “friends” is when you no longer want to be friends with someone.  Do you just delete them and not look back?  How do you decide?  What if they notice?  The worst case scenario here is when someone deletes you and you’re pissed about it.  You weren’t expecting it and you suddenly feel like you’re back in high school and your group of buddies has just ostracized you because your shoes aren’t cool enough and you said the wrong thing.  I hate that feeling of regression, of thinking about why I’m not good enough even though in my grown-up mind, I know that it doesn’t matter and I shouldn’t care.  

But I’m not going to give up my Facebook account.  I like it too much.  I’m addicted to knowing about everyone at all times.  And feeling connected to everyone possible at all times.  That’s really what its all about.  Feeling like you’re really linked to humanity… not just sitting alone in your house at the computer.