Rainy Days and Sunday

And now I find myself singing The Carpenters Rainy Days and Mondays.

For those of you who have no idea who The Carpenters are, here you go.

Years before moving to Texas, we heard much about the drought.  Since moving to Texas, we’ve seen more than our fair share of rain.  Last weekend was storms and today we had more storms – only your standard run of the mill thunderstorm.  Nothing severe at our house, fortunately.  However, according to my rain gauge, we got 1.5 inches of rain.  My pool will not need to have water added to it for a while, that’s for sure and the plants I have potted have more than enough water now.

The girls and I have had fun painting terra-cotta pots . . . .

. . . . and with all the pots I’ve purchased, we have planted tomatoes, flowers, herbs, strawberries and have Serrano pepper and sweet pepper seeds started.

Because it was a rainy day, we took the girls to see the movie “The Boss Baby.”

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It certainly wasn’t our favorite animated movie, but was entertaining.  When we came out from the movie, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  As I write this, it’s cloudy again with more rain in the forecast for tonight.

Our home school group is still trying to collect money to provide duffel bags to foster children.  Honestly, we had hoped it would be much more successful than it has been, yet providing duffel bags to a few kids who would otherwise leave their homes with nothing more than a garbage bag with a few items is better than no duffel bags at all.  Still, we would like to provide many more children with these duffel bags, so if you’re reading this and can donate anything at all, it would be greatly appreciated.  Click here to go to our donation page.

Naomi and I attended an Ethiopian cooking class yesterday.  It was organized by a fellow adoptive mom and attended by several other adoptive families as well as several Ethiopian families who live in the DFW area.  We learned how to make Lentil Sambusa,

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Shiro,

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Yeater Kik Alicha,

and Ye’abasha Gomen.

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were some other Ethiopian dishes provided as well as Injera.

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It was so much fun getting together with such a wonderful group of people, eating some delicious food and getting to know others in the area.  When it was time for us to leave (3 hours later), Naomi was not happy about going.  She made a new friend that I hope we will see again soon.

That’s just a little bit of this and that on this rainy Sunday.

Varied Interests

Reading thru past blog posts, it is very clear that I have three primary interests . . . . .

Children/Family

Travel

Gardening

I lump children and family together, but could also add adoption and foster care into this group.  Adoption brought Lili and Naomi into my life.  They are my children and therefore my family.  Foster care has also been a big part of my life and the children who have come into my life because of foster care are very important to me.  Hubby, my children, extended family, foster children and friends who I consider family are so very important in my life.

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Travel!  I adore travel and everything about it from planning to new experiences.  Without travel, I feel like something is missing in my life.

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Gardening is my hobby.  I am in my happy place when my hands are in the soil.  I enjoy the planting a seed and get excited when I see the first signs of life emerge thru the soil.  Picking my first ripe fruit or vegetable gives me a thrill.  Seeing bumblebees and butterflies fly from flower to flower puts a smile on my face.  I get excited about exploring and trying new gardening techniques or growing something for the first time.

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(It was windy when I took this picture.)

What are your interests?

 

 

Get This Garden Started

With some containers purchased, it was time to get this garden started.

We now have two tomato plants started.

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I want to purchase a couple of plant dolly’s so I can easily move them if necessary.

Three hanging baskets of strawberries.

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I promise there are strawberry crowns planted in those baskets.  I’m hoping hubby can help me get them hung this weekend and then we’ll keep our fingers crossed for successful growth.

I also planted Serrano pepper seeds and Marigold seeds in a couple small pots.  Hopefully they’ll take root and I’ll transplant them into bigger pots in a few weeks.

We also bought some terra-cotta pots and spent a few hours of our afternoon sitting outside painting them.

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Lili planted some Impatiens seeds in one of the pots she painted.  Naomi has picked out a couple different flower seed packets and we’ll be planting those in the next few days.  I will also be planting some herbs in the smaller pots.

We really enjoyed the painting project and will soon make another trip for more pots in a variety of sizes.

Now that we have started our container gardening project, I seem to have more and more ideas.  I love the splash of color the pots add to the landscape and the thought of some fresh fruits and vegetables in our future makes me happy.

 

 

 

Garden Beginnings

Container gardening requires containers.  Containers can get costly, so I’ve been watching a local garage sale group on FB hoping to find some good, colorful containers for my new gardening adventure.

Lucky for me, I scored big time!!!!!

I happened to be on Facebook when someone posted that she was selling some ceramic pots for a friend.  There were several in the photo and she said there were more not in the picture.  I immediately sent her a message and said, “I want them.”

A few hours later, the girls and I headed a few miles down the road and headed back home with these . . . . .

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And this one . . . .

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that included the fern.  In addition, I scored a few small ones that will be good for some herbs, plus this larger plastic container . . . . .

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Once I clean in out and add in some fresh soil, it will work nicely for growing some vegetables.

But the one I’m most excited about is this one . . . . .

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A very large pot with a mango tree!!!!!

I really wanted to experiment with growing some fruit trees in containers, but didn’t expect I would walk away with a potted Mango tree for $10.

In all, I spent $50 on 13 pots, one containing a fern and the other a Mango tree.

Not a bad deal at all!!!

Now I need a plant dolly for the Mango tree so I can more easily move it. For tonight though, it sits on the patio.  I’ll work on moving it to a location that will still get plenty of sunlight, while being a little more protected.

This gardening season should be a fun experiment and I have some tools to help me get started.  My hope is that I’ll have at least a little success in the process.

 

Gardening In Small Spaces

After years of having a large garden and even more space to utilize if I wanted or desired, I now live in a home that is not only smaller, but the yard is considerably smaller.

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The smaller yard is taken up by a pool with lots of concrete and we have dogs that need a place to potty.  We also live in a neighborhood with a HOA, so there are rules.  I can’t just dig up the rest of my yard space for a garden, so I need to be creative and grow up instead of out.

I should probably add that I’m talking about growing vegetables with a few flowers that will attract bees and butterflies.  Based on the fact that I have such little space for gardening, I’m going to utilize containers for my garden.

We have a retaining wall that runs along the back of the yard.

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It provides good space for vertical gardening.  First, I’ll need to remove all the rose bushes and weeds.  I know, some of you are probably thinking it’s crazy to remove the rose bushes, especially since I have no other place to put them.  However, a family member is interested in transplanting them in their yard, so they will have a new home.

I would also like to add some trellis to the wall for growing vegetables such as cucumbers or zucchini.

The more shaded space will work well for cool weather vegetables such as lettuce and radishes.

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Patio space along the house should work well for tomatoes and peppers.

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I’ll also use patio space for growing flowers such as Bee Balm

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and Borage.

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I added a Hummingbird Feeder to the tree in the front of our house and we spent the summer watching the Hummingbirds come to feed.  Adding some Bleeding Heart to the shaded area

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or hanging some baskets of Fuchsia from the arbor will help bringing in more.

Of course I can’t forget fruits in my vertical gardening.

Strawberries and blueberries are on the list and will add some beauty and color to the garden.

I’m also toying around with trying my hand at growing some citrus trees and apples in containers.  The citrus trees can be pulled inside during the winter and go back outside when the weather warms up.

I  have so many ideas and plans running thru my head, that I can’t wait to get started.

But wait . . . . . .

My past attempts at container gardening did not yield the results I had hoped for, so this is a little intimidating.  Plus, we are now living in a different Zone – 8A.  There is a lot to learn.

In gardening, soil conditions must be right for plants to grow and produce.  Those conditions become more challenging when you aren’t digging up yard space for planting.  There is a learning curve and it will take more than just dumping some dirt into a pot and planting a seed.  I’ll need to begin small and slowly, then build as I learn.

To help me along the way, I have signed up for a couple of gardening classes.  One is on container gardening and the other is on growing herbs.  I hope I leave the class knowing at least a little more than I do now.

The other project I hope to tackle soon is growing some herbs indoors.  I have some wonderful window space in my kitchen, that has done a beautiful job providing light to my house plants.  These are plants I moved from Illinois to Texas and they not only survived the move, but they are flourishing in their new home.

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It is a very big window and I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to utilize the light from this window for growing herbs.  (It’s a cloudy day, so this picture came out a little dark)  Like in my yard, I need to use the space vertically and thanks to Pinterest, I think I have found the solution.

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A couple sturdy curtain rods and some hanging buckets or planters will provide me plenty of space to start my indoor herb garden.

The girls, especially Lili, are excited about helping me with this project and I will be sure to share our successes and failures along the way.

 

 

 

What it Has. What is Doesn’t Have.

Maybe I shouldn’t be getting so carried away with plans for our Tuscany home, but it’s hard not to.

My visit to the house during the inspection put my mind in hyper-planning mode.

I’ve already begun to map out projects and the order in which they need to be done.

I’m scouring the internet looking at Tuscan decorating ideas. I love the Tuscan style and with a house on Tuscany, going the Tuscan route in a must.

I’ve begun pricing some of the things we’ll need to purchase.

I’m making lists and adding to those lists on a regular basis.

When we were looking at houses, the outdoor space was as important as the indoor space. As we continued to shop for homes, it became increasingly clear that we were going to have to make some choices. Without unlimited funds, or at least more funds than we currently have available, it was going to be very difficult to get a home that had the indoor space we required with a pool and a yard.

From the beginning, we said a pool was non-negotiable. The Tuscany home has a pool.

A non-negotiable for me, was an open floor plan. I didn’t want to live in a house where walls were eating up the square footage of the main living area of the home. I wanted space where we could spread out when we had company over for dinner. Space that was open and airy. Space that flowed nicely between the living area and kitchen. The Tuscany home has the open floor plan I want.

We were non-negotiable on our space requirements. With the right set-up, hubby is able to work from home 2-3 days a week. We needed a house that provided us good office space. The Tuscany home has a 4th bedroom that can easily be used as an office/guest bedroom.

What we wanted was a home with a yard. Space for the dogs and space for me to build my vegetable garden. The Tuscany home does not have ample yard space. It has plenty of grassy area along one side of the house for the dogs and that is necessary space. The other thing it has is a larger area with patio pavers.

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This area will become my vegetable garden and a little more yard for the dogs. It’s not the space we had hoped to have, but it is certainly space that can be utilized to do at least some of what we want to do.

For now though, we negotiate some of the items from the inspection report and then wait.

Wait for the appraisal.

Wait for the paperwork.

Wait to see if the Tuscany home will become ours.

Tell You What I Want

What I really, really want . . . . .

We’re house/dog sitting this weekend. After living in our small space for the last month, being in a large home feels strangely uncomfortable. Not in a terrible way. Just uncomfortable. There is so much space between all of us and it makes me realize just how much untogetherness my family has been experiencing over the years.

One of our dogs isn’t handling this big space very well. She runs around in a panic trying to figure out how to get out and as I write this, she is sitting in front of me with her body pressed up against my legs. At least she’s calming down a bit, but the newness of the last month has been taking its toll on her psyche. She really likes our little home. She seems very comfortable in that space. We’re all right there together in our cozy little space and that makes her feel safe. But since arriving in Texas she’s gone to be groomed and has had to meet a new vet. In a couple weeks we’ll add insult to injury when we take all three dogs to boarding and leave on a week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Right now I feel this cruise is well deserved and needed, but I’m quite sure my anxiety ridden dog will not feel the same. She is going to be thrown into yet another new situation and hopefully she’ll handle it better than I’m anticipating. If not, I may be seeking out the services of a dog psychiatrist (do they exist?)

Our RVing experience has caused me to really think long and hard about our next home and exactly what will make us happiest. Now that we have an offer on our house, I feel that we can really begin to make plans for our future Texas home.

At this point, I certainly can’t see us settling in another 3600 sq ft home. Something much smaller is very likely in our future. What we really want more than anything is nice outdoor space. An extension of our indoor space so-to-speak. A nice covered patio area for outdoor dining or just sitting outside in the morning enjoying a cup of tea or in the evening with a tall glass of iced tea (or whatever cold drink suits my fancy).

With the pool because we’ll need to cool off during those long hot Texas summer days.

Space for keyhole gardening, which I’m determined to do here in Texas.

At this point I want my outdoor space to be larger than my indoor space.

Will we be able to find this without hubby’s commute being terribly long?

Not sure, but it’s what I really really want and we should have plenty of time to find it.

Garden Lessons for 2015

What have I learned from gardening this year?

  1. Too much rain in the spring and early summer don’t equal a great crop of tomatoes in the summer.
  2. Having a toddler who doesn’t find playing the garden fun, makes gardening almost impossible.
  3. Too much rain + toddler = Weed Fest 2015
  4. Heirloom tomatillos planted in 2014 will produce new plants and fruit in 2015.
  5. Adding two younger children to the household just means less time for the garden.

Honestly, I’m not even sure I could call my garden a garden this year.  This would have been a more appropriate description.

I went into it with great plans and good intentions, but life and the weather just seemed to have a different plan.

Now we’re preparing to pull everything up (except for the blueberries and raspberries I planted this spring), work out a different plan for next year and hope we’re more successful in our gardening attempts.

The nice thing about gardening is that you get a do-over every spring.

Here’s to a better 2016 garden season!!!

From RV’s to Birthdays to World Naked Gardening Day

A couple of days ago I blogged about our new RV.  Yesterday my post was about Lili’s birthday.  Today, will be a different topic altogether.

My blog is becoming quite diverse I suppose.  Maybe there is interest in stopping by for a visit just to see what in the world I might be writing about next.  Or not.

I really never intended to write about anything and everything, but there is a lot happening in our life and in this world.  When there is good material, I should write about it.

For example, gardening.

This year I planted 4 blueberry and 6 red raspberry bushes.  I also planted 2 sweet plum trees.  Then those pesky rabbits got in the garden.  I didn’t realize it until they hadn’t eaten the majority of leaves off everything.  Of course it doesn’t take long for 4 rabbits to devour some young fruit bushes.

Lesson learned!!!!  Now each fruit plant has a cage around it, but the rabbits continue to stick around just waiting for the next tasty meal and I am keeping a watchful eye on the bushes in hopes that they will begin growing new leaves.

Maybe they would stay away if I participated in World Naked Gardening Day 🙂

Yes folks, the 1st Saturday in May is in fact World Naked Gardening Day!!!  (Warning!!!!!  If you click on the World Naked Gardening Day link, you will see naked gardeners.)

Wear your birthday suit and spend time in your garden.  Apparently, next to swimming, it’s the most family friendly activity people are willing to try.

I’m not one of those people willing to try naked gardening.  Among other reasons, I fear the following scenario . . . .

I’m being ushered out of my garden in handcuffs telling the officer – “But officer, it is World Naked Gardening Day.  It’s not just a national holiday, but a WORLD holiday so you can’t arrest me.  Plus, shouldn’t you be out of uniform and in your garden instead of taking me out of my garden?”

For some reason, I just don’t think the local police would accept World Naked Gardening Day as an excuse for running around my back yard naked.   However, if gardening in the buff would keep those darned rabbits out of my garden, I would consider putting a naked scarecrow out there instead.

If you participate in World Naked Gardening Day, please feel free to leave a comment.  No pictures necessary though.