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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Where Does Your Garden Grow

I’m thinking a Botany class should be part of our homeschool program this year 😉

 

No soil necessary.  It’s the hallmark of hydroponic gardening, plants held in place while their roots dangle in nourishing water.

IKEA is using is mass marketing capabilities to bring this, newly miniaturized, technology to the masses. 

It is with the idea that it should be affordable to grow your own food.  An aspiring gardener can suit up and get to it, even in a high-rise apartment building, for around $50.

The system is a basic grow tray with small pods to put your seeds in.  Once seeded, keep an eye on the water level and make sure they get enough light.  You’ll have veggies soon.

One of the scientists that worked with IKEA to help create the hydroponic system is Helena Karlén, lecturer at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.  She reveals the challenge “to make growing plants in a hydroponic system simple, so that anyone could succeed,” adding, “we were also very interested, not only that they grow, but also the taste… they should taste good, very good actually.”

Vertically farming vegetables and living in the city just got synergistic on the cheap.

**Published – Beta Minds**

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.

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.

An Upcoming Visit to the Farmy

As we venture out to the world of RV ownership and travel, I still hold onto the hope that  one day things will work out for us to own our own little homestead.   We still strive to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle, by raising our own food.  We are fortunate to have the space for a garden that provides us good food and will be adding some blueberry and raspberry bushes as well as a couple apple trees this spring.  However, we don’t have the space or live in an area that allows us to raise any animals for food.  I am fortunate though, to have connected with a wonderful woman by the name of Cecilia who is living the life I hope to one day live.

I’ve written about Cecilia and her little farm before.  We’ve had the privilege to visit her farmy a couple of times.  She also raised chickens and a pig for us.  Her organic farming methods are exactly what have envisioned doing ourselves one day and I’m lucky to have her living near enough to us that we can visit, experience and learn from her.

Recently, she added to her little farm and I am experiencing a mixture of excitement and jealousy.

She is now raising GOATS!!!!!

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One of Cecilia’s goat kids.

If all goes well, the girls and I will be heading to the farmy in a couple weeks.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  We can enjoy the goat kids, visit the pigs, cows, chickens and dogs.  Help out a little bit around the farm and create life-long memories – because as you know, I’m quite fond of finding opportunities to create great memories.  And a side benefit is getting my farm fix.

If you also desire to have your own farm one day and would like to gain some farming experience, Cecilia offers others the opportunity to come stay at the farm for a week of experience.  Just visit her blog here for more details.

The camera will join us on our farm field trip so stay tuned for pictures and our tales from a visit to the farmy.

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Aren’t Cecilia’s new goat kids adorable?

 

 

Debbie, Debbie Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

With flowers and herbs and peppers

And many varieties of tomato.

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That’s not all we will be planting this year, but that is what we have started so far.

We also had to put our seedling stand elsewhere in the house.  Year 1 we tried it in the basement.  It was a wonderful learning experience and we learned that we won’t try to start seedlings in the basement again.  Last year we put the seedlings in  front of our slider which is on the west side of the house.  They did awesome!!!  This year it is in our bedroom by a south facing window.  While I would rather have them by the slider again, they would be exposed to a dangerous condition in our home known as FS2 🙂  He is full of curiosity and I’m quite sure many of the seedlings would meet their untimely death as my little guy enjoyed playing in the dirt.  So this year they will take up residence in our bedroom and I think they’ll do just fine there.

It’s always exciting to begin the gardening season and the girls love helping.  All the small pots are flowers and herbs Lili and Naomi planted.  Next weekend we’ll get more started as I really want to stagger the planting this year so we don’t have everything producing at once.

I tried my hand at some root vegetables this fall, but planted them too late in the year.  I’m going to try putting a few out in early spring to see if I have any luck, so we’re only a few short weeks away from putting seeds in the ground outside.

Hubby also bought a package of Ethiopian brown pepper seeds.  This is a pepper variety we’ve never grown before and he is excited to try something new.

Fingers crossed that we have a little less rain and a little more heat this year.  Last year just wasn’t great for our tomatoes and I want to good crop for canning.  Plus, we want to take some good garden produce on our camping trips this year.  Nothing like a grilled hamburger with a fresh garden tomato 🙂