Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brain Lapse

When writing my last post, I must have suffered a minor brain lapse.  I listed the name of this plant:

as lemon balm.  It's not, it's lemon verbena; my favorite lemon scented plant.

I also forgot to show a picture of our cucumber plants. 

As you can tell, they are not only climbing up the string, but encroaching into the lawn as well.  I guess we just won't mow there for a couple of months. :)

Sorry for the mistake.  The lemon balm isn't nearly that healthy looking.  I had it planted in too sunny a location at first.  It's been moved, and is doing better, but it still isn't photo worthy just yet.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Green, green, and more green.

I thought I'd do an update on the garden.  I wish I could show you magnificent pictures of a beautiful flower bed in the front of our house, BUT - that's just not going to happen.  The nasturtiums in the bed under the garage window are doing pretty well, and we have a few other flowers finally popping up here and there, but most of it is pretty underwhelming.  We had some very heavy rains shortly after the beds were seeded and a good portion of the seed washed out into the edging trench and even into the edge of the front yard.  I wasn't about to pour a whole lot more money into it, so we'll just have to see what we do eventually get.  The vegetable/herb gardens are doing better.  We have had some problems with a neighborhood dog and at least one of the cats that wander around here.  They walk through, occasionally relieve themseleves, and a few times have dug up a couple parts of the garden, but all-in-all, things are doing pretty well.

Some flowers we do have growing are
the climbing black-eyed susans that are
trailing up the twine I have around the
shepherds crook.

The painted lady is also climbing a trellis.

The pineapple sage is looking pretty good.  I can't
wait until this blooms in the fall.  It has beautiful,
small, bright red tubular flowers.

The regular sage is finally starting to grow.


Zucchini.  They're taking over - but I love it!

Grow baby, grow!!

Lemon balm.  This is the healthiest of the three
plants we have.  Interestingly enough it's the one
I held out the least hope for because it was the smallest,
and at one point was covered in aphids.  I had to do a lot
of work on it right off, but I guess it benefited from the TLC.

Okra - it sprouted the quickest (after the zucchini)
but then seemed to stall for a little while.  It's finally
starting to grow well.

Tomatoes, with radishes in front.  We've already
had several radishes to add to salads.

Baby tomatoes on the Black Prince.

Another unwelcome garden guest has been here.
Can you guess who?  Yep, hornworms.  We picked
six of the ugly things off last night.  Yuck. 
One of my least liked garden chores.
These are Rutgers tomatoes I planted for
canning.  I hope the plants bounce back.

Cantaloupe.  Lots of flowers, but I don't see any
baby cantaloupe yet.

Cilantro.  Can't you just taste the pico de gallo?

Don't really know why my oregano looks kind of
pathetic.  I've never had any problem growing it before.
Maybe we can blame it on the cat-or the dog.

Some roma tomatoes and a compact, bush
variety basil.

These basils are so cute, and have a great flavor.
It's my first year growning them and I know I'll
grow them again.  The may be the only basil I get
this year since my other basil was swallowed by
one of the tomatoes.  You have to move the plant
aside to see them.

Some of the Romas. 
There are a bunch of them in there.

I can't wait to start getting more stuff off of everything.  I don't even like radishes, so I haven't had anything to enjoy yet - except the basil.  It was wonderful in the last batch of spaghetti sauce we made.  I hope you are all enjoying your own gardens.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Pizza Night

We've always enjoyed an occasional pizza night, but now the pizzas are homemade.  Here are  some shots of the pizzas we had last night.

Bree chopped up the toppings for me.  We had
pepperoni and sausage to choose from too.

I used the basic recipe for "Healthy Bread in
5 Minutes a Day".  You can click on the name
and follow a link to their site.  I like it made up
into a regular loaf - it has a sour dough kind
of flavor, but it also makes a great pizza crust.
It's not light brown because I used Kamut flour
instead of hard white wheat.

Shaping the crust.  I stretch it out a bit by hand
and then finish pressing it out on parchement paper.
No, I haven't gotten the whole throw-it-in-the-air thing,
though Bree really wanted me to try my hand at it.   :)

A green pepper tried to escape while I was cutting
the "almost" supreme pizza.  We didn't have olives
and I forgot to put on the sausage, but never fear,
they still scarfed it down in record time. Don't ask me
why my hand is such an, ahh, attractive shade of -
what is that exactly?  Lavender? Blue..ish? Maybe
it's just ghostly pale. 

Ham and cheese, light on the sauce.  Beenie
and T.Lynn's favorite.

And pepperoni and sausage - my favorite.

We did another supreme (and yes, I remembered the sausage on that one), but we only put green peppers on one half - per Kay's request.  There were only 4 pieces of pizza left when the carnage was over.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Here are some projects I've been working on, and finished up last Friday.

These sit on my front porch.  There's nothing
really wrong with the two, white, plant stands,
but I wanted to paint the corner rack and bench
since they've seen better days, and thought that
while I was at it, I might as well make the stands match.

I got these brass pots from my mother.  I guess
other pots used to sit in these because there are
no drain holes in the bottom - a problem I had
my younger brother fix for me.  I also went back
to mom's and got another, smaller one to make
a complete set of three; it was in the worst shape,
but I didn't think to get a picture before working on it.

Here are the completed pots.  They all have
drain holes (since they will be used outside), and
I used a brownish, textured paint on them - a
hand-hammered finish made by Rust-Oleum.  I like 
them much better this way, and think they will make 
a very nice grouping once they are planted. Now, I
 just have to decide what to plant in them. 
The front porch - as you can see, this was taken
on Monday when the AC wasn't working :)
The things between the bench and the rack are my
hanging baskets for the front.  I have plants growing 
to put in them, but they aren't quite full enought to be
attractive yet.  I'll finish them up soon enough.

Only one of the stands is on the porch right
now.  The other is waiting for the pothos I just
replanted to be moved to the porch for the summer.

The bench looks much nicer now,

and so does the rack.  I painted the metal
and used Thompson's water stain/sealer on
the wood shelf.  I'll get around to putting things
on it a little later this week.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When are you thankful that it's 84 degrees inside?

When it's been around 90 most of the day.
Yep, our AC units went out - both of them.
We apparently had a power surge on the line during a storm Sat. night.
But, a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to two of my uncles who got it up and running for us again by late today.
We can also be thankful to the contractor who had the forsight to put the units on a dedicated line so that nothing else in the house was bothered by the power surge.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Weekend, in Review

Saturday morning dawned bright and early with most of our work accomplished.  I gave final instructions to the girls that would be staying home, and Ri and I set out bright and early for Superman's graduation.  I wanted to be there by 8:30 since it was to start at 9:00.  We were a little concerned when we passed another high school on the way that was gearing up for their own graduation, and traffic was already backed up around that school, but since we had left before 8:00, we managed to get there before 8:30 and had no real trouble getting in the parking lot, or finding seats.  It was held in the football stadium, so I was grateful for the early hour and for the fact that they were obviously not wasting a lot of time.  It wasn't unnecessarily rushed, but they didn't dawdle; we were leaving the stadium by 10:00.  We managed to have just enough seating to allow his mom, step-dad, and sister join us in the stands, and we all trooped out together to find him and get some pictures once it was over. It was a very nice service, but, partly due to the heat, he was more than ready to shed that cap and gown, and was ever so slightly impatient to get the pictures finished.  He then, very graciously, offered to pick my younger brother up for our party. 
We are all very proud of you Superman - way to go!!   

Our party turned out well.  We didn't do anything formal for Ri's graduation.  After we had eaten supper, I gathered everyone in the livingroom and announced that Ri had completed her studies and then I presented her diploma to her.  Everyone was very excited for her, and all the usual questions of, "Now what are you going to do?" were bandied about.  She did her best to explain that she's not 100% sure what all she will do - she does want to study photography, but recently we've also looked into getting an Associates degree of some type, just in case they ever decide that you need a degree to teach your children (something that gets thrown about in NC from time to time and was brought up again this past school year).  But, for right now (the summer), she's telling everyone that she's going to concentrate on helping me out here at home.  There's much sewing to be done, and she wants to help out with Grandma a bit more since she's not had that much time with her yet, due to finishing up her schoolwork.  After the graduation announcement, we proceeded with the birthday gift giving and cake cutting.  Everyone had a great time.

Years ago everyone asked us how long we planned on teaching the girls at home.  They all assumed that the girls would, at some point, be put into school.  When I first started telling people that I didn't see why we couldn't teach them all the way through high school, many people were skeptical, at best.  Back then I didn't really have any long term plans on how I may accomplish this, but I felt that there was no way I could do worse than the public schools, so I thought we'd at least give it a shot.  We've gone through many ups and downs, as any homeschool family will attest to, and we've worked through a variety of teaching methods, and several different curriculum materials.  We've been frustrated and elated - sometimes in the same day, and we've learned more about the necessity of schedualing and flexibility than I ever imagined possible.  We also learned how to teach and study with a baby sitting in the middle of the table :D.  My faith in the choice we made is more firmly rooted than ever, and I'm delighted to see what Ri has managed to accomplish.

Congratulations to all of this year's graduates!!!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Please excuse my pity party

I'm sorry for that little rant yesterday.  I was extremely tired and was only at the computer because I was having to wait (very impaitently) for something in that side of the house.  I was also focusing on things I shouldn't have allowed myself to focus on; like my lack of sleep, and everything I had wanted to accomplish that day that hadn't gotten done, and everything else I still had to do.  You know, all the negative stuff.  I was probably pouting a little too.  Partly because I always hate it when my day gets off schedual, and partly because I didn't REALLY want to do anything yesterday. 
But, what I should have been concentrating on was all my blessings - and they are many:
Grandma is home - blessing enough in itself.  Ruby you are 100% right, having her here far outweighs any work that needs to be done.
We finished our achievement tests in record time this year.
Ri is graduating.  Here again, a lot of work in this last push to finish, but so worth.  Congratulations to you Ri!
Having the raw milk and the ability to go in with other people to get other, good quality food for your family is always a blessing.
Setting up for a party is always a bit of a hassle, but we can be thankful that we have the resources to celebrate in this way.
Another graduation to attend - all graduations are blessings.
The phone - it may have been driving me to distraction yesterday, but it's there when we need to get in contact with others.
And finally, my wonderful daughters.  Without them I would not have been able to accomplish a quarter of what has gotten done this week.  Not to mention the everyday stuff that I haven't even been at home to take care of.  Kay, especially, has put in a lot of the daytime care for Grandma when I've been busy with errands or the testing. Her help was indispensable.  Then to top it off, they fixed one of my favorite suppers, and desserts, for my birthday last night.
This is by no means an exhaustable list - another blessing in an of itself.
See - I really have nothing to complain about.  Yesterday was great and the rest of the week will be as well.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Someone, please stop this crazy ride!!!

I just can't do it, but I have to do, so I will do it - even though I can't. 
That seems easy enough doesn't it?
No?  Well, just follow along if you can.
Grandma moved back in on Friday.  We are so glad she's back, but we are trying to schedual all the "initial consultations" with the various thereapists in what was already and incredibly busy week. 
We had our yearly acheivement tests to do, milk pick up on Tues, co-op pick up - which also came in yesterday, then we had to mail the test back to the testing service, and run a million other errands that have to do with normal, everyday life, and the ones needed to prepare for the graduations and birthday party on Saturday.
So far the tests have been completed and mailed back, and, of course, the milk and co-op orders have been picked up.  I've also run a couple of the errands and managed to take the recycling to the box site.  The initial consultations have been completed with the nurse and the occupational therapist.  We have a consultation with the physical therapist yet to do and I have to arrange a check with the cardio people.  I also need to find a beautician that can set hair on rollers, and get the home health people to come change out the footboard part to Gram's bed:it's not lowering properly.  I addition to all of that,we need to finish up regular house cleaning, try to finish up a couple of the projects we're working on, and I need to finish shopping for a few gifts and get the food for the party. 
See, nothing to it.
Except - I'm working on fumes.  Grandma can't do transfers from her bed, recliner and other furniture to her wheelchair without someone there with her (well, she CAN, but she shouldn't, it's just not safe), so someone has to go in there everytime she needs to get up - no problem during the day, but at night someone (me) has to get up everytime she needs to go to the bathroom.  This has ranged from as few as twice to as many as 6 times a night.  We are working on pain management (which is part of why I feel she's not sleeping well) and the diuretics she's on to see if we can't reduce the number of times she's waking up at night.  It makes for a very difficult night for both of us, and Grandma is virtually wiped out all the next day if she gets up more than twice during the night.  I would like to see her able to get up and join in with us for a bit more.  I'm hoping that once she's sleeping better she'll be able to putter around a little during the day.  She loves to putter around doing little things, or moving things around in her room, and she likes to be able to come in the kitchen and give a hand every once and awhile. 
So, for now, we'll just keep working like crazy to get everything done by Saturday. 


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bits and Pieces

So much is going on right now. 

First - Grandma's coming home! YAY!!  She had her feeding tube taken out today and she is schedualed to be released on Friday morning.  We've got a little bit of work to do tomorrow to make sure everything is ready for her, and we'll be making her favorite supper - pintos and cornbread - for her on Friday.

Second - My cousin has passed the math portion of his GED practice test and is being schedualed to take the regular GED test soon. Another YAY!!  Now we just need to work on his writing so he can pass the last portion of his test and get his GED.

Third - Regular school is winding down for us.  The girls will be taking their achievement tests soon, and then we'll be taking things pretty slow for awhile.  We don't really stop over the course of the summer, but we aren't very regimented (that's actually kind of laughable since we're never VERY regimented anyway) during the summer months.  We will take a couple of weeks completely off, but I'm not sure just yet when that will be.

Fourth - Our second big family get-together for the year will happen on the 12th.  We break up our family birthdays into just two birthday parties, one in Feb, and one in June; all other birthdays are celebrated at Thanksgiving.  This works well for us since more than 50% of the family (this includes extended family) have birthdays in Feb and June, with another 25% right around these months. It's almost like Christmas.  At any rate the party will be held late in the afternoon since Superman is graduating that morning.  Ri and I will attend his graduation and then run home and help Kay finish setting up for the party.

Fifth - Ri is also graduating on the 12th, at the begining of the birthday party. YAY!!!  Nothing really formal; just a few words spoken in honor of all her hard work, and the presentation of her diploma.

The 12th will be a very busy day.

Sixth - Kay should be able to graduate by the first part of July.  I'll hold the Yay and the offical announcement until we're a little closer, but things are looking great!
If all goes well with my cousin's writing test, that will mean that I'll be down to just three people to teach - I'm sure I'll find something to do with all the extra time :).

Seventh - At some point we'll be done with the spring cleaning - it may look a lot like fall before we're finished, but I'm sure we'll get done.  Maybe that's how some of that time will get filled.  We'll also be completing some of the projects we have going around here.  I should have some before and after photos of some of it before too much longer.

Eighth - Is there an eighth?  I don't think so.  Maybe I'll just relax and breathe.  Maybe.