Being happy doesn't mean everything is perfect.

It's learning to look past life's imperfections

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jam Anyone? The Marathon begins!

Peaches! We have sliced, halved and Jam.  canning & Knits 015As I slice and halve for jars, I have a bowl handy for the good left over chunks that come with trimming out the not so good spots and use that for my jam.    I was saving all the skins separately to make Peach Honey but,  towards the end of the bushel I ran out of steam and tossed them in with the jam. They cook down to nothing and add rich coloring to the jam. 

Monday I made more Blackberry jam, so we’re up to  30 pints of it now.  Isaiah labeling the lids for me, made the comment I needed bigger lids….because the word berry wouldn’t  fit. He’s 6 I figure by next year it will!

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Danielle, Isaiah & I spent a beautiful cool”ish” 80’s  morning  At Bryant’s Blueberries eating picking . OK, Mostly Danielle & I.  Isaiah was busy helping older ladies carry berries to the check out & getting water for us.  I’d like to think he has a heart of service but, I think it was more a 6yr old bored and helping was something better to do! 

22 lbs in the freezer and 20 pints of jam this evening.  

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I think I’ll wait and let him mark these “blue”

Mr. Fix~It buzzed through the kitchen in time with each batch to wipe and lid jars for me.  We had a nice system going.  His pitching in allowed me to wash pots to start the next batch. REALLY saved me a lot of  time! Another reason to keep him around for another 25 yrs!

More green beans to be canned tomorrow. The tomato’s are just starting to turn.  They are turning  the light green/gold  right before the ripening reds show. 

Knock on wood no deer or rabbits have found the melons yet.  Although, they could just be waiting for them to fully ripen !

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Watermelon A Multi Purpose Fruit

Evie has been such a big help in the garden this year but, there are times when she needs to be corralled. 

The swing has been great but she’s getting a bit weary of it.

I think I’ve found an alternative to keep us both happy









Think It’ll work?

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

In the Garden

89 degrees at 9 am and 89 at 9 pm but,  much higher in between.  First thing Evie & I picked more green beans while it was cool (not).  80 was the 6 am cool & no, I wasn’t up to see it! 

But we did have a nice haul of green beans and dragon tongue beans

Garden 004 With plenty more to come in the next few days.

I love the thought of  being as self reliant as possible, providing  home-grown organic veggies for my family.  Nutritious food that is free of chemicals & pesticides.

Food I can look at and say I know where this came from & how it was grown.

Yes it’s work but each step, from seed sprout to harvest is thrilling & well worth the effort.Garden 005 I’ve never seen bean blooms this thick on one plant

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The tomato’s are coming along Garden 006

thick and lush.

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I love the smell of the plants and can’t wait to make sauce. 

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Zucchini nearly as tall as Isaiah.  I’ve blooms galore but no fruit so pollinated by hand this morning.Garden 023Remember the melon seeds that never germinated so I replanted? Garden 009

They must have been “resting” as they’re out of control now. I started  to pull some last week when I realized what happened but, they are all so twisted upon each other I was afraid I’d create more damage trying to thin them.  In the 4 foot section above I could see 20 assorted baseball sized melons growing.Garden 012

I need recipes quick!  I’ve found recipes for watermelon jam so that is on the list but, If any one has other proven recipes…give me a holler!

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Our 4  first year blackberries have given me enough for a pie so far.  Not a lot I know but,  I had read not to expect any the cane’s first season so we’re very pleased.

This evening with Erika’s  help I have 10 quarts of green beans cooling on the counter along with

Garden 003 20 pints of blackberry jam.

Tomorrow the peaches!

Not a bad start to the canning season!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sometimes Plans Change

And you just have to roll with it.

This past Monday we had planned to fly to Chicago  for a Jayco RV dealers conference. We’d had our tickets for over a month and an hour before we were to leave for the airport we had a call from the airlines….. the flight was cancelled.  No specific explanation, but we were given the impression it was weather related.  

OK, we have a dinner in Chicago at 6pm, its now 11 am……and a 7 hr drive….in an area of Chicago we’ve not been before …arriving just in time for rush hour traffic.   Instead of driving Larry’s diesel dually he rented a Jetta.  Kind of hoping it would help “speed” things up…although we both do tend to have a lead foot.  Apparently car designer’s now cater to the 20-30 age group that drive with the seat half reclined.  With the seat in a normal driving position it forces you to hunch your back with your shoulders forward. 

We switched back and forth driving quite a bit and consoled ourselves with cappuccino's. 8D

Leaving home at 12:15 we made it by 6 pm our time, 5 pm  Chicago time. 

The last 28 miles?  Took 2 HOURS!!

So uh, yeah we “flew”. 

Turns out there was bad weather in Chicago.  But, the flight delay was because Joe Biden was in town.  They secured air space until he left.  Another reason not to like him! 

So the moral of the story? 

Well, There really isn’t one but…

Don’t get a Jetta unless you like to lay down when you drive or..your 20 and daddy buys it for you.

  But man can that car fly!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Container Gardening

The Roma volunteers that I planted in last years “earth box” are doing “ok”.  Just now a month old and have baby maters.  Those in the main garden were planted mid April and are huge!  Most are chest high on me & I’m 5’9!  I’ll have to get photos as its our best year ever growing themNew Colors 008 Those I planted in the Up side down pots are doing well also.  Although I’ve pruned them way back the stems are a bit spindly compared to the others.  The one in the pot below (redneck drip system) is growing like gang busters.  It’s weight has pulled out the stakes and fallen over.  I stuck an old laundry basket under to help prop it up.  Serves a duel purpose as it catches rain water in the bottom and is working as a hot house.  The weight of the stems and blooms are going to break the plant unless I find alternative way to support it..maybe some plywood scraps?New Colors 005

And the squash in my Red Neck Earth box.

Its growing like crazy I’ve had hundreds of blooms…no squash.  I was taking the watched pot never boils mentality and leaving it alone to do its thing.  Well, its not doing its thing so I checked and all I see are female blooms. The squash in the main garden have the same issue only they have all male blooms. I’m sure going to feel  like a perv pollinating these!

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And, out of control bushes and volunteer shrubs that need cleared. 

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Its all fun and games till it comes to weeding!

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beauty & Grace

Everyday we go about our work, busy, busy, busy.  These are a few bits of beauty I almost missed …

My Mothers day gift 2 years agoGarden & storm 014

Squash in bloom,  potato buckets, so far a minor success

Garden & storm 004   Garden & storm 033 Garden & storm 037Sunlight through the tomato’s thick on the vine 

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First blueberries ever ripening on the vine

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   Clear summer skies that turn to this taking tree branches and leaving little damage

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In less than 5 minutes.

What beauty did you find today?

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Billboards Found…..

Just had to share……

Mr Fix~It would LOVE this onemoose

They are catching ON!


California needs this one!Fire

Love the Canadian humor!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lets keep it real!

I was starting to write a post asking “How in the world do you get every thing done?”   Lately every blog I read sounds as if they have 80 hours in a day.  Gardening, cooking, cleaning school, kids activities, cooking, animals, laundry, cooking, mending, outdoor work, cooking, dishes…and laundry again because you have to fold and put those suckers away. No disrespect intended, but those of us that garden or live simply know the work can be never ending.  Rewarding, fulfilling and gratifying and satisfying….  but never ending.  Toss in a few (or many) children and a household to run…. something has to give! 

I can’t keep up! 

I was supposed to pick blueberries this morning but it was so nice and cool (low 80’s) I stayed home and worked in the garden.  Started the laundry which is still piled up from 2 weeks ago.  I could write a book in all the dust that is protecting the furniture, My ironing board is still up from a month ago and the pile on it just gets higher and higher.  I missed strawberry season so no jam there, blueberries are in full swing, the garden will be producing heavily next week, I work from home and have orders out the ears…a living room full of yarn, an addition we are building ….and we will be out of town for 3 days next week.  I have yet to prepare the jars for canning & my fridge has a few science projects if any one needs one. 

  I’m not complaining, we have been very blessed but it always seems as if something is left un-done! Last year I beautiful flower beds this year?Garden & storm 016Weed Beds!   

I started through my blog roll this morning (yes, I could have been out in the garden instead but, without a few cups of coffee I can hardly walk) and read this post from '>Lanna and another from Not Dabbling in Normal  & I have to tell ya, its nice knowing everyone struggles with it.  Makes me normal.


How do you prioritize & keep balance?

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Framing Is

Progressing!  As of tonight, We have the 2  main interior walls framed!

Not only that but we found the top of the concrete basement wall so we were able to plan the exact floor level to allow plumbing & heat ducting.  Sounds as if were going about this bas-akward I know.  The prior owner had at one time a basement leak so, he dug out all around and poured a second basement wall, then re-walled the main floor….so from the exterior, you couldn’t tell where the floor we are joining to was located.  We could have just cut the new entry but, we don’t have the exterior door on yet…..we needed to set the darn floor level!  But, we have it now so we can move forward!  He didn’t say it but, I think Larry was worried we would end up needing to punch through to the existing living space.

We’re at that awkward point, the exterior is up & painted, the interior is framed but it also cuts out a lot of natural light.  We have one light fixture in…kind of a redneck porch light inside the addition (so we don’t trip over anything) as the evening wears on we will have to set up the big glaring work lights. 

Chris & Erika came over Sunday and said “can we help?”  A resounding YES! and they were handed paint brushes and put to work applying the first coat to the exterior & working on the tanweekend 005 This supervisor took her job seriously!who knows 018Until she was caught napping on the job!weekend 014

I think we all envied her …shade and a breeze.

Erika had the stitches removed.  It’s healing pretty well but, she will need repair to the interior of her lip.  She has large knots of tissue that will need to be minimized or they will cause problems down the road. who knows 01490+ degrees meant mandatory pool breaks were in orderweekend 025 Compost boy looks heartbroken right?

Such a tough life!

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where did last Week Go?

I have vague memories of knitting and gardening…the days are getting so darn hot its early morning or late evenings for the garden.  I walked down to the mail box yesterday and was drenched at the half way point.  A stop in the shade of the garden felt good but then I saw a few few weeds, then a few more…. and by the time Larry came home 20 minutes later I was overheated and dizzy. I know better!  The heat index had us over 100 degrees with 92% humidity.  It would have been cooler if it had rained again

All the rain has been a major blessing for the garden though.  I’ll have tomato’s by the end of the week, everything else is blooming and fruiting out.  I have beans ready to pick but that will have to wait until its cooler tonight.    If the growth of the greens in my  my potato buckets are any indication of potato’s forming,  they will be a success! I’ve hilled them twice with room for once more, which I’ll do this afternoon.    4 Buckets won’t cover us for all we will use but, it was a great first time test.  Next year I’ll be doing much more & intend to dehydrate them. 

Oh, and I had such a newbie gardener brain burp.

I’ve been after Isaiah not to kill any bees or butterflies in the garden explaining how they pollinate etc.   Well, we had these beautiful greenish white spotted butterflies/moths all over by the beautiful, huge lets wait 1 more day to pick because they are not as big as I remembered broccoli…the next night when we checked them?  Less than 1/2 the size and covered with WORMS!!!! I mean covered we stopped counting at 20 on one plant.  there was 10-15 on one stalk.  Infested!  They had eaten so much all that’s left is enough for one meal  ONE stinkin meal.  We were advised to spray them with a mix of olive oil & water with a touch of dish soap.  It helped some but the plants were so far gone  there was no chance of recovery & we had to pull them. I’ll plant them again but boy howdy will I be on the lookout for those “pretty white butterflies” next time.   Guess my learning curve has a pretty high arc!

And a shout out for some advice! Again

Mr. Fix~It has mentioned he just might like to have fresh eggs around here   Could  have to do with all  hints I’ve been dropping ….or the magazines and articles about natural pest control I’ve left laying around or, he just wants to shut me up …. either way I need some guidance.  I’ve read so many articles and forums on care and maintenance of chooks and they seem to contradict each other.  I have yet to find a “Raising Chickens for Dummies” book..any pointers would be appreciated!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Garden Update…Evie’s version…kinda

Want to see what’s growing (besides me) ?

You have to go over that way, but if you pull up plants they put you in the swing… so watch out!Pams colors 004Zucchini bigger than I am! Pams colors 010 Pams colors 011 But don’t pull off those pretty flowers or you get fussed at.Pams colors 013 Even these are bigger than I am

Hey, its supposed to be my turn!    Pams colors 007

Sometimes its hard being the baby,

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Now, that’s more like it!

Pams colors 026 

Bye!  Can you come play again tomorrow?

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hot and Healing

Did I say its Hot?  7pm & its still 88 degrees, 92% humidity.  I weeded for about an hour and am ready to fall over.  Its so sticky & humid you feel like your breathing in air mud.   I came inside…call me a wimp if you want.    The tomato plants are LOVING the humidity.  Some are waist high others are thigh high & I’m 5’9.  Loads of blossoms so we should have plenty of tomato sauce this year.  I made spaghetti for supper and noticed I only have 4 quarts left on the shelf so its just in time.   

The green beans I replanted are also loaded with blooms and others have beans growing.  The weeds had been trying to  take over so, when the neighbor was kind enough to mow the  kneed high grass in his field….. I was kind enough to rake a bunch of it & do a bit of lasagna mulching.  We won’t talk about the 2 ft snake I killed.  Not sure what kind, black with silver stripes…I wouldn’t have killed him if he hadn’t of startled me enough I almost wet my pants.  Taught me to look at what I’m raking a bit more closely thought! 

Mr Fix~It and his Dad are outside hanging more siding.  We decided to save the last few pieces we’d removed for repairs in other parts of the house.  We can’t purchase the exact same pattern any more.  I’d rather have one wall a tad different & use the salvaged for repairs that will match.    

Erika had a visit with a plastic surgeon yesterday (Friday).  She’s  not vain but neither does she want a huge scar on her face.  He said she’s healing nicely (which we knew) but there is no damage to her gums or jaw.  The swelling has gone down considerably, her lips are a wonderful shade of green, lime green, pink, blue & purple…..I told her I wanted the photo to create a new colorway….she didn’t think it was very funny.  Well, you have to make lemonade right?

a 004 

Isn’t that a lovely shade of green? Almost matches her eyes.

The puncture marks show on her bottom lip now, she’s lucky the teeth did not go all the way through or her bottom lip would look like her top lip. But inside?  Its all still mush.  She’s eating with a straw & cant move her top lip.   The looks people give her are something.  Much rather they came up and asked instead of staring.  She said the surgeon made comment this is the type of injury he see’s with abused women & if he hadn’t seen the puncture wounds they would be having a looooong talk…Now, she wants to carry a sign that’s says, “No, My husband didn’t beat me, it’s a dog bite!”

OK, I’ve stalled long enough, back outside & breathing air mud.


We’re getting there!

Progress little bits at a time.   We had all the windows in when Rachel Adam & Hayden came up to help last weekend.  Building inspector said we’re good to go!

Besides having a great visit it was wonderful having the extra hands to help/do the grunt work.   So, while Mr.Fix~It was at work, we pulled the exterior siding that was now “inside”.  It would have been nice to have it all pulled prior to placing the exterior walls but, we knew they would be exposed longer than would be wise. 

This is the exterior wall to the family room….the coldest room in the house.  Even though there are plenty of heat/air ducts we’ve always needed little electric heaters to not freeze.  The computer is in this corner and your fingers would be numb before long so, I was anxious to see what was behind this wall.  Weekend mix 013

Will you look at that!  No weather board.  Interior drywall insulation & exterior siding is all there was! Weekend mix 020 Look at the coldest corner…it was full of birds nests.  The insulation only went up the bottom half.  The brown spot in the top of that section is the interior paneling!  Darn birds had nearly eaten through the wall.

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By the end of the weekend, we had the exterior finished on the front of the house

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We have yet to find the window we want for the bathroom but know we have to do something to balance out that big blah spot on the front.

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Monday we had the first section of the side covered & needed to stop for yard & garden work.

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I’m not at all frustrated with our progress, we’ve been working our rears off with a “gotta do” list that seems to grow every day. I know we’ve made a LOT of progress.  I’m looking forward to get to the point where the list of “what’s next” is smaller than what’s been done. But that will be a while yet I know having only a few hours through the week and Sundays to work at this point.  80+ temps with 80-90% humidity sure doesn't help any!

My Father in Law has been cleaning out the barn & look what he found!  A big lot of canning jars.  They need a good cleaning and will be put to good use!

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There is even an old blue jar.  I’ll be saving that one for sure!

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