Thursday, May 29, 2014

Odds and Ends

I keep taking pictures of the hydrangeas so that I can look back this winter and remember how pretty these bushes are and how many blossoms there were on them.  I have enough I could cut a few and bring them in the house, but I really do enjoy seeing them grow.

I have worked in the garden all week. I have to go outside and start working before 7:00 A.M. because on a hot day, working to 9:30 A.M. I come in the house I am a bit shaky. The heat is incredible out there but the plants love it. Then I start my house work. It feels so nice to be doing spring/summer cleaning. To be cleaning out cupboards, drawers and closets.

Here is some pictures of the garden.

Here is the gourds. I do hope we get lots of luffa  sponges. I really do enjoy using them to scrub every thing from bodies to sinks to what ever I have that needs scrubbing.

There are also lots of other kinds of gourds planted. I had some seeds from those kind that produce giant basket gourds. I would like to carve on those.

All the lovely pumpkins. I worked out here about three hours, getting them all weeded. After a year of no pumpkins, it is a labor of love. I have such plans for those pumpkins.

This is one of the middle beds, it has squash, corn, green beans and cucumbers. Every thing I want to can is growing here. I should have maybe planted more corn, and I still have room and plenty of seeds. I also need to plant another row of sunflowers, but it has taken so much time to keep this weeded I just wonder if I have the energy.

The beets are coming right along and I do have sunflowers out here and okra. I am thinking of letting my hoe slip on a few of the okra plants. I have never planted it before and I have heard that it is prolific., so maybe I don't need so many plants.

That is a tiny Japanese egg plant. I just love watching egg plant grow. This has doubled in size in one day.
I spend way to much time out here I think. It is such a peaceful place to me. The last two years, I was loosing my sight so fast, I didn't enjoy gardening. For one thing the colors were all messed up because of that first cataract being yellow. The sky instead of being blue was a dirty brownish color. I would try to weed and I would miss so many weeds that it would look that I hadn't done anything, so it felt I could never catch up. My plants all looked ill because it was me that was seeing something that wasn't there. Not to mention always, the feeling of impending doom that I just couldn't get away from.   Not to mention out of a seven day week, three of those days would be spent with migraines. I haven't had but one since that first surgery. To me that is a bit of a miracle. Not to mention seeing blue sky, and green plants and stars. I couldn't see stars either.

I was sitting out on my knees weeding the pumpkins, and I was listening to the birds, and the ground was still cold on my knees and the wind was blowing and I could see the trees shimmering in the sunlight. I could hear the sound of the wind in the trees and such a feeling of blessing washed over me. Being thankful for all that has happened. I am constantly amazed at the world around me. Fear of the unknown is a terrible thing. The what if games that I play in my head. All of it takes away the joy of living. The beauty that brings surprises every day. I feel like I have been gone for so long. One of the things I had to do, as my sight left, was I had to keep buying bigger and bigger tapestry needles just to thread the needle. Last night I used a needle with a tiny eye. Each time I threaded that needle, I just laughed to myself, seeing the eye of a needle is such a gift.

I have rambled on an on. Time to get the day underway. I really do like short weeks, but I have been behind a day all week. I hope your Thursday is nice.

Thank you for reading along, on these ramblings of mine.


" We will wait, For God is in the waiting."
---The Trumpeter of Krakow, Eric P. Kelly 1928

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Getting Caught Up

I think that is a misnomer. Does a person ever get caught up? It has been busy and busier. All nice except for having to replace the kitchen sink faucet. A two day, very hard project. I may write about it soon, but as of yet, I haven't started to laugh about it. The kitchen sink looks really good and it was a nice upgrade.

All of the kids and grand kids will be home around the 4th of July. Our oldest son Ben, wanted to have a trial run as he wants to cook on the Fourth. Every one who lives in town came over for a very fun afternoon on Sunday. The food was fantastic and the company top notch and the day was filled with laughs.

Ben made the barrel to cook on and I thought it was really nice. I enjoy watching him cook. Megan did the work too and I sat around and just enjoyed myself. We had home made ice cream for dessert.

I have a list a mile long of thing I would love for Ben to make out of metal. He is so handy to have around. I keep remembering though how hard he works for a living not to mention having four boys and a lovely wife to take care of and a house and yard.

He also made the wok that he is cooking the meat on, and the tools. That wok is a old disk from a tractor that he reused. I just think that is amazing. It cooks so fast too. He made street tacos, this is Carne Asada.. Nik made his guacamole. The tacos were just incredible. He cooked Jalapeno peppers on the wok until they were just toasted and then you would take the pepper and dip it in salt and take a bite and then take a bite of taco. It was so good, we needed ice cream as hot as those peppers were. But oh so good. 

It is just like in the kitchen, everyone wants to be where the food is being cooked. It was almost a 100 degrees that day, but everyone wanted to sit out here and talk. There was a water fight with squirt guns going on out in the yard. I don't know how I missed that picture.

This is Mr. Munchie. He was standing next to my chair and his Auntie Em was sitting next to me. She took a piece of ice and rubbed it on his bare back. He couldn't decide whether he liked it or not. he turned and got in his Mom's lap and looked at me with this grumpy look because he was mad at me for putting the ice on his back. He said, " Granny did it." I had to work to get that smile out of him. I should have pushed his Auntie Em's in the pool. He is the only one to call me Granny, it makes me laugh.

This is my jam stash I made this last week. All I have left to make now is Blueberry. I made lots of Boysenberry, Strawberry, Triple berry and I still had some apricot left from last year since I am the only person who eats it I didn't think I needed to make it.

Now that it is hot, the garden is really growing. So are the weeds. It will be a battle from here on out. I only have a couple rows of pumpkins to weed in the morning. There is that phrase, then I will be caught up in the garden. I know I will never be caught up out there.

I am playing house today, changing out my spring flowers for summer ones and hanging summer wreaths and all that fun stuff that I really do enjoy.
I hope you have a wonderful week.

" Going to Aunt Mirandy's is like going down cellar in the dark. There might be ogres and giants under the stairs,---but, as I tell Hannah, there might be elves and fairies and enchanted frogs!
---Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Kate Douglas Wiggin, 1903

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Busy Week

It has been a busy week. I have cleaned and cleaned and worked in the garden and in the flowerbed. I made 20 jars of jam and as fast as they are going through it I will need to make some more. The favorite snack I have noticed is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I guess it has been awhile since I made boysenberry jam. My older boys would tell my little Ems when she was small that it was safe to eat the boysenberries but to leave the girlsenberries alone as they were poison. Those were the red ones. I laugh to myself in the garden as I pick berries.

I have really enjoyed this week with so much to do. Those two weeks I was supposed to sit was torture. I did find out something this week. With my new eyes I see like I did in the my twenties. But my body is now fifty-six and while I want to keep working, my body keeps throwing a fit about 3:00 and says, " Now you will stop." I think that is the hardest thing, because I see so many things that need to be done.

I am doing the sew along with Blackbird Designs. I am getting ready to do a four sided stitch. I have never done one so it is nice to be challenged like this. I have been doing a little hooking in the afternoon.

As long as I have been blogging, I have wanted to share my charm bracelet. I started it when I was eleven years old. I think the last charm I put on it was when I turned 21. I got it out so my grandsons could see it and I thought I would share it with you. See the little shoe? When you open the bottom it is filled with kids and the Mom from the nursery rhyme, "There was an old woman..."

All the places we visited when I was growing up. See Bambi from Disneyland? Then the slot machine from Las Vegas.  There is a saddle from Virginia City, Nevada.

The bat is from Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. One of the things that is so different now, as some of these places were not so touristy as they are today. The first time I went to Virginia City in Nevada. I was little like three or four. It was in the process of being restored. My Mom and Dad took me into this old saloon, and on the wall behind the bar was this mural of a dance hall girl, with and enormous hooped skirt and the dress was made of silver dollars. The whole thing. When we went back when I was a teenager, I went back and that dress and the girl were gone. I was so sad. I think about it every now and then. 

I keep trying to get a good picture of this flowerbed. I just can't capture how really pretty it is in person.
After all the years I tried to grow Hydrangeas this just amazes me every single day. 

This was breakfast. There is nothing better than this, just standing out here grazing. I couldn't believe the crows scolding me this morning. Just because I was out here and beat them to it.

This is our grand children's favorite plum tree. I just love this color. They will get dark purple before they are ripe.

I hope you have a lovely Memorial Day weekend. I am in shock that it is already here. May is just racing by too. It is lovely here today, just another perfect beach day. The clouds burn off about noon. There is just the faintest hint of a breeze. May really is very pretty this year.


"If one had to live in town, Miss Hickory had always said, take a house under a lilac bush."

---Miss Hickory; Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, 1946

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Beautiful Morning

This is my friend, Mr. Bluejay. He is my companion along with the dog and the cat. We make up quite the odd bunch. This morning, I pretended to be fooling with the water as I turned on my camera. Normally, when I turn it on and point it in his direction he takes off. Today he just sat there. As I walk around looking at things, he is never further than about 5 feet. I noticed him flying from tree to tree as I turned off water. I wasn't paying attention to him, until he broke off a dead branch that dropped at my feet. I looked up and there he was with a sparkle to his eyes and a grin.  I have noticed, that the birds will stay very close until I look at them directly. They don't like to be stared at.

My largest tomato plant, the only one with blooms so far. I was thinking as I was taking pictures of my garden, it is kind of looking at a new baby. Only the mother and daddy see the beauty. I think my garden is like that right now. I see all of the beauty and promise, but I am sure it won't look at pretty to you as it does to me. I thought I would share anyway.

This is where the tomatoes and peppers are and the tomatoes are little. I think Ron said we have 42 tomatoes and 44 pepper plants here. We went around with a bag of Diatomaceous Earth  and sprinkled on every single seedling. Ron is going to be using Neem Oil to try and stay ahead of the bugs we have out here. We are going to stay as organic as possible, as I was on my hands and knees I did already find those stink bugs so I know we will have to be proactive if we want anything to grow. After all of the years of drought and heat we have had, this will be a tough year to get any kind of crop.

The egg plants never missed a beat, I already know we are going to have more egg plant that we can ever eat. I hope with the tomatoes to make lots of spaghetti sauce so we can have it with Egg Plant Parmesan.
I have found that out here the vegetables from the nightshade family do better as they seem to really love the heat and bugs leave them alone.

We have never grown okra before. When we met Nik, one of the first things he asked was if we grew okra.
I said no, as my memories of it is eating it  all summer long in lots of creative ways. I remember the real all time low was when my Mom served it boiled. She could fry it pretty well, and I could choke it down with lots of ketchup. So we planted all of this and every one came up. I do hope Nik likes okra that much. I might pickle it as I do like pickled okra. When I was a kid, my Mom and Dad only had one car and my Dad used it for work, in the summer  we stayed home, that was why, we only ate out of the garden in the summer. We learned to eat lots of things because there were no snacks. Only if you picked it off a tree or a plant or  the pinon nuts from the pine cones. We spent many happy hours pretending to be Indians collecting food.

I know you can't see all of the pumpkin plants coming up, but there are so many. I really get excited seeing these lovely things coming up. I planted such fun things such as a Knucklehead pumpkin and one called Warty. There are some Cinderella and some Moon Shine. There are lots of Jack be Littles. I planted a row of sunflowers with jack be littles and I hope they will climb the sunflowers. This morning as I was like Silas Marner counting my gold, in my case pumpkins, Ron said, " You know you should really thin those pumpkins." The voice of reason, to my greedy heart. I know I should too, but I really doubt if I could.

I made my first batch of boysenberry jam. There is nothing more wonderful than the smell of that jam and the sound as the jars pop as they seal. I thought as I made this, I am throwing my hat in the ring. I am back and it is so wonderful to be alive and enjoy the golden light of the early morning and the colors of the berries that are dusky purple to warm red to so purple it looks almost black. I am so thankful to finally be through this last trial, and how thankful and blessed I am. God is so good, in that what I thought was bad, and turned out to be such a blessing. I wish I would learn that about everything. My fear I admit wins most of the time.

 Emilie and Nik just had their first Anniversary. I am so glad I only have boys left.
Well, Monday is here, lots of work to be done today. Summer is here. The boys are out of school. Their friends are home from college so my house gets lots busier. I hope you have a wonderful week.


---Fear is the darkroom
Where negatives are developed."
Author unknown.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Country Living
The above picture is my dream garden. The fence and the beds and the trees would be nice. I live in a desert so I will just keep dreaming. Today we planted all of the rest of our tomatoes and peppers. Checking on the garden just a bit ago the little tomatoes and peppers weren't even in shock. All of the seeds I planted last weekend are up. Feeling like a gardening failure from last year, I planted every seed in the packages. Like every zucchini and yellow squash seed. Today I noticed they all came up. As did all of the cucumbers and okra. All of the pumpkins are up. About August, I bet I am singing a different tune, but right now, I feel like it is Christmas every time I walk around rubbing my hands like a miser.

Do you remember how Ron made a little table to put in our bathtub? We put our trays and seeds and heat mats in the bathroom? Well, we learned something. It is just better to put them in the ground and not fool with that here. I babied those seeds, but we moved them outside in April on the porch and they have done better. We had gourd seeds that never came up. Ron took the little leftover cells that nothing came up in and planted them, they are all coming up out in the garden.

I bought a packet Ghost Chili Pepper seeds. I paid almost five dollars for ten seeds. We kept them in the dark, we kept them moist like it said, Ron bought special potting mix for them. Nothing came up. Ron even said at one point, "that couldn't I see how they were growing beautifully? I said, " no maybe my eyes were really bad", so I leaned down to take a closer look, and he said, " why do you think they are called Ghost Chili Peppers?" We laughed.

Yesterday, we were talking about what we were going to plant and we had taken the seed tray that had the Ghost Chili Pepper outside and had set them on the porch. I watered them when I thought about it but not every day. We both jumped up staring intently laughing because four of the ten seeds are now up. Now who in the world will need 10 Ghost Chili Peppers who knows, it is just the fun of the thing. They are the hottest chili pepper there is. We have a Black Dragon Pepper that we grow, and they make you cry when you eat them or hold your tongue under the hose for 10 minutes. The Black Dragon though makes wonderful Kung Pao Chicken if you like it spicy. I also take one of those and put it in my dill pickles. It makes a lovely spicy dill pickle. Just one though.

I will take some pictures of the garden tomorrow morning. It is too bright out there right now.

I hope you have a wonderful day.


"All doors are hard to unlock until you have the key"

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
---Robert C. O'Brien, 1971

Friday, May 16, 2014

Just Odds and Ends

This is my late Friday post. I normally like to do my post early in the day. When I feel like my brain is fresh and I can spell. We had our first 100 degree day yesterday. I like 100 degrees pretty well, but when it gets hotter then it is harder for me to be happy about it. I feel better when it is hot. I can get more done. When it is cold I just want to curl up with a blanket.

When we built this house, by state law you have to have fire detectors. Which is good. But in this house there are so many that buying batteries for them takes a chunk out of my food budget. Just kidding and I never have the right kind of batteries. Last night at 10:00 P.M. the power went out and all of the smoke alarms started going off.  I was sound asleep. Now when the smoke alarms go off, they all go off every single one, and they do this echo thing, it is quite disturbing. To be woke up from a sound sleep, and the power being out makes it really scary.

Through trial and error we found out that the one that controls them all is in Peter's room. Elliot said, that when they started going off he walked to his room to get a pool cue to push the button, he said as fast as he walked to his room and came back, his Dad was standing there in the dark. Elliot said, " I stood there trying to figure out how in the world Dad got from his room all the way upstairs to Peter's room in the dark without even a flashlight." Elliot used the pool cue to turn it off, and then we tried to go to sleep.
Except, it was a night of torture. I would just be falling back to sleep, and the alarms would go off again. It has something to do with the power being out because they are wired on a different circuit. Ron tried to explain it to me but I didn't understand it. It was still over ninety so the house heated up. I looked out and as far as I could see the power was out every where. This morning, PG&E still didn't know why it went out in the first place.

I thought of things off and on like between screams of the smoke alarms like...the poor men that have to go fix the electricity. I was also glad that the smoke alarms work so well so we don't burn up in our sleep in case of a fire. I am glad that Elliot bought those pool cues. ( We don't have a pool table, but he thought they would look neat in his room.)
I realized, I really am a fan of air conditioning. I was also very happy, that the coffee maker worked this morning when I woke up. I had a doctor's appointment and I didn't get up on the right side of the bed. I was glad that I didn't have to go outside and fire up the burner on the BBQ to boil water.

I read for the first time today, without glasses!!! Isn't that amazing? Now that I got a clean bill of health, I can't wait to work. I have missed work.

I hope your weekend is very nice, so sorry this is rather scatterbrained. Lack of sleep makes me like this, yeah, that is what I will blame it on.
Have a wonderful weekend,

"At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done,
Then they see it can be done---then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done
centuries ago."
---The Secret Garden, Francis Hodgson Burnett, 1911
( What I am reading now.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Perfect Morning in May

Today is a perfect day, just hot enough to make it feel like home. When you have lived here forever. There is something comforting about "normal." When the kids were all at home, and the berries in my back yard would begin to ripen, we would postpone school until I had the berries picked. I remember picking berries planning for the next school year. I would be able to think and find direction. As I picked berries this morning.

The smell of the dust, the ripe berries and the red staining my fingers. I thought about how comforting it is to look back on the years, and see how faithful God has been. Today, I thought about our oldest grand daughter and how five years ago today she was born. How thankful I am for the gifts of children. Children keep my feet on the ground and keep reminding me of what is important as they grow so fast.

I know you can't really tell what this is but on Monday morning we went out and this is after we tried to save tomato plants. We came up with this planting mix and it smelled so good when Ron was mixing it and it was filled with all sorts of good things for tomatoes. Well, I guess it was smelled good for skunks too. That skunk dug a pit and totally made a mess of our carefully planted tomatoes. We tried to get what we could back in the ground. It smelled so strongly of skunk. Ron is going to put a hot wire around this area now. Which I dread, and I forget it is there and guess who gets shocked and falls over the silly thing?

A bucket of hollyhock seeds
One year I grew lots of hollyhocks. I picked and picked the seeds but I left them in the pods and never did anything with them. Ron brought them to me and I sat and emptied the little pods. I wasn't sure if they would grow. 

 I did finally find seeds from double hollyhocks I have been looking for those for years. I hope they do really well where I have them planted. 

The Hydrangeas are going so pretty. I am enjoying them so much.

The plums have a long way to go before they get ripe, but I just love this color. I would love to stitch something this color. Isn't it wonderful having color? I will never take it for granted again. 

The apricots are storing up sunshine. I always think that is what apricots taste like, sunshine. 

I finally finished this rug. I-AM-SICK-OF CHICKEN RUGS!  Getting this finished was like trudging up hill every step of the way. I am going to take a break from chicken rugs. I have a couple other patterns that I want to work on and I am still unsure which one I will do. I need to dye wool and I need to decide what colors I am going to use. I have missed the ole dye pot. It will be so nice to do that again. That is my idea of a vacation, dyeing wool. 

Have a lovely Wednesday, 

Rose of Sharon
If you would like some hollyhock seeds drop me a comment and I will email and get you get your snail address and mail them to you. The colors are red, or white or pink.