Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gardening Part deaux

Our first tomatoes and bell peppers of the season have arrived. We are going to start on salsa soon! personal favorite of the garden. Some people can't stand to have their foods mixed on their plate, this girl loves to blend it all's all going down the same way anyway, right?!

Check out these tobacco hornworms. Ick. We discovered them several Saturdays ago on our potatoes and tomatoes. We salvaged some potatoes, but most of those plants are eaten. And, we are picking one or two off the tomato plants every other day or so. The farmer up the hill grows tobacco...apparently, these worms will grow into huge moths. Our bug zapper on the shed will most likely die at the sight of one of those. I don't really know much about this pest other than the fact that they are BAD! We have discovered lots of lady bugs *good* and evidence of parasitic wasps on the tomato plants. The parasitic wasp evidence is in the form of white egg sacks hanging from tomato leaves. We believe lady bugs leave yellow eggs in this same form, also. We picked them off the first time we saw them and then read that they are good!

And, above are blue~green Americauna eggs and our other brown eggs from the two hens our neighbor gave us last year. Needless to say we've felt the decline in our grocery bill recently! However, we should take out stock in watermelon the way that my husband eats it. Ours aren't ready yet and he's a little impatient. We found sweet corn at the grocery the other day - 10 for $2!

I know, shocker...2 posts in one day when I haven't been around for weeks. That's my life. Take it or leave it, love me or leave me.

Happy summer friends!


So, we have a bounty of cucumbers currently and we decided that we could not possibly gorge ourselves on fresh cucumber after cucumber morning, noon, and night. That led us to the conclusion that we needed to plan our first canning session of the summer. We haven't pickled cucumbers in the past. We've tried black raspberry jam from the berries down the hill from our house. That was delicious, thanks to Charley's expertise. And, we've canned tomatoes in the past, many years ago, from our small garden in the backyard when we lived a neighborhood. This year we have attempted to grow our largest garden to date. We only have about 6 cucumber plants, but just those few will allow us to eat, can and share cucs all summer. Below are pix of our process. We picked, cut, chilled on ice, and canned 9 jars of cucs last night. We put 7 jars in a hot water bath...we can store those jars for up to 1 year. We kept two jars out to refrigerate and eat this summer. In the midst of canning we began discussions on our goat pen and how we must reinforce our fencing before kids arrive in September. Ahhh...the joys of farming. It's wonderful and exhausting all at once! We wouldn't trade it for anything!

And, when I woke up this morning, this stay-at-home mom was greeted with a kiss and a congratulations! I was confused, as I don't refer to the calendar often except for John's dr. appointments, etc.! My dear husband reminded me that it's June 30th today, our anniversary! Oh dear, how time flies. So much has changed since that day 9 years ago when we wed on a hot Saturday and flew down to the Gulf coast of Florida for our honeymoon. I have to find our wedding pic! Next post!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Johnny is, at 27 months:
* saying 4-5 word sentences
* refers to himself as I
* eats like a horse - anything and everything
* is very active, (to say the least)
* has more energy than mommy's little toe
* talks more than mommy and daddy do in a day
* loves tractors with a passion
* travels better
* wants to investigate everything - how it works, how it's put together, why it does what it does
* plays outside in the garden with us for countless hours
* still loves his daddy fiercely

After graduation, Gaga, mommy and John traveled to Atlanta for a week. Grandma and Grandpa Neal came to stay at the house and do lots of work while we were away, so we returned home to lots of finished flooring, working locks, closets and walls upstairs, AC upstairs, freshly mowed grass and much more. Below are pics of our week and I'll include pics of the upstairs soon!

My little man in Pottery Barn Kids

He loved the *pink* kitchen! Color didn't matter...he spent almost 45 minutes working in the kitchen. Yes, that long...maybe he'll be a chef.

We went to my folks downtown park in Duluth and played in the water fountain!

A new friend

The month of May flew by with loads of activity. John got sick at the end of our stay in Atlanta, and he's still catching up on missed sleep! When he's awake, he goes full steam ahead. But, for the moment, he's blissfully sleeping and I have a few minutes to myself. In the coming weeks we are preparing for Charley's brothers visit! We are so excited to see him - it's been several years since they have returned to the States from teaching ESOL in Macedonia. It will be the first time we will meet Kayla, their 6 month baby girl! We are over the moon with excitement and anticipation!

Hope your week is great!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Well, the month of May flew by without a single post. I, however, did not even take the time to change the dry-erase calendar on the fridge! So, we're still looking back on April every time we fix a meal. Oh well. Time really does fly when you are having fun, I guess. I should add that there was mayhem, hours spent driving, drama, laughter and tears along with the fun. Oh, and, the phrase, "no, John, please do not do that," spoken from my mouth A.L.O.T. Mom and I traveled Nashville again for my cousins graduation from Vanderbilt. And, might I add...sans John! Mommy liked the two day respite! It was great to catch up with family and celebrate. The flood had just receded the previous week, so it was an experience to eat from plastic ware in all of the restaurants, etc. The mud on trees and shrubs was visible and Opryland's doors gaped open with huge funnels pumping the water out. The parking lots were filled with Service.Master vehicles and clean-up crews. Graduation on campus went off without a hitch, though! It was held outside on the lawn and though we anticipated rain, the clouds held off and we were even thankful we were sitting near a tree with a little shade from the sun. Here are a few pics of the day.

The graduate, Steve!

The garden is calling, so that is all the blogging time I have for now. But, there is so much more of May to share soon! Love ya'll! Enjoy the first weekend in June!