May 23, 2017

Lonely Hours

I don't have a lot to say today.  This week is a little cooler and rainy.  Makes me realize how much energy I get from the sun.  Josh is into his summer schedule at work.  How we love those winter work weeks of 40 hours and daddy home in the afternoon.  But alas spring and summer sampling events have started and for a chemist that is the reason for most of what he does.  
It does make me realize how much I look forward to seeing him and talking to him at the end of the day.  I am thankful for the week mother was here.  Made those days go by without being lonely.  Hard to think of someone lonely all the while being surrounded by little people who are talkative and loving and loud but it happens.  We fill our days with each other, friends, visits and more but does make family time all the more special.  Last week we just sort of ran off the adrenaline of my mother's visit.  This week I think on it and wish it was coming up instead of ending.  Good visits are like that and I am thankful.

May 22, 2017

Planter Box Complete

The last post on our new rhubarb planter box was a little lacking.  Due to all our summer fun and work I haven't had a chance to share, not only the finished box, but the fact that it is now full of rhubarb.
 The key to transplanting rhubarb is to move it before it really starts to bud.  The plant goes through enough stress in the move.  My mother is an excellent plant transplanter.  She holds none of the unknown, tentative, I am going to destroy this plant mentality that I have.  So happy she was here to help me out.  We dug up, chopped up and moved huge chunks of rhubarb from its old home into its new home.  The split up pieces ended up being plentiful enough that we went from three plants to four and even had enough to share with a friend to start her rhubarb garden.
And since then the great summer weather we have been having has taken care of the rest.  One thing rhubarb needs is lots of water.  I learned this the hard way after the one dry summer we had.  Usually we get enough rain that it takes care of itself but on the drier days we need to help it out a little.  Lucky for me the new planter box is high enough off the ground that little people don't walk through it.  But it is also low enough that one of the new chores for the kids is that they get to fill a bucket with water from the greenhouse and then water our newly growing plants.  A great chore and activity that is fun, because really anything that involves water is fun.

Two weeks in and the rhubarb is budding and looking great.  We won't get huge plants this year but that is to be expected.  So excited for our new yard change and progress.

May 19, 2017

Friday - 2017 Garden Update

When my mom was visiting last week we did a lot of preparing to garden planting.  But even with the early summer feel to the air it wasn't time to plant just yet.  Her last day was Monday and she took the time before her flight left to help me move all of my starts out of the house, down the deck steps, out into the greenhouse and then completely cleaned up my living room.  What a job that was, I am so thankful for her help!  As she departed she mentioned that she always did love those "Friday garden updates" on the blog.  

So with that intro we start into this year's garden season and a return of the garden progress each Friday.  
 With all of the plant starts in the greenhouse, I saw no reason not to get the cucumbers and tomatoes into their soil since the greenhouse was their last stop.  So Tuesday I tilled and fertilized all of the planter boxes and slowly filled up each one.  The tomatoes and cucumber plants are now all set into place.  I also filled one box with parsley seed and the other with basil.  Yeah for next year's pesto ingredients!  

The soil in the greenhouse is so dry after freezing all winter and then drying out in the spring sun.  No watering means dry and rock hard planter boxes to dig and till up by hand.  The main advantage is that this type of planting doesn't involve me on my knees, yeah for that.  Although a big yuck for all the black dirt I have been blowing out of my nose ever since from that dry dust, ha ha.
 Also on Tuesday we received our next big step in getting the outdoor garden ready.  A dump load of fresh new gardening dirt.  Oh what a fun day it is when a dump truck comes to visit.  The kids have talked about it ever since.  And a fresh pile of soft and fertile soil.  Ethan has gotten in trouble ever since because no matter what I do, I can't seem to keep him out of it.  Nothing, and I mean Nothing, is more fun in his mind than that is.  Josh and I look at all this nice new dirt being compacted and spread around the driveway and don't get that excited.  Oh the everlasting problem of adult responsibilities vs. a child's joy and imagination.  As disappointed as Ethan is, I am going to win out on this one though!  That dirt is next fall's vegetables.  Someday he will understand.  I will just have to put "taking Ethan to sand dunes for reckless jumping" on the family to do list for his childhood.
And this is a picture of this year's garden as of last night.  If you have followed the blog for long you know we are expanding the garden this year.  Adding about 1/2 as much more area to plant in.  Last fall Josh pulled all the fence out in preparation.  He also cut and removed as much of the grass sod as he could from the area in front of the preexisting garden.  Now that we are into the replanting mode he has spent the early part of the week building up the retaining wall another railroad tie higher.  On Wednesday I laid a thick layer of newspaper and thin layer of dirt all over the new growing area.  We find the paper helps keep weeds down and also composts over the years.  With this pregnant belly of mine the work went very slow and took all day.  Yet my little bit of progress did mean that Josh could come home to ground ready to be covered and filled in.  The past few nights have seen Josh throwing shovel full of dirt up into the garden and pushing huge wheel barrow loads up and in over and over and over again.  I know he is out there just wishing he had heavy machinery that could do the job in seconds.

The plan for tonight and this weekend is intense but if I share it all now what joy will anyone find in next Friday's garden update??  The baby is coming soon - our 2017 garden is top priority around here!

May 18, 2017

Summer Fun

There are a lot of parts of summer that just aren't fun.  Like when mama is very concerned about getting the garden planted before a baby.  The past few days have been intense and busy work.  The kids and I are outside ALL day but mama isn't necessarily playing with the kids.  A hard combo.  We are all doing fine and I promise that it is just garden week and really, this has to be done!!
 But when Grandma was here last week.  Well that was a different story.  Even if mama had something to do the kids still got lots of attention.
 One very fun thing was to treat grandma to a tea party in the tree house.  The house was built last summer when Grandma couldn't visit and during her January visit, well it was just cold.
Old cranberries, grass, fake food and pretend tea.  Grandma enjoyed each "mouthful".  I love seeing the joy on the kids faces as I write this post because it reminds me of where we will be next week (me playing with the kids again) - after this garden is put in.  A time for everything, hard as that might be.

May 17, 2017

Where I Stand

Ahh Summer.  This wonderful time of year when the chore list is long and we are thankful that we have a daddy made playground in our side yard.  Ethan's big accomplishment of the year is learning to pump on his swing solo - wonderful!!  He and Abigail swing half of everyday.  
And with that what I hear from my little miss is, "Please mama push me, push me, push me."  So where the swings don't really let me get more projects done, it does let me spend time with the kids.  Swing set conversations are the most hilarious by far!

May 16, 2017

11 Years

Last Saturday Josh and I celebrated 11 years of marriage.  With grandma in town we were able to slip away for a wonderfully restful 24 hours.
How truly blessed I am that God brought this man into my life.  Honestly, it can only be the Lord that makes each year better than the last.  What a wonderful journey we are on together.

May 15, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

I have been away from the blog for longer than I think I ever have been.  Life has been so busy and full with a wonderful guest in town that time on the computer has just not been important.  Tonight I downloaded over 300 pictures.  What a fun week we have had.
 Lots of time as a family and the chance to celebrate mother's day with my four great kids and my husband who made the day so special.
And extra icing on the cake was my mother by my side.  It has been 11 years since we have celebrated mother's day in person together.  What a special year this will always be.
Time to celebrate with my children that have made me a mother and with my mother who has taught me what to do.  

May 9, 2017

Progress

Part of building a big planter box is filling it.  When you get something as big as we are looking at it can mean a whole lot of dirt.  Now we could have put something low to the ground but honestly it is easier to have it high - plus this planter box seconds as a fence for the yard.  Thus it is several feet high, lots of dirt.
So to help combat this we have worked to fill about half of the box with rocks and gravel.  Going out and finding rocks and gravel can be a big job but also a perfect one to involve little people in.  The family that works on yard projects together all enjoy the lawn more later on.  At least that can be the hope, right?

May 8, 2017

What Was, What Will Be

Well everyone, I have news.  The projects of the summer have finally begun.  We officially have moved past the planning, talking and preparation stages into the hours of work.  Well, Josh has.  
Project #1:  Our center planter box/weed area has been an area of discussion for sometime.  The decision this year is to pull the rhubarb plants out (the only good thing growing here) and take out the planter area all together.
So before the rhubarb starts sprouting for the year it has to be moved.  Josh has taken down the birch fence that once ran along the edge of the grass area (aka the fence that protects our well cap from delivery trucks) and is replacing it with a large and established planter box.  In it we will plant not only the rhubarb but hopefully strawberries as well.  We have always wanted to do strawberries but really don't want them in the main garden where they can take over.  Growing in and around rhubarb plants works much better.
And when daddy has a project to work on nothing else is as much fun as watching.  Josh gets lots of company, "help" and interference these days.  

Summer 2017 has begun.

May 5, 2017

Look, We Can Make Mud

Can I just say that watching the kids play for hours with an old pot, shovel, and mud puddles makes me smile so big.
Favorite activity - mixing the few patches of dry dirt we have with water and making more mud.  Their minds certainly work differently than mine but hey, that is part of the joy of having the imagination of a child.

I will just be over here smiling as I listen to their play all the while washing more laundry.  I wasn't kidding when I wrote Monday's post!

May 4, 2017

Unknown Preparation

As a geologist I am inclined towards the earth and the non-living parts of it.  Certainly dynamic, but non-living.  My mother, she leans much more towards the biology and living end of the science world.  The flowers, trees and bushes around her house are full, well thought out, cared for, attended too and admired.  When I was a child she would take us on expeditions where we would pick armfuls of flowers, dig up shrubs, work at pruning bushes and more for hours.  I loved being with my mother and would always go along but honestly, these were never my favorite things.
But God has blessed me with a daughter who is growing up to be very much like her grandma.  Right now our world is still very grey, brown and bland.  Yet, as we wait for the leaves on the birch trees to start budding we do get to enjoy the first signs of spring growth - the pussy willows.  Abigail is completely enthralled.  She begged me for days to go on an expedition with her to find pussy willows to cut and fill our home with.  Busy with other things I put her off for a few days but seeing her real "need" for this we headed out one day, just the two of us.  Our big adventure took us no more then 1 1/2 miles from our home but together we drove all along the roads and than ventured into a near by gravel pit to find the much longed for pussy willow branches.  Since moose also love these treats we had to bend a lot of very tall willow trees to clip a few twigs here and there.  But together we filled a vase with pussy willows and my daughter glowed.  I didn't mention to her any of my childhood thoughts as we ventured out together, this was her trip not mine, but my mind was full the whole time.  Laughing at myself and at how God prepares us for things when we don't even know it.  I know how to look, cut and bring home a whole lot of lovely living nature from the days I spent watching my mother gather and enjoy.  Maybe all those years ago I wasn't completely engaged in what we were doing but I was learning.  How very blessed I am to have the knowledge to teach Abigail and see her enjoy the things that she loves so much.  Plus I am pretty lucky that my mother is usually available to answer a text question or two if I have forgotten just the best way to proceed.    

May 3, 2017

Craft Season

It is so much easier for me to say "yes" to the kids when they ask for crafts when the work all takes place outside.  The other day there was a request for painting.  Painting inside with walls, carpet, walking to the bathroom and more is just too hard to manage with three kids.  Josh does it, me - well I am not as inclined.  Painting on the deck where a bucket of water can wash away anything dropped or splattered - perfect.
There are so many, many reasons we love the deck days of summer.  Additional craft time is certainly near the top of the list.