Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Veggie Garden...Take 2

With the complete lack of rain and record-breaking high temps this past spring, the vegetable garden just never had a chance to do anything. Fortunately, here in Central Texas we get a second growing season and I'm planning on taking full advantage of it.

Pulled the all but dead and non-producing tomato plants as well as the dud cucumber plants. As the jalapeños weren't good and hot this spring, I'm still debating on pulling them as well. We'll see.

To help with the scorching sun and blistering heat, we attached some shade cloth over the garden. Makes walking, or rather crawling, in to do/get things a little challenging but, if it helps (which it seams to be doing) I don't care. Don't have as much a variety of produce as I did for the spring planting but hoping what we do have will come up strong and produce much. I'm itching to do some canning!

Okra (planted from seed in spring) is doing well and producing. No one in our family eats okra but my dad and a friend both like it so I decided to give it a shot.
Green beans (transplants from my boss' garden) are finally starting to grow. They had a minor setback when a rabbit feasted on them a few times eating the plant almost to the ground. It has some flowers though now so hopefully I'll get to have some beans soon!
2 different types of Climbing Spinach - both are still pretty small but have been looking better since the sun shade cloth went up. We'll see how they turn out.
Chili Pequin plant needs to be transplanted. It has been getting crowed by the jalepeños and okra but is doing well.
Jalepeños may or may not be pulled and new ones planted. They just aren't as hot as we like them.
Poblano Pepper is producing but they are little peppers. I should have planted more of these as I've yet to have enough at any time to make my most yummy Creamy Poblano Soup.
Tomato plant babies in a couple of heat loving varieties including "Solar Fire" are off to a strong start. I don't know how well they will can but right now, I'll just be tickled to have some maters. I'll attempt the heirlooms and such again next spring.
Herbs continue growing strong. The herbs I'm currently growing include: Mediterranean Oregano, Lemon Balm, Garlic Chives, Garlic, Purple Ruffle Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Sweet Basil, Catnip, Dill, Spearmint, and Sage.

I got some swiss chard babies the other day and those will go into the ground. I'm also going to try some more spinach and cucumber seeds as well.

Anyway, that what's growing in the veggie garden right now. Happy gardening!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

14th Annual Pond Tour a Success!

Someone recently asked what my role was in the planning of the pond tour this year and instead of hearing THAT question, my brain translated it to "what are you?" to which I found myself singing, "I'm a little teapot..." Yeah, it is very good thing that the pond tour is finally over 'cause my brain is TOAST!

I was only able to make it to 14 of the 28 locations this year but had an absolutely wonderful time! I SO wanted to just pluck some of these ponds/yards out of their present location and place them in my yard. SOOOOOO beautiful they all were and I'm very thankful to those who were kind enough to open their yards to between 400-600+ people this past weekend. Also, huge thanks to all the volunteers who gave of their time so selflessly to help make this year's tour the success it was. I'm also so very tickled that my parents were able to visit with us this past weekend and join us on the tour.

Despite only making it to 1/2 the stops, I still managed to take almost 300 photos. (Okay, it's not as bad as it sounds. Our camera has been acting up and so there were many photos that I took several shots of so as to, hopefully, guarantee at least one would turn out. Anyway, I wanted to share some of the photos from this year's tour with you. I've got it pared down to just a few of my favorites and also tried to keep them water garden related (you find yourself taking pix of all types of things... plants, critters, etc...). I know, it LOOKS like several photos, but really....when you're talking about a few out of 300 what did you expect?

I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed being a part of this year's pond tour.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Baby Dedication of My Nephew

Saturday we packed up the family and headed to Fort Worth to celebrate with my brother and sister-in-law's dedication of their baby, Court. Saturday evening they had a cook-out for a full house. Their small group from church was in attendance as well as Rhett's family (us and Mom & Dad) and Ashley's family. Unfortunately, little Court was experiencing his first cold so he wasn't able to play with everyone as much as he probably would have liked (if he'd known what was going on). It was a great time.

Sunday morning found us all together again at Rhett & Ashley's church home where they, along with a few other families, stood together to dedicate their children to God. We were honored to be able to be present on this very special day.

Jehovah Rohi-The Lord our shepherd, we give this little lamb to You.

(First two pictures are of Rhett, Ashley & Court during the dedication. The 3rd photo is of the "Patterson clan".

You Did WHAT With My Bowling Ball?

My mom had given me the neatest gardening book with TONS of neat crafts for outside. There are so many things in the book that I want to make but I decided that the ladybug HAD to be the first thing on my list.

After begging some friends for their old bowling balls I went to work. Mom was visiting at the time so she went with me to get the rest of the supplies and we got the primer and base coat down before she had to leave (it was a busy weekend so we didn't get to do much...see "At Last, They Do" for more info on what we did that weekend). Later I painted on the black accents and to protect it just a little I thought I would spray some sealer on it. Well, I didn't look at which sealer I grabbed and ended up sparying my ladybug with a coat of matte finish sealer (FYI...IF you seal it, I recommend the gloss to match the silicon caulk - see upcoming comment) Then I added the antennae. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to remove the rubber inserts in the finger holes so the called-for black silicon caulk didn't hold. After pulling out the inserts and re-caulking the antennae to the bug I was stuck with a high-gloss spot where each of the antennae went into the "body" and then a matte finish on the rest of the bug. URG...

Okay, so my ladybug isn't perfect... that just means that it is a perfect reflection of its owner/crafter...me! I still love it though and am looking forward to making more for my friends and so this one won't be lonely. Additionally, there is a bumble bee that I'm going to do as well.

Watch out bowling balls of the world... Your destiny may be to become a bug!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Things Adults Shouldn't Do

Sadly, there are just some things adults like myself (insert "extremely ungraceful as it is" here) shouldn't do. Roller skating is one. Another one, which we determined recently, is the Slip-n-Slide.

I'd received a Slip-n-Slide through freecycle this past winter and we pulled it out and set it up. Unfortunately, the kids weren't quite grasping the concept. Granted the thing is supposed to be for something like ages 5-8 and our kiddos are 3.5 and 2.5. Anyway, my DH and I figured we would show them how it was done. I mean, it has been EONS since we played on one of these...it sounded SO FUN.

OUCH! We have further to fall and we have a lot more weight to go splat when we actually make contact with the ground. Running up to the slide I was thinking, "Woohoooo!! Watch me go!!!" Upon reaching the end my thoughts had shifted to "Holy cow! THAT was stupid!". The children got a big laugh at Mommy and Daddy's expense. But at least they learned how to "slip-n-slide", right? NOPE! They have their own version of how it is done and despite our not only telling but SHOWING them how it's done, they stick with their own way.

That all said, if you were thinking of taking a dive and doing a little slip-n-sliding today, I would recommend against it. Leave that one for the kids...along with roller skating (I'll spare you that story!).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Long Time, No See

Time flies when you are busy having babies and chasing toddlers, buying a home and moving in, remodeling, etc... It has been 4 years since the last big James family get-togethers. Planning has been going on for several months but the invites out we are definitely "on" for the 2008 James Family Reunion, which my loving DH has subtitled (since it's his family), "See what love hath wrought". (Terrible, I know.)

Since the last reunion, 1 marriage and 3 babies have been added to the count. Our two kids can't wait to see all their cousins and meet the newest addition on the James' side, their cousin Morgan.

Anyway, not for a while still but with the way things are going these days, it will be here before we know it!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Working Virtually

Finally, after dealing with more hiccups than we liked, we are set up with our new offices at my work. The groovy thing is that I now am working virtually from my home. What a blessing to not be on the road 2.5-3 hours each day. Of course, the downside is that I'm in doing work stuff earlier in the morning and finding myself doing more work in the evenings as well. I'm not complaining though...one must make hay while the sun shines.

My DH loves me so very much that the addition on our house, which someday a few million years (at the rate we are going) will be the master bedroom suite, has been set up as my office. Once I get the rest of my boxes unpacked and pictures hung on the walls, it will be a sweet set-up. I even have my own bathroom!

I've got three windows and if you crook your neck while looking out of one of them, you can see my pond...well, the fence around the pond.

Anyway, my family has been super supportive of my working out of here and does a good job of keeping the screaming levels down and not knocking on my door all the time. (Which is a LOT for a couple of toddlers to accomplish!) The kids are still confused about how I now go to work but don't get in my car and drive away but they love that I get to eat lunch with them. I think my "business lunches" with the kiddos is my favorite part of working virtually.

Here's to remaining focused and being productive in my new "virtual" office!