Thursday, August 21, 2014

1st Day of Kindergarten - Rowen

He's going to do great.  He walked in to his classroom with his usual big smile. He gave the teacher a big hug, then hung up his backpack and found his seat.  I'm sure he's making lots of friends, because really, he's never met a person he didn't like.

There's always that worry, did we do enough? Will he thrive?
Here's hoping he does. 
Send him good vibes today and tomorrow. He's out in the big world.  Expanding his horizons.
Go baby go!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fall crops are up!

When I pulled the garlic from my kitchen garden, at the end of July, I immediately started prepping that space for fall crops. Garlic harvests best when the soil is dry, so that soil was very dry. I added a couple of buckets of compost, and roughly hoed that in a little. Then a bunch of water, (the kids wanted to play in a sprinkler, it was a win-win operation.)  Then I  seeded Swiss Chard, Red Russian Kale, the last of the onion sets that were still in a plantable state, some green beans, white turnips and Cylindra beets. It might sound like a lot, but there's only 2-3 feet of each one.

Thanks to a week of rain and a waxing super moon, I had GREAT germination on all of them, and with any luck, it will be a welcome wave of fresh veggies at the end of the season.  I'll be curious to see if the beans will have enough time to produce, they are bush beans, so I only need them to put on that first big flush.

Worst case, they'll shade out some weeds and be interesting from a research/trial-and-error stance.  But I'm betting at least half will give me food. That Swiss Chard and Kale will probably give me food well into winter, they are both super hardy.

Some notes for future reference. No onion sets for sale this late in the season. Keep more onion sets in a dry dark location after spring plantings. That means I have to buy enough in the spring so I'll have leftovers that I can plant in fall. And actually get them into a safe place. I had probably 3 little bags of sets this year leftover, but one got wet during a watering "incident" that soaked my whole gardening basket, so it rotted. One was left in a sunny place and sprouted, then rotted.  Only one was in a dry dark place, and of course, that was totally by accident.

Other food related things going on, include a bunch of canning. Dave has really stepped into the lead on preservation work, but we still work together on most batches.  We've done a couple rounds of zucchini relish. Bread and Butter pickles are still to do this week.  Some sweet corn next week. We've dried a lot of herbs. Tons of oregano, some mint and parsley.

I don't know if we'll get a tomato glut this year, it's been so mild, there are barely enough heat units to ripen anything. I'll just have to wait and see how the rest of August plays out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Beautiful Bits

I know, I'm a worrier.  I'm a downer. I see the world through my doomer glasses, most all of the time.  That doesn't mean I don't have beauty in my life. It doesn't stop me from enjoying that beauty. And today, it won't stop me from sharing some with y'all.  Enjoy. (I'm sure the next post will be back to doom and gloom and atheism.)

Here are a few of my creations this spring/summer. The bits of beauty I try to fit into a hectic life.

I'm working on some sandwich board signs for my market stall. Here's the first one done. This is two quarter sheets of outdoor grade plywood. Sanded, primed, painted with 4 layers of chalkboard paint, and some exterior "patio paint."  I have screwed in hinges at the top, and a chain to keep it from sliding all the way open.  The chalkboard was a pain to paint, it was never going to get as smooth as I wanted it. But even so I think it turned out ok. Very pretty, and functional.

Here are some pretty garden shots. This is the view from my newest garden.  Peaceful, in an Iowa monocrop sort of way. :-)
 And the kitchen garden has a pretty new addition, thanks Mom!
Some of the garlic, looking fresh. This garlic has now been harvested, and is on my front porch curing.

Here are some cute kids, I helped make them, so it counts.

Of course I let him chalk on the new sign board. :-) He helped paint a couple parts.

Some of my recent Mixed Media work.  This one is an oil painting with fabric decoupage so far. May do a bit more painting on it. Some falling Matrix like symbols in gold? Some mehndi style swirls? Still trying to make up my mind.

 This medium sized square one is meant to pair with the larger one above. It too is an oil painting with fabric, but yo-yos this time. Still a WIP, but you can maybe see where I'm going with it.
The itty bitty one is going to pair with a painting I won in a silent auction this spring.  All four together should give us enough to shake up the art work in a couple of rooms.

I'll have to find a new place to get my art supplies, before I embark on the next round.  All of my canvases came from the local Hobby Lobby store a year or so ago. You can guess how often I'll be returning there.  Anybody got any good internet craft suppliers? 

How are you incorporating beauty into your life? Share in the comments if you like.