Monday, March 29, 2010

An incredible day off

Today was a spontaneous free day, and can't tell you how badly I needed it. For the last few weeks I've praying for a day off. Not just off from work, but from everything. Cleaning, cooking, laundry, family, everything. And somehow God managed to make that happen today and I am so grateful. Annie spent the night at my moms and I woke up and went outside. I didn't go back in except for water and food all day long. It was amazing. I got a lot of the much needed work done in the yard, and even finished a small area completely.

This is the area I completed.

The hydrangeas are really small. I found then in the yard last year and they looked pretty bad, they seem to be coming up stronger this year. Hopefully they will thrive in their new home.

My helper hard at work.

I got a lot more done than this but I don't have photos yet, it was getting late and I was tired.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pressure cooking is HOT!

So I got to use my pressure cooker for the first time. It's all I'd hoped it would be and more. Some women get excited about new shoes or purses (and I do too), but it's nothing compared to your first time home canning. It was ridiculously satisfying to pull out my 7 jars of beef stock. No freezing or refrigeration needed! and I did it myself. I'm sure you all think I'm totally nuts, but for me this is really exciting. I can't wait for summer vegetables to ripen.

Friday, March 26, 2010

overheard conversations

Annie and her cousin Ruby have some of the most interesting conversations. I have been writing them down for a few weeks now. Here are some of my favorites.

Annie, "God put a curse in me and make no one prettier than me."
Ruby,"that sounds serious."
Annie, "It is."

Annie, "pretend I was a wedding girl."
Ruby, "and I will be your mommy."
Annie, "no you will be my husband."
Ruby instantly falls to tears.
Annie, "I sorry you can be my mommy, but I not have time out."

Ruby, "my name is Sophie Della."
Annie, "my name is Sunblizen."

Annie, "A microwave is for catching people."
Ruby, "no it's not, it's for cooking."
Annie, "you are so silly Ruby." (she really doesn't know what a microwave is).

A week later I overheard this conversation:
Annie, "If you eat from a microwave you won't grow."
Ruby, "that not true, I'm bigger than you."

Ruby, "you have silly chickens."
Annie, "Do you want to hold one?"
Ruby screams, "NO" and runs away from the chicken house.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

wish list

Still not sleeping, so I figured I'd post a blog. I'm sure you're all tired of looking at piles of dirt, even if my adorable daughter is standing on them. So I'm posting pictures of my wish list. This might seem strange, but every year when I'm getting my taxes together, I make a wish list of what I would do with part of the return money. This year sadly it's all going to fix my car, which super sucks (I'm grateful to have a car, I just wish it would stop breaking). Last year I paid off debt (a.k.a. school loans, only $5,000 to go!) and bought this lovely computer that I'm typing this blog with. This year I was going to pay off more of that icky debt and buy one present. It was a toss between practical and frivolous. I have loved this pair of earrings since I first saw them, and if you know anything about me, you know I don't buy jewelry EVER. It is a luxury, and my life can't really afford that right now. That's why God gave me a sister, who loves jewelry and loves me enough to know I need it. Every piece of jewelry I own is from her. Yes, my sister rocks and I love her (and her blog is awesome).
So this is my dream pair of earrings (Sundance of course). Perhaps they will go one sale. It would have to be a 90% off sale, but it could happen.

Next items on the list are of course kitchen items.

Lodge Double Play Reversible Griddle
The lodge Griddle. I cook most of our food on cast iron. I love it. Nonstick without the Teflon. This would be an awesome addition to our kitchen, and far more practical than earrings.

KitchenAid KGMA Grain Mill Stand Mixer Attachment
Kitchen-aid PTO grain mill. This would be so cool to have, and it could save us money in the long run. Yes, it costs less than the earrings too. Why is jewelry so expensive?

The last item on my list is Asparagus crowns, but I couldn't find a good picture. And I think I will save this purchase for when I'm not renting (if that day ever comes).

Ever see chickens afraid of water?

Now you have.
Allergies SUCK!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Have you seen this doll? Annie's Elsie doll is missing. I think we lost her a long time ago, but I kept thinking she would show up. Well, she hasn't and Annie has been crying every night lately because she misses her. She is ratty (or one could say filthy), old and wearing a dress I'm embarrassed to say I made.

Early birds

Start with a hideous honeysuckle, blocking all the sun.
Remove a little over half the giant monstrosity, with your $5 hand saw. (I hate honeysuckle, did I forget to mention that?)
And now you have more sun in your yard and...
A slightly more emphasized archway.

Annie's job while I worked?
Relax in a tree.

Climb dirt.

Hit dirt with a stick

Poke dirt with a stick.

Yell at mommy for taking pictures, again.

Best part of the day?

and I didn't have to do anything.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the little sneak

It's not fun to wake up at 5am and not be able to go right back to sleep, but it is fun to wake up to the sound of your three year old rummaging through the cabinet for Raisins after she woke, dressed herself and yes, even brushed her hair. She may have put on wrinkly dirty clothes, but she did it all by herself. I was rather impressed and very thankful the camera was next to the sofa (where I had fallen back asleep while reading).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bad Banjo

Last night I made our bread for the week. This morning while I was at work Banjo ate the bread, or so I thought. All day today he has been sneaking around the house and coming back with one bite of bread at a time. After my search I found that he hid pieces of the bread EVERYWHERE. Under seat cushions, the bathroom rug, in a laundry basket full of clean clothes, and lets not forget buried in Annie's toy basket. I love Banjo, but he has some seriously strange hording issues.

And if you can't tell from the photo he is really missing his Annie right now (that would be bunny he's snuggling with). She had a quiet sleep over at her Gigi's house last night since I had to work this morning, and Saturdays sleep over was "too noisy". At least thats what she told me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quick update

My allergies are back, so I haven't been posting. They are REALLY bad. I had hoped (in vain obviously) that last year was a fluke. I have been outside working in the yard, puffy eyes, sneezing and all, trying to get things done. My neighbors really must think I am nuts out there sneezing like crazy.

Strawberry Crowns, Garlic, and Pansies are in. Strawberries are under a plastic dome to help encourage them.
Annie got a new chair from our friend Mary. It's her "Princess reading chair."
I discovered my daughter has a dangerous thrill seeking side. I will do my best to redirect this into something safe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The thrill is gone

Another trip to the compost pile this morning at 7am. We woke up at six, did our chores and then ran out the door to get compost. Either the smell is getting weaker or I have been around this stuff way to much lately because I barely notice it any more (I'm thinking it's the later). This is probably not good. Annie was less than thrilled. I think the allure of the Compost pile has faded, and she now sees it for what it it is: work. I really can't blame her. How many kids want to go stand on a stinky pile of compost everyday? Especially early in the morning.Banjo wasn't too thrilled either. He got stuck in the car behind the tarp.

Annie perked up when we got home and I let her go play with the chickens while I worked. She managed to catch Puff. They hung out for quite a while. It was when she caught Gertrude that she ran into some trouble. Evidently Puff got jealous and pecked Annie near the eye.First chicken booboo of the season. We're off to a good start.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A day in the dirt

We have so much work to do in the yard it's ridiculous. Today we got more compost. I should have borrowed a truck from someone, but I didn't have much time and I just wanted it done. I promise not to complain about the stink. Sod is coming up on Wednesday (provided we have no rain). Lettuce should be in the ground now, but it's not. Pansies should be out, but there aren't either. I'm hoping to get a little done every day after work and possibly some done before work. Here goes.This is Annie climbing to the top of the compost pile. It was really windy.

Annie coming down with her pail full of compost from the top of the pile. She claims that's where the good stuff is.

Holding her nose in the car on the way home (it really is stinky).

We get home with our compost. Unload and get to work. I should have moved our strawberry crowns in the fall, but I didn't so I moved them today. They are pretty tough, so I think it will be ok. They've had a full year to root, so we should get good crop from them this summer.

While I'm working, Annie is busy building a worm house. She seems to think it's funny to name them all after my sisters family. She started with Poppy, then found a Sadie and a Ruby. She had a really hard time finding one big enough to be Sam until I pulled this out of the strawberry patch. Don't worry Greta, yours was the cutest worm.
She was really happy with Sam the worm, "look Momma he's hugging my hand."
Here's their house. She built it in her mini wheelbarrow, "in case it rains and they have to come inside. Worms can't swim mama." Worms are also not coming in my house.
And this is the new Strawberry patch. They get 1/4 of our raised garden bed. Hopefully they won't go to crazy and take over the whole thing. I promise it will look way better in a few weeks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Disney on ice

Annie and I were given tickets to go see Disney on ice. I can't say I was excited to go, but I was very excited for Annie. She rarely gets to go do things like this, and she had absolutely no concept of what we were going to see. I tried to explain it to her, even looked it up online to show her, but no, she still didn't get. Finely I got her to understand that we were going to go see Ice skating. So she put on her coat and packed her pockets with band-aids (in case anyone falls down), and off we went.

Upon arrival we were inundated with Disney paraphernalia. All I could think was "oh crap". I told Annie several times that we weren't buying anything, but alas she politely said, "please momma, may I have a toy?" I persisted with no. Then came, "momma, I think my daddy would want me to have one. Lets call him" Well that just made me mad. She's right, I don't usually have the money to buy her "stuff" when we go anywhere, so here goes. She wants a wand. Ok how much can a plastic wand be? $24 dollars was not was I was thinking. So she's got her wand, then she see's plastic dolls that look like McDonald kids meal toys, only bigger. Wow $12 a piece, she could have two of those for the price of one plastic wand. So she traded in for two dolls and we were off to find our seats.

With one doll clutched in each hand she sat on my lap, unable to talk or move. She was utterly captivated by the princesses skating across the ice. For the full 45 minutes of the first half she literally couldn't move. Thankfully she was given a moment to process during intermission. Very slowly she began to come back to life. Finally closing her mouth and blinking, she started to move her hands. It was like watching someone come out of a coma after 30 years. She could barely talk.

The second half Annie came to life. She started talking, pointing at the princesses, and even clapping her hands. As each princess skated out on the rink she would say, "I knew she would be here." Several times she informs me, "If anyone falls I will help them." I am glad my daughter got to go see Disney on ice, and that she was prepared to help if needed. It was actually really cool to see. Thank you Jill for the tickets, I'm sure Annie will never forget.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pressures on

I am ridiculously excited about what came in the mail recently. It is my first pressure cooker/canner, and not just any pressure cooker, but an All American. I have wanted one of these for years, but they are super expensive. I've tried for several Birthdays/Christmas's to convince my parents this is what they should get me, but it never happens. I can't blame them either. Buying a pressure cooker is serious business and at times they are simply impossible to find at a good price. This beautiful one was half off the retail price! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the price and then to make matters worse they were offering free shipping, so I caved. Unable to resist the chance to own my own I bought it. Annie climbed in and asked, "will you cook me now?"

We are planting a ton of Tomatoes this spring so that we can jar stewed tomatoes for the winter. I am not a fan of overpriced canned tomatoes full of yucky leaking chemicals from the plastic liners they use. Hopefully I will be able to jar some of our veggies as well, but there's no telling if Annie will leave any left behind. She's worse than a family of rabbits to a veggie garden.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Our first artichoke seed came up today. I'm really excited about these because normally in our climate you cannot grow artichokes. But thanks to natural cross breeding and my favorite seed suppliers hunting down the grower we have a chance to grow our own. Germination took 11 days. I will try soaking them next time to shorten the germination period. I'm a little nervous about getting these off to a good start. I was cutting it close with the planting. I should have started them about a week earlier.

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