OFF SEASON BLUES – OR OUCHIES?

I love the winter season.  It gives me time to reflect, plan, and craft.  The last is my issue for this post.  When I get crafting, I get totally into it.  I get so involved in whatever craft I am working on that I can get a bit careless.  Well, it happened on this last Sunday.

I bought myself a new hot glue gun.  My old one is ok, but it does not have a fine tip.  The new one does.  What I was not prepared for was the more intense heat that was required to get glue through that fine time.  Working away on a fall project and my fingers slipped (yes, I blamed it on my half finger again – grr) and this:

Yep, that is a very unwelcome hot wax burn.  The white is actually dead skin now.  It’s not infected, just dead.  Can you say -IDIOT?  I had been working for years with the other glue gun and had no problem with a bit of hot glue on my fingers.

(Notice the different tip sizes)

Normally I would simply say “ouch” rub it a bit and move on.  Yes, it was hot but not that hot.  Well, not so easy with the finer tip.

I was working with dried flowers from a couple of years ago.  We tried an experiment in the greenhouse (before tornado era) to see if companion flowers would keep down some of the pests.  That experiment started four years ago, and due to the nature of the flowers we chose, we ended up with flowers everywhere.  Part of what we were experimenting on was for the purpose of drying.  Strawflowers were our first choice and proved to be our best choice.

dried straw flowers

They hold a perfect shape, have stellar colors (especially for fall crafts), and were interesting.  They actually fold down to create the above-pictured shape.  The other end is just left-over seed hairs.  Stupid me did not know that you need to remove those seed hairs BEFORE you try to glue them to your project.  That was my downfall.  I put the glue on the hairs, tried to stick them down, and that was when they fell out and got my finger.

I have gotten different types of burns before, but I must say this was one of my award-winning jobs.  I finally got brave and cut off the dead skin yesterday.  Funny how much better it felt with that removed?

Moral of my story dear children – WATCH WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH THE STUPID HOT GLUE GUN, you idiot!

goofy cartoon

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IT’S NOT SEW, OR SO, BUT SOW!

For those that know how to sow.

The first thing you need is a hoe.

A sew is not sow,

And a so is not sow

When planting you just need to know.

The Bad Poet’s Society

Yes, that was a bad one (thank you mom), but I had to do something strange.  The season begins again – the garden season that is.  If you have been following me, then you know this is an actual season, at least for those of us that farm or garden.  It is much longer than the regular four seasons as it encompasses spring, summer, fall, and even sometimes winter.

We have begun our seed starts.  This year we are going a bit slower and much smaller than the last several years due to many factors.  The largest of which is our continued cleanup after the tornado.  We are still working on what to do with the greenhouse.  Several ideas popped up during our regularly scheduled Friday night game night and libations:

  1. New hot tub hot spot (yes, this was our first thought).

indoor hottub

  1. Indoor sports arena (still would need a cover and who would use it here in the boonies).indoor sports
  2. Indoor pool (again needing a cover – AND- would have to dig further down – too much work).

indoor pool (my choice – haha)

  1. Miniature pony show ring (first you need the ponies).mini pony ring

That was just a few of the more sensible ideas, after those it just got ridiculous.  I’m pretty sure that the out-of-control laughter instigated most of the sillier ideas (although I still like the hot tub idea).

Once we settled down, we decided that putting the cover on would be best.  Then, after doing what I love – research, I discovered something new.  They have created a greenhouse cover that can be done in “sections” – YES!  Took them long enough to come up with this fantastic idea.  Now if a part gets damaged, we won’t have to replace the whole thing – just that section – woohoo!

We have also been looking into different types of mini-greenhouses.  We usually start our seeds in the house, and the starting process takes over the kitchen island, the countertops, the south porch (has a perfect HUGE picture window to the south), the south house window, and where ever else we can find (or make) space.  The house basically becomes an indoor greenhouse for seeds and seedlings for about two months.

If you have been following either of my blogs, you know my sister is a bake-a-holic so taking over her massive kitchen for that long just drives her crazy.  She is all good and calm at the start, but by the end of the first month, she starts to growl.  Going into the second month, she is ready to shove them all out in the cold – “Grow or Die” – our farm motto.  So after some more Friday game night deliberations, the plan of a separate seed start structure would be more feasible.

Next step was to boil it all down to pros vs. cons and see where we stand.  The mini-seed start shop was a “go” from the start because:

  1. Gets that part of the sowing season out of the house and into the gardens where it belongs.
  2. Stops my sister from possibly murdering dozens of innocent seedlings to retain her kitchen.plant killer
  3. Possibility to sow even more seed and create extra seedling to sell or give away to family/friends.
  4. Cheap – the research I have been doing has uncovered that there are numerous brands, types, and kits out there to choose from and most are inexpensive.
  5. Saves my sisters sanity – best reason of all.

Looks like the seed sowing shop is a go – now we need to settle on which one.

Back to the greenhouse cover, we have decided to go with the sectional stuff.  It’s a bit more expensive, but we believe in the long run it will work out much better.  The fun part will be putting it on.  The structure we have is pretty much intact (the 2”x12” base needs to be redone on the east side – west is untouched – damn twister!), but we still have to put guide tracks on the arcs we have.  Good thing we have a two-section scaffolding that should reach most of it (the very peak needs an additional step ladder to get up there).

crazy balancing act

SO:

For those that know how to sow.

The first thing you need is a hoe.

A sew is not sow,

And a so is not sow

When planting you just need to know.

The Bad Poet’s Society

(Just had to throw that bad poetry out one more time – Love ya mom!)

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One More Sign Or Just Legend?

I just love stories like this one:

Rare oarfish, regarded as omens of natural disasters, found alive in Japan                          By Alex Stambaugh and Junko Ogura, CNN

Makes me wonder what the true reason is?

Owning or working anything that requires you to mess with nature, should make you think about these things.  The very least you should take notice of them.  I do believe that all things happen for a reason.  Our home was destroyed by a tornado late last summer.  Not the house so much, but the gardens and greenhouse.  I’m still not knowing what the reason was behind it, but I could drive myself nuts playing with theories:

  • First was punishment: We got disgusted, frustrated, and angry at all the people mooching off of us, so we threw them all out.  On is in jail – again –  but that is now for his own mother to worry about.
  • Second was preparation: Prepping us for something worse to be happening soon.
  • Third was par-for-the-course: Just when I think things are going better for us, something else pops up and shits on our parade.

That’s just three, but my list keeps building.  Then I read stories like the one above.  These are based on real news – things that are happening now.  Then they throw some flare like “legend has it” in there for reader interest.  Well, it works on me every time, especially when it has to do with nature.

One of my biggest why is this happening theory is based on the thought that someone, somewhere is trying to tell us something.  It could be something that we are not doing right?  Maybe it is something we are doing all wrong?  Maybe we should be doing more?  Maybe we should be doing it all differently?  These thoughts are also endless for me.

Now that we (humans that is) have evolved into such creatures of technology, we are better able to track and record things.  Simple things that we tracked just for the sake of tracking decades ago have now developed a purpose, and sometimes a greater meaning.  (WOW – do I sound deep here or what?).

Personally, I love the weather.  Humans have been trying to track and control it for centuries, and we still get it wrong.  I love to follow the old wife’s tales of the past:

  • If your barn animals have a thick coat come fall, you are going to have a harsh winter (not necessarily a full of snow winter, could just be extremely cold.).
  • Achy joints – the weather is going to change. (This one I do believe because mine will kill me when the weather does a severe change.).
  • It’s going to rain because the cows are all lying down. (NOT – those huge 4-legged monsters get just as tired as we do, but it is funny to see a whole feed of them on a hot sunny day lying down on the job.)
  • Head to the southwest corner of the lowest part of your home (like a basement) when a tornado hits. They say this isn’t true, but  – to this day – that is EXACTLY where I went and will continue to go when they strike.
  • If the Wooly Bear caterpillar has a thick coat, it will be a heavy snow winter. Have no clue on this one and here in Colorado I have not even seen many of the Wooly Bears. We did see one really early last spring – totally out of season. Then had that tornado in July – hmmm.  Maybe it was trying to tell us something?

My point is that I do believe in signs.  I think there are things all around us in nature that if we just stop and pay it a little bit of attention, we may just learn something.

I watch the skies for signs of rain or a bad storm.  I watch the soil to see if we are getting enough moisture for the gardens to make it, or will I have to put in a lot of extra time watering to help them out.  I watch the geese fly overhead and if they are traveling north or south (north for summer, south for winter as the saying goes).  Then again here in Colorado, this one can be a bit off.  We have geese here year around, but we only have snow geese in winter.  On a warm day, you can see them traveling north one moment then south a bit later?

I do keep a really close eye on the budding of the trees.  We have such odd weather here.  If it is too nice out too early and the trees start to bud, they could be in for trouble before they are ready.  We have lost blossoms many years because it would be 65+degrees in March then dump snow and below zero temps in April.  One year on two weekends (back-to-back no less) in April Friday reached up to the nineties, but by Monday we were below thirty and snowing like the east coast is now (ooo – new phrase: Snowing like the east coast in 2019!?!).

According to the article above and the tales connected to it, there may be a natural disaster headed for Japan within the next year.  The scientists even agreed that these rare creatures may have popped up because of some underwater change.  However, they also agree that this does not mean they are headed for another 2011 tsunami.  Will be interesting to check back on this post a year from now and see if anything happened?

Do you believe in the signs around you?  Do you even watch for them?

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THE 50s SUCK! (Promise not to laugh too hard?)

(Oops – was supposed to post this on my other blog – www.lifelessonslived.com, but not enough coffee I guess.  Accidentally posted in here so some of my followers may see this one twice.  Sorry, will try to be more awake next time – dang dragging again!)

I’m not talking about the decade of the 1950s.  I am talking about the ages of 50 to 59 in life.

Since this year I will be finally moving out of the 50s, I have earned the right to share how disgusting my 50s were for me.  I will start by sharing the obvious things:

  • SAGGING
  • BAGGING
  • TAGGING
  • DRAGGING

(WARNING: Heavy laughter may follow.)

Sagging: The obvious one that everyone talks about.  You hit 50 and all of a sudden EVERYTHING starts to sag.  Now, I was endowed with a rather large front end. I should say cursed!  It has been a burden all of my life, and every time I thought I had a chance to remove part (most) of it, something else happened.  My timing was ALWAYS off, now I have issues with high blood pressure, so it’s an iffy surgery.  To those of you out there with the same affliction all, I can tell you is DON’T WAIT FOR THAT RIGHT MOMENT – GET IT DONE NOW!  The reason is obvious – sagging big-time later in life (and it is not a pretty sight at the beach).

 

 

(Droopy’s cheeks and camel humps – put that on the front of a woman and that’s a sight of wanting to go blind for!)

Bagging: Another semi-obvious occurrence that happens when one gets older.  My over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder does not support as it used to.  (Yes, I am talking about my bra.)  I still buy the same brand as it has never failed me; however, now they do not seem to hold up as long as they used to.  I am blaming bagging.  If the boulders were not so baggy (kind of goes with the saggy automatically), the holder-upper would not be so strained therefore could last longer?  Perhaps. Then there is the backside.  I have a pronounced bootie to match my saggies upfront.  This part I am blaming on having a desk job too long connected with my love of all things pastry.  Yes, it is my own fault – but did the sucker have to go so far into baggy era?  I mean a little drooping I can understand, but when you trip over yourself stepping backward it’s not a good thing!

 

 

Tagging:  This one some of you may be lucky enough to have never had to deal with – skin tags (age spots are in this category as well).  I was scratching my shoulder in the back, and my fingernail caught something.  I thought maybe I had scratched myself there without knowing and now accidentally ripped off the scar tissue.  But NOOOO – I actually ripped off a skin tag!?  That tiny sucker bleed like I had slashed open my back?  I swear that these are produced by nasty little Age Gremlins that sneak into my room at night and spit on me.  They were never on my body until after age 50, and now they are showing up in the strangest places (damn Age Gremlins!)?

 

 

Dragging:  I am not talking about the effects of sagging or even bagging (although when I bend over to pick up something, it could be construed as such.), I am talking about lack of sleep.  Our favorite over 50 phrase appears to be “my butt is dragging” which interpreted means: I need more sleep.  It becomes impossible to get more than 4-6 hours of sleep per night without some type of over-the-counter medication.  Then when I do get up, I seem to be yawning all day long.

butt dragging

When I was in my twenties and thirties, I was proud of the fact that I was able to work two or three jobs at a time, go to classes to better myself part time, and raise my disabled daughter (including her 20 years of surgeries).  I bought a home, a vehicle and even found time to take mini-vacations with my daughter and mom.  Now I would love a vacation – but this time to someplace quiet, peaceful, and out in the middle of nowhere.  Throw in a huge snuggle chair next to an awesome fireplace for reading, and a hot tub to really relax (FYI – if you can put that in a “cabin in the woods” form and I may never leave.  Something very soothing about sitting in a hot tub while the snow is falling gently outside.  (Yes – been there, done that.)

 

 

We purchased a stationary bike after my surgeries to help my knees maintain strength.  It’s stationary alright.  It sits there laughing at me every day.  First, I kept it downstairs right outside my bedroom so I would have the incentive to get on it every morning.  That didn’t work because I MUST have my morning coffee before anything!  Then we moved it upstairs right smack in the middle of the living room.  This was last New Year day (2018), and I was really into the step counting thing for a while (per my sisters challenge to me).  Then, as always, something happened.  In this case, it was grown kids that we tried to help that shit on us, and we had to clean up the mess.  That was followed by a tornado and the death of our oldest sister (unexpected).  Last, but not least, thing was grandsons nose-bleeds-from-hell.  Ended up taking him to a specialist to get the suckers to stop (would pour out of his nose like he was some nasty red faucet? Yuck!).  Thus, bike on a back burner.

stationary bike from hell

Here we are in a new year with new goals (mine, remember, is to have a boring year – no drama) and I have only sat on that monster twice – SHAME ON ME!  This morning my sister threw it in my face.  She was up at the butt-crack of midnight and:

    • On the bike for 30-minutes (Fricken Speed Racer-grr)
    • Cleaned the kitchen.
    • Planted more seed starts.
    • Made a bunch more waffles to freeze for the grandson
    • Made up a pot of Chicken Alfredo AND noodles this time (last was in potpie form)

 

  • Took a shower
  • Got dressed and ready for work
  • Made her lunch and oatmeal for her breakfast.

WHAT A SHOW OFF!  Dang – the guilt it too much!  Now I have to get back on the monster and hope my saggy baggy backend doesn’t slide off the seat!

pissed old lady

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GOTTA LOVE FAMILY WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR!

I was feeling pretty rotten yesterday. Not sick, just in the dumps depressed (not good for a person that takes anti-depressants – eek!) Most of my life I have had to fight my anxiety. It showed up after I was molested at eleven and never completely went away.

I had a great Therapist when I tried to commit suicide in my senior year of high school. She warned me that I carry deep emotions and that I needed to write down everything that happens that affects them. She reasons that by spilling my guts on paper, I would not feel the need to keep carrying them around like such heavy dead weight (which they are). Probably the main reason I love to write so much now.

Yesterday, as I said, was a rough one at least until I opened my email. My cousin (love her so much) sent me this little tidbit:

flat screen vs ours in the 60s
I just burst out laughing. Can’t stop giggling right now. Yes, the statement is true. We had one similar to that growing up in the early 1960s, but that’s not why I was laughing so much. WHAT IS ON THAT WOMAN’S HEAD?? Ah, laughter is the best medicine!

The dress looks just like something my mom used to have, but only wore on very special occasions. It took “the support bra from hell” to wear it, and that was her main reason for the limited fashion shows. When it comes to breasts, my mother was not lacking (neither am I so I can understand her frustrations) and trying to get into all those stylin clothes back then was next to impossible without the proper under-gear.

She also had a couple of wigs. She originally had some beautiful red hair but insisted on dying it, covering it up, ironing it (yes, with an iron – for clothes…been there, done that, different story), and whatever else she could do with it. Back then, the beauty parlor was a temple. It was a woman’s safe harbor in a world filled with men and their macho-isms.
Go back and take another look at the picture – not the phrase but specifically at that hair. Now check these out:
hair poof 1 the early to mid-1960s hair poof 2
hair poof 3 the 1950s
hair poof 1940s the 1940s
hair poof 19302 the 1930s
I don’t see a frizz or curl out of place in any of these pics?

Mom had beautiful natural curly hair. We got lucky, and she passed it on to all of her daughters. Dad also had curly hair, but a tighter curl. Mom was so frustrated with trying to get a brush through our hair that she would simply cut it off every spring. I was partially grateful because it was so thick and heavy and hot. The other bit of gratitude came whenever we got near low hanging branches when riding, gooseberry bushes when picking, and chasing wild kittens in the hay. The longer and curlier the hair, the more you got all caught up in something. To this day I hate moths! Kids with tight curly hair playing under a yard light at night during summer in Wisconsin will inevitably catch moths in their hair-not by choice.

I don’t know if the moths were blinded by the light bouncing off our curls, attracted to the possibility of a great nest, or just plain dumb; but I can’t count the number of times I heard and felt the crunching of trying to get the dang things untangled and out of my hair. Even now I am cringing.

This post is all for my cousin Dawn. Thank you for the outstanding laugh, the fond memories, and getting me out of my funk – love ya cousin!
You can also check me out at: www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.
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IT’S OFFICIALLY HERE!

The Farmers Almanac winter 2018-2019 predictions.  (In case you have not read my other posts, I love the Farmers Almanac!)  Considering the spring and summer we have had; I was not really surprised by their predictions.

They call it their “Teeth-Chattering Cold Ahead” report.  I take issue with that statement.

I love fall colors and changes in the temps.  I love the snow even when it gets feet-deep (Anyone that has kids or still feels like one must – snowball fights and snow fort building – woohoo!).  My favorite holidays are all after October first – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and new seed catalog shopping (yes, that is a holiday in our house).

The issue I have is the “teeth-chattering cold” part of their prediction.  I am a huge fan of cooler temps, 75-55 degrees and I am in heaven.  This bit about dropping below freezing is not so hot – bad pun intended.  I lost all my long-underwear in the fire and have not gotten around to getting new just yet.  Guess this is my incentive.  And we all know what a stunning creature anyone becomes in long-underwear!

(Why do they look so cute on babies, but so dorky on adults?)

Before the tornado, we were revamping our old chicken coup into a new garden/tool shed.  We even did some insulating and moved an old cast-iron fireplace into it for winter.  Perhaps this was our women’s intuition kicking in.  If we get enough cold and snow that the power goes out, our little shed may become home – eek!

cast iron fireplace(Close to ours but no brick wall behind it, and ours is much older with claw feet.)

Then there is the critter worry.  The dogs and cats would most likely join us, but I draw the line on the chickens (sorry Mark and Kristie).  I don’t care how spoiled your pet is, if it can’t go outside when nature calls, it does not need to be in the house!

(Looking for house chicken pics, I found this great oldie by Gary Larson.  Had to add it just because it makes me laugh!)

I hope you are all prepared for this coming winter if not, you are not alone.  If you want to check out your area here’s their link:

Farmers’ Almanac 2018-19 WINTER OUTLOOK

(P.S. – have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  OH NO I DID NOT SAY THAT!)

winter wonderland

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SPIDERS – FRIEND OR FOE?

If you are squeamish about spiders, I suggest you move on now!

Living on a small rural farm, we tend to get tons of spiders.  The spiders and I have an understanding: You stay up on the ceiling, and you live.  Come down to my level, and you die!  It is working, for the most part.  I recently read a new article shared by my friends at the Smithsonian…Why Should or Shoudn’t You Kill Spiders in Your Home by Joanie Faletto of Curiosity.com.

I love to share the stuff I read, especially when it includes something that I did not know before.  This article explained that what I call Daddy Long Legs is actually called a Cellar Spider.  The interesting part is these friends of mine (yep, I even hold them to move them to plants that need more natural protectors)  kill Black Widow spiders (one of my long nemesis).

I have seen many of both.  Thankfully never been bit by the Black Widow (knock-on-wood), but have been bit by the Brown Recluse – nasty monsters!  Now that I know my friendly Daddy Long Legs can keep at least one of the monsters at bay, I will have to bring many more up around the house.

This is what the Recluse looks like – remember it is a very semi-small spider.  No bigger than the Black Widow:

brown recluse spider

(Sometimes called the “fiddle back” spider – look close on the head area and you can see a type of fiddle)  This is what the bite on my leg looked like just before I finally went to my doctor about it:

Brown-recluse-spider-bite-1

I am a tough old bird, and I have my mother’s high tolerance for pain.  I tried just using peroxide as I do with most cuts, that was my downfall.  According to my doctor, the peroxide and bandage did the wrong thing – kept it moist – instead of keeping it clean.  When moist, it will just get worse – and it did.

This is what it looks like now:

scar-now.jpg

I think, at least for now, I have decided to continue to allow the spiders in our home – within reason.  Recluse beware – I will destroy any and all I find!

cartoon squashed spider

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Uninvited Guests That Never Leave!

City gardens are so different from country gardens with one HUGE aspect – weeds.  The farm garden when we were kids never seemed to have as many weeds or so fast.  I remember weeding, but it was a fun thing to see who could (not would) get the dirtiest.  Usually, my younger sister won just because she would be found sitting in a mud puddle before the job was done.

I remember my beautiful corner backyard garden in Denver, but again, I don’t remember this many weeds.  I would blame it on the birds, but I love all our birds – domestic and foreign.  Instead, I am now blaming my weeds on the winds.

This has got to be one of the weirdest growing seasons we have ever had.  Yes, we have some winds on-and-off every year, but this year has been just nuts!  Wicked enough to rip off our double-layered greenhouse cover, just a few weeks ago.

We have always had winds out here, just not so long, or so rough.  When the huge windmills started popping up across the U.S., Colorado was all in for that.  We have fields of them not far from our home.  I guess that is a bit of an indication on the strength of winds we get here.  The weird part is how long they are lasting now.

It was never unusual to get a gust here and there.  Even the occasional “micro-burst” would happen – but only in summer (still think they are mini-tornados that just didn’t finish forming).  Now we get the “sustained” winds.  These suckers come in without warning and last 12-48 hours.  Very unusual.

When we moved here in 2000, our biggest task was learning how to water everything using the best conservation methods.  Now, it is how to stop our plants from ending up in Kansas.

wicked winds 2(“I don’t think we’re in Colorado anymore Toto.”)

We have installed pound-in rods, rows of field fencing, and extra windbreaks all just to keep our plants from having the snot knocked out of them.  If the Hail King wasn’t bad enough, we now have the Wicked Wind of the West to contend with – eeek!

wicked windsHappy Gardening!

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ONCE MORE WE TRAVEL INTO THE LAND OF THE LOST.

I was not sure how to approach the interesting thing that happens this time of year.  Yes, it is a new year, but it is also re-visitation time for garden prep season.  With this season comes the attack of  The Gardening Catalogs from Hell – dun dun daaa!

seed catalogs

Those of you that have been gardeners for more than a year are fully aware of this danger.  You receive so many catalogs, filled with so much fun stuff; you become a Seed Catalog Junkie.  Sad but true, this is a disease.  I have been lucky enough to not become infected.  I limit myself to the task of making only the final decisions.  My sister, however, is severely infected.

The ritual is for me to pick up the mail and gently place all garden and seed catalogs into her favorite chair.  Her fav chair is on the mud porch (where she smokes – yuckie I know, but another bad habit she has), where she is solitary most of the time.  Friday nights we hold game night in there, and the dogs get to stay in there at night or days that are super cold.

In her solitary confinement, she meditates on the varieties, colors, sizes, shapes, prices, and shipping.  All of these things are used in determining who will be the prize winners and receive our selections.

1st place winner-ugly dog

It must be noted that all of our entries are from organic, natural, and mostly heirloom variety sellers.  We do not get into anything GMO and only look at hybrids in flowers.  Each year we try to select something that we have never tried to grow before (Last year was melons and winter squash – in the greenhouse.  Had some tricks to learn, but it worked – woohoo!).  Tried peanuts once – big mistake but an interesting grow.  Until we tried, I did not know that they had to grow up, down, back into the ground to create the peanut.  Weirdest thing I have ever seen a food plant do.  Not much for peanuts anyway (love P.B.J. though-yum).

peanut plant

My secluded sister spends about two months going through all the catalogs (starts around Thanksgiving) and then presents me with her selections about mid-January.  The poor thing comes to me like the Hunchback of Notre Dame; all bent out of shape, glazed eyes, staggering – it’s sad.

hunchback   (yes, hee hee, her hair does look like that – she’s gonna kill me for this post.)

I gingerly accept the catalogs and various spreadsheets from her (including all the scribbles, highlights, and sticky notes) and quietly slip into the office to review.

I then have to remember to ask her if she checked all her findings against our current seed collection.  You would think by now either she or I would remember do to this first – not.  Angry, frustrated, and mentally over-worked she snatches back the documents and heads back to her solitary confinement.

angry kitty face

Once again she emerges from the bowels of the porch and presents me with the “updated” documents, and once again I gingerly accept them.  I do fail to mention that I have, while she was re-working everything, dug up last year’s seed order inventory, compared it to our spreadsheets on planting and growing progress, and created an updated inventory with which to begin this new year list. Finally:

TADA –  HOUSTON WE HAVE LIFT OFF!

AB snowman

Gold stars all around! 

This new year’s seed orders are complete and thus sailing into charted waters and:

our bounty 2016    A boon be the bounty ahead.   Arrrgg Matie.

 

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DO YOU MISS HOME? Part 3 – Fall.

A true child’s story.

In the fall the whole family was engaged in putting up food.  I remember a huge walk-in, dirt floor, always cold pantry in the basement.  Three walls were lined with shelves for the tons of processed food jars to be properly placed on.  The center of the room had a huge wooden box.  This was where all the potatoes (that is the ones that we did not eat raw) went.  I dream of having something like that in our home now.  I also want to see it stocked full by the first frost.  Has not happened yet, but I have a goal.

The best part of fall was all the taste-testing:

  • Pick it fresh from the vine, tree, root, or wherever it may be growing and munch.
  • Sample ALL jams, jellies, sauces, preserves – before they are done and packed.
  • Enjoy the first of everything made at Thanksgiving with family and friends.

(Not us, but you get the idea just by the faces of these kids.)

While doing my research for this post, I was saddened by the fact that I do not have any more cherished family photo memories.  The fire of 2014 took them all out.  The fact that my wonderful photo memories are gone also helped me to see something that I didn’t before.  I went looking for pics that would be as similar as possible to my original memories.  I was shocked to discover that almost all the photos that came up in my searches were not of kids in real gardens.  A real garden (like what we grew up on) has:

  • No wooden or plastic borders.
  • Simple dirt, maybe a bit of straw, for walkways between the rows.
  • Kids that will get FILTHY while picking all the good stuffs (cuz everything on a kid with dirt turns into mud.).
  • Parents watching the kids all the time because they will eat all the food before you have time to process it.
  • Weeds that will continue to pop up no matter how much you work on them.
  • Not massive acres tended by dozens of people, but a simple backyard size that is managed by using just the family members.
  • Everyone is always smiling because you can see before you the labors of a job done in love, and a job well done.

I remember being down on the ground with bare legs getting full of dirt.  Using both hands (no gloves) to dig into the dirt and pull out potatoes and carrots.  Crawling along the row with those same dirty knees to pick every last one of the beans, peas, and all the other tiny veggies.  Heaven forbids if we missed even one. Oh almost forgot, the children were allowed to go back into the garden area when we were all done gathering the processing foods, to gleen off what may have been missed.  It was never much – but it was fun looking.  At this point, we were allowed to tear the snot out of the garden.  It’s always more fun to tear things apart than to build them.

like our garden 1

(Close, but this is city and has sheds that we did not have back then.  Also picture it about 10-times bigger.)

It would take days, sometimes weeks, to get everything processed and put up in the basement, dirt floor pantry.  I remember walking ever so carefully down those cement stairs to the basement, arms loaded with great foods.  Hang a tight right and straight on to the pantry door.  Watch your step because you had to step down to the dirt floor.  Always, someone older would take the jars of deliciousness from our arms and place them in proper order on the shelves.

The items still left from the year before were brought forward, and the new year’s yummies were placed in line behind them. Next stop – Thanksgiving Day!

We always held the family Thanksgiving party at our farm.  All morning (and most years the night before) were spent bringing up the stored goodies and prepping them for the day of feasting.  I say a “day” of feasting as our family did not just do the one meal.  People started showing up about 10:00 a.m. and some did not leave till after 10:00 p.m.

We had a huge dining room area with a huge rectangle table in the middle of it.  To give you the scope of huge – we also had an antique upright piano, a rounded glass china cabinet, as well as a couple of storage cabinets – oh and an outstanding tree/chair coat rack. (Mom had this thing for tiger wood – we still do.)  All of these things were in the same room as the dining room table.  Granted, the table leaf was added for these special occasions, but how it all fit in, with all of the people getting around it to fill plates, all day long; amazes me to this day.

(The piano and cabinet are identical to ours.  The table is similar, but the chairs were not so fancy.  I just remember hiding under there when our dad’s dad came to visit.  It was a very German thing to chase the little kids and pinch them – I have no idea why?)

Later in the day, the football games would start.  The men would retire with their plates of food into the living room and start screaming and yelling at the poor TV.  The women would gather in the kitchen which was always the place of interesting conversations, and a lot of laughing. (There is a WHOLE other story around “kitchens” and my memories.  Saved for another day.).  The kids would shoot outside like bullets at the first chance to flee.  We had horses, a hay barn, straw mounds with rope swings, and if we were lucky to have a good snow before Thanksgiving, snow to sled on down our steep hills.

kids going off to dream build

Our wonderful 80-acre farm was a fantastic place to grow up.  The limitations were only held back by our own imaginations.

Tis the season for reminding siblings that fresh veggies are better when shared.

I can fly - kid

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