Wednesday, April 9, 2014

X's and Y's...

My life has been filled with a blur of these lately:

Let me be perfectly honest. I am horrible at math. Oh, don't misunderstand me -- I can convert cups to ounces, figure a total, draw up a budget that actually works, tip a waiter, figure out the perimeter of my garden bed, double or reduce a recipe and so on without breaking a sweat. But when you start throwing letters in with the numbers or God forbid, a shape of some sort... (sigh) I hate it. My brain has always struggled with it. 

I've struggled with it but then the "ah-ha!" moment comes, the light bulb goes on and all is good with the world. Unless we're talking quadratic expressions. Ugh! Better to not even get started on them. The test is in 9 days and I'm looking forward to putting it behind me. 

Things have been partially neglected while I've been studying. The garden fencing has been purchased but nothing has been done with it yet. Hopefully I will get to it in the near future. 

Peas are slowly but surely making their appearance in the world. Unfortunately,  so are the weeds but they aren't going so slowly. I did get that taken care of today. I did want to note that I did not sow the seeds that closely together. I don't know if the spacing got messed up being buried under snow but that's the only thing I can figure. Some have a big gap between them and others are right on top of each other. Hmph.

Thank goodness these Egyptian Walking Onions do really seem self-sufficient for now! 

I have been making time to get the tomato plants out for some real sun. Luckily I've only got the two trays to schlep back and forth. 

My husband got this bundle of 8 foot stakes from work for $3. They came in slightly warped so they sold him the whole bundle at a huge discount. I'm sure I'll find a lot of uses for them. Money well spent. Oh, the perks of a lumber-yard man!

Banana Girl has had school function after school function. With so many snow day cancellations, everything is so jammed together now, it's been crazy. She had her 2nd grade performance last night. She was cast as the museum tour guide and my gosh, was she cute! But I'm biased. Her report card came home yesterday as well and she got straight S+'s. The teacher included a note to say that she is reading above grade level and has exemplary work-study habits. I took her out last night for an ice cream cone to celebrate her awesome performance and good grades. 

Spring. Isn't it lovely? Nine more days and I'll be able to slow down and enjoy it more.

To those that have commented or e-mailed over the last two weeks, I thank you for your patience! You guys are wonderful!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Birthday Gift & Rain

Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking but 27 is too old for my mother to be buying me a birthday gift. I know, I know, it's my mom and let her do what she likes for my birthday... but I can't help but feel that 27 years of life plus all of the love, guidance and support that has gone with it is more than just a gift. It's a true blessing.

Mom, sister Kathy and baby me

My mother, Lisa, is the solid foundation of our home and family. Country girl through and through, she was raised (and raised us) with the mentality that there is no problem on Earth that can't be tackled with love, perseverance and hard work. Her selflessness is astounding. As incredibly strong and tough as my mother is, she is equally loving and compassionate. 

Birthdays and holidays have always been a big deal to her. She came from a very big family, one of seven children. By necessity, anytime she or her siblings received gifts they were given clothes, shoes, socks and underwear. For as long as I can remember, my mom has always striven to give us a) something we needed, like her parents did and b) something we would like. 

Mom said she was at a loss of what to get me until she saw this neat little gizmo:

The MiracleGro AeroGarden. I had never heard of it before and wasn't quite sure what it was. But as I sat down and read the instruction booklet that came with it, I was intrigued. It's entirely soil-less, using sponges to soak up nutrient-laden water.  

Seed pod

Supposedly, you can grow almost anything with this little machine. The instruction booklet even claims you can grow a watermelon with it but does state that it would need to be transplanted to the garden at a later date. I wonder how well something that's grown out of the soil and is rooted in a a sponge will grow in the garden?... Sounds like an experiment waiting to happen. 

Day 2

The salad greens pictured above were started two days prior. I was surprised by how fast it germinated. It has an air pump that kicks on once every twelve hours to fountain the water onto the seed pods. The lights are all automatic so it's essentially self-sufficient. Just add water water and nutrients once a week. Hmmm.

Day 3

I think I will be experimenting with the AeroGarden quite a bit. Once I use the seed pods that came with it, I'll try using a cut sponge and using my own seeds. It may be useful for faster germination of things that are typically slow to germinate. I'll definitely have some fun with this thing.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Update

The last week has been a busy one which is why I opted not to post. I have been trying to minimize the "to-do" list and have been steadily knocking out the "must-do" list. Between taxes, dentist appointments, school functions and studying in preparation for a big test coming up, the little free time I've had has been devoted to family time.

In the interim, we have had snow again. It's very late in the season for us to get snow and I have a sneaky suspicion that our spring will be almost non-existent. We may get a week or two of spring-like weather and then we will probably go right into summer. We'll wait and see but for now, outlook not so good. Rain is in the forecast for the next three days so needless to say, it will probably be another week before I can get out in the garden to do anything.

I did get out yesterday to check on the peas and so far, I only have one little sprout out of the whole bunch. This little sprout did not seem to mind being buried by snow for two days. It's amazing what some things in nature are capable of withstanding. I've been turning it over in my mind but next season, I may give up on peas. Our spring seems to be growing shorter and shorter so the window to grow them in is slowly closing. Plus with planting space being at such a premium... as much as I love them, I may have to give them up until I have more space to grow them.

A quick update on seedlings... Tomato plants are doing well, all have true leaves now and most are working on a second set of leaves. A few even have a third set of leaves already. I'm topping up the soil in each pot and burying the stem almost up to the leaves (pictured on the left in the middle). The plants are sturdy enough but I want them to work on developing their roots and to have a stronger stem. 

The celery and onions have died. I did start some more celery but so far, nothing. They did take quite a while to germinate the last time. If they don't germinate, oh well. I'll try sowing some directly and if they don't take, I'll give them up for this season and try again some other time.

Here's a shot of the peppers. I've been watering them sparingly because I have a tendency to over-water. I have noticed something interesting about these seedlings. When they start to get thirsty, the original "baby" leaves will slowly raise straight up. The plant on the left in the picture is an example of that. My first thought was they were trying to raise up to the light but nope, it coincides with when they want water. 

I did get my cucurbits planted. I planted them in bigger pots because I didn't want to have to transfer them at a later date. They have a tendency to shock easily from transplanting so I'm hoping to minimize that as much as possible. Hopefully I timed it about right.

I also received a special delivery this week of Egyptian Walking Onions. (Thank you again, Ilene!) Also called tree onions, they're neat because instead of forming flowers, they form small "bulblets" which will eventually tip over and "walk" across your garden. I was able to beat the rain today and get them planted in a 32" x 48" bed I made of scrap wood specifically for them. As neat as the walking aspect is, I think I'll keep them as contained as possible, ha ha.

Well, I think that's enough for one day. Take care, everyone! :-)