What’s New in the Garden

This spring thus far has been full of energy…and pollen. Lots and lots and lots of pollen. As I write this, I’m scratching my nose and holding off a sneeze…but I digress…

The hubs and I have gotten back into the yard and are making some great strides. After being in an RV for 3  years, the one thing I really missed more than anything else was having a yard, or more specifically, a garden. Last year’s garden kind of did terrible, mostly because I just couldn’t keep up with it like I should’ve once my pregnancy reached a certain point. This year I have all new energy and I’m ready to give it another go!

I’m a huge fan of Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Garden. His soil plan is basically 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost mixture, and 1/3 vermiculite. The upfront cost is kind of a lot (for dirt), but year after year all you need to do is add more compost to revitalize the soil. I love how this mixture drains so nicely during times of heavy rain.

My garden last year consisted of this mixture (kind of…my own version of it which doesn’t require measuring), but it didn’t have the boxed beds. Basically I piled up little beds that were 4×4 with the mixture. And as soon as it rained, my nice expensive soil went everywhere. So this year the hubs fixed that and I love it! It’s so much easier!

The garden is located in the foundation of what used to be a greenhouse. When we first moved in, the area was so overgrown we didn’t even know that the foundation was there! The good thing is that the soil was somewhat good…the bad thing is that it was a glass greenhouse and I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding shards of glass in the soil for the next 50 years or so.

It’s so much fun digging around in a 80 year old garden…you never know what you’re going to find! I’m still looking for a cannon ball from the civil war….who knows? Maybe I’ll find it!

Every year I look forward to the surprises my compost pile will bring. I have a pile for compost, and when I’m on top of my game, I’ll load up my compost tumbler, tumble it daily for a few weeks or a month and have fresh compost. Full disclosure…I’ve never been on top of my game. So thus, my pile for compost grows larger than my tumbler can keep up with, and I always end up with “surprises” at springtime. Last year it was pumpkins, this year it’s sweet potato and onion.

I think the thing I’m most excited about is my fig tree. I almost dug it up because I was so sure it was dead. But alas! It was just the very last thing to make a comeback! And I’m so glad! Of all the plants in the yard, this one is actually sentimental to me. It is a clipping from my grandparents’ fig tree, something I requested when my grandmother sold her house that I practically grew up in. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take before I actually get some figs from it, but I’m just glad it made it through it’s first winter in zone 7.

Thus far I’ve planted pumpkin, watermelon, corn (yes I’m way early on all of those, but with 3 small kids, if I don’t get it in the ground when I can I may not be able to ever get it in the ground, so I’ll risk it) beets, buttercrunch lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, peas, and companion flowers to attract pollinators. That’s just in 2 beds…I still have 64 square feet to plant!! Oh the veggies!

I found this wonderful (and FREE) gardening planner at Gardeners.com for those who do square foot gardening! It’s wonderful because it tells you just how many seeds/plants you should plant per square foot! Check it out!

Happy Earth Day!! #sharetheharvest

Beating the summer heat….while pregnant

Pardon the serious lack of blogging, but there is a serious lack of motivation on my end right now. It seems that every time I sit down to write a blog or do anything creative, all I can seem to do it think about the heat. That and sweat. And sweat some more. And I’m usually a positive, optimistic person….but I’m pretty sure this heat is frying my brain. I’m glad to know it’s not just me, as this seems to be the hottest summer on record…ever. Of course it’s the hottest summer ever…because I’m pregnant and the AC unit is out. It’s quite fitting, actually.

And I’m sorry to say that the garden is taking the worst of it. I have now harvested my pumpkin…in August. It is likely to be one of maybe 2 pumpkins that I get as of right now. It was supposed to be a full-size jack-o’-lantern…it ripened as a pie pumpkin 🙁 As this is my first year of having pumpkins, I was sure I was doing something wrong. But then after talking to a local farmer, I realized that everyone is having a hard time this year. That makes me feel a little better about my own green thumb, though I’m kind of dreading a fall season with a serious lack of pumpkins 🙁 There is still time, I believe, to get some pumpkins going if the heat and humidity drop, so I’m still hopeful.

This is a female flower...which blooms beautifully and creates a pumpkin in normal weather. I have seen many, many of these this year! And I have seen many, many of them shrivel up and die before ever even opening up :(
This is a female flower…which blooms beautifully and creates a pumpkin in normal weather. I have seen many, many of these this year! And I have seen many, many of them shrivel up and die before ever even opening up 🙁
A pollinated female flower! Notice the growing pumpkin?! Exciting, right! Too bad the heat killed it off a few days later :(
A pollinated female flower! Notice the growing pumpkin?! Exciting, right! Too bad the heat killed it off a few days later 🙁
And finally...my pride and joy! Unfortunately this little fella is already turning orange and not getting much bigger, but I suppose I should be happy with something!
And finally…my pride and joy! Unfortunately this little fella is already turning orange and not getting much bigger, but I suppose I should be happy with something!

And in really good news….the new AC unit is going in as I type!! Hip hip hooray! These fellas are my heroes! Did I mention that we’ve been camping out in the living room in front of the window unit since it went out? Which has been somewhat fun if you like sleeping on the couch while pregnant….which I don’t. This is actually my ideal setup:

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Yes, I have absolutely confiscated every decent pillow in the house….unashamedly. Husband gets one. Children share one. I get the rest…I think my normal count is 6 or 7 now…

But I digress…back to my sure-fire way to beat the summer blues (and heat). It’s simple really….start working on fall! And winter! Harvesting a pumpkin already actually helped with this process! And yesterday we had some fabulous chocolate chip pumpkin muffins! These things were totally worth turning the oven on in this heat, though I probably could have cooked them on my deck.

I’ve also already finished Halloween costume #1 (this might be a bit early for most, but since baby #3 is due in October and I’m pretty certain I will be busier than ever, I thought I’d knock this one out now)! And on that note, this is probably the last “Simplicity” pattern I’ll ever attempt. The name is super-deceptive. It should be called “Super-Difficult And Will Take You Weeks And Cost You Twice As Much In Fabric Than If You Were To Buy It At The Store” pattern. And as excited as my child is for her new costume, there is always that very real possibility of her seeing another costume around Halloween time and becoming completely ungrateful for all my time and effort. I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for that now because I’m so sure it will come, despite the fact that I’ve already threatened to eat all her candy if she so much as longingly stares too long at another costume. I’m a somewhat jealous seamstress…

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Another thing we’ve been doing is youtubing fall/winter DIY videos and recipes. Most of the videos that I have been watching have been made by….teenagers. Yes, I am now officially old. And they are ridiculously young and freakishly talented with their video skills….and their recipes aren’t half bad either! And I’m old enough to be their young, hip mom. In my defense I’ve tried looking up grown-up mommy youtube DIY channels…and they’re very boring and feature a lot of Martha Stewart. Youtube is such a weird world.

You gotta admit those are cute videos! And I swear they make the house feel cooler!

Anyway…the forecast is starting to look reasonable next week, so there is hope in our future! Yay! Don’t give up! Cardigans and pumpkin spice everything is right around the corner!!

 

Best Christmas Gift Ever!

What is the best gift a tired mother of two small ones could get for Christmas? A spa session? A makeover? A date night? A new car? A private yacht?
I’m happy to say I got something even better!
After 4 long, and yet short, years of changing diapers, washing diapers, making diapers, and carrying the all-important diaper bag with me everywhere I go, my youngest is officially potty-trained! YIIIPPPEEEE!!!
I’ve been pretty blessed with potty training with both my kids. Both of them were, well, easy to train! I absolutely dreaded doing it. I’ve heard that every kid is different and learns differently. My first-born learned a few months after turning 2. My youngest at just 19 months. Both of them required a solid week of staying home, going butt naked, living in the bathroom, and me asking them about 1,000,000,000 if they need to go potty. And then, of course, there is the epic potty dance. Oh you don’t know the potty dance? Of course you do! It goes like this:
“Pee-pee-in-the-POT-TEE!
Pee-pee-in-the-POT-TEE!
Pee-pee-in-the-POT-TEE!”
and repeat until your vocal chords bleed and you find yourself begging for even the most annoying Caillou song.
Of course there is a downside to potty training for those who don’t know. And it’s called “the public restroom”. It is a nightmare I know I will relive again and again, and yet I will spare you the gory details since it’s still the Christmas season. You’re welcome.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with all the warmth that only a very unusual warm front can bring!!

Best Santa Photo Ever!

Being that this is the closest we’ve ever gotten our 3 year old to Santa, I consider this a BIG win!

And on a side note, Bass Pro Shop is AWESOME! Thank goodness the Hubs wasn’t with me or I’m pretty sure we would’ve left with a 4-wheeler. Or a boat. That place isn’t a store…it’s an experience! And they have a winter wonderland with FREE Santa photos! And they had free games and crafts for the kids! Win win win win!! Soooooo glad we live 40 minutes away or I’d be shopping there for everything except bread and toilet paper! No wonder people like to hunt! I wanted to take up hunting after being in that place!

I think I’m developing a shopping-crush…

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Ice Skating with a 3-Year-Old

On my laundry-list of merry-making events, ice skating was near the top. My little preschooler has become quite the girly-girl, and among her many lists of things to do that makes her even more of a princess is ice skating. Not sure where exactly she got that from, but my intuition tells me Sophia the First is probably to blame.

None-the-less, I was really excited to take her ice skating for the first time. Ok, technically 2nd, but the first time was before she could walk, so I’m not sure that counts…

I planned this special day out a few weeks ago, thinking only of when the rink would open and not at all about what the temperature would be outside. It was hovering around 60. But by the miracle of technology, the outside rink was still open and at least mostly covered in ice, so it was perfect enough for us!

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By another miracle, we got there right when they opened, and being that it was early and kind of drizzly and really warm, we had the whole place to ourselves! Which was perfect for the first time on the ice!

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Thank goodness this was pretty cheap entertainment, being that we lasted a whole 15 minutes on the ice before she was frustrated that she couldn’t do a triple spin. I’m just really glad we didn’t invest in ice skates for Christmas gifts this year!