Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Gardening Adventure: Part 3...We Are FARMERS, That's What We Do!

I watch that garden of mine like a hawk and so, the other night I was checking the weather (because that's what we do...we farmers, that is...) and gasped when I saw that the temperatures were going to drop back down to freezing!  OH MY GOODNESS!  It had been 80 degrees the day before; what was happening here?!  I quickly told Hubby that we had to cover everything again so as not to lose all of those tender little plants.  We got out flashlights, tarp and buckets and hurried out to cover our soon-to-be produce.  WHEW!  That was a close call but the garden was saved and now the time had come to fertilize those little plants to give them a growing boost.

                               As you can see, everything is beginning to coming up nicely!

The blueberry bushes are still small but are getting a little bigger since we have put fertilizer stakes around them.
The olives are kept in these pots, so every time we have a freeze warning they are easily moved in to protect them.
This is some of the squash we planted just outside of the garden (because we ran out of room inside...).
These are bush beans (green beans).  We also planted them outside the garden and they have only been planted for about one week!  Apparently, beans grow pretty quickly.
                                               The blackberry bushes are growing well too.
We thought we had lost this blackberry bush but were surprised to find that it had reseeded itself and has started coming up again!
                                                 The nectarine trees are getting there too.

                      Yesterday, it was time to fertilize and see if we can boost those plants of ours.
Hubby poured all of the fertilizer into a bucket, gave me a cup...WAIT!  That's one of my good cups (sigh...).  And told me to get out there and help him fertilize the garden.  He told me, "You said we are farmers.  This is what farmers do."
He told me to just take a cupful of the fertilizer and make a ring around each plant.  That was easy enough.
                                                    After the fertilizing, then we watered.

And now the watching continues.  This gardening thing is pretty fun so far.  It's not too big for us to be stressed out over and can be easily covered with the threat of a freeze; I wonder what "real" farmers do?  For now, all we have to do is water and wait.  Oh, and and when we go out of town, find someone to water it for us.  HEY!  We are farmers (OK, "gardeners"...), that's what we do!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Don't Bath Towels Last FOREVER?

It was brought to my attention the last time all of the kids were in that perhaps I needed to invest in new bath towels.  "What do you mean?  My bath towels are perfectly fine," I replied.  One daughter-in-law was actually folding some of those towels for me at the moment and held one up to show a very frayed edge.  I said, "Just tear that edge off and the towel, itself is fine."  Another was held up to show me that one could see through to the other side.  And then, David said, "Mom, you have Ninja Turtle towels in the cabinet...I am almost 30 years old!"  Well, those are good towels too, I replied.  But then the question was asked that I had been waiting for:  "Just how long have you had these towels anyway?"  "Why, since your dad and I were married...32 years ago."  And that brings me to this weekend.  A weekend where my husband insisted on buying new bath towels.

Having never really shopped for bath towels, himself, Hubby rushed over to the towel section at Bed Bath and Beyond in search of some fresh threads to dry off on.  I was having a bit of an anxiety attack because I knew how much towels cost and truthfully, I could find something much better to spend my money on than bath towels.  And besides...mine really were still good.

                                              We entered the "towel section" of the store...
          And Hubby went in with a BANG!  Pulling towels out.  Look at them and feeling of them.
                  I, on the other hand was noticing that there was such a thing as "designer towels"!
                                                        That were pretty EXPENSIVE!!
    OH MY GOSH!!  Who in their right mind would actually spend 40 bucks for a TOWEL?!
And so while Hubby was still popping towels out, I continued to search for something a little more affordable to dry a wet body off with.  20 bucks...still too much.
Nope!  Still too expensive for me; especially if we were going to buy more than one or two.  Which I suspected we were (sigh...).
Hmmm...We were getting there but surely I could find something a little less than 10 bucks a towel.
And then I did!  I  moved Hubby over in the direction of these towels and then I had to decided on colors.  Well, truthfully, the more expensive towel had prettier colors, but I was confident that I could find something in this section.
                                            I did and then Hubby started filling the buggy up. 
How many towel were we going to get anyway?!  I sent a photo of this to the kids, who cheered him on and told me to have a glass of wine afterwards.
              The pile of towels that would make their new home with us continued to grow.
                             And then before I knew it, he had moved on to the kitchen towels!
As we were checking the towels out, I had to make a deal to throw one bath towel away for each new one that was purchased; 24!  On our way to the car, I sent a text to the children that said, "Question:  Do I have to wash all these towels before using them?!"  The replies began to pour in, some saying yes, some saying no.  I said, "How about let's just say we did and don't?"

I got home and sat those bags of towels in my house and just looked at them.  I wasn't going to deal with them until Monday.  On Monday, I pulled them out, started tearing the tags off and folding them (true to my word, I was NOT going to add to my already heavy laundry load...).  I was also doing laundry that day and began to take my old towels out of the dryer to determine which 24 would "bite the dust".  As I went through them, I still thought they really weren't as bad as the children said they were.  I sent them a message that said, " I have a BIG dilemma.  I don't know where to start with throwing these towels away because there are some perfectly good ones in there."  To which I immediately received several replies:  "Start with giving up the ones you can see through.  Then, the ones you catch your toenails on or get your fingers stuck in; just remember handles were not meant to be in towels."  As you can clearly see, I was dealing with a bunch of funny guys.  But I started making my pile...
And yes, I threw away the Ninja Turtle towel and a see-through Bambi one and the ones with the frayed edges.
I sent them this photo with the caption:  "Happy now, children?"  To which they replied, "Those look great!  But where are the old ones?  And I hope you aren't keeping those all in YOUR bathroom."  UGH!  Children.  Bossy little suckers, aren't they?

Well, to answer the question of "Where are the old ones?"  That is "classified" information of which "The Children" are not privy to!  Because after all, "Don't Bath Towels Last Pretty Much FOREVER?"

Friday, April 11, 2014

I Went In Search Of Bovine...

I went in search of bovine the other day with my camera in hand.  We live in an area where there are lots of fields with crops...and herds of cattle.  As I had passed through certain areas on my way here and there, I noticed that the grass in the fields was a beautiful green color with a heavy sprinkling of yellow flowers that made a fabulous backdrop for the cattle that were grazing there.  And then my obsessive personality took over and I decided that I MUST photograph some of these bovine!  But my dilemma was being able to catch them close enough to get a shot.  And then I noticed in the evenings (Yes, I was stalking cows.  I told you I was obsessive.) that they would come in to feed and so I just kept my camera in the car with me at all times and pulled over every time I saw a shot I wanted to take.  I went in search of bovine and here is what I found...

These were taken with my camera.  These bovine were found fairly close to my house and pretty much my inspiration for photographing them in the first place since I had to pass them daily in my comings and goings.
And on my way home from our lake house, while traveling the back roads, I came upon these cuties.  I was so excited to see this big pasture filled with them and LOTS of calves out there too!   However, when I slowed down (In the middle of the road...HEY!  Nothing was coming up behind me) and snapped the first shot with my phone, those babies took off running!
                                        But, fortunately, I was able to get a couple more shots.
                                                           Now, how beautiful is this?

I'm sure this will not be the last time you will see bovine here on my blog because I am not done with them yet.  Actually I think this obsession with photographing them has suddenly sparked another inspiration...I just might pull out my watercolors and paint them next!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

So Tell Me Again Why I Can't Have A Goat?

The look on my husband's face was quite priceless the other day when out of the blue I said, "Can I get a goat?"  He cut his eyes over in my direction and said, "No."  Well, no has never really meant "no" to me so I questioned him as to why I couldn't have one.  He told me for one thing, a goat would eat up my whole yard.  I thought about that for a moment and said, "Couldn't we just fence a little area off for the goat?"  Hubby then finally said, "WHY do you even want a goat??"  I had that answer ready:  "We could milk it and have goat milk...and make goat cheese."  He added, "And eat it?"  "NO!!  We would NEVER eat my little goat!"  And then he pulled out the big guns..."Our neighborhood does not allow livestock."  "We don't live in a neighborhood," I replied.  He informed me that although we didn't live "in" the neighborhood, our legal papers said that we were part of it and had to go by its rules (hmmm...a likely story).  I asked how they would even know we had a goat since our property is fenced in and he replied in his best goat voice, "Baaa...".  Again he asked me why I suddenly wanted a goat, to which I replied that I had seen pictures of my friend's goat and thought it was so cute.  He told me I sounded like Miss Kay on Duck Dynasty.
                                    Here's a picture of my friend's goat.  Doesn't it look cute?

So, I'm not sure if after that whole conversation Hubby really meant that I couldn't have a goat.  I'm thinking it meant, "I'll think about it..."

Monday, April 7, 2014

Let Me Show You My Flowers...

My mother has the greenest thumb I know.  My entire life is full of memories of her tending the beautiful flowers in her yard.  She could literally take a small cutting from any plant and in no time at all it was a mature, blossoming plant that she would have for years to come.  As she has grown older, lost most of her eyesight and her body has begun to fail, she has been able to get out less and less to not only tend but enjoy walking in her yard to enjoy her flowers.  This past week while visiting her, she was having a good day and joined me on a walk outside.  As we would walk slowly through trails of blooming spring flowers showing off for us, she would say, "Let me show you my flowers..."  And so, take a walk with me in springtime through my mother's yard...

 This is the house that I grew up in.  My parents built it when I was only three years old and my mother has lived in it ever since.  Originally set on ten acres, most of that land has now been divided between my sister and me and the house presently sits on about one acre.  One acre of the most beautiful flowers in a naturally wooded landscape one might ever see.
                       Mama leads the way for the annual springtime tour of her flower gardens.
You can see here that her azaleas are beginning to bloom.  She has them in every color and they really put on a colorful show each year.

As we continued our walk, Mama pointed out how her Flox were popping up everywhere and insisted on pulling some up for me to "stick in the ground" at my house.  She assured me that they will come up every year and I can't kill them.  We will see about that.  But I agreed because I do so love those little purple flowers!

And if there is anything she loves more than flowers, it is birds.  My mother's yard is a bird sanctuary.  When her sight was much better, she and my step-father would sit inside their living room and watch from the glass door the most enormous and diverse group of birds descend at different time of the day and year to feed on the seed they had left for them.  My mother still spends a great deal of time feeding "her" birds and little bird houses and feeders can be seen scattered throughout her property...

And as we continued to walk, I reminisced about my childhood here in the country.  I couldn't help but snap a couple of photos that reminded me of those days long gone...
See those little white flowers sticking their heads out of the clover?  Those little wildflowers were a pretty big part of my childhood.  I can remember sitting and creating crowns, necklaces, bracelets and rings out of them to adorn myself with.
And who can forget searching for that "Lucky Four Leaf Clover'?  I don't recall ever finding one, but much time was spent searching.  As we noticed these my mother also thought of an old song about searching for a four leaf clover that she sang for me:
                                   "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover"
                                                (originally by Art Mooney)

                                             I'm looking over a four leaf clover
                                             I overlooked before
                                            One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
                                           Third is the roses that grow in the lane

                                           No need explaining
                                           The one remaining is somebody I adore
                                           I'm looking over a four leaf clover
                                           I overlooked before

                                          I'm looking over a four leaf clover
                                          I overlooked before
                                         One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
                                         Third is the roses that grow in the lane

                                         No need explaining
                                        The one remaining is somebody I adore
                                        I'm looking over a four leaf clover
                                        I overlooked before

"Let me show you my flowers..."  And show me she did.  Taking a walk through these gardens always brings back happy memories of living the simple life in the country as a child.  There was no cable television, Internet or even computer for that matter.  I would open a book, sit with my little dog and play out in this wonderful yard.  This yard filled with so many beautiful flowers that my mother spent a lifetime tending.