Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween!

Alternate post title: OMG it's NOVEMBER?!?!!?!?


We had a fabulous first Halloween in our new house. As expected, this neighborhood was chock full of trick-or-treaters. We dolled out about seven bags of candy before the night was through. I think the children brought at least that much back in their treat bags.


Samantha went disguised as SUPER GIRL! This is mostly a mommy-made costume. Hard to tell, I know. ;)



Patrick dressed up as a ninja. He really wanted to be a Star Wars guy (for about the fourth year in a row) but he didn't want to wear a costume we already had and mean old mom refused to buy a duplicate just for the sake of the costume being "new". Luckily he was dazzled by the FOUR plastic swords that came with the ninja costume and he was sold.


Awww.. isn't William just the cutest kid in his Grim Reaper costume? You just want to curl up on the couch with him and snuggle.



Derek decided he wanted to try the Hobo lifestyle this year. He's not being sullen in the photo.. that's his "Hobo Face".



Cousin Ethan came to to see the kids in their costumes. I think we should submit this photo as a PSA for staying in school.


Ethan and Aunt Sarah watch the kids work on their jack-o-lanterns.


Even Super Girl needs a great Daddy.


We grew these pumpkins in our garden this year! Derek carved his own this year (top), William (bottom) and Patrick (middle) did most of their own pumpkin de-gutting and then drew the faces for mom and dad to cut out. Samantha's pumpkin was tiny and sat in the window.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Duck Creek

As usual, August passed in a blur and I'm just starting to catch my breath in late September. We took a little 4 day vacation to Duck Creek Village in Southern Utah. I've miniaturized these pictures, but if you click on them you can see a bigger version.




This is the cabin we rented. It was just perfect! A big enough step above camping to be more enjoyment then work but still rustic and woodsy.



All the kids played for hours outside of the cabin. Kids + trees, dirt, rocks = big fun.


Samantha shows off her camp hair.


Our very first fishing trip! I haven't fished in fifteen years. We found the perfect spot and after mixing with the perfect lures, we ALL caught fish!


Ok, so they weren't exactly gigantic fish..


but six little Rainbows made a nice dinner!


We had a lovely time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August? Already?

Today was Patrick's first day of Kindergarten. *sniff*


Our neighbor Rhett is in the first grade. He held Patrick's hand as they crossed the parking lot and Patrick declared, "Going to school with my BEST friend!".




He was a little apprehensive at first. This was his attempt to smile for the camera.




A little playground therapy to soothe the nerves.



Samantha is a little concerned for her big brother too. Will he be okay? There are a lot of kids here!




Feeling a little more confident.



The first day was a complete success. He came home gooey faced with a half eaten cupcake and a colored paper that declared, "My first day of Kindergarten was a piece of cake!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

One Oh Seven Ay - Em

That is what time it is. So I'll keep boring commentary to a minimum. Click on the pictures for a better view.

A little peek at what is growing:




Fully ripened and consumed (thus not pictured): 20 or so strawberries and an equal number of zucchini.


After a few weeks of only blue wildflowers, yellow has arrived.



Happy, happy Muskmelon.


Who knew green beans came from pretty white flowers?


Busy Bee.


A view of the back forty (yards).


Even Garden Sprites get sleepy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I was tagged by Farming in Suburbia. She maintains a fabulous plot in a community garden and has mad garden skills, yo. ;)

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules on the blog.
Write six random things about yourself.
Tag six people at the end of your post.
Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things:

1) I raised lambs in 4-H
2) I graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor degree in Biology (ecology focus) with a minor in Chemistry. It was big fun.
3) When I found out my second baby was going to be a boy I painted my toenails blue.
4) I have a bumper sticker on my minivan that says, "If your diapers aren't cloth, they're garbage".
5) I'm really interested in raising a few backyard chickens but I haven't convinced my husband.
6) If I can't have chickens (yet), I think I should be allowed to try my hand at vermicomposting in the basement. Husband unimpressed with that as an alternative hobby to microscale chicken farming.

I don't have 6 garden blog friends. Yes I'm that pathetic. But if I ever get any, I will tag them.

I am a Master Zucchini Gardener


And I know that speaks volumes about my skills in the garden. Ha. We're harvesting two or three zukes a day and I'm really glad I invested in the 225 recipes for zucchini book.

We have had no rain in weeks and I feel like I'm dumping half the water volume from the canal onto the garden every day. Despite my fears about over watering, I've come to believe that it's virtually impossible to over water a thirsty pumpkin plant after six weeks of near 100 degree weather.

The bean patch is coming along and starting to flower. I predict yummy snap beans in our near future!


The sunflowers have crossed the second support on the fence and are reaching towards the top. The wildflowers are beginning to bloom.


The tomatoes are nearly to the top of their cages and all the plants have fruit. However, nothing is ripening. Google says that it may be the heat. If that is the case, we'll have a lot of ripe tomatoes....... in September.





I think I've been parching the peppers. While they have been growing, the leaves look kind of shrively (that's a master zucchini gardener term, by the way). I mulched with a few shovelfuls of compost and have been watering a lot more heavily. Hopefully we'll get a few peppers this year.


My pride and joy! We discovered this little beauty when we lifted a vine out of the straw. It's from the Sugar Baby watermelon plant that I feared near death just a few weeks ago. Hooray for resilient plants!


My other sweet baby (muskmelon). Despite a bevy of bees and wasps, I've been hand pollinating "just to be sure". Call me desperate for success.



I'm not sure if I planted these too late, but I stumbled upon Moon and Stars watermelon seeds over Father's Day weekend. I love the spotted foliage and hope the season is long enough to produce spotted fruit.


It's starting to look like the squash jungle of my imagination.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heat Wave

After a long extended winter of cold wet snow and rain, we skipped Spring and went straight to mid summer. Most of the plants seems to love the heat and sun. The children certainly do! Both kids and garden have required lots of water in the last ten days.

I took pictures a few days ago and I can already see lots of new growth in the plants.


The sunflowers have reached the second cross support on the fence. We're getting a few tiny blooms from the wildflowers.


We have about five Early Girl tomatoes. I'm not even bothering with the growth-to-cage comparison picture because in just 3 days the plants have each grown several inches beyond the picture. The three plants in full sun all have tomatoes. The two in partial shade have blooms, but no fruit.


The muskmelon plants are thriving in the heat! Both have put on lots of growth although the leaves are still small. They're both flowering too.



The watermelon plants have also taken off. My single remaining sugar baby start fully recovered and looks fabulous.


The eggplants are also basking in the sun. All have what look to be flower buds. I assume this is where the eggplants may grow?


Zucchini! We have three that are almost ready to harvest. I can't wait! I love the big yellow flowers. I bought this book in hopes of a bumper crop.


The Howden is planning a hostile take over. And it looks as though Howden Jr. (to the left) is in on the plan. We've already got three little pumpkin lumps in the works.


The bean patch is looking pretty good. Most of the beheaded plants have grown new leaves.



Lest I only speak of my successes, it is with regret that I report that my poor lowly Basil plant is looking quite droopy and depressed. And none of the Basil seeds I sowed separately germinated. I had a few little sprigs that I'd started indoors, but something (Italian insect?) ate them.

Despite my attempts to net the strawberries, something is STILL getting to them before I can. There is a small gap in some spots between the netting and the ground so I think that may be the point of entry. Do mice eat strawberries?

My carrot patch is also looking quite sad. The foliage is being eaten away by who-knows-what leaving something that resembles sparse carrot grass (?) in the wake of it's feast. The second raised bed carrot patch suffered serious erosion (I suspect at the paw of the neighbor cat) and only a few of the sprouts survived. I can't justify the water to keep the remaining 5 or 6 seedlings damp in the 100 degree afternoons.

------------

Patrick, Samantha, and I met my friends Maria and Julie downtown on Monday for some rest and relaxation at the park followed by a quick visit to a favorite fabric store. While the moms browsed, the babies danced. Please do enjoy:


video

Monday, June 16, 2008

Congratulations! It's a...

Tomato! I'm ridiculously happy about this little guy. He's growing on our Sweet Cherry 100 plant. I also picked my first tomato worm today. Not quite as ridiculously happy about that, but I did enjoy dropping him into a vat of soapy water. Mwah ha ha!


It's hard for me to see the change in the plants since I'm in the garden several (thousand) times a day. So here, for my own future reference, is the current height of the tomato plants relative to their cages.


This is an acorn squash that we grew from seed in the house and then transplanted very early. None of the squash or melons enjoyed the rain and cold, but after four days of sun and heat, most are taking off like determined green rockets! The leaves on this plant are each as big as my hand.


I'm not sure if the cold will affect the eventual production of the eggplants. They hardly grew at all the first two weeks but with the heat wave they've perked up and are growing rapidly.


The muskmelons REALLY didn't like the cold. I thought they might not make it. They are putting out new leaves now but they are still small. Their color has much improved.


I love the Howden. I tell it every day how much I love it and it is getting HUGE! It really looked like a goner a few weeks ago and it's made an astonishing comeback.


This pepper is about 3.5 inches long now and starting to fill out. I can't wait to eat it! Their are two or three other little peppers starting to form.


The strawberry patch with some of the squash hills in the background. I couldn't help myself and direct seeded another two pumpkin hills and one more watermelon a few days ago. I can't wait to see our garden transformed into the ultimate squash jungle in a few months.


We've harvested a handful of berries so far. I had to put up bird netting to keep the birds (and maybe the neighbor cat?) out of the berry patch. The "Ever Bearing" plants that I put in the ground in early May seem to have exhausted their first fruiting. I put in a second batch of about 12 more plants the last week of May and they are now fruiting. I also planted four or five "Quinalt" plants. I think they only bear once in late summer. Hopefully we'll have at least a few handfuls each week throughout the summer. M
Maybe next year we'll get enough to make some strawberry jam.


Another great comparison shot. I can't believe the change in the sunflowers in 10 days! I planted another 8 plants against the chain link fence a few days ago and they have already sprouted and are working on their first true leaves. Note the naughty stray squash in the middle of the wildflower seed. I think it's zucchini.


The Crimson Sweet watermelon transplant looks like it might be on the way to the compost pile. The Sugar Baby still looks like it's still trying, but not thriving. In a last ditch attempt to grow watermelon, I direct seeded a few. The seedlings are doing well so far, so there is hope yet! I only had Crimson Sweet seed so I hope the Sugar Baby hangs in there so we can compare the two melon varieties.