Friday, June 26, 2020

Squirrels did this



We almost had a crushed flamingo!  I had a mint plant on top of the stump and the squirrels had been digging in there.  I put a rock in the place where they were digging but I guess they came back and got a little too aggressive!  I've since moved the plant to the ground.  I thought about nailing the planter to the stump but they could still rock the entire thing over.


After the accident, with more rocks added to prevent digging.

Mint spreads fast so we've put it in a pot to keep it stationary and it helps prevent mosquitoes.

The stump in the back is there to give the squirrels and occasional cat something to jump down on instead of the birdbath which can also fall over.  Now I guess we have two stumps for that purpose.



Quarantining Just Got Real

Wednesday I attended a funeral with my cousin and aunt.  Yesterday we got the news that a family we sat beside had spent time over Father's Day weekend with family members that tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Their 25 year old relative from Florida, flew up to visit for Father's Day weekend.  She felt sick enough to get tested and while waiting for test results, visited with family on the 17th and 20th but neglected to tell them she was waiting for test results.  The 20th gathering was outside, and that's the one that the family we sat beside attended for three hours.  The 25 year old attended church the next day and hugged everyone in sight, then got her results the next day that she was positive.  The church has been forced to close for two weeks.  The family that sat beside us, has not been tested but say they feel fine, their grandparents who attend my home church have tested negative.  

We have my family reunion this weekend of which only half the family were attending, but it was still considered a precious time to spend with family we only see once a year.  Now due to caution and concern that could have contracted the virus, we are forced to stay home.  My aunt will be devastated, she has dementia and was really looking forward to this reunion, so much that it was all she talked about and it's going to be really hard to explain to her why we can't go.  We don't know how many lucid years she may have left so it's extremely hard to stay home.

Our logic in staying home is this:
  • My brothers both work for companies where they have to report if they've come in contact with anyone who is known to have the virus or even suspects they might have it.  This could result in them being sent home for two weeks.  One brother can work from home, the other would be sent home with no pay for two weeks.  One has to fill out paperwork every day that states he hasn't to his knowledge come in contact with a sick person. 
  • I reflect on how upset I got on hearing the news that someone thought they might have it and got tested but meanwhile went about their activities like nothing was wrong and I said to myself, I just can't do that to my family.  How could I put my family through that frustration?  
  • While the event this family attend was outside, they have 3 young girls, given the nature of 25 year old hugging everyone in sight, it's best to assume she probably cuddled with her nieces and thus they could be carriers.  
  • The family that sat next to us had a daughter that coughed throughout the service, a deep cough that sounded like bronchitis to me but enough of a cough to wonder why did they bring her to an indoor service?!?  I don't know the time line of how fast a child or person could get infected, we sat with them on the 24th and the event they attended was on the 20th, could she get sick in 4 days?  Seems like it could be a cough from another illness but the doubt is still there.
I'm told that it takes at least 48 hours to become symptomatic, which means today at 10am we've reached 48 hours. We are now going into strict quarantine until I can get tested next week, Tuesday or Wednesday and hopefully we can get a test result by next Friday.  I'm trying really hard to not be super bummed out and discouraged.  

Saturday, June 20, 2020

2019 Garden VS 2020 Garden


2019 June Garden - covered in lettuce towers


2020 June Garden - one lettuce tower on the outside of the fence

I liked the wooden rows last year, but it didn't stop lettuce from invading and we didn't do a very good job of keeping it weeded out so it kinda took over.  This year, it never showed up in the main garden so I guess we got it out last year.  

Our garden fence needs rebuilt, we've decided to do it in the fall when things cool down.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Canoe mounted, Squash planted

Today is a victory in terms of the honey-do list.  I've been pestering husband to get the canoe mounted to the fence for quite some time and today was the day it went up onto the fence, thus making way for a small squash patch.  I've been trying to keep these squash happy in two pots but they are out of space and clamoring for a patch to spread out in.  How do I know this?  Every day they get hot and wilt no matter how much I water them.  This shows me they need to dig deeper than the space I've given them.  





We are still working on getting the claw foot bathtub out of the yard.  Last year I filled it with sand and gravel from the wider path than we wanted.  Husband has been steadfastly finding places for it and promises to get rid of it one day.  The stone path leading to the gate needs reset and check out our work in progress shed - it's made from reclaimed pallets!!

 

 

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Purple Sweet Potatoes have arrived!

I've been waiting a week for these babies to arrive, somehow the roots were still damp.  All are planted and waiting to be taken to the garden at my mom's house.  They look sad now but once planted all should be fine.






Monday, June 01, 2020

The Library has re-opened for curb side pick up!

Last week I got a phone call asking if we still wanted the items we had on hold since the library closed suddenly in mid-March.  I may have gotten a little too excited and promptly took the first appointment available which was today at 10:45am.  Husband was at school working with students who haven't turned in their work and hadn't answered their emails in the last two months so I dragged all four kids out of the house - two were not even dressed yet - and off to the library we went!  We got there 10 minutes early and two people came up to give us various instructions like call this number and let them know inside that you are here.  While calling the number a third person came out and told me to back the vehicle up 4 spaces, then when I got out she said my name and told me to grab the bag on the table.  The kids didn't even get out of the vehicle!  The youngest was peeved because she can't read and didn't get anything.  The oldest was miffed because she had asked for new items three days ago when we got the call and they weren't pulled yet, so basically two out four were happy.  Then after we got home I showed the oldest how she could read one book she hadn't selected as it looks interesting and now she's happy.  Sorry 5 year old, I'm sure you will find something to do today.

Well I guess May is over

And I guess school is mostly over for the school year - the last day coded into my calendar at the beginning of the school year was May 25th, it came and went with no ceremony last week.  Usually husband plays that horrid song from Alice Cooper "School's Out" and there's a school picnic.  Instead we have a two week extension for those who need more time to complete their assignments.  I was a bit surprised when my two oldest hadn't finished their work last Thursday with both declaring they had a few things left to do and would do them on Monday.  I just thought you'd want to be done but that's my aptitude and I'm careful to let them manage their own schedules.  See I'm adapting to this home school thing just fine.

I've not minded having them all home since mid-March.  I was the organizer of schedules and lesson plans which came from teachers email, text message and posts on the school website - everyone has their own way of doing things.  If it's language related I'm your teacher, if it's math or science track down your dad for help.  Join me on the daily walk with the dog or not.  Occasionally we might take all to the empty parking lot for relay races at lunch time but don't expect it every day.  Help me with the gardening or not.  It's my hobby, not going to make it mandatory.  Help me with the baking or not, also my hobby.  Just don't fight about it and I'll make sure each gets a turn who wants one.  The only thing I've been super adamant about is daily chores.  You want screen time?  Get your school work done, or at least a couple of hours progress, finish your assigned chores and then you can have two hours or more if we lose track of blissful screen time.  

Things are slowly opening up.  It was announced last Friday that pools can open with 25% capacity, drive-in theaters, youth sports and day camps with 10 or less may operate.  Restaurants may open with outdoor dining.  We are now in part two of phase 1 in re-opening Maryland.

I've grown used to life of working from home and projects with no plans of needing to be anywhere.  We haven't gone to church since March 15th, or the YMCA, or art classes at the museum, and no work trips since January.  I'm afraid the children have grown feral, the girls hair is certainly tangled enough.  I honestly wonder how we will ever get back on schedule but I'm sure when the time is right we will persevere.  For now I'm enjoying an empty calendar.  

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

We didn't do our usual bar-b-que fest, it didn't seem right to celebrate with the subdued mood from corona virus casualties reaching 100K in this country and to be honest, it's really more about honoring fallen soldiers.  Still, it's a day off work, so we worked on the kids/guest bathroom and painted walls, grouted tiles, etc.  At the end of the day we sprung a blue jello with whipped cream and strawberries on the kids to be festive.  

At mom's house we weeded our primary garden and planted one butternut squash (bought at a local nursery) and one zucchini grown from seed.  I'm super nervous about these because last year my butternut got fried from the heat.  I've asked husband to set up a separate bucket with soaker hose just for this small plant bed. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Happy Dinosaur and Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

We learned our lesson from the last announced theme holiday to be prepared with an idea before the day arrives.  Husband decided to create the La Brea tar pit with chocolate pudding and crushed cookies for topping.  It literally took less than 5 minutes.  We got so excited we forgot to make lunch, fortunately it was chicken nuggets and they only take 10 minutes.  We then covered the table in trees and boulders from the kids dino play sets.  Then, after lunch, I made chocolate chip cookies with Sam.  As he was the nominated baker, he was given a handful of chocolate chips to eat.  He counted them out and gave each sister 7.  Random acts of kindness make this mom's heart so proud.

May 15th is also the day Maryland reopened parks for kids to play on playground equipment!  It feels so good to be in phase 1 of recovery from the coronavirus lock down. 







Primary Garden is Planted

Update on the big freeze that came after our first attempt to plant - it killed our tomato plants, that we bought at the store, but strawberries and potatoes survived!

Today is May 14th and we are now quite sure the cold weather is over, the next 10 days are predicted to be 50 - 70's.  It feels a bit late to be planning as we usually plant after Easter, but it's been an unusually cool spring.

Here is a our landscape plan for the garden at mom's house 16 x 16':


Tomatoes are all grown from seed, strawberries are from my cousins garden that were overgrowing her neat rows, potatoes are from last year's crop that were too small to eat so we let them take root, pintos were grown from seed, and the purple sweet potatoes were ordered from Filaree Garlic Farm which should be shipped to us soon.  I'm really excited and super nervous about putting these babies into the ground but all we can do at this point is cross our fingers and hope for great weather conditions!!

As a side note, we are aware that strawberries and tomatoes are not traditional companion plants, but there is nothing saying they cause harm when planted next to each other so we elected to plant in this order although after further research, potatoes and tomatoes can grow side by side and strawberries and potatoes can grow together so maybe next year we move the strawberries to the front and grow in order of strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, pintos.  I might even eliminate regular potatoes because they are cheap to buy and I don't do any canning or freezing with them.  I might switch to one row of purple sweet potatoes and two rows of strawberries.  

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Garden Update

Early April, when things were still tense with the Coronavirus lock down,  I ordered a bunch of seeds on Etsy.  This week I realized the strawberry seeds had not arrived so I went online and canceled the order on the basis that they sent me an email three weeks ago saying it had shipped.  I got back a rather rude email from the supplier saying they had written in big bold letters on the website that shipments would be delayed.  I get that, but if the system already says my order shipped, I'm never going to get it.  Regardless he returned my money so I'm satisfied.  

Last week my cousin gave me 10-12 strawberry plants so I'm good on that front! 

In recent weeks I've gotten everything I need from either Lowes or the local nursery who is very happy to have paying customers.

Update on my seedlings:
  • Roma Tomatoes - all 6 are 3-4" tall and doing extremely well
  • Beefsteak Tomatoes - 12+ are going strong
  • Pintos - 6-8 are doing well
  • Black Beans - all 6 are good
  • Zucchini - 1 is doing well, another just sprouted
  • Jalapenos - 6 out of 8 are about 1" tall
  • Red Bell Pepper - 6 out of 6 have been 1" for a long time so not sure if I should count these as a success yet.
Now for what is NOT working:
  • Tomatillos - nothing
  • Anaheim - 1 out of 6
  • Ruby Red Onions - 2 out of 8
  • Lettuce - nothing
  • Carrots - nothing
  • Basil - looks like red bell pepper, I'm confused on this
  • Poblano's - nothing
  • Chili Cubanelle's - nothing
  • Butternut Squash - nothing
I went to our local nursery on 5/1 and bought one butternut squash, two tomatillos, 2 roma's and 4 jalapeno's.  I really didn't need the jalapeno's but it was before mine had gotten to 1" so I thought those were not performing like the other peppers.

In summary, I'm very sad about the peppers.  I've put a heater in the room with the plants and plastic over the door entrance so the room is up to 75-80 all day.  It should be warm enough.  The next step is to get a heat warmer for plants but I still think I'll hold off on that for now.  It's time to get the successful plants into the ground and move forward!  

Check out my babies.  I've been putting them out for two weeks now, skipping the rain/freezing days and they are finally ready to be planted.  Some went into the ground yesterday.   Some went into the ground last weekend and had to be repotted when we got a two day freeze - in May!  Craziness.  









Saturday, May 09, 2020

Fixing up the Porch

To be honest, the entire porch needs to be rebuilt, but currently we are being careful with our money so this will need to wait a year or two.  For now I will have to be satisfied with re-painting and replacing the lattice work.

Before Photos







Snow - in May!?!

Okay it was just flurries, but still a concern since we've already planted strawberries, potatoes and 4-6 tomatoes at mom's house.  In our backyard garden we planted 2 tomatillos and 4 jalapenos.  I repotted our plants and brought them back inside.  We covered the ones at mom's house with plastic.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Time to get our plants in the ground

The weather seems to be holding up to 50-60's so we're ready to get our first round of plants in the ground.  Potatoes, strawberries and 4-6 tomatoes.  Our seedlings are not big enough so I bought the tomatoes at a local farmers market.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Today I learned a valuable lesson

Do not put a special day on the calendar if not prepared to fully celebrate that day.

Today is Superhero Day.  We only intended to play superhero music and movies but we were badgered all day to make capes!

I put the onerous on husband to make the capes because I'm working full time and he knows how to use the sewing machine better.  He just ignored them until they stopped asking.  Somehow they still managed to make me feel guilty for not providing capes.

Happy Superhero Day!

PS:  In writing this quick post, I learned that Superhero is one word, that really bugs me, I feel like it should be two words.

Update - youngest put on Batman jammies, because it's Superhero Day y'all!  She found a way to celebrate without capes!! 


Friday, April 17, 2020

Week 5 - Quarantine Life

We're at the end of week five, and it's starting to feel like the new normal.  I've read that if you do anything consistently for at least three weeks it will start to feel normal, that's usually in reference to diets and exercise but I think it applies here. 

I got into a rut of ordering things online because of repeated warnings to stay home except to shop for groceries so once we achieved our two week food run, we would stay inside with the exception of working in the yard or walks with the dog.  This week I finally broke quarantine by going to two garden stores with a face mask and hand sanitizer to buy garden supplies.  I just got so tired of searching online for stuff, then waiting for it to arrive.  I'm still waiting for most of my Etsy seeds to arrive and both garden stores were full of seeds!   The only run on seeds is through online suppliers.  I feel a little sheepish because I paid 3X for strawberry seeds which are hard enough to grow and I could have spent the same amount on 3 nice plants.  Some of the items ordered are unique and not in local stores so I feel okay about the specialty peppers, tomatillos, and purple sweet potatoes. 

It's a tough time in that we're being shouted at every day by someone on Facebook or the media to stay home, flatten the curve, yet we've been at this for five long weeks with no end in sight.  We have important things to work towards such as our summer garden that is not easy to do whilst waiting for online orders to trickle in.  Why is our garden important?  We use a canned or freezer item every week throughout fall, winter, and spring.  By summer we've run out of most items, this week we ran out of salsa! 

Our two week shopping trips are going well and it's a trend I might continue after this is over.  Pre Covid-19 I found that I was going to the store twice a week for extra milk and forgotten items.  Now I create a two week menu with a thorough grocery list that includes necessary ingredients plus staple food items.  I think it's great discipline to be satisfied with what is in the pantry/freezer/fridge.  We are so fortunate to have the ability to store food abundantly. 



Friday, April 10, 2020

Seedling Update

Peppers  (shown below) - I gave up on these until husband suggested they need more heat.  After checking online, they need 85 degrees to germinate so I put them into a disposable cake container to help boost the heat and put them next to a window that gets the most sun.  Currently waiting for something to happen.




Beefsteak Tomatoes (shown below) - awesome progress, next step is to begin fertilizer once a week.  Around 4/19 we will check the roots and if they are progressing nicely we will replant them and back under the grow light until all danger of frost has past.  I've been following this video for reference.  Right now my only concern is to cut out the least performing seedlings because they all look great!

Pintos (shown below) - all 8 have sprouted!  You can see the first bean in the back of this photo with the tomatoes, I know the others have sprouted because I found roots on all and replanted them.  I had started 6 in an egg carton so they needed to move.  I used the egg carton so I could fit more plants on the plant shelf but once I have actual sprouts they become quickly too small and hard to keep moist due to size.


Mystery Plants (shown below) - these could be pumpkin, butternut squash or acorn.  They sprouted in our compost bin and why not take advantage of a viable seedling!  



Butternut squash (shown below) - after further research, I've learned they need 95 degrees to sprout!  That's not going to happen in our 70 degree room, so I put them in with the compost that's grown other sprouts.  Even though it's 50 outside, the heat builds up inside this can.  They should germinate in one week.  Actually this compost can is ready to be sifted and spread over the garden but we'll get to that once I'm finished using it for a temporary greenhouse.



Roma Tomatoes (shown below) - have finally sprouted a tiny bit of growth.  I've moved them up closer to the light as they look quite skinny.




Lettuce, Red Bell Peppers, Carrots and Basil (shown below) - absolutely zero progress, all planted on 3/30.  Time to actually do some research and figure out what temps these guys need to germinate.
  • Lettuce - need 70 degrees - guess I'll leave them in place for now
  • Red Bell Peppers - 65 - 85 degrees - might be a tad bit cold at 70, will put them in with the other peppers greenhouse
  • Carrots - need 55 to 75 degrees, maybe it's too warm?  Have read it takes 10-12 days but some varieties can take three weeks.  Guess I'll leave these guys alone for now.
  • Basil - need 73 to 81 so definitely too cool for them in the basement so putting them in with the peppers greenhouse
  • Zucchini - need 70, just started these a few days ago so I guess this is ideal temperature

I check on the seedlings once a day.  I add water if the soil is dry.  Otherwise I've left them alone since planting.  Today is the most activity I've done since planting to check on germination temps and make adjustments - all which should have been done first but no harm done.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Indoor Seedling Set Up

In prior years, I have done a few seeds with mixed results - example last year I couldn't get butternut squash to survive but the flowers did well.  For the bulk of our garden we usually went straight to Lowes, bought the plants and popped them into the ground.  Easy peasy.  This year, in an effort to save money, we're growing everything from seed.  It is definitely a challenge but fortunately we do have some equipment already bought and set up.  This is a good thing because I just checked on grow lights from Lowes and they are already sold out.  I was hoping to get a second shelf going but looks like I'm going to have to make do with what I've got!

Here is our set up:



We use a plant light from Lowes that cost $39.99.  We bought it three years ago and use it in January to kick start our amaryllis' followed by vegetable seedlings in March and then I'll do flower seedlings after we plant the veggies outside.  We've attached the grow light to heavy duty wire shelves that cost around $30.  We have a round thermometer that says the room is 70 degrees. 

We bought two sets of Jiffy-Strip pots in early March, and since we haven't been going as often to stores we've used whatever else we have available to plant in.  Paper egg cartons, seedling containers from past years, all sitting in paint roller trays to prevent water from getting onto the floor.  Pop-cycle or craft sticks work great for writing the seed name. 

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Victory Garden 2020

We've gardened for six years and this year we are calling it our Victory Garden, inspired from the gardens people had in WWI and WWII.  Gardens give hope and inspiration in times of stress and financial need.  I guess many others had the same idea because we've been reading this week that stores are selling out, sure enough our favorite Southern Exposure Seed Exchange has a message up that they are not accepting any new orders.

We've switched to these locations:

Filaree Garlic Farm - https://www.filareefarm.com/

  • Ordered - 12 purple profusion sweet potatoes $22.75 (more than I would have paid on Southern Exposure but this is one of my favorite garden items so it's worth it to me)

SeedGeeks on Etsy - https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeedGeeks?ref=shop_sugg

  • Ordered:  red onions, tomatillos, sweet banana peppers and jalapenos $14.98
Natures Potions Ltd on Etsy - https://www.etsy.com/shop/NaturesPotionsLtd
  • Anahiem Green Peppers $4.25
Total spent $48.15

The following seedlings are started based on our own collection:

3/19/20
  • 2 Poblano Peppers and 2 chili cubanelle peppers - from seeds we dried, but none have come up so I've given up on these
  • 8 beefsteak tomatoes - all are doing very well
3/30/20 - nothing has popped up yet as of today
  • 12 Roma tomatoes
  • 4 carrots
  • 8 pinto beans 
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 basil
  • 2 lettuce
  • 8 butternut squash
4/3/20
  • We found sprouts in the compost bin from past squash, not sure which yet.  Trans-planted the healthiest looking plants to sit under our grow light.
I asked my cousin for Zucchini seeds and she took some of our Roma Tomatoes, Lettuce and Spinach.

Last year we started our garden in May yet despite starting early in March I'm completely astonished at how fast seeds are disappearing from stores.  It's great to see so many want to grow things, I only hope they are not disappointed.  Some soils do not have enough nutrients to grow things well the first year, there is a balance of enough rain needed and then there are the bugs and critters trying to get their share.  I wish everyone the best of luck and hope it's a trend that continues long beyond this current virus craze.  I personally love gardening during my lunch break.  It's a welcome change from sitting at a desk.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Week 3 Quarantine Life

On Monday, the governor of Maryland issued a stay at home order for the month of April.  For some reason the last three Monday's have been extremely stressful.  Work starts out rough, new announcements are made, stark reality sets in and the entire day just feels crummy.

The teachers at our kids school were stressed because they had been coming in on Monday's to prepare items for students to pick up, it's less than ten teachers there at a time.  They suddenly panicked over the new order because most were not set up to fully transition to working from home.  We acquired a fish tank, a bunch of plants, a plant shelf and some bags of food that no one was going to eat.  Our house got suddenly really crowded with many bags of stuff that still needs put away.

We then went to mom's house to pick up a stand for the fish tank and say our goodbyes for the month.

The stay at home announcement ended taking kids to school each morning and providing that much needed quiet time where everyone stays on a schedule.  We went back to having coffee in bed for an hour each morning and slowly easing through the day.  Home work was done sporadically throughout the entire day with at least one kid not being done yet.  I politely suggested to husband we needed to get back to a more structured schedule next week.  It's either that or I ignore them all and go about my day as I'm still working full time from home.

Tuesday we did a big grocery shop for two weeks for ourselves and mom.  We tried following the steps from a video on YouTube suggesting we wipe everything down that comes into the house and quarantine the dry goods in the basement for three days.  It was an exhausting amount of work and I didn't get to work until after lunch from first cleaning a huge area in the kitchen to put the groceries, making room in the fridge for groceries, then cleaning the groceries, then cleaning up the area after the groceries.  We later read something from a scientist that it wasn't entirely necessary so I don't think we'll be doing all that again.  Some things make sense like immediately throw away all the plastic bags, quarantine the dry goods for three days, but wiping everything down was just too much.  I'd need more evidence that it's necessary before doing that again.

All the fish died on Tuesday that had come home with the fish tank except for the snails and catfish so we left the tank running.

Wednesday and Thursday - no memories, no idea what happened both days.  I guess I worked and everyone just sorta lounged through whatever they did.

Friday was Violette's birthday!  I had to fight an overwhelming amount of sadness over not being able to invite her friends over, have mom over, get balloons, decorations, etc.  We made every effort to make it the nicest birthday we could offer and she really did seem to love her homemade cake and presents which were bought through Amazon!  

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Week 2 Quarantine Life

Rather than posting daily, I've decided to do one weekly recap on quarantine life, unless it becomes the new normal - I hope not! 

During the weekend, we realized our laissez faire approach to homework and life was not working.  Our 2nd grader is the least motivated and she had somehow skated the entire week without reading any required reading or math!  Sneaky girl!!  Our oldest miss-read her homework instructions and did one page of math instead of five.  Somehow the boy had hammered through his pile and our youngest had gone on a binge completing many pages in her two workbooks and was driving us all crazy with constant questions so we had to put the breaks on her so we could work with the others. 

Husband put his foot down and declared it time to enforce a schedule.  Coffee hour in bed ended and we all began getting up at 6:30am again.  The positive side is the kids were dressed and fed before 7:30 and able to still watch their favorite show, Odd Squad.  I was showered and fed before going to work at 9 rather than squeezing it during my lunch hour.  We all felt more productive and ready for the day. 

Husband decided to continue taking the kids to school so he could get his teaching work done - prep homework for his classes, grade homework, etc.  He teaches 4 different classes so I guess that would be alot of books to bring home, plus we just don't have the printing capabilities to support all that!  Good thing we live 10 minutes from school.

The kids are in a safe environment with no other kids are going in so they just do their schoolwork while dad works.  They all get done around noon and come home for lunch.  I get a noise/distraction free morning to work.  In the afternoons the kids do chores, watch "Drawing with Mo Williams" and a zoo live cast show from the Cincinnati Zoo at 3pm followed by phone time.

Everyone seems to be mutually pleased with this schedule.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

2020 Spring Flowers

Last spring I was devastated to see no spring flowers were coming up around the house which we had bought the prior fall.  I had no idea what was in the flower beds for spring and ran out of time in the fall to plant anything with my travel schedule at the time.  I was determined to not let that happen again!  Spring is important, it's a magical time of year that brings hope and promise with so much beauty.  We could all use a little hope and beauty right about now.

I spent a year researching flowers, watching "Big Dreams Small Spaces", and in the fall I planted as much as we could afford.  Lidl had bulbs on sale for $2.00 per bag with $10 off coupons for spending $50 so I'd get $10 of free bulbs this way and I did it at least 3 times!  Now that $30 could have gone towards food but I'd like to think it was $30 of free bulbs. 

I think I planted over 100 bulbs.  The squirrels dug quite a few out and I was worried I wouldn't have any flowers left.  I know I should have used protective chicken wire but it was hard enough to cut through the mesh to dig a hole for every single bulb, I would have had to completely redo the flower beds, remove existing mulch and mesh paper to keep weeds at bay.  I hate the mesh paper but hate the process of removing it all more.  In the end, I put up with the squirrels nibbling and was surprised to see well over 50 survival rate.  This fall I plan to fill in the gaps with even more!  Maybe I'll even remove the horrid mesh paper - or not! 

The really fun part for me is seeing how excited the kids get over each new bulb.  They rush me outside every time they find a new flower has opened.  I love that. 










Saturday, March 21, 2020

Backyard Update

When we moved here there was a pile for dumping weeds, leaves and any other garden waste.  We added waste throughout the fall, spring and at the end of summer our finished acorn squash and tomato plants.  By now, the pile has turned into decent dirt, it simply required a little time to sift the dirt from remaining bulk.  I'm happy to say we finished this weekend!  Hurrah!  I was finally able to get the compost cans in that corner and begin seeding the bare parts of the yard with grass seed.  This is the perfect time to lay grass seed now that it's no longer going below freezing at night and 60's during the day.  Looking forward to a nicer lawn this year!

Now if we can just replace that horrid lattice work!!





And look who got a fresh coat of paint!


What you see here is three containers with various stages of compost.  The wood over the top is to help the middle container finish drying out while we have a week of rain and don't want it getting too soaked.  We plan to narrow this down to two containers once the middle one is finished.


This little area was not accessible last year so I'm excited to put in a small garden area here.  It's quite shady most days so need some plants that don't mind 2-3 hours of sun per day.  Also quite anxious to get that ugly gray lattice work off and repaint the boarder.