March 11, 2014

More project progress

Everyone got involved today around the yard.  Josh and I spent the morning at a friend's house and then came home to work in the garden.  I thought I would share some progress pictures with you.  Some have asked for pictures.  I live to please!  LOL

This is our youngest and his father putting an olive tree in our front yard.  We bought the tree last July and have been babying it and waiting for March to put it in.  This is an experiment to see if olive trees will really grow in the desert.  It is a drought resistant variety and a self pollinating tree.  I will keep you posted.

She is a pretty little tree!

More progress was made on our front walkway this morning and it is going to be so nice when it is done.  I love the look of the flagstone and brick together.

A second turning of the garden happened today.  We have one more turning before it is ready to plant stuff in by the end of March.  I am getting a little bit of a late start but the end of March is still a good plan for getting it all in the ground.  Since the pecan tree has not blossomed yet I think there might be another cold snap on it's way.  Holding off a bit won't hurt.

I did some weeding in the herb garden and will be spending each day weeding one area between now and the end of March and then weeding as needed from that point on.  My beds got overgrown toward the end of the season and temps in the 70's during the day have the weeds coming in already.  It is a constant chore but it feels great to get my hands in the dirt again.

You can see the little bit of Collard Greens we have left in the bed along with the giant Rosemary shrub that needs a good pruning.  I will be amending the soil soon and adding some new herbs and flowers there soon

These are Southern Collards or Creole Collards depending on what you prefer.  Either way, they are delicious!

I still have some active mint this year but will be weeding that area soon to see what I have left in total.  Last year we did not have any mint winter through but it had gone to seed before the cold and dropped seeds that came up mid-summer.  I am glad to see some survived to get us started with mint early in the spring this year.

Our "orchard" is filling out again this year with peach blossoms blooming.  I have not seen a ton of bees yet.  I am hoping to plant some flowers to draw them to the yard more this year, too.

The kids put out peat moss, fertilizer and compost before turning the garden area over.  The work goes much more quickly when more hands are at work.  I have always told that "Many hands make light work."  I don't think they believe me but I saw it in action today.

Here is the bed after the second turning.  We will be adding one more layer of compost and fertilizer and then a good watering before planting.

Both of my apricot trees are flowering out nicely.

I found out this year that dill does not like summer but it loves fall and winter.  I think it might be time for a good fish dish with dill.

So, we are off to a great start and we have doubled out garden space this year.  I have some seeds to order now.  I have my list made and a plan in place.  So ready for some fresh veggies!

March 10, 2014

Spring Break is here...

We started our spring break with a Saturday at Merit Badge University and a Jazz Festival Contest.   Dan took Em to perform on the piano with her jazz band Saturday morning and I took our middle boy up to New Mexico State University to work on his climbing merit badge.  It took all day for him to complete it.  They went up on the mountain to do the climbing and repelling and fulfill the requirements for this.  

While he was on the mountain I spent time visiting with other moms and some scout leader friends from a variety of troops in the southwest area that I have met over the past 12 years of our time in scouting.  I also wandered around the campus a bit to check out the farm animals.  It is an agriculture and livestock school to a large degree.  I loved the sheep!  They have been lambing over the past few weeks and the lambs are all so sweet.  The different breeds and coloring on each are fascinating.  This particular photo was taken during a feeding time so they are lining up to eat in the trough.  They are used for trials for masters and doctorate students to use.  I learned that you can keep four sheep for every one cow in the spaces provided and that many trials are done on sheep instead of cows.  The information transfer to cattle application works because they are so similar that they get valid results for both animals.  I had a great time just watching sheep and visiting.  It was nice to have the down time.

On Sunday we attended church, ate at Dan's parents and then went to see Son of God on post at the Grand Theater.  I love going on post.  The boys always gravitate toward the giant chess board.  They are so funny carrying those giant pieces around to make a play! 

We woke to temps in the upper 30's and lower 40's this morning.  It has been a bit cooler the last few days and it has been nice.  The heat will be here soon enough.  

The chickens are back to laying daily... at least the three that are not BROODY!  Our two Australorps are broody now and we are contemplating some baby chicks to shove under them to draw them out.  We wanted to add a chick or two this season anyway so this might work out for us.  The only problem is that we need girl chicks because we are not allowed to have a rooster in the city limits.  I am not sure how to handle it if I have to take a chick back and make "Mama" mad that her baby is gone.  I will need to talk to the chicken guy out at the feed store to see what he recommends and go from there.

Aren't these eggs beautiful?!?!  

Dan (and two of our boys) and a guy that works at our church (landscaping guy) started a walkway in our front yard this morning.  They knocked out the border this morning and will lay in the sheets of flagstone tomorrow.  Dan has been saving up money to get this done and I am so glad to see some curb appeal work being done so soon.  I say soon... we have only been in this house for 11 years now.  LOL  I mean soon because of how fast we were able to save up to do it once we made a plan.

So, we have only just started our week and have been super hard at work it seems.  I don't plan that every day is this busy over the break but I did knock out some laundry and deep cleaned on the kitchen some this morning.  I also made laundry detergent and made a grocery run so we can eat the rest of the week.

I am still working through some study materials with the Good Morning Girls and the If:Equip groups as well as staying on my caffeine, gluten and sugar fast.  It seems to be taking some time to detox this time but I am not miserable like I have been in years past when I have done this.  I am still having the achy-ness and headaches but they are tolerable.  It helps to eat really nourishing food and drink lots of water through this process.

The rest of the week holds some gardening chores and chicken coop cleaning and relocating.  I need to fix my Adirondack chair and repaint it for a new season.  There will also be sewing and crochet and reading.... those things I truly enjoy so they are not like work to me.

I will keep you posted on the chick situation.  LOL  You might get a recipe or two this week, too.  I am still cooking and baking all the time.  I need to discipline myself to write things down and share them with you.

Are you on spring break this week?  
What are you working on in your time off?  
I would love to hear!

March 04, 2014

Lent begins...

My focus this year has been working with my hands and leading a quiet life of faith.  As we begin the 2014 Lenten season I am imposing some things upon my days. 

*  My morning reading will be similar to what I normally do with the addition of a book each morning and an added Lenten reading.  I have been working through the Intentional Focus study with the Good Morning Girls and it ends in about 8 days so I will be replacing that with a book on Holiness.  I am reading Restless by Jennie Allen and working online through their book study videos and activities.  I am also reading through the book of John with the IF:Equip group (also hosted by Jennie Allen and friends).  

* I am going to be walking each day.  The duration and length will vary but some kind of walk to clear my mind each day.

*  I am incorporating a modified Daniel Fast which will include eggs and herbal teas with the traditional Daniel Fast.  Sundays will be a day I can eat meat but still no caffeine or sugar.  I am doing this for the aspect of prayerful seeking as well as finding some answers and relief from the Lupus symptoms that are a bit out of control lately.

* I will be cleaning and purging the house over the next 6 weeks.  Bags and boxes and trash will all be leaving the house as I make a simpler more clutter free home for my family.

* I will be limiting my time online.  I am not sure how this plays out yet but I will not be online first thing in the mornings and will be turning the internet off on my phone.  I will only check e-mail and texts and anything else will have to be done during my limited computer usage.  I shared an article this morning on my Facebook called The Input Monster...  about the distraction of technology and the timing on seeing that was certainly perfect.  Input will include thoughtful music, less movies and television stuff and much more reading time and quiet time.

* Lastly, there will be handiwork projects.... still working on a plan for those but there will be gardening, crochet and sewing, and baking and such.  

So, that is it.... what are you doing for Lent?  I would love to hear from you!  :)


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