Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Under Construction

After a L-O-N-G blogging vacation I'm refreshed and ready to start posting once again. I will be doing some remodeling around here--please be patient with me! I hope the changes will be pleasing and more personal. So stay tuned! Boy I've missed being here. :-)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Growing Right Along

While most people's gardens are winding down, ours has barely just gotten going. Since we had standing water in the garden areas for so long (like until the middle of June!) and we had to wait for all that to dry out enough to plant, it made for a very late start. I'm sure that many people wouldn't have even bothered at that point. But, being the optimist that I am, I knew that I'd have enough time for at least a small harvest.

I've got green beans in the freezer, canned a few pints and cooked them up right out of the garden! Look how big some of them have been!!

Today we picked 30+ lbs of roma tomatoes. I've been making cultured salsa and also canning them up as diced tomatoes. I've made some spaghetti sauce as well.

I've been drying the surplus sweet peppers in my dehydrator to use this winter. It's wonderful to have garden veggies when it's cold and wintery out. I just add a little water to reconstitute and in a couple of hours I have fresh diced peppers ready to use.

We've harvested several cantaloups from the seeds that I planted last year. Yes, last year. With the drought they just didn't do well. They went from immature to mush in no time flat and the ones we thought were good tasted like mold. Nasty. But the mushy ones sat in the garden and then replanted themselves. So we had volunteer cantaloups that have been heavenly! I can't remember how many varieties I originally planted but at least 4 different kinds have grown. We're loving that!!

Our little pet turtle Squirtle (a Red Eared Slider) has been doing some growing as well.
Here's a picture from last year after we found him. 

And here he is now.  It's been a little over a year now. Quite a difference, huh? :-)

I really have enjoyed having Squirtle as a pet. I'm the one personally responsible for his care. A baby turtle raised in captivity shouldn't be returned to "the wild" as they don't know how to fend for themselves. Since he may live up to 30 years it's quite the commitment!! :-)
He stays in the house with us at this point in a clear plastic bucket with a "pool" of water. I'm planning to set up an outdoor area for him in the future with a nice pond for him to use. He should grow to about 10 inches wide so he will definitely need larger accomodations before long.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cicada Observation

On Wednesday morning (9/4) I went outside and discovered a Cicada shedding it's skin/shell on Steve's dolly wheel (we have aluminum cans in the barrel on the dolly).  I ran in and told Eli and Hope what was going on and they wanted to come out and watch too.  The other kiddos were still in the camper sleeping so I let them be.  Of course, since I didn't wake them up, they were upset that I didn't.  :-P 

Here it is about halfway out of it's shell.  Doesn't it look really big? 

And further out.

Almost all the way out.  I thought for sure he was just going to flop out on the ground!  See how folded up his wings are sticking out the sides of his body?

He pulled himself up and grabbed onto the top of his old shell to pull himself out the rest of the way.
He's got his wings unfolded a bit and they are started taking shape.

Look how big the wings are now!!  And look how big he is in general!!  How did all that fit into that little shell???

Look at those beautiful wings now!!  They are so pretty and translucent green.

Cicada to the left of the tire, shell to the right (here I am, stuck in the middle with Eli and Hope!  Lol!!)

I think Cicadas are just so cool!!  I love their buzzing and finding their skins stuck to almost every surface imaginable.

Eli holding his new buddy.  :-)

Monday, April 8, 2013

This Year's Seedlings...

I've been having fun this year raising my seedlings. I'm still trying to use up my old seeds that I bought in 2008, 2009, and 2010.  Surprisingly many of them are coming up.

Check out these Sumter Cucumber seedlings.  I've never seen cucumber seedlings do this long legged thing before.  Too funny.  They are getting plenty of light so go figure.  They are just starting to work on their first set of true leaves.  :-)

These are my tomatoes and peppers and some herbs.  My sweet peppers were old and they have been very slow to germinate.  The tomatoes did well.  Some of them were new seeds so I expected them to do well.

We used old Christmas lights to keep them warm (an idea I saw on Pinterest)--especially at night when the temps had been dropping down into the 30s and 20s outside and in front of the window got quite chilly.  I think that helped those seeds out a lot.  And now that we're having warmer weather and strong sunlight they're really taking off. 

What do you think of my little toilet paper roll seedling starter pots?  I had a lot of fun making them.  :-)  They're potted in plastic Christmas containers.  My attempts at frugal seed starting.  :-)  I have some seeds planted in the tp roll pots inside milk cartons too.  I have some old herb seeds planted in them and hope that they will come up too.  If the seeds come up I'll post some pictures of them too.

I can't wait to get everything into the ground!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!!


We had a wonderful Easter today.  I made our usual Easter dinner and wanted to try the "stained glass" or "marbled" Deviled Eggs that I had seen on Pinterest.  They turned out awesome and were a big hit.  :-)

Our youngest Easter Bunny with the colored eggs
and his Peeps on a stick that I made for the
kiddos as part of their Easter basket candy.

Son #6

Our Easter Activities Coordinator!
Daughter #2
Check out those nifty socks!!

The Ellis Family 2013

Hope you had a blessed Easter too!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Snow Days

On Sunday morning we awoke to the snow coming down.  The forecast for our area was 7 to 12 inches.  Some of it melted as it was coming down and throughout the day.

Sunday Afternoon

It snowed all day Sunday and by Monday morning I measured 8 inches--but it had still continued to melt overnight.  Who knows how much we would have had if it had just been a few degrees cooler.

Monday Afternoon...

I gathered the kids up and we went out to build a snowman.  After a while the little boys got tired and wandered off.  Daughter #4 stayed out with me as long as she could before she felt too cold.  So there I was out in the front yard, a grown woman, building a snowman all by myself!!  :-)  I gave him an Easter basket for laughs!  Happy spring, right?

Tuesday afternoon this is what it looked like in our yard. 
Everywhere we had been walking was mostly melted with
the warm sun shining down.

I got my suet feeder full of yarn scraps put up!
I hope we see some of the bird nests with these scraps in them.

Visit Juniper Moon Farm for directions.
(Yarn scraps must be between 4 and 8 inches long!)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Springing Forward... I WISH!!

I am L~O~N~G~I~N~G for spring with all of my heart.  It's been a cold, dreary, wet winter and I am ready for the warmth and sunshine and green-ness of new life. 

This past winter has been a winter of my soul as well.  Bleak and dismal.  Just going through the motions and not feeling the joy I so long for.  Feeling closed up inside with a waiting, a longing of the hope of better days to come. 

It's around the corner.  There are signs.  The migratory geese have been making their way north right overhead in an amazing amount of numbers.  Thousands and thousands of them.  Many of them the Snow Geese that I love.  Beautiful birds.

A couple of weeks ago I began noticed a bunch of sloppy looking splats of bird droppings and was a bit confused at what exactly they could be.

A "splat" on our car.

And then one day a huge flock flew overhead and began wheeling around, changing directions.  DH said "I don't think we should stay here in the line of fire!"  Lightbulb.  ;-) 

There are other tiny signs of spring here and there if one knows where to look.

The crocus bulbs I planted last fall.

Daffodil bulbs popping up.

Tiny red buds on the Japanese Roses I planted
last fall.

The Maple trees have been budding and the sap has visibly been flowing as it drips off the trees when the temperatures rise (which isn't often!).  I plan to tap them next year and see what happens with that.  It would be great if we could end up with enough syrup for our family.  They are Black Maples not Sugar Maples--but they do make quite a bit of sap too.

We were hoping that since March came in like a lion that it would go out like a lamb.  Old Man Winter sure must be having a good laugh as we are expecting significant snow accumulation this weekend.  We've heard reports of anywhere from 2 inches to 12 inches.  BIG HUGE SIGH!!!!

Remember last year when I was whining about how hot it was and I took this picture of the girls who were trying to keep cool??...
This time last year it was in the mid 80s!!!

So what's normal anymore???