Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Day


My sweet oldest daughter had much rejoicing today. First, she got the call from the coach extending an invitation to play club soccer next season. A dream she's had for many years and we finally decided to take the plunge and let her try.

That made her very, very happy but what made her even more happy and brought the biggest smile to her face, she finished reading Ivanhoe today!  And there was much rejoicing in the land. heeheehee  She didn't find Ivanhoe much to her liking. ;)

Since she was so happy to be done,  I've included her last narration (written) for Ivanhoe:

Chapters 42-44
Rebecca was getting scared because no one would fight for her in the arena except the Templar, and he was not a good fighter. The fair lady had nearly given up hope.
Suddenly, bursting heroically into the arena, came none other than IVANHOE HIMSELF!!! You could almost HEAR the trumpet fanfare!
“Hurry,” quavered the Templar, quickly taking off his armor and dumping it on Ivanhoe. “I’m not fighting anymore––you are!”
“YOU COWARD!” everyone screamed.
Then Ivanhoe, after strapping the armor on, rode courageously out into the arena.
Ah, yes, he fought bravely for his lady Rebecca’s honor. He finally struck down his sparring partner, the malevolent Malvoisin!
Malvoisin surrendered. He staggered out of the arena and his face turned white. Then he fell over dead, NEVER TO RISE AGAIN.
Rebecca thanked Ivanhoe, and then rode away to her homeland...
And Ivanhoe married Rowena, and they lived happily ever after. They had always loved each other from an early age!
Ivanhoe was greatly honored by Richard Cœur De Leon, and was brave for the rest of his days, which he used quite usefully, just as we had expected him to.
And that is that. The end.
            Rated: H
Well done, E. You stuck through it even when you didn't want to. One day you'll look back and be glad you've read all these amazing stories. For now, just keep on keeping on.  :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Remember this picture from my Summer Garden Post?

A. sat on them today. Yes, you read that correctly.  A. sat on them. *sigh*

If it's not the birds it's my kids. They either pick them before they are really red (they seem to like the color orange) or, they sit on them.

How on earth do you sit on a tomato plant and not realize you are about to do it?

Well, it was a cute clump before my sweet daughter decided to make tomato juice using her bottom. :p

Friday, June 17, 2011

Camera Fun!

I've owned this Cannon Power Shot camera for, I don't know how many years. I think we bought shortly after moving here, so 6 years maybe?  I always meant to read the manual and figure out all the little settings. But let's be honest, when would I have done that? Playing on FB is so much more fun than reading a camera manual, right?   Besides, it is a "point and shoot" camera. Wouldn't it defeat the purpose to mess with settings? *grin*

E. has been experimenting ever since she first picked up the camera. She's always changing settings and messing w/ the basic, point and shoot aspect of this camera. She knows what most settings do, maybe not in the proper terms, but in more general, "this is how it looks when you take a picture in this setting" terms.  After her morning shoot, the camera was left in a funky mode. A. was taking pictures of our mongo zucchini specimens (okay, she was weighing them and taking pictures of them on the scale  heehee) and came to me asking how to get it off the setting that, and I quote, "makes everything fuzzy and not in focus".  We are all very technical around here. Which led us to experimenting with the settings. :D

These are the results. Don't ask me what the settings were because I haven't the faintest idea. All I know, some of them were pretty cool settings. I'll have to ask E. how to get them on there again when I'm feeling artsy. :)

My accomplice 
(I think this might just be B&W, although it's still blurry, so maybe not)

Wine stopper

When we saw the fun effect this setting had, we went about seeing what other colors would stay true while everything else around faded to b&w.

red tomato - only the yellow light from the overhead lights picked up color

Yellow works too!
Doesn't the wood floor look cool?

E's eyes are a greenish blue so naturally we had to see what would happen. Apparently, not enough green to make a difference. Wouldn't that have been a freaky picture if it had worked? LOL

And because I know you are curious as to how much our mongo zucchini's weighed...

2 pounds

1.5 pounds
and the winner, 3 pounds

Winner, take a bow! :)  (said in my best Cranium Hullabaloo voice)

Summer Garden

Remember when I posted about our little garden earlier in the spring?  We had some major failures and some huge successes.

With the temperatures soaring, our garden is bursting with goodness.

These were our new beds. They haven't done so well. After our friends at The Simple Farm   gave me something to amend the soil with, things began to perk up a bit more, especially in the top bed.  (we love Lylah and Michael! If you're in the area, you have to check out their farm days. You won't be disappointed!)


The tomato plants began to green up and get some height and now the flowers have actually produced some cherry tomatoes. Yay!

Our bottom bed, well, it's not fairing as well. It looks better than it did before the amendment, but as you can see, the beans never did do anything and the tomatoes are still really small.  The watermelon plant that we also planted in here (over on the right side of the picture. It's the sprawling weed looking thing)  has begun to really take off. I think it's too late for it to do anything but grow runners, there are no buds or anything resembling any type of fruit on the vine, but it was fun to see it actually grow instead of wither like it was doing just a few weeks ago.  The basil and flowers we planted in this bed also withered and died. No idea why, same soil, water and other conditions as the other beds. For some reason, this bed just didn't do well.

Our raised beds did really well.

 a few cherry tomato plants w/ a mongo zucchini plant

huge zucchini  I know these should be picked much smaller, but this is what happens practically overnight. The kids had harvested other monsters the day before, these weren't big enough for them to notice when they picked the other ones!  
One thing I love about zucchini, it is a plant that anyone can grow! :)

Mint, another plant anyone can grow. 

our overgrowing tomato planter.
(yes, I know, these plants should have been pinched back a very long time ago, but, they weren't and this is the result!)  There is also a very healthy looking basil plant along w/ some nasturtium, which we got the seeds from The Simple Farm! :)  You can't see those plants though, because of the overgrowth of tomatoes! What a problem to have, eh?

Like the tulle? It not only provides an ethereal touch to the garden ;) but it also provides a cheap alternative to shade cloth and keeps the birds out to boot! A gardener friend of mine gave me this tip last year when I was bemoaning the birds attacking our strawberries.  

It gives just enough shade to keep the plants happy and birds can't get through the fabric.  Before we got this up this year, the birds began pecking at our big, juicy, red tomatoes. Boo birds!

Ripening in the sun

This clump has escaped it's shroud
Our strawberries are planted here (as well as the marigolds from last year that have come back bigger and better than before). The strawberries are done producing for the year but they are putting out runners like crazy. 

In an attempt to baby them through our incredibly hot summers, I bought a beach umbrella to keep them happy (I hope). I might end up moving them to our back porch where they will get more shade and I can turn our misters on them throughout the hottest part of the day. I'm going to keep an eye on them and see how they look as summer continues to heat up.

Our patio planters are all doing pretty well. The lettuce gave us some yummy salads, then stopped adding leaves. Instead, it started to grow straight up and up and up!  It bolted pretty quickly. We're letting it go and collecting the seeds.
the remains of the lettuce. The kids had fun picking the leaves off for our chickens. They, the chickens, loved the stuff!

This is my mixed planter. 
I have chard planted new this year, along with chives and shamrocks! from last year. 
the chive is flowering.
who knew Shamrock would still be flowering in 100+ degree heat?

Our last pot, which is a mixture of new and old and is doing really, really well. :)
This is kale (new) along with two types of thyme.  
So fun to be able to walk out my kitchen door and snip some fresh herbs. :)

More flowering herbs, lemon thyme.
I know you're supposed to snip the buds before they flower, but being gone the previous week, they bloomed when we weren't around. Besides, they sure are pretty. :)

That's our garden so far this year.  If you planted a garden, how is yours fairing?

Chicks to Chickens

On Easter we got some chicks! We didn't set out to get Easter chicks, that just happens to be when the chicks we were buying were ready to be picked up. :)

Picking out our eight new feathered friends

So cute, furry and little! 
One day old
We ended up w/ nine chicks total, we got a bonus chick for answering the breeders bonus question correctly. :)  

All snug in their new home.

Aren't they cute?

Once they outgrew their box, which didn't take too long, we moved them into a temporary home. Our wonderful friends let us borrow a hutch, just the right size for our growing babies.  Knowing how fast these gals grow, we got busy building our full sized coop.  Initially we hired someone to help start the job.  He got the basic frame up, then, Daddy and S. took over and finished the job.  They did all the chicken wire (we used hardware cloth which costs more but is much stronger than regular chicken wire), roofing and building of the run. The kids added the roosting bar and a little ladder for the chickens to climb up, when they were big enough to that is. ;)

S. and Daddy had fun working together building the coop and they finished just in time. Not only was the heat beginning to set in with a vengeance, but the chickens were rapidly outgrowing their borrowed, temporary housing!

Working on the run


and more painting

Moving day

Look at our cute chicks! :)

Checking out their new home.  
See how much they've grown?

That was a couple months ago. Now look at our baby chicks!

 Our poor hot chickens. :p

The next project for Daddy and S. is to build a chicken tractor so we can let them out in our grass without worrying about the hawks that are always circling above our yard, or any other animal that decides a chicken dinner sounds good. I think they are also going to look into building a mister system for these guys gals.

We're looking forward to fresh eggs by Christmas! :)

Piano Recital

This past weekend my girls had their piano recital.  Their teacher did something a little different this year. He had almost all of the kids play a duet along with their own solo piece. It was a fun twist to the performance. Sometimes the kids played with their mom and others played with their teacher, Mr. Anderson.  My girls had the opportunity to play with each other. They played duets and a trio!  We had been on vacation the week before with no chance to practice. So going into this day, they were a little nervous.  I was so proud of them. They did a great job! :)

E. warming up

 A. Warming up

My four girls! 

I still don't have a video camera. It's something I dream of owning, one day! LOL I use my Powershot camera's video function for all my video taping needs, and it shows. ;) For some reason this particular day the camera was being finicky and on several of the songs didn't start recording until the song was well underway. No clue why, but there you have it. So without any further ado, here are my three older girls playing their pieces (or parts of them playing their pieces. snicker, snicker)

R.'s solo

E and R's Duet

EAR's Trio

A.'s solo

E. and A.'s duet

E.'s solo

Girls getting their certificates