Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Garden Update

I could post about a lot of things today.  About how we're desperately trying to avoid the tummy bug.  It's going around our area, and I have a phobia about my children and puke.  I don't care about me, I went through many months of morning sickness.  And, Troy can handle himself if he's sick.  But, my girls, I don't want to see them in so much pain.

Or, I could post about how cute my kids are.  Maybe I'll do that soon.

Or, how about my cooking?  I've been trying to perfect a couple of bread recipes lately.  Brown buns, which I posted about recently.  Sourdough bread.  I created my own starter.  Yay me!

But, today, I'm going to tell you about how my garden is going this winter.

We are trying something new, similar to lasagna gardening.  It's not true lasagna gardening, where you lay down cardboard and then pile inches of brown and green matter on top.  I don't have enough leaves to do that.  I'm planning to start getting grounds from my sister's Starbucks, but haven't started that yet.  I don't want to use too many of those, anyway, they could really affect my soil.

But, we did do a modified version.  My main desire is to control the weeds.  I wasn't able to set up my garden the right way last year, due to my hectic work schedule and pregnancy, and the grass was super prolific.  It took over my poor garden.  So, over the fall, we laid down large pieces of cardboard and covered them with some leaves, grass clippings, dirt, etc.  I also added a small amount of green matter, but not too much.  I hope it starts to help control the weeds.



My small compost pile...



I purchased some bulbs for the front yard.  We don't spend much time in some of the front yard, and I want to make a butterfly and hummingbird garden out there.  I want to plant elephant ears and lillies up against our garage, where the water softener drains.

We filled our birdfeeders and are loving watching the birds eat.  I counted over 16 goldfinches at once, and we've seen blue jays, cardinals and doves, along with other little birds.

Here are a little black bird and the goldfinches...




I mulched around my blueberries recently.  One of them seems to have died at the end of last year, I hope it recovers in the spring.  I have a set of 3 from Johnny's that the girls gave me for Mother's day a couple of years ago.


The swiss chard that I planted last spring is still growing.  It's amazing stuff!

I planted a rosemary this year in the front garden.  It's one of my favorite herbs, and it should be a perennial here in zone 7.  It actually grows as hedges at our library.  The tips have browned and bent over, but it's mostly green.  It looks way better than any other rosemary I've grown before.


My lavender I started from seed.  I grew it out back in the main garden in the summer, and transplanted three plants into the front garden at the end of the season.  They are doing wonderful, I love lavender, too.



 Happy winter gardening to you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My baby is 5 months old

My very last baby is growing up so quickly.  It's hard to say if I'm sad or happy, of course, I'm happy.  But, it's bittersweet.  She's my very last baby.  I love seeing her grow and learn things.  She's now sitting up in the bumbo, rolling over, reaching for food, (although I say, no food until 6 months, she's EBF), and just all around a fun little girl.

But...she's my last baby.

bittersweet.

She turned 5 months old yesterday.  We celebrated with, uh, starting an earlier bedtime?

We've always had late bedtimes for our girls.  Usually between 9-10pm.  But, Delcie's telling us she wants to go to bed earlier.  Tonight, she is already asleep and it's only 8pm.  I guess that's what normal babies do?

Guess that puts a stop to our late-night partying.





Friday, January 28, 2011

My baby chicks are ordered!

I've waited for a few years now to realize my dream of owning chickens.  I want them for layers, for their eggs.  When we lived in Ohio, we thought we were close to our homesteading dream.  We owned 10 beautiful acres with no restrictions, (like we faced in Illinois.)

But, alas, that dream crashed down around us.

Now, we are looking at being able to own the chickens this year.  Yay!

Troy is planning to build me a coop.  We researched purchasing one, but they're very expensive and don't look too sturdy.  So, my handy honey is going to whip one up for me in a weekend.

I placed my chick order yesterday for delivery on April 11.  I ordered them from mypetchicken.com

I'm particular about which chickens I want.  I want a mix of egg colors, from light brown, to dark brown, blue, green and pink.  I also want chicks that will grow into friendly hens.  I was attacked by the roosters my parents owned when I was younger, and am still traumatized by it today.  No mean roosters will be attacking my girls!

Here are the breeds I ordered...

2 Female Easter Eggers
2 Female Buff Orphingtons
2 Female Barred Plymouth Rocks
1 Male Barred Plymouth Rock
1 Female Welsummer

I ordered them vaccinated and will feed them medicated crumbles for their first few weeks to help them avoid disease.  With the abundance of chickens around here, I don't want to risk losing them.

We went to Tractor Supply today and purchased the heat lamp, food, bedding, etc. for them.

We plan to keep them in the shed until they're big enough to go outside, since apparently they'll be super dusty.  Not liking the thought of cleaning the garage or a room in the house of chicken dust.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Teaching my children to cook' or 'Stepping outside my comfort zone'

One of the great things about waiting 5 years to have our children has a great bonus of making us appreciate them and enjoy them more.


One of the awful things about waiting 5 years to have our children is that it gave us many childless years to become set in our ways.


One of my ways is, I like things in order.  When I cook, I clean as I go.  I wasn't always that way, my mom will be quick to tell you.  But, my many childless years changed me.


My grandmother didn't teach my mom to cook.  I don't think my grandmother cooked.  She mostly ate out, or microwaved tv dinners.  Actually, she mostly ate pie and donuts, I think.
So, my mom really wasn't able to teach me to cook.


My other grandmother taught me a few things.  Sadly, her time with us was cut short, long before I was able to learn all she had to teach me.


Good thing I make a living working in restaurants.


Good thing I went to college to learn to cook.


Good thing there's food network.


I want my girls to learn how to cook.  I don't mean, make a salad and grill a steak.


I mean, I want them to learn what's behind cooking, the why of cooking.  I want them to be able to understand cooking from scratch.  Not only is it healthier and usually cheaper, but it's fun!  And way yummier.


So, today, Camdyn and I made bread together.  It's a new recipe for me, so I hope it turns out good.


She learned the term "knead".  She practiced kneading.  And, she loved it.  She hung out with me from the moment we started mixing until the moment we set the bread aside to raise.




I think as we are working, it takes patience to teach her this.  It's not as fun as it looks.  It would be way easier for me to do it myself.




I'm sure stepping outside my comfort zone.


But, isn't that what God does with us every day?  His life would be much easier if he just did everything himself, making good things for us to enjoy.


But, he teaches us, patiently, to "cook", hoping that, when we're older, we will remember the basics of life and use them to nourish others.


I'm thankful for his patient teaching with me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just about a year ago, I was in the ER

Today, I did some rearranging.  I put together a Billy bookshelf from Ikea, and decided to move another one from the spare bedroom into the living room to mirror it.  That meant I had to clean it off.

I was using it to store my scrapbook stuff.  Some of it.  And, truly just store it.  I haven't scrapped in nearly 2 years.  I will again, someday.

So, I store my memories on it.  Most get stored in a box, a few were just sitting on the shelf.

I found a couple of hospital bracelets.

One was dated October 28, 2009.  The day I had a FET.  It resulted in a negative pregnancy test.

One was dated December 27, 2009.  The day Troy's cousin got married.  Our last day at CEC.  The day I started bleeding.

The day I lost our second angel baby.

Delcie's twin.

We didn't even know we were pregnant with twins until we lost one.  Didn't even get the chance to love the baby while we were together on this earth.

I often think of our two angels and wonder what they would be like, as they grew with their sisters.  Would they be boys?  Probably girls, knowing my family!

How exciting it will be to get to heaven and get to meet our darlings.

I'm so grateful for our three little girls.  How lucky are we to get to teach them and enjoy them as they grow up.  I never imagined I would experience something as wonderful as being their parent.

But, sometimes, the little reminders are there, in front of me, making it more real, remembering the ones we lost.