Friday, April 26, 2013

A Long Week

Yesterday morning was a sad day. I went out to feed the chickens and was in the chicken coop trying to get a bird out that had gotten in, and somehow my favorite speckled hen went running out, with the dogs right there. The youngest dog just grabbed that chicken and killed it. No amount of yelling at him to release or drop the chicken helped. I was so sad about it. It's never good when you have to wake up to a chicken funeral!

This morning, my husband and I were out in the neighborhood running with one of the dogs. We were on our way back, and we hear my husband's name being yelled. We turn around and see that it was someone he knows, that had just purchased a gun, wanting him to find him some ammo for it. This is seriously 6:30 am! I just had to laugh, because that's the deal right now. There is simply not much ammo to be had, and we can't really go anywhere, without someone wanting to talk to him about getting a gun or ammo. Really?!? 

 Wow! Can you believe that it was only a couple of days from 2 strawberries to a small bowl full of berries! Really, strawberries are very easy to grow. Once you have a good location for them to thrive, that is. Here in Arizona, too much sun and heat is often a cause for strawberries not doing well. I have found that they just cannot tolerate that much sun. I have had them located in various parts of the yard, and in the spring, when the temps are cooler, they do very well. Once those temperatures get up in the mid 90's and above, they just don't seem to like it. After much trial and error, I finally relocated about 12 small plants to the north side of my home. This little area does not get a lot of sun. It probably gets about 4 hours of morning sun, at best. However, they have multiplied and spread all over the place. I don't even know how many plants are there now. Probably nearing 50 or so. I should count them. I did give them some organic fertilizer early spring this year, and they do need good watering. The soil they are in hasn't been enriched with any compost in about a year or so, and even so, it was clay to begin with. Give them a try!

These are "Little Finger" carrots, and they are about the size of a little finger. Although, much tastier. I picked these yesterday morning and ate them as a snack a little later. If you notice, most of them aren't super straight. That's because when I planted them, I planted them too densely and they are now overcrowded and growing every which way to get some space. Those darn little carrot seeds are just so small, I find myself impatient to just get them in already! And crooked carrots are the results. It doesn't change the taste, though. Delish.

Here in Arizona, we are heading into dangerous territory (the upper 90's and flirting with 100 degrees)! Remember that after 100 degrees, it's time to give those tomatoes some shade. They will not set any fruit above 100, even though they have flowers on them. Also, I usually check the soil every day, to make sure the plants are getting enough moisture. It doesn't take long at all for a plant to be depleted in our wonderful sunny hot weather! 

And that's about it for today! Happy gardening!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Little Embroidery

It's soon going to be pool season here in Arizona. The wonderful weather service has a balmy 90 degrees F slated for this weekend. Isn't it too soon for all that?!? 

Anyway, I found these awesome pool towels at TJMax the other day & knew they needed names embroidered on them. So, tonite while my lovely hubby had a conference he was involved in, I figured that it was the perfect time to get them finished. 

The only thing left to do is throw them in the laundry to finish removing all the stabilizer from around the embroidery. Maybe I can try them out tomorrow! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sunny Days

The long awaited strawberries are just beginning to bear fruit! These are the first berries of the season, & due to the fact that I don't add fertilizers to them, they always are much smaller than store bought berries, but they are soooooo much tastier! I need to get out and weed the strawberry bed, but just haven't managed to get to it yet.

It is superb weather and the roses are just loving it! Every other day or so, I am cutting roses to bring indoors to enjoy, but these are so beautiful. 

These little seedlings are enjoying life in the mini greenhouse awaiting space for them in the garden. I have some spring veggies that are almost at the end of their season, and so I decided to start the melons in the pots 'til I have some space in the garden to plant them out. 

These little beauties, Calendula - Pink Surprise, purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., were planted from seed way back in November. This is the first bloom! I love the way it looks, although I haven't seen any of the pink that is pictured on the packet. I wonder if that was a graphic add on? Below is the second bloom so far. It does look different from the first...not so multi petaled. I like to sneak flowers in on the edges of the garden beds. It looks so pretty to see a splash of color but these calendula's will be good for keeping aphids away, etc.

The last garden task for today, is to get these beans in the ground. As you can see, I have them soaking to aid in the germination. We have done the Thai White Seeded Long Bean for several years now, and they are quite tasty. Hopefully, I can get that done this evening. Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2013 YW Girls Camp - "Rock Solid"

We have already had our girls camp this year. We went to Camp LoMia for the first time as a stake and the only week they had available was during Spring Break. There was a lot of questions of how the weather would be as we had a surprise snow storm the week before we were to leave!?! 

As you can see from the above picture, it really was beautiful weather, but a lot chilly & windy at night. These were our girls, minus 4th years, and 1st year YCL's. 

This is me and one of the YW counselors on the 1st year hike, which was really just a little walk. It was so pretty up there, with the river running. I am told the river is dry in the summer, though. We have on our stake tshirts. Love them. The theme was "Rock Solid" meaning, our testimony is on the fundamentals of the gospel and solid as a rock.

Such cute little first years! We call them "baby 'b's"!

And as you can see, there truly was snow still on the ground. One of the wards had a snowman they had built right by their cabin! Funny.

This is our ward tshirt that we had done for the girls. Our ward theme that we did based on the Stake theme, was "Anchored to the Rock" meaning our testimony is anchored to the Rock of our Salvation, our Savior. We did a little skit the first night there for our own girls, during our ward time, of us hiking and rock climbing. We made a kind of parody of how if we don't put the anchors in to the rock solidly, we can fall. We also talked a lot about how our faith in Jesus Christ is our anchor when the storms of life come upon us. Our faith is what will get us through. 

We made all the girls these fat quarter backpacks. They truly are simple to make and handy to use on the hikes, and carry everything to the different activities and classes all day. And it makes it easy to tell which girls belong to which ward. The link to the free pattern is here

We also made all the girls little journals with room for them to take notes, and journal prompts as well as quotes relating to the theme. As you can see, our assigned colors were navy & green. Our flag was just like the anchor pictured here, and we printed out the words with the banner, onto fabric and glued it on to the flag.  I wish I had a picture, but I just forgot about it!

These were our mailboxes. We saved cans for a few months, (FREE) & spray painted them ($6) and screwed them into some old wood I had laying around (FREE). Usually we use shoe organizers and put tags on each shoe pocket. Depending on the amount of girls we have, it costs anywhere from $20 to $30. So doing this, we saved some money, even though it was a bit more effort. One of the advisors put some tags on with ribbon. They did turn out cute.

One more thing we did, was put names on these water bottles that we found at the dollar store. The names were cut out of vinyl on the Silhouette. It was kind of time consuming to put all the names on, but we had 42 girls we were prepping for. Not all wards are that big. 

All in all, we are all super glad Girls Camp is over. However, it was awesome!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Mini Greenhouse

So, for my birthday this past December, I asked my amazing hubby if  we could build this little greenhouse that I saw on Pinterest. Shown above is the pic. I just love it & have been wanting it for about a year! Unfortunately, this particular one is made out of the country, and although it is made of metal, Derek assured me we could build something like it. YAY!

Literally, he built on a couple of Saturdays, and here is the building progression of it documented in a couple of pictures. He drew up his own measurements, and although along the way we encountered a few problems, it did turn out rather wonderful!

Here it is finished and ready for paint. 

You might notice that the doors seem to be a different color, and they are. I was trying a distressing technique but decided I didn't like it, so repainted the doors. The galvanized metal trays are awesome, and it took me quite a while to find something affordable that would work, but eventually I came upon a website that sells animal kennel trays or trays that go in the bottom of kennels. These were something like $30 each which was totally doable when compared to $200 ea that was what I could find on the hazmat websites I was originally looking at. I think these trays look rather marvelous. 

The glass was put in using clear epoxy. As we were putting in the last piece of glass, one of the long pointed side panels broke. It has taken a couple of weeks to get it back in as we kept forgetting to order it, but now that the glass is in, the interior is nice and warm. I intend to get an automatic vent opener for the top. This will automatically keep the top open when it gets too hot inside so the starts will not cook. Genius!

And here is the final product. I am going to have to move it to get a better location for sun, but otherwise, I really LOVE it! I like the drawer because I can keep extra soil in it and extra pots as well. I really am lucky that my hubby is handy. His dad taught him well. This was the best birthday present ever!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Garden Happenings

The days have been so incredibly full, that there simply hasn't been time enough to blog about how full the day is! 

I love this time of year...everything about it is my favorite! The citrus blossoms are just beginning to fade, but walking outside is amazing (as long as you don't have allergies, which I thankfully don't). The asparagus seems to grow 6 in. a day, and the bunch you see just above were picked in 2 days. Sometimes, I go out in the am and pick some, and then in the evening end up picking more. Asparagus never gets tiresome for anyone in my family. We always enjoy the weeks filled with asparagus for dinner. 

The other day, I was working in the herb bed and I looked over and went to pull a weed, but then thought, "That looks like asparagus!" And sure enough, it must have been a seedling, flown over on the wind from the asparagus bed. I called my boys over and asked them what they thought it looked like, and both of them said, "Asparagus." And those are my boys! They know their veggies! 

We have peas galore coming off the vines. I do really like them, steamed fresh with butter, but I am getting a tad tired of them, I have to admit. Derek tells me he likes them just fine, and then I catch him texting the neighbor that they are not his favorite and does the neighbor need any. Nice, Derek.

Can you see it! I just cannot believe what I found today on the banana tree. SLUGS! Not good! And I have to admit, I find them incredibly disgusting. I am going to have to get on this problem!

This is a pic of the snapdragons. I love them so much. They remind me of my grandma. Today I picked some to bring in the house, and my nephew disappeared. I went back out to find him and caught him picking all the flowers off the stalks and throwing them at the chickens. Lovely. And then, in his grubby little hands, he carried some of the blossoms around and sniffed them and sniffed them. Silly boy! He knows what he likes!

So, I am trying this new type of trellis to stake the tomatoes. Not sure it will work for them, but it's worth a shot! Number one son, Casey, put these together for me in a couple of minutes, and then they simply were pushed into the garden bed in between a couple rows of tomatoes. The tomatoes are just beginning to set blossoms on and I can hardly wait for those little babies to be ready.

This picture right here exhibits why you should never ever buy a single zucchini plant from the store. I planted this little guy from seed 2 1/2 weeks ago. They really are the size of a plant I would buy at the garden center. And so much cheaper. 

Happy Gardening!