Saturday, May 31, 2014

How the chicks are progressing, you ask?

They've been moved to the big chicken house and are really enjoying their freedom! Oh, and growing bigger daily, especially the 5 big (we think they are Buff Orpingtons) -- those are gonna be some big chickens.
 I think one of these is a Barred Rock, and there are three others that look like barred, but they have a small comb, not red but almost a yellow comb. So I'm not sure what those are yet.
One of the big buff chickens was having trouble walking last week, so she got moved to the old chicken house by herself for a few days, just to be sure she didn't have anything that would pass around to the others, but after about three days on her own, she was back up and walking just fine.  So she's back with her flock now.
I believe I've solved the mystery of the two white chickens -- according to McMurray Hatchery where we ordered them, she has to be an Easter Egger/Araucana (I think they consider these one in the same breed.)  Anyway, their legs have turned an olive green, so that's the tell.  And they are starting to get a cute little curl of feathers at their cheeks, another characteristic of Easter Eggers.
Meanwhile, Harley and Belle, the rooster and hen that we have left from our last flock, have been moved in to the new chicken house alongside all of these chicks.  They are not impressed -- mostly they just ignore them.  We're getting a little egg every other day from Belle.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 17

The Litchi tomato plant has set some fruit! Even the fruit has barbs on it...good grief this plant is lethal!

 And I've finally found two more small buds of elderberries - they are just starting to develop.  The older flower is dropping all of the small white flowers on it.  I think these will be the elderberries, but not sure.  We'll see what develops.
 These are two of the Juane Flamee tomatoes.  They are bright orange, but not very big.  I put a penny there so you can see the size.  Bigger than a cherry tomato, but not by much.
 The Datura has bloomed, several times!  This plant has gotten big.
 Tonight we had some of the Vulcan Swiss Chard...this is such as pretty plant, and delicious!  I made it with carmelized onion and garlic, with a small amount of ham cut into small little pieces.  Yum!

Pool progress....

The pool is completely full and has even had a few swimmers already!
Saturday Jeff and Colleen came out to help John start the deck around the pool, and poor Jeff and John worked out in the rain most of the morning.
I was getting sick....have some kind of cough and I mean a terrible cough, so I wasn't any help, with working on the pool or keeping the girls busy.  I was too afraid that I would give them something.
Miserable.  But I did run and buy lunch for everyone, so I wasn't totally useless.
They were going to work on the pool deck again on Sunday, but we had such a great rain, that got cancelled.
The pool finished filling on Monday and Jeff, John and KT got to have a little swim.  I was staying inside and trying to get better, besides I lost my voice, so I couldn't be in charge of anything. Ha!  I did see a doctor, and have some meds that aren't really doing much.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 16

Not too much to report in the garden -- its a matter of weeding, watering and bringing in the few things that we can harvest already.  I have so much Swiss Chard, I'm cutting for the chickens and deer lately. Way too much!  Who wants some?  Come on out and get it!
 Bringing in a few tomatoes, mostly the large cherry and the volunteer black cherries.
 I hadn't checked the plum tree in a while and the plums have really grown!  A few have a blush of pink on them.
 John out in the field doing some weeding there.
See the little tromboncino squash?!!
And these are two of the BHN444 tomatoes that had frozen back to the main stem.  I just put them in one of the beds up in the yard to see what would happen.  They've made a great recovery!  We'll see what happens.
Some of the morning glories are coming up pink!  So we have a reddish and a pink.  Very pretty!
The Datura has started to bloom!  These angel trumpets will be in full bloom by tomorrow morning!

Our latest project....

We're getting a pool again, this time letting the company that we purchased from put it in for us.  So much easier that way!
The Above Ground Pool Company arrived at about 7:45 a.m. along with several machines (a bobcat, a truck full of sand, a trailer with all the equipment, and 4 men who set up and got started right away.  By 4:15pm they were done and on their way out the gate, with a promise to come back and do the finishing touches in a couple of days, after the pool had some water in it.
Here's all the photos from the day:
 Leveling the ground and removing any rock....
 Putting up the wall structure poles....
They dug a trench all around .....
 Then several inches of sand under the pool and up the sides....
 Now the walls go up....
 Packing the sand down.....
 Stretching the liner .....
 and the water is going in....
It will take several days to fill.  We're running for several hours, then letting the pump rest a while between fill times.
And now the decking begins....
John and Jeff went to buy wood today and the deck project starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My mouth was agape.....

My granddaughter read a book to me yesterday.  Let me repeat -- my FOUR YEAR OLD granddaughter READ A BOOK to me yesterday.  It's a beginning reader book, but she read the whole thing herself with no help -- just sounded it out for herself.  I was amazed, I had no idea that she was this far along.  Brilliant!
Smart girl!

So proud of Colleen!!!!!

On Tuesday, our brilliant daughter was awarded the highest honor from the company that she works for! She got the Fanatical Jacket from Rackspace for fanatical customer service.  I don't know about you, but her dad and I always knew that Colleen would be receiving these types of awards, she's always been an "overachiever" and hard worker -- "just get the job done" types.  From the "A's" she got throughout her school years, to her determination to get her college degree and work too, to how she and her husband are raising their two daughters.  I couldn't be more proud of her. Thanks to her co-workers for the pictures!
 Here she's getting put in the fanatical jacket (yes, its a straight jacket!)
 Jeff and KT were there, secretly waiting for the ceremony.  Colleen was totally surprised.  Don't you love KT's sign for her mom?!
On stage in front of hundreds of heart would have been pounding!  Great job, Colleen!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spring 2014 Garden Diary, Post 15

There will be no okra this spring. We had another disaster....a gate was left open on Tuesday night and the deer came in and mowed the entire bed of okra down.  I'm not pointing my finger at who left the gate open, but there's only two of us living here, and it wasn't me.  You'll have to figure it out on your own....sigh....

I'm just thankful that they didn't hardly bother the Bean Haus -- they took a bite or two, but it's mostly intact.  Thank you, God!!
As you can see, the beans are taking off and climbing up the wire now!
One of the York Elderberry plants finally bloomed -- I'm checking the others daily but nothing from them yet.
 The morning glories are starting to climb the pole out front -- the first to bloom is this Cardinal vine. The vines are pretty and fern like, and the tiny little reddish pink flowers are very pretty.  Looking forward to seeing the others start to reach out and climb.  John put a bird house on the top of the pole this year for me, and I think the birds will enjoy it once the pole is covered in flowers and vines.
 The Rio Grande peaches are starting to look so delicious -- a pretty blush of pink.  There are 7 of them now, and they are all looking just like this.  Wonder how much longer we have to wait?
 I planted a few sunflowers this year, not as many of last year, but the few that are out there are starting to bloom.  These are the dwarf sunflowers.
 This is the Zucchino Rampicante plants in the grey bucket.  They are looking fabulous...reaching out and growing up the fence.  I'm using some vine pins to hold them up at first, but once they grab hold of the fence they don't need any more help - the vines are tough and just go! Can't wait to try these - mostly we will pick them as summer squash, but you can also let them grow older and they can be eaten as winter squash.
 A couple of the Alden grape vines have some sparse grapes on them.  The late freeze did a number on them, so I'm not expecting any grapes this year, but the vines continue to grow and they look healthy.  Still hoping some year to see some grapes.
 The Chester blackberry plant has a few berries starting on it.
 And the Tromboncino squash are also starting to vine.  I grew these last year and we really loved them.  Even better than zucchini, a nice buttery taste.
The snow peas started producing last week and are nearly dead now -- but we got a nice harvest from both the golden and the green peas.  The heat is just too much for them.  I may try to put them in the fall garden this year -- they may do better in the fall, or at least last longer!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

My Mom, way back in the 40s....
Love you, Mom!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Andi's Wedding Shower

Kathy, Sarah and Emily gave a very nice wedding shower for Andi. The cake was sooooooo cute, cupcakes in the shape of a wedding dress, and Kathy got darling cookies shaped like a wedding dress to match.  Delicious food and a fun game (wedding picture charades??) Andi got several nice $$$ to help with the honeymoon.  Hope you and Jeff have a great time, Andi! Best of everything from all of us.
 The cousins and kids...
 Andi looking bridal! She's wearing Papa's bolo tie around her neck with some added feathers.  Loved it!
 Joss just thought Aunt Mary was so funny! She grinned and grinned at her.
 Mother-of-the-bride and the bride-to-be!
 Can you guess the wedding saying?
 What a cute cake!! 
And the beautiful wedding dress cookies!