Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Noah and Parker!

We went to Noah and Parker's joint birthday party last night -- they had it in a place that must seem like a young boy's dream -- a Lego Store! Yikes, there were Lego pieces everywhere!  This cute little store called Bricks & Mini Figs, had everything a boy or girl could want to build just about any Lego contraption.
Parker and KT racing some Lego Cars
Noah opted for the video game!

The party room in the back was private and had a few set ups for the kids to build and race their creations, along with a television and video games.  Very nice!
 Sue and Josh
 Colleen and Sue
 The birthday boys and their cakes

 The cakes -- not sure what the figures represent, but some young person could probably fill me in....
Even Joss got into the act -- "what's in these bins of Legos, Mimi?"

Rainy Day with Fruit Tree Blossoms!

We uncovered the plum tree and the four peach trees today, hoping that with the rain we won't be getting any more freezing weather for a few day.  What a treat! They are gorgeous, and even the new trees have some beautiful blooms on them.  Yes, we were out in the rain, but I've learned never to complain about rain here in Texas.
 Our Rio Grande peach tree, in full bloom!
 One of the new peach trees has some beautiful blooms
This is the plum tree -- lots of buds and a few blooms in white

On the walk back into the house to dry off, I spotted these viola blooms out in the grass near KT's little wooden house...apparently the plants I had in pots in front of her house must have seeded themselves and taken root.  I hope they spread -- so beautiful, even when coated in rain drops.

RIP Leonard Nimoy, aka the Vulcan, Mr. Spock

John and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Leonard Nimoy on Thursday.  He was such a big part of our "nerdier" side, being so closely associated with his most famous role of Mr. Spock on Star Trek.

As a young teen I watched Star Trek on television with everyone else.  I'm still not sure how this program was ever canceled -- it seemed most everyone I knew watched it.  All the girls loved Captain Kirk, but I was always in love with Mr. Spock.  Tall, dark and handsome, despite his pointy ears.  He was always the voice of reason in space.

We followed Star Trek through its many forms, being in line to see the movies based on the television show for many years, first with the original cast, and then with those familiar faces showing up in guest spots in the latest versions.

I've followed Leonard Nimoy in the past year or so on Twitter and he always, ALWAYS was a positive person in his posts -- a classy actor who knew better then to post anything controversial to tarnish his image.  I admire that, so very much.  After all, it's only logical.

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” 

A wonderful, old school man who lived long and prospered, he will be missed.

PS: I just remembered, there may be hope to clone a new Leonard Nimoy.  Sheldon in Big Bang Theory has his DNA on a napkin that he received from Penny in an episode from a few years ago.  Points if you remembered this!

Friday, February 27, 2015

A new source for seeds....

I have a problem.

The first part of solving your problem is admitting it, right?

I'm a seed-a-holic.

There, I've said it.

I love, love, love a good seed catalog -- and I just want to try everything.  I must get about 12 different, beautiful seed catalogs every winter.  Did I mention, I wanted to try EVERYTHING?

It's a problem.  So when I buy a package of expensive seeds, I try it and it doesn't do well, and I'm left with about 3/4ths of the original package of seeds that are aging (as we speak) and also didn't do well here in our Texas soil.

So, thanks to a recommendation from one of the several garden groups that I belong to on Google+, I've found a site, SeedsNow, that sells seeds in sampler packs for ONLY 99 cents!! What?!!

Yes, a supply (usually plenty for what our needs are) for only 99 cents!!! Excitement!!!  I've received several of their varieties so far and hope to report on how they do for me in the spring.  Looking forward to it!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Starting the herbs...

Today I started planting a few herbs -- two types of basil (Large Leaf Italian and Red Velvet Leaf), parsley, catnip, lemon balm and fennel.  They've gone into the greenhouse on the heated mat.

and...I'm doing a germination test on all of the sunflower seeds that I've saved since 2013...not sure they will come up or not.  I save seeds too long some time.  I'll keep these wet for a few days to see if any germinate, and if so they'll go into pots in the greenhouse.
There are four types in here, stacked on top of each other - Hopi Black Oil, Teddy Bear, Italian White, and Red Velvet Queen.

I love having sunflowers for the birds!

New/Old Garage Doors....

We've spent the last couple of days at JR and Ashley's new house in Southtown, helping them put doors on the garage at the back of their property.  The doors are a mix of new wood and some old shiplap that was stacked up in the garage.
 Making the frame with the new wood....
JR in his overalls...he reminded me of Pappa, my dad, who was always in these things!

I admire their wish to use/reclaim some of the materials that they are finding there.  Some of this ship lap was painted in a pale mauve color and some in two different colors of green.  There was some old style wallpaper on some of them -- Indians and Pirates, so I'm thinking it was used on the walls in a child's room at some point.
 We got one door up by Tuesday evening.

The final product was really nice -- turned out great.  Getting those doors level and meeting in the right place was a bit of a job, but they got it!  

On Wednesday Jeff was there, too, to work on their security project.  And they are getting a new drive way at the front of the house in the next week or two.  Things are moving along!

By the way, they've found a really good BBQ place that we walked to on Tuesday for lunch -- it was fabulous! I can highly recommend B&D Ice House on So. Alamo, if you're hungry.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Problems with the tomatillo leaves....

I'm pretty sure that I've found the culprit of the bubbly crud on one of my tomatillo plants.  It's only on one plant, and only on a couple of leaves, but I was worried that it was some kind of virus or something that might spread to my other plants.  Turns out it's my fault -- I've been over-watering these plants.
According to what I've read, it called oedema.  It's caused by too much water in the leaf cells which causes them to explode. Yikes!  Thankfully, sounds like this plant will survive and I'll stop watering it so much.
I'm living and learning.  Every damned day.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Eleven babies so far....

We had 4 more little chicks when we got up this morning, so now there's 11.  I have 6 eggs still in the incubator which I'll keep going until tomorrow evening, but I'm not very confident that there will be any more.  There's no more chirping.  But we'll see.
 This morning's 4 little ones!
 KT loving on "Tiny" who was the first hatch...
 All 11 are out in the chicken house now in the brooder box.  
Joss being introduced to one of the chicks...

My new toy...

Life is a I invested in a Soleus Go! Fitness Band.  This is a neat little device that measures my daily activity and even the type of sleep I get.  Pretty cool!

First, you decide on your goals, such as "daily steps" -- I chose 10,000 as a reasonable goal, which I didn't achieve today.  It's only the first day for me to wear it, though, so I did reach 7,488 steps doing no more than my usual amount of moving around. And, I walked 3.19 miles doing it! ha!
It also measures your exercise sessions (which I have none of), calories used (1,962) and sleep cycles (deep sleep vs. light sleep), is a watch (time, date, etc.) and also alerts you to phone calls and texts, even scrolling those across the screen for you.  Amazing.  I have it synced to my phone so that I can easily look all of these stats up as the day goes along.
Now, lets see if it can motivate me to move a little more!

Painted Birdhouse Gourd

I took one of the gourds and decided to paint it before hanging it up.  I've seen these all over the internet, and even on some of the seed company sites that I go to as an example of what you can do with these gourds, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Started with a coating of solid background color....a pale sage green, two coats.
 Then I found a picture of a bird online that I thought I could copy -- you didn't think I'd free hand this thing, did you? Ha!  Anyway, I penciled it in and then started painting....It took a couple of days since I had to wait in between for each area to dry.
The final piece, with two coats of clear waterproofing.  I like how it turned out!


An old post of mine about making a planting board got highlighted on a DIY crafts site recently.  I'm just amazed....  I was wondering why I was seeing some comments about this old post, since its been a while, wondering how in the world anyone found it.  Mystery solved!  I'm honestly humbled and amazed!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We have baby chicks!!!

The eggs that we put in the incubator have started to hatch!  Friday morning was day 21, so when I got up I went straight to the incubator (even before I had my coffee!)  There were no babies there, but a few eggs had little peck areas on them and when I tapped the side of the incubator I heard a couple of chirps!

Mid-morning the first chick hatched! Excitement -- I was able to catch the whole thing on video for KT, who has been as excited as me about the possibility of chicks.
The next didn't hatch until Colleen and Jeff arrived that evening.  They brought KT out to see the chick, and when we opened the incubator there was another little blackish silver chick in there.  Perfect.  Another arrived while they were here, too, and KT got to watch it emerge from the egg while she was here.

So far we have 7 and a few more eggs in the incubator, so the possibility of more.  I'm anxious to see if we have hens or roosters -- but since I don't know how to sex them, I'll have to wait until they get a little older.
 Witnessing a miracle!

Closer and closer to home....

JR and Ashley have purchased a home in San Antonio!!! I'm so happy about this, I did a little happy dance around the house the other day (don't tell anyone.)

They've bought a home in South town, which I really had no idea was a thing, but I have seen what a really big thing it is the past few days.  We met the realtor there the other day to pick up the keys for them.  JR and Ash came in yesterday evening, so we were over there with them this morning.  We had brunch at the Liberty Bar, which is only a few blocks from their new house.

Its an older home, but has been updated a few years ago. There's a huge big living room area that opens into the kitchen, high ceilings, and a fabulous chandelier that I love.  They have plans to redo some of the more cosmetic things, and a few more serious issues first.  Mostly it just needs a new coat of paint here and there. There's nothing really big.

The backyard is great - a pool and a hot tub, an historic small old home that needs lots of love, and an old covered carport at the back entrance.
I can't wait to see how their plans take shape for this place -- I think their timing is perfect - it looks like this whole area is getting a beautiful face lift.  

And I hope this means we will see lots and lots more of these two!!!

Garden stuff....

I've re-potted the tomatoes for the final (I hope!) time ... these things keep growing and growing.  I have a total of 16 now, now I don't know what to do with all of them.  I was expecting some to curl up and die, but only a couple have.
 Some are on the table top and the rest are here on the floor!

These tomatillo are gonna have to be re-potted soon, too.  Getting leggy!

Plenty of morning glories, waiting for the end of cold weather.  These are Scarlet Rose Feather and Heavenly Blues.  Behind them and to the left are those Datura (Angel Trumpet) that finally came up.  Slow germinators.

Not easy to see here, but the Snow Peas are emerging! Looking forward to having those again.

John finished the drip irrigation system in his vineyard.  Each plant has its own dedicated drip.  He's got this on a timer so they will be taken care of automatically all summer!

Here's a little Pinterest idea I found on line...drill little holes in the top of a gallon jug to water tender little plants with a gentle stream of water.  This works great in the greenhouse! #ILovePinterest!!!

And just so you know, its not all perfect with my little plants...
3 pitiful tomato plants -- stunted and yellowish... I should give up, but.....the green one in the back is a dwarf tomato called Sleeping Lady.  It's picking up and getting greener after we added some iron to the soil, so hopefully one of those will pick up and start growing.

And what the heck is wrong with this tomatillo plant?  Its only on one plant and only on a few leaves.  Weird.....