Monday, December 31, 2012

I Wish I Was Better At...

This is my contribution to the New Year's Resolutions theme most bloggers are writing about.  I don't resolve to do anything to completion.  I don't like to set myself up for failure when I can't fulfill a resolution.  I like to set goals of trying new things or improving on things I know how to do.  This way it's not an all or nothing approach, just an adding to approach.

I wish I was better at...Keeping my closet clean.  I'll have my yearly shoe and clothes purge.  I also need to clean some of my shoes.

I wish I was better at...Playing the piano.  I took lessons years ago and could play well.  Now it's harder to find the discipline to practice and keep up the skill.  Ideally I would like to practice for at least 15 minutes a day.

I wish I was better at...Knitting a sock and glove.  Try as I might, I keep getting snaggled on my perfectionism.  Socks intimidate me.  I've made some progress this year.  I actually have a sock on double pointed needles.  The sock is about 2 inches in length and looks hideous.  I would never wear it.  I know that the first time making something it usually comes out looking like the cat had a part in making it.  I'm not sure what I'll do to try and improve this.

I wish I was better at...Gardening.  I'm just lazy about it.  I build up the perceived work necessary in my mind and think it will take hours and hours, or it's going to be very hard work, and procrastinate.  In actuality, most jobs don't take more than an hour.  I haven't had a lot of weed problems.  I need to improve my approach to soil quality.  I need to be more vigilant about protecting the garden from the insensitive cats.

I wish I was better at...Composting.  I do good with this for awhile and then fall off the wagon.  This is completely Jace's fault.  I haven't been successful in winning him over and I have a hard time keeping up composting when I'm the only one doing it.  I also have the compost pile far from the house, which is where I like it, but makes it seem harder to get out there.  The dog tends to smell funnier when I am composting.  I think he may be rolling in it.

That looks like a pretty good list.  I read a blog on GeekMom titled Alternatives to the New Year's Resolutions.   There's some pretty good suggestions you might like.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let's Finish The Year

2012 is just about done.  As usual I'm ready to move on.  Kind of the clean slate thing.  I've changed the header and wiped my Book Tally clean. 

2012 was kind of hard.  I had to make some adjustments.  I chose to unfriend 3/4 of my Facebook list.  It was getting a little too personal with people I didn't really know.  You know, the weird email from someone who's still got a crush on you.  I also decided to stop posting statuses on Facebook.  I do some on Twitter but it's hard to think of witty things to say all day. 

The biggest most positive change this year was starting homeschooling.  We are now going into our 8th week.  I blog about it HERE.  It's been a delight and certainly has challenges.  I feel we made the right decision and it fits with my homesteader thinking.

The garden was awful.  Terrible in fact.  I spit on it!  Not really.  I'm pretty sure the dirt was just dead.  I didn't amend the soil as often as I should and it finally said No to growing anything.  There were also cat problems.  Lots of walking, digging, and generally laying on top of the plants. 

We started building another garden off one side of the house.  It's 32 feet by 39 feet.  It will have around 9 raised beds, fruit trees and fruit vines.  We're almost done fencing it in and have started putting in the raised beds.  We have 6 weeks to get everything in and start planting.  Seeds have been ordered. 

I took a year off from doing anything business oriented.  I have thought about starting up the Etsy shop again.

And of course house projects.  There's always house projects.  I'm hoping to actually finish some in 2013.

A big thanks to those who have continued to follow this blog! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012 Is Almost Done

What a pity, a pity, a pity I say to you.  There was much to write and lack of writing.  I'd like to sum up the last months. 

While your summer was filled with excitement ours was not.  At least not in the normal sense.  We went to a convention which we spread out over 3 weeks due to an abundance of rabbits.  We turned a 3 day weekend convention into a 3 week convention.

We have passed Kindergarten and moved into First Grade.  We are having serious doubts and downfalls.  We are planning on pulling her out of school and homeschooling at the Winter Break...if not sooner.  We did see and review the new iPad Mini.  Putting that on my list of wants.

We are still gardening and rabbiting.  I hope to have some delectable update photos...if the stupid cats would stay out of the garden...


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Goodbye Grand Meow Meow

I know from the title you are expecting a story about a cat.  It is a story about the passing of Rowan's Great Grandmother, whom she calls Grand Meow Meow.

For quite a few years Grand Meow Meow has not felt well.  She went to the hospital many, many times every year.  She had mastered all of the "Golden Years" ailments, diseases, syndroms, and disorders.

Over the years it became apparent that she had acquired enough old lady credits to move into Silver Meadows, otherwise known as Land of The Living Dead.  (Don't kid yourselves folks)  But still she persevered.  There was even a piece of paper that proclaimed she was to stay alive or else!  Even though, in her lucid days she had said not to do that.  Thankfully not really when she no longer remembered who anyone was or where she was, someone reversed her decision so she could remain in a world full of strangers.  Sounds mean, I know.

I can only hope that she derived great pleasure from the little girl who would go see her and eat ice cream with her and talk to her for hours.

One night Grand Meow Meow outwitted everyone and escaped into the great beyond and left this Earthly world.  Now we were going to experience a funeral.  For Rowan, a first funeral.

If you're a parent then you know this is one of the scary unknowns.  "Oh dear, how in the world are they going to act?"  Will there be shock, amazement, bawling, screaming, fainting, or even disinterest.  Mostly we worry about the bawling and screaming and hey-my-kid-is-making-a-scene reactions.

Rowan decided she needed flowers and made a lovely card with hearts and butterflies.  She picked a nice somber dress.  Now we were off to the funeral.

At a funeral there are a lot of missteps, unless you happen to go to a lot of funerals.  There's issues of culture and religions.  Where do you sit, who do you give condolences, who do you tell first.  We made it through all of that and now it was time to walk past the coffin.

I walked with her while she carried her flowers and card, looking ever so small and shy.  As we reached the coffin I picked her up and she whacked the flowers on top of the coffin, "smack."  "Ga-bye Gramma," in her best Boston accent.   I placed the card on top under the big flowers and we walked on.  Not too bad.  Whew!

Then the wind blew.  Whoosh goes the card.  Spinning and fluttering like the butterfly drawings had come to life.  The card came down and settled, sliding into the...burial hole.  Oh. My. Lanta.  Of course Rowan DIVES for the hole to save the card.  No no no.  This is going all wrong.

Luckily, I have been blessed with sometimes lightning speed reflexes.  I don't know what one of those speed measuring guns would have clocked it, but I bet it would have said super fast.  I grabbed onto her and stopped her from going in head first after the card.  Nervous laughter.  Keep moving Rowan.

The rest of the funeral proceeded without further event and we returned home thankful and a little sad.  Rowan talks about wishing she could go eat ice cream with Grand Meow Meow and twirl in her ballet skirt for her. 

I'm glad she has these memories.  For most of us at funerals, we are older and knew the person for awhile and had experienced their imperfections, some of which can be horrific.  But for a child who only knew someone at the end of their days eating ice cream, it is a pure memory.   Not a memory edited over time, just 2 companions sharing the day.  I'm really happy Rowan has that. 

Now reality is slowly sinking in.  It makes Rowan sad for a little while.  No more trips to Silver Meadows, no more ice cream on lazy Saturdays.  "They're giving her room to another old lady, right?"  Yes, Rowan, they gave her room to another old lady.  She ponders for a moment but is soon off on another adventure.  I wish handling death could be this easy all the time. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Just Happened?

I recall saying I was going to write more often.  Now it is April.  Life being life I was swamped with a great opportunity at work, but nevertheless still swamped with training for it.  I pretty much didn't do anything else, meaning I didn't even grocery shop because my whole obsessive schedule was thrown off.  My solution to disruption is to just stand still or try to become as minute as possible, thus lessening the effect of stress. 

I actually did a few things.  I read that darn Hunger Games trilogy.  I have a sinking feeling that there will be lots of kids running around with bows and arrows and that somehow the suburbia they live in will transform into a vast hunting ground.  If you're going to dress like anyone from the book, I think it would be much more fun to dress like someone from the Capitol, like Effie Trinkett. 

I started collecting pieces to create a tea set.  I have tea with Rowan after school where we talk about cakes and cookies we should have at a tea party.  I volunteer to shoot something with a bow and arrow but she hasn't read the Hunger Games.  Lame.  Actually, you can find lots of nifty things to create a tea set at thrift shops and Goodwill if you don't mind having a mismatched tea set.  A mismatched tea set is considered appropriate for the less formal teas or if you're not an "uppity" type person. 

I collected 5 pen pals.  I was lamenting the lack of letters in my mailbox and it was depressing that it only received junk mail and bills.  So off I quested and now write to 5 very lovely ladies about nothing in particular.  Usually it's about weather and gardening or some funny story.  One lady even draws pictures of her flowers which are amazing to look at.  If any of you have played Draw Something with me then you know my artistic abilities are very limited.  A website I found today is fantastic for reading other peoples' letters.  These are famous type people.  So check out Letters of Note.

I thought I would give you some pics to look at.

This is what's on my needles right now.  It's a washcloth with seed stitch and basket weave stitch.  

Here is the main lettuce bed.  All of it is dying off from winter and going to seed.  I'll try to collect the seeds but lettuce seeds are very very tiny.  Some plants are intermixed and are new plants like tomatoes and cucumbers.  It's an experiment I'm trying and it seems to be distracting the bugs.  

This bed had the cabbage and broccoli and green onions.  It's now growing some baby corn and making great food for some kind of caterpillar.

This is another bed of lettuce going to seed.  There used to be radishes but we ate them all.  There's still some spinach and now there's corn and beans growing.  

This is Rowan newest garden bed.  She wanted Strawberry popcorn.  She also got some volunteer tomato plants.  This means we didn't plant them, they just showed up and we don't know what kind of tomatoes we'll get.

Here's her other bed.  It's growing watermelons and Salvia.  

This is one of Jace's gardens... We are either growing our own gasoline or he's going to immediately burn anything that grows here.  I do know it's called a keyhole garden but I don't ask any questions.

In the compost pile we have a volunteer squash plant.  Or zucchini...

Because we haven't mowed the back forty, we get pretty wildflowers.

Here's some more wildflowers I've been trying kill for years.  Turns out they are Yarrow and have excellent medicinal qualities.  Oops.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

What's the Buzz?

Since it's almost the end of January I figured it was time to pop in and give some progress updates.

I was looking for something one day and came across the public library web site.  There I noticed an interesting, and free, class.  It met several of my lofty criteria:  I wasn't doing anything then, it's only a month long, and it's something I know nothing about but like might to try.  The class was Introduction to Beekeeping!

For the last month once a week I've been trekking down to the library and learning about queens, workers, and lazy boy drones.  Drones like to sit around the house all day and eat all the food, don't do a lick of work, and leave the toilet seat up.  But you want to know about the stinging.

Of course there's the low high probability of getting stung...if I don't take precautions.  Things like wearing the big white suit and getting the neighbors to gossip about what I am doing.  All in all it was a good class.  I will be getting a hive going but not for a few months.  This means there will be no honey this year but that's o.k.

I haven't seen any more classes on the library schedule that I want to take but that's o.k., too.  I've decided to learn German on my own.  That's for a post 18 months from now.  Yes, I have a post planned for 18 months from now.  And you thought you were organized.

Now you are also probably wondering about the garden.  Here's the latest pics.

 Winter Honeysuckle
 Atomic Red Carrots
 Mignonette Bronze lettuce
 Green Onions
 Cabbage...or Cauliflower...oops
 Leaf lettuce
 Collard Greens
 Found growing in the yard.  Must've dropped a few seeds.
 Swiss Chard
  Micro Greens in back and more lettuce in front.

Last but not least.  An easy way to personalize your tea.  This is hot Rooibos tea with honey and frozen cranberries.

 Auf Wiedersehen!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First Planting Day

In my journey to become a halfway decent gardener I decided to make a plan.  I sat down with all my wonderful seeds and cataloged them in which order to grow them.  This is serious grown up gardening.  I planned and plotted on the calendar and looked up last frost dates. 

So todayish was the day to start planting things for the 8-10 week mark.  I have added a little extra time for some things because my plants are always pokey.  I don't know why and a lot of the time I think I would be a natural at Bonzai gardening.  I'm great at growing things in miniature.  Except the year before when I had the stupendous season of tomatoes. 

Yes, gardening is hard.  I won't lie.  The ads you see on t.v. are all lying.  Don't be fooled.  It is not easy and if I had to survive on only my garden I would get to eat one meal per week. 

But this year will be different!  This year I will have glorious blog entries of mammoth vegetables.  They won't even fit into the picture frame they will be so huge!  All because I have a plan this year.

First up I started 3 seeds indoors.  Calendula, eggplant, and orange bell peppers.

I'm planting these in my compost mixture with the rabbit poo mixed in.  And no, it doesn't smell.  It looks like this...

Afterwards, I spent another hour planting, raking, and watering  these lettuce, mustard greens, and carrot seeds.

According to my master plan I don't have to plant anything else until the middle of February.  By then all these seeds should probably have reached their maximum growth and I'll be watering them with my tears of failure.

~The Pessimistic Gardener