Monday, December 22, 2008

Harvest Time

I love our garden. I know all of you have visions of what a garden should look like. Let me put your minds to rest, mine does not follow the norm. Don't get me wrong. We do grow things but I think it turns more into a science project than an actual producing garden.

When we first moved into our house, it seems we were more excited about planting a garden than just about anything else. So about 2 months after we moved in I went and bought plants and some wood beams to make a bed. I figured if I bought the plants than I would have to hurry and build it or they would die. My dad happened to come to town a day or two later and helped to build a beautiful garden bed and we put it right under my dining room window so I wouldn't forget to water the plants and I could watch them grow. We planted the plants and it looked great. They were all in rows and everything. Then the rain started. Little did we know that we had placed the garden in the one spot in the yard that tends pool when it rains. Needless to say, the garden didn't do very well. I got 2 tomatoes and our okra plants did great. Everything else just kind of rotted on the vine. I figured this was going to be a work in progress.

This last spring we moved the bed to a better place in the yard. We planted summer squash, that did great. We didn't know what to do with all of it. We grilled it and even tried making squash bread out of it. It wasn't very good. I don't recommend it. We planted basil, oregano, cilantro and chives. We also planted 2 tomato plants. The goal of every garden in my opinion is to get the coveted garden tomatoes. At first they wouldn't fruit. There were lots of flowers but they wouldn't fruit. Then when they would fruit, we had stink bugs that would suck them dry. We couldn't seem to get rid of them. By the time we figured that out, it was the end of the season. One day we notices a couple of horned worms, or tomato worms on the plants. They look kind of cool and I can remember my parents having us take them off our tomato plants when we were younger. At this point we had pretty much given up on getting any tomatoes off the plants and we thought we would see what would happen. It took one day and those plants were stripped clean. I couldn't believe the damage those little things could do. Later when we were clearing out the garden Scott found the cocoons of the horned worms. They were huge. They were as long and a little fatter than my thumb. They were also red. So we left them alone. It was something else when the moths came out of the cocoons. It really freaked out dog our. She would bark and bark at the things. I will post pictures when I get them. It was a great learning experience for the kids.

We also planted okra. Scott had saved some seeds from the plants the previous year. We didn't really think they would grow. He went out and scratched some lines in the dirt at the back of the yard and planted them. He planted them just in the sand and the soil wasn't very good at all. I didn't think any of them would take. By the end of the week, we had about 100 okra sprouts. So after the thinning process we were left with about 25 okra which turned into an okra forest, that's what I called it. We had more okra than we knew what to do with. We made gumbo and had fried okra a few times. We tried to give it away but not many people would take it.

We planted carrots in September. I found some seed packets at Walmart they were clearing out for 10 cents. Scott made rows and made sure the loose dirt was nice and high so the carrots would grow nice and long. Then a week later we were hit by Hurricane Ike. I figured that was the end of our carrots. Ike had taken out what was left of our okra. A week or so later the carrots started growing. We had carrot shoots in the grass and everywhere except the tops of those perfect little rows. They were all in the valleys. So we kind of let them do what they were going to do. Another science project. We didn't thin them. We just let them go. Once they got pretty big we started pulling one each Saturday. It sure was a lot of fun to watch them grow and taste them. Then they got bigger and started to grow down into the clay. It sure was hard to get them out of the clay. We harvested them on Saturday. The kids had a great time. Ian even helped. I think he ate more dirt than anything else but he sure loved the freedom to go where he wanted and do what he wanted. He sure needed a bath when he was done. They have even saved 9 carrots for Santa's reindeer. Last night I even made carrot cake with the carrots from the garden. It sure tasted good. Now the garden is waiting for peas to be planted next month. It sure is great to live in a place where we can plant things all year long.


I know I haven't written in a long time and I like to blame it on the fact that I can't post pictures. I realized this morning, if I don't write something I am going to forget what we have been doing this crazy month. So here goes. The kids are finally out of school. We have survived the couple of weeks of parties and school concerts and are now in the clear, sort of.

Morgan is now in the performing violin group at school. She has been very excited about this advancement. I was too until I saw the concert schedule for December. She is also in a beginning chorus group from school so on top of the violin concerts, she also had the chorus concerts. To make a long week, short, she had 6 concerts in one week. That doesn't count the night that I had enrichment and had to play my violin for it or the morning that Morgan was in the 3rd grade spelling bee. She did great by the way. She came in fourth. Not bad for her first go around. She wasn't at all happy with her preformance which isn't surprising if any of you have ever met Morgan. She got out on "humidity" of all words and kept saying to me "but I know that word. It wasn't even a hard word." There is always next year. Once I get my computer fixed I will post pictures.

Ian is walking. I don't know how it happens so fast. One day he was cruising along anything that would hold still. The next day he was pushing anything that would move. Now he is leaping fearlessly off anything that will help him stand up and goes for the run across the room. Okay, he doesn't run yet but he has just about made it across the whole living room. That is a long way. He also loves the stairs. If we leave them unblocked for any amount of time, he is there. Then I get my little warning from Emmy screaming, "Mergancy! Mergancy! Ian is on the stairs." He then looks back with sparkles in his eyes of utter delight and goes as fast as he can. The giggling kind of slows him down. We are so lucky to have two kids with the "stinker" gene. His other favorite past time is trying to get into the pantry and eat the dog food. I have tried leaving the dog food outside but the fire ants always seem to find it, even if there was never a mound in the first place. He loves to get in the pantry when no one seems to be watching, and heads straight for the dog food bowl. Then, again, I get my alarm. "Mergancy! Mergancy! Ian's in the pantry." by the time I make it in there, he usually has his mouth full and some in each hand. He screams at me when I take his prize away. When I manage to get his jaws unlocked and the bone shaped food out of his mouth, he quickly puts whatever was in his hand in his mouth as if to say, "That isn't going to stop me, lady." You have to love his determined spirit.

Other than that we are trying to stay sane for the big day that is just around the corner. I am amazed at how quickly children loose their minds this time of year. It is like the excitement of the season makes their little brains short circuit. I'm pretty sure I can figure out now why we try to instill in their brains that "Santa's watching" and "He knows if you've been bad or good." We need all the help we can get.

Monday, December 1, 2008

9 mile run

Okay. I was supposed to run 9 miles the saturday after Thanksgiving. We went to San Antonio for Thanksgiving. Scott has 2 sisters there and his parents and another sister flew in as well. That is all well and good but that meant that I was all alone on my big run and with no idea where to run. I don't know San Antonio very well. My friend Richelle usually sets the route and I only have to show up and be the slowest runner of the bunch. Not hard. This time I had to grow up (I am also the old lady of the running group) and figure it out myself. I did it. I found the greatest running park ever. I ran at McAllister Park. It is basically a park with running trees and biking paths that runs through trees. It has 2 marked cross country paths. One was a 10K which is 6.3 something miles and then there was a 2.2 something mile path. I just didn't know were these paths were or where they started. So I ran about 1.5 miles before I found the trailhead. Then I hit the 6.3 something mile path. It was great. It wound around in the trees and I felt like it was just me in the middle of the wilderness. I saw 15 deer. I can't remember when I last time I saw a dear before that. This park is in the middle of San Antonio. It had the miles marked out so I knew how far I had gone. Then I finished the 10K and I decided to take the 2.2 mile path. So I kept going even though that would have been 10 miles by the time I was done. I figured that I could do it and it would be no big deal. So I did it. I ran the 2.2 mile path thinking it was a loop because the other path was a loop. I was wrong. It just dumped me 2 miles or so away from my car. I was completely lost. This isn't like a normal park where you can see the parking lot. All you can see are trees and then some paths cut through every now and then. So I came to a road and kept walking back and forth thinking that it had to connect. It didn't. So I decided to run back the way I had come. So to make a long story even longer, I decided to cut through some other trails that had people on them so they had to lead somewhere. I ran most of the way and walked some. I finally found the car. I had only been on the trails for 3 hours. I'm pretty sure I ran a total of 11 miles, at least. I couldn't believe it. And it wasn't just straight flat running. There were some hills and rocks and tree roots to jump over and I only tripped once. I am pretty amazed with myself. I'm sure that I have bored the rest of you to tears but I thought that it was amazing.