Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I'm Sure it's totally normal that....

  • I have a huge honey extractor sitting in the middle of my bedroom.  Where else would I put it after washing it out in the master bathroom shower?
  • I plan to have a Walking Dead premier party complete with severed hand meatloaf and brain cupcakes.  My kids are the only ones invited.
  • I have eaten so many jalapenos lately that I can practically breath fire.  Hey, they are ripe and I don't want them to go to waste.
  • I own an epi pen and an inhaler...but I have no idea where either is.  But ask me where absolutely anything any my kids own is and I can tell you exactly where it is.
  • I drive more miles than a cross country trucker.  Today's route included a trip to the dentist, kids to school, me to work, a kid to the chiropractor, pick up kids from practice and then home....approximately 165 miles for the day. 
  • My dogs just got a haircut. One looks naked and the other looks like Donald Trump from behind.  It's kind of hard to look at either of them right now.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Raised Bed Gardening

In the past few years I have had some issues with Powder Mold.  So I have decided to try gardening in raised beds this year.  I have read that the advantage to raised beds is better drainage and airflow.

I started by finding all the scrap lumber that could .  I had some old railroad tie type lumber in odd pieces around the yard and a stack of mix matched 2 x 10's.  Plus my dad owns a lumber yard so I went there and scrounged for twisted and warped pieces of lumber that they couldn't sell.  Once I had my stack of lumber, I cut it into pieces and made the most uniformed sized boxes that I could.  I had to get a little creative on the sizes to make best use of the lumber.  Then I just screwed the boards together and painted them black with some outdoor paint.  Most of my lumber was not treated because white lumber is cheaper and easier to come by. Here's what I had when I was done:

After filling the boxes with top soil I decided I did not want to have to weed or mow between the boxes.  So I had some gravel delivered, laid down black weed guard and the topped it with the gravel.

Now all I needed was irrigation.  I read a bunch of articles on line and had lots of ideas for drip irrigation made from pvc pipe.  I ultimately decided that was too much work.  I decided to go with soaker hoses....since they were cheap and I already had a couple.  In the past,  I have never had much luck getting them to stay in place.  This time I fastened them down with some very inexpensive hose stakes I found at the hardware store.  I have 4 hoses connected and it covers all my boxes and has been working like a charm.

You may also notice in the pictures that I have built my own hot box.  This was built out of a storm window that I got from a local Habitat Restore for just $5.

After planting I also decided to use cocoa mulch this year.  I love the great chocolate aroma in the garden and it is supposed to help cut down on insects.  My garden is completely fenced so I am not worried about our dogs getting into the mulch.

I also have a large area in my garden that is just regular dirt that isn't in raised beds.  I have tilled this area and will use it for Pumpkins and other large squash.  It just didn't seem practical to put pumpkins in raised beds.

Be sure to check back in on my blog as the summer progresses.  I will keep you posted as things grow and let you know how every thing worked out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Monet Inspired Art Lesson

Claude Monet Lily Pad lesson
Supplies needed –
Paper, oil pastels, water colors, large paint brush and rag for blending colors, paper towel, cup of water
1)      Draw a bridge on the top third of the paper using oil pastels – I used brown and black.  Then draw several lily pads below it – I used two shades of green
2)      Add in some trees (you may want to be sure at least one is a weeping willow), a bush and a line to show where the pond starts
    3)      Add another bush and a second color to your trees and bushes
   4)      Add in some black for shadows and depth

5)    Use a soft rag or paper towel to blend all your colors and give the drawings a soft look
6)      Add in some flowers and blend smooth with your cloth
 7)      Use a bit lighter of a color to add your reflections of the trees into the water
8)      Add in some blue and white for the sky and water (I used white and afterwards I wished I hadn’t).  Blend and smooth anything you feel needs a softer look.
9)      Using a large paint brush cover the whole paper with a wash coat of plain water, then give the entire sheet a wash coat of either blue or black watercolor.  I used black.  You will see that the paint sort of bubbles up or pools in spots.

10)      Give the paint a minute or two to soak into the paper, then dab the excess runny color away with a paper towel.
11)      Then mount on desired background paper or card stock.
Here are a few samples that actual kindergarten through fifth grader students made.  I modified the lesson a bit for the younger students, as you will see in their artwork -