Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flowers and Sunshine

I can not believe how fast the last two weeks have gone by. My Mother In Law has started radiation treatments for her bone cancer. We are still waiting on some test results to find out where the other cancer is located. I am taking over their bills until she is better - so the stress is about to drive me nuts. I am so afraid I will mess up their finances but there isn't anyone else to do it. With everything stacking up on me, I decided I needed a little garden therapy. I bought a bunch of flowers and spent a couple of hours outside soaking in the sun. I am still stressed but I now feel like I can handle everything for a little longer.
I started out the morning putting the veggies out in the sun. They have spent everyday this week in the front flower bed. My little patio gets sun for about 4 hours in the morning and turns to shade before noon. They seem happy and strong. I really need to get the veggie beds finished - Maybe this weekend when dear hubby gets home.  
Veggies soaking up some sun.
When we first starting building our house, I changed the layout of the garage, yard, and sidewalk to give me a huge front flower bed. I am now starting to question my great idea. This bed is 12' x 20' and was just sand when we moved in last fall. I added a bunch of compost and tried to get all the rocks out of it. Then I planted my garlic, transplanted several perennials, set up the bird bath, and waited for spring. I have put in a small patio, set out the soaker hoses, and removed more rocks. The garlic is growing like crazy. My garlic usually stays small and I don't even worry about harvesting it. This is my third year and it actually looks great. I am so excited.   

My garlic was bought from the farmer's market last fall but I do not know what they are. The largest plants in the back are elephant garlic.

My Muscari Blue.

I have moved my little blue flowers three times. The flower beds in Florida had lots of little blue flowers when we moved in. The flowers look similar to Texas Blue Bonnets and really reminded me of home. They quickly faded and I forgot about them until the next spring. They flowered again the next year as we were packing to move to New Mexico and I did what every gardener would do. I took them with me. Every spring they show up before any other flowers. I was walking through Lowe's last week and they had my little blue flowers. So I now know their name : Muscari Blue. I wonder if it comes in any other colors? 
The North end of my flower bed. I planted my strawberries around the edge and they are just starting to show.
Today while therapy shopping I spent way too much on flowers. I like to have my flower beds over flowing with plants and right now they look a little empty. I purchased Petunias, Marigolds, Cineraria, Salvia, Verbena, Geranuims, Red Star Cordyline, Gerbera Daisies, Daffodils, and Garden Gnome Iceland Poppies. Plus I already had Day Lillies, Iris, Dahlias, and Lillies. It took me two hours to get everything planted. I guess I will be heading back to the stores to buy some more flowers - O' darn!

By the front door - This area gets more shade than the rest of the flower bed.
By the front door is the Cineraria, Hyacinth, and Daffodils. The plant behind the Hyacinth puts on huge clusters of blue flowers. Once again, I do not know what it is. Maybe when it flowers someone will be able to ID it for me. I still need to get a few more shade plants to fill in but I am waiting for my rhubarb plant to put out some leaves. Last year it was in a pot and was huge. I can not wait to see it this year.
Last year I had my sons each paint a pot for me. I didn't tell them how to paint it. It just had to be bright and have their name and the year on it. This pot was painted by Dallas and he will fill it with flowers himself. Probably Marigolds. He always chooses Marigolds and Dusty Miller.
The small pot is Alex's and I planted a Petunia for him. I am hoping it can flower as fast as he can pick them. He loves to smell flowers but tends to get a little too excited. The larger pot was a gift from my Mom. It had Strawberries in it last year. The berries were moved to the large flower bed and I filled the pot with one Pink and one White Geranium, Pink Verbena, and Red Star Cordyline. I really like the pop of color the flowers bring to the front porch.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tomatoes, Peppers, and Stress

I will start with the tomato and peppers so I can end with the stress. Over the last two days I have potted up all of my tomatoes and peppers. They had outgrown their six packs and roots were taking over their trays. I did not think about how much space they would take up when I moved them into their own cups.  I made sure to leave room with the smaller tomato plants to add more potting mix as they get bigger. Every plant was planted at the same level in the cups. It surprises me how fast some of the plants are growing and others just seem to take their time. After trying to fit them all under the same lights, I decided I needed to run down to the hardware store and buy another light. Then I took over a shelf in my Dear Hubby's garage and moved some of the plants over. I have basically taken over all of the garage and part of the living room. He hasn't really said anything about the plants and lights but I know it is coming.

My Tomatoes and Peppers in their colorful cups.
The stress just keeps building. We found out this week that my Mother in Law has bone cancer. Her doctors believe she has another cancer somewhere in her body but they have not been able to find it. My Mother in Law and I do not get along and have spent the last 14 years fighting. The last few years have been better and we can actually talk to each other without yelling. David is an only child and he is her life. She is going to need him. I know our lives are going to change drastically and it scares me. We just made it through David's injury's from Afghanistan, his brian injury, his stomach cancer scare, and his PTSD. The last two years almost destroyed us. Now, this year we have another deployment, several TDY's, and now cancer. How much more can we take?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Peach Tree

That's right - I bought a tree this morning for our backyard. I found an Elberta Peach Tree this morning that I fell in love with. It was so healthy and I had David with me to take it home. Then I had him build the planter boxes for the tree and one for my cabbage and broccoli. Now I am off to see if he will build some more boxes for the rest of the yard!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break 2012

I want to apologize in advance - this post is very, very long and all about 'Our Life'. I will do a garden post tomorrow. Really. I Promise.

Why do kids LOVE Spring Break but adults almost cry at the thought of it? Planning Spring Break this year was a little harder to do. We did not know if David was going to be here or be able to take off work. His shop is always under manned. Thankfully David was home and took off from last Tuesday to this Tuesday. A whole week. Yup - I was in shock.

So....I had two weeks to plan a trip and I chose to drive 8 hours to Denver with two cranky kids. Yes - I am just that crazy. We had a blast. We drove to Denver on Tuesday and came home on Friday. We stayed at a KOA in a cabin. We love to camp but I did not want to camp in Colorado in March. I don't like the cold that much.

Our little cabin - small but warm!
On Wednesday we went to the Denver Zoo. I was surprised by how large it was and how fast Alex ran through it! He didn't even give us time to read about the exhibits. I was able to catch a few pictures along the way.

Alex spent most of the time staring at her twitching tail.

Toward the end of our visit to the zoo. Alex started to go down hill. That is when our plans changed for the rest of the day.

In less than 30 minutes Alex went from being his normal active self to a sleepy, lethargic, shadow of himself. We left the zoo and went to the nearest store to find a thermometer and to get the basics of Tylenol and Motrin. We took his temperature before we even paid. Alex was running 103.4. We ran and picked out some Gatorade and some juice, paid, and went to the car. Less than 20 minutes from checking his temperature the first time. He was just getting hotter. We checked his temperature again. 104.9. Thank God for the Navigation in my new car. We found the nearest ER (It happened to be a Children's Hospital). They took his temperature again. It had gone up to 105.1. I was in panic mode. He would not talk to me. All he would do is rub his face against my shoulder and whimper. It took them over an hour to get his temp down to 103 again. Once it was down to 102 he started to act more like himself. He played with the lights and the nurse's call button. And even drank some Apple juice. They could not find anything wrong with my baby. There wasn't an infection so they told us it was Viral and to wait it out.

We decided to stay in Denver until the next morning to see how he was doing. By morning - as long as we did not forget to give him his Tylenol- Alex was his old self. So we continued our vacation. On Thursday we went to the Butterfly Pavilion, Downtown Aquarium, and to Dinosaur Ridge. By the end of the day I was exhausted.

During Lunch at the Aquarium the boys (all three) were able to watch the Mermaids swim. The girls were wonderful. They played with the boys through the glass and blew kisses at them.

Don't the kids look happy? We took this picture after walking up and down the ridge. I need to remember to take the pictures before the hike!

On Friday we went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was the best museum we have ever been to. We spent all morning there and decided to drive home at 3. Big mistake. Traffic was terrible and we saw two wrecks as they happened. I never want to drive in rush hour traffic again and I don't think David wants to drive in it again with me in the passenger seat. I think I yelled 'BRAKES' twenty times. He would just roll his eyes at me.

Even with our ER visit it was a wonderful trip and I am very thankful to be home again. Now to get the kids off to school and daycare tomorrow so I can really relax!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Seedlings 3-11-2012

I started my tomato and basil seeds on 4 March 2012. The following pictures were taken the night of 8 March 2012. In four days my little tomatoes and basil are up!

Wonderful little tomatoes!



Today I was shocked by how fast everything is growing. It seems like they doubled in size overnight, So I had to take more pictures. My husband is starting to think I am crazy.

My tomatoes today.

Tam Jalapenos - they should be a very mild hot pepper.

4-Seasons Lettuce. I have decided that I like growing my lettuce in the egg cartons. They seem really happy and it is so easy to move them around.

My Broccoli (Waltham 29) and Cabbage (Early Jersey Wakefeild). They are just starting to put on their first true leaves. This is my second planting - the first ones were part of the plants my Dear Hubby forgot to water.

My Tendercrisp Celery. I have never grown celery before so I am happy to see them putting on their first leaves. I will thin them when we get back from our spring break vacation.

A side view of all my little seedlings.
I am so happy with all of my little plants. This is my first year to grow everything from seed and I really did not expect such wonderful results. I know I have a lot to learn (a few lettuces are a little leggy and space is a huge issue) but I am having so much fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What to do?

The storm is here. That is dirt in the sky - not clouds
Our wonderful warm weather is a thing of the past. A winter storm arrived this morning. We have 40 - 50 mph winds and we hit our high at 7:30 this morning. We should have rain, snow, and wind until Saturday. So much fun! With all outdoor activities canceled, Alex and I have to find new fun things to do. We have been working on his colors so today I found a way to make orange. We started out with Red Ketchup and Yellow Mustard. Then he was able to mix them together to get orange.

Yellow and Red
Starting to Mix

All Done!
It only kept him busy for 15 mins but it allowed me to sit at the table and drink my diet Mountain Dew. It is the little things, right?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

First Planting for 2012

Today has been beautiful - Very warm and no wind. I took advantage of the weather to get a few lettuces and onions in the ground. We finished filling half of the large bed by the house  with dirt, peat moss, and compost. Then I started planting my Salad Mix that has been growing under the grow lights for about a month. 
The first plant in the ground for 2012!

My little row of Salad Mix.

I used their little cups to help shield them from the sun. .

If you look really hard you can see my cute little onions.

The Big Picture.
The onions are planted at the front of the bed so I have room to add a few pavers to stand on in this very large bed. Once the they are in place I will plant my carrots, celery, and radishes around them. And I still have a lot of greens and flowers to plant. I can not wait to see this bed full of plants. Now that the Lettuce and Onions are in the ground I have room to start my tomatoes. I have 50 tomato plants to start this year and I was starting to wonder where I would put them. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Only In New Mexico....

Here is my dear hubby pressure washing our grass. Yes, you read that right. Only in New Mexico would you have to pressure wash your yard. The wind has blown so much that all the dirt from the neighboring construction sites has settled into our yard. The dirt was almost 6 inches higher than our driveway and it was killing our grass. I tried to rake it out, sweep it out, and scrape it out. Nothing seemed to work. So out came the pressure washer. We cleaned the side closest to our drive way before it got dark. We should be in the 70's tomorrow so I am hoping he will be able to finish it this weekend.