Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday On Thursday

Moon flowers are so cool.  This one is a volunteer that appeared out front by the road as a full blown bush the very first time this summer.  Now this is not on our property... note the fence post in the background... it is just on the other side of our line. The neighbor has agreed not to chop it down and has no problem with me collecting the seeds from it. Although he would not care if I relocated it, I don't think I want to move it cause it may not survive.  Blossoms only last one night and disappear by about 10 the next morning.

Fridays are always fun days... more often than not, we head into town.  San Antonio has lots of stores and restaurants.  Also, there are lots of things to see and do while you are there.  Well, this Fun Friday got moved to Thursday this week, so Friday is just another day... problem is, it feels like today should be Saturday because we went into town yesterday.  On the other hand, things were not as busy in the stores yesterday, which was nice... and if today is not Saturday... but tomorrow is, does that mean there are two Saturdays this week?  I get a bonus day this week... how cool is that.  Now it is not possible to switch our schedule to do Friday on Thursday every week... and if we did, it would become routine and would no longer be a bonus day.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Arbor on the deck?

I have been wanting an arbor for a while now.  I just figured I would run across one that was in my price range sooner or later.  One of those things that I didn't really need, but they are so cool... especially when you find a prolific climber to plant at its base.  I did not know where I wanted to put it, but I knew I would find the right place if I found an arbor.  Well my arbor became a reality the other day... in the most unexpected place... JoAnn's.  It was in the clearance aisle and nearly 90% off the original price... couldn't pass it by.

We talked about where I would put it on the way home.  I was trying to come up with a good layout, something with the right sun exposure, but Ron made the suggestion of putting it on the deck.  I have learned not to toss out ideas Ron comes up with too quickly... at least not before I have weighed the pros and cons.  Late the same afternoon we opened the box and put it together on the deck... just to test that possibility.

I really was surprised how much I liked its ambiance.  It is like saying, "step down into my garden". Next morning I was at the nursery buying tomato plants and I asked about something that might survive in a planter on the deck... this time of year.  She showed me this "chocolate vine" that already had many vining branches.  I'm really liking what we created.

A few days ago I got thinking it was time to get my garden ready for Fall planting... especially tomatoes and peppers.  At the nursery they didn't have any pepper plants that I wanted, but I bought a Solar Fire Tomato and a Valley Girl.  Two tomato plants are plenty for us... Ron does not like tomatoes.  I also bought a couple Juliets... that smaller Roma shaped tomato that is so prolific.  I'm trying a new technique that I saw in my online garden research.  I may describe it in more detail a little further down the road once I know how good the idea is... but this is what it looks like now.  The white bucket has the Solar Fire and the Valley Girl on opposite sides.  The black bucket has the Juliets.

Check out the watermelons flowing out over their bed in the background.  I planted those fairly late, but that was one that was supposed to be able to withstand the heat.  Lots of blossoms and starting to see little baby watermelons. 

Looking forward to harvesting my sweet potatoes.  The rows of vines look very impressive... but then my white potato plants looked impressive, and I only got 1/2 bucket of potatoes.  I've got okra that I don't even know how to cook, but those plants are almost shoulder high.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wow... it's Wednesday

It is sometimes hard to remember what day it is when you don't go to work and have a need to stay on schedule.  That is not to be confused with having nothing to do.  I have a schedule, but it has nothing to do with an employer. Sunday is the Lord's day... we're at church morning and evening.  I am back at church on Monday morning for quilting.  Tuesday we go to breakfast with a great bunch of friends from church... the ladies have their table and the gents have their round table.  Wednesday we are back to church for evening activities... sometimes a class and sometimes a prayer meeting.  Every other Thursday we have quilting group that currently is meeting at my house.  Friday Ron and I go into San Antonio for whatever we happen to feel like doing.  Often times we stop at JoAnn's and almost always we stop at Sam's.  We end our outing with lunch somewhere special... sometimes special is just Chick-Fil-A.  So Saturday is a pretty open day.  Yes, I think we are on a schedule.

This past weekend we went on an adventure to East Texas.  It took 6 hours to get there, so we decided it was not a one day trip.

We have a camper that just sits in the driveway, so it was decided that this would be a good opportunity to take it for a new experience.  We bought the camper to have an extra room for company.  The camper has been used a few times for that purpose, but we had not taken it on a camping trip... prior to this weekend.

The Texas State Railroad runs between Rusk and Palestine Texas.  There is a campground with full hook-ups at the Rusk end... just on the other side of the parking lot from the depot.  This is the tail end of our camper to show how close it was to the railroad tracks.

We met some interesting people and the train ride was very nice.  Not so much scenery to wow the ride, but the ambiance of the train was good. Most of the ride was through wooded areas.  We did see an old train turntable though.  I had someone ask me to check the train ride out for access in regards to her Mom with a walker.  The train itself has been updated and is very nice, but we were in the Lone Star car which was way up front... and we entered several cars back.  Unless they were to provide a handicap entry, I'm not sure it would be good for someone who did not want to walk that far... the cars way back were not air conditioned. 

It was a nice adventure, and I don't have anything really bad to add... but we have been there, done that... you know how that goes. If it was within a couple hours, it might be a train ride I could take visitors to, but it would not be worth the 6 hour ride to get there... and the 6 hours back of course.

Have a great day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's about time...

With so much time since my last post, it is hard to know where to begin with a new post.  I have done some quilting, both for myself and for several others, but most of my focus has been on gardening.  My enclosed garden now has 9 raised beds, and most of those raised beds have shade cloth over them.  There is still my first raised bed on the other side of the back yard, but that is another story.  My tomatoes were good producers for a while, especially my Juliets.  Juliet tomatoes are kind of a mini Roma tomato. The Tycoon tomatoes have not been as productive as the Juliets, but both were good choices for my raised beds.
Back in December I put several asparagus plants (crowns) directly in the ground.  They were slow to come up, but little by little they appeared until I think I had about 12 plants.  Among other challenges I have had, moles/voles/gophers... one or all have been a problem with tunneling and causing havoc in my root crops.  My potatoes were a bust.  I made my potato box and put some red potatoes in there, then I planted two 20 foot rows of white potatoes.  I planted them at the end of February like I was supposed to.  When it came time to dig them, I did not even have 1/2 bucket.  I think I might have planted more than I reaped.  I did find many tunnels as I was digging.  I thought the potatoes were going to be OK... The plants looked real good, but I think the moles did alot of damage.  The potato box was a complete waste of time.

It is not uncommon to find tunnels all over my backyard... the telltale raised trails.  I very much would like to have my asparagus be one of my victories in the garden.  I don't think I realized back in December the potential problem of the moles/gophers when I put my asparagus crowns directly in the ground... All of my raised beds have hardware cloth on the bottom to keep critters out.  A few weeks ago when I was at a nursery, I asked if it would be possible to move an asparagus bed.  With it being a new bed, their advice was to do it right now, if I was going to do it at all, so I had Ron build me another raised bed to move my asparagus into.  It has been a few weeks already and they appear to be adjusting well.

Enough about gardening for the moment.  I have acquired a few beads over time.  Every now and then I sit down and try to create something special.  I put the finishing touches on this creation today at quilting.  Closures have never been something I liked doing.  One of my quilting buddies just happens to be an artist in beads. I had her show me how the real beaders finish their necklaces.  I didn't have all the right tools, but we made do with what I had... and now I know what I will need to buy for additional tools and findings.  I think this one might get worn more than once or twice.  I really like the colors.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting Outside

I have not been doing much quilting lately.  I should say piecing, because I actually finished a couple quilts a week or so ago... but they were not mine, so that doesn't count.  Lots going on to keep me away from my sewing machine.

You know spring is just around the corner when you see blue bonnets sprouting up.  I think it could be a good year for blue bonnet pictures... if we get some rain.  Lots of blue all over my back yard just waiting to come out if they get adequate rain to help them along.  Nothing prettier than a backyard covered in blue.  I'm thinking it's going to be a good year... I just know it is going to rain.  This picture was taken on February 20th and blue bonnets are typically showing their color in early April, so I'm thinking it's looking really good at this point.  Now this is the first year that I have been in my backyard as much as I have been lately.  It wasn't until last May that I started my backyard makeover.  I am just amazed at how many blue bonnets I am seeing pop up back there. I don't think there have been that many in previous years... but then I wasn't out there much.  Previously only noticed them when they were already blue with blossoms.  If all that I see out there now produces blossoms, my backyard will look like a sea of blue.

 Last week I went to a retreat where there were lots of other ladies.  It was a busy couple of days in a beautiful camp environment.  Too much went on to tell about, but at one point I saw a lady walking ahead of me and I caught up and asked  her where she got her shoes. I also asked if I could take a picure. I just think they are so cool.  She bought them online from Dillard's.  When I got home I checked it out online and it seems that these wonderful running shoes go for about $139... Guess I won't be buying a pair of these.  Problem for me is shoes and I often don't get along too well... meaning I buy good shoes and two weeks after I have them, my feet start hurting.  Bottom line is I would not consider buying these shoes for that much money and find out my feet don't like them after two weeks.  I will have to look for another alternative.  Surfing a little I found Newton Running Shoes that could be a good option.  Didn't know there was such a brand, but it would be cool to have a pair of shoes that has my family name on them... and they are priced much better.

Spring is creeping up on us and we have lots of projects that need to get done.  I guess I should say that I keep increasing my Honey Do List for my dear, sweet, wonderful husband.  He has wanted to do something about the water running off the shed roof for quite some time.  I had a good friend make this rain barrel for me and I thought the perfect place for it was to catch water off the shed.  Now if we get some rain, I will get my barrel filled and the rain water will not continue to run up under the siding.  It really was an easy fix... just took getting it on our To-Do List.  Still have to get a connector from the downspout into the barrel... but it will work the way it is until then.

Another item on our list is more raised beds for my fenced in garden area.  High fences are a good idea around here for gardens because we have lots of deer.  For my first Texas garden, we put in a fenced garden last fall and constructed 4 raised beds.  There is ample room for 4 additional beds and planting time is coming up real fast.  We went to the lumber yard this morning and bought the materials for those beds.  Next on the agenda is to get those beds constructed.

I want to plant some potatoes this year, and this is the time of year that you can find seed potato at the nurseries.  I don't have the garden space ready for the potatoes yet, but I did go to buy my seed potato so I would be sure they didn't run out before I got there.  Another item on my list is to build a "potato box" from a pallet.  Just something I thought would be cool if it works.  I have the pallets, and now the potatoes... so that will have to be next on the list.  I won't put all my potatoes in a box, I will still have a full row that I will plant directly in the ground, and not inside the fenced area.  We shall see how that works.

I bought a peach tree when I was at the nursery buying my seed potatoes and today I got it planted.  One of the problems we have in this area, because we are pretty much on a sand hill... is ants that will strip your plants clean overnight.  The lady at the nursery told me about this stuff called Tanglefoot that is like thick molasses.  You first wrap the tree trunk up about 20" with a t-shirt that has been stripped 2" wide.  After the t-shirt strip is in place, single thickness, you cover the strip with Tanglefoot... applied with a spatula... I used a fat popsicle stick. It is now like a fly strip wrapped around the tree trunk, but hopefully I will catch or deter the ants.

This is the bottom of my peach tree with the Tanglefoot applied.  The inset on the right of the picture is a buried 2 liter soda bottle that has holes punched in the bottom.  The bottle can be filled to help water or fertilizer to get to the deeper roots.  I don't think it will replace normal watering, but I saw this used for various plants and figured it was worth a try to see if it helps my peach tree grow better.  This tree is going to need lots of attention if it is to survive in my back yard.

We have a whole truck load of garden soil being delivered on Thursday, so more work is on the horizon.  My fall/winter garden was not that impressive, but the real test of my ability to garden in Texas is about to begin.  Nothing about gardening is the same here.  I have to learn like I am a brand new gardener.  We shall see what happens.

Monday, January 13, 2014

No time allowed to be idle

I am forever finding new projects to start... what is really cool is when a project gets finished.  The best project is one you can start and finish in the same day.  Well, that may not really be true.  Some good things can't be rushed.  Anyhow I have a variation of finished projects to show you today.  These projects include knitting a couple headbands

quilting... that is finishing a quilt that was waiting to be quilted for several months...

and finally a finished apron made from an old pair of jeans.  Now the jean apron didn't take long to complete, but I cut the leg off the pair of jeans with this apron in mind several weeks ago.  Don't you think it turned out really cool.

The headbands from above, were not difficult, they worked up fairly quick, but they needed some embellishment to make them pop.

Today was quilting Monday for the QBL (Quilting Bee Ladies).  We celebrate birthdays for the month on the second Monday of every month by having a luncheon.  I found a recipe for a quick and easy soup, Nacho Potato Soup and decided it needed cornbread... my two contributions today.

Nacho Potato SoupThe soup was a big hit and the only work I had to do was cube the Velveeta. I brought all the ingredients (from cans and boxes) to church and put it all together there.  I even had all of the cornbread ingredients all measured and ready to dump in a bowl and mix together. 

Here's to a great week ahead.