Friday, July 22, 2011

I Believe...

Holy Mama just wrote a great post on what she believes. Because I believe in swiping other people’s genius when stumped for something to blog…here’s my own list. (Feel free to imagine Larry the Cable guy narrating if you will – heaven knows I did)

I believe that if you have a job, you are expected to come to work every day unless you’re hurling, bleeding or unconscious. Do not call in with a headache, or “female issues.” We all know you just don’t want to work today. And that irks the rest of us.

I believe that there is nothing as satisfying as a freshly weeded section of your garden.

I believe that front porches should be mandatory – as well as porch time. I think that if more people took the time to sit on their porch of an evening and just let themselves be – we’d all be happier.

I believe in telling the people you love “I love you” every time you talk to them on the phone – even if rotten teenagers won’t say it back.

I believe that while parents shouldn’t *flaunt* their active ‘marital life’ in front of their kids – they shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We should never give our kids the impression that once they are married the fun stuff stops. Pfft on that buster. An active marital life is healthy – and we should make sure our kids know that. (In a non-icky way of course.)

I believe in the right to bear arms. I don’t believe in the right to own a machine gun.

I believe in capital punishment.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose. Not my body, not my choice.

I believe we cannot throw away those who are on hard times.

I believe there should be time limits on welfare. It’s supposed to help them out, not be a way of life.

I believe there is not a political party in this country that encompasses my beliefs, which is why I rarely engage in political discussions. Because I think they’re all wrong.

I believe political discussions are a big ole waste of time anyway. No one wants to hear your point of view unless you agree with them so why engage?

I believe you can’t spoil a baby before six months. If they’re crying, pick ‘em up and love on ‘em. Babies need to be nurtured, and trust me – it won’t be just the baby that benefits.

I believe in hugs.

I believe that friends make life richer in so many ways. I cannot imagine life without my girlfriends.

I believe EVERYONE should laugh hard every day.

I believe Satan came up with gray hair. Bastard.

I believe I should have a pool. Unfortunately, my husband believes pools are a PITA, and he won that battle.

I believe having a dog makes everyone’s life better.

I also believe that having a kitty would make life better as well, but my husband won that battle too. Hmph.

I believe that reading is as necessary as food to some people – including myself. Therefore I insist on having time to just sit and read every day, even if it’s just 30 minutes.

I believe I could sit here and type up tons of other stuff, but let’s face it – I’m about to get all self-indulgent with this post, so I think I’ll just stop here and ask – what do you believe?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vacation Gone Wild

So I took a vacation from work.

It was meant to be a “work around the home place” vacation – one where I caught up on my weeding, put down newspaper and cardboard mulch in the garden to keep from having to weed more, cleaned my house from top to bottom, and re-do the brick walkway in the backyard with landscape fabric to get rid of the grass going crazy and trying to invade my herb garden and strawberry bed. It was going to be a great plan.

Didn’t work out that way.

Friday, July 1st, I developed a tooth abscess. To the point we had to call and bother my dentist at 9 pm so he could call in a prescription for pain killers and antibiotics. At 10 am on Saturday, we met my most kind dentist at his office and he ground that particular tooth down and suggested we might have to pull it since it’s already had two root canals – the most recent one just a few months ago. Woohoo! By 2 pm that afternoon, we discovered I cannot take hydrocodone with acetaminophen without getting nauseous and all those fun things that go along with nausea. By 4 pm, I looked like a chipmunk storing nuts for the winter in my cheek.

Not the best look for me. Just sayin'.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much yard work done last week. And we won’t even go into the whole unsuccessful IUD retrieval procedure on Tuesday. It was not my week.

But – I did finally get my house cleaned. Well, parts of it anyway. And the strawberry bed got weeded. We also harvested our first yellow squash from the one volunteer squash plant that came up in the corn. None of our melon/squash/cucumber section came up. Only volunteers in other parts of the garden. We’re grateful for whatever did come up since it’s been so darn dry this year. We’ve had maybe an inch and a half of rain since January. We see clouds and get our hopes up, then it rains somewhere else. *sigh*

My Rhode Island red hen is sitting on banty eggs at the moment. She tries sitting on the leghorn’s eggs, but since we don’t have a full size rooster, we sneak those out when she’s eating, since nothing is going to hatch out of those eggs anyway. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that maybe we’ll get a few new babies!

I’ve lost 5 of my tater plants – I’m not sure what is killing them underground, but it’s annoying me to no end. And I’ve yet to see a single new potato on the others. Methinks this tater experiment might be a failure. Luckily the onions are doing pretty well, so I don’t feel like a total root crop failure.

My eldest son turned 18 yesterday. I’m having a bit of a crisis about it – but quietly, because how silly is it to have a crisis about the fact you managed to raise a handsome, intelligent, witty, kindhearted child to the age of 18? But really – 18? How did that happen? It’s just surreal. Does this make me officially old?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Changing Seasons

Well hello there! I've been very remiss in my blog duties this year - I blame my job. I've been having to work of all things. (Oh - I kid. Really. Mostly.)

Anyhoo - life in Hicksville has been hot and dry this year. We're in the midst of an extreme drought of Dustbowl preportions - complete with the appearance of haboobs. I think we have had a grand total of maybe an inch of rain since January, which has stressed my garden to no end.

This year, we decided to attempt growing potatoes and onions - you know - root vegetables that are 90% WATER. Yeah - not the greatest idea, but to be perfectly honest they're growing better than nearly anything else in the garden. Certainly better than my corn and green beans and black-eyed peas. Those have been plagued with being planted a bit too deep and not coming up (my fault), evil grackles coming along and pecking the seeds out of the ground when they weren't planted deep enough (evil birds' fault) and windburned because my heavens - the wind - it won't stop blowing. So I'm not very optimistic that I'm going to have much of a corn crop this year. Heck - at this point I doubt I'll be able to even can much in the way of green beans and black eyed peas. I think we'll have enough for meals once they start producing, but canning? Not so much.

None of my cucumbers came up. Neither did the cantaloupe, the honeydew, the squash or pumpkins. One watermelon that we intentionally planted came up. Luckily, we have volunteer squash and cantaloupe coming up by the corn & beans, and volunteer watermelon everywhere. But I was really hoping to make pickles this year. Hmph.

But hey! I have 102 onions growing, and 34 potato plants. If I can get at least a couple of pounds of taters out of each tater plant, I'll be happy. We decided to mulch around the tomatoes and peppers this year, using a thick layer of newspapers covered with landscape fabric, and we already have little green tomatoes. I attempted yet again to grow tomatoes from seed as well, and so far have around 12 that have survived and are just about ready to be planted and covered with a milk jug until they're big enough to survive the desert on their own. Unfortunately, the wind got my peppers. That makes me very sad.

This year, we also applied something called BiotaMax to the garden. An old buddy of mine from high school has a company that came up with it, and when he heard me blathering on about gardening on Facebook, he sent me a sample. I can't help but wonder if that's why my tomatoes are doing as well as they are in all this heat and wind, but it's too early to tell. Apparently it doesn't ward off those damn grackles. We applied it to half of the new strawberry plants we put in this year to see if we could compare. I'll show pictures at the end of the summer and let everyone judge for themselves if it made any difference. Right now, the strawberries are struggling to survive in this heat. Today it's only going to be in the mid to upper 90's. Tomorrow - back to the 100's for the foreseeable future. I like summer and I like the heat, but dang - I'm dreading July!

Now for the chicken update - one of the banty hens was setting for awhile, but apparently we messed with her eggs one too many times, so she up and said 'pfft' and that was that. No baby chicks this year. Although our bedraggled Rhode Island Red went broody on us this weekend. Poor darlin' - we don't have any full sized roosters, so she's sitting for naught. The hubs is supposed to be tracking down some fertilized full size eggs for her to set on, but hasn't located any just yet. I hope we can find some - I love baby chicks!

The boys are enjoying summer so far - sleepin' til noon, then playing video games all day. I can't really blame them - it's too hot to work outside by the time they get up, and it's not cooling off until 8 or 9 pm at night. E has his first job not working for a relative this summer - he's a sacker at a grocery store in Mid-Size City and loving not having to ask mom and dad for money all the time. (Mom and Dad are enjoying that just as much!) E still struggles with being accepted out here and right now the other boys are still boys. I'm not sure when teenage boys grow out of being little turds and embracing the mob mentality, but apparently it's not the summer after junior year. *sigh* Luckily J has embraced the "whatever dude - who cares what you think about me?" attitude and doesn't seem to be bothered by the mob. I'm hoping E does the same soon. He's such a smart, witty kid. Too bad the mob doesn't have the maturity to get that.

As for me and the hubs, we are slowly learning to adjust to life with boys that are fixin to be men. While we enjoy being able to do more without having to track down babysitters, I have to admit missing all the time we used to spend together as a family. Thanks to his work, poor E wasn't able to go with us to see the 1st three blockbusters of the summer movie season - and who knows when he'll be able to? We're lucky if we get a couple of dinners together as a family every week between E's job, and summer workouts and just life in general. And J is about to start driver's ed. I know it's just part of the season of our lives right now, but I still struggle with having to let them go.

Darn kids - who said they could grow up?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Finding Home

Last night the wind finally died down enough that I was able to plant 2 rows of yukon gold seed potatoes, 3 rows of red pontiac seed potatoes, and umpteen onions - red, yellow and white. First things in the garden - and the official full start of gardening season. From now on, I will spend my evenings and weekends in the garden and in the yard - weeding, mulching, watering, and eventually - harvesting.

Some might look at that as drudgery. For me - it's necessary. I need that time every day to work outside in my garden and yard. From cutting asparagus each evening to pulling weeds to watering my peas - it's how I find my peace and balance each day. I do my best thinking and pondering while working in the garden, and I love seeing perennials come back each year, and the progress my yards and my garden makes from year to year. Seeing the fruit of my labor so to speak - it helps with that feeling so many of us have. The one where we feel like we're doing the same thing over and over and not accomplishing anything.

I see what I've accomplished. What my family has accomplished. I see it in the landscaping, in the spread of the oregano and thyme, the blooms of the strawberries ....

(The monstrous size of the little 6 inch rosemary plant that is now 4 feet tall - and at least as wide. After just 3 years. Sometimes nature surprises us.)

When we bought this property, it was a field. We've added a house, a barn, a garage, a wellhouse, a chicken coop, trees for shade, trees for windbreaks, trees for fruit, and berry bushes. We gave ourselves the means to feed ourselves for a good part of the year - with healthier, fresher food. I haven't bought eggs in over a year. I don't buy hot sauce anymore (because mine is SO much better y'all - you have no idea.) Thanks to the aforementioned monster rosemary bush, I'll never have to buy that again either. My hope is to not have to buy oregano, thyme or sage again, and to raise enough veggies to not have to buy canned goods over the winter. It's an ambitious goal - but one we're hoping to accomplish.

Even if we only raise enough for half of winter - that's less gas we'll use driving to town to buy that stuff. And I guarantee it will taste better than anything store bought.

We started with a field. Now we have a home. And even if life in Hicksville isn't the idyllic community we hoped for when we moved out here - I wouldn't trade it for anything.

(Oh! I almost forgot. One of the banty's is setting - we should have baby chicks in a few weeks. There is nothing as cute as baby chicks. Will try to get pictures when they arrive.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Huh. August 09?

I'm not sure how that happened. Surely it really hasn't been that long since I blogged? But I guess it has. About that time is when I got a new boss, and the next year and a half was just....ugh. I won't even begin to describe it. But I have a new boss now, and he's awesome, and I'm not just saying that because he had the foresight to hire me here at Mid-Size University 20 years ago either. (Well - not much anyway)

So - what has been going on in Hicksville? About the same. The boys continue to grow up on me - they've finally figured out that they really don't have to continue wearing those bricks on their heads - and that doesn't keep them from growing anyway - darn it all. We still have our chickens, and the gardening season has started.

And oddly enough, Holy Mama!, has given me this:

Now - normally this is given to folks she thinks are versatile bloggers - but when she gave me this, she didn't know I *had* a blog (much less one that as been ignored for lo these many months), and was telling me I needed to start one. Ha! So I'm one up on her. ;-)

Along with being given this cute little thingy (and I refuse to call it an award. Because well - she's not the only one who's weird with complements), I am supposed to list 7 random things about myself, then award this to 15 blogs. 7 random things? THAT'S easy. Picking 15 blogs? That'll be a little more difficult.

So without further ado - 7 random things about me:

1. I've only named our regular sized chickens. We have two of those, and 6 banty chickens, and I refuse to name them. Because we may end up eating them someday. Although, the white leghorn hasn't laid any eggs in a week or so and the hubby is muttering that it's time to have her for dinner. Uh no - you are not. Etta is just on vacation, and I'm sure she'll be laying again in no time. Personally, I think she's sulking because she & Mabel don't have a rooster boyfriend and she knows no rooster boyfriend, no baby chicks, so why bother?

2. I am attempting to grow potatoes this year. M is convinced you can't grow them out here, but I know darn well my grandparents did, so by golly, so can I.

3. I love hockey. I also miss it a great deal. Watching it on TV is not the same as attending 3 games a week in the winter. I long for a chance to cheer at a home town goal, and yell mean things at the ref. They won't let us do that at high school games in Hicksville. All that sportsmanship stuff. Hmph.

4. I love to crunch numbers and gather statistics. It's a weirdness that I've learned to embrace.

5. When pulling weeds and grass out of my garden and flower beds, I think mean thoughts about how I'm killing them. That's how I get out all my aggression these days. Again - I've learned to embrace that weirdness as well.

6. Reading is my consuming passion. And I'll read just about anything. If it weren't for the library and good friends, I'd be broke.

7. My shyness is ridiculous. And sporadic. While at work, I don't have a shy bone in my body. I am in my comfort zone. If you are a visitor to my home, same thing. Put me at someone else's home, around people I don't know? I'm Mysti the Mute.

Now - for the 15 blogs - this says they're supposed to be new to me, so they are listed in order of recent appearance on my Google Reader:

1. WWdN: In Exile Because I'm a closet nerd. And Wil Wheaton's blog is awesome.

2. This Garden Is Illegal Because in case you hadn't noticed, I dig gardening. (get it? Dig gardening? hahahahahahah - I crack myself up.)

3. Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean Following Rachel as she has rebuilt her life after losing a child. Truly inspirational.

4. Reflecting, writing and rejoicing I went tohigh school with Shannon back in Washington state, and it's been fun to see how she's turned out.

5. Random Ramblings of a SAHM Lori is coping with life after the loss of her husband.

6. Notes from the Trenches Life with 7 kids!

7. Lifescapes Blog of Susan Wittig Albert, who also lives in Texas. But she's in the Hill Country, which means she has bluebonnets. I am beyond envious this time of year. But not in July when 95 is a cool day.

(Who's idea was it to do *15* blogs? That's alot of blogs!)

8. In the Crease Because I miss hockey. :-(

9. Brian's Corner of the World One of my hockey buddies who moved to San Antonio recently. Bet he has bluebonnets too.

10. Blogs Are Stupid For someone who thinks that, she manages to write some of the most interesting, insightful stuff.

11. Ask Jackie This is the ultimate versatile blog. If you want to know how to do anything - just ask Jackie. She knows. She knows everything!

Ok - I give up. I've run out of people. Does this mean I can't keep my versatile thingy?

(And thanks so much to Kelsey for thinking of me. I promise - I will try to blog more often, and get some pictures of Mabel, Etta and the chickens. Just for her.)