Saturday, September 23, 2017

Another Outdoor Before + Phase One


I have been taking a design-your-yard-type course from the Denton Master Gardener's Association, and right now I'm halfway through the classes. That means I'm far enough along and know just enough that I can't sit still and keep "working" on my developing design any longer... this weekend I decided it's high time for me to get out there and start doing something!

This weekend we started Phase One of my front yard redesign: remove all the oversized, overgrown holly bushes (all six of them).




We wrapped a heavy-duty chain around the base of each one and pulled them up by the roots with the bucket of the tractor. There was much scratched skin and ant bites during the process, but it was all totally worth it. We had them all out and hauled down to our next future bonfire site before lunch.

I even got around to the beginnings of reshaping and terracing the beds to the left of the front door, but that'll have to be a different post. Today we're just celebrating the destruction of those sharp, invasive, scratchy, way-too-big-for-the-space holly bushes, and if I may say so myself, it looks better out there already!

Next up, Phase Two: pull up all the rusting, bent and broken edging, reshape the beds, and redefine the borders with our own native stone!

I love hardscaping... and think I've already gotten my second wind... let's get back out there!

Fall!



Happy first day of fall (a day later)! Our wreath is on the front door, our pumpkins are on display, and we've cracked out the sage and cranberries to help begin our celebration of the harvest season. I even saw that a "cold" front is on the way... fall is finally here! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Garden 'After'

This past weekend I finally got the majority of my fall garden under "control." High fives were shared all around (and later, a cold beer or two).



I finished cleaning up most of what is finished for the season, storing what had gone to seed when I was able and composting the rest. Then I got my cabbage, collards, beets, carrots, radishes, and onions in the ground. I also scattered more zinnia seed with hopes that there would be enough time for a new generation before it freezes.

(See the 'before' here)







During the cleanup I found more giant zucchini and another (surprise) watermelon. My giant tomato jungle is peppered with new green tomatoes of all different sizes... dare I hope that there will be another round? In the very least there will be green tomato chutney and fried green tomatoes in our future!



Another survivor of the summer heat and bugs that has surprised us all is Henry's lima bean (which he started in a science class at school in April). It has seemed sickly and feeble until just these least few weeks... wow has it taken off now! It's loaded with little lima bean pods (which Hen has discovered are not good to eat right off the vine like his beloved green beans). He is so excited about them, and checks on their progress almost every day. My kiddos have never been big fans of lima beans... maybe this will make them turn a corner!


We're also eyeing our pepper plants, who have all held on through the summer alongside the tomatoes and the lima bean. We've still got jalapeƱos, banana peppers, sweet Carmens, and tiny fiery-hot red ones going strong!

It's hard not to hover over the newly planted beds, watching for those first green sprouts of cabbage or carrots... but there is still the concern over the soil trouble hanging over our garden space, and each visit out there is mixed with hope and apprehension. I'm hoping I did enough to amend what went wrong this spring, and I'm worried that I just wasted all that fall seed.

Only time will tell... either way, I'll let y'all know!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Weekending





























 May your weekend be pulled-in-a-wagon-wherever-you-want-to-go good (three cheers for sweet, doting little brothers!).

Happy weekending!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Audrey's Procedure

Our girl Audrey is known for her creativity, intelligence, love of books, and toothy grin... and unfortunately as of late, she's also become known for her trouble hearing.

For over three years now we have struggled with her hearing- mainly that she goes through long stretches where she can't.

We've seen doctors. We've seen ENTs and specialists. We've had x-rays, blood work, allergy tests and panels. We've had every kind of hearing test done multiple times. We've completed round after round of every allergy medication and antibiotic. She's been through three ruptured eardrums, one of which was so severe it landed her in the ER.

Enough was enough. Seriously.

So yesterday, after even more testing, screenings, and antibiotics, Audrey had her adenoids taken out and tubes put in her ears.




It was a quick procedure (once we were checked in and she was properly medicated), and afterwards the surgeon told me when they went in for her adenoids they found them to be twice as big as her tonsils (they're supposed to be half as big as her tonsils at this age, apparently). She also told me they drained lots and lots of fluid from both ears before putting in the tubes.


Audrey told me (once she had her wits about her) that everything sounded so much louder and clearer, and her only complaint was her sore throat (five popsicles later and she was feeling fiiiiine).

24 hours later, Audrey is almost feeling back to normal, and we are all noticing the improvement in her hearing. She's been living in such a muffled world for so long; I can only imagine how refreshing it must feel to hear whispers again, or to not have to ask 'What?' when almost anything is said to you, or to be able to respond to the call to dinner not because you notice everyone else is running downstairs, but because you actually heard Mama say, "Come eat!"

Our big girl braved her first surgical procedure like a champ and is now even better than 'back to normal,' and we are so glad!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Garden 'Before'



I have been dying to get out into my garden and clean it up so I can plant my fall-time stuff... but life is soooo getting in the way right now! I started on Monday and worked until it was almost too late to get cleaned up to go pick the kids up from school, and even after working right down to the wire I still just plain didn't get enough done. I haven't been able to get back out there since, and it's driving me nuts!

I did plant two heads of elephant garlic, though, so assuming my soil troubles aren't as bad as they were this spring, at least there's that.

I had no idea so many weeds had taken advantage of my August neglect! And oh, how my zinnias were overgrown! But I did manage to harvest several gigantic zucchini, a handful of green beans, and a watermelon while I was at it... and seven tomato hornworms... and lots of grasshoppers...


I still have a huge laundry list of outstanding garden chores (including pulling down all the dead cucumber vines, planting some more flowers for a fall bloom, pruning my reviving tomato plants, staking my monster eggplants, and getting all my fall seeds into the ground, among other things), and when I'm standing at the gate to the garden letting All That Is Undone sink in, man is it easy to feel overwhelmed by it all! But then a giant swallowtail or a real monarch flutters by, I spot a couple fist-sized beets I had no idea made it through the summer, and I realize I have a new round of baby tomatoes on my scraggly over-summered vines, and I take heart- this space is worth working for! I'll get back every bit of my labor and then some in a harvest I sometimes feel undeserving of, and I'll always be mindful and thankful for it.

Gratitude is quite a motivator, y'all... and so as I remember all that this space has given me so far, I'll recharge, pause in this space to share a few pictures of my garden's wild and overgrown splendor, rearrange my day tomorrow to open up a few hours, and get back on out there!

Garden 'after' pics to share, coming soon!

Friday, September 8, 2017

39




Happy birthday to Kyle... our foundation, our provider, our playmate and my partner in everything, the best Daddy and trail wagon driver, house-fixer, Lego-builder, yard-mower, joke-teller, and bloody Mary connoisseur. We love you and we are so privileged to be starting your next year with you.