Saturday, September 30, 2017

So Long, September...

"We know that in September,
We will wander through the warm winds of Summer's wreckage. 
We will welcome Summer's ghost."
~Henry Rollins

It doesn't seem possible, but not only is this year's only summer over, September has joined it. Our September this year seemed to be less of a destination and more of a middle ground. We transitioned- or so it seemed- this whole month. But maybe now that that's over, we'll awaken in October... fully aware and present... transformed from our gnarly, sunburned, heat-stressed selves into the golden grateful creatures October brings out in us all. 

Sometimes the bridge is taken for granted, just something to land your feet upon as you step from one side to another... and so September has been: the bridge between Summer and Real Fall. Thank you for getting us here, September... thank you.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Doin' Fall Stuff

I know, I know, I know we don't have fall-like weather yet... I know that it's still in the 90's and most of the leaves falling from the trees right now are falling because they're dehydrated... I've noticed that the birds are still panting, that the air conditioners are still cycling, and that no one wants to stop wearing shorts yet... but darnit, we're doin' fall stuff anyway.

I mean, once the sun goes down, it's not that hot out there... 

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!


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


 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


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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Before & After :: Back Patio Re-Do

We're hosting a patio party this weekend in honor of the hubs completing another trip around the sun, and under the magnifying glass of imminent company we came to notice that our back patio wasn't actually as finished as we'd thought.

We've already completed the flower bed at the top of the rock wall, and this past weekend we built a nice little fire pit...

...and we all remember that time we decided we should totally install pavers back there- in July- which is all fine and good. But the stuff that sits on the pavers, down below the wall (the stuff you see first when you look out the windows or step out the back door) was still hanging out in the worst of ways. Our 10+ year old upholstered patio furniture has been deteriorating before our eyes, and although it's all still structurally sound, the fabric on all the cushions had become no better than dust held together with a prayer.

There was still some re-doing to be done.

Thankfully my gal-pal Keri is a JoAnn Fabrics coupon voodoo priestess, and I was able to go get pretty much everything I needed to recover the cushions for both chairs, the couch, and the foot stools for less than the price of one set of cushion covers.

I'm finished with the chairs thus far, and I think I'll be able to get to the couch and foot stools tomorrow, leaving plenty of time to prep for the party itself (hopefully... we all know how I time-manage sometimes...)!

So far, I'm really digging this re-do project! In the better part of a single morning, I've finished four cushions by myself (if there's one thing I can sew, it's rectangles), and I just love how they've turned out. I'm by no means profesh, but I even got the corners to kinda round and the grain of the fabric to mostly all go in the same direction.

Yeah, I know!

So this weekend, when our friends arrive, there will be no shame in directing them out back with a little drinkie-poo for the evening (which was my ultimate goal... oh, and also for Kyle to have a happy birthday of course).

Bring on the patio guests!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...planning my fall garden! I'm so excited- I'm going to try growing collards and cabbages this season, first time evah! Plus elephant garlic and onions from seed... and, and, and...
...gearing up for a six-session landscaping course with my future front-yard water feature in mind. This I am also excited about, and my first class (of six) is tonight!
...feeding my bees like crazy. This is the first time Middle Hive has taken sugar syrup (if that's a good sign or a bad I'm not sure), and they're taking about a gallon of 1:1 syrup every 2-3 days. On Sunday morning, when I went to refill their feeders, I could see their tongues sticking out through the wire mesh in anticipation. It was really coooooooooooooool.
...smiling at the excitement of our Bubba this morning, who has earned not one but two pieces of bubble gum to be chewed at school today. He can't stop talking about it. Very exciting times I tell you.
...loving the chance we had this long weekend to go spend time with Nanny, and watch as my girl and her great-grandma bonded over their favorite instrument.

Right now we have a busy week ahead of us, including party prep and a birthday for a very special Daddy, outside work, and our usual errands (they never end!). Oh, and we finished the fire pit I started last Thursday, more on that later! But a pause in this space was at the top of my list this morning for a check-in and to wish everyone a happy September Monday Tuesday!