Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Walk Through the Garden: March 2020

We are at the end of what has felt like a month of SIP, and I thought maybe we could all stand to get out of the house for a bit and take a stroll through the garden to see what is giving the weeds a run for their money these days. Shall we?

Beverage optional.

The first thing you might notice is how wild everything looks... there are more volunteers from the rogue seeds of seasons past than there are sprouts intentionally planted (not kidding). Leading the conquest of the garden space is a giant volunteer... turnip maybe? Every year there's at least one, and I always let it flower (and then forget about it and let it go to seed...). These flowers are always irresistible to my pollinator friends, and at a time when everything else is just starting to turn green, who could begrudge a little self-seeding purple? Also going strong are my Siberian iris, another early pop of color rising above the weeds (can you spot the bumblebee butt?). 

Also providing a pop of....................... something......... are some slightly less exuberant garden volunteers that can been seen from time to time soaking up the sun...

I have a borage growing where we planted borage two years ago, and in a little corner where Henry planted his random school cabbage we also have two volunteer pumpkins of some kind intermingling with our pepper transplants.

Our green beans are making a strong showing, though I can't remember what kinds we planted where, so that'll be fun... as long as I remembered to only put into the ground the bush beans!

Keeping watch over one of my little bean patches are a few onions that came from somewhere and have all put up those elegant scapes that will turn in to some of my favorite flowers- those puffy globes that look so futuristic and bring all the bees to the yard!

Also doing well but not about to flower is our intentional onion patch- both sweet yellows and whites- joined by a couple nasturtiums making their spring debut.  

In the far south bed that usually has the worst weed problem, we've thrown out a bunch of leafy greens and strong annual flowers. Everything has germinated (along with a leftover elephant garlic) and I'm hoping they'll all fill in and shade that bed to the point where the hay grasses won't stand much of a chance.

Getting a late- maybe too late?- start but making us super excited nonetheless are three upside-down tomato cages full of sugar snap peas! I just hope we get a few pods before the heat kills them off.

Looking forward to the heat we also have sweet corn! Already about four inches high. Super excited about these, too!

This little gem, which I think is a cucumber, popped up near our green beans, and I can only hope we can get it to a trellis before it tries to climb it's neighbors...

...one of those neighbors being a potato plant from an unharvested experiment of last year. Not complaining, though! 

Our baby 'maters are looking good; all eight spots are filled with eight different varieties, and so far the beefsteak and 'Early Girl' varieties are winning with their first green gems!

In our boarder beds we've gone with some perennial hollyhocks and another attempt at a strawberry bed, and all the space in between filled with sunflower seeds.

And did I mention the cilantro? Because once again everything has cilantro. Every bed. Every path. Even the yard/field/drainage areas outside the garden. So. Much. Cilantro. We actually had to pull armfuls of it to make room for the things we were planting, so we brought a bunch inside and experimented. The result? An awesome... let's call it condiment. Lotsa cilantro + lotsa fresh garlic + lotsa olive oil, a pinch or two of salt, and a few shots of Worcestershire sauce and suddenly we weren't feeling too bad about having cilantro growing everywhere! 

We even had enough to make a batch with some chili oil in it for a little kick, and so far we haven't found a single thing it isn't good on. I highly recommend it... and if you're in the area, I even know where you can get enough cilantro for both recipes.

So... has anyone else started growing things during their home internment? 

Friday, March 27, 2020

'Rona-Cation: Dessert Challenge

Presenting our most recent challenge: dessert a la kiddos. Their challenge was to decide on a dessert and work together from beginning to end to present something we could all share. Henry wanted chocolate cake with vanilla filling and chocolate frosting, but Audrey didn't want to make a cake from scratch (and all we had was vanilla and funfetti mixes), so funfetti with chocolate icing it was!

They worked pretty well together, and the cake turned out pretty tasty if I do say so myself, even if the icing had a pinch too much salt. Audrey declared it to be the ugliest cake she'd ever seen in her life while they were frosting it, but afterward she said it really wasn't actually that bad and it even looked like they intended it to turn out kinda "rustic."

"It looks like a rock!" she said. "A rock that tastes really good!"

And once you made it past the 1" of chocolate buttercream, you had to admit- she was right!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Chalk at Mimmy's

We made a quick trip down to Mimmy and Pappy's house right before our 'shelter in place' order went into effect to bring them supplies and spend some QT together. It was a beautiful day and their neighbor's long horn cow had just given birth to the sweetest little calf, so it seemed unavoidable that we'd need to basically spend the entire visit on the porch soaking up sun and peeking at the newborn.

Enter good ol' sidewalk chalk.

But did we target the sidewalk? Nope, not really... we had our sights set on something much more prominent...

Of course we did draw a little bit on the concrete...

It's been so long since we've pulled out our favorite fair-weather standby... and it really was fun working over that outdoor fireplace with my Littles, listening to the cows and birds, avoiding slobbery Tommy love, and just hanging out. It'll hold us over for a while... or at least juuuuuust long enough for things to go back to 'normal.'

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

This Moment

Maybe working from home and for all intents and purposes pretty much being housebound has it's perks... 

Toilet paper might be running low and tempers might be flying high, but finding a moment here and there to force ourselves to slow down and see that things really aren't so bad is what's going to bring us all through this. Hang in there friends, and stay home as much as you can! There's beauty in it... somewhere!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

'Rona-Cation: Photo Scavenger Hunt (UPDATED)

To take advantage of a break in the end-of-the-world-caliber daily rain, we had the kids take the old point-and-shoot digital cameras they inherited this past summer and do a photo scavenger hunt. This one was Daddy's idea, and half of the list came from him.

I was a little surprised how quickly they breezed through this list, I should have put a few things on there that would be harder to find. It's probably for the best that they found everything pretty easily, though, because not thirty minutes after they came back inside it was raining again.

Audrey's photos:

Henry's Photos:

They were super proud of their photos and had a story for many of their shots. It was also kinda fun seeing the other photos already on their cameras as we went through the challenge pictures.

Oh, and the prize? Twelve inches of bubble gum!

See our previous challenges here and here.

Friday, March 20, 2020

'Rona-Cation: Special Drink Challenge

This was a silly one y'all, but reportedly one of their favorites... I challenged the kids to make a most excellent special drink out of the ingredients provided, and to my surprise they took over 30 minutes mixing and tasting and tweaking their concoctions to perfection!

The prize? A cherry! Well, and getting to drink the drink, of course.

Challenge ingredients: unsweetened lemon juice, unsweetened dark cherry juice, sparkling apple juice, frozen limeade concentrate, ginger brew, frozen blueberries, and sliced oranges, Meyer lemons and limes.

Henry's (winning) drink: 1 part dark cherry juice, 1 part lemon juice, probably 6 parts sparkling apple juice, and a splash of ginger brew.

Audrey's drink: equal parts ginger brew and sparkling apple juice with squeezed lime and orange wedges and floating blueberries for garnish. 

See our previous challenge activity here.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

'Rona-Cation: Lego Challenge

Much like probably everyone else in our area right now, we are spending a lot more time at home because of the Coronavirus scare. Our school district has already extended the school closure from spring break all the way through April 6th, and there are some fairly educated opinions that we'll go even longer before setting foot in a classroom again.

For us, that means Mama working from home and a little kid re-learning of how to occupy your time without parking in front of a screen for 8 hours a day.

We've recently started watching Lego Masters, and from that show came the inspiration to have daily Lego challenges as part of that un-device-ing process. Two things have come from these challenges- first, Henry has overcome the reluctance he's always had to reusing Legos from previous creations, and many a build has been deconstructed to become something else in the past few days (which I love). Second, both kiddos have become so inspired that they're now building things outside of the little challenges I come up with (which I also love).

I'll do a 'qualifying' challenge after lunch, something they can work on together, and if it goes well and there's no fighting, they qualify to skip "nap" time and move on to the second, more complicated challenge. That one I'll usually think up so each person works on a piece of it independently, but it's a cohesive idea that is presented together when they're done. If they pull it off without fighting again, they win an hour on their devices (to be used when I start making dinner).

We're on day 3 of this rhythm and they're still enthusiastic about it, so I'm feeling a lot of winning over here right now. Here's what we've done so far:

Qualifying round: a St. Paddy's Day scene. They chose a rainbow coming out of a cloud and going into a pot of gold.

Round 2: a Dreamer and a Dream. Henry did the dreamer in a bedroom, Audrey did the dream.

The dreamer

The dream- Audrey walking on clouds with a neighborhood below

Yesterday's qualifying round: Animals Around Our House. Audrey's bee (Hen opted out)

Animals Around Our House: Rory

This morning's mini-challenge: Amazing Vehicle. Audrey's flying......... thing

Henry's re-worked flying thing on a pre-built trailer

Today, after lunch, I had them work on a video game scene where one person made the computer (Hen) and the other person made a snapshot of a video game (Audrey):

Clearly they qualified, and they are now diligently working on a good guy vs. bad guy scene. It's been kinda fun thinking these challenges up, if I'm being honest. I'm super glad they're still in to it all.

Stay tuned for other challenges we've been doing to fill these home-bound days!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

My Girl

She may have that 'Ugh, mom!" attitude whenever my camera comes out, but I still manage to get a few shots when she can't protest, ha!

This girl of mine, she really is amazing, y'all. She's almost a green belt in Tae Kwon-Do and she has gone from knowing nothing about the violin to playing Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' all of her own volition. She will be mighty when she finally realizes how powerful she is when she sets her mind to something and accepts the help and guidance of the people that went before her.

Her music teacher may be one of the ones that helps her to that realization. She is wonderful.

But my girl is a force to be reckoned with all on her own, and although that adds up to many a morning, afternoon, and/or evening of power struggles and testing, I'm not left feeling (completely) defeated at the end of the day because I know she's on the cusp of turning all that energy towards changing the world.

Like I said, my girl is amazing.