Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bon Voyage!

Monday marks 30 years of marriage to my Kern.  I love him more today than ever, AND... I still even LIKE the guy!!
Life is just a piece of cake with this wonderful man by my side!
In a few hours we are leaving for a week-long cruise to celebrate each other and get a good start on the next 30 years!    I'm sure I'll have LOTS to report when we get back!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lots of NEW stuff!

We are all of a sudden seeing some return for all our hard work!!  The berry patch is just getting prolific, and I picked several cups worth the other day, and a big bowlful yesterday!  Look how big they are!  They are the perfect sweetness to eat them just like this, but last night I cooked them down JUST enough to extract about 8 C. of juice, and am planning on making blackberry jelly in the next day or two!

GROAN.... this takes forever!

The Quack Pack has finally started laying eggs!  We are so excited!  These are the first two we got.  I was really surprised that they were BLACK!!  Kinda cool!  Kern and I enjoyed them as breakfast sandwiches that first morning! 

The gardens are also waking up!  The tomatoes are forming up and I've already gotten a handful of zucchini squash! The eggs are getting lighter with each laying.   
First squash harvest, and the next
 two days worth of eggs.
The big one was a double-yolker!

One of the squash beds!

Can't hardly wait for a fresh tomato.  I'm gonna make BLTs!
The mints are doing quite well, and it's time to do another marathon harvest and drying session!

Chocolate Mint (my favorite!)

Sweet Mint

Peppermint (My second favorite!)

The skies change constantly around here.  I thought this little arrangement to be especially lovely!

We continue to get rain, and the ducks are the only ones not complaining.  The Golden Girls have discovered the pond.  They are staying right at the edge for now, and they are having a blast!  Except for Gimpy.  Kern and I have had to extract her from the water at least a half a dozen times already.  She spent one night in the pond when we couldn't find her after dark, and we were astonished to find her still alive the next morning.  Each time we fish her out, she is completely submerged except for her head and only about 2 inches of her neck.  I thought ducks were supposed to float!  Not her, apparently.  She is trying to stay away from the edge a little more, but the pull of that water is strong, and she wants to be with her sisters! 

The are SO happy!

Yesterday we were able to visit the Dallas Zoo with a bunch of other home schooling families (which got us a great admission price).  Raine was working at his new job, so he wasn't able to join us, but Kern just carried his phone and worked on and off while we walked through.  We only stayed a couple of hours since it was hot and Toby was a bit grouchy.  It was long enough to make it worth the trip!  

Waiting to go in... I love my girls, Kae and Anika!

The macaws greeted us first thing!  Man, are they loud!
This beauty posed for my camera.  I think they are used to being adored!  
Long, eclectic post, I know.  I've had trouble getting photos to be where I want them to be on my computer so I can get them where I want them to GO!  Sigh.  I'll keep working on that.  

Blessing until we 'meet' again!


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hairy, scary, berry!


I'VE HAD IT!!!  I was going to try to let my hair grow out, but decided I was over it.  My husband has arranged a cruise to celebrate our upcoming 30th anniversary, SO... I went shopping for a few clothes yesterday, and today, it was time to take care of the hair.  This is the first time I've ever had my hair colored in a salon, AND the first time EVER for getting highlights.  I love it!  It should be  easy to take care of.  (I hope.)  Working on looking good for our cruise!

Before and after.

The storms keep coming.  THIS is what it looked like on the radar:
Moving just to the south of us.
THIS is what it looked like standing on the back patio!
Blue to black, just like that.

This wasn't taken as a black and white... this is what it really looked like!

Rain to the SE.

Weird clouds.  Got the ducks stirred up a bit.

Remember the red spot on the radar? This.
Once again... just a few drops, but it was close.

After all that stuff passed, Kern and I went out to watch the ducks play for a little bit.  He mentioned that he had picked a couple of the golden raspberries, so I suggested we go check out the blackberry patch!  I'm really glad we did!  We were able to bring a couple handfuls back to the house to share, and the only reason we didn't get more was because we didn't have a bucket, and I wasn't wearing shoes or clothes to wade into the briar patch!  Tomorrow, I'm thinking I should remedy that!!

Blackberries!  Giant blackberries!  Sweet blackberries!!

Monday, May 11, 2015


Yesterday we had some pretty ugly weather move through.  In the pic below, the blue dot is where I live.  See the giant ugly cell to the south?  It was tracking to hit us, but as it got close, it would dissipate or swirl to the south.  It was the weirdest thing.  A blessing to be sure, but weird.  We did get about 1.25 " of rain.  The town of Van, about an hour SE of us got hit by 2 tornadoes, and I read they lost both the elementary, AND the high school.  Not a good way to finish up the school year.  Corsicana (SW of us... had terrible flooding, complete with lots of high water rescues and a couple feet of water on HWY 45!  Crazy.

My tomatoes are doing very nicely.  I took some time to thin out some leaves and tie up the main stems.  I'm no expert, but I do know enough to remove any leaves that are touching the ground or are odd colors.

One side almost done.
 Starting the other side.  Tomatoes need to have air circulation and mine were getting really bushy.  Here is a before:

Too many leaves that block air flow and some can't get any sunshine.  All those have to go.
And the 'after':  

They may look a bit butchered, but they will be better for it. 

 Tomatoes put out suckers that start between the main stem and a leaf.  I try to pinch these out when they are small.  They will grow quite large, and they WILL produce tomatoes, but they also make it hard to manage the plant and they draw strength from the main stem.
That's gotta go.
Here you can see a sucker that I missed when it was small.  It already has some flowers on it so I just tied it up with the rest of the main stems.  It will be fine.  

Just means more tomatoes.

I planted two pepper plants on the North side of the tomato beds.  They are looking a little anemic (So I bade sure to trim the tomato leaves covering them up.) but one has already produced two pretty jalapenos.  These are supposed to be really big, so I'm going to give them some time to grow.

They need to get bigger!
                     I added some more pepper plants that I started from seed into this and other beds.  They are really tiny right now and I'm hoping they will thrive.  I planted a Tam (jalapeno) and a Lemon Drop (another hot variety) at the south end of the tomato bed, three banana peppers in the squash bed, and another Tam and Lemon in the middle bed.  I plan on putting more in there, but I have to deal with a fire ant nest before I play around in there anymore. (ouch).  I had ONE cayenne pepper seed make a little plant and I added it to one of the decorative pots, and a Lemon Drop to another pot.

I have some artichoke starts I want to add to the pond garden but haven't gotten them out there yet.  Maybe tomorrow?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Way too long!

WOw!  Life gets intense and I ignore my blog!  Shame on me.

My daughter, Kae is quite the cook and she likes all kinds of ethnic foods.  I'll admit she is more adventurous than I am.  She decided to make chicken tikka masala one night, so I agreed to try my hand at Naan for the first time.  It turned out pretty darn good!
Naan in the skillet.

I had a chance to go to a wonderful womens' conference called Pink Impact in Dallas last weekend.  It was a wonderful way to refresh and reconnect to my God and Savior.  The theme was 'Light', and it was just beautiful everywhere.

Light...lots of sparkle and shine!
I was able to go with Kae and our friend Shelly.  Two of the most wonderful women ever, and I loved being with them.

Shelly bought us the lovely boas.  They got us lots of attention, AND... pink dye comes off on the neckline of cloths! (And on necks!)  At least I wore various shades of pink all weekend, LOL!

My sweet Kae and me!

The Golden Girls are feathering out nicely.  I thought this leopard print under layer was just fabulous, dah-ling!
I KNEW they would be beautiful!

I let them out into the water-shed area, and they LOVED it!!  I've been letting them do some free ranging the last few days, and they are sticking pretty close to the playpen, even inside it sometimes, but they are getting the hang of it!

Duck, duck... DUCK!  They had a blast!

They are wary of the Quack Pack, and I don't blame them.  The females are challenging them and making them scatter.  Miss Gimpy couldn't run away as fast as her sisters, and at one point ended up in the middle of the Pack.  I was watching close by in case they decided to pick on her, but they were just interested.  They just took a good look at this shrieking baby, shrugged their wings and started grazing around her!  She made her escape without any interference from the Pack and back to her sisters.

Today I looked out there, and the Girls had made their way over to one of the cypress trees and were laying around in the shade.  The Quack Pack were sitting under the tree beside it and they weren't making muscles at the babies.  I think they are accepting each other!  Not fully integrated yet, but getting there.  It gives me hope that when we add some more babies in August, they will also be accepted.