July 7th, 2014 by Kelly

Sorry, things have been a bit crazy what with the strawberries and swim lessons and office redo and all. First things first…Strawberries! I can’t count how many we’ve gotten – I’d hazard a vague guess at somewhere between 25-30 qts of berries. I’ve put up 2 batches of jam (4qts each made 8-1/2pt jars), given away about 10qts, and there’s another 8qts or so in the fridge headed for the freezer this afternoon. Plus we ate some. :D

When we put up the tomato trellis, the timing was perfect as they immediately went into overdrive of growth (it’s been hot).

Last weekend we put in cucumber trellis and the timing for that seems like perfect also – they’re just starting to get tall enough and send out their “fingers”. I don’t anticipate we’ll need to help them along, either, since the lines are so close together.


First we removed all the pathway cloth.


Put up the cucumber trellis.


Close-up.


Then weed-wacked the rest of the paths. So much tidier looking!


Here’s what the garden looked like yesterday. The tomatoes are really taking off, and I love how the cucumber trellis helps the tomato trellis to balance the width of the garden with some height.

Speaking of tomatoes being happy…

Also, Victor had been askomplaining about not having any flowers in his bed…

He’s even asked if he can “take over” the blue potato bed – I think because it will soon be very flowery!

We’re starting to get a few currants, and the blueberries are only a few weeks away, too. All in all… things are going very well! I’ve started seeing Japanese Beetles, though, on the currants. I hope they aren’t too bad this year!

June 23rd, 2014 by Kelly

Planted 1/2 of my garlic (yes! SO.LATE!). Only half because clearing out that half of the bed nearly killed me – and it’s the easier half since I already cleared it out last summer (before wasps attacked Victor – that kinda killed the moment at the time). The other half I’ll either need Ken’s help clearing out, or it’s going to wait til next spring when I’m feeling crazy.

This weekend we moved the tomato trellis – they are tall enough now that they’ll start flopping over soon and need the support.

Victor’s bed is looking good – blue potato in the middle and corn around the edges (with a basil in the far left corner). The bed on the left is the rest of the blue potatoes, which are doing really well!

The other potatoes we planted were yellow and haven’t done nearly so well, which is kinda a bummer. We have some, but only about 70% germinated.


The rest of the garden is doing well. Sand isn’t going to happen this year, afterall, so we’ll likely pull up the cloth over the pathways and keep weed-wacking it. Strawberries are going crazy now that it’s warmed up for a few weeks! I just put away a batch of jam and there’s loads more on the plants! W00t! Ken had a spoonful of the jam and nearly swooned. ;)

June 2nd, 2014 by Kelly

Yesterday the last of the boxes was built and in!

Still empty (3 of them), but in their spot and ready to go! We are DONE building boxes (*knocks on wood*)! I’d have filled some today but it’s godaweful hot and Mondays are always super busy for me, so tomorrow it is!

We also started putting down fabric for the pathways. Once it’s in we’ll add sand to level and then pavers (sand soon, I hope, pavers next year because $).

As for growing things, our gooseberries have gooseberries!

(I’ve never tasted one so I’m pretty excited to try!)

Our currants have currants!

(small but present, and one of the bushes has grown exponentially this year!)

And all in all, everything looks exciting and great (to me). Some of my seed was, maybe, a little old and not doing so great, but I’m too pleased to let it bother me much! Yay gardening!


(click that for a bigger shot)
Looks pretty awesome (and huge…what were we thinking?!), right? There’s the gooseberries/currants in the foreground, then the boxes – greenest bushiest ones are strawberries, ones with trellis are peas/beans – closest – and cucumbers/cabbage – furthest, tomatoes are in the middle boxes on either side, a new rhubarb is started at the far end of the left-hand-side boxes, and the blueberries across the back edge – the blackraspberry “patch” in front of it is going bye-bye soon because of a nasty vine that’s taken over.

Of the potatoes/corn that the boys planted, we have one blue potato growing. Given it’s the 1st potato I’ve ever had growing it’s the best.potato.ever!

On a sucky but not unexpected note, we found a few chervil plants that I’ve pulled and am hopeful it’s the last of it this year. Blasted stuff!

May 22nd, 2014 by Kelly

I spent all of yesterday in the garden. Ken helped me build the 2nd tomato box I needed, and I got it situated and filled on my own. We’ve another 3 to build this weekend, but this allows me to plant the tomatoes before the rain hits for the next few days.

The 4 center boxes are made, in, and partly planted. Yesterday the boys planted their popcorn and a single potato in the middle of their own boxes, and 9 potatoes in the potato boxes. Our plan is to fill the potato boxes as they grow through the season. Here’s hoping it works! After they planted their own things, both boys were eager to help further so Ethan helped with the hose and Victor planted cabbages.

I got all my tomatoes in and surprisingly had extras despite a dismal seedling germination rate. I planted peppers (again, dismal germination such that I’ll be buying jalapenos and sweet pepper seedlings locally) and just scraped by with enough of our favourite – the Thai Burapa pepper. Next year will be better. The seedlings are small, but hopefully will do fine.

May 12th, 2014 by Kelly

Tiiiired!

This Saturday we built boxes!

I learned how to use a circular saw and Ken used the drill and did the heavy lifting out to the garden. These will be for the boys and, this year, for potatoes since we’ll be able to fill up as we grow them. Now that they’re in place, I’m thinking something else, structural, in the middle of them all – a pergola perhaps – but not this year! Next weekend we’ll (hopefully) be building the last 4 large boxes and be DONE!

Today I spent the morning planting seeds in some of the boxes today – beets/carrots/radish in one, zucchini in the leafs bed, beans/peas, and cucumbers in the cuc/cabbage bed. I also planted some morning glory and moonflower seeds to climb up outside the garage porch.

I’ve moved my seedlings out to the porch by our bedroom to start hardening them off. I’m hoping to have them in the garden this weekend or early next week, if possible!

April 27th, 2014 by Kelly

Got my tomatoes repotted today! I’d also ordered some fresh seed of the one type I *really* want to have and the pepper that we *really* love and can’t get locally and sowed those. It’s super late, but I can always try, right? Ken thinks we should keep the peppers on the porch in pots, instead of planting them in the garden. It’d mean we’d be responsible for pollination, which is definitely possible, and we’d have peppers (ideally) all year long. I’m thinking about it.

Next year I’m definitely going to need more lights – things are pretty cramped on the two shelves I can use (the repotted tomatoes need two lights).

Things are looking much better! It’s cloudy (my new phone takes great pictures, doesn’t it?!) but you can just barely see the brown blob in front of the blueberries (the row of shrubs along the back) which was a big hot mess of black raspberries and is now cleared out and will hopefully be more manageable – though how we’ll keep the grass and weeds under control is beyond me. In the next 2 wks I’m hoping to get the trellis moved and the boys boxes built and ready for them. I also need to mulch. Lots of mulch.

April 25th, 2014 by Kelly

Today was a great, though tiring day. Boys were really well behaved (!) and I spent most of the day in the garden. I unmulched the blueberries of last year’s leaves and started on the proper mulch they’ll get this year. Victor was a big help. I also tackled and, dare I say, defeated the black raspberry patch/mess – all cleared out, save the few remaining live canes. Surprised to see a ton of fiddleheads coming up (didn’t know they were in there!) and pleased to see more raspberries that’ll emerge soon. Hopefully we can keep it all under control this year! I also raked out the liliy bed I planted along the garage last spring – they’re all producing several more shoots so they must be happy, despite the neglect. I’m going to be planting some hardy glads in with them, and maybe some irises once they arrive.

Though my peppers did terribly with germination, I’m trying another batch of the Thai, specifically (we just love them so much!). I even ordered more seed and will try them once they arrive in a few days. I’ve got the 1-month seeds in, though, and so far so good!

No pictures of the garden today, unfortunately. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I spent it working.

I do have this, though. Our neighbours across the street have a great climbing tree in their front yard and Victor finally made it “up”. It’s his first time all the way up a tree and he was very proud!

April 20th, 2014 by Kelly

It was cold, yesterday, so Victor had his stretchy gloves on. Riled up from playing outside for so long and having such a good time, he got extra frustrated that the doorknob was slipping and he couldn’t open the door. He choose to shove the window, in his frustration.

Ethan came in and told us, and we searched and searched for Victor…finally finding him down at the far end of the street. As soon as he saw me coming his crying went up several notches, he took off his shoes and threw them, and I could hear him wailing and screaming at me that “I’m a NUMBSKULL! You MUST know it! I’m a NUMBSKULL! I’m SORRY!!”

I did my best to not laugh out loud as I approached, checked his hands, talked about running away, and we came home. He’ll pay, or help pay, to replace the glass and he’s on probation with video games (if we feel he isn’t listening to us at any point in the next month, he loses vg for the next day – listening is a challenge for him these days). This was one of those moments that I know we did a good job in how we handled the situation.

I’m a numbskull, indeed! LOL

April 13th, 2014 by Kelly

Quite amazing what a few days can do in springtime, isn’t it?

We had a walk around the yard today – everything is looking good, even the questionably-alive currents from last year (some did great, some didn’t seem to survive). The lilac’s are doing superbly, after last year’s pruning, and I’m thinking they’d been neglected far too long. I’ll get back in again later this summer to shape them some more. The strawberries are doing really well, and frankly I’m not 100% sure what we’re supposed to do now. They need mulching this year, that much is clear, but do we cut them back before we mulch? Leave them and poke the mulch under the leaves?

Once things have melted some more, we’ll have more soil delivered and build the last of our boxes (another 4 large plus 4 half-sized). It’ll be great to have them all built!!

April 11th, 2014 by Kelly

This evening, while watching tele, Victor turned to us.
“Mommy, why do we live if we only just have to die?”

Who would have thought, at 7, we’d be discussing the purpose of life with him?

April 11th, 2014 by Kelly

…still waiting. Patches are melting here and there, the Bleeding Heart by the side door is coming up, but still so much snow!

So instead, you get a Hiker Dude on April Fool’s Day!

(complete with “backpack” and “poles”)

April 1st, 2014 by Kelly

*NOT* very inspiring, is it? However, we’ve got big plans for this year!

We’ve already got boxes 1-6 built, plus the pink ones (strawberries). We’re going to build 7-10 plus the 4 square ones in the middle which will be twice as high and are where the boys are going to have their own little gardens (popping corn, runner beans, carrots, etc). I’m excited to see how they do, and hopeful they love gardening as much as I do. The polygons next to those 4 will be…something. Flowers, likely, though I’m not sure yet. It’ll be in-ground, that much I know. We’re also going to again try to tame the black raspberry patch (HA!) and I’m hoping to plant cranberries between our currants and gooseberries along the bottom edge. We’ll be moving the tomato trellis’ to boxes 2 and 8 and boxes 4/5 (where the tomatoes were last year) will be trellis’d for cucumbers, peas and beans. I’m hoping to paint the trellis’ too – something bright and unexpected like royal blue, maybe.

I’ve set up a new seed starting shelf system in the spare bedroom and started seeds, like a dutiful garden-mistress, and I’m taking care of those that are able to sprout. Much of my seed stock is old, so whatever I can’t start this year I’ll pick up from Dandelion Acres – a local garden center that we used last year.

Some of the seeds are from my original big garden and didn’t make it (onions, I’m looking at you!). However, this year I’d wanted to try growing an onion I remember from back home, Ailsa Craig, so I’ll have *some* onions, at least.

I also started tomatoes, of which most are doing well,

and peppers that are slower than the tomatoes but I’m trying to be patient with them – the Habanero’s are doing well, but I’m feeling somewhat anxious about the Thai’s because I can’t get those locally if they don’t make it.

In a few weeks I’ll get started on more seeds, likely using the tray with the failed onion seeds. I’m not crazy about the seed starting stuff I used this year – Jiffy – because they’ve got some mold growing on the outside of the pot membrane. I hope it stays under control.

So that’s what’s going on, at the moment, in the garden at least. Hopefully I can keep updating all summer as I like having the record to look back on. I’m excited to try new plants (potatoes – blue ones for the boys, even) and to see how the boys do with their gardens.

December 8th, 2013 by Kelly

I know, I know… I missed last year completely. I apologize for that, and simply say that we both know I’m imperfect but that I love you more than my imperfections imply. Imp.

So much has happened during the last year I can hardly quantify it. You’ve learned to read and are doing fantastically at it – you’re one of the top readers in your class and you *love* reading. You’re desperate to start reading chapter books with big chapters, but are just shy of capable. Close… so close. I’ll give it another few months, I expect. For now you love Frog & Toad and Henry & Mudge and keep telling me about Cam Jansen (book at school).

This past summer you learned how to ride a bike (!!!) and love doing so.

You also learned how to swim, and though you tend to goof around during lessons more than I’d like, you do it (swim) well.

I’m hoping to teach you how to skate this winter, at the local outdoor rink.

You’ve really flourished in your love of art this year, and we have many of your school artworks framed and on the walls.

I can’t wait to see what you bring home this year! Often we can find you at the dining table working on something artistic or other – drawing, cutting, origami, painting, you name it! You made a fairly decent, functional beyblade stadium for Ethan, and made a lovey card for me because you thought I was sad (I had a headache). I love that you spend so much of your crafting time making things for others, and love even more how much you’ve taken to taking care of us. You’re much more aware, these days, of people’s emotional state and how you can help.

That’s another thing you’ve jumped on this year – helping. You *love* being helpful and literally run to the kitchen to empty the dishwasher.

For your birthday we “surprised” you with a trip to Jay Peak’s indoor waterpark. I say “surprise” because you knew we were going *some*where, but not where. Though we asked, you wanted us to not tell you and keep it a surprise. We had an absolute blast there, and you were very well-behaved and waited in line and for other’s to clear slides before you threw yourself down them. You loved the kiddie area with the fountains and jets of water and kid-friendly slides and, just as much, loved the big tube slides that we could go down in pairs though I think your favourite was the single slide that you could do on your own. We gave you lots of free-rein to see how you’d do and you were awesome!

In general buddy, you are always awesome! You’re still learning how to deal with some existential emotions and how you’re perceived by others, but you have a wonderfully considerate, kind heart. You’re almost always game to try new things (salad, this weekend!) I can’t wait to see what new things you show us you can do this coming year!

Love Always,
Mommy

November 11th, 2013 by Kelly

Ken’s always been a gamer. Generally speaking I’ve been a spectator. He plays RPG’s (role-playing games that are story-based and adventury) and they’re quite fun to watch. However, in the past year or so, he got me started on playing Minecraft. Simple game-play, no story (open-game), lots and lots of fun! We found another, similar game called Terraria (more fighting monsters, less farming possibilities) and I had a lot of fun playing that, too. Both worked on my little netbook and both allowed me to play alongside Ken.

We’ve tried finding other games that will work on my system, but it’s low-power and just can’t handle it. Last night we tried an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and though it did work (eventually) on my computer, the game itself wasn’t to our liking. So on a whim I looked for a list of the best MMORPG’s. I’m ready; excited at the prospect.

This August, an already-established gaming world released a MMORPG. Ken has played, and I’ve enjoyed watching, all of the Final Fantasy games. Great…GREAT graphics, great gameplay, high replay value even for the standard game (where you know the story at the end). The MMORPG has received great acclaim… ranking as #1 right now among online games. However, my computer can’t even dream about playing something like that. On a lark, we downloaded a benchmark tool to see whether Ken’s computer was up to the task. It is… barely. They optimized graphics and gameplay intentionally so that, 5 yrs down the road, the game still looks/plays great.

I told Ken that I’m still going to be a knitter…. but maybe now I have something new to save my pennies for. :P

November 7th, 2013 by Kelly

Thanksgiving is coming up and I came here to see what I’d done last year (chicken or turkey?… turkey and ham) and realized how much I really miss having this here. So I’m going to try harder to carve out some time each morning.

This, naturally, comes at a time that I’ve taken on other large’ish projects. November is “National Write a Novel Month” or NaNoWriMo. In the knitting world, inspired by the same, it is “National Knit a Sweater Month”, NaKniSweMo. It’s been going on for a few years, and amuses me to watch the knitters. This year, a combination of re-starting Ken’s cardigan from several years ago (all that remained was the buttonband) and seeing that, as much as I didn’t want to admit, it was too small by several important inches … therefore I frogged (unknit/pulled out) the whole thing (*sob*) … and he needs something a bit warmer come winter (he wears the red vest daily but needs something with arms), PLUS I’ve finished up the other “big” projects I had:


(the neck on both is the same, it just photo’d weird when Victor was being “scary”).

PLUS PLUS (and this is the important one) when I mentioned to Ken about NaKniSweMo he didn’t think I could do it.

Well then.

Now, I know him and I know he knows that by saying that he’s going to incite me to finish his cardigan that he’s been patiently waiting 2 years for (it was a Christmas present, so he’s been very generous with his patience). I know that he won’t be mean if I don’t finish. That being said, I’m quite determined to prove him wrong. :P

I’m 8ish inches up the body of 15ish inches before the armpits, so my initial progress is good. I hope my wrists can handle so much knitting. They get… cranky. The “wrist splint/ice pack/advil for a few days” kind of cranky.

Also, Jess (bff) is participating in NaNoWriMo and I’m her defacto editor, which is exciting and a lot of fun!