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,

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!

October 23rd, 2013 by Kelly

Monday was lovely and sunshiny, and the rest of the week due for a cold, rainy, and at least one solid frost, so I finally pulled the peppers. All up, just shy of 8lbs of jalapenos, 4oz of habaneros and I don’t remember how much thai peppers. The thai’s get to spend a couple days in the oven, drying and becoming delicious hot flakes (not as good as the thai burapa’s we had at the old house, but they’ll do til next year’s harvest). The jalapenos will be sliced in half, gutted and frozen to become poppers when we want. Some will become poppers sooner and won’t make it to the fridge :D . A few will become apricot-jalapeno jelly once I pick up some yellow bell peppers. The habanero’s have already become jelly.

Really pretty, REALLY HOT! It’s going to be fun figuring out how to use them.

Otherwise, this fall I’ve put up more jars than I could count or care to pull out and photograph. Loads of pickles (cucumber, jalapeno, green beans, green tomatoes), loads of tomatos (juice, sauce, diced, frozen whole).

It’s been an unfortunate year, berry-wise – not a single black raspberry to be had. What we did get (bad year), the japanese beetles devoured before I could pick. I think next year we’re going to mow down the patch and see if we can’t start from scratch. Got lots of blueberries frozen, but no jam/jelly made yet (winter projects).

The mystery crab-apple tree, it turns out, isn’t. It’s some sort of russet apple and they’re quite yummy! Crisp, very juicy, sweet, and with a complex flavour that’s hard to describe. They bake very well, too. We got 2 pears, which were more delicious than any storebought. 1 cherry, 1 plum, and no apples (?!). I have hopes for next year.

Right at the end of season, we *did* get a couple zucchini! They’ve been nice to have. Got 8 pumpkins, and a few green left on the vines that I’m not expecting to ripen but not willing to toss until I’m sure. The 8 are living in the front doorway until needed. :P Nobody comes in the front door anyways.

I’ve been thinking about next year. What I want to plant, and how to arrange it all. The habaneros we want more of, and they weren’t happy where they were so it’s nice we got what little we did. We’ve been taking much of our fallen leaves and piling them on the back bed to prepare it for next year’s tilling and, hopefully, planting. It hasn’t been planted in who knows how many years, though, so it may take more to get it into shape for the bigger crops (potatoes, cabbage, onions, etc).

It’ll be nice to start my own seeds and get them into the ground earlier next year.

July 18th, 2013 by Kelly

I fell off and it drove away. I’ve been wondering this morning, though, if I shouldn’t just give another go. So here goes.

Sum Up:
The Garden:

(2 wks ago, during a brief respite from the torrents)

With all the rain we’ve had (2 months of near constant) I was worried about the tomatoes, most. They are, however, happy as clams with all the rain. I’m keeping their lower branches trimmed up (our vacation came during a seemingly explosive growth spurt and some have fruit and I won’t trim those) to try and prevent blight, and they’re monstrous, as usual.

They must really like being vertically trained. Even John, our neighbourly-neighbour, came over to comment on them, specifically. They've fruit, and flowers yet to pollinate, so here's hoping we have enough bees around. The strawberry beds are doing great, especially considering we didn't put any *straw* down, but there are daughters being sent out so the gaps are filling in for next year. We may have found a vole hole this morning in one of them. I hope not. Peppers are happy, also, and have lots of fruit. What do I do with jalepenos when the tomatoes aren't ready yet? Onions, to my amazement (since I've never grown onions) are doing great! Definitely going to grow them from seed next year since it must be almost as easy. Pumpkins are crazy and trying to take over the world. Black raspberries came too at the same time as the japanese beetles, and they're small and wimpy anyways, so that won't give much this year. Blueberries are starting to come in - just the early bush right now - and I figure if I keep them picked before the beetles can get them, we'll have lots.

Orchard is doing ok - not much fruit (1st yr), beetles are destroying the pear and plum trees. We're going to try a spore preventative next year and see how that goes. We've so much lawn that the beetle grubs are very well cared for.

The boys are doing great. Signed them up for swim lessons at VTC and as it’s daily and a small class (4 people the first session, just them this one) they’re learning loads!! Victor does cannonballs now! Ethan can touch the bottom of the pool! Both can do back and front floats without help! Very exciting!

We’re having the main floor bathroom remodeled from last year’s pipe crack and the holes are being patched from the wiring work (insurance dropped us, nobody would take us with knob and tube wiring, so we had a rush to update all the wiring in the house).

I’m happy to have it being done, but t-i-r-e-d of having workers in my house all the time. I can’t clean properly, and I have to wear pants. We’re also kinda broke, which sucks. We’ll manage, but it doesn’t help to know that we also need to have one of the chimney’s relined before fall (yay credit card!) and we need (yes, need) to buy a chest freezer.

We went to Ireland! (part of that “broke” thing I mentioned, but totally worth it!) Just a quick, 4.5 day trip for our 10th anniversary. Just Ken and myself. It was awesome. Once I get photos uploaded and pruned (lots of scenery) I’ll put them up.

I’ve been knitting up a storm this spring/summer. Kate (SiL) contracted me to do hats for her new son, each month, though I won’t put up pics til the year is out and the calendars they have planned are sent. I designed and knit a cabled waistcoat (buttoned vest) for my trip to Ireland (which had a heat wave, complete with sunburn, so that was appropriate), that I’m very proud of and thinking of publishing/selling the pattern for (see img above). I’m currently designing a fish sweater for V that’s interesting (orange and bright blue… bring sunglasses).

That’s about all for now. Still fighting sporadic depression (how that works I *don’t* know), it’s hottT here right now, but should cool down by Saturday. I’ve been reading Harry Potter to the boys every night, and they *love* it. Warms my heart on more than one level, since it’s something Dad and I shared.

May 30th, 2013 by Kelly

We built and filled a few more boxes on Monday (Memorial Day), though the soil was wet from a few days of rain so it was heavy work. We’ve still enough soil to fill another few, and enough wood for at least 1 more box, so we’ll have to play it by ear.

I mowed the lawn again, fully expecting to be able to drive the mower between the boxes, forgetting entirely that there’s a metal rail under the shoot and the entire thing, therefore, is 2-4″ too wide. Darn. Well, we’d planned on putting something down between the beds eventually… this just makes it sooner. Perhaps I’ll make it through this summer with the little reel mower and save up my pennies and ideas for next summer. We still need to acquire/put up a fence around the garden, yet, and fencing is pricey.

Today, with loads of sunshine and warm weather, I’ve planted actual plants in the garden. Since I didn’t know how big a garden I’d have this year, I didn’t start my own seedlings, and had to buy them from a local nursery (same place we bought our fruit trees). I put in a bed of various peppers (thai, jalepeno, habanero, and two bell’s), a bed of yellow and white onions (never done onions before), and a mixed bed with pumpkin, lettuce, kale, cilantro, dill, and some melon and summer squash seeds I had. I also planted some cucumber seeds. I have tomatoes, but they got so big at the nursery that I don’t feel comfortable planting them until we’ve got their trellis set up (this weekend. I’ve set aside 2 beds for them (24 plants plus 3 little cherries that I planted today but which were quite small and are likely more bush-oriented).

(click for big)

Of the five boxes shown, closest to furthest, is strawberries, onions & cucumbers, peppers/pumpkin/squash/lettuce/kale/herbs, strawberries. I’m putting tomatoes in the two beds beds that are opposite each other, aligned perpendicularly.

May 20th, 2013 by Kelly

Overnight they have grown 1-2″!! Seriously!

(yesterday, click to enlarge)


Definitely bigger… right?

May 19th, 2013 by Kelly

Today we went from this:

To this:

Let there be boxes!!

Wood generously given to us by Wayne (FiL) and soil that, compared to what we paid in PA (~$800), was dirt cheap (and, as we do, we ordered way more than we needed) at $250. I’ve already planted 6 beds, 8″ high, with strawberries (3 Junebearing, 3 Everbearing) and there’s 4 beds (one somewhat lacking in soil – to be remedied once it stops raining in a few days) that’ll be vegetables. That’s what we’d planned for this year, and a few more for next year. However, we’ve enough wood left to make 2-3 more boxes, and certainly enough soil for that, so we’re likely going to be at it again next weekend!

In for a penny, in for a pound! I’m grateful that our garden in PA since it gave me a good idea of how much we need to grow in order to meet more of our needs. I had 1 tomato bed and 1 pepper bed then, which was not nearly enough tomatoes (I’m thinking we need 3-4 beds) and we could easily use 2 pepper beds, plus 1-2 for cucumbers alone (we’ve been really getting back on the pickle bandwagon, what with the canning and how good they are for you – potassium). So that’s at least 4 more beds… likely more. We’ve designed the garden somewhat like this:

l l l l l
__ __
__ __
__ __

l l l l l
(spacing is wrong, but you get the idea)
This weekend we got the two horizontal sets of 3 done, plus two verticals on the left, bottom and two on the right, bottom (10 total) – there’s still another to go in the middle, bottom, and the full top row if we want (6 additional). Lots of space for expansion! I hope we get lots of strawberries, too! Ken loves them!

May 15th, 2013 by Kelly

Today I learned how to use our riding mower, and mowed the yard. 2.5hrs and it looks great and I was even enjoying it by the end!

I planted 2 Gooseberries and 2 Currants today, in the space where my big garden will be. It feels great to finally get a start on that!

I’m having trouble figuring out exactly how big/what dimensions to make it. In planting the bushes, I eventually got frustrated enough that I just put them in instead of trying to get them in the “perfect” spot in the garden scheme. Gardens are growing things, and don’t come in the flavour “perfect”.

We’re having the knob and tube wiring in our house replaced (our insurance dropped us – jerks – and nobody else will take us til it’s done) and found out for certain today that we can’t reuse our push-button light switches. This is a big bad since they were a big part of what made us fall in love with this house. They’re almost 100yrs old and work like the day they were installed. They’re solid and simple and oh OH so unusual. I’d never seen switches like them before! Being light switches, they’re used constantly and are a constant, repeating reminder of how unique they, and this house, are. I don’t take them for granted in the least, and the very act of turning on a light gives me a warm feeling. I know that sounds rather melodramatic, but don’t know how else to describe it.

I’ve found “replica” switches, but reviews are mixed and I’m confident they won’t be as well made. I’m going to order both 2 and 3 way switches because I’ve read the 3 way ones are more hefty and have a closer feel to what our originals do. If so, we’ll do all the switches in those, despite the cost (*not* cheap).

I have a chest cold starting. Seriously. :/

I made dandelion jelly last week. Tastes like honey, but not as sweet. I’m making lime jelly tomorrow. And more lemon curd, because it’s.just.divine.

I found out that, despite local ordinance saying otherwise, I can have chickens!! (“EVERYONE has them” so says our electrician, reinforced by our neighbour seeing a flock right in town near the police station.) I’m not going to rush – it’ll wait til next spring, but still. Exciting!

I can’t wait to get my garden boxes built this weekend. Weather should be lovely, and yay garden!!

May 12th, 2013 by Kelly

Today, for Mother’s Day, I got a shiny new bike! I’d take a pic but it’s raining out (*that* made for an interesting few test-rides, let me tell you!) so that’ll wait til tomorrow.

It’s a Raleigh Detour 4.5 step-through, and it’s white and has a cushy, upgraded “saddle” (seat) and a kick-stand and fenders for the rain. It’s capable of having a rear-rack attached and a basket, though I don’t have those yet (on the list). I got a white helmet to match (yeah, silly, I know).

If I had to describe it in one word, it’d be “Eager”. It’s a very light-weight bike and somewhat upright seating position and it just seems to want to *GO*. I’m pretty excited to take it out, once the weather is somewhat less soaking. Ken needs to get new tires for his, before we can go out together, but I can take it to Knit-Night on Monday and the Farmer’s Market is opening next weekend and if I need to pop to the grocery or drug store or liquor store, now I don’t have to take my car. I can take it to the school when I volunteer, too.

Riding a bike is fun, and I’ve been wanting one for a few years, and I’m really happy to have one!

The place we got it from is close enough (over a mountain) and really nice. The have a free tune-up for the 1-2 month cable stretching that’ll happen, and a 1yr “full” tune-up that I’ll take advantage of next spring.

Edit: Technically today is Mother’s Day (bike was bought yesterday) and though the rain stopped I spent the day in my pj’s making up/sewing myself a new summer hat (not done – tomorrow – had an error). All in all a pretty great Mother’s Day, to be honest! I’ll take bike pics tomorrow (or have Ken do it).