Fall Garden

Normally at this time of year I’m ready to be done with the garden.

Ready to pick the pumpkins and winter squash – then ignore it’s very existence until January when the gardening bug hits me again.

pumpkinsSometimes I even pray for a frost so it will go away.

But not this year.

This year I planted more.

Crazy, right?

I had a few empty places where a crop had finished – so I decided to try some fall plantings of cool weather crops. Things like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.

purple cabbageIn the spring I start my cold weather crops inside and transplant them when the weather is right. For these fall crops I planted my seeds directly in the ground.

Germination was very spotty. It could have been too hot, or too much rain, or maybe Buddy and I didn’t prepare the soil quite as well as we should have for these much smaller seeds.

Whatever the reason – I figured it was worth the experiment! We already had the seeds and the ground was just sitting there. Anything that grew was a bonus.

kaleLike my first homegrown kale.

Happy, happy, happy day!

I wonder just how long we can stretch this fresh food season?

A New Improved List

IMG_20140923_144052_997I am an avid list maker.

Every morning I sit down with my tea and a piece of paper and make a list of things to accomplish that day.

The kids tease me and often decorate my daily to-do sheet. They have even been known to add things like “install indoor pool”  and “”fly to Paris”.

Most days my list is helpful and keeps us all on track.

But not always.

I had written a rather ambitious list the other day – but things just didn’t go as planned.

It was after lunch when I realized the only thing that we had accomplished was breakfast dishes and now the kitchen was an after lunch disaster.

I stared at my list for a few seconds discouraged.

Then I grabbed a pen and started writing the things that I had accomplished.

drink tea – check

time in the Word – check

sit at the table over lunch and talk with my teens – check

eat chocolate – check

laugh – check

There. I felt better now. I had accomplished something after all.

Now to add a few more must-do’s to this new improved list -

read a happy book – check

snuggle in a grandma quilt – check

doodle mindlessly – check

eat more chocolate – check

drink more tea – check

Now that’s a list to make me smile.

Girl Power

Our van is broke.

Since it won’t start and it’s stuck in our driveway, Jan had to trailer it in to town.

(May I stop here and point out the fact that this is the third time in 18 months that we have had to tow this particular vehicle? Once on the way home from camping after rodents gnawed away some important wiring, once from Des Moines when the brakes locked up and now because it won’t start.

You may find this bit of history fascinating – but my husband did not.)

Towing the van into town meant he needed to borrow a trailer as the van is exactly 4.187643923 inches too big for ours.

So he borrowed Dagmar’s truck and the neighbor’s trailer.

IMG_20140922_133845_879This is when things got interesting.

The first time we towed this van we rented a car dolly.

The second time we towed this van we rented a trailer from U-haul that has a fancy come-along thing to pull the vehicle up on the trailer.

This time we have the neighbor’s flat bed trailer with no fancy come along thing.

Remember that the van won’t start.

He needed a plan.

He choose gravity.

So he and Buddy used the tractor to pull the van to the top of a small rise in the yard. Then he backed the trailer up to the rise, and they pushed the van down the slight incline to the trailer.

The plan worked well – at first. The van moved beautifully down the slight incline – but when it reached the trailer, there was a slight uphill to get it on the ramps.

And the van wouldn’t budge.

After several tries, they called for reinforcements.

And since both of our strong, handsome older boys are gone – there was only the two girls and me.

Imagine his reaction when two of the three of us showed up in flannel jammie pants wearing cowboy boots and flip flops!

shoesThey shall remain nameless – but I can assure you that I wasn’t one of them.

But sometimes you have to to work with what you’ve got and we were drafted anyway. At least two of the three of us lift weights occasionally.  (Once again – I can assure you that I am not one of them!)

It took several tries but believe it or not – we did it.

We got that van loaded up and ready to go into town.

No fancy come along thing.

Just brute strength. :)

Flip flops, cowboy boots, jammie pants and all.

Girl power.

Buggy Issues

Have you ever noticed that listening to the crickets chirping outside your open window at night is a beautiful symphony of fall that will lull you to sleep?

But one cricket chirping incessantly under the freezer in the basement is so annoying it drives one almost to insanity?

10363853_10204754165637991_3338193488871808662_nAnd leads to extreme methods of extermination.

Or that a few fruit flies enjoying the ripening tomatoes on the counter can easily be ignored.

But if left unchecked – those few fruit flies can become an militant army in the midst of a covert invasion almost overnight.

IMG_20140917_131721_498Which leaves you fighting a losing battle armed with several fruit fly traps and massive amounts of apple cider vinegar.

But sometimes the most annoying bugs are the ones you don’t see – the ankle biters.

These are the seemingly invisible ones that attack you in the grass and the yard.

You don’t even know were there until the next morning when you when you discover your ankles and feet are covered with tiny little itchy bites.

These – my friends – are the pressing issues that bug me today.

Summer Memories

The weather is changing.

We’re digging out jeans and hoodies.

Math books replace video games.

IMG_20140909_123306_896Suddenly fall is here – the apples and pumpkins and pears are ripe.

But wait a minute! Where did summer go?

What happened to all those amazing blog posts that were floating in my head but never quite got written?

Like the one when Pedro and his sweetie went to the amusement park and he was so twitterpated that he forgot to secure his almost new iphone.

10155233_10204207406334835_52607616920929299_nThey found it in several pieces under the Tornado roller coaster.

That was a costly mistake.

Or the amazing posts about all my garden produce.

Green beans. Zucchini. Yellow squash. Cucumbers. Sweet corn. Melons. Tomatoes. Peppers. Kohlrabi. Lettuce. Radish. Broccoli.

And the one about my flower garden. Yes – I have a flower garden! With beautiful flowers that make my heart happy.

IMG_20140909_132032_352An actual garden – not just planters. And the sweetest rain gauge ever.

But those posts never got written.

And now summer is over.

Gone in a whirlwind of work and play.

Loads of laundry on the line.

Yummy meals on the grill.

Miles of lawn mowing.

997045_699086316851761_7600441534126401443_nAdventures with friends.

Hours in the garden, planting, weeding and harvesting.

Making memories with family.

County Fair then State Fair.

Hundreds of jalapeno poppers.

Good books on a hot summer afternoon.

But I blinked and it’s over.

Gone in a heart beat.

Packed to the brim and running over.

But it was all good, my friends. Really, really good.