Monday, June 26, 2006

Cherry Tomatoes

These are not the best pictures, but I tried to show how well they are coming along. I counted at least 40 tomatoes from the two smaller plants. One tomato was starting to ripen. From the bigger pot, the tomatoes are bigger and more are found. The pot that looks bare, if you look close enough there are two tomato plants started. I planted those a few days ago. They are coming up nicely. I still have a ton of seeds left over too. I'm going to grow them indoors when it gets cooler. The book I read about tub farming the author showed a picture of tomatoes she grew year round indoors. She enjoyed fresh tomatoes from January till December. Awesome!

I used a package of soil similar to Miracle Gro, called Expert Gardener, but I don't plan to do that again. Hopefully, soon we will be back home and our compost will be ready. Either that or I will just plant it straight into the garden.

Spiny the pest

I've nicknamed him Spiny- which means difficult or troublesome. The name fits! I don't know why other than he looks like skin and bones. He is the neighbor's dog and the most annoying. He comes into MY yard and barks at me! Nick (not Huck) will bark at him through the computer room window and it is absolutely hilarious. He'll jump around so fast and look towards the sound and just start barking back.

He steals Huck's bones, or at least tries to. He digs in everyone's garbage cans including his own. I chase him off when I see him, but he'll either just run around in circles past me, or run home only to come back as soon as I've gone inside. The other day as we were pulling out of the driveway, I saw him sneaking his way over. Like a little kid waiting for us to leave, there he was inching his way into our yard.

Conserving Water.

Washing dishes this morning made me think of something. Right now, I heat my water up and pour it into a dishpan. Then I sometimes have another dishpan full of clean water for rinsing. I used to think your plates would stay soapy using the dishpan instead of running water down the drain to rinse. I haven't had a problem with it yet. But sometimes when I've got a huge pot to rinse, it simply won't fit in the dishpan. So, like today, I had to run the water quite a bit to get the pot rinsed out.

What I'm hoping is when we get back to our homestead, that we can somehow run a pipe from the kitchen and lead it into a barrel. So that all the water that normally goes down the drain can be used to water plants and such. I'm not worried about any soap in the water because I plan to use natural soap, not the petroleum based stuff I am stuck using now. I am just having a hard time finding something suitable.

Did I mention that Nick fixed the plumbing at our home in Missouri? He really is such a talented hubby. All those many jobs, that he was criticized for taking over the years has really paid off.

I used to buy Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds for laundry and I loved the way it cleaned. I think it can be used for dishes as well. I'll have to check on that. It comes concentrated and a little bit goes a long way. I just don't want to have to order it. I really miss shopping at Whole Foods. I'm hoping I can go there sometime when I'm up in Kansas City.

P.S. Dr. Bronner's sal suds it is! I just found out my information. It can be used on laundry, dishes, washing produce, and can be used as an all-purpose cleaner! I am so going to buy some real soon!

I have been using Dr. Bronner's sal suds for my laundry needs as well as an all purpose cleaner and I really like how well it works. The clothes come out smelling nice and they seem cleaner too. I've found that using it as a floor cleaner makes my floors really shine.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Poor Huck!

I took Huck out for a bathroom break tonight and he went over to see
the neighbor's dog, Jack. They normally get along together and the
neighbor's were out visiting. I was talking to them. Huck was playing
with Jack.

All of a sudden, Jack starting growling and Huck walked
away from Jack with his fur all ruffled up. I happened to look down at
him and when I did I saw a few drops of blood. I rushed over to him
and he was covered in blood. I didn't know what happened to him. I
carried him inside and saw his ear. Jack took a bite out of it! A
quarter size piece is now missing!

Nick ran to the farm store and got some quick stop powder and I gave it some light pressure. It finally
stopped bleeding. Huck seems pretty stressed out over the whole ordeal. It was my fault letting him go over there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Huck and Sadie

Huck had another playdate today. I watched Sadie for my friend while she went to the doctor. It is so much fun to watch those two play. Sadie likes to herd Huck around. At one point, they were running around and Huck just started sliding across the side of their garage. Then he came to a stop and just laid there. As flat as I've ever seen him lay.

I wonder what was going through his mind. Sadie in the meantime, was pawing at him and howling. I suppose to try and get him to play more. Whatever Huck was trying to accomplish must not have worked because he took off running again. At one point, Huck started tugging on Sadie and Sadie turned around and slobbered on him. Then she sat on his head. It was so hilarious!

Huck thinks he's the fastest dog and normally is around Baby Boy and Cider, but with Sadie, she is just as fast as he is. He just runs all over the place trying to lose her, but there she is right up in his face. He was trying a few new dodges today, normally he runs in big long streaks, but today he was dodging in and out zig zagging all over the place. Now he is zonked out tired, sleeping in front of the fan. And I'm about to join him for a nap.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Huck and the harness

Huck and I went over to see a friend and her basset hound, Sadie. I've been taking Huck over there so he can get all his energy out. He loves going over there. They have a huge fenced in yard. They run and romp and have the time of their lives.

Before we left, my friend gave Huck a red paw printed harness. She had ordered it for Sadie and for whatever reason could not use it. I wasn't sure if it would fit him or not, but I was so thrilled. I've been meaning to get one for him but haven't yet. I don't like how collars alone strain Huck's neck.

Now, Huck's never worn a harness before, although I've put shirts on Huck for fun and to see what he'd do. He didn't know what to think of this new contraption. I think he figured I'd take it off, but to take him out for a walk in this thing!?!

The first time we went for a walk, we didn't get very far. Huck just sat there. I'd give him a tug and he'd take a step, and stop. Get tugged, step, stop.. over and over. It got quite annoying. He had the most funniest look on his face. Like get this thing off of me! Normally, when we go on walks, he's pulling me the whole way, unless I tell him to heel and he does nicely. So, we turned back around and headed home. I was about to give up.

But when we got home, I left it on him so he could get used to it and gave him a bunch of treats while it was on him. Actually, I had him do a couple of sit, stays and comes, so, he could get used to walking in it. The first few times, he sort of waddled. It was so funny!

Today when I took him out, he walked normally but really slow, which was nice for me, not being pulled all over the place. I hope that by tomorrow, he is more used to it. And the next day, and the next day and the next...

Whoever said people with pets live happier longer lives wasn't kidding. Who knew it was because they make you laugh so much!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Meet P.C.

Meet P.C.

He thinks he lives here. He actually lives next door, but I made the mistake of talking to him the other day and giving him a nice scratch. Now, whenever he sees me outside he comes running. He is the most vocal cat I know and quite loud too. He also loves to play with his owner's yellow lab, Baby Boy.

It is funny to watch them play and P.C. always tells Baby boy when it's time to quit. Sometimes, Huck will get right up in his face and try to play with him too, but P.C. will swat him away. Poor Huck, the other day P.C. just pounced on him and started swatting away, as if to get the swat attack over with. Huck just looked so bewildered. He is wary of him now when he trots over.

By the way, P.C. stands for Porch Cat. The neighbors named him that when he showed up at their house one day. The name fits. Only I think he's confused at which porch is his. On the way home from walking the dog, I saw him curled up on the other neighbor's side porch.

This is the biggest of my tomato plant. It doesn't get much bigger than this since it is a dwarf container tomato plant. It is already starting to produce the cutest little green cherry tomatoes. I can't wait to eat them. I only planted three to see how they would do. But I plan to grow tomatoes year round indoors. I may try other seed varieties. I just don't know yet. Since I have not gotten any furniture yet for my sun room, I may just turn it into a little greenhouse.

These are the other two plants. I've had some trouble with snails eating my tomatoes, and leaves, but plant to buy a copper barrier on Friday to prevent them from climbing up the pots. I thought snails ate bugs, but apparently, their favorite thing to eat is tomatoes and its leaves.

Anyone know of any other snail repellents, that are natural. I don't want any pesticides in the yard.

I've discovered the art of gathering weeds. I took some pictures of some yesterday to have my friends online tell me what they were. There was this one in particular that I "knew" was something, but didn't know what. Well, I was right, and it was just what I was hoping it would be. What you ask? You'll have to wait and see.

I plan to post more later about this wonderful weed.

Until next time,

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Our fun day and how to make yummy mint tea.

Today was a busy but fun day. I started out doing a couple loads of laundry. I wanted to get a head start before it got too hot. Then I made breakfast and Nick went and moved the camper onto the truck. We took it down to the state lake and had a picnic of sandwiches. It was so much fun! Then, when we got back, I took all the cushions out and vacuumed it from top to bottom. Scrubbed the counter tops and table. I can't wait to take it out camping.

Yesterday it was so hot. I think it was 100 degrees. Although it was hot, it wasn't unbearable. There is nothing like taking a cool soak in the tub. I wish I had thought of it yesterday, but it would have been a perfect day to make sun tea.

My friend Wini made some mint tea while we visited at her house once. It was delicious. I had to call her for directions. I knew I had made it with black tea in it before but couldn't remember the portions. But it didn't. What I remember doing was using loose leaf peppermint mixed with black tea. But anyways, what you do is use one tea bag of Bigelow Plantation Mint to make 2 quarts of tea.

The secret is to cool it down rapidly with ice. It really brings the flavor out of it. If you have an ice tea maker, Put the bags in there and press start. Otherwise, boil some water, 1 cup or so. when it is a rolling boil, then drop the tea bag in, turn the stove off, (don't boil it with the bag otherwise it will taste bitter) and let steep for 20 minutes. I was suprised at how delicious and rich it tasted, because the box of the tea says to steep for 1-2 minutes for 1 cup of tea. The end color is a light brown, which is just right because it is not 100% black tea.

Another thing good to do when it is so hot is to make a batch of egg noodles. They would surely dry in no time. My favorite thing to do is to set my table up near the window and let my bread rise. It rises in no time at all.

Tonight we are having sticky rice and chicken. We've been doing our cooking in the camper so as not to heat up the whole house. I was always scared to use a gas stove for cooking but it's rather nice. Instant heat. Our stove for in the house though will probably be electric since that is what we already have. Fine with me though, our summer kitchen in the camper works great!

Well, I'm off to do some mending...

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Tub Farming and more

Well, since we found out our landlord said we could have a garden,I put off planting all that I wanted in pots except for a few cherry tomatoes. I planted 11 seeds and they all came up. But I ran out of space in pots so I kept the three best ones. They are doing really good. I"ll add a picture of them later. I'm planning on planting more tomatoes and keep them indoors if I have to. The book that I read said that you could grow them year round indoors. You can also grow beets indoors. I'll have to give that a try. We love beets especially pickled ones!

If we don't get a chance to plant anything before summer's over, we are going to have a fall garden. Green beans for sure, squash too. We are wanting more vegetables that we can dehydrate, freeze or can. And a little that we can eat fresh like squash.

I'm going to try and have an herb garden here. There is a patch out front where there used to be a tree years ago. I'm hoping that I can get something to grow there. I plan to get some railroad ties for a border. I want to plant calendula, chamomile, comfrey, chickweed, mint. I know they all grow like crazy, so I'm thinking of having them in individual pots to keep them from spreading. Once they start growing, I don't think you'll be able to tell they are all in pots. If I don't put them in that spot, I may just have them on a plant rack somewhere.

Some other things I want to try this year: ferment vegetables and fruits, make sourdough bread, homemade yogurt, soaps and soy candles.

I'll add pictures of these projects as I go.

Cell phone zippered pouches

Last week a friend asked me to sew her a cell phone holder that she wanted to give to a friend. So I took out my supplies and started to d...