Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 31, 2011

For today, the last day of May.
It is very hot this week, today it's supposed to be
mid 90°'s with a heat index of 100° - 105°.

I am thinking... Mmm, not a whole lot this morning. A little of this, a little of that, and nothing hard-core or major. It's hard to believe tomorrow is JUNE already!

I am thankful for... Air Conditioning! And my HVAC Service Tech. husband who checked out our equipment yesterday and it's all working smoothly.

From my kitchen... The refrigerator is full of peas, peas and more peas. We've been shelling in the evenings until 11:30 or midnight and just shove them in the frige. I need to get them bagged up and in the freezer today. I might make another batch of bread.

I am reading... I started Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George (again). It's good. Hopefully I'll make it all the way through this time. I haven't had much time for reading lately!

I am hoping... That today will go smoothly and the house will look better at the end of the day than it has in several weeks.

I am hearing... The dishwasher, the washing machine, and Susannah :)

A few plans for the week... Pick peas tomorrow, grocery shop on Thursday, pick peas Friday, probably work in the garden Saturday either pulling weeds or pulling out the peas if they're finished by then. Daniel wrote "Date Night?" on the calendar for Thursday... I guess I should see if Grandma wants to keep Susannah :)

A picture...
Susannah, probably like every normal 14 month old, is fascinated with any writing utensil. If she finds a pen or pencil and a paper, she goes through the motions of putting the pointy end to the paper. I had the idea that if I let her draw (supervised) that maybe it would keep ink/lead off of things that it doesn't go on. So every once in a while I pull out her paper and pencil (a very SHORT pencil) that I keep in a drawer, and she sits in her high chair and "draws" for a couple minutes. Sometimes she gets some marks on the paper, sometimes she doesn't - she hasn't figured out how to hold the pencil consistently in a good position yet - but she has fun :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ask The Readers

Good morning faithful readers. This morning I am sending up some S.O.S. flares. I hope you can help me!!!

  • Where can I buy rennet to make cheese? I'm looking to buy it locally if possible (meaning, not buy it online and have it shipped and taking several days to get here). I have some milk that I want to make cheese with. We have your usual grocery stores, along with Tom Leonards, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Good Foods Grocery (local store) and... that's all that comes to mind right now. I'm in the Central - Va. -ish area if that helps?

    Update: I've found rennet. Whole Foods carries it! However they are out of stock today (will be getting more in a couple days), so I think I will freeze the milk until I (a) have the rennet and (b) have time to make cheese.

  • HOW. can. I. keep. ants. OFF! MY! WASHLINE!!! ? I have put (used) motor oil on the bottom of the posts and it worked for a very brief time. Last night Daniel brought in the laundry and it was CRAWLING with ants. And he'd dumped it all on our bed before he realized it. I was not happy (about the ants being on MY! BED!). I don't know why, but the ants in the yard are TERRIBLE this spring!

If you have the answers or even suggestions, or just want to say "wassup?", just leave it in the comments :)


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Little Peas That Could

Good morning!

Remember when I posted about my garden, and showed you my 6 beautiful rows of peas? These little guys?

Then I posted another update, and they had grown. See those pea fence panels (actually stock panels)? They are shoulder height for me, and I'm 5'3" with my shoes on.

These are my peas today (well, yesterday).
God is blowing me away through His handiwork with these peas. Yes, I prayed that He would make them grow tall and strong and bear well. He is answering with a resounding "YES!" I don't know that I've ever prayed over my garden as earnestly or seriously as I have this year. They have only done this well (or somewhere close) once before and that has been several years. Yes, there were many things I did on my part to give them the best opportunity to grow big and strong. I can water and fertilize the dirt all I want, but I can't make the plant grow. Only God can do that.

Picking peas this enormous is an adventure. The first two pickings I did most of it on my knees. The vines are entwined and I do not want to just ram my way through - that would damage the vines and they would most likely die. Picking peas this enormous is also like giving your 2 year old the toilet brush and hair dryer and asking them to fix your hair. You come out looking like a wild woman. I don't have a 2 year old, so I might be wrong. Just guessing ;)

Yesterday was my third picking, and so far I have frozen about 15 quarts. There are still LOTS of pods on the vines that need to mature, but the weather this week is supposed to be in the 90's each day. Peas do NOT like hot so I don't know how many more I will get before the vines die. I know one thing, though: God is good. So, so good. I am so thankful for each pea that He gives us from these vines.

On to the rest of my garden, it's looking pretty good! I am happy with my garden this year :)

Saturday I weeded the cauliflower and broccoli. Earlier last week I planted the Amish Paste Tomatoes and finished caging all my plants. Once the peas come out I will have stakes to stake the rest of the cages.

Susannah was happily playing in the shade yesterday while I picked. It was VERY warm and humid yesterday, so we both looked a little stroogly. At least she was cute stroogly and not scary stroogly like her mama ;)

I found a baby broccoli growing!! Yay!! I haven't found any baby cauliflower yet, but hopefully soon?

My Summer Heat Tolerant head lettuce. It needs weeded :) Saturday I also planted more beets and a little heat tolerant spinach. I don't know if they'll grow since they didn't last time, but I wanted to try again.

Saturday was a garden day for me. Daniel got the tiller to run like it's supposed to, and tilled up for my first corn planting. This is 2 double rows. There's about 2 1/2+ feet between each big row, and about 12" between the "doubles". I'm hoping to get more corn in more space doing it this way. I'll still have room to walk and pick from each side. As soon as the peas come out and we get that part tilled, I'll plant the rest of the corn.

Hard to see, but my Tenderette Beans came up! This is 1st year garden space, so the grass is growing abundantly and needs removed. The bean plants are a little sparse in some areas (3 double rows), but I'm leaving them as is and will plant a later planting if I need to.

Peppers :) The yellow peppers I replanted don't look like they're doing anything. I think I'm stuck with all green peppers this year :)

Zucchini and squash plants. I can't wait to eat some!!! I did plant Nasturtiums between the hills of Zucchini and Squash, it is supposed to deter the squash bug (or vine bore beetle? can't remember). I hope it works :)

I had replanted eggplant seeds a couple weeks ago after I killed the starter plants the plants died, and I think I saw a few of them growing yesterday! I will have to check again in a couple days to see if it's really eggplants or just weeds :P I also planted a hill of cucumber plants on Saturday, they are looking ok.

This year has been a big learning experience for me, but this post is long enough already I'll save all that for later :) Thanks for stopping by my garden! Please check out Phoebe's, Amy's and Connie's gardens - they're the real hosts!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Real Housewife Reveal

After I wrote this post, and then read what Amy wrote on her blog, I thought it would be fun to once in a while post a "real" post.

Yesterday I:
Started a load of laundry.
Made a batch of bread.
Ground up already cooked roast beef, chicken and corn for baby food and froze it.
Made a strawberry roll (the cake part).
Made a batch of Monster Cookies (Arrrg!!!)
Picked peas.
Shelled peas with Susannah climbing all over me and "helping".
Picked up shelled peas that she dumped on the floor.
Read a couple books (to Susannah).
Fed Susannah meals x3.
Helped her get a drink countless times throughout the day.
Changed 6-ish diapers.
Did online stuff (mail, blog, blog reading, facebook).
Asked Daniel to bring home a free pizza for supper.
Gave Susannah a bath.
Watched the NCIS and NCIS L.A. Finales.
Asked Daniel to put the wet laundry in the dryer right before we went to bed.
Folded and put away the 1 load of clean laundry that was piled on the bed.

Yesterday I didn't:
Take a shower.
Wash any dishes.
Pick up or sweep any floors.
Do any cleaning, period (except for cleaning out a couple diapers).
Do any baking or cooking that was actually for a meal yesterday (breakfast was leftover pancakes, lunch was leftovers from Monday).
I did brush my hair yesterday morning, but after picking peas I looked like this:... and didn't brush my hair again until evening time shortly before Daniel got home.
I didn't exercise.
I didn't take a nap.

Today the kitchen is piled high with dirty dishes (mostly baking utensils, bowls and dirty sippy cups). The floors are in bad need of a picking up and vacuuming. The trash cans are overflowing and the slop is starting to smell. Laundry needs folded. Laundry needs washed - and then folded. And put away. I need a shower. I hope to get a little more on top of the inside housework, but there's much of the day left yet, we'll see what happens... there's always the chance that something will come up that changes the course!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yay!! Yesterday when I was out in the garden I noticed that the peas looked mighty close to being ready to start picking. So I checked a pea - and ate the contents! - and they were ready.

The weather has been nice with random thunderstorms throughout the day and night the past couple days, and today was no exception. This morning it was raining with occasional lightening, so I didn't want to go into my garden which is full of metal! Mid-morning the rain stopped and I went out and picked. It is a major, major jungle out there! Most of the pea vines are probably 6' tall, and the rows intertwined with each other. But they are doing well and I praise the Lord!

It took me about 1.75 hrs. to pick, but I did come in several times because I had bread rising and baking.

Susannah was fascinated with the peas! After lunch I planned to shell them right away, and after thinking about it a moment I knew it would be more stressful for both of us if I tried to do it anywhere but on the floor. So I sat on the floor and shelled peas, tossing the empty pods into a pile - on the floor *gasp* - and Susannah had fun playing with the full and empty pods. Once I had one bucket emptied the empty pods went into a bucket.

Susannah was very happy watching and occasionally would shell a pod or two. I would open the pod and pull the 2 halves apart, and she would pick off each pea and drop it into my bowl one at a time. It took me about 1 1/4 hrs. to shell them all, and when we were done we picked all the
empty pods up off the floor.

Picking peas is not for beauty pageant contestants.
I did brush my hair this morning!
In the end we had about 1 1/2 quarts. Enough for a meal and I'll either share some or freeze them.
Yum :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook - May 16, 2011

For today, Monday, May 16, 2011

I am thinking...
a family in our church has been weighing heavy on my heart yesterday and today - they lost a husband/dad/granddad 2 weeks ago.

I am thankful for... my husband! All the rain we've gotten and are supposed to get. Our church family. The Word and our pastor's expository preaching.

From my kitchen... Pancakes. With butter. And powdered sugar. And strawberries!! Taste-bud heaven! Later today I must make bread, and hope to make Monster Cookies (Daniel's request).

I am reading... last week I read "Light From Heaven", by Christmas Carol Kauffman. Based on a true story, it was not the most easy book to read, but it was encouraging to read about the life of such a godly woman who taught her children to love the Lord amidst their trials.

I am hoping... to finish Spring Cleaning the "Master Bedroom" (Ha! Such a grand name for our tiny space!) This Spring Cleaning may end up being "Spring and All Summer Cleaning", but I am enjoying the results even if it's taking me a while.

I am hearing... the birds :) Yesterday while Susannah was eating breakfast she heard a bird who was singing quite loudly. She got her "what is that?!" look on her face. The bird was sitting on the electric line outside the window so I was able to show her the bird - and she was pretty fascinated by it until it flew away :)

A few plans for the week... Probably same old, same old. I need to work in the garden, but it may be amid mud. I have tomato plants and cucumber plants that I need to get in. Oh! And if all works out, maybe this week will be the week that Daniel gets home from work early and can watch Susannah while I go do some desperately needed shopping! That has been a "plan" for several weeks now :)

A picture...
What I saw one afternoon when I heard some noise
and turned around from washing dishes.
Susannah is a Daddy's girl because I detest! Dr. Pepper!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Figured It Out

I figured out how other people (moms) have so much time. Time to do all the things that I think "dude, hoooow do you do all that and still have a clean house, clean clothes, clean car, clean kids... and stay sane?"

They buy all or almost all of their food ready to use (canned or frozen).
They buy all of their bread.
They buy all of their sandwich meat already cooked and sliced.
They use the dryer.
They probably even have a clothes folder and just haven't told me about it...
Since they buy all of their food (including bread) they probably don't make the enormous messes in their kitchens like I do.
They probably put eeeeeeverything in their dishwasher. I'm picky.

Since they buy all of their food they can just come home from the store, put all the cans, boxes and bags in the cupboards, frige and freezer and VIOLA! A million hours already saved! No need to spend several hours in the garden planting, weeding or picking. No hours upon hours spent peeling, shelling, blanching, canning or freezing.

I bet if I logged every minute that I spend doing something that I could just "go buy" the finished product instead, I'd have more available time, too!

Please know that this isn't a rant or a rave or a "I'm better than you" or a "woe is me" or any such thing. I'm just thinkin' out loud. This is also very much my perspective from the outside :)

**I know this could generate alot of comments on how I am wrong - I'm open to friendly discussion, but
please let's keep it fun and friendly! I'm not looking to start a war!**

P.S. After reading this, Amy wrote an amazing post over on her blog. You gotta go check it out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Growing Garden

*Lots of pictures ahead!*

What's growing in the garden is doing great! My bean seeds that I planted (which would be 3 double rows along the far right edge of the garden in the picture below) didn't come up. I'll have to replant :(

Except for the peas, the garden still doesn't look like much, but hopefully in another month that'll change! In this picture is all my peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant and space for corn or cucumbers.

The bottom part of the garden, with a trusty wandering through cat. This part doesn't look like much either. But believe me, I'm gonna fill it up!

My peas! They have grown considerably since my last post. A few stalks are even as tall as the fence! Yippee! Since my last update, I did side-dress each row with 5-10-10 fertilizer and gray lime. I've also been watering regularly with a Miracle Grow water-er. I wouldn't normally use the Miracle Grow watering system, but I am really counting on this year's garden to give us as much as it can.

The pea vines are blooming beautifully :)

And even making pea pods :) I think I will be very busy in a few more weeks picking and shelling peas! Oh yummy! No more store-bought peas, I hope!

The tomato plants are doing well. The broccoli and cauliflower that survived are looking good, too. I'm not sure why some of the plants croaked. I still have the majority if my tomato plants (Amish Paste) to put out yet. I need to get that done very soon.

Of my little rows of beets, spinach and lettuce, only the Summer Heat Tolerant Head Lettuce is growing. I'm not sure what happened to the other stuff, but it did not grow. I may try replanting with the rows going the other way - I think having them vertical to the "usual" way might've caused the dirt to wash when I watered.

Last evening I had a few hours of daylight left (I'd been gone all day helping a friend on bedrest), and I saw that it was supposed to rain alot last night, so I put it in high gear and did some planting. I planted 11 more peppers (Golden California Wonder), 10 Eggplant, 6 squash and 4 zucchini. I'm not sure that starting them indoors was a good idea. They got VERY leggy before I got them in the ground and today they are all laying over. 2 of the squash plants snapped off, even though I buried them deep. I think I'll just poke some seeds in the dirt and see what happens.

These are my pepper plants. They've grown quite a bit, too. Some of them don't look very good, but hopefully they'll pull through and produce enough for us and maybe some to share.

One thing I'm possibly behind on is getting corn in the ground. It seems like everyone else has corn in and I don't. I'm always afraid of getting it in too soon and it not growing (it likes warm dirt), and another thing is that until this year I had to wait until the peas came out. I still don't have enough room for all my corn this year WITH the peas, so some of it will have to wait for the peas to come out.

This year I'm also adding lime to each row/hole when I plant. I'm hoping the plants will like that and bear well. It's been such a struggle to get very much and very good produce from our garden previous years, and I'm really trying this year to get a good crop of everything.

Oh - remember how I had Daniel add 2 more tiller rows (big tiller) to the garden? He said our garden is now the same size (sq. ft.) as our house will be when the addition is finished!

This post is linked to Phoebe's Frugal Gardening 101 series over at her blog, Getting Freedom.