Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Coming to terms...

Having been born and raised for 16 years near a major city, I was used to the sounds of blaring car horns, wailing ambulance sirens, and the vocal fights of neighbors.  This was common place, and both my parents and I thought nothing of it.  

Then, when I turned 16, my father was transferred and our family was uprooted and moved to a somewhat smaller city.  It was not as noisy, or chaotic as the city we were used to, but it did have its moments from time to time.

When my parents passed, I had planned on me and the girls staying put.  But it would seem the Lord had other plans for us.  So after moving four times in 6 months, we were brought to where we are now.  And, to say we were the proverbial fish out of water would be an understatement.

The Lord had brought me and the girls, to the very holler in which my mother was born and raised.  We were so out of our element, I wanted to cry.  The only people I knew here were a handful of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I had no friends here, and my closest friend at that time was almost 2 hours away.  I felt unsure, lost, and if not for the girls, I would have felt alone.

We have lived here eight years this September, and I still am getting used to the *sounds* of this new home.  This morning, while walking the girls, I heard a sound that is common in these parts, but for a city girl is still, to this day, unusual...the crowing of a rooster.

Something simple as that, and I am reminded that I am a stranger here.

 I am not from this place, and probably never will be.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Yesterday evening, after I got off work, me and my dear Aunt Momo went up on the cemetary and decorated the graves.

My maternal grandparents, Arthur and Corma Preece, my sweet Uncle Kenny Preece (always Keni to me) and my beloved mom and dad are buried on a little hill, behind where me and the girls currently reside.

My mother and her siblings were raised up this holler, and played on the very hill on which my family members now eternally rest.  My mother was born in a front room of the family homestead, which is currently owned by my Aunt Momo and her husband Uncle LuLu.

It is of much comfort to look up there, each morning when I get up, and each evening before I go to bed, and know that they are resting peacefully.  I know that what made my parents and family members who they were, their very souls, are not there, but for me to be able to see their final resting place gives me peace and comfort.  Some understand that, some do not.  But, that is okay, as long as I understand is really what matters.

I do not visit my mom and dad very often, usually once or twice a year.  It hurts so bad, to actually walk up there, and see their names on the tombstones.  It brings back such painful feelings of loss and loneliness that I avoid the trip as much as I can.  But, on memorial day, I do make sure to put bright new flowers on all their graves, and say a little prayer to let them know that although it is rough, and some days I feel that me and the girls are about done for, that we will all three be okay.  

I like to think I come from good stock...on both my mom and my dads side, and that as long as I put my mind to it, and really work at it, the girls and I will be just fine.  We have each other, and the Lord is with us, and that will get us through.

But, there are days I would love to talk to mom and dad, to hear their voices again, their laughs, and see their bright smiles.  

I think that is what I miss most....

The final planting...

The last day of above ground planting/transplanting for the month of May occurred from the 17th-25th.  I went and got the rest of my desired plants, and finished my planting on the 19th.

I had quite a bit to plant, and after work, got right to it.

In my short box, where I had planted my cucumbers, squash, and zucchini, I planted two squares of 45 day cabbage, and  eight squares of either red/yellow sweet pepper plants.  With two of the pepper plants, I included a basil plant, because after researching online, it seems that basil is of benefit to pepper plants.  

In my other short box, where I had planted 2/3's of it in mustard, I added two pie pumpkin plants, and one boston pickler cucumber plant.  I am not sure if the little cucumber plant is going to make it.  I had thought that maybe the entire box would be non productive, due to the cucumber plant and mustard not doing well.  But when I checked yesterday the pumpkin plants seemed to still be healthy.  So, we will see.

In my space left in my tall box, that I had planted my onions in, I decided to plant my Roma tomatoes.  I planted eight plants there.  I had intended to plant parsley in a couple of the squares, but could find none, and my parsley on my window sill was not looking too healthy.  I may try to salvage a few sprigs to plant, when I transplant my rosemary and my mint into containers.  I love Roma tomatoes for juicing and was tickled to find such healthy looking plants.   

I have been checking on my little gardening experiment every couple of days.  The report is as follows, as of today May 30th:

The blades on my onion plants are appearing to be turning yellow here and there.  I researched online, and have not found a definitive answer to the cause, 

Three of my cabbage plants are showing yellow leaves, and do not look well.  My aunt MoMo had told me that growing cabbage in our area can sometimes be tough, so I will just have to wait and see how they develop.

As stated before, my mustard seems to have stopped growing.  In retrospect, maybe I planted the seed too deep but I do not remember planting it any deeper than the carrots and cucumber.  The carrots are not developing any further either, but the cucumbers I planted from seed seem to be doing well.

My best looking plants, by far, are my beans.  I am of the mind if my tomatoes and my beans flourish, then I have done well.  They are the main crop for me and the girls each year.  The beans are actually getting ready to vine up the tomatoe cages I use...so that is encouraging.

Anything that does not do well, I will have to further research this winter, and try to adjust accordingly next spring.

I will try to update here and there with pictures as the garden grows.  

So, there you have it....mine and the girls adventure into square foot gardening.  It has been hard getting it set up by ourselves, but we will have it done and ready to go for the next planting season, and each season there after.  So, not so bad when you think about it.  

I hope you have enjoyed taking the journey with us, as we have enjoyed having you along :)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Boxes, boxes, and more boxes

After waiting for several more days for my work schedule and mother nature to cooperate, I finally set out to finish by garden boxes, fill them with soil, and get to the fun part of planting.

My final count of boxes was just what I had planned...2 short and 2 tall.  Once built, placed and filled with soil, I got my handy jute out and marked off my 1 foot squares.

In my first tall box, I planted my onions and my carrots.  In hindsight, I think maybe my carrots were planted too late, because they, to this day, are not doing much.  My onions got off to a great start, but now are not doing so well either.  Again, I think I got a very late start on both of these.

This picture shows my onions when they were just a growing like crazy.  I get so tickled when I see something I have planted, do as the good Lord had intended, and begin to show life.  Just an awe inspiring thing for me.

The next picture was taken a few weeks later.  I planted my other tall box entirely of beans..I had to wait a little while, after my initial plantings, until the time the almanac said was good for above ground planting.  These are my babies bean plants sprouting (I plant beans mainly for my furry babies, because they love them so much in their dinner).  The little plants are working so hard to get through the soil and be *born*

I had decided to go ahead and place the cages that I currently had for my beans.  I use tomatoe cages, 42 inches high, for my beans to vine up.  It is a lot less work, very convenient and a handy idea I got online a few years back.  Since starting to use them, I would never use anything else.

At the same time that I planted my beans, I planted my mustard, squash, cucumbers and zucchini. In my two other short boxes.  My mustard in 2/3 of one short box, the other items shared half of the other short box My cucumbers have since gotten off a great start, my squash and zucchini struggled a little, but my mustard is not looking promising.

This is a pic of my cucumbers when they first started coming up.  Cute little rascals aren't they? LOL!!

It has been a few weeks since I took this pic of my mustard, but it looks pretty much the same.  A few little sprouts here and there...but nothing promising looking.

to be continued....

The result of prayer

In the beginning of 2015, almost right after the new year, Miss Rooh got very sick, and had to be admitted to the hospital.  

It seemed her kidneys were shutting down, and not functioning any to speak of.   

Dr. Olson did not really have any idea how she would do, or if she would come out of it, but he assured me he would do his best to save my baby girl.  

I prayed day, night, and all in between that the Lord would not take Rooh from me just yet.  I told him that I could not function without her, or Baby Booh at this point in my life, and that as he very well knew, they were the reason I even soldiered through on most days.  

After 6 long days, of calling twice a day to check on her, and Baby Booh and me not knowing how to function without Miss Rooh with us, we finally got the call that Rooh could come home.  

She was not completely healed, but Dr Olson said that the rest of the healing process could be done at home.   And that he was sure she was more than out of the woods.  

Then, in early 2016, around late January, Baby Booh began suffering from the same ailment, only to a much greater extent.  

Not only was her kidneys shutting down, but her liver was as well.  

When I took her in to Dr. Olson, he had a very grave look on his face.  He said he would, again, do all he could to help my baby.

And, thus, began an 8 day long calling twice a day, to check as I did with Miss Rooh.  Only, this time around, Baby Booh was not bouncing back like Rooh had, and was actually getting worse, if possible.  

Dr Olson said he had tried all he could, and that he wasn't ready to give up on her, but to keep in mind that this time around may take longer.  I told him to do what he had to do, and that I would continue to call and check on her.

Again, I prayed day, night, and every minute in between.  I have never been much for praying for myself, I am more of the type of person who will jump at the chance to pray for others.  I do pray daily for the good health of my girls, but for myself, I do not pray.  But, like with Miss Rooh, this time I prayed from something I wanted....and needed...my Baby Booh to be healed and returned to me and Rooh.

On the seventh day, Dr Olson called me.  When I saw his number on the caller id, my heart tightened in my chest.  I just knew that he was calling with grave news.  I did not want to pick up the phone.  But I did.  And to my relief, he said that Booh was pretty much stable, but he thought she should come home, because she was getting severely depressed, and after being so sick and not eating for so long, it was taking its toll on other areas of her body.  He said he had tried everything he could to get her to eat, and she would not.  

So, the next day me and Rooh went up and got her.  The little baby was so tiny, and boney, it broke my heart.  I teared up, and Dr Olson said that she looked bad, but she was doing okay.  He said to just take her home, and get some food in her.  Once she started gaining her weight back, and after dialysis, she would be fine.  

Dialysis started out as every day, Monday-Friday for several weeks.  Then, we went to every Monday-Wednesday-Friday for a few weeks, then to once a week.  I would have to have her up there at 8am each time, and then get back in time to work at 11am.  I am not going to say it was easy, but I am also going to say that there was no doubt I would find a way to get it done.

As of today, Baby Booh has been off dialysis for 80 days.  She is holding her own, and although she has not gained near the weight back she had (and neither has her sissy Rooh), she and Rooh both seem okay.  

So, what all this leads to is this...the Lord knew that I needed my girls here with me a while longer, and through Dr Olson, made that possible.  I prayed, told him my wishes and my needs, and he met them.  He will always meet my needs, if I just ask.  I had always heard that said, but until the two very life threatening situations, had never truly known that he would.  It has strengthened my faith in ways I will never be able to express.  And, today, through my prayers, my two babies are still with me :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Executing my plan...

Okay, so I had a plan, and a general sketched out idea.  

Now I had see if the plan would work.

With my trusty tools at hand, I set out to make my sketched out idea into an honest to gosh existing idea.

As stated in my last entry, I decided on cedar boards for my garden boxes.  
I also decided that they would be 4' x 4' with two being 15" deep and the other two being 7 1/2" deep.

So, I cut my boards to length, and then with the deeper boxes, secured two boards together.

The first box I built was one of the deeper ones.  I wanted to make sure that my idea would hold up, and once I had it put together, I was pretty happy with it.

The picture below is not the final placement, just an idea of how it ended up looking.  
Just like I had imagined it would be.

I left the bottom open, and after a little research, decided to use the paper method.  
This would allow the roots to travel past the box bottom, into the existing ground if need be.

I had to wait a few days, due to rain and work, before I could do much more.

But, when the weekend came, I set to positioning my first garden box, and filling it with soil.

 Again, after much research, 
I decided to go with the mixture of:
60% top soil
30 % compost
10% either vermiculite, perlite, or peat moss

With the first box, it was a mixture of vermiculite and perlite for the 10%.  It was all I could find at the time, and it would do the job.

My box being 4' x 4' x 15" gave me approximately 32 cubic feet to be filled.  
That is ALOT of filling, but it got done.  

The picture below shows where the first box was positioned and how it appeared 
once filled with the soil. 

This is just a picture taken from another angle 
of the same garden box.

I decided to put the boxes at the back of the small room on the side of the house I reside in.

I intend to open a small shop, eventually, in said small room.  
And, there is a window on the back of the room, that overlooks the garden box area, so that I may look out there from time to time, to make sure all is proceeding as planned.

I am going to put down plastic all around all the boxes, to keep weeds to a minimum, and hope to cover the plastic with either mulch or shredded rubber.  

Still not sure which at this time. 

The next step....get the other boxes made, and ready for planting.

to be continued...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Our adventure into Raised Bed Gardening

As mentioned in a previous post, me and the girls have decided to venture into raised bed gardening.  The ground around the house we live in is full of rocks, and basically hard as a rock, so tilling the dirt is not an option for us.  Thusly, raised bed gardening.

I had researched the idea of raised bed gardening for two years, at least.  And, after two years of not being able to have a garden, I finally decided to give it a try.

The first step of our grand adventure was researching the best types of wood to use for our garden boxes, as well as the best size to use.

The depth of the boxes were pretty much determined by what we were going to plant.  So, with that in mind, I decided on two 15 inch deep boxes, and two 7 1/2 inch deep boxes.

I also decided to not use any plastic or garden mesh in the bottom, so as to allow the roots the choice of going into the ground for more depth.

I had read on a site where using paper to cover the bottom would smother out any grass and weeds.  The paper would decompose, allowing the roots of the plant to stretch into the dirt below and at the same time providing more compost for the soil.

The next step was a trip to the lumber store.

I decided on using cedar boards for two reasons.  One, they would last longer than most any other board, and two, the cedar would aid in keeping various pests away.  Win-win.

The boxes I made had to be large enough to hold what we wanted to plant, yet manageable enough to be able to tend to weeds and watering.  I went with 4ft x 4ft boxes, because they would fit the requirements.

With saw, ruler, and drill in hand, I set out to put my sketched out idea into motion.

.....to be continued

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This roller coaster ride we call Mother Nature

I think the title pretty much tells it all.  HA HA!!

Mother Nature has been taking us, here at our little home on the holler, on one topsy turvy roller coaster ride this spring.  

We have not had one day, in at least two weeks, that we haven't at some point gotten rain.  It will rain, the sun will come out, it will rain, the sun will come out...back and forth we go...when it stops no one will know.  

Now, not to say my newly planted onions and carrots are not enjoying it.  It is just what they like, alternating warmth and moisture.  

But, me and the girls don't like it all that much. 

Me, because the grass has not been dry enough to mow at any time in the last two weeks, and the girls because they do not like walking around in said tall grass, tickling their undercarriage :)

But like everything on this grand earth that the Lord created, there is a plan.  

I may not understand why it rains so much preventing me from doing the outside work that is so desperate to be done, but God knows.  

He knows all, and when he is ready, he will have a talk with Mother Nature, and hopefully put her on a less roller coaster type path.