Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starting Seeds

This is actually my Saturday blog. As it turns out, Saturday was so busy and exhausting I am having to write this on Sunday morning. My little one and I started our cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seeds yesterday. Since she brought home her Pre-K class mascot, Elmer the Elephant, for the weekend, we recorded the process with the camera for Elmer's book. She was so excited! I had planned on starting some herb seeds also, but one of my orders has not come in yet. I'd rather do it all at once.
We used seed trays yesterday, but I also use fast food trays, pie pans- you name it. Save the produce bags you get at the store. They make a great cover. Still- seed trays work very well and you can re-use them for several years. You just have to clean them with a bleach and water solution each year before you use them.
 She loves to pour on the water and watch the pellets fill up.(Note the class mascot in the background.) I know some would argue that it is better to use a tray of mix. For me, however, all that thinning is a waste of time. And time is something I don't have much of these days. Time is a precious thing around this house. I've tried the other way and, for me, this is just easier.
 She opened the top pf each pellet to make a place for the seeds.
 Next, I wrote on the markers and she added them to the pellets. Normally, I like the plastic markers MUCH better- and you can reuse them. However, I ordered new ones and they are still somewhere in FedEx land, so we had to use little woden craft stick markers. I don't like doing this, because the moisture can cause the writing to fade. I didn't have much choice in this case, though. I could have driven to the store to buy the plastic, but I stay on the road enough as it is. One thing I have learned from my parents and grandparents is to make the best of what I have.
Once we covered the tray, we took it upstairs to the loft room. Since the center section of our house is A-frame, we have one upstairs room that stays very warm. The floor is so warm that I don't even need a heat mat. We just place the tray on the floor out of direct sunlight and wait...
Now it is time to get ready for church. Hope everyone has a blessed day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New seeds & New books!

My new seeds are starting to arrive! This is better than Christmas! I can't wait to get these babies into the ground!
This shipment came from Baker Creek ( I am so ready to get started!
We are having to build a new grow rack this year. The old one has seen better days :/. I have an idea I am thinking of trying...hmm...
more to come.....
I've been reading this AWESOME book:
I got his book on Amazon. It is spiral bound and it is really a workbook. You write in your last frost date, and work from there. It tells you what needs to be done each week as far as seeds, new plants, last year's stock, gardening equipment, etc.
I am also keeping these handy:

My grandparents (great grands, etc.) firmly believed in the signs. I do, too. I will probably devote another blog to that subject alone. However, my parents, (who worked outside the home) also came upon this issue: Suppose that, according to the signs, you should plant beans on Tuesday-Thursday this week. Unfortunately, you have to work late those days. What do you do? You plant them on Saturday or whenever you can. You do the best you can, when you can, however you can,, Then you pray, have faith, and let God do the rest.
That's the way it is with everything in life, really. Isn't it?

Monday, January 23, 2012

On friendship...and curing a wart with a banana peel

When we get older it seems our friends get fewer. However, I think quality is better than quantity when it comes to friends. I eat lunch every day with 3 of the sweetest, smartest women on earth. Why on earth they let me hang out with them is beyond me...
My friend Amber is the creative genius. You name it- if it's an art or a craft, this girl can do it. She can paint, she can draw, she plans cool themed birthday parties. (At one of her little girl's birthday parties, I swear the inside of the birthday cake had zebra stripes. the INSIDE- not the icing!) You could hand her any piece of junk and she could (1) make it beautiful and (2) make it useful.
Kelli is the decorating and green thumb genius. If she will let me, I will take some pics of the flowers in her yard and around her pool. It's amazing. She knows so much about plants and gardening. And she can some up with some interesting adventures...but that's another blog....
Dawn is the culinary genius. Her cakes are beautiful- and they taste like heaven. And she isn't the least bit snooty about it. If you say, "How did you get this flavor?" she will tell you. I always tell her she could be famous if she owned her own bakery- but she just got her degree in education. That suits her, too because she is so great with kids.
So, by now, you are asking yourself, "Why do these amazing chicks eat lunch with HER every day?" Beats me...but I sure am glad they do. I learn something new every day.... Which brings me to the banana.
Now, I am much newer in this mama business than my friends.  Things that worry me and stress me out are old hat to them. They can calm me down with a "No big deal" wave of the hand. No matter the issue, they have an answer.
Today I was worried about a wart on my little girl's hand. The pediatrician said not to freeze it. The medicated band aids won't stick, because of the location (on her palm).  I was worrying (as usual). "Oh, it's no big deal. Lots of kids get those! Mine get them, Kelli assured me.
"I put a banana peel on my little girl's wart. It worked, added Amber.
A banana peel?
Yep- she attached a piece of banana peel to the wart with a band aid (told you she was creative) and left it over night. After a few nights, it is working.
It got me to thinking (as most things do). I had a great uncle who took a plantar wart of my foot when I was a child... and he didn't touch my foot or even lay eyes on me to do it. He just asked for my full name written on a piece of paper. A few days later, the plantar seed fell out of my foot and never came back. He could also say some words to stop a nose bleed.  I just happened to mention this fact....
My friends wanted to know if I learned to do this. No. I wish I had, but I never did. There are rules, like passing from blood to blood, and/ or male to female. The rules change with the region and the family.
 Now, I find this part of my family's past fascinating, but growing up it is just the way things were. One female family member had a stye on her eye, so she stood by the road and said, "Stye, stye come off my eye and get on the next one that passes by." The next day, it was gone- and her school bus driver had a stye. Coincidence? Maybe...but if the stye is gone (and the wart is gone, and the nose bleed stops) it's all good, isn't it?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a peaceful weekend! After a week of Monday-ballet, Wednesday-dentist, Thursday-PTO, Friday-groceries and errands (all after a full work day) I was so grateful to be at home. After spending Saturday morning cleaning up the house and catching up on the laundry, I put on a slow cooker of home made chili and made some bacon-ranch roll-ups. They are a super-easy addition to chili, soup- you name it.
To make the roll-ups, just open a package of crescent roll-dough roll it out into two long triangles. (It automatically comes out of the package like this. Just don't divide into triangles.) Pinch the seams together firmly. Cover each rectangle with Ranch dressing and sprinkle with bacon pieces. I buy the pre-cooked kind, but if you are feeling all industrious- fry your own. :) Cover with shredded sharp cheddar and roll up "jelly-roll" style. Slice into thin (about 1/4 in) slices and bake at 400 until golden brown. They would probably slice easier if they were chilled awhile- but who wants to wait?
Bacon-Ranch Roll-Ups
I don't measure things much when I cook. I go on a look or  a feeling. That's how my mother and both my grandmothers cooked. To me, a recipe is just a suggestion- a springboard for your own creativity. I'd like to come up with some new versions of these roll-ups. If you have some- please share!
I finally placed my seed orders today. After a careful inventory of my seed box, I discovered that I needed less than I thought. Therefore, I ordered some NEW things...ha! I can't wait til I start them!
Well, Manic Monday is rapidly approaching. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

4-year-olds & 4 letter words

It happens. You can be careful about what your child sees on TV. You can be careful about what she listens to on the radio. You can be careful about her friends..but, alas... it happens. I thought my husband and I were doing a pretty good job at all the above. However, yesterday I found out that, no matter how careful we are.... life just steps in and happens sometimes.
It was after school yesterday afternoon. My little sidekick and I were cruising along listening to a "home made" CD. (I love "old" music. My child can sing along with KC & the Sunshine Band as well as most kids know today's music. Her "favorite" is 'Play that Funky Music'.) On this particular day, I am listening to 90's tunes, mindlessly working my way from errand to errand on the way home. Alanis Morrisette begins singing 'One Hand in My Pocket' and, before I realize what is happening, here it comes. "I'm brave but I'm chickens&^%" I didn't have time to react, I just cringed and said a "Please-God-don't-let-her-notice-that-word" prayer before it popped out. Did she notice? YOU BET! She immediately exclaims, "CHICKENS(*&T ?!??!?!?! EEEEWWWWWW?!!?!"
I took a deep breath. I waited just a sec and then said, "Yes, that's what she said. But it isn't a nice word and so we don't say it. OK?"
 "Oh. OK." End of conversation.
I have to admit it was funny. Maybe you had to be there. I was telling my husband about it later and he cracked up. Finally he said, Beth! It's not the fact that she SAID it! It's the fact that she UNDERSTOOD what it was!!"
SO... there ya go...IT happens. And if you raise chickens... it may happen when you least expect it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Peaceful Day Off

Today was a nice, quiet day. My little one decided to visit my parents. My husband decided to go visit a friend- discussing chickens as always. I had the place to myself for awhile. I did a little reorganizing in the guest room (ie: threw out some junk) and then settled in with the Baker Creek Seed Catalog to work on my wish list. Its a really big wish list...I may have to pare it down a little (lot). It was so nice there curled up in the recliner by the wood stove...but...alas, the real world returns. Mondays are ballet nights, so we had to get ready and head over to the ballet studio.  It was awfully hard to leave my recliner, but I just thought of all those times my mama had to take me here and there. And one day I will want these days back.
It's back to work tomorrow, so let's put on our Tuesday face. Have a great one...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today Was for the Birds :)

What a beautiful Sunday! It was such a nice break from all the rain and cold weather! We decided to get outside and get some fresh air this afternoon.
One thing I had to do was refill the bird feeders.  I just love bird houses and bird feeders!  I hang them all around our yard. It's cool to see the different kinds of birds that are attracted to different areas and different types of feeders. We bought some of our feeders at various stores, but some we made ourselves. Now, I admit, some of them aren't exactly beautiful. If your yard looks like something from Southern Living, these will probably not be for you. (Ha!) However, if you want to bring birds into your yard and not break the bank, these are some ideas that worked for me.
This one was made from a lid from an old pot. We just drilled holes and used and old wire hanger to hang it. On another one, I used the hanger from an old hanging basket. The basket was no good, but I gave a new life to the hanger! I read once that these are good for larger birds that might have trouble sitting on the perches of smaller feeders.  However, I've seen tiny birds sitting in them feeding.  The only thing I don't like about these is they collect water when it rains, so you have to keep them cleaned out.
I got the idea for this one from . We just put paper towels into the bottom of a 2 liter bottle. We used kitchen skewers for perches. (We broke the sharp ends off, as they were a little too long anyway.) We cut the holes for the skewers with a utility knife. We then made small slits above each perch. Not beautiful..but useful. :)
I'm planning to let my little girl make a feeder from an orange rind. Maybe we could do that tomorrow on our day off.
I'd love to read comments and ideas about how to make more bird feeders!
Lastly, I found this buttercup getting ready to bloom today.
Of course, my daddy has always told me that buttercups are liars. He says many's the time he has seen them blooming in the snow. Oh well, it's still a sign of encouragement that spring is coming!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seed Shoppin'!

I've never been  a fan of winter (except for when it snows). I'm more of a spring, summer, and fall kind of girl. During those seasons I can be outside moving and doing. But winter...well, winter is just... (sigh) a time of waiting. One thing I love about January, though- it is also a time of planning. I'm already making plans for my flower beds, planning to redo an old herb garden, and best of all, planning the vegetable garden! January is the time for seed shoppin'!
I got out my seed box today. My mom and my grandmother taught me to store my seeds in the freezer, and I really feel their way is the best. Unfortunately, my freezer is pretty full. (Come to think of it, that isn't really what I would call unfortunate...) For the past couple of years I have had to settle for an airtight plastic container with a few desiccant packs added for keeping out the moisture. The packs are pretty easy to come by- they pack them in with every pair of shoes or coat you buy these days. You know- they have those little beads in them and they say DO NOT EAT. Which makes you wonder..... but  I digress...  Back to the seed box- First thing I have to do is figure out what I already have and what I need to buy.  I didn't  save as many seeds as I should have last year. (My grandmothers would be very disappointed in me, I guess.) It looks like I am going to have to buy some tomato, bean, and corn seeds at least. And I can never resist buying a few new things- just to try for the fun of it!
My all-time favorite seed company is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( Their seeds are 100% pure- no hybrids or GMOs here! ( I can save that rant for another blog.) Everything I get from them is WONDERFUL!  My other favorite is R.H.Shumway's ( I look forward to my seed catalogs coming every year. It's the first sign that spring is coming!
 I'm a seed lover- a garden lover. I can't go in the local garden center without buying a couple of seed packs. When we go there as a family, we automatically split up. David and Haley head for the baby chicks and I head for the seeds and plants.  (Never mind that our original  purpose for the visit is usually to buy feed.)  Eventually David and Haley venture to the plants (and I pass them on my way to view the chicks). When we leave we have a couple plants, a couple packs of seeds, a box of chicks( or keets)...and (oh, yeah) the feed.
Shopping for seeds is the best part of January. The seeds are a promise- a sign of hope- spring is on it's way!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You can take a girl out of the country...

Welcome to my world. :)
I am an ordinary working mom with one daughter, age 4. My husband and I live in the mountains of Northwest Georgia on my family's farm.  My mother's family has been on this mountain since the land first became available in the land lotteries of the early 1800's. My mother was born just down the road, as was her mom, and hers....
The farm we are on now was a gift from my great grandfather to my grandmother and grandfather. He worked hard as a farmer all his life and saved until he could leave a small (300 or so) acre farm to 4 of his children. To his youngest, who did not want to farm, he left the home place. He told my grandmother he did this so his children and their families would always have a place to live- a place to make a living- a place to be. And here we are...
Our home sits overlooking a hollow known as the Devil's Garden, or Devil's Hollow. OK, I know it sounds creepy...but I've never seen anything slightly creepy here. Well, at least not of a supernatural nature. When a bobcat screams in the middle of the night...well, that's pretty creepy to me.
My husband and I are not "farmers" in the sense of making a living off our land. We both have full time jobs. As much as I would love to stay at home, it just isn't possible for us right now. We do, however, live  a rural lifestyle that we love. We raise and preserve much of our own food. We raise chickens and guineas. We are working together, day by day, to make our place a happy, peaceful place to be.
I have tried living in town and I just couldn't do it. I have to be near nature to be happy. It's how I was raised.  This place is my peace. I can come home from a hard day at work and, after a little "porch swing therapy" I am just fine.
I guess I am just a country girl. My MawMaw always said, "You can take a girl out of the county...but you can't take the county out of the girl."

This is a picture Devil's Hollow, taken in front of our house.
 Another view of the hollow. Our mountain actually makes a "Y" shape. We live on one branch of the "Y". This is looking across at the other branch. This is what forms the hollow.
My little girl taking a walk down our drive with Belle, our sweet dog.
 This is a wet-weather pond. It tends to dry up in August and September. Still, it's nice while it lasts...
 Our guineas
 Taking a break from the snow pics! This is where I learned to swim. My hubby loves to fish, but I mainly read while he fishes...and my little girl explores.
 This is my great uncle's barn, across the road from our place.
 Since I was a little girl, I have always thought this pond was so peaceful.
An old home place down the road.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you will come back soon. I plan to get into my seed catalogs this weekend and start ordering. Stay tuned and we will see what we get in to.....