Saturday, May 26, 2012

Topsy, turvey...terrific! Aka LIFE!

Bit of a whirl wind week for me, lots of ups and downs as usual. A new friend (unknowingly) gave me a gentle reminder that I needn't get so panicked about things!

Can't seem to help it! For so VERY long Nick and I lived on pins and needles trying to get here to Comox! I can only describe it as trying to live and function in the neck of a bottle which is all shaken up! The pressure and longing and endless cleaning to sell a house was beyond comprehension!

I find myself here for some reason feeling those same pent up emotions for no particular reason. Hard to articulate to one's self and one's spouse. Harder still to remove the feeling!

This will be a difficult habbit to break but I am learning! ~  in baby steps

Nick bought me a surprise - a new outdoor swing...we're going to put it together tomorrow afternoon and hopefully just laze the afternoon away rocking with the kids!

Put up a couple of kids swings under the deck, brought out the kiddy pools and had several thorough splashing sessions! And we were lucky enough to pick up a train set AND a long slide from the Facebook swap'n'shop!

One of this week's missions is to build a ladder/ platform for the slide.

Ate our first salad out of the garden with butter lettuce and mizuna ~ DELISH! Can't wait to do it again!!!!

Made moose meat spaghetti and had friends over to enjoy it with! 

The laundry is endless as are the dishes and sweeping the floor. In fact I think I have LITERALLY eight loads of laundry to fold and put away tomorrow but we just didn't have it in us to do tonight so instead I'm blogging.

I've nearly finished refinishing a dresser set the in laws gave us for Ruby's room We also received a lovely housewarming present of a king sized bed! (Thank you) I slept with the dog, cats, Nick AND Eli in the bed that first night and really wasn't affected by how many bodies where sharing the bed!

Went to the farmer's market and bought 25 lbs ~ yes POUNDS~ of rhubarb to try our hand at homemade rhubarb wine. Quite excited -but apparently it has to age an entire year :(
I did run to Costco a few weeks ago to pick up a fabulous collapsable wagon for $70 - we'd seen a woman with one at the market and she told us where to purchase it. Well low and behold if we didn't have half a dozen people stop us and ask where to pick one up themselves! .... Ruby had fun riding in it but Eli is still too little - it'll be CUTE next year when they can both ride in it!

Nick re-fenced the veggie garden, the raspberry garden and the neighbours fence behind the woodshed. More than twice we found Gypsy on the OTHER side of the fence begging to come in for water - had absolutely NO idea she'd even escaped! Turns out she'd climb the wood pile, swan dive into the neighbours yard and use her aderondak chairs to escape over her fence into FREEDOM!!!

It is funny when I think about it!

Also swung by the Church this afternoon to check out the garage sale... picked up some really cool clip boards with built in bean bag underneath for a lap cushion ~ going to be SKOOKUM on road trips to the Grandma's houses!

Oh yes and we also picked up THEE most splendiferous, amazingly beautiful Easter Bonnet! Be prepared ~ the beauty will take your breath away!



 Or I'll just settle for moose meat spaghetti!

 Mummy just HAD to try on the sun hat to be 'beautiful!' ~ Thanks Ruby!

A glimpse into the daily grind!

Yummy veggies!

 Two toned, HOT pink night stand, with beautiful new hardware!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Suriving (*part time) single parenting!

Not a whole lot happening on the home front except for social engagements!

Nick went hunting this past week and I was bravely alone with 2 children under 3 years for 7 days by myself and (GASP) I managed to keep the home fires burning WITHOUT burning down the house!

It was a challenge but I survived 4 nights on my own with the kids and then packed up and drove down to Victoria to visit with my folks and celebrate my eldest niece's 10th birthday.

My neighbours were my saving grace when one of the cats didn't show up in time for me to drive down island. I thought it would be just an easy task for him (Oscar the cat) to come home and in the door but alas NOPE!

My poor neighbour came over twice a day for the three days I was gone to try and coax this stupid cat out of our front 'bush' and into the darned house. No such luck! So a few frantic phone calls passed before I suggested she just leave the back door open for the afternoon (she can see it from her window) while she was home and sure enough when she went back over after dinner he was lying there like nothing had happened! ARRG!

I tried to make sure that the garden had a GOOD soaking before I left because we'd been in such a warm spell of weather. Upon arriving home we have some SERIOUS growth happening! (I'll post picks tomorrow)

Beets are coming up, onions are well established, beans are shooting, couple potatoes sprouting, and some teeny tiny carrots are barely showing but they look as if they are going to come in just fine and dandy. My Mizuna has gone to flower, I thought it would grow bigger before we needed to eat it but apparently my 'newbie-ness' is showing ~EEK!  Can I eat Mizuna after it has flowered?? (Mizuna is like Arugula only less peppery hot)

A few of the strawberrys died from heat stroke, no way to get them to come back, they are shriveled up and 'really, most sincerely dead.' (10 points for the reader who can name which movie that quote is from!)

No worries though, it is early yet so we'll plant some more!

Huckleberry's are looking good, as are the raspberries and the gooseberries. The grafted apple tree has blossoms and the plum tree has just finished blossoming.

I'm a bit concerned because last year was a TERRIBLE season for honey bees. I have seen quite a few in the front yard but not the back where I need them to be. I'll have to be sure next year to plant some lavender to attract them.

On the plus side we have made some wonderful connections through our Church and I am hoping to not only maintain friendships but also obtain some great knowledge and garden cuttings!

One friend has a 30 + year old seedless concord grapevine which winds its way through her garden and across her garage, am dying to get a clipping!

And another friend (and fellow blogger) has some chickens.... going to have to make sure we have a SERIOUS fence to keep the dog out!

Keep driving past fields upon fields of dandelions, need to muster up the courage to go ask the land owners if we could spend an afternoon picking them to make dandelion wine. Heard it's pretty skookum, be interested in seeing if we could get it right. But if I'm not mistaken one needs a good few POUNDS of flower before it's worthwhile.

That's about all for now! Will try to do something more interesting shortly... have a few household projects which include paint!

Cheers my faithful followers!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent, Mother's Day Geraniums and Dehydrated Mangos!

Been a good few days!!! The sun has shone so bright and there is already such heat in it! ~ We're going to FRY this summer! This morning after Nick hung the washing on the line, we sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee on our back deck! What an AMAZINGLY grand feeling, drinking in a cup'a'joe and some rays at the same time!

Had a fairly relaxing day, Nick mowed the lawn, we put up two loads of laundry on the line and then the kids and I hung out and watched "Funny Girl." 

Not much else happened, excepted an impromptu 'Brady Ballet,' where Ruby and I were Princesses with wings, tiaras and wands. Elias wore a tutu around his neck and was our 'Lion King.'  For a while afterward he wore a pair of green fairy wings. Daddy frowned upon him being called a 'Fairy Prince,' so we settled on, "Princely Forest Creature."  It were cute!

Nick will be away for Mother's Day so yesterday while we were out and about town, he picked me up two flats of 'Maverick Scarlett' Geraniums as a gift. I even managed to put them into pots at the front door, our bedroom balcony and the back deck. Minimalist, manageable and SPECTACULAR! I love the look of an entire pot (hanging or otherwise) stuffed to the brim with bright red blossoms. Thanks honey! Hope that takes the guessing out of what I'd like for Mother's Day each year!

Also on our travels we picked up some Lavender Essential Oil, washing soda, and 2 / 10 lbs cases of mangos which happened to be on sale.

The mangos are currently in the dehydrator ~ YUMMY ~ is all I really have to say about that!

I added the Lavender Oil to the vinegar we use as fabric softener. (Line dried clothes can get quite crunchy with out it!) I also found that while 99% of the time the vinegar smell disappeared there were a few times ~mainly with heavy blue jeans~ that the vinegar smell lingered. NO longer! 30 drops of oil per gallon of vinegar and the smell of the oil is all that is left behind! Splendid!

Today Nick made our first batch of laundry detergent. I have yet to use it but if it works (and I am confident that it will) I will NEVER AGAIN purchase commercial laundry detergent! For a fraction of the normal retail cost we purchased enough materials that we should be able to make a SIX month supply of laundry detergent for $13.  We added a few drops of the Lavender oil for additional scent so lets call it $25.  ~ Please note that with 2 children and 3 animals I do a LOT of laundry!~

I will try and post some more pics after the kids are in bed. Until then amigos!

Thanks for reading!


PS. Please leave a comment! We'd love to know who is reading our blog, because apparently somebody is!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yard photos ~ the Great Urban Agrarian Take Over!

12 x 12 ft raised bed ~ pic taken from deck

Facing South East from the deck

Northeast wood shed etc

Wood pile and compost bin... look closely can you spot the 8 ft high wire fencing??

View from the north east corner looking south east, raspberry and rhubarb  bed on the left!  Stumps will be grinded out at some point this summer!
Leaning on the East fence facing West

North east corner facing south

Huckleberry bushes!

An old stump we chose to keep as it holds our laundry line. We plan to pull out the ferns and plant some strawberries in a decorative way... also have plans to attach a few 'fairy doors' for visual interest and crafts with the kids!

The beginnings of our 'Orchard!' In the foreground left corner our flowering plum tree, midground centre the grafted apple tree, barely visible directly behind the wheelbarrow is a hazlenut tree 5 ft high which was grown from seed by Nick's late Papa Brady!

Tomatoes in the back ground, kale on the very right and miscellaneous from the Farmer's Market!

Plans are to put another two 12 x 12 ft raised beds next year! Bring on the tastiness!

Yard photos ~ pre Urban Agrarian

Growin' kids and garden!

Hello All!

Had another fine weekend! Put in some new flooring in our dining room ~ nothing fancy just cheapo laminate for easy cleaning ... carpet in dining room + kids = disaster!!!!

My Mum and Dad (Patti and Iain) came up to help with laying the floor and watching the kids etc. They brought my brothers (wimpy) Pitt Bulls 'Floyd' and 'Daisy' with them to visit with our Gypsy while my brother worked two double shifts back to back... tired boy I bet!

Elias turns eight months old on Sunday May 6th and he's already started to pull himself up to standing!! Our life is sure to change again in just a few short weeks!

Nick has been extraordinarily busy in the yard! But the manual labour has looked good on him!  With the trees cut he had to stack over one cord of maple in rounds. No easy task as some of those rounds are a foot in length and a foot in diameter, weighing over 50 lbs as the wood is wet. Thank goodness we bought a wheelbarrow... then we realized the difference between the $59 'red light special' and the $120 wheelbarrow.... hmmm well it'll do for now. We'll beat the crap out of it but whatever!

Nick thought long and hard on where to stack this cord of wood... needed to be close to the gate so if someone does want to buy it they don't have to lug it too far. Also the stack needed to be in a place which was out of the way for the kids to play... and, AND must be stacked in such a fashion that the dog could not use it to launch herself right out of the yard! So he chose right beside the shed, and directly infront of the one neighbour who has a secure yard for the inevitable!... And it really didn't take long for Gypsy to scale the pile and swan dive straight into the neighours yard to play with Jasper her spaniel of some sort! Several times we'd go out to call the dog inside for the night only to find her looking back at us from the neighbours deck!!! The neighbour didn't seem to mind thank goodness but Nick went and put another row of wire fencing up so she can't possibly jump over!

After the wood stacking, came the raised bed making. That turned out great but we had a bit of a chuckle at Nick's newly developing carpentry 'math.' :D

Then came the dirt. And entire dump truck full of dirt was dumped on our driveway. Over 6 yards I do believe. $350 worth anyway!!!!! But Ruby enjoyed watching the driver back it up and dump the load, it was cool!

Nick spent much of two full days loading that dang wheelbarrow and carting the dirt to the raised beds! Then he pulled out the pencil posts, 6 feet high and pounded them into the ground surrounding the raised beds. With his trusty staple gun he's stapled netting over the top and sides of the raised beds to keep out the pesky birds and deer which are large vermin around these parts!!!

We've planted; carrots, wax beans, green beans, russet potatoes, onions, green onions, and beets from seed. A neighbour gave us some 1" high kale and today we went to the Farmer's Market. I picked up; leeks, guilan (Chinese Broccoli), butter lettuce, Mizuna (like Arugula) and 5 different kinds of tomatoes. Our 12 x 12 raised bed is now full... let us see the fruits of our labour!... Or starve because of  brown thumbs!

In the 12 x 3ft bed along the back fence Nick put two rhubarb plants and we are anxiously awaiting 16 raspberry shoots from my in laws!

We also picked up 7 huckleberry bushes from a local nursery which Nick planted under one of our tall fir trees.

I can't WAIT for everything to start getting bigger! We've now got one plum tree which is in full bloom, 2 apples (one tree has 4 kinds of apples grafted to it!) and a hazlenut tree! Once in bloom Ruby will have a fine 'orchard' aka 'forest' to play in!

Lawn mowing to do tomorrow!

I'm also trying to get some picks in an album posted here on the blog! So exciting is this new adventure!