Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bits and pieces

Well, we are at that time of year when we try to get up fairly early and do our outdoor activities before it gets too hot and then come inside and do sedentary things until it cools down again and then maybe go back outside to finish up!  Looking at the forecast it is supposed to get into the triple digits next week - 101-107 degrees are predicted (38 - 43 Celsius) We do not have central air (or heat) so we will be doing the poor mans evaporative cooler - spray yourself with water and sit in front of the fan!!

 Sedentary in the afternoon means sewing some days, and now that the oldest daughter-in-law has received her birthday gift in the mail I can show it here.  I had made wallets for the girls a couple of years ago and hers was wearing out, she had asked for a new one on the next gift giving occasion.  Is there anything that makes us hand crafters happier than the gift we labored over is used so much it wears out - and they want another!

The print on the outside is strawberries (which she loves) black for the lining and a red (her favorite color) subtle print for the card slots and coin purse.
I had made these before, sort of basic, but they started to look good when I found this pattern for the card slots here.  This lady's measurements were spot on and made the slots look so much more professional.

I have made a habit of using some of my Mother-in-laws button collection that I inherited.  Some of the buttons are from back in the 30's and 40's (her moms collection) and some from the 50's and 60's, but all are vintage. When I was looking for a nice big red one I also found these little heart shaped red ones and they reminded me of strawberries, so I used green embroidery floss, tied them on the ends and made them into a zipper pull.  She was very pleased! (and I was thrilled that she was pleased - funny how that happens!)

Oldest son and wife (she of the new wallet) sent us a gift last week as a combined Mothers day/Father's day gift.  A rice cooker/steamer/slow cooker!  This is going to be so much fun this summer!  I made the rice, shrimp and fresh peas all in the cooker at the same time!  One pot to wash and it can sit out on the porch table and cook away and not heat up the house.  Hubby is happy as he likes rice but I don't like to fix it in the summer as it just heats up the kitchen!  What fun!

I am going to go through some more no bake recipes now!  I am drinking lots of water, and thinking about what else I can cook all at one time! 
Have a great week!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Catching up....again!

It is that time of year when we get really busy and then end up really tired and just collapse at the end of the day!  Today, though, was a fun day for me as I went to a friends birthday-salad-potluck-party, got to see and admire my other friends new chicken coop and chickens, and then went by the mall to pick up a couple of things and found a sale on my favorite lotions (Bath and Body Works) that I hardly ever buy for myself as they are so expensive, but they were on sale 75% off!  I got a regular $28 worth for $6.50!  Feeling pretty good about that one and it is the light summery smelling stuff!  So I have enough energy tonight to sit down and go through photos and do a post! 

I believe it is a Mophead or Macrophylla...I think.
So we were at Sue's house and she had helped someone and they gave her a bunch of plants and she was giving some away so I now have a Hydrangea, I have never grown one so this will be fun and it needs to go in the ground tomorrow. 

The vinegar weed killer experiment is done and the results were mixed.  Here is my settled on mixture, after much reading and researching of vinegar weed killer.  I used a 5% regular kitchen solution of vinegar (some recipes call for 20% but then you get into some pretty harsh acid)  I added 2 Tablespoons Dawn dish liquid. (the soap is supposed to help it stick to the leaves) and it is ready to go.


This was the successful application.  Small individual weeds in the sun most of the day, sprayed in the morning and by next day they were so dead you couldn't hardly see them.  Apparently the vinegar desiccates the leaves, it does not kill the root as a rule.

This was the not so successful application.  Heavy weeds, full grown and sun in the morning only.  To the right is the beginning

This picture is the end after 2 applications.  The leaves are turning brown and dry but the stems are not affected.

 My conclusion on the vinegar is this - it works for small weeds in direct sunlight. It is possible that the 20% solution would work on the larger older weeds but I am not sure I want to deal with that level of acid exposure.  The other thing is - this kills the bugs in the ground at the time but it does not kill the ground like a salt solution will.

This was Hubby's tomato bed on the first of June

This is the tomato bed tonight 15 days later!  Amazing what a little sunshine will do.  He has quite a few green tomatoes already, we are salivating and planning for fresh tomatoes already!

I took a broccoli salad to the pot luck today and it turned out pretty well (broccoli and onions from the garden) so we will definitely be having it again.

Think I will have 8 or 9 strawberries tomorrow - not really enough to do anything with I will probably be forced to just eat them!  (did I sound too greedy, did the loud sigh sound feigned?)  The chicken wire pup tent Hubby made is working a charm, the birds can look but not touch!

I think that catches us up, I will have a post on a gift I made for the oldest Daughter-in-Law's birthday but she hasn't got it in the mail yet (she should be the first to see it) so it will be in a few days.  Let's see, what will I do tomorrow - I know I'll pull weeds!  Truly hate the little buggers and yet am psychologically  incapable of doing the no-till thing and letting them grow.  I guess it keeps me out of the bars, yes?  Hope your week is splendid!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monthly 9 - June

May was a long month!  It is time to link up with other bloggers and see what we have been doing for the past month.  Be sure to check out the other blogs here.  Part of the reason May seemed long was that our eagerness to get the garden going was thwarted by the rain.  Don't get me wrong we have not had the kind of rain Texas and Oklahoma have gotten.  We have had a quarter inch here, half there, but something almost every day including a fairly hard hail storm.  We began to think we would only have weeds!  Add in a few minor catastrophes and we are just ready for a new month!

Nourish - We had hoped to be eating lettuce out of the garden by now but even though our lettuces loved the cooler weather the lack of sun has slowed them down.  They are beginning to perk up now though and the kale, carrots and spinach are coming along.  With the cooler weather, rain, thunder and lightning it just seemed like a good month for more soups, and hubby has been working on his Mexican food repertoire!
the upper right hand is the iceberg lettuce we are trying this year

Prepare - Preparing this month was me rototilling between rains and putting down the mulch in the herb garden.  This area was a lovely green last week - but it was weeds.  This is the season hubby claims I like the rototiller more than him!  (I don't - but I do tell him the tiller is better at the weeds!)

This will hopefully be full of green that is not weeds by July!

I am pleased with the look of the bark mulch, we will see if it keeps the weeds at bay!
Reduce - This is another reuse rather than reduce.  When we moved in to this house we had to tear down a building that was in bad shape and in the middle of the driveway!  Three of the recent planters are made from wood from the old building.  There was not a lot usable but what there was of course we saved!  The strawberry planter, this one that the broccoli and onions are in, and one that will come out next week for beets, turnips and radishes are all made of 'recycled' wood.
That is the tuxedo cat 'Buddy' in the background

Green - I bought all the ingredients for the vinegar weed killer that I want to try but rain is a bad thing for this kind of experiment so I will try it in June, I have a special patch of weeds I'm 'saving' for the trials!

Grow - Since my month was all garden (almost) I will share one of our other crops - pine cones!  Seems that our pine tree goes through stages and this year it is losing all the old cones and growing new ones.  Hubby and I are in awe of the number of cones that drop every day!  This picture is one days worth of cones.  I assume it will run out of them soon but for now we walk underneath it with some trepidation and we listen to the cones fall on the roof in a wind!

Create -  My create this month was finishing my afghan posted here I am very pleased with both the look of it and the number of new stitches I learned.  My confidence level grew by leaps and bounds with this project.

Discover - We discovered that it was nice to have a second vehicle!  This may not be the original thought of the category but this is where we are right now!  (smile) Hubby had gone to town and I got the phone call - "could you come get me?"  Our poor old reliable (212,000 miles on the odometer) Honda had quit on him.  We are having it towed to a shop where we have a friend from church who is a mechanic and see if it is repairable, hubby thinks so.  (sigh...this is why we have an emergency fund, but it will be gone after this)

Enhance - We helped our older friend with her computer set up and getting her new office chair put together, her daughter fixed a lovely lunch so we ate and then spent a lovely afternoon visiting.  Her husband has Alzheimer's and she can't get out much so company is fun and they lived in some of the same places we did so we have much in common.

Enjoy - We have enjoyed the flowers growing this month, we have added a flower bed in the front, had some pots produce from seeds and uncovered a couple of returning friends.
The honeysuckle have recovered from their 'butchery' by my hand!

This little gem came up on its own when I cleaned out an old bed. I think it's a pansy!

This is Hubby's wildflower pot!

top pot - snapdragons and salvia, purple pot - dianthus, brown are cosmos and the black are zinnias

Well I hope your June is a good one - whether you are preparing for summer or winter, and I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Come back again!