Saturday, June 17, 2017

Derby DIY Cars

This year in AWANA, the boys were both in Sparks. At the end of the year (ish) they always have a fun night of Drive In fun. Unfortunately, this task of making your own derby car is left up to the parents. FORTUNATELY for me, I love a task just like that. I let the boys pick their theme, sketched out something for them, pushed them away, and got my duct tape and paints out. 
And as soon as that happened, Elena wanted her own little pink car. I had to oblige.
Scroll and I hope you enjoy the photos! The boys actually both won medals and were so proud of their mama working so hard on their cars. 
If you think I went a little nuts with the project, you need to attend one of these events. My kids' cars were among some amazing contraptions! We have some major competition! 
Thank you for sticking around. See ya next time!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 Garden

Hello! This post is all about my spring garden! If you're not into it, just wait til the next post :) 
I've grown quite proud of it actually, having started from one 4'x4' raised bed to a 16' by 4' rectangular, organically producing garden!!! I love looking back at my old garden posts to see how much everything has changed! 
2016 2015 I obviously need to do more garden posts--at least twice a year don't ya think? 
Usually going to the garden means finding unexpected guests. Years past, lizards were quite cozy on my plants but Lucy, our cat, has literally ran them off (or eaten them). However, I find insects and pests being more of a nuisance this spring. 
I started off with a plan this year. I mapped out a new enlarged garden area. I researched my vegetables quite well and decided to jump the gun and make it happen back in February. I decided that my beds were too shallow and needed to be raised a bit more. Gary built them up for me with cedar fence planks and slowly and surely, every other week we fill the garden with bags of garden soil. Buying it all at once was not an option for us.
It has worked so far and I still hope to keep filling it in with garden soil and once-a-year homemade compost matter.
I also decided to use the many containers to grow things that didn't fit into my garden plan. Like Rosemary.
Ohh you sneaky, no good Rosemary! You're always dying or drying up on me! But not this time! Out of 9 possible plants, I managed to keep 1 alive. And it's doing quite well. I hope to transfer it in the fall.
And lovely Lavender. Ahhh! I love you Lavender! You're beautiful even without your blooms. I might have to plant him too, although figuring out where is always the trickiest part.
My fig trees are doing 'okay' this year. I did not repot the one in the container and the other one (in ground) has only 2 figs on it...I'm not a very good fig tree keeper, guys. But I can't wait to eat those figgies! 
My blueberry trees are not doing well this year after being frozen and neglected. I won't be getting bounties of delicious blueberries and that makes me sad. Our wild Dewberries got cut down by our neighbor and I've only found 2 little berries on the fence. But my Purslane and Vinca and Wandering Jew are just doing amazing this year! Slowly and surely, they will cover the ground just like I've always wanted (insert evil laugh here).
Basically, I had 3 palettes as my raised beds. I then decided to connect them all and raise them even more. You can see I still had cabbages and strawberries in the ground but Gary fabulously worked around them.
Shortly after the above picture, I pulled up the cabbages and planted serrano peppers from seed. I also planted lettuce in the "??" area and SUCCESSFULLY planted 2 avocado trees just for funsies. Oh, and one broccoli plant from seed. 
What? 
I'm a weird gardener! 
I say funsies because they were my 20th try at keeping the avocado trees alive. All others which were planted in containers, died. Now, if I can only keep those darn grasshoppers away from them...
Let me talk to you about strawberries. Last year I bought two strawberry plants. And they sucked. They didn't give me ONE SINGLE STRAWBERRY. So I planted them in my garden last fall. From the two bunches, they have now grown into seven-ish bunches. 
Since I'm a no-bueno gardener, and really, strawberries need to be protected from the ground from rot, my strawberries were thumb size. I was lucky if they weren't deformed, squishy/eaten by worms, and sweet -- which did happen a few times, I must admit. Last year I was not successful in growing cucumbers. And I've never had one squash grow in my garden the two times I've tried. Should I try in the fall or should I just do a flower garden for next Spring?? Let me know!
I took this picture (below) one humid morning. I always love waking up to my garden. So many surprises and treats. 
Elena is taking pictures of her bounty with her Frozen camera. 
Hey you know what? Lettuce G R O W S. 
I ate lettuce for lunch for a whole month. It was bananas...and delicious! I then neglected it and got taken over by bugs. It was no bueno. I might try some other lettuce variety in the future though.
Our Cherry tomatoes are the freakin' champ of the garden, yo! Every two days I get basket fulls of them! And you know who eats cherry tomatoes? Me. JUST ME. Nobody else. 
It's a good thing Gary likes salsa and my sweet mama taught me to can it. I am getting some creepy bugs that attack me each time I go into the bush though. If you see me swatting my tomatoes with a broom, you'll know I'm defending my ground. I don't think they eat them...I think the fragrance is an attraction. 
I have found several caterpillars getting fat and plump in my tomatoes! If they knew to maintain a roped off area they would be welcomed, but they just think the plant is ALL THEIRS! They had to go... they just had to. 
Early in February while I planted the onions, Andrew planted the carrots. He is always such a good garden helper. I had made rows for him, all he had to do was put seeds and gently cover them with dirt. Fast forward weeks later and it's like he spazzed all over the place because I didn't see carrot rows anywhere. Just a bunch here and a bunch there. And they grew into a gigantic mess of crazy green hair! 
The carrots themselves managed to grow a decent size--bigger than I expected tbh. And it was the only vegetable these kids liked out of the whole thing! 
We also decided to put some crushed granite between the garden bed and the patio wall because it was too hard to mow there...I think it's excellent and it makes it easier for the kids to come up to the garden and grab the goods. It is a chore sometimes, after all. We've had a lot of rainfall here in northern Houston (Southeast Texas) and I've noticed that a certain plant food turns into some kind of fungi. Everywhere that I've laid that plant food, and the ground keeps its moisture, these weird things pop up. I've not researched them. 
They're quite interesting and disgusting; more interesting than disgusting though, I'll be honest. 
Always after the rains and monsoons of Houston, you can bet any and all fungi and slimy creatures will be plenty. 
Andrew decided that he needed to plant his lima and pinto beans he grew from a project at school. And right now they're taking over everything. 
It's now almost summer and the carrots are gone. I can't wait for my onions though! And my broccoli. My peppers are going strong. I love them the most. They make burritos and nachos taste SO much better. 
Last year I gave a jar to my mama and my tia. I did again this year. Gary was acting a bit stingy about giving the goods away (like always). ❤️So enjoy the fruits of my labor ❤️
Thanks for sticking around to the end. I truly am grateful. If you have any gardening tips for me, I would so appreciate them. I would love to be a part of a garden group locally but I really haven't been proactive enough to go in search of one. I do always appreciate my all-knowing Father-in-Law who is so wise in so many ways. I love when he comes over and talks garden with me.
I know I'm a little bit plant crazy because my little neighbor confirmed it. She shouldn't be complaining because she got a free carrot, but rejected the tomatoes. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE LIKE TOMATOES!?
See ya next time,