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Tag Archives: gardening
1. Sun Tans – A few months back my doctor told me my vitamin D levels were low and that I should take supplements. I thought it would be more efficient if I just relaxed out in the sun. And that is exactly what I did this weekend, at the lake, on the lake, and in the lake. It’s become a family tradition to kick off the summer at the lake on Memorial Day weekend. We spend tons of time on the water, eating, and hanging out. It’s quite possible that I ate half a watermelon over the course of the weekend. One of my favorite things about the lake is no cell phones. It’s not a rule or anything and we get service, but we just don’t use them. No one texts constantly, or checks e-mail, or answer random phone calls. The most we use them for is to check in and see when we’re going to go out on the water and when we’re going to come back in. It’s glorious. I wish there were more situations in life that were no cell phone zones.
2. Puppies – Speaking of the lake Sam was reunited with her chocolate friend at the lake this weekend. For close to two weeks we puppy sat a little chocolate lab named Dexter. He was a lot of work but a blast to have around and Sam and he (or is it him) played CONSTANTLY. Sam went through a little withdrawal I think, so it was good for her to see him again this weekend.
3. Weekend Trips – Last weekend we were at the lake, we’ll soon be spending a long weekend in Tulsa. Later this summer we’re headed to Philadelphia, Maryland, and Buffalo to do a few photo sessions and hang out with family. I’ve never had so many airline flights booked at one time. All this traveling has got me really appreciating weekends at home. I’ve got a garden that needs tending, a list of home projects, DIYs and crafty things about a mile long. There is a stack of sewing projects that are all cut and pinned and ready for me to run through the machine. Plus time at home is just good. Joni over at LayBabyLay, who I just love btw, created this great little graphic from a She & Him song quote, “I want to be where your heart is home.” It pretty much sums up my thoughts right there. And yes, I had it printed, it’s going in our bedroom.
(You can download the image above by clicking it which will take you to her website or going to the blog post at LayBabyLay and clicking the link to the right.)
4. First Fruits – In Proverbs chapter three it says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Yesterday we picked our first tomatoes of the season (we’re in Texas, our season starts rather early). Out loud in the back yard I proclaimed, “Our First Fruits!” Then Bill asked if I thought God wanted our first tomatoes. I told him I was pretty sure he didn’t. I posted a posted a picture of them on facebook and a friend told me if I wanted to sell any that she would be interested. I never once thought about selling what we’ve grown/are growing. We’ll eat what we can and give the rest away. I’m pretty sure God would like that, I mean, what would He do with a tomato anyway?
5. New Things – I’ve been blessed with a whole bunch of new things lately. Some things are brand spanking new, others are old to some and new to me and some are just new ideas that are making me insanely excited. My favorite old new thing we’ve gotten recently is the rocking chair we picked up at a garage sale in-the-middle-of-no-where, Texas. When I went to pay for it the woman sighed a little and told me how she rocked her babies and her grandbabies in that rocking chair. I could tell there were a lot of memories and emotion attached to it. I assured her that I planned on rocking my own children in it and it was the perfect rocking chair for us and that it would be equally loved in our family. She seemed very happy/satisfied that I would love it as much as she had. It feels so cool to know that I’m giving new life to such a cherished piece of furniture.
1. Raw Milk- I spent all of last Thursday on Gramen Farm in Tomball, Texas, starting the work on a brand new project. A cow licked my arm. Their tongues are HUGE. I learned tons and tons about raw milk and farming. I met some really amazing folks who I think will become fast friends. Best of all I came home with a trunk full of delicious raw milk, kefir grains, soap nuts, local honey, and farm made soap. It was a good day.
2. Ten- Ten is the number of photo sessions I did in April. (Also, how the heck is it already May? When did that happen?) For a lot of studios 10 is a measly number, it may be the number of sessions they do in a day. But considering I’m a 1.45984 man operation boutique photography studio (Bill helps out when he can, which is reason for the decimal) and I spend at least 2 hours prepping for a shoot, 2+ hours on the shoot, 4+ hours editing, 2+ hours putting together custom artwork, not to mention client meetings, answering e-mail, and actually placing orders to our vendors as well as all the other stuff that goes with running a business, it’s been a crazy busy month. The thing is I LOVE IT.
3. Yard Work- When I was not working I’ve been outside. We’ve spent a lot of time working on the yard. At dinner Bill and I planned out our dream back yard, I even sketched it out. Our vegetable garden is flourishing and we had an influx of plants after the Plant Swap on Saturday. Bill makes fun of me because I just go out there and stare at it. But it’s relaxing and it makes me smile.
4. Youth Group- Our youth group is growing. Oh yeah, Bill and I lead a small in home youth group (it’s hosted by another family). It was an opportunity based out of a desire of a few kids that sort of just fell into our laps. We’ve been doing it for almost a year and last night we had 23 students. In a living room. Twenty-three. What? Yes. 23. It’s blowing my mind that A. that many kids want to listen and have discussions with us. and B. See reason A. I’m amazed.
5. Puerto Rican Food- My best friend is Puerto Rican and we have some very good friends here in Houston who are also Puerto Rican. And they have been teaching me how to make Puerto Rican food, which is delicious and makes me happy in a way I can’t describe. So a few weeks ago I took on the task of feeding 12 people with what I’d learned from my friends. The verdict was I succeeded. Rice, beans, flat steak and Tostones (twice fried plantains). My next task, Mofongo!
1. Galveston- Just after Easter Bill and I went to Galveston, TX to shoot Riann’s one year photos and decided to use the time there (since we had to get a hotel anyway) as a mini anniversary getaway. Our 3rd anniversary was actually this past Tuesday but Bill is in Atlanta for work so we thought it was appropriate to celebrate a little early. We stayed at the San Luis Resort and I highly recommend it. All the rooms have a balcony view of the ocean, they’re huge, and the pool has a swim up bar. Awesome. We spent a lot of time exploring the island, looking for shoot locations and trying out the local fare. I always forget how great Galveston is, I spent a lot of summers there as a kid, and it’s a stones throw from our house (or like an hour’s drive). I need to take advantage of that more.
1. Our feet in the sand (I need a pedicure, don’t judge). 2. The view from our room at the San Luis Resort. 3. A DELISH shrimp Po-Boy from Shrimp N’ Stuff, go there, it’s AMAZING. 4. Breakfast at ShyKatz Deli, adorable little place, great food, great atmosphere. 5. Bill drinking a giant orange juice at Easter breakfast with mom before heading out to Galveston. 6. The new Pleasure Pier, opening soon!!
2. Busyness – In high school I went to a church by myself, not that my parents didn’t go to church I just really liked this one church so they let me go there. It was them allowing me to define my own path and faith. Anywho, on father’s day they gave all the dads this book called The Man in the Mirror. Somehow I ended up taking one home and since I read just about everything back then I thought hey, why not. One of the main things it mentioned was that it was ok to be busy but you had to be busy and balanced. It’s something I’ve always strived for but I think the busy has been outweighing the balanced lately and I’m working on that.
3. I am a photographer. – When there is a desire deeply rooted in your heart it becomes the thing you question the most about yourself. It’s personal and it’s tied to you. I constantly have to remind myself that I am a photographer. When people ask me what I do and I say it out loud I always sound silly to myself, or like I’m faking them out. But I really am a photographer (along with a lot of other things: wife, counselor, graphic designer, christian, daughter, gardener…), and sometimes it surprises me. For example I did a photo session with Tiffany and her two adorable girls and I don’t know if it was their beauty, or the location, or that it was the magic hour or a combination of all of those things but when I finally got the photos on my computer a few of the images made me gasp. I questioned if I actually took them. I don’t mean to sound conceited or anything but they blew my mind a bit, I surprised myself. This both frightens me and excites me, because I think it may mean I actually am a photographer. (You can see more images from their session here.)
4. My Garden Is Growing – We planted our veggie garden a few weeks ago and it’s doing VERY well. I’ll actually be picking our first banana pepper sometime this week. My parsley, cilantro, cucumber, and basil that I planted from seed all came up. I worked in the rain on Sunday putting weed block (that black plastic stuff) all around the outside of the raised beds so I can eventually build little pathways around them. The whole thing makes me SO happy that I just sit out there and stare at my plants. (This picture is actually from two weeks ago.)
5. I Have a Fabric Addiction – I bought more fabric recently from Five Monkey Fabrics on etsy, from Paper Thread Fabrics and Joanne’s. I have about 5 or six sewing projects going all at once. The quilt for the living room, a second quilt (though it’s just in the planning stages), the fabric rose tree skirt, reusable swiffer dusters, a vintage half apron, and this tutorial from A Beautiful Mess. I have SEVERAL others in the hopper too (top of the list is this burp cloth tutorial from Made for all my friends who are about to pop out kiddos). Basically my pinterest has been filled with sewing ideas and fabric swatches.
A lot has happened in the last week or so. Its taken some adjusting, and I’m sure there is still more adjusting to come but at the moment things are busy yet balanced which is where I prefer to be.
While I’m working on all those blog updates I will leave you with this…
Baked ziti…ooh yeah and that parsley on top, that parsley is from my garden. Best. Feeling. Ever. Also there are some hidden veggies in there that if Bill knew, he would probably have never eaten it. I am SO sneaky.
I did it! I’m making dirt in my little suburban back yard. Take that $4.99 bags of compost at home depot! Take that giant dump where all my non recyclable trash goes! Enjoy the lighter trash cans my trash man friend. This lady is makin’ some dirt, delicious dirt too.
Ok so I read through a TON of blogs, boards and tutorials and everyone has a different theory on how to do it. I compiled all the ideas I liked most and came up with the following:
Step 1: Get yourself a big trash can. The previous owners left this one so it was free for me. WOO HOO. Some tutorials call for a lid, a securing lid, or some other things. I used what I had. We’ll see if dirt comes out.
Step 2: Put said trash can on top of two cinder blocks (I actually had to buy these, less than $2 a piece). From everything I’ve read a good compost bin is determined by a good combo of green stuffs, brown stuffs, water, and air circulation. The cinder blocks help the air to circulated, also helps from critters gettin’ all up in there.
Step 3: POWER TOOLS! Drill holes…everywhere (bottom and all around the sides). I chose to go with a 3/8″ bit. Some tutorials called for 3″ and then installing screen so nothing falls out, that was a little too much for me so I went with a smaller bit and more holes.
Step 3: Fill the can with an equal amount of green and brown. Green things are your high nitrogen items, things like grass clippings, lettuce and food scraps etc. Brown things are your high carbon items, things like dried leaves, sawdust, straw etc. A healthy compost has a good balance of these items. It also helps it to keep from stinking (which is ideal in the urban setting).
Yes that is a pumpkin left over from halloween. I chopped it up with my shovel to help the tiny microorganisms eat it up faster.
Step 4: This is an optional step but I’d highly suggest it…add a bit of really good already decomposed compost. Sounds silly right, but it isn’t. By doing this you’re adding all those a formentioned microorganisms to your not decomposed compost. Basically you are jump starting the process. You can also add worms (which did today actually). They help too. BTW, here is a good guide for your greens and browns.
Step 5 (the ongoing step): Spritz it with some water (don’t soak) and keep it turning. You can turn it weekly with a shovel or a drill with a cement mixer bit (I like the drill option, feels powerful). Keep adding an equal amount of brown and green, and in no time at all we’ll have delicious dirt!
It is also helpful to have a black lab present, especially one with a flower petal on her nose. They’re good helpers and good moral support. )
I want to put my hands in the dirt. I want to feel cool soil under my finger tips. I want to grow things. Spring is officially here.
I’m still learning a lot about my house. April will be a year and this is my first spring here so its been fascinating to see what the trees do, one back yard tree currently has white flowers all over it. There are flower petals all over our back yard and there are always one or two catching a ride in to house on Sam’s back. I’m also finding all sorts of fun plants that are springing up here and there. I had forgotten that I planted irises in the front yard, and there they came, bursting out of the ground.
I’ve got the front yard somewhat under control. I’m sure I’ll still battle with that nasty vine weed thing again this summer. I will win this battle, I’m determined. But other than that, things are coming together. I’ve planted succulents (seedums and hen and chicks of different varieties) and they are doing quite well. I also have a passion vine that is quickly outgrowing it’s pot and needs a more permanent home. Three rose bushes that I got for Christmas also need a place to live (they are going in the back).
BUT I’m dying to plant veggies. I found tomato plants at HEB for $0.75! I bought 9 and a lone squash with no where to plant them. I have mental plans for raised flower beds in the back corner of our back yard. I’ve been trying to figure out the best thing to build them out of and after a failed attempt at picking up some used wood (and a very irritated husband) I’ve decided to buy materials. SO I’ve been searching and I found this on Southern Living…
I’ve priced the materials and I’m pretty sure I could do both my 4×4′ beds for $60 or less (I have some wood in the garage that I will use for the trim).
Then I realized I have to buy dirt. Buy dirt. That sounds so wrong. I feel the same way about buying dirt that I feel about buying water…why? Why would I buy something that I could get for free? SO I did quite a bit of research on trash can compost bins and tomorrow I will officially be a composter and I will let my waste become dirt. This my friends, excites me! My trash is going to turn into something I was going to pay for!! Fantastic.
So two projects in my future…I will, of course, keep you all updated.
For as long as I can remember my mom has always been a gardener. When I was very young and my parents were still married, they had a large vegetable garden. I remember picking the peas right off the plants and eating them. The smell of fresh carrots, straight out of the ground, the way the orange looks against the deep brown of rich earth. Twirling cucumbers until they broke from the vine, the way the fuzzy stems feel and how there are little kind of prickly things on cucumbers that haven’t been covered in glossy wax stuff and shipped, and the skin actually tastes good. The place where there was a vegetable garden changed over the years, I had a play house on stilts, then it was just grass, and now part of her art studio sits in that space. When I was very young my mom dreamed of a pond, with a stream and a bridge. She took a wooden stake and nailed a piece of 2×4 and painted it white and with redish orange letters wrote “Visualize a Pond Here” and stuck it in the yard where her pond would eventually be.
She now has that pond, as well as most of the things she visualized when I was so young. She’s taught me a lot of things, but this isn’t really about all of those things, this is about gardening, and how my mother passed along a deep seeded desire to make and watch things grow.
Years ago she started going to this thing called a plant swap meet. The concept is things grow, and when they grow you have to thin them out so why not share the wealth and trade what you have extra of for what you might want, or not know that you want. And thus a plant swap was born. I actually saw an article on one that a lady has been doing for a few years in Martha Stewart Magazine. I thought, “Psh, you’re behind the times, ours has been going for nearly 13 years!”
Today was the fall plant swap and the first swap where I’ve actually had plants to bring (I’m pretty new at this whole gardening for myself thing). I got such amazing plants and an insane amount of history and information. Did you know there was a variety of bamboo that was native to Texas? Did you know pine needles are great for your garden as a mulch?
People pre-trade via a yahoo group, but most people will just give you things if you ask. If they say no they usually tell you that if you remind them, they’ll definitely bring it for you at the next swap. Its like we’re this gardening family that only gets together twice a year. We do a pot-luck lunch, and people come from as far as Galveston and Arlington to swap plants.
We chat and hang out and munch on food. People bring door prizes and we draw names to see who gets fun things like new gardening gloves, a book on native plants, or a hot ticket item like a stag horn fern (which I won one year, its doing splendidly by the way). Certain people are alway on the hunt for certain items…different kinds of ginger, interesting things. I’m always in the market for herbs, succulents, sedums, or anything thats colorful and blooms in the shade.
Some people are so organized with labels and pots, and then there’s mom and I who dig things up the night before or day of the swap and people take what they want. Either way plants get good homes.
Mom collects names for the door prizes.
Jennifer (the incredible woman who puts this whole thing together) has a great husband that mans the grill for us every year.
Jennifer calling names for the door prizes. She’s got an incredible voice that carries over everyone, but we’re thinking a bull horn will be a good addition for the Spring Swap.
I really should have posted photos of my take home. I got several new seedums, a few kinds of basil, a few kinds of mint, passion vine (SO excited), a few succulents, and some other things that I don’t remember the names of, I promise, I’m learning.
For more information about you can visit www.plantmeet.com.