Wednesday, September 28

Standing Tall

You know how I've been talking about how the monsoon storms were done for the season? I neglected to pay attention to the weather reports on the news that said we could expect some rain this weekend. I guess that wouldn't have really mattered either way because we had a bit of a freak storm sweep through yesterday afternoon. The winds blew hard in nearly every direction and it's a good thing I didn't water the garden yesterday.

The SO noticed that something was pretty different in the garden, went to check, and then called me out to help while the rain had let up. The top-heavy tomatoes had been knocked over and down into the dirt. Whoa. This is partly what I get for not thinking of a better way to support them since they kept growing  roughly 6 inches a week.

Can I say how much I loathe bug bites? I have been feasted upon everyday that I've worked in the garden for the past two weeks. It makes for a very unhappy me. The SO took me to the store to grab even bigger cages and taller stakes for all of the big plants and ARGH!

I just had to change from Capris and flip flops into sweats, socks, and a robe. There's a friggin' mosquito in the bedroom and I can't seem to squish it. They are so light, you don't feel them landing on you. >:(

FMIL, the SO, and I did some yard work. I was the only one that was being bit. Lovely. I'm sorry I'm having a fit right now because the bugger just got me through my sock! ROAR!

It was much easier for us all to pitch in to re-cage the tomatoes. We were all hoping to avoid this but none of us predicted how big they would actually get. You guys (/gals)! They are so tall! It's so much easier to see all of the baby tomatoes now. We also re-staked the Bird's Eye Chilies and it's pretty funny how much better everything looks like appropriately sized support. Their houses are looking much better.
  They've gotten so big!
 The chilies are all bearing fruit now!
 They look so much better now.
 Tomato #1, Phineas, has the first and biggest tomato so far.
 Tomato #2, Ferb, has plenty of its own.
Tomato #3, Perry, has quite a bit too! 

 You can see at least six baby tomatoes here on Ferb!

I'm about to chew my own limbs off, so I'll see you soon! <3

Monday, September 26

Worn Thin

My prediction was true about this past week. It was quite a bit of work but I'm proud of the job I did and feel confident in the choices I've made. That's saying a lot after coming home each day overflowing with a different emotion. Good food and plenty of rest does wonders, lol.

I haven't done much else besides go through the motions of chores and normal living. At least, not much more that I remember doing. Thank goodness for the SO keeping a closer eye on me than normal. I started counting down the days until I could get some sleep again. After being eaten alive by bugs throughout the week, I caved and took half of an antihistamine and passed OUT in the middle of my bed with one hand on the mouse in the middle of doing something on my laptop. Oye, my nerd-dom.

There is something that I had to share from my week at school. I had a mild freak out midway through class when I saw these because I had forgotten about these things that had played such a big part of my childhood.

The flashbacks.

This made me so happy to see. I remember spending hours in our basement den tracing these stencils, drawing in the details, and then coloring my pictures in. There were more but these are some that I remembered the most. I also learned that they were once a part of some promotional sets from Tupperware. So much love.

I feel a little guilty about not actively posting about my garden. With the re-write, I realized that I may have put a little too much detail 60% of the time and was burnt out. This week also made me feel like a plant killer. :( That all aside, this milestone is worth the mention!
The peppers each have peppers growing up to one inch in length so far!
 Little ones from Slytherin.
 For scale. I can't wait until they start to ripen!
Gryffindor currently has the biggest pepper.

Slytherin's new branch has flowered!

Ravenclaw has suddenly put all of its energy into flowering consistently.

Hufflepuff is doing a little bit of everything the others are doing.

The cherry tomatoes have really benefited from being outdoors and fed.
Oh! We've named them! I keep forgetting to post that. They are named after the Disney Channel show: "Phineas and Ferb."
 Tomato #1 is Phineas!
 It has the biggest and first cherry tomato!

Tomato #2 is Ferb.
 They are easy to miss at first but look at these cuties!

Tomato #3 is, of course, Perry!
They've gotten so big and wonky. We're currently brainstorming ideas on how to remedy this.

 This is the initial batch of Italian Parsley.

I haven't taken a close-up picture in a while but it has finally recovered, hardened, growing again, and standing up on it's own for the first time! Jeez, it's about time.

 Here is my lettuce bed. I went through and thinned it out dramatically and now it's hard to tell how much progress it has made since.

 This is my herb planter! We finally have substantial growth!
(And apparently my feet. >_<)
With the intense storms that I wrote about last week (they're probably gone for good now) and the ants invading my garden, I decided to "cheat" a little and replant the herbs that had yet to sprout. Luckily, it has worked so far!
 Here is the new Basil!
I'm thinning them out a little early.

The lone Chive.
I've planted more, it takes a little longer but I've seen some promising signs!

 The transferred Cilantro.
I'm so glad that these have done well after transplanting them here from the separate pot.

The now-sparse Dill.
It's at least twice as big as anything else in the box and sprouted first.

The tiny Oregano.
It's a relief to see that the second try has been successful thus far. Keep going!

 The other Parsley.
I had to thin these out a lot too.

 The hint of Sage.
If you squint you can see the beginning's of my second go way in the back!

The resilient Stevia.
I moved these one inch over because they had settled into Sage's spot and they are recovering well.

 The Tarragon taking off.
In the spots that are a bit bare, I also added more seeds so I'm hoping to see full rows soon.

The little bit of Thyme.
At least, I think it's mostly Thyme, some of these seedlings look a lot like the weeds that I've been plucking out of my garden.

Next up are the Jalapeños.
These first three have a healthy set of second leaves already!
These three are working on it.
That lighter pot has a spare jalapeño, a ghost pepper fruit, and a tomato sucker branch that I felt too guilty to throw out just yet.
 The smaller pot is full of Ghost Pepper seeds and there's a tiny Jalapeño in the big Terracotta colored pot.
The eighth and last Jalapeño.
We're trying pretty hard to think of good names for them.
Have I mentioned the fact that we planted bell pepper seeds?
Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red. :D

That's all for now. I'm still trudging along with the recipe project. We picked up some Mod-Podge and acrylic spray for archiving purposes. I am having a hard time getting the paste to not show brush marks even though I'm applying it with a foam brush. Sigh. It'll all be worth it someday. See you soon! <3

Saturday, September 17

After The Storm

I really would have written sooner but we had a pretty violent storm that we've had to recover from over the past few days. Plus, I've been called into school and have gotten very little sleep. Not a great combination. That's all changed now. :P Well, at least until next week starts. That's going to be an insane week for me and I'm probably going to show up here crawling. Yay for having my youth to pull my sorry butt through? Lol.

Being the dork that I am, I have kept a running list of what I wanted to blog about in meantime!

Once I took a good hard look at my newly organized Simply Adorned inserts and my list of the ones I want to make, I realized that I'll probably need another booklet soon.
 This is also for various school-themes.
Empty, for now.

This garden. Hoo boy. This past week, I have yet to water the plants this week. That's how serious it has rained and because of how the desert is not used to being wet, there are often flash floods from the run offs. My garden area just happens to be the lowest area in the yard. It's lovely... The day I intended to start writing about the following updates, we actually lost power for two hours but more about that later on.
Pretty little tomato blooms!
I cannot wait to harvest hundreds of cherry tomatoes this fall.
 We watched many documentaries and tributes on Remembrance Day (September 11th) and this was the beautiful sunset we saw that helped remind us that the world can heal and still be beautiful.
These are fresh Bhut Jolokia Chili Peppers aka Ghost Pepper, the hottest in the world.
I have those seeds right now and I'm debating trying to grow a tree.
One of the brothers that loves very spicy foods ate that bottom left piece. 

It rates about 1 million on the Scoville rating. For comparison, a Habanero chili rates between 100,000 to 350,000, my Bird's Eye Chili rate 50,000 to 100,000, and Tabasco sauce falls between 3,500 to 8,000. Oh yes. We have video footage and it was nuts. We had crackers, milk, and lettuce standing by for the aftermath. The SO just dipped his finger in the oils to try, turned red instantly, and downed a small glass of milk. There's no way we're going to let the brother try one with the seeds (where most of the heat is locked), let alone whole. Not that he wants to. This guy has eaten a large fresh Habanero whole before. We're all fans of staying alive.

These storms. The ground is still saturated today and it has not rained. Not as much lightning and thunder as we would have expected but what we got left its marks all over town. Our neighborhood's power was out for about two and a half hours. We were among the few thousand that lost it that night. The aftermath we had to deal with was our cable internet being out, our wireless network being zapped, and (as we discovered last night) our nearly one year old printer also getting zapped and dying despite being plugged into a six-strip at the time. What's especially aggravating about that is that we cannot afford to get a new one right now because of funding other household projects and just put in new ink cartridges. Sigh.

The SO and I have each decided on new household projects to focus on now that the faucets and light situations have been fully taken care of. I have to say that it is pretty awesome having two working showers and three working sinks instead of one of each. He's re-dug a trench for all of the water that has accumulated just off of our patio for the water to drain and not come inside, dug and built a temporary patch for the retaining wall that has yet to be finished by another brother (There was so much erosion due to the storms!), and now has set his sights on dry-walling a few holes throughout the holes. Let's just say they are large due to having three rowdy boys grow up here with many of their friends.

We lucked out when we bought the electric drills yesterday. Got this pair that we've been eye-balling for a few weeks now because it seemed like a good deal and ideal for the projects we had in mind. Unfortunately, we didn't read the box very thoroughly in all of our lust because they were too small and more for simple and quick projects. So, we went to return them and knew already which heavy duty sucker to grab and they happened to be running a deal about getting a free electric drill with purchase! The mini free one was actually one from the set we were returning. We're so pleased with ourselves. Lol.

My big project has been tackling the family's recipes. It all started when I went to pull out a recipe for a particular pork roast and I couldn't find it near the top of the pile so I started emptying the two drawers of all of the recipe cards, pages, and cook books to find it. FMIL comes around to see what all of the commotion is about and sees the floor littered with everything. We spent the next hour going through all of the pages and books and sorting them out. Fifteen minutes in, we found the initial recipe somewhere else in the kitchen, but were already in too deep. This is something that has been on my long term goals list. It has been fascinating for me to see the history of these beloved recipes and I want to preserve them. So, I've bought binders, page protectors, dividers, and bigger box to do so before they deteriorate further. They are well-loved. :P I stayed up the rest of the night to organize the smaller recipe cards that were jammed packed in a special box with the categories we had established earlier. Eventually, I'll heavily alter and decorate the binders and boxes. That pork recipe? Five minutes of hands-on preparation and slow roasting for several hours during the daytime resulted in a delicious dinner.
So good.

The table behind be is completely covered with my heirloom recipe preservation project and the fact that I'm planning my first extensive holiday workshop for Stampin' Up! I've been very fortunate to have garnered a lot of positive attention and interest with my Simply Adorned necklace at school. There will be a Halloween, Fall, and Winter themed 3-D projects. FMIL and I have been digging deep and working hard to hash out all of the details as soon as possible. A lot of planning going on there, lol.

The storms have been a sight to see. Here's some of what we've seen out back.
 Awesome cloud layered with sunset colors. We watched as it morphed and grew.
 A type of stick bug! :P
 My poor garden has spent most of the time looking like this.
 My lettuce bed is like the city of Atlantis. That's at least two inches of water.
 By the end of the day, the water is absorbed, but is replenished the next day by another storm.
The other day, I found the greenhouse tray full of water and floating in front of Gryffindor.

Fast-forward to today. Sorry in advanced for weirder looking pictures, I actually took these well after dark. Hooray for flashlights and flash!
 I potted what jalapeños that have sprouted. That small terracotta pot in the back is the parsley finally thickening up. The tiny green cup is the cilantro finally taking off.
These are their "forever" homes at 10 inches in diameter. There are eight pots total.
 You can barely see the little guys! Two leaves and no more than two inches tall.
 Pictures of the herb planter make sense now that there's nearly a little of everything making an appearance.
 Basil - Chives - Cilantro - Dill (first to go crazy) - Oregano - Parsley (sprouted within past two days) - Sage - Stevia (I believe it's the one going crazy instead of Sage) - Tarragon - Thyme.
 The lettuce, it lives!
 The cherry tomatoes have really taken off. Wow!
The peppers are each working on new lower leaf growth and branching out appropriately. Slytherin has three peppers that we're keeping a close eye upon. It's so exciting!

There has been a plethora of tiny weed growths in my area that I've tried to take care of but it's still very saturated. Tomorrow I tackle the recipes! Wish me luck. See you soon! <3
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