Monday, August 29, 2016


Today was the first day back to school for the girls.  It seems to have been uneventful, except for the fact that J forgot her lunch.  Luckily JP was able to give her lunch money before dropping her off at school, so I didn't actually have to run in to school already this morning.

Both girls are in the highest grade at their respective schools, which means that J will head off to High School next year, and L to Middle School. They won't be in the same school again until J's final year.

It was super quiet around here today.  (Although to be honest, we had a pretty quiet summer, with lots of reading going on.)

I ventured down to the garden, where I've taken a maintenance break for a couple of weeks to finish up my flower beds and around the ornamental trees, as well as to make the most of the girls' final week of summer vacation.  I have continued to pick the tomatoes about every other day, as well as cantaloupes (I've picked 11 so far), but the weed control has not happened, and it's getting pretty scary in there!

I listened to several podcasts, and removed a pile of weeds taller than myself from 2 1/2 beds, and about 1/6 of the lower end of the garden.  I was thoroughly spattered with mud when I came in, including my glasses and my phone, but I cleaned up in time to pick up milk as well as a book for L at the Library before the girls arrived home on the bus.

They have been back to soccer practice for a week, but tomorrow L starts back to music lessons.  She is taking Voice this year, for a number of reasons, and is very excited about it.

It will be busy, busy, busy for the next few weeks, so I'm trying to save up the serene, quiet moments to pull out when the days get tough.

I hope Fall is off to a good start for everyone!

P.S.  This close up of L shows her newly pierced ears.

Monday, August 22, 2016


We had an interesting weekend. 

The garden is especially bountiful right now.  These are the things that I brought in this weekend.

Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Carrots, Corn, Cantaloupes & Kohlrabi

We had our first fresh corn on the cob.  I also made and canned pasta sauce using almost every ingredient from the garden, with the exception of celery.  This is the recipe I use:

L's cantaloupes are getting ripe!  We've picked 5 so far, and they are delicious.  We've never had luck with melons in the past.

Speaking of melons, I usually let the ladies clean out the watermelon rinds once I cut out the flesh.

They do a pretty good job.

On Saturday evening, we went out for dinner with the girls and my parents to celebrate our August weddings 3 days apart.  When we returned home, we found my parents house full of our friends - my mother and my friend secretly planned a surprise party to celebrate our 25th anniversary. 

JP was not surprised.  He was suspicious from the moment my mother invited us several weeks ago.  He went so far as to call the restaurant right before we left home to find out if there were reservations for a large party.  Lacking a reservation, he says he figured people would be there when we got back.

I was gullible enough to have no such concerns, and I was duly surprised.  We had a lovely time visiting with our friends and neighbors. 

My mother gave us this tea set that my grandmother gave to my parents for THEIR 25th wedding anniversary.

The last thing that surprised me this weekend, was this little hummingbird that perched on the fence of my flower garden for about 15 minutes on Saturday morning.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We have a few long range planting projects on going at the moment.  Some are doing much better than others.

The ground cover that I planted behind the pool is finally doing what I'd hoped - keeping the bank from eroding. 

My moss "garden" continues to spread, I even added another stepping stone this year.  It too is working as planned - to add color and interest to the entrance of the house.

We planted clover after moving the chicken run, and it is coming in well.  We will move them back in the spring, and re-plant THAT area in clover too.

I found a volunteer pumpkin plant in the old chicken run.  It has 4 or 5 decent sized pumpkins on it!

We are trying a new method for growing potatoes this year.  I made a bag out of landscape fabric, and planted potatoes.  As they grow, we continue to add soil, so the plants get taller, and supposedly grow more potatoes.  At the end of the season, JP plans to scoop up the entire bag with the tractor, where we can cut the bag and easily harvest taters.  We had to put the fence around it, as the kitties thought it made an awesome litter box too. 

JP wanted to plant a wildflower bed down near the bees.  He researched on line, and bought a mix that was supposed to be indigenous to SW Pennsylvania, and resistant to deer.  There are finally a couple of flowers blooming there, but it appears to have come up mostly grass.  Also, the deer have been eating off some of the flowers.  Grrr.

I finished with the wood chips on the garden path several weeks ago.  It doesn't look much different since the last pictures that I posted, but I did mow the remaining grassy areas last weekend, and it only took 5 minutes (vs. the 40 it has taken in the past.)

We began another project this evening - JP pierced L's ears.  She has been working up the nerve to do it since December.  She won't let me take a picture this evening, so I'll have to post a sparkly picture later.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Just in time for the Olympics, JP & I have scored a Silver of our own - this week we celebrated our 25th anniversary.  We were able to get away to the city overnight, thanks to my parents who gave us the great gift of taking care of the girls.  We watched a baseball game from our hotel room.

We strolled around town, and walked to a fancy restaurant for dinner, where we dined with a hometown hero.

We even got to watch fireworks from our hotel once it got dark outside!

In the morning, we walked to get coffee and bagels.

That evening, the girls, a friend, and I went to the fair.  J was roaming with her friend, so L & I got to take in things we don't normally see - like the veggies and canned goods.  It was not very crowded, so we took multiple rides in the Ferris wheel.

We watched the truck pull for awhile, we could even see it from the Ferris wheel later on!

We ate fair food, and L fed the baby zebra.

I woke the girls up at 5:30 the following morning to head out on our mini-vacation.  We were on the road by 6 AM!  The girls had been begging to go to the beach, but we didn't have time to drive the 8 hours to the shore, so we went to Presque Isle on Lake Erie.  The weather was hot and humid, but it was lovely.

We visited 2 different light houses.

We saw an IMAX movie about space, looked for beach glass (didn't find any), played in the sand and water, and had a very nice time.

I forgot to mention that last Friday, the girls and I loaded up the bikes and drove up to our favorite park, where we ate a picnic lunch,

...rode our bikes on the bike trail,

...and played in the creek.

It was a lot of fun!

In between all of these activities, I've been doing this:

The peaches are now all canned, but I've been doing tomatoes every other day!

Tonight we are exhausted, and it is overcast outside, but tomorrow night we plan to stay up late to look for meteors as it is time again for the Perseid Meteor Shower, and it is supposed to be exceptionally awesome this year!

I hope that your summers are winding down as nicely as ours!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fearless - Part II

I used up my remaining wood mulch in the flower garden on Monday morning.  Look who followed me up the hill and was sleeping in my pile of mulch!

Actually, both of these guys were in my mulch.

I found this snake skin in my flower garden a few minutes later, so that snake is even bigger now than it used to be.

Country living...meh.