right now

right now

Sep 24, 2010

Almost ready!


I'm almost done prepping for the big party tomorrow afternoon! I am hosting the squadron's Family Support Group "Halfway Party" to celebrate this big milestone in the deployment. At last count I'm expecting 48 guests! Don't get me wrong, I love entertaining, but I am ready to check this big project off the list and be able to relax and enjoy fall. Things like reading a good book, knitting, etc never get full attention when a big event is in the back of my mind. So here's a look at today's prep, as you may guess the squadron's colors are blue and yellow.

Last night as I was putting together the gift bags the thought occurred to me that as stressful as kids can be during a deployment, we're rewarding them? LOL, just kidding of course, but it was amusing to me :)

crepe paper fun everywhere, the kids enjoyed helping out

12 down, 36 more to go tonight!

I wonder how many balloons one must blow up before passing out? Just kidding, I have a pump! (which the dogs HATE, I might add!)

Off to finish up, then par-tay tomorrow! I'll most likely be M.I.A. until sometime after the cleanup Sunday - have a great weekend all!



Sep 23, 2010

too good to miss!

I know many of us already follow Thyme2Garden's blog, but she had a post today that no one should miss! It's news!


I say a big "hell, yes" to this woman, she's awesome!

some PEANUTS for my peanut gallery- kinderGARDENS Finale!


Can you believe we've been doing this since April? Wow - almost 6 months of kinderGARDEN updates, and it's been so fun! I have always included the kids in the garden, mostly out of necessity since it's not like I can leave them alone in the house, they'd burn it down - but this contest really enabled their personalities to shine in their creativity and ideas and is definitely something we will always enjoy doing together.

On to the week's big event: The Peanut Box!

video

After filming this I researched it and my instincts are right, we will leave them until the plants turn yellow and start to die off before harvesting. This enables the shell/pod to mature and cure properly. If you want to learn more about harvesting peanuts, check this link. There are GOBS of peanuts in this little space and the plants are already taking on a yellowish hue, so I think we will definitely have enough to try the kids idea of homemade peanut butter soon, probably mid-October.

In the interest of at least showing a sneak preview of what we are in for, below is a shot of what came off of one of the plants we tested:


Although with our record-breaking hot summer the "green roof" didn't work out, the kids did a great job of supplementing that with a few other projects besides that and the peanut box.


Summary in photos of the past 6 months of kinderGARDENS highlights!



When Loch announced that his teacher always wanted a garden but she lives in an apartment, the kids packed a box of goodies to take in to her on the last day of school!


The kids got to experience the building side of things in the garden when they helped make the peanut box out of scrap with Daddy before he left for deployment.


Planting seeds


I do a program with the Master Gardeners for 1st Graders called "Ready, Set, Grow!" and the kids inspired a new idea this year all about kids in the garden, and helped me create this display which was an absolute hit in the classrooms!


Kim, who hosts the kinderGARDENS contest sent Loch a fantastic book, highly recommend it - it is entertaining and educational for both kids & adults.


Everyone knows what a fan I am of violations of the child labor laws... they picked many a berry on 100 degree days and squeezed many lemons...


but the rewards were worth it!


We learned all about our garden friends up close...


they were sent out "on assignment" to photograph and caption anything they want...


Finn's caption for the above was... "I like Dill and I wanna smell it every day"
me too!


they learned about saving seed


they were surprised and excited when Miss Gina mailed them some flower seeds in support of their kinderGARDENS activities, and then a trip out to her flower farm where she taught them how to snip the flowers they wanted to bring home and got to meet the chickens that laid the eggs we brought home.


They have impressed me with their creativity - below is what happened when I was busy mowing the lawn and left my shed open...a scarecrow built from whatever they could find!


and of course there was plenty of time to just have a little fun!


I am sure most of you know that my husband/their father has been deployed to the Middle East for the past 4+ months, so I just want to say "thank you!" to Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer for putting this contest together and all the participants for giving me a project that has made the time go by quickly! Every time my alarm on my computer calendar goes off saying "kinderGARDENS update" gives me motivation to get out there with my kids and DO something. Missing hubby and their daddy certainly gives me some "blech" days, which might be fine to indulge in during the winter, but with 2 kids out of school in the summertime I definitely can't get away with "blech" days! We got some great ideas for next year from other participants and have learned so much from everyone!

Check in to The Inadvertent Farmer to see all the participants' final posts of the contest, it's been fun!

Sep 22, 2010

LUCK...

Lucky Fish Story:

Got home from kids' swimming this evening, rushing around getting them ready for bed, hear yelling outside: "lochandfinnsmom, lochandfinnsmom!" (it's always all one word)

I debated not answering the door since the neighborhood kids don't appear to have any type of bedtime and are wild all evening, but you know the one time I didn't respond there would be stranger danger or some very real threat out there -

Answer the door and they are yelling for me to rescue some fish...

FISH???

(re-enter the drama of next door neighbor hoarder moving out...)

I follow the kids to the house next door and what do we see at the top of the steps of the vacant house?

yep, that's some swampy water, yep there's fish in them waters, and yep, it's in the 90's here again! I bet that 4-5 inches of water heated up like a canning pot today! So I went to get my net and bucket and found 3 goldfish and 1 baby goldfish, of course I'm afraid I missed one but I can't see at all in there and I hope I got them all. They've been in there OVER A WEEK! And what's unbelievable is that they were probably living in that inside as well!

Well, damn, I guess I'll set another 4 plates at the dinner table, come on over to the homestead and let's get you some fresh clothes...

I think they are in shock in the bucket being able to see each other!

Lugged them back to my house and put them in the deck barrel-pond with my other 2 goldfish. I am sure mine aren't too happy about this, they are at least 4 years old and have lived year round out there and are supposed to be in their golden years and now have to contend with the "hoarder fish".

6 fish in a barrel pond is too many, but what could I do? Guess I'll be cleaning the pond more often, I'm such a sucker for this stuff :)


but wait, there's more....!

Lucky Mom

After all the fish drama, I was getting the kids in bed and went to plug in my cell phone and it wasn't in the side pocket of my purse...

total freak out!

I have NEVER lost, misplaced or broken a cell phone, ever, and my heart just sank. I know exactly where I left it, I started talking to one of the moms at swimming at the Y and I remember my purse being sideways on the chair and I knew it must have slipped out, I couldn't call it since it was dead - I called the YMCA and the guy at the desk says "I have it right here next to me, someone turned it in right after you left." We rushed back there with the kids in their jammies and I made it in time to thank the person who turned it in too! I have the oldest iphone and have had it for about 4 or more years and couldn't possibly afford to replace it so I almost cried to hear it was there. Just when I think humanity pretty much sucks most of the time I am inspired yet again - and what a great lesson it was for my kids to see my reaction to someone doing the right thing.

Wishing everyone luck tonight!




Sep 21, 2010

Finally - Tomatoes and Lettuce at the same time!

This morning when I went out to harvest the yard long beans, I noted there was a red tomato also waiting for me! I have been tomato-less for about a month already, so this was nice. I ripped out all but one plant in a container that was still lush and healthy. It had blossom drop all season but now is covered with 8 green tomatoes! The ink has faded on my marker but from it's blackish appearance I think it's either an Heirloom Vorlon or Paul Robeson, and a small one at that!

The yard long beans/Chinese Long beans are producing like mad! All these weeks/months of harvesting came from 6 seeds grown on the same arch, 3 planted on each side. Actually 4 or 5 since they didn't all make it past the seedling stage.

Also in the above pic are the first Cascade Hops harvested! It's only the 1st year of das Biergarten so I wasn't expecting much from the rhizomes quite yet but its exciting nontheless! They will be preserved by freezing the whole cones and used for dry-hopping a later brew. There are hundreds of cones out there still waiting, but many this year are too small to be of any use, and some are being eaten by insects. Since year 1 is kind of a watch and wait year, I'm not worried but it appears they will need spraying next year on a schedule similar to the fruit trees.


Above & below: took some time out of the party prep schedule to blanch and freeze the yard beans and the remainder of the corn. Not much corn, but 2 dinners worth in the freezer is better than none!

And the most amazing thing that happened today: Tomatoes & Lettuce at the same time! Tonight was taco night and since I had a fresh tomato and no need to keep it for saucing, I happily chopped it and thought "sure would be nice to have some lettuce"... so I actually just took an entire seedling from the raised bed and tore it up LOL. I am in shock, due to the heat here I haven't had fresh greens since early May!!!! Of course the seeds are sprouting now, but at the rate I'm stealing entire 3 inch tall plants I will have to sow more on a daily basis :)

Not much lettuce, but it sure was good!



Sep 20, 2010

Noise - LONG POST!

(apologize in advance for a long post, may be tedious to some, but I promised the kids I'd blog about the airshow!)

Long time, no post! I've been consumed with getting my yard ready for a huge party this coming weekend, and just about everything has taken a backseat to this! I can now say that my yard is pruned, ripped out, replanted, cleaned and shipshape! Unfortunately I had to work through another 2 days of my migraines, although I am taking a few supplements this time around after some research, and they weren't as bad, and lasted only 2 days instead of the regular 3 so I can't wait to see if it continues to improve next month.

I missed my kinderGARDENS update for the first time, so things have been that hectic! I did have my kids in the garden however, I didn't keep them locked away or anything - as a matter of fact they did some hard labor that involved rocks and concrete rubble LOL! I'm serious! I'll post on that shortly, as that is a whole separate project we did.

As I don't want to be the Worst Mom in the World, after we finished that project, I took them to the air show!

If it was just me, I wouldn't deal with it, since my driveway is less than 500 yds from the runway we are so close we can see it all including their freckles as they fly overhead, but I know the kids love having the whole "experience".

This video was shot the other day from my backyard. This isn't air show stuff but rather the constant scream of F-18's we have overhead 365 days a year. I keep forgetting that most people don't have to deal with this. I suck it up with a smile (grimace) since it is our livelihood - my husband is an F-18 E/F mechanic. As bad as it is here, my poor husband's bunk is directly under the flight deck on the carrier, so he has it much worse since besides the heat and scream of jet engines, he has to listen to the shock of the arrested landings that go on 24 hrs a day. Just imagine a bomb going off over your head every so often all day long and you can imagine a whole new level of sleep deprivation.

video

Watching the Blue Angels while we work in the yard...




Yes, the kids are getting antsy by now...


Below is the base, which is right across the street basically, considering the traffic, we should have ridden bikes, but of course Finn would complain!


Traffic at the main gate. Ever since 9/11, you can imagine the nightmarish security measures in place on a day the base is open to the general public. The main difference is that now people are very understanding so there is no honking or rude people.


Time for the kids to explore. I know I didn't do as great a job as daddy would have explaining all the different aircraft, but I held my own!








Helo pilots were giving Finn the business about his daddy being a "fixed wing" guy LOL


I just told the guys to have him back by Saturday...


This is a C-2 Greyhound or "COD" meaning Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft - they carry many passengers/supplies/mail on & off the carrier while underway, COOL because it's a fairly large & bulky aircraft that can launch/land via arresting wires the same as the other fighters. Husband has flown out to meet the carrier overseas a couple of times on one of these. Usually when he arrives at a new squadron while its already underway. Used also for bringing people home on emergency leave or needing medical care, and a zillion other reasons! Definitely an unsung hero of carrier aircraft! On second look, this may be the interior of a C-130, which is what my brother flies. They climbed in both and I can't remember - I'm sure hubby or brother will correct me in short order :)


Below is one of my favorites, an Air Force KC-135 Tanker. The men & women who fly this thing have really got some guts! They supply our fighter jets with fuel while in flight, an "airborne fuel station" - when you think about how huge and unmanueverable these are in comparison to the fighters they serve in a combat zone, it takes some serious dedication and nerves of steel to fly this baby! Coincidentally, hubby has a cousin that flies this aircraft out of AK!


Since I mentioned it, I'll post a non-air show related photo of a air to air refuel, it's very cool!
Made especially cool because the below photo is a fighter from VFA-32 (Hubby's squadron) taking on fuel from the Stratotanker

Back to the airshow: below, I made sure to visit the non-air show area to show the kids - this is the "regular" everyday jets, LOL... we have hundreds here, and it's always good for the kids to see what daddy's workplace looks like


Below: Blue Angels


Finn's 1st Gyro! Lamb and yogurt? What's not to love?


Beautiful Sunset backdrop to watch the jets fly


The below video starts slow, but then you get to see fireworks Navy style! Might be boring but the kids seem to love it!


video

Are you still with me? Congratulations for getting through all these photos!