Tuesday, December 30, 2008

now i'm really getting excited

garden planning, garden planning tra-la-la-la.

maybe it is because the weather has been especially mild lately and feigning the end of winter. or, maybe it is because it has been soooo long since i have had omelay fresh vegetables. or, maybe it is because our garden all but failed last year.

i don't know. but, i have been eying the compost bins while salivating again. strange behavior you might ask? i admit it i'm weird. that compost bin is pavlovian trigger for food this summer. i lovingly add manure and discarded hay and in few months poof beautiful loamy black gold.

we just bought seed and have some saved-seed from two years ago. i hope they all germinate. if not we'll be fine either way. when the seeds arrive the gardening excitement will heighten.

i have been planning a mini green house for the past few days. it will be made from two cattle panel arches and some cement block. the block will be the perimeter and raise the panels eight inches on each side. it will be six feet by eight feet long. i scavenged some thick plastic from bobs greenhouse. the whole thing should cost next to nothing. of course we already have the cattle panels, plastic and cement block.

the greenhouse will be where we start seeds this year. in years past it has been a tedious task in an inferior place. this will hopefully save lots of work and produce better results. we'll start tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and some flats of greens. the flats of greens are because we'd like to enjoy spring greens as early as possible.

the greenhouse will hopefully double as a chicken brooder on the floor below the shelves of plants. we'd also like to start our chickens as soon as possible in the spring. as long as we are heating the greenhouse why not get some chickens in that heat too?

i'll document my greenhouse construction. hopefully it won't take as long as the root cellar. look there is even a new label "greenhouse"

Sunday, December 28, 2008

it's too late to order seeds

it's a joke that my father-in-law always says about any gardening activity. just after he'd plant beets he'd say "it's too late to plant beets."

we made our seed order from baker creek and johnnys seeds.

baker creek

beans purple potted pole
we like our pole beans grown on cattle panels as arches. not only is it way easier to pick but it makes such a wonderful shady spot in the garden. the purple pole bean is new for us this this year. it is purple on the vine and should be easier to see for picking. the kids like to help and i like to make it as easy as possible on them. these are also stringless the rattlesnake pole that we've grown for the past few years albeit delicious has a string and is a bit irritating when they are pressure canned. we just don't use frozen beans as often as canned beans.

cucumber japanese long
we love this cucumber and it will take some serious convincing for us to drop this one from our garden.

hot pepper serrano tampequino
a person needs some heat for their salsa (pico de gallo) tristan loves salsa and i'm sure that toly will like it also. kassi is another story

okra star of david
tabitha makes a mean pickled okra and all the kids love it. my preferred okra recipe is a simple marinate whole okra in soy sauce and skewer together as many will fit on the stick and toss on the grill. yummy

winter squash waltham butternut
throughout the winter we'll eat many butternut squash. the kids have been known to eat it too.

winter luxuary pie pumpkin
tabitha has taught herself to make incredible pie and pumpkin is a household favorite.

summer squash crook neck early golden yellow
yes we are gluttons for punishment. the squash bugs or vine bores always get these little guys. but, we almost always get a few meals from them before their demise. my favorite is sautee'd with butter then scrambled into some eggs. tristan can be counted on to make these and brag incessantly afterward. "don't i make the best squash?"

tomatoes they probably deserve a post of their own because we love them so much.

we like the amish paste for canning but they work in salsa too.

omar lebanese it is the crown jewel of our garden. these babies are huge and delicious and pink. mild but full flavored if that isn't a contradiction?

green zebra i just like the looks of these and people whom i trust say they are tasty. after all it is a tomato. the green tomato makes the salsa more interesting.

yellow pear it's the the kids favorite. they love these tomatoes and very few of them make their way into the house. these plants are prolific and tristan and kassi will stand there in the garden and eat them until they are full and will skip any meal just afterward.

johnny's seeds

beets we tried something new and we got a 1/4 pound of them. we eat beets around here. my favorite vegetable, baby beet salad, beet tops in salad especially tuna salad, steamed beet tops yum, steamed beets the glorious red bulb, pickled beets and finally beet soup. i love beet soup. and for desert beet chocolate cake--you wouldn't believe how good it is.

red chard a staple green vegetable around here. it is great in chicken soup

bush beans tabitha will be picking these... and canning them but i still get to eat them;)

carrots we had pretty good luck with these last year.

arugula my favorite green i graze this stuff right out of the garden on all fours and munching like a cow;)

toscano kale our neighbor grew this and has kept us in supply this winter. i love this stuff too. it is a young romance but strong and true.

basil tabitha freezes pesto and uses it in everything all winter long.

we have great garden plans for this up coming year. tristan is eating more than i do at each meal and we'll really need the fruits of our gardening labor this next year.

i'll be working on my annual garden map very soon.

plus things are really looking up. we got nine, count them 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, eggs today. i'm proud of those girls. they took their sweet time getting started.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the count of monte cristo

the count of monte cristo is my favorite book. i like don quixote almost as much. i aspire to live life like alonso quixano but realize i am much closer to edmond dantes rather closer to sinbad the sailor. the count's professed alter ego.

it has been a long time since i've read either book. i think about edmond dant├Ęs whenever i get angry at someone. yeah i know let it go... but here i am trying to post and still feel violated.

anyway..

the bees are all still alive.

we have had some very cold weather. our neighbor and trash collector guy had all of his bees die during the last cold spell. he came by and offered his sugar water that was now useless. i refused because i don't plan to feed them. each hive had plenty of honey this fall. my goal is to have the healthiest bees possible but under natural conditions. somehow i think that feeding them sugar is kinda like humans eating at mcdonalds everyday. a person can live on it but won't remain healthy.

after his bees died i began to question my logic. i was worried about the bees and today i feel better. when richard the trash guy came by i offered him a nuc of bees. i said these bees are local and are hardened to the conditions in the ozarks. so in the spring if all the hives survive i'll checkerboard them and slip some of the extra brood comb with a few bees in a box for him. it is not really any skin off my back. i'll need to do this to keep them from swarming anyway. i don't want to start-up any more hives for me to take care of either. if i manage these four hives they should produce more than enough honey for our needs. mead production may start in a few years but not right now.

the pigs are doing fabulously.

i have really enjoyed them even though their waterer froze and catastrophically failed.

here is the repaired version with a 50 watt birdbath heater installed in the bottom.

there is a specialized pig nipple threaded into this 4' pvc pipe. it almost holds three gallons of water. if we continue to raise pigs i'll upgrade to a larger diameter pipe and add another nipple.

i fed them an old pumpkin and they loved it. they eat hickory nuts and persimmons when we pick them off the field and toss them into their pen. it is amazing to watch them crunch a hickory nut with their molars.

kassi loves her little pony.

she's hugging it tight.

henry is getting so big.

huge in fact and still growing.

the chickens are finally starting to lay.

they have been giving up about six eggs per day for a week or so. yesterday i installed a light in their coop in an effort to extend their daytime hours. i might trick them into laying heavily throughout the winter. we have been without a reliable supply of eggs for far too long.

see it there in the back?

tabitha is finally really starting to heal up from the pneumonia.

going outside has not been an option without repercussions. luckily it is extremely warm today. rome likes it outside too.


toly loves to swing

Saturday, December 20, 2008

who can comment?

well it happened. creepy people have found my blog and made a creepy comment. it was creepy for creepiness sake. i have struggled what to do and have decided to merely not allow anonymous commenting. i went to my google analytics* account and decided it wasn't a regular commenter--it's scary what a person can find out if they really care to.

i know this might force some to log-in or create a blog page. sorry blame the assholes without dignity that attempt to hide behind the anonymity of their creepy perspective. i considered making a closed blog, invite only, and still might do so. having a closed blog generally goes against the belief i have about free information and wanting to give back to the internet that has given me so much instruction.

i know one reason why so many of my favorite bloggers have quit. now, there will be one further constraint to my mustering a blog post. i'll have to consider what the creepy people will think.

sorry to trouble you all with my latest drama i felt that i needed to explain why i haven't posted in a while. the regular scheduled program should continue directly.

analytics* - used to be called urchin before google bought them. i've known those fellas for over twelve years. they used to host access magazine for me as favor and the occasional AD or design work.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the first christmas present


tabitha found a piano. Harry gave it to us and helped me load it. what a wonderful christmas present. it is little and fits in perfectly into our house. it makes our whole house resonate when the kids play on it. they already love it. thanks harry!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

happy holidays


the tree


our own bath scene like in my neighbor totoro


things are getting better around here. illnesses are waning. holiday expectations are rampant. i almost got something done outside today.

Friday, December 05, 2008

many thanks

recently we have been the recipients of some glorious "get well" meals. we have friends that we didn't even know we had. the two deliveries of food are life savers. the food is so tasty and obviously healthy. we didn't know that other people ate like this in our area. in-fact we'll likely be implementing these delicious dishes into our regular diet once a semblance of normal health returns.

tabitha is feeling slightly better--virtual emergency room to critical care. she can't go outside without the cold air filling her lungs and sending her into fits of coughing that can end into vomiting. i have been taking care of the cows and guess what, they are sick too. awful diarrhea for the past two days. henry also got sick but is now better today.

i'm starting to think that the neighbors new house trailer has disturbed an osage native american burial ground and the wrath of the supernatural is smiting us. perhaps we have offended God, mother-nature or some other collective consciousness. certainly things have been rougher than usual. i guess i should be thankful that all the illnesses we are afflicted with are currently not going to kill any of us.

kassi is starting to feel the most well. she is leaping at the chance to fight with anyone over the smallest things. toly must be the next closest to mend because he and kassi have been in several fisticuffs already this morning.

i have to go to bobs today for a short while. he had a water main emergency yesterday. i briefly went and took things apart so he could buy new parts. today i must put the new parts in and restore his water. it seems that every critical thing that bob had done on his house where i wasn't involved has either catastrophically failed or i've had to preemptively re-do-it.

ron if you are reading this, these recent events have definitively convinced me that exposing the soft underbelly of myself and family to the blogosphere is right and certainly worthy. our new friends have found us and came to our rescue via our blogs. imagine we found community where we thought only virtual community existed. i guess everything happens for a reason and this too is part of "the plan."

many, gracious and humble thanks

the names of the innocent have been excluded to protect the angelic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

who's counting anyway

day three, visit number three to the urgent care. imagine rome and toly both have ear infections now. holy crap will this ever end? lets see..

toly pneumonia
tabitha pneumonia
tristan strep throat
kassi strep throat
tabitha pink eye
rome pink eye
tristan pink eye
kassi pink eye
tabitha viral flu
rome viral flu
kassi viral flu
rome ear infection
toly ear infection

this all happened within three days. it is almost funny. wholly crap i feel like crying or laughing hysterically.

the hardest thing

thank you all for your generous comments and well wishes. i'm not really a complainer but i strongly believe in the collective consciousness--another contribution by a namesake. carl jung is an honorary karl with a "K" in my book.

i still feel "OK" knock knock.. the sore throat is really trying to get in but my defenses are strong, zinc, astragalus extract, C, liquids and a bit of sunshine for good measure. it might get me yet. the general lack of sleep will eventually take it's toll. the tag-team middle of the night needs are perfectly timed to allow me to just barely drift off to sleep--wahhaahwhaa. luckily even the severely ill tabitha must meet most of rome's needs although he is the easiest child yet.

my boss is reluctantly understanding and officially i get family sick leave but it was all used up by rome's paternity leave. what a crappy way to use up my vacation time. not that i'd get a real vacation anyway. there are several projects around here that could get done during a couple of weeks off--grump.

even though toly has been very ill i am starting to draw the conclusion that his issues are milk related. illness or no he has had a language explosion. he has several two and three word phrases now. he says thank you when you do something for him. i always say thank you to the kids and it rubs of at an early age. he has been playing imaginary feed daddy from the coat sleeve food dispenser. it is really cute. he sat through my reading him several books. tantrums are pretty much isolated to the wearing out of pain medication.

this not being a true scientific experiment still leaves out the fact that the pain medication could be relieving some other ill. he begs for it when his time for the next dose comes due. my wort fear is that he has been in pain this whole time and we didn't know. the jury is still out..

tabitha woke briefly an hour or so ago and claimed some relief and proclaims that she is on the mend--thank God. rome has another fever and we might be at the doctor for the third day in a row today. what else is out there that we might be able to contract? a co-worker has the stomach flu i guess that could descend upon us?

so, what is the hardest thing? keeping everyone from crying at the same time. they are all asleep right now so this time doesn't really count. although if i were to try to lay down and just drift off to sleep that would be the queue.

happy birthday tabitha this what i really wanted to get you.

i know it doesn't qualify as something sexy or pretty for pretties sake but it is nice to look at. you have been wanting one forever. just pretend that we weren't way-laid by these illnesses and we could afford it. i love you. there will be sunnier days ahead and we'll bask in them.

Monday, December 01, 2008

what's the deal?

tabitha has pneumonia frighteningly bad. tristan and kassi both have strep throat. tristan has a severe case. the doctor almost prescribed the three consecutive shots that toly just got. toly is belly sick from all the antibiotics--probiotics are mostly milk based. luckily he likes, rather loves kombucha. my ear infection is just getting better after a week and a half. rome is ok and wondering whats wrong with all you people. to top it off tabitha also has pink eye--it's likely to spread house wide.

furthermore what is wrong with the evil drug companies that a prescription for antibiotics costs $100? merry christmas everybody. several hours in urgent care and then over an hour at walmart waiting for the prescriptions will squash the sanity out of even the most stable of families. did i mention that everyone was very sick? imagine a sick two year old screaming with a penetrating sound that bag pipes can only aspire to. every old person staring at us giving the look--that boy needs a beating now. branson is mostly retired people so we were out numbered.

there is a beautiful light dusting of snow on the ground this morning. tristan's favorite, too bad he's too sick to leave the house. i'm home family-sick-leave today. maybe i can get enough exposure so i get really sick too.
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