Saturday, May 25, 2013

My garden is my Soul food.

We've had a lovely month of May in SW Kansas! Well, if you can forget about the snow we had on May 1st and the 100+ temps on May 15th...the rest of the month has been rather cool and just great for my garden! 

My peas and beans popped up super fast and are looking wonderful! 
I spent the morning weeding so now they look even better. 

Gosh...maybe I should have taken these photos AFTER I weeded. I didn't realize how many weeds I had in my photos. I guess that just goes to show I'm looking on the bright sides of things; my vegetables rather than my weeds :) 

Ummmm....I think this is Swiss Chard. I have a bad habit of planting things and not labeling them, thinking that I'll remember what it is that I planted. One of these days...ONE OF THESE DAYS I WILL label my just may be a few years! 

And look I even have a tiny bloom on my tomatoes! My friend in Texas is already harvesting grape tomatoes off her plants...I'm so jealous! 

Spring is wonderful, heck every season is wonderful but Spring is the time I look forward to my favorite smell; soil! I love getting dirt on my feet and under my nails. I know lots of folks think that I'm crazy working so hard for a tiny garden that economically probably isn't worth it. My garden may not be worth it money wise but the work is more than worth it when it comes to the good my garden does for my soul!! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Last Day of School!

Oh my, today is the last day of school for my munchkins! Well, really just a half day, so saying the last day of school is kind of a technicality. I wonder if all those teachers will be hitting the bar this afternoon? HA! I subbed last week and all the kids were getting just a bit nuts. I know I'd need a beer if I were a teacher these last few weeks. 

One teacher told me she thought that schools shouldn't tell the kids when the last day of school is...or lie about it. The last couple weeks the students are all checked out and it's tough to get them working because they know it's almost over, If they didn't know the end was coming they may be not so squirrely. I don't know if they'd be less squirrely. 

My crew seems to be squirrely all the time. 

Oh my, I knew all my kids had grown taller this year but I didn't realize just how much their faces have changed. My boys are losing the softness in their faces and are getting to be big boys! 

First Day of School 
August 2012

Before I know we'll be back to the first day of school again. 

How many more days do your kids have of school? Are they nuts too? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blurry Leaves Painting

I whipped out this little painting the other a couple weeks ago, it's about 8x8 inch square. I kept taking lots of pics of this thinking they weren't in focus but no, it's just looks blurry because that's the way I painted it! I don't do many types of "fuzzy" paintings. I'm fairly happy with it. 

This one I actually would hang up on my wall. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Family Photo Session!!

This summer will be our 10th wedding anniversary and, believe it or not, DR and I haven't had a professional photo taken of us since our wedding! I take a ton of photos but I thought it was high time to have some professional photos taken of us. A friend of mine suggested a photographer in Meade, KS, Priscilla Meairs (you can find her photography blog here) which is only about 20 minutes away from here. So I messaged her and she suggested that she just come to our town one evening because she's always looking for new and different locations to shoot other than just in her own town. 

Priscilla arrived at our house at 7:00 in the evening and we all piled in the car and followed her through town to a couple of locations she had scouted out before picking us up. The first place she took us was an alley behind the hardware store. (Pictures 1-11) My boys were being boys through this whole shoot wanting to be crazy or just cross their arms and scowl but Priscilla worked wonders with them by reading their personalities and suggesting poses that they'd be more comfortable with. 

After the alley she took us across the street and plopped us in the grass of the flower shop. There were times I thought for sure she was just going to fill up her camera before we were done. She was constantly shooting photos, a lot of times she wasn't even looking in the viewfinder! She'd just hold the camera above her head and snap away (#14) but they turned out great. 

#17 was taken at an abandoned auto garage. Who would have thought THAT would look good? But it sure did! Yahoo, oh what a PISTOL she was that evening!!! After about 15 minutes she was just about done with taking photos. I bet Priscilla took 50 photos of just this pose waiting for Yahoo to smile. I admit I didn't have high hopes but she even came up with great ones of my little monster! 

Our last stop was at a home/antique/museum of sorts (18-21) We have a gentleman in our town who is always going to auctions and finds fabulous finds in the oddest places; he's got pieces from an old hospital that was being torn down. Anyway, he's built this building for himself and uses many of the treasures he's discovered. You can see a gas pump, an old bike and various things hung on the side of his building. I just love this spot and knew it would be a great backdrop for us.

Eslinger top 20

We were back home in our living room before 8:00 pm. I couldn't believe how quick it went. Priscilla did awesome! She has two different sitting fee options. 

The first option is $50 fee and she'll post her Top 20 picks on her blog then I'll just order photos from her blog. If there's any photo If I want a digital copy of it costs $10 each and she releases the photo so I can use it anytime, anywhere. 

The second option is a $50 sitting fee and for $200 you'll receive a CD with 30-50 edited images with a photo release. 

I was so happy with Priscilla and what she's done. I haven't ordered any photos yet; I'm having a hard time deciding since she has a lot of different options on her site. My one goal was to get ONE family photo where everyone looked happy and clean. I must say, she well exceeded my expectations!! 

If you are in SW Kansas and are looking for a photographer, especially to photograph kids, I'd highly recommend Priscilla! You can find her here! 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Watering our Garden with Drip Tape

We are trying something new in our garden this year; a drip tape. Yap and DR put it in part of it last weekend after I had planted a few things; beans, peas, carrots, cucumbers, onions. 

Half inch tubing is hooked up to the garden house, then quarter inch tubing with tiny holes in them are attached to the large tubing and then arranged through the garden. Below he's stretched the drip lines through the beans and peas. 

DR had bought a kit with the 1/4" tubing and connectors included but he soon realized that he needed more tubing and a little different set up. 

Purdue clothing is scarce in Kansas so any black and gold care packages would always be appreciated by DR! LOL 

DR set up the drip system so the water drips directly above my cucumber seeds. The picture below was taken after I'd left the water on for about 45 minutes. I think it's really going to work well. It seems as though my plants are starting off quickly and there is a LOT less water usage. In fact when we turn on the water faucet we don't put it on  full blast, like we would have last summer with a soaker house, but we barely turn the knob on at all. 

Is it just me or do my cucumber hills look like 4 sets of breasts? 

We only planted a week ago and my cucumbers are already coming up, that's sooo much better than last year! Last year I never thought my cucumbers would come up. 

There is a little tweaking that needs to be done though. The left side, above, is getting more water than the right side because it's going down hill so, there's probably a better way to arrange the tubing but we're learning. 

Tomorrow I'll put in my tomato plants and the rest of the garden. I'm pretty optimistic about this watering system; a lot more direct and less waste, and less evaporation.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to make a $5 emergency candle.

So I found this on Pinterest, (isn't that the only place to find stuff anymore?) 

How to make an emergency candle....

.....from Crisco. 

I had to try it. Even DR was interested in trying it out and usually he scoffs at anything I find on Pinterest.  I bought a mini can of Crisco from WalMart for about $3. I didn't even know they made mini Crisco tubs. They're kind of cute. 

Then a ball of 100% cotton twine for a couple of bucks. 

I cut my wick and tied a pretty good sized knot in the end. 

Then with the end of a bamboo skewer stuck in the knot I pushed the cotton twine down to the bottom of the Crisco tub. 

Then a snip of the wick and voila, a candle! 

I made a few of these and I found that once the wick was pushed in for best results you should let it sit for a few hours before lighting. This gives the wick a chance to absorb the fat and therefore last longer once you've lit it. Of course if you make this as an emergency candle it will have plenty of time to sit. 

They work darn good too! I had one lit for a few hours while I was watching a movie and I actually kind of forgot about it. It wasn't a huge flame, it didn't smell at all and it didn't burn way down low like a wax candle might have over the same amount of time. And this is just a mini can of Crisco! I can't imagine how long a full size can would take to burn down! 

Hee hee...I'm even toying with the idea of making a whole bunch of these and fancily covering the Crisco label and give away as gifts and touting it as some new method in candle making!! If nothing else it would make a great gag gift :) 

What was really nice about these emergency candles though was after I assembled them I just put the plastic lid back on the Crisco container, sorry no pic, then taped a package of matches on top. Then I stored my candles in various places in the house. Now not only do I know exactly where my candles are but I don't have to go searching in a dark drawer for a pack of matches...they're taped right on top of the candle! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I am sooo proud of myself. Last week I, Prairie Mother, all by myself helped the boys finish their 4-H Electric projects. AND they actually worked when we were finished with them! I was so proud of myself. Ok, ok, some of you may not think that's a big deal but I had to brush up (a lot) on my knowledge of electricity and I had to teach myself to solder. I'd chip soldered years a college jewelry class which is a lot different than using a soldering iron let me tell ya! 

Yap being the good 4-Her and reading directions first! 

All the parts laid out in a box so we can't lose any. Oh, it also helps if you can get rid of your 4 year old sister on the day you put this together...cuts WAY down on the chaos. 

My mom sent out the boys magnetic flashlight kit that I'm pretty sure can be bought in any extension office in Indiana through Purdue Extension.  You are probably wondering why I had grandma send them from Indiana rather than get something from the Kansas Extension Office. I've blogged previously about how different Indiana 4-H and Kansas 4-H are, and well, they just don't have anything at the extension office. A lot of 4-Hers will buy some electricity kit from a hobby store and use that for a 4-H project. We're sticking with the Purdue kits though. I think that the kits, along with the books, do a better job explaining electricity and have a logical sequence of skills from year to year. 

Stripping the wires.

They figured that a pocket knife worked a lot better than those wire strippers. 

They had a tiny little circuit board they had to solder 6, or was it 8, different wires onto. 

A pair of pliers and a rubber band make a great third hand while you are soldering! 

Taping down the wires and the coil to the outside of the tube. 

The blue thing right up there is the capacitor and that had to be soldered onto the circuit board along with the two red wires, and the light bulb. I learned that the capacitor stores the energy to light the bulb. 

Then all that the boys soldered together had to be put down into the plastic tube, give it a shake and the light bulb lights up!! Now I know how Edison must have felt...LOL 

Yip and Yap had a lot of wires to cut. They learned quickly that they had to do a neat job or that whole section wouldn't fit down into the tube. 

I know, those solders above aren't very pretty.....

...but they did the job! 

How are you all doing on 4-H projects? After helping my boys with 4-H projects, I think I'd take electricity and woodworking over a clothing project any day! 

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