Saturday, May 30, 2009

I have babies!

The garden has babies, I should say... it's flourishing, and I am still in shock. Oz laughs at me, but I've never had anything grow and STAY alive before, let alone actually blossom and turn into something. I planted some squash a couple of years ago and got a few flowers, but never had anything actually grow that you could eat, and it certainly wasn't the size of the plant I have now!

That'll be the squash there in the middle. When I planted it, you could step right over it and have room on either side... not so much now, eh??

This is my first baby cucumber... it's adorable! I never knew they had all those little spikes on them. Grow baby grow!

My pole beans are actually climbing their poles now... it's amazing how fast they grow once they grab on. A week ago, this thing had just wrapped around the bottom.

My strawberry plant is actually producing strawberries. I didn't think I'd get any this year because, well, they're first-year strawberry plants, but those sure look like babies to me. Fingers crossed the bugs stay out of them!

This is one of the half a dozen squash I've got growing - this is actually one of the smaller ones, but I couldn't get a good shot of the bigger ones. The biggest one is about as long as my hand already. Woohoo!

One of the tomatoes. We planted three varieties of tomatoes - four Romas (see below), one bush tomato that hasn't started putting on fruit yet, and this one, called a "Cherokee Purple." I'm curious to see how it'll turn out!

My Romas are producing a bunch already, too. I'm so worried about bugs now, but at the same time, it's awesome to see all these little tomatoes growing. Before, I was worried about pollination, but I guess I didn't need to. These babies are everywhere!

I didn't kill the okra after all, but I'm so glad it's getting warmer outside. The cool, wet weather wasn't making it very happy!

Last but definitely not least, these are the kids' pumpkin plants. They're not in the garden; I put them in the same spot that I successfully grew the pumpkin plant last year, snug between the now-dead peony plants. They're taking off, too!
I can't wait until everything gets big... I REALLY can't wait to make some homemade spaghetti sauce with homegrown tomatoes, herbs, and maybe even a homegrown bell pepper... ohh the love of gardening has bit and bit hard... I can see why people love it!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Oklahoma Travel

This year, we're not going to take a big family vacation like we have in the past. Last year, we went down to Houston. We had a blast! But the drive... ugh... and then we flew up to Pennsylvania in the fall to visit Oz's dad and stepmom. So I was 'big'-traveled out. I wanted to stay closer to home, save a few bucks on hotel expenses, food expenses, etc. So this year, instead of taking a big trip, we're touring our home state, learning about all the fun stuff it already has to offer!

We've already done stuff like the sheep-shearing weekend, the Amish Cheese House, and I took the kids down to see the azaleas in Muskogee while they were in bloom.

This weekend, we decided to go visit Oklahoma City and visit the Omniplex, though I think now they call it the Science Museum Oklahoma. It'll probably always be the Omniplex to me.

Regardless, the kids LOVED it. I had thought it would be busier than it was, seeing as it was a holiday weekend, but I guess all the crowds were headed to the zoo next door, so the INDOOR museum wasn't busy at all! Oz and I split up for a while since the kids are interested in different things, but we wound up back together at random intervals and I was able to get some good pictures.

M2 loved hearing her voice in the echo tube. I mostly think she just likes hearing her own voice. ;)

Oz couldn't resist trying everything out himself. Fidget.

M2 also loved SEEING herself. She played in the mirrors for ages.

M1 couldn't get enough of the cloud rings in the weather room.

He and Daddy also climbed into the tornado chamber together. That number on the read-out is the wind speed. M1 came out saying tornados weren't so bad. It put me in mind of that skit by Ron White: "It's not *that* the wind is blowin'... it's *WHAT* the wind is blowin'..." but I didn't go there. M1 is typically very afraid of the thought of tornados, so to hear him be okay with it was reassuring!

They also had a special exhibit at the museum that we bought passes for. It was sponsored by Odyssey Explorer, and it featured a bunch of actual treasure, most of it brought up from a Civil War era ship, though some was from a ship much, much older. One of the treasures was an actual bar of Spanish gold! It was amazing to see how well everything had survived. It was all in gorgeous condition. These are actually made of glass.

After we left the Science Museum, we visited my mom, who had fixed lunch for us, and then we took her to see the Myriad Gardens. We didn't pay to go into the conservatory since it was a nice day (and I hadn't done my research beforehand to realize we *would* have to pay - oops!), but the grounds were still lovely.

The kids loved the koi and the ducks that were scattered around the water features.

All in all, it was a great day! The kids were absolutely exhausted by the time we got home, but it was well worth it to see the great treasures that Oklahoma holds for us. I encourage you all to get out and see what your state has to offer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why I Have Neglected This Blog...

I haven't been posting on here for a while now - about a month, or so Blogger tells me. I haven't forgotten. I've just been busy. I have discovered that doing things by hand is definitely time-consuming, and I'm getting more of the idea of why moms a century or so ago didn't have much in the way of time. Thank heaven for children who are able to amuse themselves.

Not to say I'm doing EVERYTHING by hand...

though sometimes it seems like it, especially when I have to soak the laundry because the kids have just eaten popsicles with cherry-red coloring in them while wearing blue and white clothes!

I don't feel very patriotic while doing laundry, no matter what the colors are.

I've also been busy with THIS...

That's right. You may drool. It's homemade bread, specifically whole wheat with flaxseed in it. It took all of my willpower not to just devour the entire loaf whole while I was taking that picture. I love fresh bread.

The garden is also thriving, which mostly I attribute to all the recent rain more than any actual skill on my part, though trying to keep up with the weeds is just about a full-time job.

I discovered THESE on my tomato plants today.
These aren't the only ones, either. There are actually many many more on most of the plants. I'm going to drool over tomatoes now. I love fresh tomatoes even more than I love fresh bread.

The thriving garden... please ignore all the weeds. I *do* actually weed the garden at least twice a week, but you gotta love it... when the garden grows, so do the weeds! Note to self: Next year, invest in mulch.

See the basil? I also love fresh basil. And fresh tomatoes. On fresh bread. I need to get some balsamic vinegar and teach myself to make some fresh mozzarella. THAT would be heaven.

Again, ignore the weeds... I just had to get a close-up of the squash plant. Yes, it is the only one I planted. I have no desire to inundate people with hordes of squash.

The other half of the garden...

I've also been experimenting with drying the herbs. Turns out I can do that pretty well! This is a dried basil leaf... might handy to know how to do since I have no great desire to try to overwinter the herbs in my house.

Now... this is another example of how I spend my time these days, here in the "country." M1 ran excitedly in the house today wanting to show me a "collection" of things he'd found outside. I was thinking various weeds. Apparently HE meant a dried earthworm, a dead June bug, and some sort of squished caterpillar.

Gotta love the country life...

And now you know why I've been neglecting this blog.

I promise not to do it again. Until it happens. And then I apologize.