Monday, August 25, 2014

Harvest Monday 8.25.14

Welcome back to Harvest Monday! Once again, I'd like to thank Daphne for sharing her links. Be sure to stop by Daphne's Dandelions to check out what gardeners are harvesting all over the world!

It's the last harvest for August and it's so appropriately timed. 

This week I harvested...Sweet Potatoes! 2 very large specimens. Perfect for a dinner side dish for all 5 of us. It's hard to believe just how big these spuds can get. They were both wonderfully flavored, but then again we were not looking for super sweet. These were sliced and roasted instead of baked and not sweetened. They offered just the right amount of sweetness without any sugar.

Um... and as it turns out I only took a picture of one. LOL. 
Don't let that picture deceive you. This sucker was larger than my hand and over a pound! The stem end there was as fat as a marker. The big news here? NO bug damage. I don't know if it's because I didn't let it store like I did last year or if things are finally evening out in the garden, but either way I'm very glad for it. 

I also harvested a decent sized bell pepper and another gypsy pepper. Those were used in a stir fry and a salad. The guavas are still coming, but most of the fruit now is gathered and eaten then or given to the chickens. They are in full molt mode and in just 3 days times my barred rock went from fully feathered to less than half feathered. She's not happy and hasn't laid in a week now. I don't blame her. All those quills everywhere must be uncomfortable. I might come show you later this week, but don't tell her. I'm pretty sure she'd never lay again if she knew I had shown you her pitiful self right now. ;-)

Kids went back to school last week as well. I can't get over it. They have grown so much over the summer. The difference in them now is astounding. They are actually in different sized clothing which almost never happens. Up until now the only thing I had to buy different for them was socks. Poor Katie got my big feet!
Aw, but isn't it sweet? The first virus of the school year has also been brought home. So much for being excited about going to a bigger school. The pitfalls of more kids is, more germs. Ho-hum. So Kate's home sick today and milking it for all it's worth. LOL. Just hoping Annah or any of the rest of us don't get it. We're supposed to be bringing the ducks up to Alabama this weekend. If we miss this opportunity then they will probably be with us until spring. That means at least one of the males will have to 'disappear' soon. If not 2. I can't have them chasing the girls around and causing a ruckus. The neighbors haven't complained yet, but I've got the girls sectioned off with only 1 of the males. The other 3 boys are in 'The bachelor pad.' So far this has worked pretty well and everyone gets along this way, but I tried putting them all together and it didn't go so well. A few of the boys are overly aggressive with the girl ducks. Now, there would be some advantages to keeping the ducks around for the winter. Eggs for instance. It would be GREAT to have a good supply of eggs over the winter. Oh, how awesome that would be. Besides it wouldn't be so bad to have duck on the menu for Thanksgiving or Christmas, either. 

Making my lists for the great Fall garden cleanup...

See you soon!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014 but busy!

So I've ignored the garden the past few weeks. It's raining daily and my poor fruits and veggies are splitting left and right. This week promises drier weather but now that I am entrenched in this other project, I have put my garden on hold.

Old plastic surround
So what project am I working on this time? Our Master Bathroom. We had an issue with mold/mildew forming on the wall at the junction of our shower stall and the bathtub. At first I moaned, then I groaned, then I got mad. Once I had finally given into the fact that I was going to have to do something, and that this something that had to be done was not only drastic but fairly expensive I set upon the task of selecting the best materials for our re-do at the least expensive places. It required a lot of weekends of window shopping ahead of time and the plan was to finish this portion of the project within 2 weeks...Oh boy. Was I wrong!

The first weekend we took out the old surround. This sounds fairly straightforward and easy in theory but in practice it was a much more difficult task than we expected. We ended up having to take it out in pieces. Once this was accomplished we quickly realized that we were in for a bit more that we expected. There was no wall behind this! WHAT?! That's right. It was plastic glued to the wood supports. Oh, BOY!

It was a good thing that we didn't wait much longer for this overhaul. There was mold growing on the back of the fiberglass in places that water couldn't have possibly gotten to. Because there was no wall behind there was also no barrier and no insulation. This created a space between the walls where condensation was occurring unchecked.

Project easy peasy is now put on hold while we research what our next move would be. We knew we'd have to have a wall of course, but how, what and more importantly how much!?

Turns out not to be a horrible cost, but an unexpected cost is still, unexpected. Another $100 isn't the worst of things so I'm grateful for this.

Here you can see we were foolish enough to leave up the fixtures. These were promptly removed after the picture. I don't know why that wasn't our first step. I mean hello? Not going to use them again. LOL.

So we finally get a water resistant wall up, and unlike the picture dictates also got it taped and mudded. This brings us to the next weekend. I wish we didn't keep trying to do this between work and toting the kids around. I think the next time we take on a project this big we will be taking some time off work!

So during the week I visited my local tile outlet. Um, yeah about that. I had to travel a half hour and go past about 20 different tile place or places that sold time to get there. I began to question my sanity and wondered if it wouldn't have cost less after all to pay more for the tile if it was closer. Immediately after that thought I got lost in the aisles and dreamt up all kinds of other things to do in the house. I mean, just look at all these choices, and that is only in the tumbled stone end pieces. There were decorative accents to choose and I needed to coordinate the stone we picked for the tile with the accent and the corners, I needed a shelf, or really a few of them.

About 3 days later my husband filed a missing persons report and the police found me huddled under a rack drooling on myself. No, don't buy it? Well fine. I picked out all the coordinates and loaded up the truck.

Have I mentioned how much I love this big ole truck? It's so convenient to have a vehicle that doesn't mind getting dirty or hauling thousands of pounds of rocks, dirt or whatever sets my little heart to a pitter patter.

The next step is one that we hemmed and hawed about. We are now into yet another weekend. I have a different opinion that my husband when it comes to the placement of the tiles, and the distance of them from each other. I stand by my original thought that less grout is better, but since we did pick a wonderfully coordinating grout color I no longer have to consider stringing my husband up from his toes. See, he started the tile placement while he sent me on and errand. I should have known better. I really, really should have. But, what's done is done. At first I was still very upset with him and may have thought to shave his goatee while he slept. But, looking back it's all good. I got the accents I wanted, he got the spacing he wanted. Most of all I got the SHOWER I wanted. :-D

So I came home to this....
... and that brings us to the next weekend. LOL

See, that whole- "We'll get it done in 2 weeks" thing? Yeah. That got thrown out the window. We are on week FOUR here already people. Sheesh! And then the next weekend....
Hey, at least it's starting to give us an idea of what it will look like.

The following weekend...   This picture is very deceiving. It looks complete. It looks ready to shower in, it looks ready for...THE PLUMBER.
*EEEK* Another $200 and change for an unexpected encounter. The builders installed a very specific type of plumbing fixture that could only be used on a very specific brand on a very specifically NOT MADE ANYMORE thing. Yes, thing. It's a technical term for I'm too ticked off to think straight let me breathe for a minute here 'thing'. 

UGH. So, plumber out during the week and then the grout has to cure for a week. This was one sticking point I wasn't expecting at all. I figured a day or two sure, but a WEEK!? Oh so disappointing when all one dreams of at night is hopping into the shower in the morning for a nice refreshing wash. Of course hidden is all the hundreds of parts of tiles, the hammers, saws, screwdrivers, mastic, grout buckets, floats and all that jazz all over the place. 

So, then we Finally seal the stone and grout and then install the new fixtures...

 And are now supposed to wait 2-3 days before using it. Well. I waited 45 hours. That was enough for me. I gotta tell you, that may have been the best shower of my life. Wait, no I remember that one. It was the third day after I had the twins. THAT was glorious - but this was a close second and a memory I won't soon forget. It's so wonderful to walk in and see the beautiful shower staring back at me. We increased the area inside the shower by nearly half again of what we had and I couldn't be happier with that. 

Only problem is I now get out of said wonderful shower and have to look straight at the nasty mirror, the rusty light fixture (yup it's that moisture problem again) and the old standard counter top.

So, no we have a new vanity in our garage waiting for a small repair and are waiting on a granite counter top we ordered. This is possibly one of the worst ways to revamp I know of. Living our day to day lives and trying to do all this work is exhausting, but it will be so worth it. Just look at what we already accomplished. It can't be any worse than this, can it? (Maybe I shouldn't ask!) I'll keep you posted on the progress. We begin deconstruction again the weekend after Labor Day. Of course that 3 or 4 day weekend would be ideal for this project, but we need to make a trip to Alabama. The 7 ducks are restless.

Speaking of. If anyone needs a beautiful Show Quality Welsh Harlequin- please send them my way. My boys are great but I have at least 1 too many!

See you Soon!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Harvest Monday 8.11.14

Well, things have been super busy around here. With the garden, with the house, with the kids, with schools tarting next week and with a schedule change at work. But, since it's Harvest Monday - I'll start off the posting extravaganza with that.

This weeks harvests include a few avocados, a bucket worth of guavas, some eggs, and a gypsy pepper.

This handful of strawberry guavas is what I am getting on a daily basis. Well, I should clarify this is what I get when I can get to the bushes in the morning and it's not raining. Rain causes the fruit to drop, and the squirrels LOVE these. I'm breaking out the squirrelinator 2000 this next weekend. I'm just waiting for the newly germinated corn to get big enough to withstand a possible trampling. The ducks normally don't go near the gardens, but occasionally one will play chase and that causes a momentary lapse of reason and they will run through quickly.

I waited and waited for this gypsy pepper to turn, but it didn't and I wanted to eat it, and so I did.

Gratuitous avocado shot. Same avocados, I just forgot to get pictures.

 Another shot of the guavas. This basket was gathered over the weekend and I boiled these down. Now I just have to go buy a new strainer and get the seeds out of the pulp and make some jelly.

I'm still debating on if I want a mix of flavors (grape/guava...strawberry/guava) or if I would like to try it on it's own. Either way that is this weeks project. I only cooked enough down for about 2 jelly jars. Just in case. I mean really, what if I don't like it after all?
This is another gratuitous shot of a random pollinator. I do love to try to get good shots of them.

That's it. I ate a few seriously bitter carrots out of the garden, and replanted beans (and the previously mentioned corn) I still need to weed half the garden before I reseed and I'm praying after schools tarts I can get some brassicas in there.

Hope you are having a wonderful week.

See you soon!