Friday, April 24, 2015


It's been a bit since my last post... I guess that's mostly because 1) I've started on several projects, but haven't finished most (any?) of them for one reason or another, and/or 2) my bad, bad...bad, bad, bad  mood.

We went down to my parent's place in Florida for Easter. My sister and her family came up, and my niece and her fiance' came down, too. We brought my Aunt along with us.

It should have been a nice get-away/family gathering, but it wasn't all it could have been.

Spring finally sprung and turned my yard into the annual Spring Bee Buffet.

I don't care what people think/say, I love looking out at all the beautiful and colorful flowers covering the yard.  I'll take my "weeds" over a plain old green lawn any day.

My son's sweet friend, unaware that I grow the "weeds" on purpose to attract bees, thought our lawnmower was broken and very kindly offered to mow the yard for us. Sweet, sweet boy!

We had mowed out trails around the yard, down to the Chicken House, and to/around my Clothesline.
When I was ready to start putting in my garden, Kev got out and mowed the area for me.

I moved the garden on up the hill, close to the house this year. Last year it was further down and the last row of tomatoes ended up shaded under the Catawba tree.

The first row is (5) Beefsteak tomato plants, the second row is (6) Black Russian tomato plants.
The third row is (5) Datil pepper plants, and the fourth row is (6) Cherokee Purple tomato plants.
(The pots in the picture are Hydrangea and dead Marigolds and Mums...I just sat them next to the plants to prevent anyone from accidentally stepping on the tiny tomato plants, since I didn't plow, they are hard to see in the rest of the grass/weeds.)

My jalapeno peppers didn't sprout/grow, so I plan to just buy some at the local nursery and plant a row of those past the Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

And then there's the pumpkins.
Arrggh, the pumpkins!

How many years I've tried growing pumpkins, only to end up with complete failure!

I thought for sure I had it beat this year.
I bought new seeds. Germinated them, raised them into nice little plants.

I already knew running the vines on the ground didn't work out well for us because grass/weeds grow up around them and we end up mowing the vines.
So I decided to grow them vertically.

I had grown some pumpkins vertically one year, and they were actually coming along pretty well - until J weed-whacked the vine!

I debated what I was going to use for a trellis, I had figured t-posts and string/wire, but then I saw the big wire round things J had used as tomato cages previously and thought they would make good vine-climbing things.  

Then it was, where to put them?
I had thought about up between the house and the clothes line, but then for whatever reason changed my mind and decided to put them in the lower part of the garden.

Stepped away - I thought - from the shade of the Catawba tree.
There wasn't any shade there at the time I planted the pumpkins!

But then I went out this morning - late morning, like, 11:00am - and what do I see?? My pumpkins are shaded - and the tree isn't even in full leaf yet!

So it'll be afternoon before they get sun, and by 3:00 o'clock the sun's going on over behind the large Hackberry trees in the side yard.

 No way the pumpkins will get 6-8 hours of good sun daily.

Dag nab it!
I really don't want to have to move them, but if I don't, then it'll be another pumpkin fail.

Otherwise, two of my Blueberry bushes I had relocated up closer to the house are doing very well. There appears to be a good crop of berries setting in.

However, the littlest one up and died. I don't know why. Maybe a disease, but I don't anything about plant diseases, so I just don't know.

As far as projects go, we got a lot of work done on the Chicken House for awhile (sorry, no pics).
Got walls on, windows in, and a roof.

The roof broke our "completely free" mode, because we bought tin instead of using J's cousins shingles he'd offered. (Not sure why we decided to buy tin instead of using free shingles, I guess we just wanted a tin roof Chicken House, or - I don't know.)

Still didn't get as much done as anyone else who was doing the work would have (anyone else would have finished the entire stupid thing and had chickens in it already in one weekend. It takes us freaking years because we have to waste time screwing up and fighting about everything).

Then it started raining and rained 8 - 9 days straight. (J don't work out in the rain. He would melt.)

Then he strained a muscle in his back at work, and he'll milk that for the next however long.

(Yes, I'm pissed off.)

One nice day, for no particular reason, I decided to paint my clothes line.

Kev helped me. It looks better - brighter, cleaner.

I had some old pots I'd gotten from freecycle or where ever - I'd tried to sell the lot for 50¢ at my yard sale but no takers. I didn't figure a Thrift Store would want them either, and they'd probably end up in the garbage, so I decided to keep them and do something with them. Something arty.

I also have a shed full of cans of all kinds of colors of spray paint that J had gotten free when he cleaned out a basement for a friend of a friend.

I figured I would spray paint the pans with some kind of design and hang them outside somewhere decoratively, maybe on the clothes line posts, or the side of the shed, or house.

Unfortunately that's as far as I've gotten on them, because I remembered I'm not an Artist, much less a spray-paint artist.

I have no idea what to paint on them...I had thought to make them flowers, with the handle as a green stem, but then realized they'd be upside flowers when I hung them. Derp!

I also acquired this lap desk from a freecycle haul.

We'd had a lap desk previously, but I don't know what happened to it. I guess for some reason it ended up in one of my de-hoarding/de-cluttering haul offs and got donated to the Thrift Store. 

Kev used the lap desk with his lap top computer when he sits in the livingroom or elsewhere not in his room, so I'm not sure how/why I would have gotten rid of it.
Oh well, I ended up with this one to fix up for him.

I sanded it and spray-painted it purple, Kev's favorite color.

The back side has velcro strips for attaching the lap pillow. I taped those off before painting it.

The pillow part has velcro and just lays on and sticks.

I told him to tell his brother to make him some vinyl stickers - his name or whatever designs he likes, Runescape or Mine craft or whatever - with his Cricut machine (yes, my 24 year old son has his own Cricut machine) to decorate it.

But he didn't know what he wanted, so it's not decorated, so I can't share any completed pictures of that project, either.

And then lastly - also no pictures, though - the Gas Kitchen Stove eff-up.

Long, complicated story, but basically two things: my old house doesn't have an electrical socket near the gas stove area. My old stove ran off gas only, with a "standing" (or always lit) pilot light. Two, "standing" pilot light stoves were outlawed in the past couple of years so are not available for sale in stores any more.

Add to, my old stove's oven seal dry-rotted and wouldn't seal the oven closed to keep the heat in to be able to cook/bake.  I tried looking for a replacement, but apparently I had an odd-ball stove that no one ever heard of.
It's a Magic Chef, but when you look up the Serial Number for parts, there is nothing.
We called appliance parts/repair places and they kept saying we must have the number wrong, because it was coming up "Not found" in their systems.

So, eventually I saw a gas stove for sale on a local Facebook group, asked, and yes, it had a "standing" pilot light. So we went and bought it for $50.00.

Only thing was, it was set for propane, not Natural Gas, like we have, but it should have been an easy enough conversion.

Long story short, the $50.00 stove is permanently broken, and the part we need is no longer manufactured.

$50.00 bucks down the drain, and where I at least had working stove eyes before on the old stove, now I don't even have that much.

And I'm on Craig's list searching for another stove, asking people, "does it have an electronic pilot light, or has the pilot light that always stays lit?" and get answered, "I don't know anything about the pilot light, sorry."


So, that's about it from around here for now.

I hope May is better...but the way it's been going pretty much all year, I don't have high hopes.