Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

No, it's not. It's farmer's market Thursday and I'm skipping it today. I'm sending Tim there with a list and directions to NOT pick up any Amish baking this week. He is supposed to call and report his finds when he's done.

I got out early this morning and did some harvesting. Yes, we have tomatoes. There are still more on the plants but I left them to ripen a little bit more. I also got another zuke and some peppers. I think there is one more zucchini on the bush.

today's harvest

I haven't taken any pics of the gardens lately because I'm embarrassed by all the weeds. I should take a picture and post it and maybe it will shame me into getting out there and weeding. I keep saying "next weekend" and then something else comes up. Tim is on call this weekend so that means we won't be going anywhere this weekend and I'm not planning on any canning...maybe this weekend?

It dawned on me today that I haven't posted any pictures of Martin lately. I know you are all curious as to whether or not he's alive or not. He's very much alive and happy.


Purple undersides

I love how on some of his leaves they are purple. He's covered in pretty little delicate flowers. I wish I could say the bonsai was doing as well. I think I'm going to give up on bonsais for a while.

So, everyone knows that I'm the queen of procrastination. I should be out cutting grass and picking up after Patchy. *mental note...don't give Patchy any more stuffed animals that he can gut out and leave stuffing all over the house.* Have I done any of that? No. Not yet at least. I have been finishing up the "classroom". I think we are pretty much ready for the official start of school in a couple of weeks. Aidan and I have done a great job in sneaking some classes in early but it's about to get interesting here with keeping both of the boys focused and doing their work.

our little classroom

Patchy sneaking it to see if there is anything he can chew

Connor's books

Aidan's books

Our desk

Patchy taking a break

I'm so glad that we have a room dedicated to the classroom. I think it makes it so much easier. The boys know that when they are in that room, it's time for school. In the house we used to live in we did school in the dining room and while it worked, it wasn't as easy. We always had school books and projects all over the place and Connor was easily distracted by other things going on in the home. Now, we all sit in this bright cheery room. I have to thank my mom and dad for the desk for the boys too. They got them cubbies and the door to put down on top of the cubbies. I'm glad I got a picture of it now while it's all neat and organized. I can guarantee that it won't look like this a month from now. I know to not even put that on my goal list for school. It's an impossible dream. But, it works for us. Plus, I can close the door when we're not using it.

Well, time to go out and cut some grass. It's gorgeous outside. I'm amazed by the weather we've had so far in August. It's noon and it's 60 degrees out. For August? Are you kidding me?! I am so not complaining though. It's perfection for me. I have windows open and a nice breeze is blowing through.

I hope everyone else is having a nice day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Off the gardening topic.

No garden posts today. I haven't been out in the gardens for a couple of days because I've been in bed with a stomach flu. Today is the first day that I'm back up and moving around. Thankfully, the kids didn't destroy my house. They actually did really well and took care of themselves with only a minor dispute here and there. So today it was back to the grind.

I skipped a couple of days of school with Aidan because 1. I was sick and 2. it's not officially school yet. We got back to it today. He took his first math test and aced it. He's doing first grade math work even though he's in kindergarten. He did his reading lesson and we had fun doing that. Then came science. The lesson in itself wasn't bad. It was talking about physical characteristics and how to identify them and how to make sure you are moving with caution so as to not hurt yourself or someone else. The end of the lesson he was to color a picture of three kids on a slide. This is where Aidan has his melt down. He had one last week with a lesson too. I fear my son is a perfectionist. Last week he was learning to write the letter B. I showed him how to do it first. I drew it for him and had him trace it with his fingers and then I told him to write one just like mine. He took it too literally and because his B didn't look exactly like my B did, he started crying and it took me five minutes to calm him down. I tried explaining to him that of course my B was going to look different from his B because I have been writing much much much longer than he has. That didn't help him. He finally calmed down, but I could tell that it still bothered him.

Fast forward to the coloring today. Now those of you who know Aidan knows he considers himself the "artisit" in the family. He has always been very crafty and interested in painting and making things. I really thought he would have no problems with coloring and his art this year. I was wrong. After his lesson, when he found out he was to color the picture, his demeanor changed. He kind of slumped over and started to act depressed. I asked him what was wrong. He said it was going to be too hard. I said it's just a picture. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just do your best coloring that you can do. Tears start. He says he can't do it. I color one of the shirts on one of the kids in the picture and I go out of the lines and make it look a little sloppy and show him that I don't always get it right either. Well, what should have been a five minute project turned into 30 minutes of crying. It got to the point where I asked him why he was crying. And it went from the fact that it didn't look perfect to he was worried about the crayons breaking to the point that if all the crayons broke, we wouldn't have room to store them all. Oy vey. I finally got him calmed down and called break time. I'm not really sure what to do. He's so smart and is so eager to learn. I really thought that Aidan would be a cake walk in comparison to Connor for school. I hope that I can break Aidan of his perfectionism. I just want him to do his best job and not freak out if it's not "perfect". I suppose I'm going to have to go do some research and see if I can find anything to help him out. I want this year to be fun for all of us. That is my number one goal for the upcoming school year. Which, btw, I need to get my schooling goals down here pretty soon as the official start date is creeping ever closer. If anyone has any ideas on how to help Aidan, please share!

I'm going to try and get out into the gardens later today and I'm hoping Tim will cut grass for me tonight. Hint, hint! I hope everyone else has a fabulous day!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What do you do with all of these?

Tomatoes harvested last week.

Well, Tim made some more pasta sauce. He blanched all of them and peeled them, this time remembering to cut the stem out first. Then he asked "how can we take the seeds out?" and I remembered this (scroll down to thingamajig). Nancy had dropped this off a while back and I'm glad I remembered it. The kids have been waiting to mash something in it and they went to town. It made it so much easier to remove the seeds and pulp. It got a little messy but they had a blast.

Smashing Tomatoes (not to be confused with Smashing Pumpkins)

I was shocked at how much sauce we got out of those tomatoes. And the compost pot filled up quickly. Which btw, our compost is half full already. And you can see how it's turning into black gold at the bottom. Our gardens will be very happy next year!

Once the tomatoes were all sauced, Tim went to making his magic. He used everything out of the garden except the garlic. Which got me to thinking that I would like to try and grow garlic next year. He used zucchini, green peppers, garlic, basil and oregano. He ran the veggies through the blender so that Aidan wouldn't realize they were in there. Last time he added Parmesan cheese but this time we didn't. I wanted to can them and wasn't sure about the cheese. When we reheat a jar, we can add the cheese at that point, or not. He let the big pot of sauce reduce down until it got all thick and yummy looking and then I canned 6 pints of sauce. I processed it for 35 minutes in the water bath. At least I hope it was 35 minutes. I thought I had set the time, but apparently I didn't. But, I was outside talking to Debbie and Nancy for a good bit and I also got a bunch of lines done of knitting. They all sealed up almost immediately after taking them out of the water.

sgetti sauce!

While Tim was cutting stems and blanching and peeling tomatoes, I tackled a project in my notebook. It was brought on by the fact that I saw mouse poo in our pantry...and after digging around I found a dead mouse. Ugh. I didn't see what the little guy had been eating. Probably the dog food and Patchy's cookies. I moved them up to higher shelves and completely tore everything out of the pantry and reorganized it. I realized when it was done, that we don't have nearly the stuff in there that I thought we did. Time to start restocking the cupboards. Of course, that would explain why our grocery bills went from almost 200 dollars a week to 95 dollars. We were just eating out of the cupboards and the garden. I'll start restocking beans and stuff again this week.

clean cupboard...a little bare, but that will be remedied.

So, after a weekend of a lot of rain and a lot of canning, we are starting the week with more rain and cool weather. I have to go make a loaf of bread and work on some laundry. I'm hoping to get out into the gardens and do some weeding if it dries out a bit and I need to get some grass cut. I suppose I should get off the computer and go get started on one of these projects. Have a great day!