Monday, June 29, 2009

The Wall

Is coming along AWESOME! There are two guys working on it, and they are true artists. It is tough, gruelling labor, too. I know, I tried a bit once... remember when?

These guys are workhorses though. The wall is quite a thing of beauty, and not even done yet. Here's an action shot of the progress...

OK, so that's not really them. But for some reason they built a little mini-wall on the actual wall, so we decided to make a mini-diorama of the fellas in action.

I think when they finish and we get the yard cleaned up a bit, we'll have a big wall christening party to celebrate.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Clean and Fresh and Pure

And it really, really works!

With lots of help from the Boyo, Ben and Holly were both thoroughly scrubbed with the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, soft soap and water mixture. I left it on them for about five minutes, then hosed them down, and sure enough, the stink was gone! WOOT! Now they just smell like wet dog!

I thought we were in for another rough night. But no, we shall sleep stench free!

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Last night Ben the Dog discovered a visitor to our little neck of the woods. My best guess is that it was either a black and white cat with incredibly bad halitosis, or a skunk.

When Holly Bedudah came dashing inside for the night, she went right into her kennel and settled in. When I called Ben in, he came right away, bringing with him the most god awful, rotting onion, decomposing flesh of a stinky wildebeest smell. He made it almost to the stairs before I banished him to the porch for the night. But the damage had been done. The house smelled quite horrid for bedtime, in spite of opening every possible window and venting as much of the stink as we could.

Fortunately by this morning the indoor smell had pretty much dissipated. Ben still reeks though, and we are off to the store to by ingredients for a skunk smell remedy. Liquid soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. I'll let you know how that works.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hello Again

Yes, yes. It's been a long time. But we've been busy! Travels to Chicago so Sweet Pea could finally meet her Great Grandmother, weeding the garden, oh yes, and getting sick, sick, sick.

We all have some sort of upper respiratory illness. We are hesitant to say Swine Flu, since it is undiagnosed. I think it's just a wonderful hacking cough with some congestion, low grade fever, and pounding headache thrown in for fun. OK Swine Flu would be easier. Still. I doubt very much that it is.

Anyway, the travels to Chicago went very well. A good time was had by all. The Boyo was very excited to see his cousins and was delighted with the visit. Upon leaving he stated that he loved everybody, but would miss great grandma most of all.

Another funny little Boyo quote. Before we left for Chicago we let him play some Wii to wear him out a bit. He loves tennis, and frequently plays against himself, leading to fast and furious footwork and hitting of the tennis ball. When he was finally convinced to play against the computer, he was challenged by two girl characters. "Look!" he exclaimed. "I'm playing against my wife!"

OK, we thought. No harm there. Well, as the game concluded he was victorious. Though he had his mother and I in hysterics and left us trying to explain to him what was so funny as he ran around the house screaming at the top of his lungs...

Oh yeah, and I weeded the garden some today too. I hate being sick.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh Beans!

I went out to get some pictures of my indestructible tomato cages for my website, and guess what I found!

Yep, BEANS! They have erupted from the ground and begun to grow!


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Busy Week

Yes, Yes. I've been gone for awhile. this is what happens when one travels to ones parents for a couple of days of fun and welding, followed by a four day weekend of random twelve hour shifts.

But I'm back now, so here's the catch up. (Mmmmm Ketchup!)

All four of us and our dogs piled into the car at the beginning of last week and headed to my folks house. Officially we were there so Dad and I could weld together a tower for his Topsy Turvy tomato bags.

Mission accomplished. I think we should call it :
Terry's Terrific Topsy Turvy Tomato Tower Thingy.

We got a gigantor tomato cage/tower welded up for his raised bed too. Now he should be able to harvest a good crop of the little red tasty treats.We also got some furniture moved around for mom and some organizing done!

We also had a delightful time visiting with the parentals.

I've only got two of the topsy turvy thingie, but I think I might have to make a tower like this sometime too!

The three shifts of paramedicing were eventful and stressful, and nothing I get to share here. So I'm looking forward to an upcoming ten day gap between shifts to relax, build and decompress!

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Garden Story

The Boyo and I were out planting the tomatoes and peppers the other day, as you may remember. Well, the process went something like this.

I would roll out the groundcloth, having the Boyo hold the other end in place, a very important job. Then I'd cut off the piece and we would spread it over the plot. Then he and I would carefully put the ground cloth staples in to hold it in place.

I would cut holes in it where the plants would go, and we would plant.

Perhaps you also remember that the Boyo was having some problems determining where to walk in the garden. The center path was apparently not intuitive to a five year old, and he would walk through the plots instead tripping over the twine criss crossing the garden.

Well, after they were covered and planted it became much easier to see that shining center path, or so I thought. I was up on the fourth plot, the Boyo had grown bored with the repetition and had grabbed his purple watering can to helpfully water the plants we had already planted. He was at the bottom of the garden and I saw him getting ready to walk through the newly planted plot.

"Wait!" I said. "Remember that you are supposed to walk up the middle where the dirt is not covered!"

He looked at me for a moment, questioning.

"See all this nice black ground cloth that we put down?" I asked.

"Yeah Daddy." He said.

"Well, don't walk on the black cloth. Only where there is dirt. OK?"

He looked at me again, a little like I must be crazy, but answered "OK Daddy."

He then lifted his little foot very gingerly, looking like a sneaking cartoon character, and placed it squarely in the middle of one of the cutout circles where a little pepper plant had been tenderly planted not a half hour earlier.

I watched his little foot squish said plant and yelled in shock "WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!"

He quickly jumped back to where he had started and looked a little shocked as well.

"You said to walk on the dirt!" He said.

I had to give him credit. Plant or no, he was just walking on the dirt! He was very concerned after I pointed out that he had squished the pepper, but we both agreed that the pepper would be fine (I crossing my fingers) and the crisis was averted.

Of course, I was much more careful to explain what dirt to walk on after that.

Post Script: The squished pepper came back like a champ and is doing quite good. I have since removed the twine that I used to lay out the plots, and the Boyo knows exactly where we can and can't walk out there!

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Very Long Days

Sometimes, as was the case the other day, I have Very Long Days, or VLD's. Here's how those work.

When I have a night shift, I'll usually try and stay up until the wee hours of the morning the day before it, then sleep all day to prepare for the shift. Sometimes though I fall asleep early in the night, and then I can't sleep much past noon. This time, I woke up at noon on the fourth, then went off to work a 7 pm to 7am shift. I had call until 11am after the shift. Not usually a big deal since I can then get a little sleep before the drive home.

This time though, there was a transfer going out, and I got called back in to work after an hour of being off the clock. My relief came at 11 am, and I headed for home, well caffinated by sweet tea from Mickey D's. Upon my return to my domicile, I showered and hung out with the family a bit, since they are all just too cute to ignore for sleep!

Once the Sweet Pea was ready for her nap, I finally got to lie down. That was after being awake for twenty six hours. After a three hour nap, I got up again and we went to dinner at our favorite Mexican place with some of our favorite friends.

One thing I am slowly learning... I'm not quite as able to pull off VLD's as I was when I was younger. Back in my USMC days, we'd do 48 - 72 hour ops, sleep 8-10 hours then do it again. I held up pretty well back then. Sometimes I miss being twenty.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Year and a Day

My blog is one year old today! I started it last June 3rd with the intention of blogging every day. Of course I learned quickly that life happens, and blogging every day was a little impractical. But, one year and counting as of today!

And what a day today was! Not only did I get all the beans planted, leaving just basil and sage to plant before I can sit and watch my garden grow, but I launched a business website today!

If you're interested it is and shows some of what I do in the garden and in the shop. I finally feel like I can offer my hobbies on a professional level and my friend Lisa set me up with this beautiful website to sell my wares.
Quite an eventful day. The boyo helped me with the beans, and he was a hoot! I found a good hole poking stick for planting beans a few years back, and he spent most of the day coveting the stick. I'd poke the holes and he would drop a bean into it and cover it with dirt. He was a great helper! He really loved the watering part though, and demanded his fair time holding the hose and spraying the newly planted seeds.

It's been a great day. Beautifully sunny and warm, all of the tomatoes and peppers looking good, and a brand new website for my fledgling business. Not to mention time well spent with two adorable kiddos!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Night Welding

What a fine day it was today. After running to Menards to pick up some rebar for bean poles, The Boyo and I decided to take a time-out-lie-down-for-a-little-bit-to-try-and-chill. For he was very hyper today.

It seems that when he turned five, a switch was flipped to OVERDRIVE, and he has been going non-stop ever since. The volume has increased on his super power, that being the mighty Wall of Sound. And if I could just rig up a huge hamster wheel to the power grid and let him go, I'm sure we'd be selling juice back to the city.

Anyway, I finally got to cutting the rebar around dusk and had welded up one bean tower when it was time to put the kiddos to bed for the night. Always a fun time. The Boyo had earned a bedtime Unicorn story, which turned out to be about how to use your super powers to stay calm. After that and saying goodnight to the Sweet Pea, I headed back to the welder.

It had run out of wire, and while reloading that, I was having some trouble getting it to feed through. Now, my knowledge of how this machine works is limited to turning it on and welding. So I did what I always do when something seems broken. I took it apart to see if I could fix it.

It took some doing, and I did learn a great deal about the inner workings of my little welder, but I finally had reverse engineered it to the point where I found the problem and was able to fix it! By the time I had it all back together again, night had fallen.

So I moved the whole operation in front of the garage where our security light provided enough light to see what I was doing. I then finished up with three more bean towers! I have a total of seven now, and will have a great deal of bean soup stored up for the winter! And I loves my bean soup!

On top of feeling like I built the bean towers to survive a nuke, and fixing the welder, and having a pretty good day with the family, I got the rebar on sale! I might go back soon and stock up for more towers and cages!

I'll get pictures tomorrow of the bean towers. Until then...

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Monday, June 1, 2009


Or nearly so.

In these pictures you can see the results of two days of planting thus far.

There are 22 tomato plants of the following varieties :Amish Paste (a red paste making tomato), Green Zebra (green with gold stripes, and very tasty), Gold Medal (orange and red), Nyagous (black tomato), Japanese Trifele Black (another black tomato, supposed to be better than Roma's), Roma (my favorite little pear tomato, red and tasty and great for making anything!), White Beauty (creamy yellowish-white tomato, also quite tasty), and Italian Heirloom (a standard red tomato).

There are also 48 pepper plants of the following varieties : Ancho Gigantea (which I plan on smoking and making into chipotles), Buran (a big red sweet pepper for jelly making), Chervena Chushka (another big red sweet pepper for jelly), Chocolate Beauty (because who has ever eaten a brown pepper? Will the jelly be brown too?) Hot Portugal (to spice up some salsa), Jalapeno (spice for the jelly, salsa and to be smoked into chipotles as well), Marconi Red (see Buran), Napolean Sweet (See Buran), Orange Bell (for orange jelly), Purple Beauty (for purple jelly), Quadrato Asti Giallo (the Boyo's choice for peppers. It's green and yellow striped), and Wisconsin Lakes (all eight planted sprouted and grew well, hoping for a big yield from this big red pepper to be used for, what else, JELLY!)

There are also two Green Tomatillo plants way up near the shop. These will produce more than enough tomatillos for Tomatillo Salsa and to be used in other salsas.

All that's left are planting the beans, basil and sage... I do love to garden! Though if this gets much bigger, I'm going to start calling it hobby farming.

(Ooooh! Suppose the Wife will let me get a tractor? Like an old Ford 8n? That would be cool!) Man, I need to just move to an actual hobby farm.

Well. Pooped tonight. The family is too. They were all in bed before 9. I'm following shortly as soon as the dogs decide to take care of a little business so they can sleep in in the morning.

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One last thing. Condolences to My Friend Jen who's Grandfather passed away this morning. I know they had been expecting it, but that doesn't make it suck any less. My prayers are for her to take a little time out from all of her being strong and go fall into someones arms for awhile and cry and be not so strong. And to come out on the other end of the next few weeks stronger and remembering the good stuff about her Grandfather. With you in Spirit if not actually my friend.

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