Tuesday, May 29, 2018

More Garden Fun

This past year in the new-old house was mostly spent working on inside projects, but I've been itching to play outside! Memorial Day weekend was dedicated to just that, and I have to say Mike put the most backbreaking labor into it all. Even the littles helped, though, so we are all proud of what we got done.

While Mike worked away at the big project, the rest of us did some littler ones. First up was cleaning out all the dead leaves and debris from the area that runs along the whole front of the house. The kids helped move alllllll the pretty crystal rocks into a pile, then when clean-out was done, they moved them allllll back into a border again!

The smaller rocks were getting dragged around by the garden hose, feet, etc., so the larger rocks are now strategically places to catch the hose instead.

You could do a whole mineralogy unit with these!

And yes, most were found in New Mexico.

Next we relocated a small garden area, which then doubled the size of our outside sitting area, and attacked that with the leaf blower.

Yes, I know the chairs aren't going to stay lined up like that for another five minutes, but at least they aren't lying on their backs or being stacked as forts. For now. Ooooh, and empty pots! We can't have that, now can we?

My mother in law started this rock garden to keep the hillside back from the driveway ages ago - Mike talks about driving down the road and having to turn back because she had spotted a flat rock! I've tried adding to it over the past year, and finally got it done this weekend, with rocks we cleared away from other areas. 

I planted several things, but this Creeping Jenny is really taking off.

Now for Daddy's project:

The main garden is 17 x 27 feet, and the add-on to the left is the 10x10 cage that came from what is now the seating area. A week ago, this whole area was the burn area, and a year ago it was (unbeknownst to us) a huge underground yellow jacket nest. We found out about the latter very painfully, when someone poked a stick down the entrance. That was subsequently dug up and burned, then a whole bunch of brush from the property was burned there. We started adding dead leaves and chicken coop clean-outs a while back, then this weekend Mike brought many, many trailer-loads of dirt from the orchard (with some help from Christopher), and tilled it all together. Two nice hot, sunny days for driving in fence posts and stringing up chain link (with the deer watching and laughing), and I have a garden!

There are cinder blocks alllll over the property, and as we run across one we are adding it to this 'wall'. Leaf mulch for now, a larger potato patch next year. Or strawberries. Something will go there.

The 10x10 area is now the pumpkin patch.

You can tell by this!



Sweet peppers

Can you guess what's here?

Bean greens (in another place as well - they never look like enough when you are starting those peat pellets...)

Coming soon: a couple rows of carrots and beets

And a couple rows of corn!

Hooray for green things! And popsicles on hot days. Whew!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Redneck Raised Garden

So, I've been busy. Summer Reading registration started off with 30% more kids on the first day than last year (hooray for having our Facebook back!). Everyone in the free world had a birthday in May, and we were either hosting or going to their party (in fact, I just dropped Christopher off at another one.) Kids getting bigger now means dance recitals and band concerts. And, of course, the house is still a work in progress.

All of which to say, I have not done much blogging this month, have I? And I don't feel the tiniest bit guilty about it. Hopefully, though, now that the end-of-school-year-craziness is at least done, I can start to show you some of the things we have been up to!

One of the banes of my existence has been a very old freezer that was camped out in the driveway. Remember in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when he escaped the nuclear explosion by diving inside this huge clunky old freezer? I think this is the same one. We disposed of the door with no problem, but in order to take the shell itself to the dump, you have to certify it has had the freon removed. I think this thing dates from before God invented freon, so that was a problem. And it is HEAVY. And looking like - well, trash - in the front of my driveway.

Okay, fine, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Or, something to that effect.

First, flip it on its back and cut the shelves out.

Well, that's pretty. See the cans of spray paint? It took three and a half to cover all the rust.

Mike filled it most of the way with lava rock, then the rest of the way with dirt from the orchard. I started some flower seeds I have found around the place in eat pellets, and transferred in those that sprouted.

I have no idea what is growing in there right now.

Then I let the kids have at it!

We had a few "less is more" talks, but I think they were largely ignored. I think it looks awesome - and I love how Logan puts smiley faces on everything!

Can you tell which one was mine? I may need to go add some polka-dots.

I put burlap on the other three sides, so it isn't quite as obvious from the road, but I think in all it's a vast improvement over the dead-appliance-in-the-driveway look! Can't wait until things start blooming in it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spring STEAM

This was originally billed as Peeps Science, but it turned into Spring in general - because you can only do so much with Peeps and babies!

And, because I had a special request for rainbow spaghetti, which I was all too happy to fulfill: 

I just use plain old food coloring after cooking the noodles al dente. I toss it with a couple forks to mix, but once it has 'set' the colors don't bleed much.

So squishy! (Both the baby and the 'sghetti!)

Spring here in southern NM means wind, and lots of it!

The fan was set up on the floor.
It was hard to get pictures that weren't blurry!



Mostly things from my yard the morning of, with activity cards created by Explora Albuquerque. I love things that give parents a few simple questions to help them guide the exploration!


There were a couple different sizes of eggs - and a bit of dirt, because I forgot I had just tossed them into the box right after Easter.

And, yes, we did use those Peeps:

I melted the Peeps and mixed the corn starch in partway, then left them in the bowls for the kids to finish kneading. FYI, yellow does not melt as easily as purple, but pink just goes straight to goo. I made this up an hour beforehand, and it was hard when we got started! Fortunately, ten seconds in the microwave softened it back up perfectly.

I'm impressed, L. here used to refuse to touch anything sticky. As you can see, he's still not thrilled about it!

More engineering!

No glue or tape, but I did provide scissors to cut they yarn. Don't worry, the eggs are hard-boiled! There were some fabulous creations:

Lots of fun for our final STEAM of the school year!