Monthly Archives: July 2012

Adventures in Gardening Part 30 ~ Bounty & Babysitting

At the end of my last gardening post I mentioned that I was getting ready to make some of my delicious refrigerator pickles from the bounty of cucumbers I am having.  Thought I’d share a photo that I took of them.  I don’t know about you, but not only is an ice cold drink refreshing on a hot summer day, but so are some tangy refrigerator pickles as well!The recipe I have used for years to make these is from the Kerr Kitchen Cookbook Home Canning and Freezing Guide because it’s quick, simple, and delicious!

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I’m also looking forward to rustling up something yummy with my jalapeno peppers that are ready.  Take a look at these little beauties!I don’t have enough to make my jalapeno poppers with, but I have a couple other new recipes up my sleeve that I’m itching to try.  🙂

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My tomatoes are finally starting to ripen.  It’s about freaking time!  Just starting to see a hint of orange on this one…Sadly, my tomatoes don’t seem to be doing all that well and I’m not sure why.  I knew I probably wasn’t going to get enough from only 2 plants to make my salsa with, but I had hoped I’d end up with more than what I’ve got so far.    😦

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My one lone strawberry plant is really living up its name as “ever bearing” ~ it just keeps on going with its lovely little blossoms and sweet-tart berries.If I ever have enough room to plant more strawberry plants, this will definitely be the variety I will choose.

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And speaking of “lovely little blossoms” here are some delicate lavender colored blossoms that are flowering on my mint plant.My mint had a rough start because the bugs were nibbling on it quite a bit, but it sure is looking happy now.  🙂

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My sis is on vacation for 2 weeks and brought some of her outdoor plants over to my mom’s house for me to babysit while she’s gone.  She brought them over there because she figured it would be easier for me to take care of them while I’m outside at my mom’s tending to my garden, rather than for me to have to make an additional, separate stop at her place each day.  I say “the more, the merrier” and she can just keep them all there permanently for me to enjoy!  😉

She brought over a hanging flower basket that her husband got for her that has such a bright, pretty assortment of colors.~

And some weird looking plant called Horehound that she says she’s going to make her own cough remedy with.  My sis likes to imagine herself as a mad scientist sometimes.  😉~

This is some mystery plant she got from a neighbor who brought it from Brazil.~

Hmm… these 2 mints of hers very well might be all snipped naked by the time she gets home because they want to become tea for me.  😉~

And I’m totally loving these gorgeous Gazanias of hers too…~

See what I mean?  Can’t blame me for wanting to keep all of these!  There are a few other randoms that she brought over as well, along with a couple of things that I even re-potted for her because I’m such a wonderful little sister.  I haven’t even stolen anything out of her closet when I’ve stopped over there to bring in her mail.  😉

~Gardening is my therapy~

Relocating, Remodeling & Readjustments ~ Ceilings and Carpets, and Floors, Oh My!

We had some painters come out the other day to respray all of the ceilings upstairs.  There were a few stains from areas where the roof had leaked before my parents put on a new roof a few years ago, but mostly it was just that as the bedroom furnishings got more and more cleared out, you could really start to see a lot of discolorations.  After 36 years they were really in need of a refreshing.

  This is a before photo I snapped of a portion of my daughter’s room that shows part of the ceiling.  All the ceilings in the upstairs are slanted/angled, but it’s kind of hard to tell from these photos.

And after…So fresh and clean!

The entire upstairs’ ceilings look like brand new!  Makes it hard to wait to paint all the walls now to freshen them up too!

~

But “all in due time, my pretty” because the next thing we needed to do was rip out the carpeting in my mom’s room.  Which surprisingly wasn’t really all that difficult to do.  That’s not to say I’m not completely and utterly exhausted after spending some time “on the floor” so to speak.  😉

But before we could get to the carpet, we had to move the remaining furniture out of my mom’s room which included a couple of very beautiful, but very heavy old dressers.

And that’s where this handy invention comes in.

Pretty nifty things for weak girlie people like me.  You just slip them under each leg of the furniture and they slide it along with ease!  Haha just like it says on the package.  😉~

Okay, so with the furniture out of the way, now we could get down to business.

Because I have asthma and allergies I thought it would be a good idea to wear one of those face mask thingies to protect myself from dying of a dust and debris overdose.  Funny thing is, wearing the thing actually made it more difficult to breathe.  Maybe I got the wrong kind…

My daughter snapped this goofy photo of me wearing it.  I look like I’m getting ready to perform major surgery or something.  “Scalpel.”  😉

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I took the advice of several people and cut the carpet into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then just rolled it up and hauled it out, worked like a charm!~

Then I got busy on the pad.  That came up super easy.  Why, hello there 1902 hardwood floors!  They looked like they were in fairly decent shape too!

But as I continued pulling back the pad, I saw that there was a bit more going on there than just some hardwood floors underneath that carpeting.  Like left over remnants of some old linoleum…

Yeah… like some really freaking awesome looking old linoleum!  Omygosh I love it!  So much so that I wish the entire floor was covered with it.  I can’t even tell you!  I bet it was really cool when it was new, but I love that it’s all old and worn ~ just adds more character to it.But alas since it doesn’t cover the whole floor, it poses a real problem with making the hardwood look halfway decent until we can refinish it properly.

So my daughter set to work trying to set if it would come up.  And it did.  Not real easily though.

She loves that old linoleum almost as much as me so she tried to take it up carefully to keep larger sections of it intact if possible.

I gave her a wide putty knife and that seemed to do the trick, but it scratched the floor underneath quite a bit.  😦  But it couldn’t be helped.This was the main piece that needed pulling up, but some of the other areas were proving to be a bit more stubborn, so we decided to call it quits on our linoleum lifting efforts for the day and go back to work on it a little later.

I was thinking it might be neat to try to make something out of it.  Like take the intact floral part of the pattern, tear unevenly around the edges, then maybe mount it on something, stick an old beat up looking frame around it, and hang it on the wall as a piece of the house’s history.  Could be cool right?  🙂

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I worked for quite a while trying to remove the tacking
strips around the perimeter of the room, but that wasn’t so easy either.  I couldn’t get at it with the hook side of a hammer as a friend had suggested I could pull it up with, so I wedged the end of a flat head screwdriver under it and tapped on it with a hammer to try getting it up that way.

But that was brutal.  Unfortunately, the wood just splintered and all I really succeeded at was managing to gouge and scrape up the wood floor.  😦  So I gave up for the time being. I don’t know what I’m going to do about getting those tacking strips up without wrecking the floor.  Maybe I can try calling a carpet place to see if they know of any other tricks I could try.  I’ll definitely be looking around on the Internet to see what can be done too, but I think I may quite possibly be in over my head here.  Wish me luck…

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Adventures in Gardening Part 29 ~ Cuckoo for Cucumbers

I’m just so happy that my cucumbers are doing so well!  I had hoped they would!  Ya know, you plant a garden with so much hope, but you just never know what’s going to happen.  Between the pests, diseases, and the weather… you can only do so much yourself to work to ensure a healthy and bountiful garden.  I had some disappointments and heartbreaks early on (gosh, remember my disgusting looking bug eaten spinach in Part 17?), and the growing season isn’t over yet, so I’m sure there may be more potential bummers on the gardening horizon, but here at the end of July with my cucumbers flourishing like this ~ all I can feel right now is anticipation and excitement!

However, I am still dealing with that pesky critter I mentioned in my last post, which I’ve now identified as being that evil diabolical squirrel who was frequenting my garden early on in Part 11.  I was sitting out on the patio talking to my sis on the phone and enjoying the view of my garden when I eye spied it making off with one of my cukes.  That little thief had one in its mouth!  I ran over to it and thought of spraying it with the hose, but it was a quick little beast and escaped my watery wrath.  Made me wish I had laser beams I could just shoot from my finger tips to zap that little sucker with.

The next day when I went out to check on things after the rain stopped, I found this on my potting bench…You can even see pieces of the skin scattered there on the ground below.  That horrible evil little creature must have just been leisurely sitting there on my potting bench munching away without a care in the world, having a feast on MY cucumber!  Grrr!

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My sis says she heard that you should always count on about 1/3 of your garden going to the pests, but I don’t have acres of gardens anymore ~ my tiny garden is only 4 x 8, so I don’t have much to spare.  And I’m certainly not wanting to share my harvest with thieving little rodents!  But unless I sit out there 24/7 there isn’t much I can do about it.  And even if I could, what would I do, sit out there with a pellet gun and take target practice?  When it comes down to it, I could never harm a little animal, even if it is an evil diabolical squirrel stealing from my garden that totally deserves it.  😉

And anyway, look… I still have a nice sized little bunch for myself. 

And more on the way…🙂

I don’t have quite enough to can pickles with, but I’m getting ready to make up a batch of my delicious refrigerator pickles.  Yummm…

~Gardening is my therapy~

Toemail

Not that I reeeally want to show y’all my dirty feet, but when I found Toemail’s blog I had to submit this photo! Fun!!!

Relocating, Remodeling & Readjustments ~ I Can See Clearly Now the Scum is Gone

Yep, we just keep going from room to room to room continually playing our game of musical rooms, and this time it was in my daughter’s future room.

As I mentioned before, this was originally the master bedroom.  And in it there is a sliding glass patio door.  My parents had planned to put a balcony or deck of sorts outside of it, but just never got around to it.  It’s not in our budget right now to do anything like that, but we did need to do something about the glass.

Over the years, the stationary side of the patio door lost its seal and a film began developing in between the glass.  Because this door faces the west and gets that hot afternoon and evening sun, my parents usually only had one side of the drape open (the side where the door opened and closed) and the filmy side was never showing, so it just wasn’t much of a priority to get it fixed.  But in updating the room, it’s needing to be attended to now.

We were crossing our fingers that the entire door wouldn’t need to be replaced just yet and started looking around for glass companies to see about getting someone to come out and take a look at it for us.  We found Double Vision Glass.  My sis had got an email from Living Social where they were offering a discounted price on glass replacement, so we gave them a call.  Come to find out, my mom had went to school with the owner/operator’s grandma and grandpa.  Such a small world we live in!  I love it when things like that happen.  🙂  My mom even had an old photo of his grandma and her sister from 9th grade so she scanned it, printed it, and gave him a copy.

Just for fun… this is the photo.

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It was a bit difficult arranging a time for them to come out and replace the glass, and it ended up being a 2 day process because of  a few “technical difficulties,” but we are so happy with the results and would highly recommend them to anyone needing glass replacement.  🙂  Here are a few photos I took…

Before.  Yuck!~

Mid process ~ the gaping hole.  I didn’t realize that the entire unit had to be removed in order to replace the glass.  What a job!~

After.  It’s so clear on that one side now that it looks like there isn’t even any glass there at all!  Nice!~

Here are more similar looking (and closer up) shots of before & after.  Boy what a difference huh?!  ~

And this is Rich (aka the glass guy).  He let me take his photo for my blog.  🙂  I took several photos of him actually, but I wanted to use this one because it’s funny.  He purposely made this silly face, he’s quite the character, and a really nice guy.  Completely drenched in sweat too ~ it was unbelievably hot during both of the days he was working on our glass. And we so much appreciate all of his efforts!~

His brother was with him the first day, but wasn’t able to come back with him to help finish up, so he missed out on the “photo shoot.”  Speaking of his brother, a funny thing happened while he was here… My daughter had been resting on the couch and thought I was coming into the room, but it was him, and she asked him to get her some Cheez-Its.  Haha!  Nothing like asking a random guy doing repairs on the house to get you some food!  Next thing you know she’ll be asking one of them to fan her off and feed her grapes in this heat.  😉  Yeah, that would never actually happen ~ she has a bit of social anxiety so the poor thing was absolutely mortified!  I don’t know if he even heard her, but omygosh it was hilarious!   Just to tease my daughter a little and try to make light of it, a friend of mine suggested that the next time she asks me to get her something I should say “What do you think I am, a home repair guy?”   Haha I’m totally going to do that!  I love my daughter so much!

We are very busy with everything at my mom’s house.  As I write this, we are waiting for movers to arrive that are coming to do some heavy lifting that we can’t handle all by our little ol’ selves.

A massive old office desk and fake fireplace that need to be moved out of my future room.

And a gross broken down dilapidated old refrigerator my brother has had stored in my parent’s basement for 20+ years that needs to be brought out to the curb. ~

Next up:  We are having more repair guys coming in the next day or two to re-spray the ceilings upstairs to cover up some stains leftover from years ago when the roof leaked.  Then I imagine I’ll be getting around to ripping out that pink carpeting in my mom’s room…

Adventures in Gardening Part 28

Everything is going well in the garden.  🙂

In fact… it’s a jungle out there!Haha it just looks like a mass of green foliage ~ you can barely tell where one plant ends and another begins from this angle.

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But upon closer investigation…

You can see that my pepper plant is growing nice and strong, and is completely packed full of peppers!~

And I’ve got tons of jalapenos too!  Although you can’t really tell from this shot. It’s getting quite difficult to get in there for photos because everything is so crowded.  🙂~

My cucumbers are exploding and flourishing upon the new lattice panels and wiring my sis and I put up.  There are so many little cukes developing all over these vines, it’s absolutely wonderful!~

We’ve been eating lots of them too ~ such a tasty treat!~

Unfortunately some critter has been sampling some of them too.  I found these two casualties laying discarded underneath my trellis.  😦  I was pretty ticked off about this too because just the day before I had decided to leave these two on the vine for just one more day to grow, and then I go out to pick them and find that something nibbled off the skins and ate the insides, then left the rest for the bugs to come and feast upon as well.  Grrr…~

And I’m afraid my tomatoes are in trouble.   I’ve never dealt with this before and I’m not sure why this would happen, but I think they’ve got something called blossom end rot.  I’ve been reading up on how to remedy it, so I hope I can.  Wish me luck.  Ew these look disgusting…~

But my beans are coming right along.  Although I don’t think they’re getting enough sun because their leaves are lightening a little.  Also, I had expected them to be ready to pick by now and they’re just not plumping up very much. ~

I blame the zucchini.  It’s such a garden hog.  But it’s hard to complain when we’ve been gobbling up zucchinis galore!  And if you’ve been reading my gardening posts, you know of my love for zucchini.  🙂
We’ve been eating them up so quickly in fact that I don’t even have a photo of one to show you…

(insert zucchini photo ;))

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And two blooming beauties that are at peak right now..

My mom’s wonderfully fragrant phlox ♥Happy birthday Mindi! ♥

And her hostas  I swear I’ve never realized or appreciated the loveliness of hosta as much as I have this year…

~Gardening is my therapy~

Relocating, Redecorating & Readjustments ~ Mom’s Room

In our game of musical rooms, we’ve realized that it’s actually my mom’s room that needs to be attended to first.  Because in order for us to move into our rooms, she needs to move out of them first.  Yes, “them” ~ she has her things in both of them.  She has some things in the master bedroom that she originally shared with my dad (where my daughter is going), and she also has things in my old room that she’s been sleeping in (where I am going).  In actuality my mom is going from having three bedrooms to having just one.  Talk about a huge adjustment.

Initially, she was just going to go into this room “as is” since this room needs the least amount of updating and the plan has been that majority of the improvements will be done after my daughter and I are living there when more finances are freed up.  But as we’ve slowly got it emptied out to just the bare minimums, I started thinking we should at least paint it.  I’ve painted many a room in my day and really enjoy doing that.  It’s not terribly expensive or time consuming, and it’s much easier to do it while a room is empty rather than full of furniture.  Plus, how nice would it be for my mom move into her new room and feel a little more settled.  And there’s nothing quite like freshly painted walls to make things feel like new.  🙂

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The first thing we did was temporarily put up some new shades for her.  The ones she had in there were old and worn out, and also liked to pop out of the brackets whenever you tried to open or close them.  Eventually we’ll probably put some blinds up and then additional window treatments (a valance, drapes or curtains), but since the brackets for shades were already there and we have a bit of a time crunch, we just replaced the shades for now.  We picked out some pretty ones though ~ you can’t see real well from this photo, but these have a scalloped lacy bottom edge.  They are also a little bit heavier weight so hopefully they won’t curl in too much on the sides as some shades tend to do.~

After that, before we could paint, we needed to patch up any holes in the walls from previously hung pictures and various decor.  That was my daughter’s job, and her first time using spackle.  She wasn’t entirely confident that she knew what she was doing, but she did a splendid job.   Nifty stuff, spackle is.  ~

And it was my job to do the taping around all the trim work.  You can see that the person who previously painted the room got some paint on the outlet plug ~ that won’t be happening with my expert paint job.  😉~

While I was doing that taping (along the floor trim especially) I really started noticing how yucky the carpet in this room is.  It’s “newer” ~ not 36 years old like in the rest of the house, but still needing to be replaced just the same.  Originally the only bedroom we were planning on re-carpeting before we move in is my daughter’s, but after seeing a more close up view of the condition of this carpet I mentioned to my mom that it’s too bad we have to wait to re-carpet it because with the room nearly empty right now it sure would be nice to just get it done now.

Well, I shouldn’t have said that out loud because of course she jumped at that suggestion, and replacing the carpet now would be a big expense that we weren’t planning on.  Buying a can of paint is one thing, but the expense of purchasing new floor coverings is a whole other matter.  I’m not only the “foreman” as I mentioned in an earlier post, but sort of the accountant of this operation as well.  My mom would try to buy the moon if it was for sale, and I’m the one who has to make sure the earth’s gravity stays in balance.  😉

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 Then out of nowhere I  suddenly got the urge to pull back an area of the carpet and take a peek underneath it.   By golly there be hardwood floors under there!My mom had said that when she was a little girl, she remembers there being hardwood floors in the house, but when she and my dad had it remodeled in the 70’s she didn’t take note of the floors because they were just carpeting it all.

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When they come to install the new carpet in my daughter’s room, I had planned to have them tear out the carpeting in my room at the same time.  Because all I know is that I’m not moving back into my old room with that same carpet in it, so although I was hoping for hardwood floors, I would even take plywood temporarily over that old carpet and just throw down a rug if I had to until we could afford different flooring in there.  But… with finding hardwood under my mom’s carpet… that means it’s likely in my room too!  Sooo excited about that possibility!  Of course we don’t know what condition any of it is in and it will very likely need to be refinished, but for my room I had just planned on scrubbing it down real good and then refinishing it later when finances allowed.

However, in regard to my mom’s room… I have now opened the proverbial can of worms.  We have three choices here ~ put the carpet back in place and forget about doing anything with it until finances allow, tear it out and see about the condition of the wood floor, and then just live with it the way it is (like I am going to do with my room), or go ahead and bear the expense and re-carpet the room.

Well, it turns out my mom also prefers to have hardwood floors rather than carpeting for her room too, so we’ve decided to go with the middle option and rip out the carpet and then just live with the condition of it until we can manage to refinish it.  Except that we will have to do a little more than just scrub it up real good.  If you look closely at the photo above you can see that there are 2 strips of wood with writing on them and pokey things sticking up out of them.  My sis called them furring strips (she’s knows stuff about stuff ;)).  Anyway, those will have to be pried/pulled up somehow and I don’t know about my girly hands having the strength to do it.  Also there is quite a large gap right under the baseboard molding that goes along the floor of the outside wall of the room (don’t know yet about the interior walls), so that will have to be filled in with something temporarily (like a strip of wood maybe).  Can’t be having any creepy crawlies venturing about from within those cracks and crevasses.  Eek!

So much for our time crunch ~ this floor is gonna take some time.  Why oh why did I have to peek under that carpet?  I have plans within the next few days to try and get in there and rip it out, but that is for a different post.

Next up here: painting.  I maybe should have held off until the floor got figured out, but I had already done all the prep work and hey with tearing out the carpet, I didn’t have to be as careful about getting any paint on the floor.  😉

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As I said, I enjoy painting a room, but this room gave me a bit of trouble.  I didn’t think the old color and the new color were really that similar (a pale pink was what was currently on the walls and an “off white” was what I was applying), but with the lighting in the room it was sooo hard to tell where I was at while looking straight on at it.  I think it probably had to do with the pink carpeting in there reflecting off the walls.  Maybe I should have torn out the carpet first and saved myself this mild color-induced frustration.

From the side it was a little easier to tell between the two colors, but not by much.  See how you can barely tell the difference…?  It was a little frustrating.The name of the color of paint my mom chose was called “Washed Up” and that is exactly how I felt trying to paint this room.   😉

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It was fairly easy helping my mom to choose a paint color for her room because she just wanted a neutral off white tone (although you may be surprised at how many variations of off-white there actually are).  But in browsing briefly at the paint samples while we were at the store and in considering my own room ~ I think that’s going to be a bit tougher to decide on because I want color!

And there’s sooo many to choose from…~

Relocating, Redecorating & Readjustments ~ Cool Old Stuff

I’ve been working unbelievably hard over at my mom’s house getting it ready for my daughter and I to move in there after the summer.   It’s mind boggling trying to prioritize everything and decide what to do first.  And just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you realize that you have to do something else first.

Case in point…

We know that we’re doing my daughter’s room first, but it’s not just as simple as moving everything out of there.  Some of the furniture in that room is going into my mom’s room, but my mom’s room has stuff in it that needs to be moved out of there first, and some of that stuff will be going into my daughter’s room, but can’t go there until after her new carpet goes in, and so on.  We’re also having the carpet torn out in my room when they come to install the new carpet in my daughter’s room, but my mom is currently in that room and it is full of stuff that needs to move into my mom’s new room, but it can’t until the stuff in the other rooms gets straightened out.  So we’re playing a bit of “musical rooms’ here.   Also some of the things that we are keeping, need to be put in storage in the basement, but we’ve realized that the basement needs to be organized and cleared out first.  The stuff we “clear out” of there needs to be moved out to the garage for a garage sale later, but there is stuff currently in the garage that needs to be organized and cleared away too in order to make room for the stuff we’re bringing out there.  I know I’m rambling (that’s what I do ;)), but you get the picture…  And it’s just us three ladies doing it all so it’s a little overwhelming.  I’m our makeshift “foreman” so there’s quite a bit on my shoulders…

And it’s not just all the “moving” there is to do,  another part of this whole process is taking care of some of the other stuff in my mom’s house.  This house has been in my family for nearly three quarters of a century and not just my mom has lived there, but my grandma and my great grandma as well , so there’s a lot of history stored there.  In going through some of the closets, we’ve found some very precious keepsakes.  I’ve already mentioned in So Anyway, Moving Right Along…  that I got to look through some of my old baby clothes and how neat that was, but being a fan of antiques and seeing some of the even “older” things my mom has is really cool.  And it’s not just any ol’ old antique stuff ~ it’s my family’s old stuff, which makes it even specialer.

Like my grandma’s wedding dress…

And this cool old memorial document thing from her marriage to my grandpa…

This is my grandparents on their wedding day ~ June 5th, 1935.I can’t even tell you how neat it would be if my daughter or even a possible future granddaughter would wear this same dress on their own wedding day.  Yeah, I’m a bit of a sentimental dork and get off on things like that.

~

We also came across a few old jewelry boxes filled with jewelry that belonged to my mom, her mom, her sister, and her grandma.I already LOVE vintage jewelry, but the thought that not only my mom and her sister, but my grandma and great grandma wore some of this makes me love this particular vintage jewelry even more!  My family doesn’t come from any real significant financial means, so I’m sure none of it is anything “valuable” aside from it’s age ~ which probably ranges from the early 1900’s to the 70’s.  Some of it is tarnished or broken, and some of the earrings have long lost their mates, but it’s beautiful just the same.

This pink box was my grandma’s and some of the jewelry in it was my great-grandma’s too.  My mom says that my grandpa bought the sparkly blue necklaces for my grandma because he himself liked them so much.  🙂  I tried to take some close-up photos of some of my favorite pieces, but I couldn’t really get them to turn out.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that some of this stuff is gorgeous!~

My mom says she thinks this blue box may actually be from my grandpa’s side of the family (his mother, grandmother etc.) because the jewelry doesn’t look familiar to her, but she isn’t sure.  Some of the jewelry in here is the most tarnished and broken so I’m thinking it’s really old. ~

And this gold box is my mom’s.  Again, I tried to take individual shots of my favorite pieces, but couldn’t get them to turn out.  But believe me some of this stuff is amazing!  I have at least 10 things I’m stealing out of here (with my mom’s permission of course ;)).~

The thing is… it’s sad to just keep all of this beautiful jewelry stored away only to take out and gaze at once in a while.  I’ve seen some pretty interesting ideas for using vintage jewelry (aside from wearing it), and for the things that are broken or have no mates, it would be cool to make something like this up with my mom’s, grandma’s or great grandma’s initial.  Then it could be on display and serve not only as a lovely piece of art, but also as a reminder and memorial of the lovely women in my family who once wore it…~

Of course with everything else there is to do at my mom’s house, I have no idea when I would ever get the chance to work on/make something like that, but I adore the idea and think I may have to store it in my memory banks as a future creative project.  How special and meaningful would it be to do something like this as we are merging family together into this same home again?  ♥

~

I also might have to find a special way to display these beautiful old potholders too.  My great grandma crocheted these.There are dozens of handcrafted doilies and even handkerchiefs that my great grandma made, including some that were “in process,” which I particularly like. Because I’ve done a lot of handcrafting myself, it’s fun to imagine her being excited to try out new patterns and techniques and then moving on to the next one without completing it (been there, done that ;)).   It would be so cool to finish some of them for her ~ if only I knew even the first thing about crocheting or could find the matching thread.  My mom said that my great grandma had terrible arthritis in her hands, but that she was always stitching something.  I’m glad we have these wonderful mementos from the work of those precious hands.

~

There is an old broken dilapidated cedar chest in my mom’s basement that belonged to my grandma and was where she stored all of her and my grandpa’s family photos along with a few other things.  In going through and trying to organize some of the other family heirlooms, my mom thought this might be a good time to take a peek inside of it (it’s been buried under boxes and other things in her basement for many years).  So the three of us girls spent some time the other day looking through it’s contents and it was super cool!  There are family photos dating way back to the 1800’s in there ~ I even saw one of my great great great grandpa!  My brother worked quite a bit on our family tree a number of years ago and had some of them arranged according to family line, but sadly there are still some of them that are unknown.  We also don’t know exactly who the pocket watches in this photo belonged to, but whoever it was must have been strong because man those things weigh a ton!  The green glass candle holders were my great grandma’s, they’re quite atrocious, but I may just have to find a place to display those at some point too…

~

We’ve got a bit more to go through, but as soon as we wrap up this little trip down memory lane, we’ll be able to get onto painting and redecorating the bedrooms.

🙂

Adventures in Gardening Part 27 ~ Crazy Cukes & Zukes

I can’t control my cucumbers!  My little A-frame trellis, although a clever device, can’t contain them.  I probably should have only planted them on one side of the trellis so they could grow up and then over the other side, but I was greedy.  I wanted as many cucumbers as possible growing in my little garden so that I could maybe get enough to can some pickles.  I also wanted to plant at least two different varieties so I could see which I liked better ~ not all cukes are created equal, and there are tons of varieties.

As it is, they now have nowhere to go once they reach the top of the trellis and will get too crowded if I allow them to grow over the other sides.  They are also growing outward horizontally trying to take over the rest of my garden, and hanging out over the sides of my box with nothing to cling to.  Don’t get me wrong… as I said, I want as many cucumbers as I can get, so it is a good thing that they are growing so well, but it also means I have to come up with something so they can continue to grow happily and healthily, and without taking over the rest of my tiny garden.

It’s been hella hot here and I hate the heat.  But what did I do?  I picked THE hottest day out of the bunch (102, which is not common here in Minnesota) and built a contraption to try and help my cukes along.  I enlisted the assistance of my sis (my partner in crime and gardening adventures ;)) and together we came up with a temporary solution.

It’s interesting the way your mind sorts through things and the ideas that come up when trying to figure out something.  Because it was so hot outside we wanted to find something that would be fairly quick and easy to do, but also something that would be a good solution and look semi nice.

So we popped into home depot and picked up a couple of wood lattices and tacked them to the sides of my garden box.  Then we took some of the leftover wire that I had from building my trellis and draped it over the top and down the sides along the outsides of them…

The thought is, that now they can grow up through the top, spread out over, and go down along the outsides.  They can also grab onto the insides of the lattice and then go through to the outsides and go up or down from there.  Hopefully this will do the trick.  I’m sure I’ll have to putz with them quite a bit to try and train them up in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.  😉  The little buggers really do have minds of their own.

A huge thanks to my sis for helping me with this.  It was unbearably hot out there and she hates the heat even more than I do.  Over the years she has taught me so many things and helped me with (and through) a lot, this is just one more thing to add to the list, but it is not taken for granted and is greatly appreciated.  She’s the best big sis in the whole wide world!   ♥

Here are just a couple of the gazillions of cucumbers that are growing on my vines…

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And I’m sure this guy (along with his friends and relatives) are one thing helping those gazillions of cukes along.  Sooo happy to see bees in my garden!  🙂~

In the subtitle of this post I also mentioned zukes and this is why.  Found this bad boy hiding under one of my zucchini’s giant solar panel leaves…My arms aren’t long enough and I couldn’t zoom out far enough to even get the whole thing in this photo.  So I laid in on the patio table, but you still can’t tell how big it is…When I brought it inside to show my mom she rocked it in her arms like a baby and kissed it!  Haha!  Guess who is making zucchini bread?  THIS girl!  🙂

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Aside from my crazy cukes and zukes, in other gardening news…

I was excited to see my first bell pepper developing!  I didn’t even notice as I was snapping this shot that there was a little visitor there on the stalk next to it.  That would have freaked me out!  I can’t tell what it is, but hopefully he’s one of the good guys…~

And speaking of peppers, I was also excited to see a few little jalapenos growing too…~

Look at my beans!!!  Not so tiny anymore.  I can’t wait to eat them!~

On the blooming front…

One of my garden’s companions.  Yep, it’s just an ordinary Marigold, no big deal, but I thought it was pretty.  🙂~

Found some sweet, pretty little buds developing on one of my mom’s phlox.

And one of them on the other side of her house is blooming…~

Gosh, who knew Hosta were so lovely…~

~Gardening is my therapy~

Adventures in Gardening Part 26 ~ Enemies and Allies

I’m definitely no insect photographer (ew, I’d never want to be), but bear with my lack of skill here as I share a few of the photos I’ve taken of the bugs that I’ve found visiting my garden over the past couple of days…

I believe this guy here is a Candy Stripped Leafhopper.It’s very interesting looking and colorful; it even has a cute name, but I’m pretty sure it’s the thing responsible for some of the damage that I’ve been noticing on a few of my cucumber leaves.  So this is what became of him…Killed him with my bare hands.  I’m becoming quite the expert at smashing bugs.  Which is interesting since I’m completely terrified of them…

~

This next bug was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.  It looked like a snail to me at first glance.  I had to use my flash setting to get a semi clear shot, so it looks like it was night time, but it wasn’t.  After spending a considerable amount of time scouring the Internet looking at more bug photos than I’d ever want to see, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a Two Striped Planthopper Nymph.  Apparently these things suck out plant juices and also feed on trees and shrubs, so figuring it’s not doing good to my cucumber leaf here, I gave it a quick flick with my finger and flicked its weird looking butt out of my garden, hoping it doesn’t find its way back.  Seriously, it does have a weird butt.  If you do a Google images search (for a photo with a better view than my amateur skills provide here) you’ll see it has fuzzy things coming out of its hind end.  Bugs are ishy, but the variety in nature is pretty darn cool.

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I had the hardest time trying to catch a shot of this bugger ~ it kept scurrying all over the place or flying away (reason for its blurriness), and I’m surprised I even got a photo of it at all. I looked in some of my books and on the Internet, and I think it might be a Striped Cucumber Beetle, but I don’t know for sure.  If it is… it’s not good.

~

Here’s another bug I found hanging out on my cucumber leaves.  Why is everything going after my cukes?!  Must be a conspiracy.  I think this is another type of leafhopper. I might have to find out what I should do about them.  I mean other than smashing them by hand ~ that was unusually brave of me to kill Mr Candy Stripper that way.

~

But not all the bugs I saw were enemies.  Some were allies…

I found this little sweetie crawling around on my cucumber leaves.  Definitely a welcome visitor!  Ladybugs are excellent at helping control aphids.  And as you saw in Adventures in Gardening Part 23 ~ Attack of the Ants and the Aphids, I definitely have aphids in my garden…~

Although this next bug is sort scary looking, I was happy to see one exploring one of my zucchini leaves.  Soldier Beetles are another great ally in the fight against aphids.  It is also a predator of Cucumber Beetles.  🙂    I did not take the above photo.  I didn’t happen to catch a shot of the particular one that I saw in my garden, but I wanted to show what they look like.

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It’s really good to know that I have a few buggy allies out there fighting the good fight with me!  Eat my garden’s enemies to your heart’s content guys, and bring your friends!  🙂

~

And on the growing front…

Omygosh look at these cute tiny little beans growing!~

And my tomatoes are continuing to bloom away.  I only have 2 plants, but it would be so awesome if I got enough tomatoes to make a small batch of my yummy salsa. ~

Also, I thought my peas were pretty much done for the season, but now I see more blooms on those too.  Very happy about this!  🙂

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And I have a couple more strawberries just about ready to pick…~

My celery was getting totally crowded out by my zucchini’s giant solar panel leaves so I cut a few of them off.  Hope that doesn’t affect the production of my zucchinis, but I had to give my celery a fighting chance too.~

In other news…

I think one of the robin eggs fell out of the nest above my potting bench because I found these little broken shell pieces on my potting bench.  Sad.  😦~

I found some Johnny Jump ups springing up in an old empty abandoned pot.  They’re such cheerful little darlings and were really a fun surprise to find in the garden today.  ☼~

~Gardening is my therapy~