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Devastation in the Desert

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We sure do love rain around here. Rain. Glorious rain. Not hail! I woke up to a devastated garden. It literally looks like someone took a baseball bat to the garden. Zucchini leaves were just decimated. My sweet cucumber plants were annihilated. The melon plants were smashed. Tomatoes were a close call. There were countless broken stems and little maters scattered about the ground. I’ve been waiting patiently waiting for a tomato. It looks like I’ll be waiting a little longer. Pepper plants . . . well some will recover and […]



The Fiasco of Indoor Seeds

I started seeds indoors a long time ago. I mean, they are old enough to be planted outside. The problem is that they all sprang up nicely and then started dying. The soil was so dry and I watered them regularly. After just about everything died and I tried to nurse them back, I took some time to do a little research. I found the problem.

Actually, there were two main problems. First, I needed to hydrate the soil before I planted. I have never had to do this before. Germany is humid and dry soil, indoors was never an issue. The second problem was how I was watering. I had always watered from the top. That’s just sort of how you usually water plants, right? Well, not when you’re starting seeds in cells and indoors. I learned to pour water into the tray and let the plants drink for about 30 minutes. If you pre-moisten the soil before you plant, the water in the tray will be soaked up quite easily. BRILLIANT!

Let me just say that these two quick fixes have already proven to be very helpful. My sick seedlings came back and I replanted some with hydrated soil and guess what? They are so healthy and lush. I replanted some herbs a few days ago and they are already coming up. The best part is that the soil never looks dusty.

Another trick I learned was to disregard that plastic dome. I thought that was the best part of the tray thingy; having a mini greenhouse. But no. I don’t even use that thing anymore. The bottom watering trick is essential for growing seeds in a dry climate.

Lessons learned.


Lettuce Turnip the Beet

I just wanted to share something with you.

I like fresh fruits and veggies. I do. Matt does. And so do our little tough guys. We have been receiving a Farm Box weekly from Sunizona Farms.

What is a Farm Box?

A Farm Box is also called a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Basically, the wonderful farmers put together a mix of seasonally available foods and drop them off somewhere for you. Sometimes you can pick and choose from foods that are available, but we are wild and crazy kids and we like them to pick for us. I know . . . WILD and CRAZY.

So far we’ve had:

  • kohlrabi
  • micro greens
  • baby lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • cherry tomatoes
  • apples
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • bok choy
  • turnips
  • beets
  • radishes
  • pizza crusts
  • eggplant

And that’s just for winter. I can’t wait until spring and summer.

 

 



Chicky Mommas

duck

You have chickens.

You are crazy (either just plain crazy or crazy because you like chickens. It doesn’t matter which).

You live in Cochise County.

And you are a lady (no boys allowed).

Those are the requirements for The Crazy Chicken Ladies of Cochise County. This is where a bunch of women get together to talk about all things related to fowl, family, and farm.

Continue reading


Yes or No, Stop or Go?

Disjointed. Scattered. Those words sort of describe how Matt and I feel. Well, at least how I feel. However, I’m pretty sure we are in agreement on this.

We feel pushed and pulled in all sorts of directions, while trying to make the best decisions for our family. It hasn’t been easy. I don’t think big decisions are ever easy. For me, it usually comes down to a Cost/Benefit Analysis.

When we moved into our house we felt overwhelmed. Not only were we moving and unpacking, but we had to deal with all of the things associated with buying a house. For a homeschooling family, this can be a tough time. At least for me. Piles of books, music equipment, and miscellaneous boxes all over the floor in every room stresses me out. All I can think about is putting things away so that I can finally breathe.

I think the feeling of being overwhelmed is what pushed and pulled us into the direction of sending the boys to school. We had planned on homeschooling them again this year. In fact, we were 5 weeks into the current school year. I think Gavin was having a hard time adjusting to being so close to family and moving to America that he started acting out more during his studies. And we were hoping that the kids would make some local friends. Oh, and I should add that I tried the “official” homeschool group for the area and it turned out to be rather ridiculous.

The solution seemed simple. The day the movers came to dump our household goods into our garage, the kids went to school.

I’ve had some restless nights about this. I’ve cried during commercial breaks, where families are doing something together. And I’m pretty sure Matt is starting to go deaf in his left ear from hearing me whine about it.

When it comes down to it, I miss my kids. I see them for an hour before school and then again after 4:30. Gavin always has an hour of homework and Tristan wants his computer time. I miss my kids. Academically? The school is okay. I don’t have a problem with the school. Socially? Well, I was hoping for a little more.

I used to spend all day with them. And that is something that is truly special about homeschooling. You get to spend time with your kids and you get to be the one they pick up bad habits from.

Yes, my kids fight. They whine. They complain. But they are fun! They love to learn, as much as I do. They appreciate trips to the museum, science experiments, and being together. As it stands, we hardly get to see each other. It’s sad.

The flexibility that we once had has completely gone out the window. We are locked into a routine. And you know me . . . I don’t like being told what to do.

Now, that we are settled, I told the kids that during Christmas Break I intended to “rethink” this whole school thing. I never said another word. Earlier this week, Tristan asked if I was still going to “rethink” the school situation. He is lobbying for homeschool. He says that he’s not impressed with public school. Gavin, on the other hand, doesn’t care either way. He likes recess. However, he added that he would prefer to be at home again. But, kids don’t make these types of decisions on our house. Their opinions do matter, though.

So, now what?

Now, I’m praying. Praying and crying. Crying and praying.

These are my kids and I don’t want to make a mistake. They are their own little beings, not an extension of myself.

I think about all of the reasons why we started homeschooling. Have any of those changed?

In the end, it probably doesn’t matter where they get their education. I just don’t want the decision to be a selfish one on my part.

 


A Mini Rant

Hereford, Arizona has a lot in common with Crete, Greece.

1) The dry climate

2) Distance from the equator (related to #1)

3) Scorpions and other creepy things that want to kill you

4) All plants have thorns and want to kill you

5) Lots of wind

AND . . .

6) The water is turned off at random times throughout the week. We’re going on 3 hours without water people. What the heck!

I have a sink full of dishes that need to be washed. I’d like to water my “garden”. And . . . I just went running and would like to use the water that I pay for. Go figure.

Merry Christmas,

Scrooge McDuck


Chicken Coop: Part Deux

For Day 2 all I have to share is that we painted all the boards. Yep, painted and painted. The boys painted. I painted. And Matt painted. Annie did not paint. She is the supervisor of this whole operation.

Near the end of the day, or more like the end of our day light, Matt and I decided that since we painted all of the boards, we could be done for the day. We wanted the boards to be painted before they were assembled to the frame but after they were cut. So, ending the day with a full day’s work of painting sounded reasonable. Why take on something new when the sun was about to disappear?

Right?

Nope. Folks, my husband’s thinker never stops working.

He disappeared into the barn (a.k.a. shed) and reappeared with renewed vigor! I was already celebrating the end of Day 2 when I was rudely pulled back into action. Just kidding. I was just as excited to see the next step put forth.

With the help of our little Minions and I, Matt assembled the first wall of the coop. Thank God that Matt is the one walking around measuring things. I’d be more of an eye-baller – “Looks good, ” I would say. And that is why I am not in charge of measuring anything important.

The end.

 

 


DIY: Chicken Coop

This gallery contains 19 photos.

It’s Columbus Day and we’ve decided that today is the day. We have been dreaming, reading, planning, thinking, and well. . . dreaming about raising chickens. We have spent many hours pouring over chicken literature. Studying the various needs of chicken habitat and coming up with our own ideas of how we want to set-up our chicken endeavor. We also have the privilege of having neighbors who also raise chickens. How awesome is that? It’s awesome, trust me. Today was Chicken Coop Day 1. It’s safe to say that this […]