Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Virginia Visitors

For four years, as newlyweds, we lived in Virginia up the hill from this sweet couple. I babysit a bit for their firstborn, then we started having babies close together, sharing in our parenthood journey. Our paths separated as our little family moved west to the Kansas plains. After 13 years, they came to visit!

The kiddos swam into the night.

Some of them pulled a few pranks in the night. 
Whoever heard of tp-ing yourself?!
Then they had to clean up the mess after a rain shower.

Another day of swimming, relaxing, eating, and touring the area.

What a blessing to have a roomful of fun friends, chatting, singing, and laughing together!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Annie Plays Summer Basketball

A quick post of photos taken while Annie played basketball in our local rec league. 
It involved about 2 months of practices and games. 
She enjoyed the shorter-than-winter season ball.

I learned how to run the clock and keep the books (a shortened version). 
We only has 4 families with 5 girls playing on our homeschool team, so parental help was stretched thin.

She made a couple buckets, her first foul shots in a game, and several memories to carry with her.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gardening in June

Mulberry jam.
25 jars canned. In many little batches!
12 regular, 7 grape flavored, 3 strawberry flavored, 3 straw-mulberry.
I tried a new recipe using flavored gelatin to add taste and help set up. We are currently letting it "cure" while we use up the last few jars of last year's jam.

So many turnips, we pulled a big bucketful and canned the tops & roots.
The garage smelled rather potent as the pressure canner hissed, and the family isn't overly excited about turnips in the pantry...but we have a surplus! 16 quart of turnips and 6 pint of greens to be exact. I'll try to hide them in potatoes this winter.

Cilantro going to seed.
I still haven't used up my 3-year old seeds from the seed swap! Now we have plenty more tucked away in an envelope and hopefully it will also reseed and grow thus fall.

A whopping 76 pounds of produce came out of our spring-planted garden!
(60 of which were turnips and greens) 
A few green beans, red beets, and carrots; the last of the snap peas and strawberries.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Outdoor Improvements

We let our pond drain over the winter; no pumping water for hours upon hours every day to keep it full. In March, hubs shook out more huge sacks of bentonite clay onto the edges to help seal it better.
While the water level was low, he also constructed a dock, planting metal posts in the dry part of the pond bottom. The pond well became active again and day by day the water level rose to the bottom of the overflow tunnel pipe.

Finally, a craigslist diving board was attached, and the swimming this summer has been an almost daily hit!

Also in March, hubs dug a trench through the barren garden to bring electricity to the lamp post light. This was a much deferred job, due to the nature of the end result (purely atmosphere), so he deserves grandiose applause for his selfless efforts.

March also brought the prevailing spring winds of the Kansas plains, tormenting me as I hung multiple loads of laundry outside. I suddenly came to an understanding of why some people think Kansas weather is awful and certainly would never live here. Upon relating this (quite dogmatically) to hubs, he kindly began to build a windbreak fence to shelter my legs from pelting sand and to allow the garden reprieve from blustery gusts. 

Phew! Sometimes drastic measures get the quickest results!
Incidentally, my big brother and dad finished up the fence in short order and, as a bonus, I now have a new, closer-to-the-washing machine, clothesline!