30 weeks and counting down

Here it is- I’m at 30 weeks now which means that this is my last week with double digit weeks left til my due date. (I say this knowing full well that she may not/probably won’t join us on that date) I remember being just 10 weeks along- it was the end of December and it was when my morning sickness started. It was a rough rough week for me, but looking back, I am so thankful for all that has come before this because I know it was good training for that day that is fast approaching when I will be bringing her out into the world. The morning sickness lasted nearly to 5 months which was hard, but it has mostly gone away now aside from the occasional drop in to remind me that all is not normal in my brain and digestive system.

I am hoping that this 31st week of pregnancy will be memorable in that it will mean the final completion of this year long stint in Iowa for Jarell. He’s been working up there since last March and, aside from a brief hiatus in late summer last year when they ran a job in Kansas City, its been long weeks with him gone and short weekends with him home. There have been longer periods of time when they were back, but mostly they’ve been gone and as my due date approaches, I am getting more and more anxious to have him here, close, and ready at hand, should our daughter decide to make her appearance sooner than expected.

I’ve reached the point where working in the garden is uncomfortable, even tho I want to be out in it more than almost anything else, so today J11 and her boyfriend are coming over to help me get some much needed weeding done. While they work on the weeding end of things, I’m going to try and get some tomatoes transplanted that are currently growing too close together. Then everything is going to get a good dose of fertilizer because a lot of my plants are looking a bit yellow. I have already harvested my first batch of green beans for the year- tiny and incredibly tender, the lettuce is done for the season which means it will be coming out to make room for the tomatoes moving, the peas are just starting to put on pods (weird warm weather and a late planting), I’m harvesting small turnips and the last of the radishes and trying to figure out how best to preserve them. Its been a good year thus far for productivity. Maybe after the garden is weeded and cleaned up, I won’t feel so bad about sharing pictures with you- right now its a mess. ūüôā


Finally Friday

Not that it matters much around here for me since my class is a Thursday through Wednesday class instead of Monday through Sunday, but Jarell being home for the weekend is ALWAYS the best part of the week whether he’s been working here locally like this week, or out of town.

I’ve been a busy bee lately between gardening, baby creating, (and creating for the baby), working on assignments, trying to get some¬†cleaning done (not much, but some…), and running the various errands that go with my life. Monday I hit some thrift stores with J11 to look for some clothes for our annual Sisk Birthday bash that’s coming up. If you’re new around here, you won’t know there are 14 kids in my husband’s family, each name starting with the letter J (hence J11 is the 11th child) and, even with 2 kids who are still strict Jehovah’s witnesses, 1 that lives out of state, 1 we prefer to pretend doesn’t exist, and one we don’t see very often because her life is “complicated”, that’s still 9 birthdays to celebrate every year. A lot of those birthdays happen to fall in April so to make things easier, several years ago we started doing annual birthday parties for the April birthdays. This year, we’re combining everyone’s birthdays into one big event (yours truly included) to make things a little easier on this mama to be. The theme this year cracks me up because it is so appropriate for us. We’re doing a Redneck Bash. So the trip to the store was necessary in order to get Jarell a shirt I could rip the sleeves off for his costume. I myself plan to be ‘barefoot and pregnant’ which is just too easy, but should be fun.

While out at the thrift stores I scored some adorable baby clothes for super cheap (think 90 cents a piece!) so that made for a fun day.

Tuesday I overdid it in the garden getting corn, beans, okra, tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, and quinoa seeds in the ground. That evening I had to have Jarell just about carry me because with my hip problems + that wonderful hormone, relaxin, I took about 2 steps from the couch and got stuck. The pain was literally too much for me to move. So Wednesday I took a lukewarm bath with epsom salts to loosen things up again and took the day easy by helping my mother in law pick out plants for a flower bed around her house. We got mulch to fill in and spent the last hour tearing out weeds and the super invasive but delicious smelling chocolate mint that had gone haywire there. J12, 13, and 14 helped out to varying degrees- they’re practically grown up and at that age, but still really good kids so they pitched in. I hope to get over there this weekend with Jarell to finish the job.

Yesterday I spent too much time online entering giveaways for diapers and other baby stuff- figured hey why not. When I decided I’d had enough of that, I got to work in the garden again, this time digging a 16 foot long by 8 inch deep by 8-10 inch wide trench for my asparagus crowns. I’m glad to finally have them in the ground because I really want an asparagus bed and I was dreading the work that went with it. I took the tortoise way out and went slow and steady so it wasn’t so bad. I even took a break in the middle to plant zinnias next to my beans since they’re supposed to be a good companion plant.¬† Last but not least I set up a bed with some yellow straight neck squash inter-planted with nasturtiums for bug control. I’m really getting into companion planting this year because I want my garden to produce as much as possible so I can preserve it and feed us this winter. Its a huge undertaking, but having a baby on the way is a big motivator.

Today I’ll be hitting the library, doing an assignment, and then getting back in the garden to try and finish up with a few more things. This weather has been beautiful, but its crazy. My daffodils, crocuses, tulips and grape hyacinths (muscari) are all blooming at the same time and on Wednesday I saw irises blooming down the road! Fought off the first mosquitoes of the season yesterday and the ticks have been out for several weeks. I’m not complaining tho because getting the garden in now is a blessing since bending over is getting uncomfortable. Hopefully I’ll have some pictures soon to verify all this hard work but for now, Happy Friday!

Oh and a P.S. if you’re on Pinterest, come hang out with me here!

Sometimes it happens

I wander off unsupervised and forget to come back. Honestly its not a sometimes thing for me where this blog is concerned, its a most of the time thing. I have dozens of unfinished posts hanging out in my draft bin that either are no longer relevant (the most recent one was started the day I was officially 16 weeks pregnant…. 3 weeks ago) or I was passionate about something when I started, but got sidetracked and realized the fervor had worn off, or more often than not, I get started and then forget what I was going to write about and another half post goes into the post graveyard to die a slow and painless death.

Tomorrow, I will be 19 weeks pregnant. My pants are finally getting snug around the belly (thank goodness I have such a love of low-rise jeans!), the baby is VERY mobile, squirming around all over the place, making me giggle at the oddest of times. The new puppy is nearly 10 weeks old and litter box trained, making my life much easier. I’ve only got 3 days left of my current classes and then I move on to something new and hopefully a little easier on this pregnant mama. I have a new and greatly improved garden in the works.

My husband spent quite a bit of time yesterday driving back and forth between a neighbor’s farm about a mile and a half away in one of the big backhoes to bring me 2 year old horse manure that has been composted to the consistency of beautiful rich black dirt. (Hooray for awesome neighbors btw- this guy also gave us some firewood and disced our garden for us!) and I plan to get some of it spread out today so it can be tilled in this week if all goes well. We enlarged the garden from about 20 by 30 to 30 by 60 and 70 (one side is longer than the other) and I’m so excited about growing a much larger variety of veggies this year and hopefully preserving enough to keep us in local healthy food throughout the winter (I know- major undertaking for a gal who’s also preggers, but I’m motivated to take good care of this baby)

My husband is finally nearing the end of two jobs that have engulfed the last year of our lives, spending his weeks in Iowa far away from me and tho I am sad to see the better income come to an end, I’m so thankful that soon I will have him back home with me as I get further along in this pregnancy. Already things like severe round ligament pain have kept me laid up a bit when I really need to be getting things done or, worse had me out hobbling around in a lot of pain to take care of those things.

I’ve had good reason, with all these things going on, to have a hard time getting time to post, but I’ll try to make it back again a bit more often. For now tho, I’m going to get showered and dressed and go play in the garden now that the sun is coming out.

Busy! I’m so busy my head is spinnin like a whirlpool it never ends…

Silly Melissa thats not how it goes! Oh alright maybe not but it fits. Okay so the business is self-imposed but thats alright. I have been working outside in the garden every day and it feels so nice to be keeping up with things. Sadly this means that my housework is suffering and that bothers my poor husband more than it does me. I actually had to make myself stay inside and do dishes today instead of going out to the garden to see a new baby zucchini growing on one of my plants. The conversation (out loud of course) went something like this. “Melissa that will still be there when you’re done with the dishes. Get in the kitchen now!” Why yes, I do talk¬† to myself. Is that a problem? Sadly I still don’t have any pictures from the garden to show you because my camera is still dead. So I won’t bore you with glowing descriptions of my babies. I will tell you that I have had fun chopping nasty squash bugs in half with my clippers today while I trimmed the leaves they had killed off my zucchini plants. I also got to see the end of my first okra blossom and noticed new bell peppers coming on. Now I need to figure out what I can plant in July that will be ready to harvest before our first frost and I think I might be able to swing some sweet corn. Which would be…. sweeeeet! *grins* I couldn’t resist that one. Alright I know enough about the garden already. Hope all is well everyone. Au revoir!

I am a talented individual (or why I shouldn’t be allowed to us a weedeater)

07-02-09_1306So today I was weedeating our front yard. Trying to do my part to maintain the house and specifically my garden which is a pain for my husband to mow around. I was doing great. And then I started working around the trellis that my brother and I built. All of a sudden my weedeater stopped short with a sickening jolt and as I looked down I saw that it had tried to tangle with the chicken wire and lost. (or is it won? It did get tangled after all) So I sheepishly called Jarell and said something along the lines of I got the weedeater stuck on the chicken wire. I have to give him credit- he didn’t laugh or get mad he just told me where to find some wire cutters if I needed them. I asked him if this had ever happened to him and he said it happened all the time. I felt better until he clarified that when it happened to him it was just tall weeds and never fencing. Oh well, thats life. It did give me something to talk about at least and as you can see I took advantage of my cell phone’s camera to bring you the picture.

I decided to sign up for Nablopomo and soon I’ll find a little linky widgety thing for my blog. I figure if I want readers I should at least have something for them to read, right? Right. So be prepared to have lots of ….. fascinating reading this month. The theme is heroes if I choose to follow it. Today my husband is my hero for saving me from the evil chicken wire. Wait a second, I did that all by myself! Well he’s still my hero anyway!

Ta for now folks!

The dress and other things

Well for all of you new here who commented and sent good wishes on the dress, its not done. I got the bodice finished and then lost momentum because I’ve been busy with some gardening stuff. Also I am sad to say that all future photos for¬† a while will be taken with my cell phone because my camera has gone to that great big photographer’s studio in the sky. It got knocked off my lap at our reunion but was still taking pictures even tho I could no longer use the LCD screen I could still take pictures. That is no longer true. I am so sad because I love taking pictures and I don’t know when I will get to replace it. Ah well c’est la vie. I plan to save for a really nice one. I have a whole $18 bucks so far…. but I’ll get there some day.¬†I plan to watch Ebay and in fact I’ll be heading over there in a minute to see whats available. I want to have a nice enough camera that I can change out my lenses and all that fancy stuff. I’m learning about photography and I find that I am not completely disappointed with my pictures so I want to pursue this.

My day today and Sunday too was taken up by getting some free flowers for my garden. I made a request on freecycle for any plants that needed dividing and had two replies from some wonderful women who have the most gorgeous gardens. I brought home wisteria (my FAVORTITE), irises, lilies, hollyhocks, rose of sharon, angel trumpet flowers, some yellow flowers that might be a type of daisy, purple coneflowers, and¬†a couple of small seedlings for trees (redbud and bald cypress) I also have an invite from one of the ladies to come back later in the fall for some different lilies and some lilac starts.¬†This makes me so happy because landscaping is at the bottom of our budget list way below even my poor truck and yet I love to garden and want to make the outside of our house as beautiful as the inside. I am so happy to have these beautiful plants especially since they would have gotten the weed killer if I hadn’t brought them home with me.

Now I’m going to be busy finding homes around my yard for all the pretties. I love the feel of digging my hands into fresh damp dirt. So much so that I have to be reminded to wear my gloves. Theres just something about diving in and the sense of accomplishment when you’re done and you see the blooms where before there were weeds, grass or only dirt. Plus I’ve always loved playing in the dirt.


I used to visit here daily to see how many views I had. I would chat and share my life with you all, but of late I’ve become lazy. Or busy depending on how you look at it. My mom flew in on Saturday and we’ve been having fun just hanging out, planning meals and expeditions. Its been 5 years since she’s been in Missouri and much longer than that even, since she was here for any sort of extended period of time. She just completed her move to Washington and as she is temporarily (by choice) unemployed she was able to come out here to spend some time with my brother and I as well as her other family that lives here in the “Promised Land” (according to the RLDS and COC churches).

We got to spend a very special day on Sunday with my cousins and aunt for my aunt’s 66th birthday. She¬†is the one who¬†has cancer and (hooray!!!)¬†she’s now in remission and sporting a very lovely and flattering new wig. I’m so happy for her to have come this far. My cousins’ daughters and son were a joy to spend some time with and at the ages of 19, 17, 12,¬†11, 7, 6, and 5 they are varied but I had a blast getting to know them.¬†The 11 year old (going on 20) was fascinated with my camera and took dozens of pictures that I will try to share at a future date-¬†she has a wonderful¬†eye for beautiful composition. Her bubbly and effervescent personality overwhelm me and shame me because she has what appear to be similar stomach problems to mine and¬†instead of being sad and mopey about them (not that there’s anything¬†wrong with that) she mentions them in an¬†offhand fashion and then goes back to having fun. ¬†The 7 year old is like a little china doll- so tiny you’re sure she’s going to break but with a huge enthusiasm for life. I was amazed with her running commentary that was so sweet and also very intelligent for one so young.

My cousins who were more like aunts to me when I was little (being only 8 and 10 years my mom’s juniors) were fun to get to know again on an adult’s footing. One loves gardening as much as I do and she and I and my other cousin’s husband talked extensively about our future garden plans for this year. I had to laugh from time to time tho at the glazed looks on my other cousin’s, my mom’s, and my aunt’s faces as they did not inherit the love of green and growing things and I learned that once you get a bunch of gardeners going theres no stopping them. *grins*

I will try and come back with more soon and I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful spring that is slowly creeping across the land as winter finally retreats with its tail between its legs.

Let it SNOW!

Well I promised to show you all pictures of the cake and I have them now. The before and after shots no less because it did not end up making it as an ice cream cake *sigh* but it was still one of the best damn homemade cakes I’ve ever had. (even tho I baked it)100_3129copy

This picture is the before shot. I had made two layers and an ice cream layer was waiting in the freezer, but I got antsy and put things together too fast and the result was this- melted ice cream everywhere. So I scrapped the bottom layer and the ice cream that had gelled into and inedible mass and was able to completely salvage the top layer (thank god) for the next attempt. Back to the mixing bowls where I used slightly different color combinations on the purple so as to have a contrast when the cake was cut that would be more visually pleasing and cooler too. *grins*

Enter the final product100_3147copy

Sorry for the silly string in the picture- we were in a hurry to eat cake and the darn can is such an attention hog that I gave up and let it have its moment in the spotlight.

With regards to the title of this post, we finally got our only big snow of the year here yesterday and of course I took pictures. I was only mildly disappointed about spring not getting here sooner because I have a hollyhock that I bought at a garage/garden sale on my kitchen windowsill that has been blooming since Christmas and its saving me from being sad about the lack of green and growing things. The snow is so beautiful that it hurts to look at (literally) but the only shot I got that I think is worthwhile so far was this one.


I was waiting in the truck while my husband picked up some games from a friend’s house when I noticed a fallen fence in the rearview mirror. When I turned around I realized it was the fallen sides of a dumpster enclosure (not the nicest apartment complex) but I loved the way the shadows sat on the snow and it had a nice background of a wooded creek bed so I jumped out of the truck hoping no one was watching me take pictures of the dumpster fence and snapped a couple of shots. Then before my darling dearest could come back I was back in the truck and the snow had even melted from my boots before he got back so he was never any the wiser of my strange antics. Not that he’d care, but its my tender dignity at stake here so…. thats that.

The only other news around here is I’m getting my seeds started for the garden this year. I’ve got a bunch of early girls planted in newspaper pots and I have more pots to fill and make too. The snow put a bit of a damper on that activity as it made me feel like we might get a bit of real winter here after all so I’m lobbying for sledding rather than thinking of my plant placements just now.

Au Revoir for now mes chers invisibles

Green gardening

I love free stuff. Don’t we all? Well today in our beautiful 65 degree weather I went outside and got some free landscaping material from my own back yard. I am a gardening nut and we have absolutely zero landscaping outside our house because we basicly live behind my FIL’s workshop on 70 acres of what used to be farm land. My two brother in laws who lived here previous to us never really did much landscaping and the roses and lilacs that my sister in law had here she took with her when the next J moved in so he wouldn’t ruin them.

Today I got fed up with the general redneck mess that was our front yard so I decided to do something about it. I had hauled about 6 good size chunks of shale up from our creek several weeks ago and today I decided to see if I could use them at all. I had raked up a good size section of dead grass from in front of the house and I sat down with a flat chisel and the shale. I managed to get about a square yard of coverage from the shale that I had split into thin slices and laid down like stepping stones. (maybe tomorrow I can get a picture) I didn’t have near enough so I snagged the truck and headed out in our field to the creek bottom where we have a beautiful little waterfall. Due to serious foliage and poison ivy this is only accessible in the winter months so I dragged out several armsfull of shale. Boy were they HEAVY! I got them back to the house and again carefully split them up into thin layers and layed them out. I had help from J13 so we got them in place fairly quickly considering how helpful all four dogs were being¬†by harrassing the neighbor’s brahmas. Once we got all the rock laid out we added some landscape timbers to the front of the bed and I added a few bits of broken terra cotta pot for a bit of color. I had brought a large hollowed out log from where we had cut wood earlier this winter and I filled the hole with potting soil for flowers when it stays warm. I also added a cow skull that has been lurking around our front yard since last summer. The dogs brought it over from the neighbor’s boneyard (I guess) and its been in various places in the yard ever since.

So my total cost today was absolutely nothing except a very sore back and hip for what will soon be a massive improvement to our front yard. I will be rearranging the shale some once I get some flower to plant in the bed and eventually hope to have more green than black, but I think its a great improvement over the hard to mow area it normally is. I still need quite a bit more rock and as I was running out of larg pieces of shale I¬†may branch out into the flat limestone that abounds in our creek but if I do I will be hauling a couple of teenage boys with me because the hill down to the creek is a bit of an obstacle. I’m almost five four and to get out of the creek bed you have to leverage yourself up by a tree trunk because the little hill is almost straight up and about 2 feet high. Eek!

So this is what I’ve been working on the last couple of days. The pumpkin now has a jack o lantern face that it didn’t have for the picture. I sometimes get bored and hand applique things and this is one of those occasions. I’m thinking about making a second gravestone in order to use them as couch cushions, but for the time being, they’re just stuffies. I guess thats what you’d call them. I finished the quilt some time back, but haven’t taken pictures because its really rather an anticlimactic finish- I bound the top and bottom in the fabric that I used to back it with and rolled the sides under twice to hide the raw edges. Simple as that. I also attempted to make a stuffed coffin yesterday, but it turned out lopsided, so I guess I’m going to have to measure that one before I make one. Yeah I know somebody out there is saying, why didn’t you measure in the first place and my answer to that is, I rarely ever do. If you’ve been over to my other blog, I cook the same way as I sew– somewhat haphazardly but rarely with bad results.

In case you guys haven’t guessed I have Halloween on the brain. I love this time of the year altho it makes me a little sad too. I love how the end of the summer really comes with a bang here in the midwest. We might start the day with 90 degree weather and then all of a sudden, a huge storm comes up and bam its cold. It usually happens out of the blue in early September. I always loved that big storm when I was in high school, because it almost always meant we got out early. I’d get home at 1:00 in the afternoon and it would already be dark. The perfect excuse to get the wood stove (a biiiig @$$ Fisher) going with the first fire of the season and get comfy with a bowl of soup and a good book. This year I plan to make more cardboard gravestones and I’ll try to get a tutorial up for those. They’re easy peasy but time consuming.

This is a really typical post for me in that its all over the place, but thats okay. Its the season I swear. In garden news, I have two juicy delicious little yellow tomatoes residing in my fridge at this time– the product of my garden. I’m holding on to them hoping to get a few more by the end of the week for a yellow tomato pasta pomodoro. Yum! All the big tomatoes are slowly starting to turn at long last. Go figure that I’d end up with determinate varieties that tease you with big beautiful…. green tomatoes all summer. The yellow ones are my saving grace and the best part is they’re heirloom so I can save the seeds and they’ll be true again next year. Woo hoo! This part by the way is the sad part of this time of year– the part where my gardening is fast coming to an end till next February at least. By February I’m ready to start all the seeds inside in hopes of a big harvest. But next year I’m going to grow some early girls for faster satisfaction. Ooh and I experimented with growing some spicy banana peppers next to an heirloom cherry tomato in hopes of cross polination. Thats crazy you say? Well yeah, but a family friend did that once on accident and planted the seeds the next year only to find that he had spicy tomatoes. To me that sounds like a brilliant alternative to using jalapenos in homemade salsa and chili and such. So we’ll see how that turns out. A long term experiment for sure.

Well this thing is LOOOONNNNNG so I’m going to sign off for now. I’m going to put up a recipe for bruschetta over on the other blog for those of you lucky enough to have ripe tomatoes bigger than a pingpong ball so check it out.