Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Birthday Weekend

Charlie and I had a 4 day weekend to celebrate our anniversary and my birthday.  It went by way too quickly, but we had a good time.  We headed "Up North" (a term Michiganders use to describe anywhere in the northern lower peninsula or anywhere in the upper peninsula - usually it involves a large body of water or campfires - or sometimes watching the black bears at a garbage dump).
We spent a little time in Traverse City.....

We went to Manistee.  Then we hit a beach in Ludington.  The Ludington beach is my favorite in Michigan.  It has clean white sand, shallow water to wade in, has free access along the road to the state park, and if you go on a weekday, it isn't very busy.

We also went to Grand Rapids to visit my family for a Birthday dinner.  Mom and I assembled the veggie skewers and Dad was the grill master.  He asked how I always manage to get photos of him cooking -- to which I don't have a good answer.  I suppose because we both have a fondness of cooking and coming up with new recipes.  The chicken he made had been marinated in lemon-lime soda pop!  Charlie says it was quite good.

Anyway, it was a nice visit - albeit a bit rushed.  We also swung out to the Quiggle Farm for a quick visit.  Jen hooked me up with some new plants (to replace the dead ones in my garden).  They got planted on Tuesday and fill up the holes in my garden perfectly.  I didn't get to see another good friend of mine like I had hoped.  We just ran out of time.  Luckily I have a week off in July so I can spend more time with my peeps.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life and death

A couple of days ago, Uncle Dave killed a skunk in the backyard.  Today we realized there are babies.  They were old enough to make it on their own, but they will not be making it at all - as you can see.  I couldn't have done it myself, but I didn't have to make that choice thankfully.  He doesn't enjoy killing things, but you can't have skunks living on the farm either.
On a lighter note, the strawberries are ripening.  Here is a rare photo of Aunt Mary (right) and Joanne -- our neighbor and their partner in farming.  
I picked some strawberries tonight.  They are amazing!  I'll pick more this weekend and more jam will ensue.  
The first three peas from my garden.
I have a couple of pots with sprouts too.  Hope I can keep them alive.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The things that aren't dead yet

So, things have been dying off in my garden like never before.  I don't have any special skills in gardening -- I have a few books on the subject that I pick up every once in a while, but that's about it.  I guess I'm lucky to have anything growing at all.  But this year it has been very cold here.  We went for a long time without any rain either.  I am managing to stay ahead of the weeds this year though -- so I am getting better.  I have a couple of things that ARE growing fairly well.  My onions are going crazy again this year!  My peas are looking good too, and lettuce is thriving too.

There are some nice flowers growing in the front yard too so I had to show you a photo I liked.

On the topic of things that are still alive... my love for my husband (and vice versa).  Today is our 4 year wedding anniversary.  He is out on the road working tonight but we do have a long weekend planned.  I'm hoping the weather cooperates for us.  I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off of work (as a birthday present to myself).  I know I don't talk about Charlie on this blog very often -- but it is not because he isn't special to me.  Up until a few months ago I felt the need to be very private about certain details of my life (it would take way too long to explain why, and if you are close to me you probably already know what I am talking about).  Anyway, I wanted to mention him specifically today and declare it "out loud" -- Charlie is the love of my life and I am very lucky to have him as my husband.   I love you, honey!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Congrats, Marina!

My niece, Marina, graduated from high school last weekend and we had her graduation party yesterday.
My in-laws don't throw your typical graduation open house though.  They combined it with their annual fish fry this year -- which is an experience in itself.  Typically it involves frying up about 40 lbs. of walleye, french fries, hush puppies, etc.  Many people make a dish to pass so they end up with a kid's pool filled with ice and various cold salads, a line up of crock pots and enough desserts to give an army diabetes.

Some of the family set up microphones and pull out their guitars/banjos and play music.  Anyone who wants to play or sing a solo are welcome to join in.  We had music ranging from mountain songs to AC/DC last night.

On top of the normal fish fry we had Marina's graduation cake and a table full of photo memories.  There were probably about 200 people there throughout the day and Marina's card box was full.  Lucky gal!
My family is probably the exact opposite of my in-laws.  My Mom's side of the family got together a couple of weeks ago.  We had exactly enough to fill a living room -- and  it was far from rowdy.  It was a good time but we are just quiet people I guess.  It is nice to be a part of a family that gets together often - and makes sure it is a party to remember.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I love Saturdays

Today has been a good day so far.  I spent some time this morning cleaning up our apartment a bit.  I went to the grocery store and the farmer's market.  Then I spent the rest of my day in the garden.
I am determined not to let the weeds get the best of me this year.  Once I let them take hold they are difficult to manage all year.  If I had my own garden I would probably mulch, but since we are renting I just do what I can with a hoe.  I have grand plans for my garden when I actually have a plot that I can call my own.  I can't wait to compost!  I want to put in some more permanent plants like asparagus, rhubarb, berries, etc.  Anyway, I am done planting the garden and now I'm doing a rain dance...

Outside one of the out-buildings we have around here.  Aunt Mary's rose trees are gorgeous right now.

This week I did a mini-fast and am working on changing my eating patterns.  I found myself craving too much junk food and not enough healthy food.  When I quit eating entirely for a couple of days and just focus on drinking water/cleansing I find that healthy foods are more appealing.  Any food is appealing at that point really, so I just make sure I have the good stuff around.  You have never tasted a peach until after you haven't eaten for a couple of days!
Working in the garden is good for me too.  I've gained a lot of weight since Charlie and I got married... mostly due to my job (hey, I have to blame something other than myself, ya know?).  I sit down at a desk tied to a phone/computer for 10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.  It is a fairly stressful job too (customer service for a gas/electric utility company in Michigan) and I tend to eat comfort foods at the end of the day.  I am working on the food part of the equation and am hoping that the long days sitting down will come to an end soon.  We have been working 50-60 hours a week for the last year.  I've heard rumors that shorter shifts are coming.  I feel like we are the only ones in Michigan who have more work than we can handle (and am not complaining about the paychecks either).
It is getting late and I need to get ready for a wedding reception.  Charlie is on his way home from work right now and we will probably be pretty busy for the rest of the weekend.  This posting has been kind of scattered, but what I meant to say is that I love Saturdays -- at least the ones that I'm not at work.

Are you sick of these yet?

I apologize if you are sick and tired of hearing about the barn cats.  I just had to post this photo -- I think they are just adorable.  The one on the left has the most gorgeous face!  The black one is the timid one.  There are two that look like calicos (but I don't think they are true calicos) and one that is black and white (the runt, but least timid).  It appears that a couple of them have the extra toes like their mama.  Dave asked if I knew anyone that wanted a kitten.  He seems to think we have enough around here.  If you are interested... let me know.  I keep feeding them and am getting them used to human contact.  They could probably be tamed in a day or two if you want to take one home...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Garden update and another feline licks her lips

The baby kitties (there are actually 5) have been hanging out by the door of the barn and are starting to eat cat chow and meat.  Charlie had a hamburger he didn't eat at lunch that I fed to them.  They are greedy little kitties.

Here are a couple of photos from the garden.  I spent some time tonight weeding my plot.  Some things are looking kind of sad -- it keeps getting cold at night and I don't have covers for the plants.  My mesclun lettuce blend looks pretty good though.  Uncle Dave hooked me up with some radishes too.  Yum!