Friday, May 29, 2009

Busy as a bee!!

Its been busy around the urban homestead. We experienced a late cold spring and now today its 88 degrees. I really needed to get this all in 3 weeks ago however our oldest daughter(18) was in the hospital for 2 of those this went way back burner. She is healing and this was busted out this week. Mr. Ebes did manage to build us 5 more of those long raised beds on Memorial day and filled as well, me planting right behind him.

My main garden area

and one just off to the side of it.

The first Peony bloom of the year

Between the hospital and the garden we managed to squeeze in the camping trip we had planned way back when we got the camper. Mo thought she would go with us, on second thought lazing around watching movies with her Aunt and cousin sounded better so she declined. I do not hold it against her, she was not up for camping one week after surgery.

A few photos from said trip up in the Beartooths.

Gorgeous lil waterfall while hiking to Sioux Charlie.....and we soon discovered this is a day hike for older kids and adults. We made it almost 3/4 of a mile up until Sierra started losing her footing.

Our lil nature nut youngest daughter out in the lead in true Sierra fashion....soon to be back with me when the climb started to get some grit to it.

a bit of fishing

flowers along the way...not enhanced just straight out of camera, heck most of mine are not so savvy with photo editing much.



Its been a busy 3 weeks to say the least. Summer weather is here and I welcome the sunshine!!
The camper suited us well. It does need some foam pad for our sleeping bunk....that was a bit hard on my hips. The kids bunk was actually very comfy. Wow!! May just passed in a flash.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My mecca








We came home with none of the above, we picked up our heirloom tomatoes, pepper, cabbage, and broccoli plants, my son grabbed a few packs of petunia and marigold, marigolds are his favorite because they are orange. I also picked up comfrey and if you are not familiar with this plant is also called bone-knit. Great for sprains, tendonitis and skin inflammation. Apply externally.
They are hardening off outside. Our last frost is May 15th, however I have seen snow here 11 out of 12 months of the year.

Universal Love

Do you remember when I said all kids where ever when ever love to ham it up.

Men love beeya no matter where you are as well.


and this man is no exception.

We learned proper clinking of the beeya bottles as well.....geez they gotta be so formal, even with beeya, I was getting a bit nervous about my not being so formal...clink the tops, clink the bottoms and then clink the tops AGAIN and say "your toast" and it could be as simple as "Thank God for cold beeya on hot day" then swig.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Daily bread...

yes, everyday or so I check in.

The Devraes family is inspiration at its finest! Living where water restrictions abound in a semi arid region they manage to feed their family on 1/10th of an acre in American suburbia. Incredible!


Purple Rain, Purple Rain


Now I know what that means!!

Have a great day, its sunny and going to be about 65 degrees today, utterly lovely!!


Of Rhino...

Lets back up a bit,
Mark:"Val, there is a rhino out of the park that so and so and so and so are going to go dart to transport, would you like to go along"

Me: "YEEEESSSSSS, I will be right down"

me, getting to lower hangar, find mark

Mark: "Oh hi val, this is Mr. ututiewhfhd, he will be the veterinarian doing the darting"

Me: "Pleased to meet you, you look very familiar" (shaking his pie plate size hand)

Me: hmmmmm, where on earth have I seen this guy before, at the birthday party?no, that's not it.
HE IS THE GUY I HAVE SEEN ON ANIMAL i essential scream that out like a 12 year old. I had to ask him his name again, Mark talks fast and the accent throws me a little.

so we climb into the Jet Ranger and immediately I start thinking, hmmm what would I really do if we actually went down. Morbid I know, but I grew up in the middle of no where and of course there is always a bit of risk when doing something of this nature. pay attention to the landmarks, roads and rivers. Ack, then my mind just drifted and took it all in.

Oh there he is! Odd because just less than a half mile from him is a dirt road with children walking on it and folks all about.

Running...running...getty whoozy.....soooo sleepy....and down he went.

Look at those feet, they were spongy but leathery with funky toenails, boy that would take alot of nail polish (yes those are the weird thoughts that pop in from time to time)

At this moment Mike is encouraging me to go up and "check it out"...Really? I wont be in the way? I touched him, and was quite curious about those feet. Odd and Cool and the same time.

And my favorite photo of animal planet celebrity man!

Ooofda he is a big bugger

With alot of help from folks that just came from all around they got that big ole hunk of Rhino into the trailer. Meanwhile I am snapping pictures like a mad woman, and all the kids around us were diggin that. The friendly young lady standing next to me most of the time enamoured me with her smile and kindness. One things for sure the native black folk where we were have the most stunning teeth. Coming from me backwoods girl with crooked teeth, you can see how this is a big deal for me. See....look at that smile!
I thought about this young gal on the fly back to the hangar and wondered what her life was like, and the experiences she has had.

Once we were back on the ground and a few more pictures with Mr. Grobler, I ran up to my hubby and said "Honey I brought back something for you"...."really"......I hold up my hand in his face while saying "yes I did, essence of rhino ass, here take a big whiff".

I think it took me a few hours to come down from that high!!! It was special indeed, and permanently etched in my memory bank.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So full of it

Compost that is....


this is my small composter. It holds 180 gallons or so of debris. it is what a I use for day to day composting year round. I mix it 3-4 parts carbon (dry leaves, dry grass, sawdust shavings,shredded paper) to 1-2 parts nitrogen depending on the "heat" content (green residue, fresh cow manure, kitchen scraps) It heats up quickly, I just turn it everyday and in two weeks its good to go on the garden. Through the winter I just keep filling it and filling then this spring I dumped in loads of wood shavings to balance the mix. Its cooking up as we speak, in 6 days I can use it.


This is what I refer to as the "bobcat method". In the fall we gather all of our leaves and run them through a chopper, any leftover grass clippings, branches, even paper and garden residue etc and mix it with a bobcat load or two of fresh cow manure.Mix with the bobcat scoop and push into a big pile and let it cook all winter. I will use this up this spring in all of the garden and flower beds. I will hold back just a bit for starter in the rolling composter.

Another reason to get chickens, chicken poop is the hottest and there for takes less to get the job done AND I will not need to beg my neighbor for poop. Besides those chickens will come in handy for egg production and keeping those destructive grasshoppers at bay. Triple threat chickens, yup I need some of those.

So Annie thats my magic composting formula. There are alot of composters on the market, and alot of folks that have written books about it as well. This is what works for us. So one minute we will be overun with compost and the next its all gone.

Note to the hired man: New grass clippings and diggings must go in a new pile. I wonder if he will quit his job when I tell him? Hopefully not, he still has to sleep next to me. *wink*

serious thoughts a brewing.

CAUTION GANG Pictures, Images and Photos

Just thought I would warn you.

Last fall Ebes and I went to South Africa. Ha, his boss thought I would not go. Silly man, he doesn't know me to well. Trip of a lifetime, for many reasons.
I have not shared much "out in public" so I thought I would just go for it. There was SO much to take it, from the climate, people, food, agriculture, atmosphere, politics, etc. Simply Amazing and Mind blowing at the same time. I encourage anyone to go at least once in their lifetime.
NO matter where you are in the world, kids love to ham it up for the camera.

I think hunger and food issues are at the forefront of Africa the continent, we can all agree on that. Where we were a bird can poop out a seed and it will grow. Its that fertile! Oh and I did do some landscaping while I was there and wouldn't you know it the nursery we went to was "The Montana Garden Pavillion".....haha slap my knee, Scott and Jerry are just not gonna believe me!!

So the food issues, well I came away with a better understanding when I visited with Florence a bit. She lives in Hazeyview and travels to Nelspruit via bus for work. She does not have a garden or chickens and when I asked her why she stated "they will be stolen from me while I am away for work, no point in it." left mouth agape. I really had to mull that over, I came to the conclusion there must be a real lack of boundaries in her community, either out of ignorance or the mindset that whats mine is mine and whats yours is mine, I see a fruit I am hungry I am going to get the fruit. Mr. Stephen clued me in a bit about the turmoil in Zimbabwe. Seriously I really do not care of any political agenda of what is pc here. Bottom line.....Mugabe essentially sentenced, oh lets say millions to famine by ridding the country of Boers that know how to farm the land once creating the breadbasket of that entire continent!! (that is not a typo, thee entire continent). Shame really! Stephens cousins, who were quite young at the time along with his aunt and uncle fled their farm under attack, meanwhile watching thier animals being slaughtered in front of them!!(I had goosebumbs on goosebumps). So tell me how is it that land reform (redistribution of wealth) supported their country and its people?

I am convinced that Boers or Dutchman no matter where they live in the world are the best farmers, its in their blood, its their gift to the world. They have the inate ability to grow food. I have seen it. Its true.
Reminds me when we were having a meal with Mr. Robbie.(Mr. Robbie is a doctor and has a smallholding farm that has been in his family since Blood River Battle times) I saw a butternut on his counter, I said "I grow these back home, they are so good"....Robbie says "I am planting two acres of these"........hold a sec, let me wrap my around that visual. I say to him "are you nuts? you know you are going to have like thousands of these to eat" Robbie says "yes that is what I am going for"....then I chuckled...I think he was thinking..."this American is a bit slow". What Robbie does not realize is I have never seen a garden farm in my life. He also grew bananas on his farm. Neato!
When we arrived he had a branch of ylang ylang in his smell that was a glimpse of heaven for me. I have only smelled the essential oil before that. Mr. Mark had a 9mm strapped to him as well, he warned me before hand...."dont be afraid Val, but Mr. Robbie has been captured 3 times and tortured, so we are in a bit of danger just going to visit him, but I assure you it will be all worth it"
He was correct, I could visit with Mr. Robbie for hours he is fascinating to say the least. The plants around the patio veranda were incredible, the scent of jasmine lingered in the cool air. He finally fenced everything, not because of intruders, because of a hippo showing up in the back yard one morning.

We ate basic good healthy food the entire time we were there. vegetables, meat, fruit and sweet potatos. I was so worried that there would not be meat so I stuffed my suitcase with 10 big bags of jerky, you know, just in case. RyHahn enjoyed that jerky immensely, "its different from our biltong, but I really like it".

So from my personal experience in what I saw....their is no good reason for the hunger that continent faces.NOT ONE! Sure, there are many excuses, those excuses are rooted in the throws of politics and personal agendas of those in power. A paradigm shift in thinking is what is needed from the top to the bottom to rise above it. In time, sooner than later is what I pray for.


I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Confession Stand

That is what my daughter calls the concession stand at the ball field. I thought I was gonna pee my pants when she blurted out to everyone in a 20 foot radius ........"MOM may I go the the confession stand to get some candy?"

No really I confess, I am totally addicted to this years Britain's Got Talent. First it was Susan Boyle, which my viewing number of times on you tube is probably over 50 by now. Incredible and still leaves me a bit misty. Could be my front runner that Susan. So plucky and funny too. Then there is Holly Steele, holy crap such a little person with a HUGE voice and now there is Jamie Pugh. He is a total underdog and suffers from stage fright and just knocked the socks off the audience first time ever on stage!!! Amazing these 3 have never been scooped up. Oh and Elliot of the Good Evans, he should audition alone.

Ear Candy!

Thats all back to your regular scheduled reading.

Just keep sewing, just keep sewing.

I have recently fulfilled my dream of being a jockey. Albeit I have been riding that sewing machine like a jockey and loving every minute of it. That's how I roll. I go on spurts whatever the creative project is I go full tilt until I am absolutely exhausted of that particular medium. Its a strange phenom with me. It could be painting, sewing, gourds, beading or what have you. In the past I was really into making jewelry, I did that for 3 years....totally obsessed. Then one day I just put it all away and have not touched it for another good 3 years. They do not take up much space so I do keep them for when I pick it up again, my daughter and niece go up and dig around in them and make something on a whim. Its good to feed your artistic creative self, however I do limit myself on just how many mediums I work in. Why? because if I didn't set some guidelines I could fill this whole house with "rooms" with stuff. Could you imagine a sewing room, art room, framing room, scrapbook room, gourd room and so forth. It would be a bit overwhelming for my hubby. I would absolutely be in hog heaven.
*Disclaimer: I am not a scrapbooker (my daughter wishes I were) and heavens to Betsy if I were I could see myself going a bit crazy....have you seen all the latest and greatest papers, embellishments and frippery? It truly is a new sort of art form. I recently visited a scrapbook store and left knowing full well I best not delve into that medium, it could cost me my retirement. Now those papers, I was imagining all the pretty papers magically turning into fabric.

I knocked out a few more cotton skirts, a fabric cup cake, 15 or so felt barettes,crayon rolls, wool posie pins, 3 more recycled wool skirts and now perfecting the "perfect" reversible headband. Currently shopping around for a serger, so if you have any recomendations let me know.