Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden Update

The rain was much needed and left us with some surprises. The Clematis (H.F. Young) has a bloom. This is a first on a 3 year plant. I have planted clematis twice. Once here and once at our home in Maine. I moved from that home before I saw the first bloom.

We have our first blooms on the tomato plants. This is my first healthy looking tomato plant ever, so you can imagine how excited I am!

I have a few garden "helpers"; Missy the Aussie, Ella the Chihuahua, and our grand baby. I found Missy chewing on one of my corn plants today. Not sure if she thought she was helping me weed. She tends want to pull things when she sees me weeding. My biggest helper is our grandson. He points and gasps every time he sees a squirrel, a bird, or a new solar light. He's so much fun and he tries harder than an of us.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our Earth Hour

8:30-9:30 tonight we joined Earth Hour. We shut off the lights, cranked the air conditioning up so we were sure it wouldn't turn on and unplugged what we could. We took time for each other and sat out on our screened porch after looking over the neighborhood to see who else might be enjoying a quiet energy-free hour.

As we sat in the near dark (we couldn't shut off the streetlight that adds some light to our back yard), we looked over the new solar backyard lights and talked about more that we can do with solar. We desperately need a new roof so this is holding us back from adding a solar attic fan that will cost less than $300. We talked about our hopes that we can continue to add green energy and passive solar to our 20 year old house. We'd love solartube lighting for our dark bathrooms, a solar panel for our hot water heater, and we continue to talk about adding more solar lighting that extends to the indoors. We asked ourselves if we're the only middle class 40 something people who dream about these things.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Good Life

Often, I day dream about the life I hope to have, when the kids a grown (ok, they are grown), when the bills are paid off (God willing some day), when we have more time...

I'm working to live the life I love - right here and now.

These are some things that make my life one that I love; right now (my top 20 in no particular order):
  • Family (Especially my Frenchman, our grandbaby, my sisters - big sis & my twin sis)

  • The little toad that lives in our vegetable garden
  • LL Bean Flannel PJs
  • Google - makes me look smarter than I am
  • My Palm Centro with bible reader, pocket tunes, and audible audio books.
  • Singing silly songs and laughing out loud
  • Our dogs
  • Flagler Ave Coffee & News in New Smyrna Beach, FL
  • Motorcycle rides with my Frenchman
  • Travel to new places and places I love to see again and again
  • A house full of friends
  • Dark Chocolate, skittles, real licorice, chocolate covered gummy bears, and snickers.
  • New - Water view from my back door
  • Early mornings alone with God

  • Camping at Disney, Mi-ti-jo in New Hampshire, almost anywhere
  • Lee's fried chicken livers (I know I lost you on that one!)
  • MAC lipstick
  • Ikea coffee
  • Tivo-like DVR - my new discovery and time saver

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Solar Lighting Comes Indoors

I wish I could remember the blog that I was reading last week as I was researching solar lights. I came across a post about Solig solar lights at Ikea. The handsome Frenchman and I started discussing solar indoor lighting. We live Florida and have a small home with lots of windows. Why not try it? So we debated the larger ($9.99) and smaller ($6.99) in the crowed isle at Ikea and decided on the smaller for this experiment. So excited that I couln't wait, I checked it out on the way home. Once home we sat it near a window and had family over for dinner on the screened porch. That night after eveyone went to bed, I used a velcro tabs to attach the domed ligh under the kitchen cabinet. I fully expected it never to shine again. To my suprise, it has come on at dusk and stayed on well after dawn for 3 days now! The little fixture is barely visable and casts a soft amber light across the counter that is enough light to get a glass of milk without clicking on a light. My only problem, I have a nearly unconrolable erge to shut it off when I go to bed! Looks like I'm taking another trip to Ikea.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring has Sprung in our corner of the world

Today, after breakfast out with our son and his son, we mulched the garden, planted corn and watermelon starts and sunflowers, marigolds, impatiens, and carrots. My hubby and I are encouraged to see the growth of the tomato and okra plants. We added liquid organic fertilizer a week ago, so I'm sure that helped.

We added some solar lights. One set of string lights and 6 small lights on pasts. I've been impressed that the beautiful bluish string lights have stayed on from dusk to dawn. They add such whimsy that I'll be adding more.

From the screened porch this afternoon and watched a family of four cardinals play around our tiny pond. It's a beautiful day and I'm getting ready for a short nap to top off a great day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring in the Garden

Today is the first day of planting in the new organic garden. It's been many years since I slowed down and decided it was time to plant again. The fire ants had run me off for several years, but this year is different. I don't intend to let them stop me. I have a one year old grandson that I want to share the garden with. Thankfully we had a few hard frosts this winter and that will help control fire ants and mosquitoes this year. We're trying something new this year on the fire ants; grits. Yes, the grits that southern people eat for breakfast. Apparently fire ants eat them and can't digest them. I know it sounds cruel, but fire ants can really injure children and I'm not taking any chances with my grandson.

Today we uncovered the plot we'd be solarizing (covered with black plastic to kill of fungus and nematodes) to reveal the snow white sand that fills our back yard and we amended the soil with some organic loam. We planted pre-started tomatoes, okra, and lavender and some radish seeds in our first row. We'll eventually have three rows, but we're starting small.

We're beginning to enjoy our big backyard again. We have a pond in view these days, birds, and squirrels for the baby to watch. Hanging out in the back yard and family & friends on the back porch, I can't think of a better way to spend these beautiful days before it gets too hot to be outside.