Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gray Bee, what?

 Bees are on my mind. Bzzzz.... They are out in abundance doing their thing. One of which is stinging me. Yes, I've been stung twice this week. What is up with my honey bees? Not the whole colony mind you, but two individuals which lost their lives this week in the pursuit of my hair. Really ladies, it isn't all that attractive. It isn't all gussy up with hair spray, perfumed shampoo, or anything else interesting. It is definitely not worth losing ones life over. Yes, when honey bees sting, their stinger is ripped from their body and they die.

Not only am I wondering what's up with ole crabbos but does anyone know what bee this and the picture above are? Yes, they are the same bee.
It appears to be a kind of bumble bee because it's body is fuzzy and shaped somewhat similar to a common bumble bee like this one.
So if you hear me saying."Ouch! You little beggar.", you'll know another one bit the dust. Hopefully, the sugar water will do it's trick and the grouchiness will disappear.

I will be temporarily out of Internet service as I'm presently writing this at a motel but tomorrow  I will be leaving for my folk's home where they don't have a computer so hence, no service. The same is true for The Calico Bush blog. The last post being late Thursday. Well, at eleven oclock I pushed publish and apparently, it didn't do it's thing. But is is up this morning.

I will be back home Monday though, so say tuned. Meanwhile, please ruminate, (hm.... possibly that isn't the word - too cowee, let's try investigate), why my honeybees won't touch the plum tree blossoms, which are for the second time only, in bloom at the same time despite being the same variety. Many other types of bees like the bumble bee are loving them so why not honey bees. The Internet says honeybees like them. Hmmmm.... 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Around The World Quilt

 See this picture? Ignore it. Okay, maybe not completely but don't look too careful because I've noticed that I don't have the strip sections laid out in the correct order. Some of them need flipped. Take only from this picture that there are four sections.

The above oops is what happens when you are watching your three year old grand daughter and she is having one of those out of sight and quiet is a very bad thing days. She played hide and I seek every few minutes in an attempt to keep things whole. Yup, she was in to everything, I even found her trying to haul off the lap top computer. I swear she was only out of sight for only a minute. LOL

Then there was the episode of wetting on Grandpa's bed. She was watching her favorite horsey show on Netflix on Grandpa's computer. We are potty training you see. That didn't go too well either yesterday, even though we read and read stories while she sat upon her thrown, the toilet. In turn, when ever I had to go, we removed her little donut seat from the toilet and she insisted on reading to me as I went, so it wasn't all bad. She is such a cute little pot licker.
 For the day, I decided to bring my sewing machine up from the basement laundry room and put it on the kitchen table, a handier spot to run off from every two minutes to check up on missy mischief. I badly needed a down project after building fence all day yesterday with hubby. The yaks are thrilled with their new pen and now they have a big shed, really important with this early warm weather and they still wearing their full winter coat. Jasmine hasn't quit telling of her joy. She runs and bucks and then comes over to the fence to grunt at me. No, yaks do not moo, they grunt. We need to start combing then so we will set up a lane this weekend into the squeeze chute.

So a low energy activity was all this lady could muster and I badly need to sew some quilts. The grand kids's beds never did have enough twin quilts and so there are several double sized quilts folded in half on the beds. I was able to get a few made in the last couple years but that isn't enough.

Wasn't such a big deal until now. The two older grand daughters are large enough that when they toss and turn, they toss the folded over quilts right off them. Add to that, that the kids have just about worn out and toes are about to be expose from too short nap blankets and you have a real quilt shortage, twin bed size, shall child nap blankets, and baby blankets too.

The pressure is on to get a sewing. Not a bad thing to do as I'm afraid this might be a long hot summer. I'm seriously thinking of putting tomatoes out in the garden in wall a waters next week. I've got lots to spare in the basement if they don't make it.

So after pondering on the fact for a day and staring at this fabric our three year old chose from a pile of flannel in the basement, I decided to do an Around The World Quilt. Strip quilting is fast, really fast. Can't find the booklet with the instructions but I've a good idea of what they say since I've made several, years ago.

Saturday while I rested, set to work cutting strips. I chose five inches wide by the 45 inches length as that is the max my long ruler will do. Too little a pieces and it will slow way down the project and require far more fabric. It isn't as if I can run to the store for more since this is from my stash in the basement. I cut out strips from four different coordinating colors.
And now that I've been a yammering on for ever, you will need to see the picture again. I laid the strips out in order of butterflies, green, yellow with purple dots, and purple, ending with the starting color of butterflies sewing the strips together with a 1/4 inch seam.
 The next strips began with the color after the butterflies which is green and then I ran in the order of the first quilt ending in green, the starting color.
 Taking the next color of yellow with purple spots I again went in the original order but ended with the same color and the first one. Think you will get confused? Hint, cut little pieces of each fabric and tape them on to a piece of paper in order. No first and last color being the same for this is the reference piece. The last strip block in this series being the purple strip first and last.

I then sewed with a 1/4 inch seam these long 45 inch strips, which are the width of the material. Next, I laid my sewn strips with them running horizontally or from left to right. With my wide straight quilting ruler lain vertically, I cut down slicing the 45 inch strips into 3 1/2 inches wide. Then carefully handling the strips, I placed them in an order creating a half a diamond shape with each color lining up. This is the top half.
I started in the center again for the bottom half. I could have chosen to cut my pieces 5 inches wide and the whole thing would be square but I prefer the elongated look.
 Matching up seam, sorta kind of, this being the part I'm not as good at,(could be the imperfection of cutting the strips out hm...) I sewed together the multi-colored strips. Notice how much narrower the sewn bottom half is to the unsewn top. That is why I chose to cut my pieces larger to start with. You loose a lot of size using small pieces. They look great but require more fabric and lots more sewing time and thread.

I'm in a hurry and larger pieces take up more space in a hurry. A few of the seams tried to come apart on me and had to be re-sewn but surprisingly, the unbackstitched ends hold pretty good. I back stitched over every seam to re-enforce them as after all this will be a nap quilt for our youngest grand daughter and three year olds aren't terribly gentle. I did not surge the seams as I will stitch in the ditch which keeps the fabric from moving and the edges from fraying.

 All these seams narrows the quilt top by quite a bit as you can see from the unsewn top half and the sewn bottom half.
The top and bottom are not together at this point and this quilt will have borders but I was pleased with the look so far, so was our grand daughter. Besides this partially finished nap quilt top, I also had enough strips to put together a baby quilt top. The center diamond being purple instead of green.

After all, we will have a new little grand daughter coming home from the hospital in a few weeks. Our preemie grand daughter is doing well and is weighing in at 5 pounds 3 ounces now. I can't wait until we can hold her and bring her home from the hospital. Till then, I had better get the quilt her mother started done as she had no time with running back and forth between her children at home and the hospital 40 miles away.

This is instructions on making this quilt from the Internet as I've rushed through my explanation.

When you are done reading, head on over to and see what I'm knitting. But if you are really fast you'll have to give me just a moment to get the blog post up. Yes, I worked on the blogs last night but fell asleep before I was done. It was a busy, long day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Headed to the Corrals

Got to love this warm weather. It signals time to walk to the corrals with the kiddos. Our goal is that dark line to the top left of the picture. It's where the town has a bit of land that its citizens can put up a corral and place a few animals. It's only 3/4 of a mile away.
 Before getting to our pen, we have to visit those on the way and check up on some of our favorite animals, not our own.  This doe had quads this year and has managed to feed them all. She is definitely a keeper.
 And the owner of this cute baby goose showed up to do chores just when we arrived and let out two goslings so the kids could pet them.
 Of course the grand kids had to say hello to Bella, Daisy, and Rosey, our doelings. The doelings love to have more kids to play with even though they may not look quite like them.
The barn cats, of which there are way too many since we had a mild winter, watched on.
 Next door to our pen, lambs hit their moms up for a quick snack. I mean that literally as they butt udders to signal the ewes to let down their milk.

Then it was a race for home. At the end of which, three little ones were ready to head for their own beds, tired after playing with the super soaker water guns, hoola hoops, play dishes and dolls and a late movie night at Pappa and Grandma's house.

Remember weekends at your Grandparents house? I do. I couldn't get enough of them especially when my cousin came to stay too.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ivory Leaf Button

Check out my blogged at The Calico Bush showing the beginning stages of creating a ivory leaf button.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Handsome Is As Handsome Does

I thought he was quite handsome with his lovely hackle,

his erect carriage, straight toes, and full body.
Surely, he would be viral and give me lots of hearty chicks.

Now I'm wondering. I've checked the eggs in the incubator searching for a dark mass inside. This weekend they should hatch and I'm not sure anything will.  Well, I think it is this weekend. I forgot to put it on the calendar and life has been a big blur.

Anyway, this handsome cock was chosen amongst three candidates to be put into the coop with the hens. Two weeks later I started gathering eggs. He was an excited rooster when he first caught sight of where he was headed and I saw him mount a number of hens. Then he started acting aggresive toward me. I promise, I try my best not to swing my pail of feed when I enter and I never confront him by walking in a frontal attack position but still he wasn't nice. And to think how the hens love me, it isn't fair. 

No, I never gave him cause to worry but one day when I turned my back to exit the coop. He came a flying with his spurs raised. Again a few days later he tried to get me when I turned my back but I had an eye out for just such a move and I dropped kicked him out into the run. After that he went out into the run every time I opened the coop door. Who said chickens were stupid?

Some might say I did wrong by this move. I've found if a rooster is mildly aggresive, you look for what you've done wrong but if one attacks you, it's war. A war you had better win and in a hurry or you've just given the rooster a gladiators high and he's going to do it again and again until he's stopped. Dead being the only end. I've got grand daughters safety to think of when they join me at the corrals.

This rooster has also tried several times to make a dash for the door to get out and finally succeeded a few days ago, leaving me wondering, maybe he isn't getting along to well with the hens. That coupled with two hens that died last week. Pretty strange since I haven't lost a hen since I put them in the coop last spring. 

Yup, pretty is as pretty does and this escaped cock, whom I couldn't herd back into the coop by my lonesome, will soon meet his demized when Kirk is off this weekend and I've help to catch him. 
This rooster and two others that is who are in a small coop. I'm not going to start another batch of eggs if these don't hatch. I've decided to not start more animal projects, just get to work on fixing up the house to sell. Besides, there is alway Sherman here.  He's the head peeking in the picture on the left. He's chasing Penney, the neighbors hen.
"Here we go around the mulberry bush", well, maybe not a mulberry bush since Penney might be bushy, or maybe she's best described as plump and she definitely doesn't hold still making the circling a might trickier. None the less, Sherman does his best first with Penney, who's begun living in the goat shed. Then he heads toward the back of our pens to circle round and round our older black hen that we let run loose.

Yes, if you are wondering, the top Wyodotte rooster does have a bloody comb and neck. He and Sherman have been fighting. Sherman is winning. How can I tell? He isn't nearly as beat up.
And despite what you might think. It's the chickens that chase the cats, not the other way around. That is why this barn cat is giving Penney a wary eye. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just Keep Smiling

 It doesn't matter how many cazillion things you have to do or how tired you are...
you've got to just keep smiling and moving on. I keep telling myself that as I stare at the long lists of things needing done with a body that isn't so cooperative.
Our little glow worm was born last week throwing life into a whirlwind. Our sweet tiny grand daughter, weighing just a little over four pounds has arrived early, five weeks early. She is making steady progress and we look forward to the day she is out of NICU unit.

For now we pray and travel when we can, the 80 miles to the hospital to peek through the window at our sweet babe. Till then we watch her sisters and yearn for the day when we can hold our newest arrival in our arms and kiss her little cheek.

Meanwhile, the yaks have spotted the green grass just peeking up through the ground and are ripping up fence almost every day. I have to keep an eye to fix it before they get out. Not so easy with the pens 3/4 th's a mile away. I've noticed their grazing hours are early morning and evening.

I've a new area for them since a friend gave us his large shed next door to our pens and I'm working on building fence around it. It is going to be real handy when the heat comes and they need somewhere to escape from the sun's rays.

I hope Kirk doesn't mind the wave. I'm not much of a fence builder and my posts aren't always in a real straight line. Maybe I just need more practice. On the ranch my dad managed, my fencing job was to bring lemonade and cookies to the crew. Now that I can do. LOL

 But time is pressing and we are way behind on work chores so sometimes we have to settle for done -- not well done. And with sooo much that has been put on the back burner and spring upon us, each person fills in where he or she can. There isn't the luxury of his and her chores. Just chores that need done. 

One thing we've definitely learned this week is metal t-posts every eight feet doesn't work to keep yaks in. I'm trying one every four feet to hold up cow panels. Unfortunately t- posts aren't cheap. Then again, raising livestock isn't cheap either or just about throwing some hay and watering every day. That's the easy part. There is also the fence fixing or building, the repairing or building of sheds, the worming, the doctoring, the birthing, feet trimming, the grooming, the hay hauling and stacking, the trips to the feed store, record keeping, training, and, and, and. Nope that's the easy part, the feeding and watering.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dryer Lint

Could you use the lint from your dryer for batting for a quilt? I began to wonder when I was doing our daughter's laundry. A thick rectangle of it had to be removed each time I put a new load into our dryer. Then after a couple times of doing her clothes, the amount of lint shrunk to just a little in one corner of the screen. The same amount I get doing our laundry.

What was up? My inquisitive mind couldn't stand the discrepancy. Besides, lint equals loss of fibers off the clothes. The loss means the clothes are wearing out at an accelerated rate and that goes against my waste not want not mentality. 

 With the huge amounts I was getting off of our daughter's family's clothes, the first two times I did them, I can see why there are Internet sites devoted to the subject of what you can create with dryer lint. Litnt off of cotton clothes seems to be popular to stuff inside toilet paper rolls and used as fire starters. I've not found starting a fire much of a problem, probably since we use a free standing stove to heat our home and I'm well practiced. Though if you were camping and it had been raining, it might come in handy.

In my search for an answer to why the creation of excessive lint, I learned a great deal about doing laundry. Of course I'll share what I learned.

One reasons was the mixing of different types of clothing in the dryer. Cotton knits, flannel items, and many synthetic materials I guess should be washed separate from other types of materials. By keeping materials separate, you can also dry clothes more efficiently. Makes me mightly glad we have cotton and cotton and cotton with just a few thing of my husband that are synthetic.

Since most of our daughter's clothes are also cotton, that wasn't the problem. 

I did find this site quite helpful.
The site had this to say.

Use less soap
In the past, I was guilty of over soaping my clothes. I was one of those people that always added more soap than the manufacturer recommended. I guess my mantra was if a little is good, more is better, but when it comes to laundry soap, that isn't the case. Using too much soap makes your machine work much harder and wears clothes out faster. There is a simple way to tell if you are using too much laundry detergent: Check the lint trap on your dryer. If you are collecting a lot of lint with each load, chances are you are using way too much soap. Cut back to half the recommended amount of detergent and you will see a drastic reduction in the amount of lint your in your dryer.

Brighten colors with salt
Over time, hard water can cause clothes to become dull and dingy. To solve this problem, add a pinch or two of ordinary table salt to the washer with your normal detergent. Let some water run in the washer to dissolve detergent and salt, and then add your clothes. Colored clothes will come out much brighter than they were.

Use distilled white vinegar just the way you would fabric softener, and you will be surprised by the results. This less-expensive alternative to commercial fabric softeners will cut down on static and increase the softness of your favorite clothes. Add a cup of vinegar to the water when you wash dark clothes and it will cut down on fading.

Using liquid detergents in any front-loading washer is not recommended because they tend to produce too much foam. But, if you prefer to use a liquid detergent, DO NOT use more than 1 tbsp.
Because liquid detergents have a higher percentage of surfactants, or sudsing agents, they can have a greater impact on the environment

The amount of detergent you use will depend on water hardness (the harder the water, the more detergent needed), the amount of soil (more soil requires more detergent), and the wash temperature (cooler water requires more detergent).

Liquid detergent is especially effective on food and greasy or oily soils. Because it is fluid, it can double as a stain pretreater.

Choose liquid detergent if you do lots of spot-treating and have a family that specializes in food spills.
The answer is apparently too much soap. When I was sewing my knitting bags and sitting for hours in the laundry room, I noticed that my towels had a little soap whirling around in my front load washer during the final rinse. That was when I cut wa...y back on the amount of soap I use. Many sites recommended just a tablespoon or two. I thought I was doing pretty good with a quarter cup of soap but now I use about two tablespoons. Sometimes a bit more on really dirty loads and that is just what the experts recommend.

I have a feeling that the detergent companies are the ones pushing the using of lots of soap per load. Money, money, money being the motivation. Then again maybe the clothing manufacturers are in on it too.

The using of vinegar to soften is definitely something I'm going to try. I wonder if my towels will come out smelling vinegary. Hmm. maybe I'll need borax too. Presently, I don't use fabric softener especially after I learned it was very flammable.

I had been using liquid laundry soap on oily stains because it was convenient to smear on them and hand scrub before throwing them into the wash. Not because I was any too smart but looks like I was doing the right thing after all.

If you have mud stains or ground-in soil or dirt, then powder detergent will work best. Powder detergents are made with special ingredients that raise the pH of your wash, which makes for better cleaning. It's important to keep in mind, though, that powder detergents work best when they are dissolved and mixed around in the washer a bit before adding your clothes. This will help prevent those ingredients from reacting with and possibly fading your clothes.

If, on the other hand, you're working with more oily dirt, like food stains, you should use a liquid detergent. Liquids have a different cleaning component that keeps the wash pH neutral, meaning you don't need to dissolve them, you can use them to pretreat, and you can add them to loads with delicate fabrics and colors.

Read more: Liquid Vs. Powdered Detergent |

Using too much can cause oversudsing which can not only damage your machine, but can make clothes appear dingy.

One other reason for lots of dryer lint is the use of a top load washer on high aggitation cycle. They recommend a longer wash and a lower aggitation to make clothes last longer and less lint.

The best thing of all to do is turn your clothes inside out when washing them and hanging them up to dry skipping the dryer all together.

I've been thinking about going back to home-made laundry detergent. At least part time anyway. Wonder how well it works on a front load washer.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wheat Grinder

Help!! My wheat grinder bit the dust. It is 31 years old and the plastic became brittle letting wheat flour in to the motor area. I taped the cracks and it ran for several more years but I knew it was only a matter of time before it would cease up. 

Yesterday morning I was going to grind some Painted Mountain corn for corn bread. The plan was to soak it in buttermilk all day to lower the phytic acid and release more nutrients, then that night make the cornbread. Those plans were sure nipped in the bud. 

I took the thing all apart and vacummed it out. For two seconds it ran again and it quit once more and has refused to work despite my pleas. I was really looking forward to the new experiment.

Wish they didn't make eccentials like this out of plastic. Metal would of been better especially since the grinding section was guaranteed for life. Like that does any good if the plastic gives out.  I'm sure the motor would of run for a good while longer too. Too bad the manufactures don't care about durability. Of course my idea of durability is never having to replace the thing.

I'd settle for a grinder like my grandmother's refrigerator. That thing had a tiny ice box and wasn't very big but after 50 years it still kept food cold.

The grinder was one of the very first purchases we made when we first got married. I hate to say goodbye but a new one that didn't make so.... much noise would be nice. Any advice on what kind of wheat grinder to buy? I'm not up on the latest and the greatest. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Late at Night, But Not Forgotten

Go to;postID=7925153169562122345 and check out the newest addition to our family.  She is the coolest thing on the post but the page also shows my progress I've made on my hat. Can you say rip it? 

P.S. Dawn, I finally figured out what KAL means. No, I don't text and I'm embarrassed to have to admit how long it took me to figure this abreviation out. You could have knitted the hat and been done by the time I figured it out. Especially since I rip as much as I knit.  To my defense of being so dense, things have been intense and hectic with all the complications surrounding the final arrival of our newest grand daughter. 

Which Tomato Plant is Best?

 Which tomato plant is best? The one that can put on tomatoes in a short period of time and they become ripe before frost kills them. A tall order in Northeastern Wyoming. You might think I'm joking but it's no laughing matter when our last average frost date is June 2nd and then the average first frost date begins on September 3rd. That's just 90 days, frost free - maybe.

And I'm not talking warm weather either when I say frost free. I remember years that it was still snowing into the third week in June. I pray not this year. 

It has been quite warm for April this year and I hope it keeps it up. Then again Wyoming weather is very unpredictable and can change at a drop of the hat. Even though it is warmer, it is not exactly growing weather but it would be if we had a greenhouse up.

With such a short growing season and cool weather, it means either buying lots and lots of plants from a greenhouse or growing your own under lights.  

Commercial greenhouses for garden plants is a poor choice. They have their plants shipped in and they are of the varieties recommended for five states. Places where the weather is far better than here. Hence, people are always complaining about their tomatoes not turning red before frost. 

When I bought from greenhouse, I liked Celebrities pretty good but they are a hybrid. You can't save seed from them. That doesn't fit with my plan to become more self-sufficient and they have become harder to find. That's why I started looking into heirloom varieties for the way up north.

And I took a hint from the recommended way to plant tomatoes. You know, you lay your tomatoes sideways in a hole and bury the roots and stems up to the leaves. This is to form a larger root system.

I start seeds in the bottom third of a small pot. Then as the plant grows, I keep adding dirt. This causes a good portion of the stem to become roots just like when you lay your tomato plant down in the garden covering it up to the leaves. More roots, more food service workers to feed the plant. Then when the plant has grow a stem far out of the pot, I transplant it choosing a pot that is far too big. One where I can put the roots way down at the very bottom and fill partially with dirt, adding more dirt as the plant grows. Once more extending the root system. You will find that your stems on your tomatoes become really thick this way.
A big deal when you have high winds like we do in our area. They can beat your plants down to bare stems in one afternoon. I'd show you a photo but I don't have the pictures off the old computer yet. 
 That was why I liked the Celebrity because of their naturally thick stems. But, I've found for our area, I also need something that was better at ripening in a short period of time. One of the reasons I love Siberia. They are reported to set fruit at temperatures as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit.  We usually go from warm to froze and so I don't know about this.

When I first saw these tomato seeds advertised I thought, if they can grow in Siberia, they will grow here in Wyoming.  They are heirloom so I can save seed, the plants are pretty short and are slower growing to start with but they are really thick stemmed holding up in our wind. They are great for growing in pots because they are smaller. They put on clusters of tomatoes instead of single ones. The one maybe downfall is the tomatoes are just medium sized but frankly I'll take small over with the big ones being a maybe if you get any ripe ones at all before frost.   

Best yet, a couple years ago, we were picking Siberia tomatoes the first week in July. They are just 48 days. Almost unbelievable for a tomato. We had a nice June that year instead of our usual cool weathered month and the plants were good size when I put them in the ground.  Start them from seed indoors and you'll have LOTS of wonderful tomatoes before frost. So if you are looking for a short season, hardy, thick, heirloom variety, give them a try.
 Yes, this is a tomato plant. Another early bird, just 55 days. this plant, Glacier tomato is from Sweden. It looks a bit different than the other tomato plants, even the Siberia, with it's rounded leaves. This plant never does as well for me in the basement under the lights. I suspect I over water it.  I'm sure it is me, not it. But this year, I'm determined to put at least four in the garden and see how they compare with the Siberia that I love so much. 
This is a Long Keeper, another determinate tomato but a 90 dayer. That is pushing the limits of our season. I've never grown this tomato before but I have a neighbor that does. Not sure how reliable it is for producing ripe tomatoes before frost or how it does in our cool Junes. I'm guessing it would be best to get it to good size before transplanting and to wait in to June before putting it out.

This year with the warmer weather this variety just might do well. The tomatoes are suppose to be twice the size of the Siberia, at 6 oz. instead of 3. They are reported to keep up to 4 months at temperatures of 65 Fahrenheit. That is why I'm wanting to try this heirloom variety.  I think I might look for some black plastic to put around the plants to hold the heat.

I'm also trying Saucy Paste, a heirloom Italian paste tomato. Usually I grow Romas, but not this time. Can't remember why. Maybe seed wasn't available from my favorite catalogue. I do see from another that their is a Russian variety at 85 days. Something to think about.

This Saucy Paste variety is reported to have a very compact plant, (remember our wind) and it is a 85 dayer pushing the limits a bit. I know, I know, I'm starting them indoors but still with a typically cooler June, they don't grow as much that month putting them a bit behind. 

The other variety I have started is another of my favorites, Washington Cherry. It is a cherry tomato variety but the size on these tomatoes is really impressive. My sisters, when they had them last summer, raved about the taste and size.  They too are a determinate, stocky plant.

Notice a pattern here? Yes, determinate is the only kind I'll grow. For those of you who aren't familiar with the terms determinate and indeterminate, I'll explain. Determinate tomato plants grow to a pre-determined size, about four feet, and the tomatoes come on in a short period of time. These are great for canning as you have lots of fruit at the same time.

Indeterminate tomato plants put on tomatoes a little at a time as the plant grows. The plant will keep growing. Kirk's grandpa had a indeterminate plant that grew up the side of his stucco garage and onto the roof.
Heirloom tomatoes tend to be indeterminate (vining with fruit ripening over time). There are a few determinate varieties (bushier, with the crop ripening all at one time--good for canning).

With such a short growing season in this part of Wyoming, you can now see why determinate is the only way to go. Beware though, because I've seen indeterminate tomatoes in the greenhouses around here so check the label. Some don't know what they are selling which is a pity. Discouraged gardeners don't return to buy more plants and not many of us have stucco garages to plant our indeterminates next to.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Hunt

The hunt was a hoot. Every year that we have the privilege of hosting it, we come up with something new.

This year, we had a large variation in age from early thirties to three years of age. No, we weren't going to have several hunts, just one. One wild and crazy event.

Each child selected a partner and was assigned an egg color --yellow, orange, green, or pink and purple. The partner's were to find the eggs in the correct color and then make one of the following sounds, crowing, mooing, oinking, or hee hawing, whichever one the child chose. This was a signal for the smaller half of the team to come and pick up the egg. 

With this method, our oldest grandchild, our step-grandson, who just got home from his moms, didn't have a bucket full, while the youngest  grandchild had only a few.

The youngest, not knowing her colors, did pick up a few along the way that weren't orange. Oh well... matter, no time to check because the next move was to hurry inside and put together a 60 piece puzzle in teams of four.

Of course sweet prego here had to have a little fuel, her favorite - peeps marshmallow candy. It's exhausting carrying the, soon to arrive, newest grandchild and race to stay ahead of her oldest daughter in the Easter egg hunt.

We weren't done yet as it was once more back outside to play games with Easter toys such as a badmitten set with rackets in the shape of bunny heads, and carrots for the stakes in a game of horse shoes.  There were four stations with toys.

Then the kids came back inside to open the eggs into one bucket for a share all, all except the few small toys inside their assigned colored plastic eggs.

Smiles, laughter, and barnyards sounds filled the air. And best of all, the kids learned it wasn't a competition, just plain clean fun, so we heard shouts of there's a yellow one over here or --there's an orange one over there. Those cheap Easter games that I've been collecting the past few years will last for numberous Easter times to come and who knows what twist and turns I'll think of to use them in.

And it wasn't just candy in the plastic eggs, some of which date back to when our kids were small, I snuck in a few inexpensive small toys like balls, erasors, bubble bottles etc. Just four dollars worth of four items for a dollar objects.

Nope, the cost of fun isn't in dollars, but imagination.

Easter Eggs

As our new son-in-law says, "Wow, you go all out." It's not that we spend lots of money, it's that I remember holidays being just a bit boring. Good food and a brief bit of activity.
No more, I now have more activities planned than the kids have umph to do. When they become tired and a bit cranky, we stop, cuddling during a movie or just let them go off and quietly play.
But first we had to color Easter eggs.
And Granpa showed the kids how to color on eggs with crayons. The crayon markings not dieing when the egg goes into the colored water. 

One Easter, many years ago, Kirk drew with crayons on the eggs before coloring them. Each egg a portrait of a member of his family. They were place settings for Easter dinner with each person having to figure out which egg represented them to find their place setting. It was fun.  

Egg decorating was Saturday.

Then Sunday, we had a wonderful feast after church.

The photos of our unusual egg hunt are on the next blog.