Thursday, August 29, 2013

Road Painting

I was sitting here, blogging, minding my own business when I looked out the window and saw a chance to learn something new.

I watched as a tractor pulling a road sweeper passed by the house. Then, a county truck followed, painting new yellow lines down the middle of the road. It stopped and backed up and stopped again. And there it sat. And sat.

Seeing as how school was done for the day and the kids and I look for every opportunity to learn something new, I called to the kids to get their shoes on. I grabbed my camera and headed outside, sure the trucks would continue on their way before we made it up there. They didn't.

We called across the road to the workers and asked if we could come over and watch what they were doing. "Sure. Come on over, it's ok," a crewman said.

We looked both ways, cause I'm careful like that, and crossed the road. They were loading bags of something into their machine- thingy. I assumed it was paint stuff. The crewman told me it was tiny pellets added to the paint to make it reflective on the road. Never knew that. He also told us the paint dries almost immediately. My brain is growing, I tell you.

We checked out the sprayer and saw how it had two spray nozzles. One painted the solid line and the other would paint the dotted "passing zone" line. We saw the long arm that stuck out in front of the paint truck. They line it up with the old lines and it will paint the new ones right over top.

Once they were done reloading, we crossed the road and watched the magic in action as they drove away.

Don't you ever see something and wonder how it's done or made? Maybe it's just my mind always working, but I'd love to have every job in the world for a day or two so I could see how things work. It's fascinating!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sugary Sweetenss

One of my favorite things to do is watch kittens play. They are hilarious and it's quite relaxing.

However, all that playing wears a poor kitten out and so they must nap.

Here. Amongst my potatoes.

And here. Wedged between the stalks of my False Indigo plant.

Or here, if you're a tuckered out puppy named Buddy.

He knows he's not supposed to come into the kitchen, so he got his paws as close as possible, even though it looked quite uncomfortable, and gave us his "sad puppy eyes". He's such a stinker!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Who Thinks Up These Things?

Do you ever look at a game and wonder, "Who thinks up these things?"

No? Well, I have an answer for you anyway.

I think it starts something like this.

Two kids, we'll call them Baby and The Boy to protect their privacy, decide to have a contest. Baby came up with the idea and so declared she would make up the rules and be the judge of who won. The Boy, glad he didn't have to do any of the thinking, was happy to participate.

First, the contest would be to see who could vacuum the living room the best. You see, vacuuming was Baby's chore and she found a way to get half of it done by someone else without the someone else realizing he was doing it.

Next, they set up the "field". Stools were lined up down the center of the room to divide the two sections. The extra vacuum was brought up from the basement and they were set.

What's that, Baby? Oh. There must be costumes. "But I don't have a costume," complains the boy, afraid he"ll be disqualified.

"Don't worry," replies Baby, "Just put this on your head."

"Ready. Set. Go!"

And they were off. Of course, Baby had to have the best costume.

And she won the contest.

And she got her chore done, partly, by someone else. The weirdness comes from her dad, but the genius is all me. You don't believe me? I swear, I have not had any underwear on my head today. Yesterday maybe, but not today.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Post For Granny

My dear friend, Granny, mentioned in her comment on my post that I didn't mention my actual gardens. Isn't she sassy?

I replied that I'd try to get a photo of something from my gardens.

Well, Granny, here is your proof that I have harvested something this summer.

If you'll notice, some of the tomatoes are not quite ripe. My kids pick them and if they have a fair amount of color to them, they come inside. So, to the window sill they go for a few more days. I'd rather do that than have kids who have no interest in gardens, though.

Also, the last photo is of some of my "Oxheart" heirloom tomatoes. I just love how much flesh and how little seed they have!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I Do Have A Garden This Year...Honest

I have failed to report much on my gardens this year. I haven't even weighed anything I've brought inside. I'm afraid my gardener club membership may be revoked if I don't shape up!

So, I thought I'd show you what I did today.

But not yet.

Saturday, Mr Farmer and I went out to the fence line and harvested a few wild grapes. I drove the tractor while he was raised up in the bucket and picked the bunches of tiny grapes. We didn't pick long and ended up with about 5 pounds before his back gave out.

I washed them and put them in the steam juicer. I love my steam juicer. Especially for small fruits with a lot of seeds or large pits. After juicing, I had 5 cups of gorgeous wild grape juice.

I knew I'd make wild grape jelly with it later and so I put it in the fridge.

Then, Sunday afternoon, we took the Ranger out for a ride around the countryside. This is one our favorite things to do. One of our favorite places to drive to is the "level B" road behind our property. It's quiet, secluded, has an old wooden bridge, and is always full of free roadside goodies. We've picked wild blackberries and raspberries there. But Sunday we found wild plums. 

We have wild plums on our property, but they weren't quite ripe yet. While out driving, we found some plums that were very ripe and ready to be picked. We filled shirt fronts with the delicious little fruits. We ended up with about a coffee can full of plums.

We took them home, after sampling quite a few, and I washed them and left them to soak overnight.

Now, I'm back to what I did today.

We started school here at home, on the first of August, so while the kids were doing their work, I put the plums in the juicer and set the grape juice out to warm up a bit. The plums juiced rather quickly and gave the prettiest juice.

I measured out the sugar and pectin I needed and made the plum and grape juices into wonderful jellies. Wild plums have a sweet flesh, but a rather tart skin. This made for a perfect combination in the jelly of sweet and tart. I'm not sure I've tasted a better jelly!

The wild grape jelly is really good, too. The kids and I ate wild grape, pb&j sandwiches for lunch. Yum!

There's just something about harvesting wild edibles and making them into something delicious and almost free. I'm always amazed at how much free food there is out in the fence lines and ditches.

 Mr Farmer would like to find some free steaks in the trees next. Fruit is all good and stuff, but he thinks he needs meat, too. I told him that we do have steaks in the area, but they run around in the fields and have antlers and have to be hunted in season. He's not a hunter, so I don't expect any steaks. :)

After all the jelly was done, I was left to clean up. I washed up most of the dishes and realized I had to get rid of the plum parts that were left after being steamed. I decided to remove the pits. I had a cup of grape juice left over, too. I took out my clear jel. I added sugar and mixed in the grape juice. Then, I chopped the plum left-overs and added them into the mix. I made a sweetened biscuit "pancake", cooled it, and spread the fruit mixture over the top. It chilled in the fridge until after supper.

Next, I filled out the paperwork needed by the school in order for me to homeschool our kids this year. This takes several hours and is a lot of filling out the same information over and over on different forms and making copies for the school district, the state, and my own records. Ugh!

I cleaned up my kitchen and decided to clean out the microwave and sweep the floors. Then, I cleaned the beans and sliced up a zucchini to steam for supper. (Check out the fancy dinner plate!)

Finally, I made six loaves of bread. It was a long day!

Tomorrow I think I will sleep for the day. Or make shampoo bars and put up more tomatoes. And deliver my school paperwork to the school office.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Shocking Chalk Outlines

First, I'd like you to picture a dead body on the sidewalk. You don't want to picture a dead body on a sidewalk? Fine. Then, picture children laying on the sidewalk while another child draws around their body with sidewalk chalk. Better?

Now the child gets up. You probably pictured something like this, right?

Or maybe something like this if one or more children have legs broken at the knee.

Isn't it sweet how they were holding hands? And the sun was all happy and stuff.

Then, you look outside to find one small child, let's call her Baby, drawing around the shadow of the bigger child, let's call her Sissy. You would get something like this.

The children add a few finishing touches and run off to play. You look out the window and see this.

"Sissy" has free-handed a picture of "Baby's" butt. Then, realizing she might get into trouble if this was found out, she makes it into a smiling heart, forgetting the word "butt" scrawled above the picture.

Finding this quite funny, you look around at what else is drawn and see this drawing done by "Baby", returning the favor. And without fear of getting into trouble.

These children ought to be cherished for their creativity, as well as their humor. But they should never find out how funny you think their "butt drawings" are.