Mar 022016
 

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We are back to routines for the most part, sort of. All kids are doing school at their respective locations, a load of laundry was done, lunch was cooked, and a new morning routine has been formed in my mind.

I did change things a bit:

  • During afternoon Quiet Time I took down some wallpaper.  This was aided by a kid who got up, thereby necessitating a restart of the timer. This is normally a morning activity before everyone wakes up. However I have a renewed urgency to get this HUGE project done.
  • While writing this Jack is writing his spelling words. Who says I gave to write everything at one time?
  • During math practice I expanded some seed starting pellets.
  • Jack’s computer time was used to order a pencil sharpener and switch laundry, via another computer.
  • Lunch time also found me unloading and reloading the dishwasher. (Okay, that is pretty standard.)
  • Jack’s read aloud time allowed me to clear off part of a counter.
  • We got behind on our composer studies. Thanks to a CD from an inter-library loan Franz Schubert has been playing in the house all day long. Could this be lending a hand toward me feeling calmer?
  • A shower did not get on the list for me this morning, I didn’t even get a coat on when I left the house.  So Jack gets half an hour of t.v. while I add this indulgence to my afternoon activities.

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Today feels better, calmer.  Could it be because I have not had 3 boys (8, 6, & 6) behind my in the car for the last 1.5 hours?

Or because life still has a semblance of normal? 

Or because I know our new guy, who still needs a blog name, will be gone during George’s after school time. This will allow us to get his homework done and spend some QT together. He has so many big feelings going on inside, but doesn’t always know how to express them.  Also, new little guy doesn’t seem to understand leaving someone alone while they do homework. George has trouble staying on task as it is, having a new friend constantly telling you to come play does not help.

I also bought some school supplies between dropping kids off at school and coming home to start home school. Boy, things are expensive during off season and at a store in Small Town.  Saved me 40 minutes of driving, though, which was worth it.

The urge to drop a coat off at the dry cleaners was ignored. Once home, I checked the tag – wash gentle cycle with cold water. Perfect, no extra bill.  I feel like I’m handing out money left and right this week.

My car problems may be passed. Maybe. The mechanic cleared the error message to see if it would come back. So far so good. My husband is insisting the kids and I take his (smaller) car to visit family this weekend. He would rather my car give out near home instead if two hours away from anyone we know.  It is crowded enough with two kids in the back, 3 is going to be interesting. I’m thinking movies from the library and getting to our destination as soon as possible may be the only hope for my sanity. Supper will be in the car. Potty breaks? I have not figured that one out yet.

Feb 252016
 

greenhouse speaker empty tablesOne of the field trips Jack and I went on in January was to a greenhouse.  The original plan did not have this as a stop, but sometimes you have to go with the flow and I think this turned out really well.  The person showing us around had about an hour’s notice that 50+ home schoolers and their families were wanting to come visit.  He did great!  His own kids, toddlers, were even there.  I suspect it was more of a “let’s go see what Daddy does at work” sort of thing, but I thought it was a perfect addition.  He also was fairly relaxed, which I suspect comes with getting to be in a greenhouse all day, I would be fairly relaxed too.

The photo above shows part of one room that was awaiting trays of plants.  The amount of space they  have to fill is several times the size of my house.  A few of the greenhouses could have fit my house twice and still had extra space.  This greenhouse complex is one belonging to a nation wide brand. The amount of plants coming out of this one set of greenhouses is amazing.

greenhouse tray filling station collage

Here is where it all begins: filling trays with seed starting mix (top left), making holes and dropping in seeds (lower left), adding a covering (bottom right), and watering the appropriate amount (top right).  Everything runs like clockwork.

The soil mix is added to the large hopper in bags that are as tall as me.  These bags come from somewhere off site and are delivered, each on top of their own pallet.  Yes, BIG bags of soil mix.

The trays are labeled with the type of plants to be started in them.  Someone in the office prints these off and attaches them.  Once they are wheeled out on a cart to this station, the workers do not need to count or thing much about what is to be going in them.

greenhouse seeds started

greenhouse seed starting trays

This is one of but many ‘arms’ of the greenhouses.  Each contains plants needing similar growing environments.  While it was cold enough for the ponds to be frozen outside, many of us had to strip off our coats and pull up our sleeves while here.  In warmer months, there are vents that can be opened.  Each end also held a fan to aid in air circulation.

greenhouse potted plants cutting source

Some plants do better propagating via cuttings.  There was a room for that, too.  These lovely ladies get to spend their day being pampered with food and individual drinks.  Later, they are the source for hundreds of new plants.

greenhouse cuttings taking root

Some plants will get too big for a table and are placed directly on the gravel floor to grow.  These cuttings have already rooted and were transplanted into pots to grow more.  They will not be ready to ship out for quite some time. which makes it important to get them started early.

greenhouse hanging baskets

Pots, pots, and more pots.  Everywhere we looked there were hanging baskets above our heads.  It seemed like any space they could put them, they did.  If you look close, you can see they are hooked onto a chain of sorts.  This is actually a conveyor belts, making it possible for a person to stand at one end and hook the hanging baskets on from one location.  It also aids in their removal. Due to the amount of light that enters these greenhouses, having hanging baskets above other growing plants is not an issue.  Actually it is a great use of space.

greenhouse floor childrens feet

By the end of the tour, the kids were tired.  It had been a long day.  I, however, was re-energized; a good thing as I was the one who had to drive back almost 2 hours.  In all, I think it was a great change to the schedule and would do this again.

Feb 272013
 

Here are some ebooks that are currently $0.00 on Amazon.  Click on the links below each picture to be taken to the page where you can download a digital version of the book.  Before purchasing the books, please double check the price to make sure it has not changed.

If you do not own a Kindle it is still possible to read these on your computer.  Go here to download the free application that will allow you to do the same.

 

VEGETABLE GARDENING FOR FOOD PRODUCTION AND SELF SUFFICIENCY

 

Raised Bed Intensive Garden: How To Build One For Self Sufficiency

HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN GARDEN BEDDING PLANTS-For Fun And Profit!

How to Start a Home Based Business Selling Seeds

Organic Vegetable Gardening-Seed saving-tips and techniques ( series of doctor garden )

Organic Vegetable Gardening-best Beginner’s Manual-step by step. (from series of d”r garden) (from series of doctor garden)

Container Gardening Made Easy

Growing Herbs Indoors : Your Guide To Growing Herbs In Containers For A Vibrant Indoor Herb Garden

Raised Bed Gardening: 3 Books bundle on Growing Vegetables In Raised Beds

Grow your own food

Organic Vegetable Gardening pests- learn all the simple Techniques For Organic Pest Control In Your Garden (series of doctor garden)

Container Gardening

 

Raised Bed Gardening Planting Guide – Making The Most Of A Raised Bed Garden

Lilacs A to E (Lilacs A – Z)

Lilacs F to L (Lilacs A – Z Coffee Table Books)

Roses A – Z (A to Z Nature Photo Books)

 

Roses and Rue

Tulips A to Z (A to Z Nature Photo Books)

Courageous: A Novel

 

Save Money On Plants And Seeds – using coupon codes

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Feb 192013
 

 

I just competed one of my goals! I ordered plants and some seeds. This was a goal that I have had for a few weeks and kept putting off.  However, seeing as my “8 weeks before last frost” date occurs this week I really needed to do this.  How do I know this?  Well, it is on my garden calendar.  If you didn’t make one or are not sure where to find your dates, I would suggest looking first with your local extension office.  Or check out some of the links I shared during the series about making a garden calendar and adding frost dates.  What I missed was my “order seeds” date.  I think I’ll have to highlight that date next year.  =)

Tomato seeds need to be started 8 weeks before planting. As I had put it off so long I decided to stop by the local hardware store.  They usually carry seeds.  When I asked the guy, I felt a bit silly as there were snow flurries outside.  “Do you have any vegetable seeds yet?”  Of course, the answer was “No.  We get them when they send us a shipment of them.”  Not exactly helpful.  However it narrowed down the choices I had.  If the store did not have them, then I would go home and order them.  

My plan for the day was to submit my order to Gurney’s for strawberry, blackberry and blueberry plants.  Adding in two packets of seeds for tomatoes was not going to chance the order much.  Yes, I would have to pay shipping but I was also going to use a coupon code.  The “$x off your order of $XX or more” offer came on the front of my seed catalog which I had requested at the beginning of the year.  I have also seen this same offer for Gurney’s several different places on the web.  So, if you didn’t receive a catalog from them you may still be able to find a coupon code.

In the end I save 50% off my order, before shipping.  Not bad for having to order seeds.

I have seen other companies offer similar codes.  For example, Burpee is offering $10 off your order of $50 or more.  This is one reason I like to order catalogs, often they offer codes along with the catalog.  I also like to look for new plants offered.  I will also be ordering bulb for my flower beds soon … once I narrow down all the beautiful choices.  And, yes, I will be using a code to save money on my order.

As a side note, this works best if you are not company loyal.  In the past I have ordered my heirloom seeds from a particular company.  While looking at the Gurney catalog I noticed they had heirloom tomato plants.  By being willing to use a different company I was able to combine what would have been two separate orders (fruit plants and vegetable seeds) into one and use a coupon to have 50% off.  This may not always be an option, but if you are willing to look at different companies you will be more likely to find a deal that will work for you.

What are some of your favorite money saving ideas?  Have you  ordered your seeds yet?  Or are you planning to purchase them, or plants, locally when it is closer to gardening time?

Apr 012012
 

This past week was definitely not one of my best weeks in getting goals done.  I think I enjoyed the lack of chaos on our calendar too much.  Good thing I get to try again this week.

Previous Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Start some seeds given by a local gardener.  Try to divide them out into similar seeds (they were given all mixed up in a baggie.)
  2. Start cucumber seeds

Home:

  1. Laundry, one load a day
  2. Finish all of Zone 5 work – I did more than I had previously completed, but didn’t finish it all.  Clutter is not an issue in this zone, so it is definitely presentable.  I didn’t get to the windows or cleaning the ceiling fan.  Oh, and dust moping under the TV cabinet.  Otherwise, it was all done.  Those are not major items on the to-do list.

Personal:

  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night – this didn’t happen every night.  Okay not most nights, though Saturday night I got about 9 hours and it felt great!
  2. Do my daily Bible reading at least 5 days this week

Blog:

  1. 2 posts beyond my weekly goals (ongoing) – I got on the ball with this one.  Once I stop being a SHE and focus, even for just 15 minutes, it is amazing how much gets done.


New Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Start some seeds given by a local gardener.  Try to divide them out into similar seeds (they were given all mixed up in a baggie.)
  2. Start cucumber seeds
  3. Purchase tray and lids to place newly started seeds and pellets in.  (This will help with the wasted space by randomly shaped or round containers.)
  4. Mix up dirt and compost in my garden.  (My compost did not get hot enough, so after I added it to the garden little pumpkin or squash plants appeared.  I think I have found a home for them, but it is unknown as to what will actually appear from these plants as I couldn’t tell you exactly what they came from or crossed with previously.  Don’t you just love surprises?  Anyway, these will need to be relocated before said mixing of soil and compost.)
  5. Start some lettuce seeds.

Home:

  1. Finish all of Zone 1 work
  2. Finish making the scones/biscotti for the upcoming bridal shower

Personal:

  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (ongoing)
  2. Do my daily Bible reading at least 5 days this week (ongoing)

Blog:

  1. 2 posts beyond my weekly goals (ongoing)