Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Playing with the Giga Ball

Playing with the kids new toys! Yes we videoed the kids first, but this is just so much more entertaining!

Sorry for the swearing!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

For my baby

I found this is for my baby. I know its so hard for him and even his Daddy sometimes. But I know how hard they try and even when I want to pull out my hair I have to remember that is just sees the world differently.

Can You Hear the World Through My Ears?

Can you hear the World thru my ears,
that hum that fills my head.
I think it would be amazing to you
how I ever go to bed.

The sounds at school, the bus, the hall,
they fill our everyday.
The thunder of children’s passing feet
can make my nerves go fray.

I try to work and learn like others,
and you can see my efforts, no doubt.
But even that “Good job, Cameron,”
if too loud, can make me totally freak out.

I want to forget the heater, the lights,
the bells, and the one chewing gum.
So sometimes when it’s all too much,
I begin to run, flap, and hum.

I know there are places that I need to go,
to gym, to music and to lunch.
But all of them can be overwhelming,
and make me
spaz a bunch.

I know I need your patience to learn,
grow, and overcome my fears.
I just hope and pray you can try to hear
the World thru my ears

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Since it has been raining so much and we haven't been able to plant anything or fear of it washing away we have been planning. We did get the cold frame planted before the rain hit! So we are waiting on that now. Hopefully all the rain is good for it.

I found a nice little tool that calculates exactly how many of each kind of plant you will need to be self sufficient. Its great and kind of daunting if you plug in peas or beans for a family of 5 like ours.
Now I'm guessing that this is for the length of the season, or until you pull the veggies out of the garden, like carrots.
Here is the list of how many plants we need:
100 pole beans
15 broccoli 30 Corns 100 Peas 20 Spinaches
75 carrots 10 Cucumbers 10 Hot Peppers and
15 cauliflowers 15 Kales 15 Strawberries 5 Pumpkins
20 celery 20 Lettuces 20 Tomatoes
20 chives 10 Melons 35 Radishes

So I know I've got the carrots, cauliflower corn, cucumbers (by 5 x's that), tomatoes (just barely), and radishes. Lettuces are really over covered and we may be giving away alot peppers should keep my dad making his dip for this winter and next I think without this we did pretty well! But it was still fun to see and know that we did something right just by chance!

Here is the link.

In fact the entire website is awesome and I fully intend to start using it. It offeres a garden journal, where you can upload pics and keep your thoughts on it. A To Do List where you can keep your ducks all lined up! Its got way more stuff that I'm just gonna play with. Registration is free so there is nothing to lose. So here goes!
here is a link to the tour and some of the features it offers.


So we spent the weekend fine tuning and laying out our garden. Much to my dismay this included cutting down 2 more trees! I hate cutting down trees!!!! Poor Andy had a hard time of it because I gave him and my dad crap about it the whole time! Needless to say the tress are down and one of our fence posts is now 5 inches shorter then the rest of the fence! The tree fell wrong and hit it and drove it down. ARG!
That took most of Saturday. The first part of the day was taken up with attending the first outdoor Farmers Market of the year! We bought 2 pea plants, because our pea starts are not looking so good. The rest of the day was spent cutting down the trees and planning the garden. We are doing a combination of square foot gardening and traditional gardening. Below is a link that explains more fully what Square Foot Gardening is. It is ideal for small spaces and limited space.
Basically what you do is lay out the garden in 1 square foot sections and plant. This is very similar to the way many Native American tribes planted in clumps and with veggies that are benificial to eachother. This is called Companion Planting and what it does is let the plants that benefit eachother naturally through either attracting or repelling bugs or the chemicals that each plant needs the other one is ok with that. Its a really nice old idea that has a name. Most of our grandparents know this without reading a book, or website and I'm sure there are several farmers, of all kinds, in heaven laughing at me as I typed up my garden plan so pretty. But it works for me.

So this was much more time consuming then I thought. Cause guess what? You can't plant corn next to tomatoes, or broccoli next to watermelon, or peppers next to tomatoes, or cauliflower next to anything but lettuce!!! Oh my gosh! Its nuts! Companion planting is nuts but hopefully it will pay off in the end. Here is a look at how it will look. We hope!!!!!!!!!! Below is another link to a tool that was awesome for most of the plants we chose to grow. The entire website is awesome so you should check it out!

It is an excel sheet but if you don't have excel she has a pdf file on her site as well. But this is an awesome site.

Today was all kinds of crazy and didn't get to the garden at all except to water the plants! We still have to lay out our squares because I'm gonna be a little nuts about my space because lets face it I'm that way! But tomorrow provided the rain doesn't come will be planting day.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Autism Awareness Month

Today kicks off the start of Autism Awareness Month. We will be wearing a lot of blue this month!
Tomorrow is Light It up Blue day to raise awareness of Autism. 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with Autism


On the evenings of April 1 and 2, 2011, prominent buildings across North America and the world — including the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada — will turn their lights blue to raise awareness for autism and to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2.

We’re aiming to light the world blue all throughout April — city by city, town by town — by taking action to raise autism awareness in our communities.

What you can do to Light It Up Blue

  • Wear blue clothing or your Autism Speaks puzzle piece, and encourage your coworkers to do the same. Sign Up
  • Light your house up blue by putting blue light bulbs in any outdoor fixtures. Sign Up
  • Raise awareness for Autism online or spread the word about Light It Up Blue.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seed Starting...maybe

Seed Starting
OK got the cold frames up and going and are now homes to the 4 flats that have been planted. Not that all four flats are actually homes to stuff. They just happen to have seeds. Being this is the first time in my life that I have started seeds it is like all of this an experiment. We planted 4 flats of 72 pellets each. We have 1 flat with about 30 starts in it. Not the best ratio, but we will figure it out. We planted an entire flat of tomatoes and not one has come up! AHHHHHH! There goes some $10 in seeds.Oh well.... Most of the impo have kertant things in the world have been accomplished by people whopt on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. Dale Carnegie quotes.
The last of the 4 pictures here contain the 'poor poor tomatoes' that have never sprouted. So sad..... the first 3 contain the cucumbers, peas, and broccoli. The flat with the cucumbers and broccli have sprouted! We have about 30 healthy little sprouts and had it not snowed this weekend they would be int he ground. They love the cold frame and I'm so excited that they are growing. But that is a lot of broccoli and cucumbers and I don't do pickles.... So i guess we need to buy one of the vacuum sealer thingy so we can freeze. Add one more new thing to learn to do.

I'm so excited. Because of the snow and the freezing rain that hit this weekend the flats are currently sitting on the wsher and dryer next to the cat food. Much the the chargin of the cats. I keep spraying them with the mister I have for watering when they venture a step onto the seedlings. Ya they hate me right now.

Cold Frames

Cold Frames
So the next step in our journey to self sufficiency was to figure out how to get the most out of our growing season. We stumbled upon the idea of cold frames. Which is a miniature green house of sorts. Now there are several ways, effective ways to build these. We took a more permanent route as we wanted to have separate and more gardening space. We were able to make 2, 3x6 cold frames for about $40. Now granted we only had to buy wood and screws because we recycled out old sliding glass doors, but still these can be built very inexpensively. (Oh we also took the legs from an old prop we built. That is why they are neon green.)You just have to know where to look. Recycling old windows is the most common way to cover the cold frames. We were just lucky in still having the doors and that they survived the winter sitting in the yard! So we started by measuring the doors, and buying the woods. We took advantage of the free wood cutting service at Lowes and had them cut the wood for us, just to save time. (Which is huge around here with the kids wanting to help!) Andy then squared the wood screwed it together, adding legs. They are 3 feet tall with 16-18 inches of wood directly under the door. Added hinges to the doors,set them and FAIRY DUST, FAIRY DUST, FAIRY DUST we have cold frames!

The next step was to dig the holes for the frames to sit in. We did this because it helps to keep the plants warmer by filling the hole with about a foot of compost/manure covering with straw then dropping soil on top of it. As the manure decomposes it will create heat for the plants and provide nutrients! Plus we got the manure for free! Love free stuff! We did pay for the soil, but that is ok, $30 for a

truckload of soil that I know is gonna grow stuff, no problem. This was a huge job to do by hand, but thanks to my loving husband we quickly had 2 ‘graves’ in the front yard. I’m not kidding you, they looked like graves! Same shape, both a little over

4 foot deep and the bus drivers were wondering what was going on for a week or so. But we just have to plant now! And try to figure how to utilize these in the hot humid Summer of Indiana.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New beginnings...

So this spring marks new beginnings for all us in various ways. The kids are all growing like weeds, I have taken on a leadership role in the Cat Tails 4H Club, Andy is being hauled kicking and screaming into the 4H as well, just as slave labor as he puts it. But we all know he loves it! He will be helping to build a float for the 4th fo July parade this year for the 4H kids to walk/ride in. Um I will be speding much more time at home now due to budget constraints at work. (Sigh) So as a new goal I am going to be the best little housewife I can be, which will be rather limited since we all know that I proudly and loudly wear a sweatshirt that proclaims me Domestically Disabled.
Part of this new domestication will include learning to cook healthy food and food that tastes better, I hope to be able to find local sources for this, as well as our own garden. We will can this year. Or at least try. Thanks to the Freelands we have 400 jars sitting in the garage waiting for us! And to catalog all this we have launched another blog called The Garden Wars with everything pertaining to gardening and how green we can be. Should be interesting. I also intend to update this more frequently as it now seems to be a way for me to keep a tab on the things I do. Even if I am the only one reading it, it makes me feel better. So here goes....

getting started.... last year head start

So here is what we did to get the garden started. First we built it (last year). We choose the best spot we could which was not ideal. Ideally your garden needs lots and lots of sunlight, well, not a whole lot of that in space that is not popular with the minions! So we chose to put our garden just beyond the back fence and rather close to our trees. Hmmmm.... as previously posted it was a learning experience. Our garden is 8 feet wide and 24 feet long. It is a raised bed of about 1 foot and surrounded by used railroad ties. Big heavy railroad ties! Needless to say, even if I wanted to for the sake of sun, Andy has vetod moving the garden and just cut the trees back this year! Plus I don't think that Israel would help again. He swore a lot at me last year after he had to help Andy move them. Sorry, I couldn't pick them up! Let alone carry the dang things!

Basically all we did was lay out the ties 3 long and 1 wide. hammered some rebar down through the wood and ground (3 foot lenghth) to hold in place, not that there was a lot of danger of the things moving!) Tilled the ground up, removing what we could of the grass, laid newspaper to help keep weeds out and filled in with about 2 1/2 truckbed fulls of good workable soil bought from Good Earth, garden mix.

Thankfully we were able to just back up the truck through the yard and shovel it from the bed of the truck! And voila! Instant garden... well almost instant. It took us about 5 days of hard work, mostly Andy, but I tried to help.driving in the re-bar....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Restoration of the Senses... all of our senses

Deciding how to start can be tricky for anything. There is just always so much to consider. I find this to be the one unchanging thing in my life! No matter what I do, getting started is the most difficult, so we will try this... The Bartlett Family, Andy, Mindy, Izzy, Xander, and Dimon- however unwillingly- are finding their path to Sense. We are starting by way of a garden. After 10 years of marriage and 3 kids later, Andy and I last year finally built a garden and planted. It was definitely a learning experience. After hours of backbreaking work to build the thing, I neglected it because of work and just being plain tired and yielded a very sad amount of food.

However we have our hearts set on it this year as well as our extended families hearts set on it. Plus we have a growing buddy this year! Melanie, Joe and Bria, albeit a long-distance gardening buddy-set! But we will take all the encouragement we can get! We plan to be rather productive this year by not only having a 'regular' garden, but we also have cold frames in place, that while started late will still be used, as well as hanging mini gardens and maybe some extensive hanging gardens. We also want to try a few other ideas out. I fully intend to faithfully record all highs and lows. Even if we fail utterly and will try my hardest not to let myself take the blog down if that happens! So here starts, the first day of spring, let The Garden Wars begin!!!

and yes we also have a garden gnome!

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