Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fire Ant Foolishness

You know that show on TV. The one with that lady that goes to people's houses and helps them deal with their, "foolishness". You know, the show where she helps you "clean house". Yeah, that's the one. Well, I dare say she would venture inside the fire ant colony's house anytime soon. They would not only eat her, but the big flower in her hair as well.

If you are new to reading my blog, let me tell you a little secret. It's not a secret really. I hate fire ants with a passion! Fire ants are evil and bite you. If you are allergic to fire ants, you can die. For some reason, they have invaded the entire neighborhood (ok, countryside) where I grew up. Some people have an occasional hill or two of them. Some people have only heard people mention them but have never came in contact with the mean little boogers. I've had lots of up close and personal experience with these creatures. I also know for a fact that they love to eat potatoes, peas, and corn. I have documented proof of the potato issue.

Remember the post when I mentioned planting potatoes on potato hill? If my memory serves me correctly, we planted 24 fingerling potatoes. Guess what, the ants ate 14 of them. How do I know this? When only 10 of these guys came up, I dug around looking for the potatoes that didn't come up. This is what I found:

Look out you vile creatures- I'm going to give you a dose of borax and grits really soon

If you look closely- they are everywhere. They didn't like the fact that I was trying to "hill" the few remaining potato plants.

Ok, I have the fire ant name calling out of my system for now, at least.

On a happier garden note, 10 potato plants are doing well. I learned my lesson though. I should have planted those guys in a "ditch". That way, hilling them would have been easier. Eventually, I'm going to run out of dirt to hill them with since the fire ant colony has taken up residence on most of tator hill. I don't like digging in dirt that "bites" back. Anyway, I'll just have to see how much luck I have with the potatoes in the long run. I do know that I am going to plant some more potatoes- far away from potato/fire ant hill.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Last Time With The Pigs- I promise

I had some left over Happy Frog fabric from the baby quilt that I made for my aunt the other day.
I made this medium sized baby quilt and listed it in my Etsy Shop, Minnie Maes.

Drum roll please..... Here is a cute Strawberry Piggies baby quilt that I also made and listed in my Etsy Shop.

OK, OK, I did go overboard with the piggies but I had this red zipper lying on my sewing table that was screaming out for it to be made into something. Hmmmmm, "A piggy wristlet would be perfect!" I thought to myself. So here it is. The strawberry piggies wristlet- which can also be found at Minnie Maes.

I think I have piggies out of my system now.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Fill Ins


Go to Friday Fill Ins to fill in your own!

1. It's cold and snowy and all grocery stores sell out of toilet paper, milk, and bread almost immediately .

2. Chicken manure killed my tomatoes.

3. My favorite health and beauty product is anything Burt's Bees.

4. A tired and cranky baby is always ready for a nice long ride.

5. Well, first of all I have plenty to say. I just worry about what people will think of me afterward.

6. My oldest sister and an airplane; those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was probably my brain working out my envy over her being able to go to Scotland next week and the fact that I am scared of airplanes so I'll never really get to Scotland in my lifetime. (Unless of course someone invents a way to teleport safely.)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to uh, today is going to be crazy so I'm not looking forward to it, tomorrow my plans include some grocery shopping (hopefully) and Sunday, I want to be able to look back and realize that I survived the past week without pulling my hair out !

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pig Crazy

Remember that baby quilt I told you about Tuesday? You know, the one with frogs on one side and cute strawberry piggies on the other side? Well, I kind of went crazy with piggies.

A snooty pig- how cute!

Couldn't you just pinch those little piggy cheeks? (The ones on it's face, people- geesh)

I made a new microwave rice pad with that cute piggy fabric. My youngest loves it. I think she says she needs to use it just because it's cute. I have to agree with her.

Go here and here to find out how to make your own microwave rice pad.

I'm not done with that piggy fabric either.................................

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Wordless Wednesday- Almost

This is what I found when I walked back into the kitchen one day..... They took after their mama.....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An animal project for my aunt

Last year I made a baby quilt each for two of my cousins that were expecting. My aunt remembered them and when I ran into her last week, she asked if I could make one for her. No, she isn't expecting, she needed to give it as a gift.

I really, really like going to the fabric store and looking for "cuteness". You know, the kind of "cuteness" that you see and say, "awwwww, that's it, this is the fabric- it's going home with me!"

This is the result of the cuteness that I found at the fabric store. This is one side of the baby quilt. It has sweet little froggies all over it.

This is the other side of the same quilt. It has cute little piggies with strawberries all over! These piggies really made an impression on me. I would suspect that you might see more of these particular piggies in the future....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

In remembrance of those that have served and lost their lives in the service of our country

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What Could It Be?

Are you stumped yet?

Here is a bunch of them. Is it Play Dough gone bad?

Does this help any?

Spinach Tortillas (a sneaky way to get vegetables into your kids)

3 cups flour (not self rising) + a couple tablespoons set aside
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 small package of frozen spinach
4-6 Tablespoons of shortening
1 to 1- 1/2 cups warm water

Start by boiling your frozen spinach until thoroughly warmed. Drain and set aside. Mix the 3 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the shortening until thoroughly mixed. Add the spinach and mix along with some of the water. Depending on how moist the spinach is, you may have to use more or less water to get everything moist. You need to get the dough to the consistency of biscuit dough. Once it is workable, transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead, knead, knead. You want to get the spinach thoroughly mixed in. Use the extra flour as needed when dough is too moist to work with. Shape into balls (size according to your liking). Let the balls of dough rest for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, roll out the dough into circles and cook as you would any flour tortilla.

Voila, an instant serving of vegetables!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's Outside My Windows- I used to like Mocking birds- I really did

There has been quite a disturbance in my backyard since the great squirrel/rooster war went on outside my windows the other day.

Let me tell you how it all took place.

Mama bird was sitting on the fence rail.

She was, what I call, "clicking" at me. You know, that kind of "Hey human lady, get out of my territory" kind of clicking. I even snapped this photo of her from not very far away.

Then, she flew over my head and perched on the branch- directly above my head. I fearlessly snapped this photo.

Too close for comfort I say. Don't you? "What's your problem bird woman?" I stated in an irritated voice. I was busy replanting my poor tomato seeds that the chicken manure killed (that's another story though). I shook my head and then proceeded to sit at the picnic table and plant my seeds- yet again. Anyway, I got up to put the plants in the cold frame (so no critters would get to them). I left my sickly tomato seedlings sitting on the table. It was my hope, at the time, that they would bounce back from their little sickness. What did ma bird do? She waited until I walked off and then proceeded to "flog" my tomato plants with full force. It reminded me of the squirrels getting after the roosters from yesterday.

"Hey you bird, get away from those!" I screamed. Now, up until this point, I had always had an affection for Mocking Birds. My great aunt had some that were raised on her porch in her plants. They were always kind and sweet and personable. Let's just say that this wasn't Aunt Bess's mocking birds. This bird was out to get me. She wanted to kill my tomatoes.

Now I was thinking, that not only do I have possessed squirrels in the yard, I have this ultra evil bird that was out to get me and anything I touched.

Eventually, I went inside the back door and looked back out. "What is up with that bird?" I thought.

All of the sudden, just a few feet from the table, I saw ma bird flutter to the ground with a huge worm in her mouth.

Now I knew what her problem was.

Her cute, fuzzy headed baby had fell out of a nest somewhere and I was a little too close for comfort.

....This time, I'll forgive Ma bird - she had a good reason to be freaking out.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

Go to Friday Fill Ins to fill in your own!

1. Moving from one house to another is a complete nightmare and I've had enough of moving to last me a lifetime.

2. Born free.

3. My best quality is Patience (even though as I get older, I'm finding that I'm starting to lack in that department).

4. Stickler for details.

5. In nearly 10 years, I have managed to grow a few random gray hairs upon my head.

6. A vacation to England, Ireland, and/or Scotland is what I need right now!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being able to get some sleep before 12:00am, tomorrow my plans include planting the garden and Sunday, I want to actually look back on Friday and Saturday and feel relieved that I accomplished what I set out to do!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's Outside My Windows- The backyard war rages

.....Think of the following pictures as photos that you would see similar to those elusive pictures that Big Foot hunters and Alien chasers snap. You know, the ones where the picture is really blurry and you can't quite make out what's in it but it sure does look like what "they say they saw".

You know me, usually I see huge "blow up thingies" outside the window. This time, I saw something completely different. Hey, I didn't have to make up anything about what I saw either. This time, nature provided the comedy.

Balloon man, you have been out staged.....

Here we see three roosters that just so happened to wander in to my backyard the other day. (Squint really hard- ahhh, now you see them don't you...)

It was a warm and breezy morning. The wind was blowing through the trees. The leaves were dancing. Three rooster brothers happened to wander to foreign territory searching for goodies to eat. You know, the bug and grub kind of goodies.

"Hey bro, here is a patch of pill bugs over here next to this massive stalk of poison ivy growing up these rocks- you know, right next to where the snake lives" says the first rooster. "Are you kidding, there is a plethora of earthworms over here beside the fire ant hill" says the second rooster. The third rooster stated in a very nervous voice to his brothers, "Hey man, I don't like this place. Something is not right. It's too quiet. Do you hear clicking noises?"

All three roosters went about their business pecking and scratching around the various hazards in my yard. Little did they know, we were watching them from afar, (outside the windows, you know).

"Oh, look at the two squirrels out there with the roosters" I said quietly.

All of the sudden, a raging war took place from nowhere. The two squirrels took off in a sprint, moving so fast as to appear to be a blur. They dashed past the poison ivy and headed straight for the rooster trio. Lets just say that what happened next would have made it into one of those animal comedy video shows.

My niece screamed, "Get the camera- quick!" I wasn't fast enough.

Two roosters were "bowled over" like bowling pins. The literally jumped 2-1/2" feet into the air before tumbling down into a heap. The squirrels meticulously turned to their right simultaneously like elegant synchronized swimmers and headed back towards the roosters. Only this time, the roosters were too fast- they were running for their lives. (Hence the blurry picture).

What happened next you say? Well, the squirrels disappeared after that- so did the roosters. I didn't see hide nor hair of any of them until yesterday. I did manage to get this photo of one of the elusive synchronized squirrel duo. Squint really hard and you will see the creature with his head up in the air, sniffing for roosters.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Making Do Monday- Canning Strawberry Jam

Sometimes it's hard for me to realize that I improvise a lot. I just do it. I'm kind of used to it. It occurred to me today that I improvised with a kitchen tool that was very irritating to use in the first place. Let me start from the beginning.

Nature has this way of providing "yummies" from time to time- even without our help. These strawberries were growing in the field and minding their own business. It was drizzling rain. The birds were too scared to get wet I guess. I took full advantage of the situation. I had no container or basket to put those ruby red little jewels in. My son, that takes after his mom, suggested a nice little bag that was in the car. You go son- you saved the day! See, we made do with what we had. Anyway, our idea was to pick as many of these tiny field born berries and bring them home to make some jelly. After all, I have a water bath canner, new jars, and the rest, I figured I could improvise.

Improvise I did. I had no fancy little jar lifter or even a magnetic stick to lift lids out of hot water with. I had only attempted canning only once before in my life but do you know what? I felt very confident because Granny Miller taught me everything I needed to know. (I highly recommend her videos- it's like having your grandma there explaining everything step by step).

Jar lifters look like tongs but with silicon or rubber on the ends to grip the jars with. What did I do, I grabbed the tongs that came in our barbecue kit. Do you know what? They worked. I just had to be extra careful and grab the jars with a potholder as soon as I got them out of the water. (Keep in mind though that I was canning with very tiny jars that weren't that heavy. I wouldn't try it with large jars.) Those handy tongs were, well, just that- handy. Scott came in the first time I used them. He was just in time for the """splash""" that occurred when I didn't have a good grip on the first jar. He said, "how much is the "real" thing that you need to do this correctly?" (Can't you tell he knows me pretty well?) Then he handed me a ten dollar bill and said, "Go buy what you need." Don't you just love him. He actually gets irritated when I improvise so much. It's just in my blood I guess. I can't help it.

Here is the product of my "making do". I managed to get 3 jars of strawberry jam out of those strawberries that grew in the field (in the drizzling rain, with the lazy birds watching). Not bad I guess. Hopefully, tomorrow, I can open a jar and see if it is as yummy as it tasted before I canned them.

The good news about it all, is that I made do with what I had and no one got hurt this time.....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Couple New Things At Minnie Maes

Here are a couple of new things at Minnie Maes this week.

Saving for a Rainy Day Money/Coupon organizer in red with white polka dots

A basic cat themed wallet

Next month, I'm hoping to have a collection of different fabrics available for my customers to pick and choose fabrics to build their own wallets or organizers. Stay tuned for details on that.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Random Musings for Saturday

Today has been a crazy Saturday. Not that Saturday's aren't always crazy around here. Sometimes it is a three ringed circus at my house.

I actually managed to get my poor old plants (that still haven't been planted in the garden yet due to the rain) a nice dosing of chicken manure (I feel weird writing that- sorry if it offends) I've just never written about chicken manure before...... Anyway, my poor old plants were needing some fertilizer and chicken manure is about a natural a fertilizer as you can get. Hopefully, you are very thankful that I have not provided any pictures of my little plant fertilizing project. You got off this time, I was just too tired to take pictures of chicken manure but you know I'll eventually get around to it so get prepared.

Out of 24 potatoes that we planted, 10 came up. Do you want to know what happened to the other 14. Take a wild guess.......

Fire Ants ate them....

One of my kiddos came down with a nasty cough that my herbal regimen couldn't fight so I took him to the doctor.

We love our family doctor. He is "old school". His father was one of those "old timey" doctors that actually made house calls and had his own hospital in town. Our good doctor took after his father and actually treats each patient like the other- like they are a very special person in his eyes.

My poor son is so nervous when it comes to going to the doctor. Last time, he broke out in a huge case of hives in the waiting room while waiting. This time, he handled it much better until our doc came in. Doc shook his head, looked at my son, and said, "There is no hope for him. We are just going to have to shoot him to put him out of his misery." Can you imagine the size of my boy's eyes when he heard that? Awww, it's alright. We had a good laugh over it. Doc made up with my boy when he complemented my son by saying that he is different than his boys. When he looks in his own boy's ears, "the light goes straight through and shines on the wall" he stated.

My boy's head isn't hollow. What a complement!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fill Ins

Go to Friday Fill Ins to fill in your own!

1. If we had no winter there would be no spring.

2. I remember my toddler standing straight up, leaning on a rocking chair seat, and snoozing away contentedly. It was a perpetual astonishment.

3. If I had my life to live over I think I would live the same one I am living now.

4. I can cook three meals and a "sweet", do three loads of laundry, answer the phone 16-20 times, blog, check my store online, teach two kids school while supervising one other, load and unload the dishwasher several times, make the bed, pick up the living room a gazillion times, check the email 6-8 times, babysit, and spend way too much time on my favorite message board, all inside of four and twenty hours.

5. If you've never been thrilled if you have never galloped full force through an open field while riding bareback on your favorite Arabian.

6. To be interested in the changing seasons is to be watchful of your future.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to some quiet time, tomorrow my plans include maybe planting some more in the garden and Sunday, I want to have my menu plan finally done!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lions, Tractors, and Cookie Monster- OH MY!

It occurred to me the other day that I had originally deviated from what I had thought I would sell in my Etsy shop to something totally different. How did this happen? I have no idea really. It just happened.

Some years back, I started making quilts for gifts. No, I am not a master quilter and I do not have the patience to hand stitch beautiful flowers and curly-Q's all over the top of a handmade quilt. I do machine quilting and not the fancy kind I tell ya'!

I tend to be practical and make things that are easy to care for. That goes for "baby" stuff especially. Over the years, I have had so many cute baby things given to me that came out a complete disaster in the wash. One day it hit me that if I was going to give a gift, it would have to be sturdy and could be tossed around all over the floor and still hold up. A new mama doesn't have time to dwell on special washing instructions and the like.

I had given a couple quilts as baby gifts and when I gave the latest one away, I was asked by the mama if I gave quilting lessons. I chuckled and said, "No, I had never even had the thought."

The thought kind of stuck in my head and eventually, I figured that maybe I could sell them online. I had heard of Etsy and I started reading up on it. I noticed that baby quilts weren't exactly a hot seller (or at least not my larger quilts). I figured I would need something else to sell and that's when I started making the fabric grocery bags.

You know what? I still haven't sold a single baby quilt on Etsy. I guess I'm glad that I didn't go "hog wild" and fill my shop full of quilts like I had originally planned.

The other day, my aunt placed an order with me (off of Etsy) for a baby quilt. She asked if I had some made up already. I have four made right now as a matter of fact. The problem is, as I have just today realized, they are all for boys. She needs a quilt for a girl. Hmmmmm, cutesy girl stuff is hot. Perhaps this is the reason I haven't sold a quilt. So, to remedy that situation, when I make a quilt for my aunt sometime in the next two weeks, I'm going to list a "cutesy" girlie quilt and see what happens. Who knows what might happen?

My current batch of "homeless" baby quilts

Baby Jungle Animal quilt- It measures 33-1/2" x 44-1/2"

Sesame Street - 33" x 44"
This quilt also comes with a matching fabric gift tote in the same Sesame Street fabric

John Deere - 32" x 44"
I actually have two of these made but only one is listed in my shop.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Making Do Monday- One Person's Creations

I know what you are thinking.

What does a screened house have to do with making do with what you have?

Ok, it was hot, the sun was blaring down upon us all, and I just couldn't take it anymore. I told the kids that I would set up the tent. You know what they did? They ran off to the park without me. Thankfully, I am pretty skilled at putting this little tent up and down quickly (thank you impending thunderstorms in the past). Eventually, I ran off to the park too to catch up with my kids. Remember the park? That's where we met Willie Bacon.

I still haven't gotten to the point have I? If you haven't figured it out, this tent is placed strategically near the garden and right beside our storage container. The storage container is a story for another day- you just don't want to know. Let's just say that it will involve a massive yard sale in the future.

Anyway, I deviate again. The whole point of the story is that my brother is the "king" of making do with what he has. He can rig up pretty much anything and it will work.

So what does Uncle Bubba do with a pile of wood and some old tin roofing that was discarded by someone he knows?

He builds a corn crib. What's a corn crib you say? It is a building built off of the ground with slats on the sides to allow air to circulate inside. After harvesting, corn is placed inside for storage. Read this article to find out more about corn cribs if I have totally confused you. My younger kids think this is their playhouse. Right now, the corn crib houses some ex-play props (two camels and a donkey) so I guess the younger kids think that it's a barn too.

Another building that was built by making do with materials that Uncle Bubba had lying around

We ended up taking the screened house down and using this little building for our "make shift" kitchen for the day. We had a nice little meal there of ham sandwiches and pretzels.

Do you see the extreme humor in this photo?

While making do with what he had, my brother built his cat a house. She was constantly having to contend with wild dogs, raccoons, and coyotes. They couldn't get inside this elevated kitty cottage. The funny part is that when his kitty disappeared, he repaired an old bird house and stuck it on top of the cat's cottage. If you think about it, it looks like a person would be trying to feed the cat automatically wouldn't it?

Once again, the moral of the story is, look around you. You may have some old wood or broken objects just lying around. Stand back and look at that pile of "junk" and get a new perspective on it. That pile of junk might can be turned into something very useful.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day - Mama's Flowers are Blooming Back Home

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there!

The other day I took you around the yard- back home to see some yummy things to come. Today I thought you might enjoy the flowers that are blooming at my mother's house right now too. I know the names of most of them but a few of them totally confuse me. Maybe someone else will know. (Please don't hesitate to tell me what they are....)

This of course, is a purple iris

Heavily laden snowball bush

I have no clue as to the name of this little flower but it's cute. Do you know what it is?

Ok, I know this is clover but it is a flower and it is pretty
(Look closely and you will see that something snacked on it's leaves)
I bet it was fire ants.....

My great aunt's prize peony.

This one turned out white with pink varigation this year. This particular bloom graced my kitchen with it's beauty and fragrance for several days. Florists beg for cut peony stems around here- sorry guys, this one is mine. (Two fire ants dropped out of this blossom on the way home. They got squished real fast). Florists are welcome to take all of the fire ants they can carry- totally free of charge, by the way.

A pink peony
Older folks around here like to call them, "pennies"

Uh, I forgot what this one was.
Maybe it was a new fangled blackberry? Argghhhh, now I'll wake up in the middle of the night suddenly and remember. Until then, it will drive me crazy trying to remember what it was.

Can't remember this one either- so sorry

A blue Bachelor Button

I remember calling them, "belly buttons" when I was little. I never told anyone that before. Phew, I feel relieved to finally get that out in the open.......

Hope you enjoyed this little trip around the yard.

- Remember to call your mother today and tell her how much you love her!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yummy Things to Eat In The Yard

This is a cobbler just waiting to happen
(Precious blackberries

The other day I took a quick trip back home to where my roots are. There are all kinds of yummy things to eat come late summer and fall back home. Here are just a few goodies that I'm looking forward to seeing (and of course, eating) later this summer.

Future Raspberries

These little jewels will not be turned in to anything- only eaten as fast as possible before the birds get them!

Can't you see it? This is a jar of apple pie filling in the making.

Let me say that it will be very sour, green apple pie filling but non the less, yummy!

I bet I stumped you on this one.

These are pears. This is the second year that these little jewels have made their appearance. Last year there were only 3 on this young tree. One fell to the ground in a storm, and the other two were sampled (one of which was by me...hee hee). There are more than a dozen this year. I'm going to keep an eye on these little guys for sure.

So there you have it. This is just a few of the goodies out in the yard- back home. I didn't snap any pictures of the strawberries, pecans, hazelnuts, mulberries, figs, or walnuts but you get the idea of what I'll be picking later this summer. I'm going to keep busy canning, freezing, and drying little pretties like these and make sure I have a good stockpile of nature's bounty come winter. Next step, get over my fear of my canner or break down and buy a new one....decisions, decisions.