Monday, July 27, 2009

Taking a Break from a Normal Day

I was just thinking that I didn't have anything really to post about today when I heard fire trucks coming down the street. I opened the blinds to find a little diversion.

No word, yet, on how it started. The fire investigator thinks it's probably a cigarette tossed out a car window. That's the third fire this month within a block or two of our house. A little bit (or better yet, a LOT) of rain would not be a bad thing right about now. Let's hear it for such quick acting fire fighters!

Now, back to our boring, regularly scheduled day of cleaning which was already in progress.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I should probably write...

As the title of this blog is "Everyday Miracles", the idea was to record everyday, or at least close to it. Who knew July 8 was so long ago!

So, what's miraculous about today, or even any of the last 15?

1) The pumpkins have lived and we actually have a pumpkin growing. For some reason, there are currently LOTS of male flowers on the plants, so one is all we have, but it appears there may be a couple more female flowers opening soon.

2) Two days ago I got all the laundry washed, folded, and into the right bedroom. Yesterday was the same, only because I never put any laundry into the laundry room. As a result, the baskets in the laundry room were put away and empty for more than 24 hours.

3) We had a Young Women presidency meeting that only lasted 45 minutes.

4) I found out that even though school is going to be starting a day later than originally announced, all of the extra days off have been canceled- I assume for budgetary reasons. Now we only have days off around actual holidays. I'm happy, Erica is not.

5) Steven and Ryan have somehow kept themselves nicely entertained even though Spencer and Joseph are at scout camp.

6) The heat has reminded me that the person who invented air conditioning deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.

7) Sparkling blueberry frozen yogurt is really yummy. Another wonderful invention.

8) Saw a perfect clear double rainbow right outside the front door.

9) Made tofu spinach dip and people (most of whom were not related to me) actually liked it. Erica was the only real exception, though I'm not sure Greg ever had the chance to try it.

10) Watched Greg run the games for the little kids at the Library picnic and was reminded why he's such a great dad.

11) Joseph told me he likes baby carrots. (About fell down at that announcement.)

12) Ryan said he's beginning to like green beans. (Good thing I was already sitting down at the table. FYI- I don't know what the current "# of times to try before they like it" guide doctors are telling moms these days, but for us it was 8 years, 1 month, and about 2 weeks of having green beans a couple of times a week.)

13) USM didn't raise their tuition for Greg's MLIS program for the fall.

14) After a year of living here, Greg and I fixed the sprinkling system. Now, not only do all the heads spray like they should, not one of them needed to be replaced. They just had dirt, rocks, lint, and grass inside the filters or needed the spray levels adjusted.

15) I hiked up to the "Y" twice in 3 days and had fun doing so.

16) Saw the chewed piece of gum that some passerby thought would be funny to stick on the black car door handle in the hot sun before I put my thumb in it when opening the door after shopping and had a piece of paper handy to remove it.

So, what little miracles have happened for you today?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Trublu asked about the homemade repellent. My sister, Meri, gave the recipe to me over the phone. I've made it twice- once with the recipe and once without because I can't find where I wrote it down. It's probably a good idea to have it written down somewhere, though, so I can find it so next time I want it. So, here it is off the top of my head. Mer, if I got it wrong, leave a comment and let everyone know!

Insect Repellent (for plants, unless "salsa" is your fragrance of choice and you like a little tingle in your day!)

1 small onion
1 jalapeno pepper
2 cloves of garlic (I think, last time I made it I put in 4)
1 tsp. Murphy's Oil Soap
1 tsp. vegetable oil

Pulse the onion, jalapeno, and garlic in the blender. You don't want to liquify it, just make it into a pulp. Pour the pulp into a quart jar and fill with hot water. Let steep at least 2 hours. Mix the liquid from the pulp and water in a 3:1 ratio (water:pulp liquid). (I bought a spray bottle at Wal-Mart that has the amounts marked on the side.) Add the oil soap and oil. Shake and mist your plants several times a week.

Lessons from my massive one week of experience:

1) The first time I made it, I kept the pulp, adding fresh water every day, for a week. The potency lessened over the week, so I up-ed the concentration to 2:1 towards the end.

2) I did not keep it in the fridge, no real good reason why.

3) I spray every morning, except Sunday.

4) One spray bottle will do my entire garden- heavy misting on the zucchini and pumpkins, medium on the tomatoes, light on the corn, whatever's left on the strawberries and raspberry plant.

5) I do the tops and bottoms of each leaf of the zucchini and pumpkin, just the tops pf everything else.

5) At a 3:1 ratio, I can get at least 2, and pretty close to 3 spray bottles of mixture. At a 2:1 I get 2.

6) Doesn't seem to bother snails (drat!) outright but insects will take off if you mist them. Though, maybe they just don't like getting wet.

7) It's a great child repellent, at least at our house. The kids do NOT like the smell and complain and move away whenever I open the jar. (If that helps you have a quiet moment on any given boring summer afternoon!)

As I said before, I don't know if it really works or not, but I don't see the miniscule red bugs on the zucchini and pumpkin plants any more and they are growing new leaves that are pretty much chew-free. The corn hasn't had a bug problem at all and neither have the tomatoes that I know of, but I spray everything at least a little when I'm outside. Hope this helps!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So Far, So Good!

We've finally had some really hot, sunny weather and the garden loves it. (Just to be rude and rub it in for my loved ones to the south, we finally have had the A/C on this last week!) A couple of months really makes a difference. The plants are up and mostly doing fine. The watermelon and lettuce never did make it past the planting stage. The cantaloupe came up, but that's as far as they went. The peppers have been pretty slow going, but it looks like they'll at least have leaves by the end of the summer. We'll see about actual pepper production. We had a few berries from the strawberry plants and now they're beginning to send out runners. Yea! Let's hear it for the ground cover! The tallest corn plants are almost up to my waist, which, once again, is a corn record for us. We've got a fabulous crop of weeds going on amongst the tomatoes, which will need support soon, and the snails have had a grand time with the pumpkins and zucchini. Sunday we had our first zucchini blossom and today there were 7. Hopefully we get zucchini soon. The pumpkins are beginning to produce vines, but no blossoms as yet. To be honest, right now I'm thrilled they seem to be overcoming the snails.

A neighbor originally told me the zucchini and pumpkins were being eaten by squash bugs which, according to her, are immune to all insecticides. All you can do is throw away the leaves that you find them on. That pretty much wiped out one plant. Thankfully my sister suggested a little homemade insect repellent. We've used it for a week or so now and it seems to help, but I'm not sure. As I said, we have a bumper crop of snails right now and I KNOW they were eating the plants. (Spencer picked a bucketful for me one day and threw them across the street. They are SO gross!) So, I don't know which pests were doing the most damage. If it wasn't insects, the plants at least seem to really like the spray. They're nice and green at the moment. The snail bait we put out last week seems to be cutting down on those pests and hopefully a little round-up will help me get back in control of the weed population. I've also found several black widow spiders, but we're out of spray and I don't really feel like going after them with my hands. They don't seem to be too interested in the plants, but I'm not sure they'd feel the same way about my fingers. One more thing to add to the list for tomorrow.

So, for my enjoyment and remembrance, here are a few pictures from this morning.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Happy July! I had some time to myself at Sam's Club today and was thinking about aging and forgetting. Sometimes forgetting is good- like when you forget long enough about "that one time your son broke the faucet handle in the back yard three days before you were supposed to close on the sale of said house and spewed so much water you were sure the basement would flood and there goes the sale of your house" that now it's funny to remember. Sometimes forgetting is not so good- like when it involves leaving your lesson for YW home on the counter and you don't remember about it until you stand up to give the lesson- but I'm over that one now, too.

I haven't stopped forgetting, though. I do it frequently. And, from what I hear, I'll get to do more of it in my future. (Maybe I won't remember that I forgot. That would be nice!) For right now, I'm just staying in practice. Today is a great example.

A couple of weeks ago we invited two guys from a program called "Slow the Flow" to come to our house. As part of their water conservation eforts, they'll check out your sprinkling system to see how well it's functioning and give you steps you can take to more efficiently water your lawn. I was told that I needed to be watering my lawn 30 minutes a day every 4 days in June. That 30 minutes needed to be broken down into 3- 10 minute segments every hour or so to allow the water to soak deep into the grass. That encourages deep root growth and the roots of our grass were too shallow. (Probably because I was only watering 10 minutes 3 days a week. It's enough to make anyone shallow!) We also have a few sprinkler heads that need to be cleaned or replaced, but we haven't had time to do that just yet.

Back to today, I was outside checking on the garden when I noticed that one section of our side yard was drying out nicely. It gets full hot sun most of the day and since the sprinkler head there happens to be broken, it was getting 0 mintes of water every day. In an effort to save the grass, I turned on the hose with a little sprinkler head for 15 minutes on one half of the dry section and then moved it to the other half. Then I had to run inside for a minute.

I shut the door and that part of my brain turned off. I switched laundry, I read my scriptures, I grabbed my shopping list, I went to the post office, I got gas, and I went shopping (the really big- "Wow, you have no food in your house!"- kind of shopping) at Sam's, unloaded the car, talked with my Aunt Nancy and brother, Keith, and was working on putting the groceries away when I decided I was hot. It's a cooler, overcast day today, so all the windows were still open and the A/C was off. It's still only 80-ish, but humid as thuderstorms are supposed to be developing this afternoon. I turned on the A/C to dry out the air inside a little and began closing my windows. That's when I saw the sprinkler still sprinkling merrily away- 3 hours later! So much for slowing our flow!

Our side yard happens to be on a nice hill. So, one good thing about this whole esperience is that not only was the second half of the dry spot now very well watered, the over spray and drainage had also nicely watered the first half. Wish I could somehow average out all those 30 minute segments for the next couple of weeks.

Turns out that forgetting the sprinkler was also good for one other thing. As I was headed back in the house I noticed the box of frozen Eggo waffles still sitting on the ground behind the van. Where I had asked the kids to leave it as they were helping me unload. So I could put them in the freezer outside and not inside. I forgot. They were mostly still frozen as it had only been 15 minutes instead of 3 hours.

There are some definite reasons I am a list and routine kind of person. I need to go find both because I forgot where I put them.