Party Pictures!

Well, at least somebody was taking pictures! Jay Holwick was nice enough to let me nab all his pictures from the party before he left yesterday morning, and I got them uploaded to my SmugMug account last night. Heres some of the best ones, but theres lots more on Smugmug (http://emilyrose.smugmug.com/gallery/8737002_N8Xv6#577809287_9u79p)!

Right after they pulled in as dad pointed to everyone and said hi!

Right after they pulled in as dad pointed to everyone and said "hi!"

Just starting to cook food, party in full swing!

Just starting to cook food, party in full swing!

Drum circle, courtesy of my mom who brought all her drums & toys!!

Drum circle, courtesy of my mom who brought all her drums & toys!!

Dad, Mark Boylan, Mark Reisch & Grandpa

Dad, Mark Boylan, Mark Reisch & Grandpa

Antoinette, Joshua, Andros & Ellie all drumming!

Antoinette, Joshua, Andros & Ellie all drumming!

Those are some of my favorites, but theres lots and lots more good pictures over on SmugMug! Go Check’m out!!

Surprise 50th Birthday Party! Success!!

So, yesterday I successfully threw a surprise birthday party for my Dad. He really had no clue that we were having a party for him, which is/was awesome. And I managed to get a lot of his old friends to come down and hang out for the day, and several spent the night. It was a blast! I never did a head count but I’d estimate 50ish people showed up, which was pretty good. Only a couple that had said they’d be there didn’t show, so it was pretty fun. My brother got a keg of miller light (which we’re still drinking on today – at last estimate there was about a quarter or so left;), plus we had lots of pop, other beer & food – hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, barley salad, coleslaw, salsa, bean dip, veggies, veggie dips, chips, cake, brownies, donuts… It worked out really well. And like I said, my dad was totally completely surprised, which was *AWESOME*!!

So, for anyone and everyone that came, thank you! You made the day special! And special thanks to everyone who brought food and/or drinks thank you!! My Dad really appreciated it and was amazed – he keeps saying ‘I didn’t think I had enough friends who would show up to a party like that…’ which is just silly, obviously. But still. Thank you all for coming. I of course neglected to take any pictures, but if anyone sends me some, I’ll get them up on here asap! 😀

Its freezing time!!

Preserving season is in full swing for me now. I’ve been strawberry picking three times and have a total of 16+ bags of cut strawberries in my freezer. I might go pick again tomorrow depending on how much time I have, and then again on Friday so I can make a fresh strawberry pie for Dad’s birthday.  I also have 1 bag each of sugar snap & snow peas, and a bag of broccoli already frozen, with probably another bag or so of sugar snap in the freezer on a cookie sheet, plus more snow peas and broccoli to be picked/frozen tomorrow.

The black raspberries are just starting to turn red now, so in a few more days we should be having black raspberries, and then in another week or so the blackberries should come in too – and then I’ll really be picking and freezing like mad!!

The gardens are all looking good though – I tied up my tomatoes yesterday, and they’re all 2.5-3.5′ tall already, some with flowers and one actually had a couple ity bity little green tomatoes even! Unfortuantly though, it looks like the chickens have ‘discoverd’ them, and as such I’m pretty sure are eating most of the buds off… I hope the fencing we orderd comes soon (suppoesdly back orderd till the 30th – AAHH!) and we can get them all fenced in and protected… I was happy to find that I can just barely get all of my other stuff fenced in (so my pumpkins & butternut squash, which were formerly just outside are now inside and thus safe from chickens…).

We also just orderd and planted 3 new Reliance grape plants last week, and Kevin now has rather grand plans for a trellis/abor setup for them. And we also now need to order a replacement male “hardy northern kiwi” as ours is very obviously dead – last year we thought it *might* make it, but its definetly, absolutely, 100% dead this year…

The ducks are getting big – they must be at least 10-12″ tall already, and are getting feathers. The light actually busted a couple nights ago, but its been so nice & warm, we haven’t botherd to replace it. They seem to be doing just peachy fine without it – hopefully our neighbor will come and get his here in the next couple days. Once he gets his, I think we’ll try letting them out of the little fence and see how they do – hopefully they stick around and go back in their house at night.

Its strawberry season!!

So, yesterday I went and picked strawberries for the first time. I spent an hour and a half or so picking… and only got 5 quarts 😦 I cut them up and got them on cookie sheets today (well, four of them…), but I’d really like to do a LOT more.  Unfortuantly the place I usually go to for Pick Your Own strawberries, obviously didn’t have a good crop this year. So, I think I’m going to have to do some calling tommorrow and see if I can’t find somewhere else to go pick at, though it’ll be a much bigger drive… and thus I’m going to want a LOT more in one go!! Either that or I’m going to end up buying them this year… :sniffle:

I also finally got around to putting more peat moss around my plants today. I used nearly 2 full bales of peat moss on 4 beds, but I did do them very heavy. Hopefully it helps to hold in some moisture here so that my plants don’t look so wilty by 4pm every day!! And then I went around and fertilized all my peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts & beans. Tommorrow I’ll do the squash, tomatoes, tomatillos & potatoes, as they got sprayed today and I didn’t want to wash it all off!

And the preserving begins!

Today I did my first batch of freezing – broccoli! Considering I have 45 odd broccoli plants, there was surprisingly little from them – but the heads weren’t getting any bigger and were in fact starting to flower, so I cut them all off and blanched and froze most of them (reserving a small bit for tonights dinner – I’m planning on doing a roast chicken:), probably amounting to 1-2 bags once they’re bagged (I freeze everything on a cookie sheet first so I can pull out only how much I need).

I also noticed that the local You Pick strawberry field is opening up (they were open on thursday, apparently closed today, but open tommorrow…), so I’m planning on going and picking strawberries tommorrow for the first time. Not sure how many bags of strawberries I’ll want for this year – I know I started out with 12 last year, but I also had some from my co-op, and they’re all gone… and Andros is getting bigger and eating more, so I might shoot for 15 or so.

Everything else in the garden is looking good – my peas are starting to flower, and so are a few of the bigger tomatoes, so with luck we’ll be eating fresh peas & tomatoes here shortly. I finished planting everything on Tuesday when my mom came down – she brought me another 8 basil plants, which went beside my tomatillos and then the rest of the bed and end of the cucumbers were planted in beans. My first bed of beans has started to sprout up and are looking pretty good. Though I should probably plant another little row of carrots & radishes!!

Also on Tuesday, we moved our chickens’ fence around the garden, and just let them go free. They seem to be doing pretty good, though they are scratching an awful lot around our blueberries, so we’re not sure they’ll be free for much longer… Of course, the other option is to put chicken wire around the blueberries and go from there.  We also just orderd 3 new grape vines – Reliance seedless, which are supposed to be pretty hardy and disease resistant. Hopefully they come soon and do well and next year we start having seedless grapes!! 😀