Wednesday, 23 March 2011

We've Started Our Garden Project!

We have lived in our current home for nearly 9 years.  For almost that long I've been trying to convince My Handyman that we should put in a garden.  Needless to say, he has not been on board with the idea at all!  He reasoned that, because of all the deer, geese, squirrels and other critters that frequent our property, it would be easier to just join a local CSA.  So that is what we have done.  And we have enjoyed being a part of Fresh Harvest, but I have still wanted a garden of our own.

For the past couple of years I've been reading all about "Square Foot Gardening", watching many shows about gardening and cooking with fresh veggies and herbs and being totally jealous of everyone who grows their own produce.  We even built a compost bin out of pallets that I got from work and we faithfully added chicken poop from our two coops, veggie scraps and dried leaves to it for 2 years, until I hurt my back and could no longer turn the compost with a pitch fork.  We took town the bins last Fall and spread the compost in the yard.

FINALLY I've convinced My Handyman that now is the time to become more self sufficient!! Or maybe he just got tired of hearing me talk about it?  He does say that I should never say that I am "just a little spoiled!"  Of course my thought was just to build wooden boxes, as suggested by Mel Bartholomew in his book, "All New Square Foot Gardening", but My Handyman does masonry for a living and he had 2 pallets of brick pavers stored on our property, so he decided they would be perfect for this project.

Here is how we spent our Sunday afternoon:

We chose our spot.  This area was the original garden spot that the previous owners used, so there were no trees to remove and there is plenty of sun.
The Spot
We discussed the plan:

My Handyman and his helper.
Notice my brand new compost tumbler on the right.
We marked the spot with string and leveled the string to determine where to begin laying our pavers.  It's a masonry thing!
The "helper" resting inside the marked off spot.
We leveled the spot and started building our raised bed.  The interior measures 3 ft. x 5 ft. and it will allow me to reach all the way to the middle from all sides.  Mel suggests 4 ft. x 4 ft. or 4 ft. x whatever length you want,  and it did start out to be 4ft. wide, but somehow, when all was said and done, it was only 3 ft. wide.  No worries, but I did seriously question the measuring skills that got us to this point.

After laying out the first couple of courses (that's masonry talk for "rows"), we used masonry adhesive instead of mortar to stick the pavers together.

And we added more courses until "we" were satisfied with the depth of the box.  My Handyman leveled the soil on the inside of the box, we placed chicken wire in the bottom to keep out moles and other underground critters, then we placed one layer of weed cloth (purchased 2 yrs. ago at season end-cheap) from end to end, extending it up the sides to help keep any weeds from sneaking through the sides.  And then another layer from side to side, also extending it up each side.  Probably a little over kill, but that's how we roll at our house.

We placed additional pavers on top of the weed cloth to keep it from blowing away until we can add the soil.

The next step will be to purchase the correct soil mixture as suggested in Mel's book.  My Handyman says we can now afford to buy exactly what I want because the raised bed structure cost us nothing.  Well, maybe not nothing, but only the sale price of the weed cloth!  The pavers were FREE!  My favorite price.  And there are plenty of pavers and more weed cloth so we can build several more.  I'm thinking a total of 4 is a nice even number.

Come back next week to see how we progress.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Thatcher Got A New Liver-March 22, 2011

Our little man and his Mom are recovering in their respective hospitals, just minutes away from each other.  We were told that both surgeries went well.  Thatcher's went so well, said Thatcher's Daddy, that the surgeons were patting themselves on the back!
We are thrilled!  God is Great.
Let the healing begin!

Read more about the good news here.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Surgery Scheduled & Internet Connectivity

Just a quick post to let you know that Thatcher's transplant is scheduled for later this month!  His Mom will have surgery first where the surgeons will remove approximately 1/3 of her liver.  Her Mom will be with her at the hospital.  The liver will then be transported to the children's hospital where Thatcher's liver will be completely removed and replaced with this portion of his Mom's liver!  Dad will be at the children's hospital with Thatcher.

It is so amazing to me that this can be done.  Scary too!  All the what ifs keep trying to sneak into my mind, but I know that God is watching over them.  So many prayers have already been answered and so many have been praying.

On another note, I live too far out in the country for "regular" cable connections for my computer.  It seems the options I have are a dish and a router through Verizon, my current cell phone provider.  Any of you have other ideas or opinions on the subject?

Thursday, 24 February 2011

It's A Match

My DIL, Thatcher's Mom, has been approved to donate a portion of her liver to Thatcher!!  We have been waiting for this news for weeks and she finally got the call yesterday.  Prayers are being answered.

What does this mean for Thatcher now?

1.  Thatcher will receive approx. 1/3 of his Mom's liver, along with bile ducts,  which will allow the bile to drain properly, not poison his system, and his coloring will become more normal.

2.  Both Thatcher and his Mom will have major surgery at the same time, at different hospitals, within minutes of each other.  This is going to be hard for Mom and Dad, but she will be able to see him via a monitor, while she recovers.

3.  The possibility for rejection is GREATLY reduced.

4.  Although Thatcher is currently a very sick little boy, he doesn't have to wait for an accident to occur to receive a liver from an expired donor (baby) and the possibility of him getting MUCH SICKER is reduced..  (This part REALLY makes me happy!)

5.  Thatcher's Mom will have to quit her job, as she will have a fairly long recovery herself and then will be in hospital or near hospital for several months while Thatcher recovers.

6.  Big sister will be staying with family during the surgeries and recoveries.

7.  Daddy will be putting a lot of miles on his vehicle traveling back and forth between home and hospital(s).  But his job has generously offered to consider this paid time off for him so that he is free to do what he needs to do for his family!
Isn't that amazing in this day and time?!

Unfortunately My Handy Man and I will not be able to see much of them while this is going on because the surgery will take place a few states away.  We do, however, plan to spend some time with Big Sister when her other Grandparents will let her loose for a while and we will go to see them if/when possible.

So, as you can see there are a lot of mixed emotions going on right now.  We feel blessed that this solution is even possible, but concerned, as you can imagine, that both Thatcher and his Mom will have to undergo surgery for all of this to be possible.  The up side is that both surgeries are usually 95-98 percent successful, for both the donor and recipient and Thatcher will be able to live a pretty normal life after recovery.

What can you do?  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!  for I believe in the power of prayer!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Update-Transplant Time Grows Near For Our Youngest Grandson

Several months ago I did a brief post of what had been going on in our lives in 2010.  It was a VERY challenging year.  With God's blessing, this year will be better!  I am asking for your prayers to make it so!

One of the items I mentioned in this post was the health of our youngest grandson, Thatcher, who was diagnosed with biliary atresia at the age of 2 months.  This is a life threatening disease of the liver, which usually results in the patient having to have a liver transplant.  I haven't done updates on his situation because everything was changing on a day to day basis.  Thatcher is now almost 7 months old and the time for transplant is here.

I am asking for your continued prayers for this little man and the wonderful young couple that are his parents.   I have known both parents since I first moved to Tennessee almost 22 yrs. ago.  My daughter and son went to school with them and I was lucky enough to marry Thatcher's Granddaddy, My Handyman, 11 yrs. ago.  They are a fine young Christian couple who are struggling to deal with everything that comes with having a very sick child, in addition to having a 2 yr. old daughter that needs their attention and whose life has been turned upside down.

Please feel free to read Thatcher's story and pass it along to your friends and fellow bloggers.  Several funds are being set up to help with the expenses and I will post that information when it is available.  In the meantime, please keep them in your prayers.

Edited to add link to Link 4 Life 5K. Proceeds will go to a fund to help with expenses for Thatcher's medical care.

There is nothing like the power of prayer!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Snow Bound Chickens

This is what the chicken coops looked like yesterday morning.  

The snow was so sticky that it didn't fall through the chicken wire on the top of the pens!  It just collected there like a canopy.  It kept most of the snow out of the pen, but it sure did weigh down the top of the pens!

The chickens still weren't real excited about being out in the weather.  Those that did come out scurried up under the coop where it was relatively dry and out of the wind.

This is the bantam coop and pen.  See how the snow was making the top of the pen sag!  I opened the chicken door at 6:30 a.m. and they still had not made an appearance when I finally left for work about 10:15.

My Handy Man was home all day and kept a good watch over them.

I'm sure they will be just as happy as we will be when SPRING finally arrives!  So they can get out and eat worms and bugs in the sunshine!

And I'll be able to get back to some of the projects on my list that include painting.  I already tried to spray paint indoors and ended up with a fine mist of paint on my floor - even though I thought I had it covered with enough paper! Thankfully it's just the sub-floor!

And remember those negotiations I was making with the man in red about Christmas time?  If all goes right, I'll be getting that new MacBook this weekend!  Keep your fingers crossed.  I CAN'T WAIT for so many reasons!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A Surprise In The Mail

The other night I called My Handy Man as I was driving home from work.  He told me a surprise had come for me via UPS.  This is what was waiting for me when I got home:

 When I opened it, look who was inside the box:

And look what she had for me:

Now I just hope I can do it justice!

Actually this is the gift I got to select as my "thank you" for working at my job for over 20 yrs.  There were lots of other items that I could have selected, but since we are remodeling our kitchen and RED is the main color we are using, and since I REALLY needed new cookware, I thought this was a great choice!

Have you used this cookware AND do you like it?

Monday, 24 January 2011


Happy 28th Birthday to my son the Wildlife Specialist!
I'm so glad that he has found his calling.

Son, you make a Mom very proud.

Friday, 21 January 2011

So Cold Even The Chickens Won't Venture Out

The chickens wouldn't even come out of their house this morning.  It was 18 degrees.  They just peeked out and pulled their little heads back inside.  I put their water and feed inside so they didn't have to venture out into the cold to eat and drink.  


Yeah, absolutely!  

Everybody at my house is spoiled rotten, but we like it that way.

Our little lake as you come in the driveway:
Those white spots on the picture above are snow flakes that were caught in the light of the flash.

These strange little "vein" formations were under the ice and all over the lake.  We thought they looked really cool.

 Here's another one.  It looks like the shadow of a tree branch, but it is under the ice.  Not a shadow at all.

The weatherman says we had 2-3 inches this time.  It's melting off now, but it's still below freezing, so everything will turn to ice again.    There's still more snow in the forecast for this weekend on into the first of next week.

From the looks of things in the blog-o-sphere, everyone is getting snow.

Is it snowing/snowy where you are?

Monday, 10 January 2011

This Is What We Woke Up To This Morning-January 10, 2011

These were taken from our bedroom door at the front of the house.  Just prior to taking these, 4 beautiful young doe ran across the front yard.  They stopped in front of me (guess they saw me standing in the doorway), but not long enough for me to get a picture.
Can't even see the driveway, which is just beyond the tree in the foreground.  The black circles you can see in the distance are areas where the ice on the lake has melted a little and then re-froze.
 We didn't measure it, but it looks to be 4-5 inches, due to the way it's piled up around the trees.
I accidentally deleted the other 12 or so shots I took out the back and side of the house.

My Handy Man used his leaf blower to clear off the front porch and walkway to the chicken coop.  Then he drove me down the driveway, up the hill in front of the house (that was a challenge), over the interstate to get gas, coffee and donuts and back to the end of our road, where he turned the car over to me so I could make my way SLOWLY to work as he walked back to the house!  I tell ya, he is THE SWEETEST man I've ever known!  That's why I keep him around!  Well that and 'cause he IS pretty handy!

The weather man says we are expecting another couple of inches today/tonight.  I'll try not to delete those pictures before I can post them here!

Stay Warm.  I know I intend to.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The First White Christmas In The Nashville Area in 17 Years!

This was our Christmas tree this year.  The first Christmas tree we've had in this house and we've been here more than 8 years.  That's because we've been going somewhere else to celebrate every year and I'd just been decorating our fireplace mantles.  But I hope we've started a new tradition of having the family come to our house for Christmas.  So I bought this tree on Black Friday and immediately set it up.  That's my "cry baby" to the left of the tree.  A friend from where I used to work made her for me years ago.   Can you see the snow out the window to the right?
This was the first White Christmas that the Nashville Area has had in 17 years and it waited for this special year when all of my Grand babies, my Mom and my precious in-laws were at our home!  This was also the first Christmas in 17 years that my in-laws were in Tennessee.  In the past they were in Florida every year, volunteering at Big Cypress just outside of Naples.  We were so glad to have them home this year and glad that we were blessed with a beautiful snow fall.
 The picture above was taken outside of our front door and the one below from outside our back door.  It was just beautiful, as you can see.

Sadly I got a call at 5 a.m. on the 26th that my brother's wife had passed away and we left at 3 p.m. to drive to Texas.  She was in Tennessee with us on the 4th of July and started feeling sick after they returned to Texas.  She was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 6-12 months.  It was a shock that she was gone so soon, but a blessing that she did not have to suffer long.  My brother is having a rough time, as you can imagine, but he is a strong person and he has a good support system of friends around him.

We are all looking forward to a much better year.  2010 was sure a doozy!