Saturday, April 30, 2011

Water Lillies

Isn't it truly amazing how plants can survive a long bitter winter under water?! I was so happy to see my water lilies peeking up at me from under water. After a truly miserable winter, they are a refreshing sight!
These water lilies are in my grey water garden out back. This series of ponds filters and feeds the water discharged from my washing machine through my garden. Soon they will grow up to the surface and float gently as the water flows through and will be covered with beautiful white and pink flowers.
My little ponds will be alive with water lilies, birds, butterflies and the occasional garter snake.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Thoughts/ My Mind is Rambling.........

Good morning! 
Today is a weird day... but what day isn't anymore? We are so off-track at home with Matt waiting to transition to a new school... nothing is quite 'right' right now... my whole world is skewed... but, in all honesty, the Autism issues are not the only reason things are off... 
sometimes I wonder if I'm a little Autistic myself as I deal with changes I don't want to see and some I appreciate... funny how change didn't bother me so much when I was younger... or maybe I just have too much on my plate to keep all the plates spinning when there are changes? who knows? who really cares? 
anyways... the Stupid contractors are finally finished with the lead abatement... from the documents I wasn't supposed to see, I can tell you the grant covered over $8,000.00 in work done to my house... I have almost all new windows now... fascias and sofetts are covered... but, only the East and North sides of my house have been painted white and only the gutters on the East and North side have been replaced! SO... my house looks like it was attacked by a deranged kindergarten!!! 
Ok... so I will repaint the house this summer... no biggie, I guess... I actually applied to adZookie to have them turn this mess into a billboard... as long as it looks crazy, I might as well get paid!!!! 
then there is the question of why don't I keep a journal? well, this blog is my journal... sort of... 
but, in all actuality, I don't think journaling is in my best interest... I did have a diary when I was twelve... but people can get hold of those things and make all your inner workings public... sorry, but there is not enough trust left to ever do that! 
I think of my blog as my journal... the place where I share where I am with the world...
 I do not share all... 
for instance the names of those who shunned us... 
I'm not gonna put myself at risk that way...
besides they read it and knew it was them... and did not apologize, but, instead insisted I agree we all had fun as a group! 
Journal? No! 
But I do love to share bits and pieces with all of you!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Coffee and Dehydrating

Well, hello!
Welcome to my humble homestead kitchen!
Pull up a chair and I'll put on a pot of coffee.
Let's chat a spell.
Do you dehydrate?
Have you ever noticed how much more fun dehydrating is in the winter when you have a steaming cup of coffee nearby?!
Initially, I positioned my coffee pot on top of my Excalibur Dehydrator to conserve space.
But, the longer it's sitting there, the more I realize that the two just simply belong together.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daffodils Herald Spring and Hope

Glad to have you back!
Check out the pretty daffodils out front in the parkway! Aren't these beautiful?!
Daffodils are the first flower to bloom at my house. I know other property owners throughout Joliet have earlier bloomers, but daffodils are my first to bloom. They wave in the spring breeze and dance in the April showers singing about the warmer weather to come.
They show their sunny petals beckoning us to hope for the warm summer days of running barefoot.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Parkway Upgrades

Good Morning!
How are you? It was such a lovely day, I decided to touch up my parkway a bit with fresh mulch.
Mulch really seems to add a fresh, well-kept feel to any gardening project.
The goal with my parkway, and along my drive, is to look as yuppified as possible so as to not attract unwelcome attention.
Honestly, I initially planted an edible parkway in hopes that everyone would do it and we could solve the hunger problem, but O had too many creepy people driving by casing my parkway. They were unwilling to atop and chat so I could point out what was edible and cut then some fresh Swiss Chard. I had to switch to mostly ornamental plantings for my household's safety.
Anyway, the touch of mulch I spread sure brightened up this small area!
What do you do every year to freshen your landscaping?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Humble Homestead

This is a view of the front of my humble little homestead.
You can see daffodils blooming. Could that be a promise warmer weather is to come? Or... have the poor things been tricked and we will have a 'year without a summer'?
My gut feeling is the later is true, but time will tell.
My prayer is that we have at least one normal summer before the new seasonal reality sets in!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Bed of Peas

Welcome back!
I am ashamed to say that this really is the full extent of what I have planted so far this season. With so much going on, I am badly neglecting my garden again this year.
I must say, though, that this little patch of spring peas brings me much joy.
It was put together quite simply and quickly using the lasagna gardening method. For me lasagna gardening is a must as I have been blessed with good solid clay, gravel and old bottles for ground to farm. My understanding is that Ridgewood was once the town dump. This would account for the number of antique glass bottles unearthed when the city put water in!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Beauty of Compost

Ah! Fresh seasoned compost. Is there anything to compare with it?
This particular compost pile was created in the summer of 2008. It has had almost three years for the worms to work their magic. After sitting long enough to become grown over with chocolate mint, digging it up to spread on the cardboard for a fresh garden spot is truly an aromatic adventure!
This was to be a permanent compost bin location. Initially Candace and I attempted to build a compost bin out of segments of limestone we found on the homestead. We hauled the pieces, placed each carefully and concreted in place.
Then, the next morning, we realized that the concrete had not been properly mixed and the pieces of limestone were all loose! As we didn't have time to build a fresh bin, we filled it as it was.
Looking back I can say that it was improperly placed and improperly built, but I am grateful for it none the less.
My garden this year is partially dependent on that little dilapidated compost bin that sits way too close to the house!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why is There Reality?

I sit at work wondering what's next. Matt has completely shut down while waiting for transition to the new school. 
We haven't even gotten a list of schools that will accept him for us to check out, so this may  be a while. The target date for transfer is May 2, 2011, but I can see this really was just a date to put on paper so the process could be started. 
Apparently I must wait for the three best schools for Matt's needs to agree to accept him. Then I will be issued a list and must set up appointments for he and I to tour each and see which one we think is the best fit for him. This fact in and of itself amazes me as the school he is leaving really seemed, IMHO, to think of me as the enemy. Not only the enemy, but an incredibly Slow enemy at that. Possibly something akin to a dolt! 
I am so impressed with being an integral part of my son's education and future. I am afraid I was very spoiled when he was in the IE program at Forest Park IE School. Transition to a school that is more an indoctrination point/ day care for kids whose parents don't care was traumatic. I am glad to be going back to a world where parents are valued and every child is not just entitled to an education, but to be nurtured and challenged at the same time.
My child is so special to me and I can not stand to see him so stressed he is not functioning. Hopefully we will receive the list of schools this next week. Then we will take a day off from work and school and declare it "Matthew Day". We'll go to the three schools suggested and see what we think. 
I believe the schools originally mentioned are in Romeoville, Naperville and Bolingbrook, IL. I will post the list we are sent and our reviews on each.
Please, pray for us over the next few weeks as we  decide on a school and begin the inevitably difficult transition to the new school. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


My son, Matthew, lives in 'Matthewland'. 
It's an awesome place only available to totally awesome kids! 
It's about introspection, creativeness, hugs, kisses and Always, Always thinking outside the box!
 I am grateful to be allowed to sit just outside the gate and listen to all the fun to be had inside.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Matt's New Swing

Matthew spent a Sunday afternoon building his own swing. A custom swing to his own specifications made completely from items he found around the homestead!
With all the stress of the coming transition to whatever accommodations the Joliet Public School System intends to make, Matt has really been a mess lately. He does not handle transition well and the wait has been long and excruciating. It is wonderful to see him still be able to release all his creative energies. He loves to design and build things and was so proud of himself and happy when this was finished!
I Am So Proud Of Him!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Time to Pitch In!

Oakwood Cemetery is full of beautiful old trees. The trees add to the Victorian feeling. They are stately and make me feel like I've walked into a whole different era when I visit there. I can almost see women in long skirts walking the paths.
Unfortunately, these trees do fall from time to time. This leaves a huge clean-up for the cemetery volunteers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weed Prevention

Good Morning!
Isn't the warmer weather heavenly?! I'll certainly take 48- 71 degrees over 30 degrees any day!
Come around back and see what I've been up to.
I am finally putting in my garden... one tiny vegetable bed at a time... this way the whole thing does not seem so overwhelming a project to undertake... and the crop harvests are staggered.
My first step is laying down cardboard boxes to prevent weeds from growing. For this bed I only put down a single layer of boxes. That is the same as I did last year. It seemed to be sufficient to prevent any weeds already in the soil from growing into my new vegetable bed.
For the garden area that will be fine. For the little hill going down to my neighbor's fence I am planning to use approximately three layers of boxes buried under a thick layer of hay! My neighbor has a solid crop of poison ivy on her fence, which she claims she doesn't know how to get rid of, so I am planning to smother what has grown onto my lot.
I picture my garden all covered in cardboard and the poison I y buried under cardboard and hay and I smile. Neat, clean and weed-free!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cleaning Up the Garden

Hi! Just a bit of weed pulling here. This is actually the spot where my new compost bin will be built soon. Three pallets and some wire and I'll have a fresh spot to dump compost. Really, I don't have much to compost as the critters eat amost everything!
I do compost any leftovers the dog and chickens don't eat, ash from the wood stove weeds the chickens don't eat and fruit and vegetable peels. As my critters have voracious appetites, the bin fills very slowly.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A site I Found to Help Plan Ahead

Just a quick thought to all of you who are prepping. 
I found this website a while back and thought you might want to check it out.
It has links for food storage and emergency preparedness steps.
There is an amazing 'food storage calculator' ~ 
scroll down until you find it~ 
check it out!
Everyone should have at least a year of food stored.
I am ashamed to say that I do not think I have that accomplished yet.
Also, you need to plan on having enough to take in a few people.
That relative you dread having visit will be at your door~
 and you know you'll have to let them in!
And the kids down the street who show no evidence of having parents.
How could you not help them?
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