Friday, May 31, 2013

My Garden in May 2013

Garden in May 2013 - Part 1 - Veggie Garden
It's that time of year again. After about a month of working in the yards we see the end in sight. We still need to plant some shrubs and finish a few areas here and there, but overall, we're happy with the progress this year. The veggies seem to be starting out well, but we'll see how potatoes grow ( our first try) and the pumpkins (we've tried 5 years now and only suceeded 2 times to harvest a pumpkin). We still have seedling that need to eventually find a growing home, 
but I'm not worried - everything always works out.

First we got 3 yards of triple mix to work into the beds that had been weeded.

The quince Tree in Bloom

Rhubarb Patch got thinned and the darned horseradish grew back!

It's basically all planted, just waiting for the sprouts so we can set up the stakes, etc.

Good old Herb's patch is abounding... Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Mint, Peppermint, Sage, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Sorrel and tonnes of chives...and creeping rosemary.

New Potatoes, Zucchini and Beans (raspberries and strawberries in background)
I plan on having the beans and zucchini grow "up" - it worked wonderfully well last year. Next year I think we need to rethink our strawberry patch location.

Cucumbers, Ground Cherries, Kale, Swiss Chard, Cabbage, Beets, Romaine & Spinach

Multiplier Onions and Spanish Onions (corn in back ground)


Garden in May 2013 - Part 2 - Flower Gardens

This year we changed our multch colour to black and LOVE it.
Rose & Perennial Gardens Before the Multch 
After - so nice and tidy now
we plan on adding a few shrubs in here and replacing one of the rose bushes that died with a yellow knockout rose. Also the ninebark from last year will be replaced.

Before - the flowering crabapple standard - perfection. 
Poppies, Heuchera and Memorial Day Roses look kind of sad on the multch free beds.
The Peonies in this bed may need to be relocated, they are hidden by the giant rose bush...
After - everything pops.

Before - the Lavender Twist looked amazing! Also, a burning bush, phlox, daylilies, forget-me-nots, primrose, sweet william and a few i can't remember in front of the jap maple and daisies.


Before - that little shot of yellow is a climbing impatient(?) 

After - lots of hostsas, yarrow, poppies, grasses, ground covers around our anniversary bench and rhododendron under the mulberry tree.
The Sunroom Cleaned Up - we "forgot" to trim up the hydrangea's last fall and they are now GIGANTIC - woopsie!
Back of House Before
Jap Maple, Holly (we'll move these in the fall); Dogwood, Sedum...
After - we're replacing this overgrown Daphne, you can glimpse the azalea (red) here too.

Side Yard - burning bush standard, climbing boxwood, a rose bush that's coming out (never ever flowers); peonies, lilac, snowball hydrangea, iris (purple, yellow and dwarf blues) also a few lilies, Another rose, a rose of sharon, more peonies and a wisteria that also won't die. I think we may have lost our hollyhocks too. 
Back After Ariel View

Front Yard & Step - Before
We still have a lot of work up here. We removed the sumac (it was too fast a grower) and so the yarrow got huge. I planted some Canalilies here too - we may move the hollys here in the fall. Mums will fill in here too and a couple sedums and the knockout rose. In the distance is our weeping lilac standard.

After - moved some more indoor plants out and added another geranium. This will get more tweeking throughout the summer.

Balcony - I moved the sitting area furniture up here, and planted our heirloom tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers and tender herbs (rosemary, parsley, dill and basil) and flowers (geraniums, gerberas and annuals). We also have the seedlings for cauliflower, broccoli, boston lettuce and leeks up here.

Found these 2 metal shelves at a garage sale. Looks nice up here I think.

That's it folks. Loving my gardens - still have lots of planting to do (mostly replacing trees and shrubs though - update to follow) and then it's just ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY :) How is your garden growing?

Monday, May 20, 2013

What I've Been Reading in 2013

Reimagining Church...Frank Viola
      I loved this book. I've read it more than once and bought a second copy to lend out so I could keep mine as I refer to it so often.
The Forgotten Women of the Bible....Carolyn Custis James
     A friend of mine introduced me to this author and I've become a fan. I love her encouragement for women to study theology - the knowledge of God. I borrowed the rest of her books so I could dig into the scriptures. I found it really compliments the viewpoint that Frank Viola has of the role of men and women in the  church and in the scope of history.
The Core...Leah A Bortins
    I borrowed this and then bought my own. A great resource for the classical approach to homeschooling which I hope to incorporate into our studies.
The Backyard Homestead...Carleen Madigan
   Another great resource for the garden and organic living.
A Love That Multiplies...Michelle & JimBob Duggar
    Whichever way you view the Duggar Family's approach to family life, they have a successful track record and their views/ suggestions are worth consideration.
Half the Church...James
   I'm not quite finished this one, but again I love James' approach.
Irrisistable Revolution...Shane Claibourne
   Probably my third read, I read it again for our book club. Always inspiring, I find there's always something different for me to consider in social justice.
From Eternity to Here...Frank Viola
   Again, for the book club, I read this one which is easily among my top 5 favourites. 

The Untold Story of the New Testament Church...Viola
   I'm also not all the way through this one because it's actually more of a study guide for reading the New Testament in chronological order.
Jesus a Theocracy...Viola
  This one is a very deep read, it's been a slow go.
Riven...Jerry B Jenkin
  One of my fiction selections. I really enjoyed this portrayal of God's faithful pursuit of His beloved.
Bloodline...James Rollins
  I enjoyed Rollins latest release even though it was a "vampire" story.
The Lost Years...Mary Higgins Clark
  Clark's books are like movies for me, a nice way to relax for an afternoon. Definitely a whodunnit book.
Winter of the World...Ken Follet
   I'm such a history fan, love "living books" like this.
Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling...
  Another great resource. Even though I'm not "getting started", I found so much new resouce material for our family.
Revise Us Again....Viola
  Love his tongue in cheek observations on the Christian Subculture.

Next On the Docket
Roaring Lambs...Bob Briner
The Alchemist...Paulo Coelho
When Life & Beliefs Collide...James
The Gospel of Ruth...James
The Key to your Child's Heart...Gary Smalley
Hind's Feet on High Places...Hannah Hurnard
Emma...Jane Austen
The Guests of War Triology...Kit Pearson
Last Child in the Woods...Richard Louv
Wheat Belly...William Davis

After That

When the Church Was a Family...Joseph H Hellerman
Jesus Manifesto...Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet
God's Favourite Place on Earth...Frank Viola
Same Kind of Different as Me... Ron Hall and Denver Moore's
Educating the Whole Hearted Child...Clay Sally Clarkson
The Way they Learn...Cynthia Tobias

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Happy at Home

This past Sunday, which was Mother's day, I was rushing through Walmart on my way to lunch at my sisters place. I bumped into one of my hubby's cousins and she paid me a very high compliment, which I've thought about quite a bit since then. She said that she has been reading along via Facebook, etc on my life journey for awhile now, and that I really "seem to enjoy being a stay at home (and homeschooling mom). I told her I really do, and I've thought about it more since then. I really enjoy my life. I mean I've always made the most of whatever season I've been in. I loved so much of the experiences in my high school years. I loved the college years and I especially loved travelling and mentoring students in my twenties. I loved working in music and the creative arts, I have loved so many of the people who shared those years with me.

I can honestly say this though, I LOVE my life right now, probably the most. Oh yes, there are days that are the stuff of bad dreams, and there have been many frustrations and disappointments here and there, but really... I love being home with my boys and my baby girl. I love being the one to teach them, to share the moments that fill our days and to be the one my hubby comes home to. I have enjoyed learning about making our home a happy and peaceful one, a haven. A place where beauty is common and where our family is at rest and friends are always welcome. I would like to learn to infuse it with more joy, and to make it a place where wisdom flourishes. I am happiest when I hear laughter ringing in the halls and music in the rooms. Where the smells of good food lure people to a bright and vibrant kitchen and where people leave our home inspired and having encountered the Holy One in one way or another.

Homeschooling has given me the "excuse" to have books on display in every room. To have the tools and instruments for learning out in the open and put to good use. I love our relaxed daily schedule for housework, homework and soul work... and that I get to go outside with the kids everyday. To work in my garden, to have the baby nap in the cradle in the afternoon breeze (well not this week) but last week and in the months to come. I love that friends come and go, and we can go visiting without having to worry about the bus or school schedule and that if daddy takes a day off, so can we...

There was a day not so long ago, maybe a couple years ago, when I was not at peace like now. When I was harried and trying to "do it all" and struggling in it. I still have many moments when I feel like life is too good to be true, and that I'll have to give it up soon and go back to the grind I lived before...only to realize that I don't! Praise God~!

My heart is full of gratitude that the Lord has provided for us to live this way and that He continues to supply for our every need. I am so blessed with a supportive husband who loves us, loves to be with us and helps me make the most of our days together. I hope that I will someday fulfill the role outlined in Proverbs 31 for my family, I am trusting God to complete the work in me, but until then, I really am enjoying the journey and feel like the most blessed woman alive.

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