Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Our Easter morning started off with a little surprise when we stepped out the door on our way to church. Some bunny had left Easter eggs for Michaela on the front porch and in our front planter. One of them had been consumed by some wild creature in the night, but the others were intact and easy to find. At first we thought that Michaela's uncle had left them for us, but it turned out our next-door neighbor and his elderly mom had decorated them with us in mind, and he left them for us sometime last night. It was a really nice gesture. Michaela keeps saying, "That was a lovely surprise."

Church was wonderful. Our senior pastor is still recovering from a terrible accident, so most of the service was worship. It centered around a drama, and included worship music spanning the centuries. There was something for everyone - Gregorian chants, traditional hymns, gospel, and contemporary worship music from the last four decades. The point was that Jesus is the same, and the message of the cross is still the same even as the music styles change. I took Michaela into the service with me, and she did really well. We did sneak out during the message as she was getting restless, and we'd already been in there for about and hour and a half. I'm really proud of her for being such a good girl.

Once we got home, I hid the eggs we'd colored the other day. Michaela found all but one of them. She is not interested in actually eating any of them, though. We do not do the Easter Bunny or lavish Easter baskets around here. I didn't grow up that way, and I'd like to keep the focus on Jesus. But we did have fun coloring eggs and searching for them in the garden.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Growing Our Own Food

I so much enjoyed the container garden we started about a month ago that I was inspired to find a way to do even more gardening. I had seen kits for raised garden beds over the last few years, but they were always so expensive. I really didn't want to invest two or three hundred dollars to buy a kit, and I didn't have the know-how to make my own from scratch either.

Nevertheless, I kept thinking about it and how much fun it would be for Michaela and me. Then, a couple weeks ago, I found a very reasonably priced kit on Amazon. I almost always read a few reviews before I make a purchase there, and I was encouraged to read that other people found the kit very easy to assemble. A couple of reviewers even said that their twelve and thirteen year-old sons had assembled the kits for them. Hey, if a kid can do it, so can I!

So I bought one, and a few days later it was on my porch. I love shopping online!

I already knew where the sunniest spot in my backyard was, so I tacked down some weed resistant cloth, and set about assembling my kit. The only thing I had a hard time with was screwing in the end caps. My dad says he'll take care of that for me in the near future. They're just decorative anyway.

I purchased 21 cubic feet of organic soil to fill the boxes, but by the time I got home my gardener was here and he had about that much in his truck. It was leftover from another job and he just gave it to me. That was so nice of him. The only drawback is that I have to return most of the other soil. Oh, well...

I shoveled soil into the taller of the two boxes until it was full and called it a day.

The next day I finished filling the shorter box with the rest of the soil my gardener gave me, and I was happy to have the other soil on hand because I needed another three cubic feet to finish the job.

Michaela and I had picked up some beautiful fruit and veggie plants at the local nursery to add to this part of our garden. We chose sweet basil, kale, another heirloom tomato (that I don't think is going to make it...), bush beans, multi-colored carrots, strawberries, and lettuces. We also sowed radish and multi-colored beet seeds. So much in such a relatively small space!

In just about five days, the lettuces have doubled in size. We tore off a leaf today and shared it right there in the yard. It was delicious!

Michaela is very diligent about checking on her berries. We check on them every chance we get. Yesterday, she was able to pick her first strawberry from our strawberry pot:

Then she picked a couple more. All of them probably could have used another day on the vine just to sweeten up, but she thought they were sweet enough. We were able to pick two or three more today, and there are lots more on the way! Our blueberry bushes are loaded with berries, but they have a way to go before they are ripe enough to eat.

I am so glad that I decided to do this with her this year. It has given me a project to focus on, and she is very interested in the things we are growing. Because we live in a climate with such mild winters, this really is something we can enjoy doing year-round. I'm already thinking about our cool season crops, and (because our kit is expandable) about adding another box onto the two we already have in the next year.