Friday, April 11, 2014

CAP & TASSEL

by Robin

I know my Senior was too embarrassed to pose for this picture but I worked very hard for the past 14 yrs to get him to this point.

I don't expect him to understand all the levels of commitment it took to get here, but maybe, someday he will.


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I cannot believe that we've less than a month to the end of finals and then a week of preparations for the ceremony.  I've had various jobs in our home schooling association, but my main job was to organize the finger foods & cake for graduation day.  I'm so extremely excited to see how that will turn out.  We have a nice large budget because our group of 12 families have done an excellent job fundraising & yard sale-ing to raise the money.  We have our home church as the venue.  The high school science teacher is our guest speaker.  My good friend is our photographer.  A former home schooler is our videographer and put together a special video to roll as each one walks the aisle.  He recorded our voices speaking words of love, affirmation, Scripture and wisdom as pictures of them play on the screen.

I'm excited and proud of our level of dedication all year to pull off this miracle without one single cross word with each other.  The moms have been blessing to me and to each other through this process.  It is amazing what the unity of Christ can accomplish.

Blessings,
Robin

Monday, April 7, 2014

ADDING SQUASH

by Robin

We're adding a new color this week to our diet.  :)  Homegrown squash is back on the menu.

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And we be having some fresh fish for dinner too. We were blessed to fish the Gulf of Mexico this past weekend and waves were favorable for a long offshore run. Came home with 5 nice red grouper and a bunch of reef fish.

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Hope you're feeling as blessed as I am,

Robin

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY TO YOU!!

by Robin

Are you a little green with envy that my pot o'gold is my greens from the new vertical garden?   Not only am I getting more varieties to grow, but they're not bitter like they sometimes are from the soil of the big garden.


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Hope you're having a blessed week!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

OPEN LETTER TO PASTORS WITH INTERPRETERS

by Robin

This weekend, at my church, we had a guest pastor preach for us. I guess it was completely exhilarating for him to have an interpreter share the stage with him.  However, his excitement quickly turned into mockery.  Sadly, I was not there to read people's faces first-hand or show my displeasure with what was going on.

It was told to me by 2 different accounts that the guest speaker was throwing out any words he thought could make her move in funny ways... like a puppet.  And being very young and sweet, she did everything he said.

Sadly, I think he got away with an awful mockery of the Deaf's language.  Can you imagine if a pastor got on stage and made fun of tribal languages?  What if a pastor made fun of other leaders while they did their ministry work?   It's just wrong.

When we are on that stage, we are there to communicate God's Word first.  Secondly, we are WORKING, sifting out words needed and those not needed. I am in eye contact with full communication happening.  It is the same reason why you don't run up to a service dog and pet it.  They are working.  Please don't make interpreters become puppets.  Thirdly, what we do is stressful and requires 110% concentration in translating what is said without any pauses for us to catch-up.  I once had a pastor start to make a joke my way and I was so busy signing, I almost missed that it was about ME.

I also once had a pastor who spoke about castration.  Just as a warning, don't go there unless you want all the kids on the front row to see a completely visual language!!!  Some signs don't require any training to understand.

That is my word of advice to all pastors new to having interpreters.

God bless,
Robin

Thursday, February 27, 2014

GARDEN UPDATE - 27 days

by Robin

Here is my photo-log of what's happened since Feb 1st.  Most of these were done then.  A couple came later, like the basils but at least you can see what's happening.

Nursery Table    

(ignore my tacky redneck center-piece that keeps the tarp off the babies.  I was desperate for something that day.)
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Potato Bin #1 (tall container)  Don't forget, we have a contest going on.  My bet is on the tall container to produce the most potatoes.

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Potato Bin #2 (wide container) This is the container my son is betting on.  It does have more plants in it.

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In no particular order, here is what is sitting on the table.

I have a nice tray full of these "Big Tasty Tomatoes" as my hubby calls them.  I think they were from seeds of a Tasti-Lee store brand.  All I can tell you is that they work FANTASTIC in my soil.
   photo 2014-02-27011424BTMs.jpg

Sweet Basil - they sure did take their sweet time coming up.

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Dill - another risky seed that was found sitting in my kitchen cabinet for years.  Looks like they're still viable. Yeah!  I planted a few pots of this because I can never have enough dill on my fresh mahi.

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Technically this is Thai being shown but we're growing 3 varieties Lemon is just popping up today.  That's the variety I prefer the most and of course, it is the one taking the longest to germinate.

 photo 2014-02-27011349Basils.jpg

This is my yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber mess. It needs to go in the ground because it is crawling all over the other babies.  I think the pickling cucumbers are the smallest of the bunch even though they were all planted on the same day.  The zucchini have the biggest of the leaves.

 photo 2014-02-27011317CukesZukesSq.jpg

Clemson Spineless Okra - This came from organic seed I bought 2 yrs ago.  Grew many plants that year including my 11 ft personal best plant.  My chickens destroyed most of last year's okra crop and so this year, the seeds I collected are still germinating for another generation! Yeah.

 photo 2014-02-27011236CSOkra.jpg

These are the numerous baby Kale and Swiss Chard pots. They will eventually be separated out and put into the vertical garden.  Everything at my house like Kale.  Me, chickens, bunny.  (bugs!)  So, I am going to try something new and put some pots in the vertical garden, as well as the ground.  Same with the Swiss Chard.  I saw so much success at my friend's hydroponics vertical garden that I want to try to get them off the ground to get MORE from my efforts.

   photo 2014-02-27011258RRKaleBLSwShard.jpg

See, another pot.  Or was this beets??  Hmmm... better go back and start looking at labels. LOL

 photo 2014-02-27011304SwissChard.jpg

These are Sweet Bell Peppers. I've seen Orange, Red and Yellow pop up so far. Nothing on the Purple ones. Boo! Not shown are also a few sweet banana pepper plants too.

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My flat-leaf parsley was a long-shot. These seeds have been sitting around for a couple years and not even ideal conditions. I guess I didn't know if I was going to eat them in a dish or use them in the garden. You can never have enough parsley in your cooking.  It works well for so many dishes. And Lulu loves it too.

 photo 2014-02-27011244FLParsley.jpg

Acorn Squash. Nice little perk of the grocery store left-overs.  I'm really glad that I only have so many of these because my kids hate any of those orangey-round squashes.  But I do hope to get a few nice squash this year.

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We're moving on now to the vertical garden.  A lot of things repeat in containers so I won't bore you with that until we get some nice thickness to the sections.

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Red Leaf Lettuce (Red Oak?)  photo 2014-02-27011141RLLettuce.jpg


Meschun variety (sweet). I see some with spikes and some rounded. I'm guessing that I will eventually have to separate these out.  I need more containers!!

 photo 2014-02-27011134Meshun.jpg

So that is my inventory of babies this spring.  I have my other big tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and turnips already in the big garden.  We're branching out and trying new things.  I'm so excited!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

REPURPOSING & EATING YOUR GARDEN DOWN

by Robin

Braised Greens with bacon  My house smells like this recipe right now!!  (FYI - if you don't want to add the beer, it can be replaced with a veggie or chicken stock. Bacon can be deleted to keep it vegan.  Cayenne is only for the brave!)

Yesterday, I was so blessed to get a friend's excess collards!  Wow. I will make a massive batch and give some back & to another friend who wants to sample the recipe.   First, wash the bugs off!

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I have to say, this was a very clean batch of greens.  Didn't see one critter.  My bunny and chickens thoroughly enjoyed eating the spines that were removed first.

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We' got broccoli growing out of our ears.  So, I will make yet another batch tonight.  After this, I may start freezing back some for later.

Sometimes last summer or fall, I bought an acorn squash from the local grocery store.  I saved the seeds and had no idea if they could be recycled back into the garden. So far, they look like they have a good start in life.  We'll see if they turn into baby acorns in a couple months.

 photo 2014-02-19020837AcornSq.jpg

Over a year ago, a friend from church gave me some old, old heirloom seeds.  I had about 20 of these.  I was able to get a nice return on those.  From that, I had about 100 return back into the ground the next time I planted.  From that, I received enough beans to store back about 2 meals worth of beans and still have 1 planting leftover.  Tonight, we're going to try these Mayflower beans.  Aren't they just beautiful?

 photo 2014-02-19032326MayflowerBeans.jpg

I worked in the kitchen yesterday at our local co-op for homeschoolers.  They had expired flour tortillas for us chicken moms.  I have to say they were a welcomed surprise in the pen today, along with strawberry tops and collard "spines".  The strawberry bottoms are prepped for my dessert tonight.

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Happy Gardening,
Robin

SPRING BREAK!!

Countdown Clocks

Thursday, February 13, 2014

HEARTBROKEN

by Robin

I wish somebody had warned me about how to guard your heart when your child is dating.  Nobody told me that I'd be waking up with eyes puffy from the tears and searching for chocolate for breakfast.  I feel completely drained.  Every song on the Christian radio station seems to be about letting go and depending on God.  God blessing the broken road that leads straight to Him.  And before I got out of the car, Laura Story's song The Blessing came on.  I cried through that.

We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough


God even spoke through His Word this morning in my quiet Bible study time.  A fig tree did not bear fruit and God said to leave it alone.  The next day, it wilted.  I kept thinking back about how they met and it was such a God thing and both of them continued to put God first in their relationship.

And then, Laura's final lyrics:

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


Oh poop.  They were such a lovely couple in so many ways.  I never have seen him happier.  And she was a ray of sunshine, always happy and wise beyond her years.  I admire her.  And I will pray for her.  I don't think she wanted to break up but she was doing it out of obedience to answered pray.  God spoke and she was not happy about it any more than I am.

I wonder if her eyes are as puffy as mine and if she's reaching for chocolate too.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

VALENTINE BABIES

by Robin

I wanted to give you a taste of what is growing on my nursery table.  I just realized there was more but at least you get the general idea of what will be coming this spring.


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Red Potatoes!  This year, we're going to try potatoes again but in containers.  So far, so good.  I've done my research and hope to be successful this time.


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Red Tomatoes! Gonna make some salsa this year. Lots of healthy greens.



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Stuck on Seed. This happened frequently with my Zucchini babies.

   photo 2014-02-12003811AcornSq.jpg

Acorn Squash.  These seeds actually came from a store-bought acorn squash.  They sat on my microwave for several months.  I had no idea if they would work or not and certainly the did!


 photo 2014-02-12003852CukesZukes.jpg

Variety of Cucumber, Zucchini, Squash.

 photo 2014-02-12003833Babies.jpg

Variety of edibles and things to juice.  I think I made a kale tub just for Lulu, are bunny.


 photo 2014-02-12003751MeschunLettuce.jpg

Lettuce.  I couldn't remember if this was the red oak leaf or the variety pack.   It just popped up through the night.


   photo 2014-02-12003823CSOkra.jpg

Okra.  I think my family is still sick of okra after having a banner year 2 yrs ago. Remember my 11 ft+ okra tree?  I only had a small handful of okra last year because my chickens destroyed a lot.  This year, I hope to do it somewhere in the middle.

Stay warm and hope everyone in the AL/GA/SC area keeps their power on.
Robin

Monday, February 10, 2014

WEEKEND UPDATE

by Robin

Not too much happening around here other than working on the boat, cleaning the house and doing yard work.  Our big barn dance was cancelled because of rain, so we had guests over to our house for dinner and card games.  So much fun.


Tomatoes are coming in like gang-busters! It has been a huge blessing to have fresh tomatoes all winter long.


Below, you can see my fall tomato plants.  It doesn't seem like much as they are in their last weeks of life, but between the Big Tasty Maters (my name), Campari and Ugly Ripe, we had plenty of tomatoes on a weekly basis.  The tomatoes above are the upcoming new ones from the winter baby plants.  And, I have another set of babies coming in for late spring too.  Maybe I will get a chance to can tomatoes this year. That would be so nice.


Broccoli is till producing like crazy too.  Something like 2 family servings each week.  I may have to start freezing some since the family might be getting sick of eating it.  BUT, below is a picture of new baby seeds that have begun growing.  I did not plant these new.  I guess this was older dirt with seeds in it that got turned over and sprouted.  I will probably thin these out and add them to the spring garden.


Below, you can see my line of cauliflower.  I finally have one small head (i.e. size of tomato) growing well.  Everything else is taking its sweet time.  I guess we'll have spring cauliflower, not winter.  On the far end of the left side, those are my cherry tomatoes.  I have 1 plant but it looks like it is going to be very productive and healthy.  Hopefully, the chickens will not grab those mini-toms through the fencing.


Speaking of my hens.... here they are eating, no, devouring a broccoli leave in a few minutes.  Can you imagine the damage they would do if they got into the garden?



Oh, I still have a few cabbage making heads out there too.  These are so slow to grow but at least they are putting out new leaves as the days get longer.  I should have nice heads in a couple months. I may have about 6 of these in the garden.  I figure that is enough given the fact that we'd probably only eat one a month. Maybe 2.


Well, that's my update for the garden.  For my front yard, I did a massive clean-up in my tropical rain forest! I took many thorns in the hands and fore arms, but it looks so much cleaner again.  Less snake-y!  Nothing escaped my hedge trimmers!!  I hope my neighbors don't think my house is abandoned any more.  LOL.


I'm sorry to all you who are getting snowed in and loss of electricity this winter.  All I can say is that you should probably  move to Florida.  ha ha.

Blessings,
Robin

Friday, February 7, 2014

CAN A CHRISTIAN DRINK?

by Robin

http://crossroadschristian.org/can-a-christian-drink-alcohol/  Linking  you to Pastor Cameron's blog.

Here are a couple quotes from the article but please do read the article in its entirety.  I have personally been convicted not to drink by God speaking to me and making that clear.  I think this article clearly illustrates why I continue not to drink.  I hope this blesses somebody today.

For years, well-meaning, sincere Christians have debated the subject of drinking. Let me be clear by saying there isn’t a single verse in the Bible that says a Christian cannot have a drink; although the Bible clearly warns about the destructive and addictive nature of alcohol (Proverbs 20:121:1723:29-35Ephesians 5:18) and is very clear that drunkenness is always wrong (Romans 13:13Galatians 5:19-211 Peter 4:3Habakkuk 2:151 Corinthians 5:11).
The Bible is also clear that mature Christians should avoid causing others to stumble by drinking (Romans 14:21), and that leaders ought to avoid drinking alcohol (Proverbs 31:4-7) and cannot be given to drunkenness (1 Timothy 3:38 Titus 1:7.)

I have yet to hear from anyone who drinks how alcohol enhances anything or blesses anyone. Max Lucado said, “One thing for sure, I have never heard anyone say, ‘A beer makes me feel more Christlike.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

by Robin

Peaches, Eaton and Pearl were enjoying a post-dinner grooming session on the roost Sunday night.
When they were all babies, all 5 could fit on here together.  That is a different story now that they're full grown.  Pearl is my smallest bird now.
    photo 2014-02-02034721ThreeHens.jpg

But then, my biggest girl Harris started eyeing the bending plank like she wanted to get up there and join the others.  You could hear them say, "Oh no you don't!! We can't fit another 8 lbs on this roost!"

 photo 2014-02-02034647HensRoost.jpg

Hope you enjoyed my hen pictures.

SEEDING & SUN

by Robin

After that super-cold snap, we've had 2 amazing days of low 80's at our house.  I sure did need that.  I did a lot of yard work while Jack worked on the boat.  My pool is the cleanest it has ever been in February.  I vowed to keep it perfect all winter so I didn't have to fight with it come March when we want to start dipping toes in there.

Saturday, I had my sons out on the porch with me and we did assembly line gardening.  One filled pots with dirt, I seeded & covered them, the other labeled the pots.  I have no idea how many pots or plants we put in dirt but it was a lot!  Each pot has multiple plants in them.  Once the threat of frost is gone, I'll put them in the ground.

Some of the things we seeded were a variety of colored sweet bell peppers, medium tomatoes, kale, big cukes, pickling cukes, acorn squash, yellow squash, zucchini, jalapenos, banana peppers, beets, radish, cilantro, dill, lemon, thai and sweet basils and okra. I think I will sow all my beans and sunflowers directly into the ground in a couple weeks.


And we did 2 containers of red potatoes.  I tried potatoes for the first time last year and see where I went wrong.  I think I can do it much better this time.



Above is my upright can and below is an old tub (storage) bin.  I'll let you know which one turns out better.  My guess will be the upright can for much more space to grow upward and leave potatoes at the bottom.  My eldest son believes the tub will produce more.



Even the dogs were getting out in the sun for their sunbathing.  Tiki is completely relaxing while Captain was up and sniffing everything I was doing.

My chickens have been out for most of the weekend with foraging but I got a little tired of avoiding poop bombs on the deck so I put them up, cleaned it all off and enjoyed the afternoon walking without fear.

I'm excited because on Wednesday, I'm having a little guest gardener come join me.  We're going to be separating pots that are overgrown with Easter lillies and aloe.  It will be nice to spread those out again. My little friend likes to play in the dirt so I may have him pick some turnips and broccoli too.  Oh and collect up my eggs.  Kids love that.

God bless and hope you all enjoy the week.
Robin

Thursday, January 30, 2014

HEN PARTY

by Robin


You know, we humans are so spoiled with our coffee and fireplaces on these cold mornings.  But, my hens did not like this cold nor the rain that came with it.

They've been hanging on my porch all morning.  I'm pretty certain they're having a good conversation.


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Have a blessed week and try to stay off those roads this week.

Robin