Monday, July 25, 2011

Poor Mr. MacGregor

Me, filling in a hole made by a ground squirrel.
The girls and I have always loved "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter.  We went through a phase several years ago where they had me read it to them several times a week for months on end.  When reading through this story, I always acknowledged that Peter Rabbit's problems were a consequence of his naughtiness and disobedience to his mother, but I also felt badly for him when he came home sick at the end of the story.  That sentiment has come to a screeching halt!  Now I feel that I must commiserate with Mr. MacGregor who is constantly plagued by the pests sneaking into his garden and stealing his vegetables.  I even understand how Mrs. MacGregor was able to happily cook up Peter Rabbit's father in a pie for dinner.

Lilah, hunting a pocket gopher.
This year, with limited time and many other household projects to accomplish after having bought our house out in the country, my hubby and I decided to take a chance, experiment, and plant small garden plots with vegetables right in the ground.  That was about 3 - 4 months ago.  We keep attempting to comfort ourselves that this is a learning year and that it is okay if half of our plants are falling by the wayside, but I have already determined that NEVER AGAIN will a plant a vegetable garden that is not in a raised bed lined on the bottom with 1/2" chicken wire (fenced, too, of course).  The first persistent pest that we encountered were the ground squirrels that like to come along and just lop off the top of a plant, or sneak in to put teeth marks in a cucumber (thereby ruining its perfection).  Then, we noticed that the rabbits were populating our yard and eating off the tops of entire vegetable seedlings, such as broccoli and brussel sprouts.  In fact, rabbits also at two rose bushes of mine as well, and only 1 has managed to recover now that all my rose bushes are encircled with rabbit fencing.  Finally, when all seemed to finally be looking up and the plants were growing into beautiful, medium sized vegetable plants, along came the worst of the 3 pests - the pocket gopher.  On several occasions, my hubby and I literally sat there and watched a tomato or cucumber plant begin to wiggle and then be pulled down a hole in to the ground by and unseen gopher (followed by many strong emotions on my part, including the feeling of being incensed at these little, annoying animals invading my garden plot).  I have attempted to combat them with Ex-Lax and gopher traps, to no avail.  Hence, my determination to only plant in raised beds in the future.  Yesterday, the second of my 3 cantaloupe plants was eaten and today, yet another tomato plant was limp and dead upon my arrival to water the garden.  I will continue to water my remaining plants and glean the little produce I can from them, but I certainly am not getting my hopes up for a grand harvest this year.

Mourning the loss of a recently destroyed squash plant.

So, I will live and learn and remember to have more sympathy for Mr. MacGregor the next time the girls and I read "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" together.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy 10th Anniversary to Us!

My hubby and I were friends and knew each other for a few years before we ever started dating, so I had a fairly good idea of who he was, his quirks, all his wonderful traits, and the crazy/amazing guy I was getting involved with.  From the time we started dating until the day we got married, it was approximately 9 months; we were quite madly in love and didn't see any reason to hold off getting married since we knew beyond a doubt that we were going to get married sooner or later.  10 years later, I'm happy to say that I actually did know my hubby pretty well before getting married to him, but that I have also found out more and more over the past 10 years how even more wonderful, patient, tolerant, intelligent, fun-loving, adventurous . . . (the list goes on, but you get the idea) that my husband is than I even realized in the beginning.  I love all that we have accomplished together so far in our marriage, most importantly becoming parents to five lovely, little girls.  And, I look forward to seeing what new adventures and possibilites the future holds for us as, God willing, we spend many, many more years together.  Happy Anniversary, Honey!  I love you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Blogging

Why, oh why, did I think that I would have more time for blogging in the summer than I do during the school year?  I think the thought escaped me that the less scheduled summer time would also mean constant, on-the-go activities with the kids and my hubby that make it difficult to even find a spare mintue to sit down at the computer during the day and write.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  We love our summer vacation time, we truly enjoy the summer activities here in SoCal, and I know that all these fun times are a blessing.  So, if I'm not on here as much as I usually am, herein lies the answer.  But, when the school year rolls around, our schedule becomes more regimented, and I have not just two, but three children now in school (sigh! sniff!), I will get back to blogging more regularly.  Until then, I'll probably be supervising the kids in the pool, playing at the beach, checking on the gophers that are eating my garden, having tea time with my hubby, and socializing with friends.  Carpe Diem!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our week of birthdays

Of our 5 daughters, 3 have birthdays in July and these three birthdays are all nearly within a week of each other (8 days to be exact).  It starts on the 4th with Arianna, then comes to Isabella on the 7th, and ends on the 12th with Livia.  Other parents have always told me that time seems to move more quickly all the time as your children grow older and I couldn't agree more as I see the evolution of our family.  #1 turned 8 this year and we took her to get her ears pierced as one of her presents.  She wanted it done in the past, but hadn't built up the courage to actually go and have them pierced, but this year was different.  She is reaching a new level of grown-up and I'm invisioning the tween years looming before us already.  #3, who my hubby insisted upon having her on the 4th instead of the 3rd for our scheduled C-section, is truly our firecracker.  The 4th of July couldn't be a more apt birthday for her - she is full of life, zest, independence, and is a little free spirit.  And my sweet, little #4 turned 3 today.  She is now passing from toddlerhood onto the preschool years and changing so quickly everyday from baby to little girl that it astonishes me.  And yet, she always has time to stop and give her parents a big hug and kiss and snuggle right up.  So, a big "Happy Birthday" to my girls, and a thanks to God for giving me these wonderful and sweet blessings in July of '03, '06, and '08! 
Our 4th of July baby.

8 going on 16.  :-)

What a little sweetheart!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Soda Fountain

One of our favorite locations to visit every summer while in Southern Oregon is the Grants Pass Pharmacy.  It is still set up inside with a traditional, old-fashioned tall counter and swiveling stools where one can come and purchase a "phosphate" for 25 cents.  It is served in a soda fountain style glass and you can choose your flavor of syrup or combination or syrups to be mixed in.  This is by far one of the most inexpenisve, fun activities for a large family that I know of and it is always a highlight of our vacation for the girls.  Unfortunately, this summer, my hubby and I missed out on getting our phosphate, but thankfully the girls went with their grandparents to the Pharmacy to have phosphates and lunch.  So, the tradition continues.  And next summer, even we adults will be sure to make time to go in and get our old-fashioned 25 cents soda.  Some of our favorite flavors are sasparilla, grape, strawberry, maple, raspberry-vanilla, and chocolate-cherry.
Summer of 2008, Hubby with #3 (at 23 months).

Mommy (8 months pregnant) and #3, enjoying our phosphate together.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vacation Ends . . . and Continues

Well, after a fairly lengthy absence from the blogosphere, and more particularly, an internet connecion while on vacation in Oregon, I'm back!  Thankfully, vacation still stretches out before us for many weeks still, as my hubby is a high school teacher and has the summers off.  We are very acustomed to this luxury called vacation and highly value our time off every year as a family to come, go, and have adventures of all sorts.  Last summer, we had a truly amazing adventure after buying a house in North Dakota off of e-bay and living there (but actually in a different house next door) in a very small town during the majority of our summer break.  This summer, however, we had to take a hiatus from returning to our lovely ND house because our newly purchased home here in SoCal needs a fair bit of attention before school commences again in the fall.  There are some traditions that must be kept up, though, and one of those for us is returning every summer to my hubby's childhood home in Southern Oregon to stay for several weeks with his parents and visit our regular haunts.  I will be including a few more posts about some of our favorite summer traditions and the fun that we have been having for the past couple of weeks. 

Happy 4th of July, a day late, too!  Yesterday we traveled a little over 800 miles, beginning at 3:30 a.m. and arriving home at 5:00 p.m.  It turns out that the 4th of July is a great travel day with very little traffic, no in-progress road  construction, and fewer trucks on the road than usual.  Who would have thought?  :-)