Monthly Archives: June 2009

Make-Do Monday: Makeshift Rain Barrel

Although  it really isn’t high on the priority list, we would like a rain barrel.   Our gutters are in bad shape and do to be replaced this summer, but for now they leak at the seams.  A lot.

It has been really dry here.  Sandy soil doesn’t help moisture matters either.  We water the main plantings at least every other day to keep them looking good.  Before we got some rain that was predicted and much anticipated, Dan was straightening things up in the shed when he uncovered an old kitchen garbage can, the tall 13 gallon size.  He put it at he corner of the house under a particularly leaky seam.  It was almost full after that rain.  We used it up quickly that week to water the garden.

Our makeshift rain barrel after a recent rain.

Our makeshift rain barrel after a recent rain.

So there it still sits, looking a bit odd when all is dry and the sun is out.  When it rains it makes a decent substitute for a rain barrel until the gutters get replaced and we move a real rain barrel up the priority list.

How do you make-do?  Check out some other clever make-do solutions at Ann’s every Monday.



Filed under Gardening, Making Do

Checking In

I’m taking a little break while the rest of the family is making lunch…walleye, coleslaw and baked beans, yum!

I’ve still been trying to clean this office of mine.  What a job.  We all seem motivated to get some jobs finished up this weekend.  OK, not the kids…but the grown-ups in the family are busy.

I took everything off the horizontal surfaces yesterday, piling it all in the family room. I’m close to done putting it back.  There are a LOT of things that won’t make their way back in here.  And the amount of dust I wiped away was embarrassing.

Dan has been busy in the garage, cleaning and straightening.  He finished some odds-n-ends leftover from the fence project, mowed the lawn and replaced a rotting board with some brick near a window well outside.

I’ll be continuing to work at getting things finished up inside with a few breaks to hang laundry out and weed a couple of flower beds.

Why all the motivation?  We have company coming on Thursday! My favorite sister-in-law and her husband are coming.  Her second son and his partner and little boy will be here too.  We love having company!  And the motivation to get things all cleaned up is good too.

It promises to be a busy week with baseball games on three of the nights and then family arriving for the weekend.  I’m looking forward to all of it!

Will you be getting together with family for the 4th of July?

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Filed under Family, Lists

Naps are Nice

Saturday night was a night of little sleep.  I went to bed at a decent time, but got up later unable to sleep.  I rarely have this problem.

Anyway, on the way home from church Sunday I told my family that I might just need a nap.  My wonderful husband told me not to try to justify it…that naps are nice and I should definitely take one that afternoon.  No explanation needed.

I don’t usually nap.  In fact it is very rare that I sleep during the day.  There is usually too much on my list and I feel like I have to keep going.  Lately however, I am beginning to truly realize that some of that stuff really isn’t so important.  Those items on the list can wait. And naps are nice.

After a two hour nap on the couch I felt energized and spent the next three hours in the kitchen making all kinds of goodies.  And the world didn’t come to a stop while I slept.

I don’t think I’ll make a habit out of the afternoon nap…but once in awhile when I’m tired I’ll remember the wise words of my husband.  And maybe even invite him to take a nap with me.

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Just in Case

My son is a thoughtful soul.  Sometimes it takes some looking to find it…but it is there.  He is gentle and easily hurt.  A mother sees what the toothy grin can try to hide.

He has always insisted on giving me hugs and kisses before I leave to go anywhere. Even a 15 minute run to the library or store.  I can holler a goodbye, that I’ll be back in a few minutes and in response I’ll hear “just a minute” as my boy races to me for a “hug & kiss!”

I’m surprised that at nine years old he insists on this.  I’ll admit I sometimes get annoyed…enough already, I’ll be right back & I need to get going. I know I should enjoy this while it lasts…

Recently I asked why we do this every time I’m leaving.  He told me “just in case”.  “Just in case what?” I asked.

“In case you get in a car accident or something,”  he said as his voice trailed off, not wanting to elaborate on the something.

Wow.  I had no idea.  OK then.  Hugs and kisses it is. For as long as you like kid.

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Where’ve I been?

I think all the talk of lazy summer days is CRAZY.  Who has lazy summer days??  I think I had a lazy summer day once. Before kids.  Really.  How can you be lazy when the kids are a never-ending whirl of motion that repeat phrases like can we have kool-aid? or It’s over 70* can we get out the sprinkler? When can I have a Popsicle?  Where are my flip flops? I’ll be at the park!  Can I play at the neighbors? Now can I have a Popsicle…I’ll still eat my lunch!

There are those flip flops...left out in the rain.  And that is the new railing.

There are those flip flops...left out in the rain. And that is the new railing.

And do your children change clothes a hundred and twenty times a day?  Are there 47 pair of shoes by the door?  Wet towels in a heap on the lawn…or the middle of a bedroom floor?  I know I’m not alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having my kids home all summer.  There just isn’t any rest.  At all.  Ever.

So there’s the kids.  Then there are the home-improvement projects.  So far the second garden box, a new fence and railing on the deck and a solar tube in the bathroom.  Next will be the roof, trellises on the garden boxes and trim painting.  Oh, and edging and mulch along one side of the new fence.  New gutters and maybe shutters.

The trees that we cut down.

The trees that we cut down.

Old fence out, except the little bit you see in the background.  Post holes dug and some sod rolled up.

Old fence out, except the little bit you see in the background. Post holes dug and some sod rolled up.

Part of the fence up and a pile of materials.  Also, you can kind of see the second garden box.

Part of the fence up and a pile of materials. Also, you can kind of see the second garden box.

And we’ve had frost and hail this month too.  I replanted my tomatoes and peppers Sunday before it started raining.

One poor pepper plant that had a little frost damage to start with, then was stripped of most leaves by the hail.

One poor pepper plant that had a little frost damage to start with, then was stripped of most leaves by the hail.

I’m working full time all summer too.  Can’t forget that.  And wrapping up that volunteer position I quit.

My days are full.  And finding that balance is a never-ending challenge.  Slowly I am feeling like I’m making headway.  So I’ll see you soon, OK?

**To be clear, mostly when I say “we” in reference to these outdoor projects, I mean my handy husband.  He’s awesome.  I provide support.  And I haul dozens of bags of cement.  That counts as work…a lot of work.

***That dog in the photos is our chocolate lab, J.  She’s a good dog.

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Filed under Family, Gardening, Kids, Simplify

Father’s Day

Thirteen years.  That’s how long it has been since I could spend Father’s Day with my dad.  1996.  I was pregnant with my daughter and he was excited to be a grandpa.  He never got to be a grandpa here on Earth.  And I never had a chance to appreciate my dad the way you do when you become a parent.   I appreciate it now…but it is all memories.  And I still miss him so much.

Dad was so patient and laid back.  Even when I’m sure he wasn’t.  I wasn’t the easiest kid to teach to drive, and yet when I hit another car one of the first times he took me out driving, he smiled and explained to the couple in the other car that I was just learning.

Sometimes early on a summer morning he would come in to my room quietly and ask if I wanted to go to church with mom & K (my sister) or go out fishing with him.  Often I chose fishing.  Those early mornings on the lake mean more now than any sermon I would’ve heard.

In college he would call on Sunday mornings early.  Not every Sunday, but at least a couple of times a month.  He would just chat a little  and then ask how much money I had in my account.  He’d tell me that he’d put a little in for me.  Usually it was no more than $20, but that was a lot for this college kid.  It would buy quite a few tacos at the place across the street.  It was the early ’90s and tacos were cheap.  Sometimes I would be annoyed at first when the phone would ring so early on a Sunday.   Maybe because I’d been out a little too late the night before?  But by the time it registered that it was my dad, I was happy to have answered.

We certainly had our disagreements, some were even big ones.  But I always knew he loved me. I only hope he knew the same.  I think he did.

I could talk about him forever.  I still buy him a Father’s Day card occassionally.  I think there are about a half a dozen in a keepsake box of letters I have.  Strange maybe, but they were cards that said just what I wish I could say to him.

So on this Father’s Day it is about the father of my children as I try to hide the melancholy feelings.   My husband gets the raw end of the deal it seems.  The kids make cards and today they got up early and made smoothies and waffles as a surprise.  He doesn’t expect a big deal.  I am sorry about that. I wish he could expect my full enthusiasm.   His first Father’s Day was my first without a father.  Not a good way to start.

I would think of my dad no matter what, but having a husband that has so many of the wonderful qualities my dad possessed makes me more reminiscent I think.

The man I married and had kids with is warm and fun.  Helpful and hands on.  This is a man who wanted the bassinet on his side of the bed so he could get up with our kids too.  He would change them and bring them to me to nurse, asking if I wanted him to stay up and put them back to sleep afterward.

He loves his children dearly.  I see if every day.

Lucky kids.  I know how they feel.

I hope they have dozens of more Father’s Days with him.

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Fantastic Friday

I am trying to get back to my Friday afternoon cleaning routine.  It’s been a few weeks…so there seems to be a lot to do.  I have some  big projects I want to tackle tomorrow and I’ll spend a good part of Sunday watching Grace’s last Volleyball tournament for the year.

The sun is shining and it is a little cool out today.  That’s perfect work weather for me since I’m not a big fan of the heat.  There are two loads of laundry on the line and the bedroom has been cleaned, with the clutter put away.  I’ve watered the new apple trees and filled my buckets so I can water my square foot gardens (SFG) later.  Not a bad start.

Now on to cleaning the main part of the house and scrubbing the kitchen floor while the kids sleep.

A productive, cheery day is always FANTASTIC especially when it falls on a Friday!  What’s been fantastic on your Friday?

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