Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Family Cats

We have a few cats at our house. They sometimes drive us crazy but we still keep them as our household pets. We have Princess, Tippy, Licorice, Hope and Lucky. Three of them were lazily laying around the porch and so I just had to grab a camera and snap their picture. Cats are always doing things that make good pictures.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall, Around Our Yard

These are just a few pictures I took around our yard yesterday, when I was following my little grandson Gatlin here and there. The Autumn leaves will be gone soon and I will miss them.

Lindsay's Room Makeover

We decided to change Lindsay's room from apple green to a pretty aqua. It is much more soothing and soft. We painted another bed we had too, just for a change. The dark aqua sheers she had already went well with the new color and I made a valance out of a sheet that went with the bedspread. We are enjoying the new change.

Flowers of Fall

The little garden I planted late in the summer had lovely blooms this fall. The marigolds and cosmos, brought a colorful, bright accent to our yard.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fun With the Loofah Vine

A few years ago Billy gave me some seeds of the Luffa vine. It is also spelled loofa, loofah, or lufa. A Couple of months ago I decided to plant them along the back of the deck. As you can see by the pictures they have grown by leaps and bounds. They are quite decorative and I have a few luffa growing which I hope to make into a sponge for the shower. The article below explains a little about them and I just thought it might be interesting to some of my "many" readers. If I am successful, I will be giving lufa sponges for Christmas gifts. Ha! Ha!

Loofah Article:

Quite a few people were interested in my recent harvest of Luffa shower sponges. I thought I�d explain a bit more about the plant and the process of growing it. Luffa aegyptiaca Mill. or as it is commonly called, the Loofah, is a vegetable native to South America. It can be eaten when it is smaller. I have stir fried them but only up to a size of about 4 inches. After that they become tough like an over ripe squash. Left to fully mature each fruit produces an excellent sponge. Seeds for this plant are readily available through vegetable catalogs and you’ll only have to buy seeds your first year- one mature Luffa sponge will produce at least 30 seeds. Some will produce many more.
Frost kills the plant and it needs 4 to 5 months of growth to produce sponges. Here in North Carolina I can plant seeds directly in the ground near the date of the last frost and then harvest a modest number of sponges later in autumn. If I wanted a better yield or if I lived further north I would start them indoors several weeks, maybe even a month before the date of the last frost and transplant them outdoors after frost danger has passed. Planting them on the sunny, southern side of your property will help. They are natural climbers and are happiest running up the sides of a trellis or even the outer walls of your home. I sprinkle a few seeds near, but not in front of, one of my south facing gutter downspouts. When the plant sprouts it climbs up the downspout and along my gutters. It doesn’t impede the flow of water and in the fall when the plant dies I easily pull it off of my home. The large Luffa leaves help to shade the hottest side of my house in the summer. I am certain they could be grown just as well on a large trellis. They can get quite long. I�ve grown vines that exceeded 15 feet in length.
Sometimes Luffas left to fully mature and turn brown or Luffas that ripen lying on the ground will have brown splotches of color throughout the sponge. For some people this isn’t a problem. Others however do not like bathing with something that is several different shades of rust. After I remove the outer skin and squeeze out the pulp and seeds from inside the Luffa, I often soak them in a weak solution of bleach and warm water for about 5 minutes. This is especially true of the Luffa sponges I give as gifts. The process usually lightens the color and gets rid of dark brown spots. After doing so I let them dry thoroughly by hanging them up or placing them on a drying rack.� It is also possible to dye the Luffas if you think you’d like bathing with a pink sponge.
I highly suggest you try growing Luffa sponges; even those of you in Northern climates with shorter growing seasons. Each morning as I start my day, I am reminded of my commitment to becoming more self-sufficient when I shower using a sponge I grew myself.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bounty From the Garden

You would never know that we had a drought for the first part of the summer by the abundance of vegetables we have harvested from our garden. I think that we have had more tomatoes, corn and beans this year than any year that I can remember. The apples and peaches were bumper crops too.

Our garden owes its success to the man of the house, Poppy Briggs. He planed, plowed, planted and with patience, waited for the crops to grow. Having doubts at first, because of the lack of rain early on, he continued to weed and watch over the two gardens he was working with. Adam and Robbie were so kind to give him a gas water pump for his garden down by the pond and it saved the day down there. We are reaping a lot of goodness from that garden along with the garden by the house. No farmer could be more diligent in his efforts than Poppy to bring these crops in and prepared for our food storage pantry. I think that I am now looking forward to the day he says, "this is the last of the tomatoes and beans, Carol". I am so thankful, but there comes a time when you want to move on to other projects. We have been truly blessed and are grateful for the bounteous food that we have been able to grow this summer.

Maybe we can try a winter garden!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Change of Color

Every now and then a person has to make a change in their surroundings. It seems that I do it more often than most. My family will tell you that, but usually my changes are not expensive and entail mostly elbow grease. Just before school was out, I had a very stong desire to do away with the pink I had in my livingroom and hallway since we moved in. It was a lovelyl color for the years we had it, but I suddenly had the urge to change and make our home more cheerful. I chose the color of yellow. A pale yellow. After two gallons of paint and several quarts of white trim paint, I was able to get the livingroom and hallway painted and feeling much more cheerful and clean. We have a wood stove insert, so there was a slight soot build up on the pink. It is suprising how happy a little change like that can make you feel and how satisfied and accomplished you think you are. Lots of the ususal decorations and furniture took on a different look with the yellow. I ended up using some left over aqua blue paint from the bathroom for some trim on a cabinet and book case. I also painted the inside of the front door aqua and the corner dish cupboard and book case white. I enjoy going into that room now and reading the scriptures in the morning. I am confessing to you that I do like to look around and admire my handiwork too. Of course, all things come from the Lord and I give him credit for helping me with the inspiration to make this change.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring at Our Farm

I do not want our springtime to disappear before I muse a little on how much I love the Spring.
It is my favorite season of all. This spring in North Carolina has been a beautiful one. I think the flowers and trees that bloom here in our yard were the prettiest they have been in a few years. The temperature has been nice for a long time now and as June approaches, it has not even been hot yet.

As Briggs prepares our garden, I am working on the yard. I love to plant flowers and lay mulch, trim bushes and mow the lawn. My love of flowers and gardening comes from my Grandma Jennie and my Mommy. When I was growing up in Michigan, they always had lots of flowers and seemed to love working in their yards. As I work in the garden or walk around the yard I am reminded of those memories I have of them. I love the daffodils that grew in abundance down at my Grandma Jennie's yard. When I close my eyes and smell the scent of my new lilac bush it takes me back to those days. I have planted 4 lillacs in our yard so I can keep that memory alive. When I look at my roses blooming, I am reminded of all the roses my mother so lovingly tended in our yard on Hagar Shore Road near Lake Michigan. A few years ago, I planted a rose by the front porch called Don Juan. Mommy gave it to me and she and Joanne have one too. It will always remind me of her.

Unlike last year, the apple and peach trees bloomed without frost and were beautiful, along with the redbuds. We have various other bushes and flowers that have one by one, brought joy and memories to me as I watched them bloom this spring. Someday I hope that my children and grandchildren will be able to visit our yard and have a loving memory of Grammy Carol in their memories. Passing these memories on to our children is part of family love and connection. This year I am noticing that several of our children have been acting a little like their mom and dad. Adam and Robbie both are doing vegetable gardens like their dad always did and Jennie is getting really involved in her birds like mom. I notice that Aimee works hard in her yard and Kristen is not afraid to mow her yard, like mom. All of them seem to take pride in the creations that our Heavenly Father has given to us to enjoy and use and that is the bottom line, I guess. Keep those memories alive and pass them on to your children.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Redoing Our Bathroom

Bath Redo

We finally were able to tackle our outdated bathroom this fall. While I was away in Florida, visiting my mother, my son and husband tore out our old bathtub and started on the tiling of the new walk-in shower. Adam is in the tiling business and does a wonderful job. It is fresh and pretty and even has a rainshower shower head. I painted the walls a light robin's egg blue to match the trim tile in the shower. I have collected some retro cups and plates from garage sales and put them on a white shelf. For now, we have done nothing with the sink and countertop but just for a tempoary fix, I painted the old formica black, along with an old dresser. I will do something better later, but it turned our quite good. It is cheerful and bright and I love the shower. Thanks Adam and Dad!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Our Farm

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We heen blessed with a wonderful place to live. A few years ago, we were able to buy 24 acres with a pond and "little brick rancher" house. The house was not my dream home. It is just a typical brick ranch built in the 70's. But, the land sold us on the place with its acreage and big field down through the woods with a nice size pond. Since then we have done a lot with it and have made the house our own too. This blog is a kind of picture book of "Our Farm". "Our Farm" was the name of my Uncle Fred's blueberry farm in Michigan when I was growing up in the 50's. I have fond memories of it and so have dubbed our place with that name too.