"I am alive and kicking"

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Monday, May 23, 2016

The Flowers are IN!

I've been missing flower gardens the last few summers.
So I planted this:
Hastas, coleus, petunias and impatiens are beginning to
grow in my shady garden. (photo by Anna Jauhola)
When Grandma went into assisted living a few years ago, she wasn't able to keep up with gardening. She'd do a little at the farm, but not as much. I miss touring her gardens when I'd come to visit. We'd take a slow walk through her yard and she'd tell me stories about planting the garden, and randomly veer off into stories of childhood and perhaps about what the cat did a few weeks prior.
We'd stop and smell the peonies she transplanted from my dad's farm (the farm she grew up on) and she'd tell me stories about her mom, Grandma Annie -- the peonies were hers. We'd smell the Stargazer lilies we both loved so much. We'd admire the roses, sweet williams, sweet peas, delphiniums (which won grand champion year after year at the county fair), and numerous other flowers that graced her yard.
We'd even stop to taste a few (or more) raspberries from the bushes she and Grandpa planted so many years ago.
This usually ended up being a good half hour to hour-long tour, with me asking questions about new flowers she may have planted, or about old flowers of which I'd forgotten the names. The conversation was often filled with laughing, usually over the dog's or cat's antics.
Then we'd sit at the kitchen table and have coffee and chat about mundane, everyday things, often laughing about our favorite show, "Keeping Up Appearances."
Now that Grandma's gone, I miss those gardens and tours even more.
So this year, I had Derek till up a patch on the west side of the house and I planted shade-loving flowers and plants.

The hastas love shade and should 
grow about 2 to 3 feet tall. 
(photo by Anna Jauhola)
Grandma typically had a few hastas, two huge planters of petunias and hanging baskets of impatiens.
Jacob picked out the colors, red and orange, for the impatiens. He is excited about watching both the flowers and vegetable plants grow. We told him Grandma Ruby (my grandma) and Grandma Sherrie (Derek's mom) would be very proud that he's helping with the gardens, which makes him that much more interested in the process.
Last night it rained quite a bit so the plants should be loving life right now.
I fell in love with impatiens a long time
ago and can't imagine a flower garden
without them. (photo by Anna Jauhola)
I'm excited to watch my little plot grow and will be on constant watch when my cat, Mo, is outdoors. She likes to eat plants. She will be trapped inside this summer if she decides to eat mine.

Petunias love some sun, but can do well
in shade too. Looking forward to them
growing large. (photo by Anna Jauhola)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Gardening is a family affair

As it turns out, planting a garden is a family affair.
And in our backyard, it includes tools like a spade, sticks and a magnet.
Derek was able to borrow a quite powerful tiller from a friend this weekend and he got the garden (and then some) tilled up and ready for Sunday planting.

Derek tilled up the garden late last week.
(Photo by Anna Jauhola)
Jacob thought the tilled up garden was great.
(Photo by Anna Jauhola)

We have our garden planted about halfway with corn, a crapton of onions, tomatoes, super chiles, green peppers, sweet peppers and two strawberry plants.
We have yet to plant carrots, beets, peas, beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, a sunflower and a watermelon.
Derek used the spade the most. He dug up the horizontal rows for corn seeds and first three rows of onion bulbs.
On the second three rows of onions, we each dug vertical rows with sticks. Yep, that's right, sticks. We got a little lazy, but it worked! So why not? Sticks are plentiful in our yard.

Derek (will kill me for this photo) did most of the digging. (Photo by Anna Jauhola)
When it came to planting the tomato, chile, pepper and strawberry plants, Derek dug the holes with the spade. He told me a couple times, "There should be another spade around here somewhere."
I conveniently didn't find it until after we were done for the night. Haha.
I feel it's normal to plant 18 tomato plants, but not so much 20 chile plants. But, Derek did. He planted 20 chile plants. He really likes hot things.

Twenty of these guys are currently living
in our garden. (Photo by Anna Jauhola)
But while we planted, Jacob's job was to collect the nails we unearthed.
Nails, you ask? Yes. Nails. As it happens, there was once a garage in the area we have our garden. Every few inches or so we find one to five nails. Thus, Jacob used a magnet to collect any nails he found.
At any rate, our garden is coming along nicely. We even used tomato cages. Ain't we fancy pants?
So now we have a half-planted garden that looks progressive because we planted seedling plants.
We even watered it last night before sundown.

(Photo by Anna Jauhola)

Tomatoes, peppers and super chiles in our garden. (Photo by Anna Jauhola)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Email updates on our ancestry

Our spit is now being processed! 

Screenshot of my email from AncestryDNA.

I received this email last week from AncestryDNA and Connie received the same email a day or two later.
We are ridiculously excited to follow this process. And now, the next three to five weeks will probably crawl by.
In the meantime, I may keep updating my family tree on ancestry.com. I've found someone who did a family history on my mom's side, which has been interesting. It's traced back quite far, too.
My next step is to contact a few relatives from my dad's side of the family to get a few names and dates. I can't recall them all ... maybe that's a project for during a trip up north.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Legal age increase won't stop kids from getting cigarettes

As I listened to the news this morning, my ears perked up for once.
California has passed a law setting the legal age for purchasing tobacco products at 21.
Do they think that will stop children from getting cigarettes and other tobacco?
I'm not sure it will, at least not for all kids. Perhaps it will stop some from doing it, you know, those brown nosers who are terrified of breaking the law (guilty as charged).
Perhaps the tax increase of an extra $2 a pack will stop them, because who can afford $10 a pack for cigarettes? I certainly could not. I'd rather purchase a cup of endless coffee for $2.05 at Perkins, thanks, or perhaps a $5 pair of pants on super clearance at Shopko.
Or maybe take a drink of water for FREE at a water fountain.
At any rate, children will always find ways to get things they want. If they want cigarettes, they can always find someone to purchase a pack for them, or just take them from a parent's pocket or another adult's pocket.
Yes. I know, I'm a downer. We all think our children will make good choices because we've influenced them so.
Well, no. Children will always want to try things their parents tell them not to. I know I have.
How do we stop them? We can't.
It is my sincere hope that my own child never tries cigarettes of any kind (that includes e-cigs).
However, we can instill in our children the love for something so incredible they won't have the time or money to even THINK of purchasing cigarettes (or other things they shouldn't be doing).
For example, gardening. Holy crap does that cost a ton of money. It is a labor of love, and so far, Jacob really loves it. He is fascinated by watching plants grow. Each day we check on our raspberry bush (pictured here) and each day it grows bigger, gaining a huge, "WHOA! Look at how big it is!" from Jacob.

I'm not saying this love will completely overpower the possible want to try cigarettes or other unsavory activities in the future. However, it could prevent him from having enough money to purchase both gardening supplies/plants/seeds and cigarettes.
Plus, gardening can be pretty labor intensive. You can't exactly garden and not be able to breathe because your lungs are black from all the crap in cigarettes.
So, with the deterrants of bad health and no money, and the numerous benefits including being outdoors and reaping the fruits of his labor, perhaps Jacob will never try cigarettes.
I know, that's quite the hope on my part.
I laud the states that have, at the very least, put high taxes on a pack of cigarettes, making them quite expensive.
Unfortunately, my husband smokes so I know a pack of cigarettes in Minnesota is about $10, if not more by now.
That is deterrant enough for me and I know Jacob would rather spend money on camping gear, gardening equipment or gas (to get us to Mount Rushmore).

Monday, May 2, 2016

Enjoying a Sunny Sunday

This Sunday finally lived up to its name!
Got some clothes out on the line, took a walk to the post office and even to the park with Jacob. 
Along the way, I twiddled with Snapchat and am sharing pictures from our sunny Sunday.
Have a great week!