Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More gardening

Our new place in Michigan came with a whhoooollle bunch of stuff. I'm thinking that most of it is from the girls that lived here before us, stuff that they were too lazy to move with them. There's a bulletin board now hanging on our kitchen wall that previously languished in the basement. There are enough discarded blinds and window hardware in the basement to sink an ocean liner. And we should have left our gardening tools in Duluth, too. Plus I think we could open our own paint store.

Rummaging around in the garage, I came across a medium-sized box chock full of seeds of all types. Cool! There were tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, marigolds, delphinium, zinnia...and then I checked the package dating...and it was 2005. Shoot.

Well, being as I'm in a gardening mood this week, and our nice weather is persisting (plus I needed a good excuse to avoid unpacking) I decided that we would occupy our morning today by planting those seeds. Even if they don't grow, I thought, the girls will learn something and have fun doing it. Added bonus: it gives us a daily activity for the next two weeks. "Okay, now it's time to water the seeds! ....No, it's Mary's turn to use the sprayer...stop, you're getting it everywhere! MARY! Don't spray your sister! Jules...wait...not the dog!!"


Below are the steps for planting six-year-old seeds.

1. Find a workspace. Messy is OK. Eat a snack before, so you don't get too hungry while planting.

2. Choose your seeds.

(Simon is choosing to nap/supervise.)

Julia displays her selection.

3. Fill your planter with dirt.

4. Carefully spread seeds in the planter, then cover. Julia demonstrates this step, while Mary calls for Dominos.

Mary takes her turn.

5. Fight over who gets to use the watering can first. Water the seeds well, then place in a sunny spot.

And here's the finished product. Hope we get more than 3 seeds that sprout...

And a picture of the Moose, to finish it off. (He didn't get to help - it was naptime.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This morning's project

I find that when I have coffee right away in the morning, I make big plans. One cup, and ziiiing! I've written myself a to-do list with about twelve projects on it. Feels pretty good, actually, like I can do anything I set my mind to. Unfortunately, few of these ideas come to fruition. Perhaps this is because my list generally contains such items as "Organize all books on all the bookshelves" or "Unpack 15 boxes." These sort of things would probably be difficult for a person on speed with no children to distract them to accomplish, let alone an inexperienced stay-at-home dad with three high-maintenance ratlings.

As I made this morning's list, one project revealed itself as a perfect fit for my day. It has cooled off considerably here, so the outdoors was breezy and pleasant. I had two little girls and a dog who needed some fresh air, and the sun was shining. What better thing to tackle than a little gardening?

Our brand-new enormous backyard has a number of beds in it. They are mostly dedicated to shady-type plants and groundcover. There is one little plot, however, in the middle of the yard, in full sun, that would make an excellent garden. Our landlord has given us permission to landscape as we see fit, so we have decided to transplant the perennials out of that area and plant a little herb garden and some tomatoes. I decided I was going to get some of the daylilies that were taking up space out of the way.

Our lovely herb garden, surrounded by perennials and random groundcover plants.

One of the other plants in the plot. This stuff is everywhere!

Below, my lovely helpers, Mary and Julia. (Jules is excited...can you tell?)

Daylilies extracted. Initializing transplantation sequence.

The ratlings got bored and decided a victory dance was in order.

Miss Mary, showing some tummy and probably whining, by the look on her face.


The girls got distracted by some books, so I was left to finish by myself.

And here's the tree that Grandpa and Grandma planted while they were here. It's some kind of pine tree - I can't tell them apart very well, so I don't know what kind. Grandma Beth is probably groaning as she reads this.

Mary, who knows something that you don't know!

Sarah's new hydrangea. ("I can't believe we're living in a Zone 5!!")

And a pretty trumpet-vine that was living here when we moved in.

From Memorial Day...the last Hurrah as Minnesotans

Monday, June 28, 2010

This was the photo Mike posted to Facebook today. He called the girls downstairs for lunch and here's what he got. Julia also insisted that "Mary" is no longer her sister's name....instead she is to be called, "Skunky."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I should buy stock in the JCP photo department!

Here's the latest pics of the kids. I wasn't impressed with our photographer today...but I'll peg that up to my being too picky since we had such wonderful picture-taking ladies when we lived in Duluth. At least she managed to get one with all of them looking at the camera.

She wanted to know if I had ever considered the JC Penney portrait club. There must be some sort of commission when they suck you in...regardless of the gimmicks, we could chair the JC Penney portrait club. We have taken so many pictures of our kids there over the years that I should have invested before we had Julia.

At any rate, here are the pictures from this morning. We are so blessed to have three cute and healthy kids. They were rewarded with a trip to the mall playground (YES, our mall in Ann Arbor has a playground!!!!) And a piece of a cinnabon. I was afraid to look up the nutritional value of a cinnabon....I bet the calorie count is in the thousands.....