Monday, May 12, 2008


The Attorney (Left) and Human Resources (Right) are excavating the spot where we are putting our cold frame. Since they have figured out how to dig, holes have been popping up all over the yard. I imagine that the treasures (rusty elephant, buttons, rolling pin handle, rusty drawer pull...) found while digging have spurred this amazing drive for digging holes, since prior to starting the project, and learning that it would entail the hard work of digging, you would have thought that they were going to turn in complaints to their union representatives!

Auction Winnings

May 9th I had a spare moment to go to a nearby estate auction where over 100 old sewing machines were going to be auctioned. Over 30 of these were hand crank machines. Curiosity got the better of me, since there were still a million things I needed to be working on at the orchard. I couldn't help but wonder if the supply was more than the demand available in the area. It turned out that my hunch was correct. I had a lot of fun and won the bid for this beautiful German made machine. I also won bids on a couple of treadle sewing cabinets ($2.00 a piece) and 5 sewing heads - 2 singer, a New Home and a Vesta. I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures! By the way, my winning bid on this beautiful machine was $45.00!

I can't get over the ornate metal work down below!

This reads Winselmann.

I haven't had a chance to try this out. I need to get a new cable to attach to the machine and the treadle wheel. I'm positive that this machine has a lot more guts than my Bernina sewing machine!

The wood cabinet is in great condition!

Our Swallowtail Has Emerged!

After finding our Swallowtail caterpillar last fall, we put her in a jar and to see what she would do. It was just a couple days later, that she made a cocoon. She hadn't done anything since then and we were beginning to think that maybe she wasn't going to do anything more!

May 8th, The Attorney came running into the kitchen, excitedly announcing the news of the Swallowtail's Emergence. We grabbed the camera and took some great pictures before we sat her out on the lilac blooms next to the chicken house.

This is a picture of the President and the Swallowtail.

How Her Royal Highness Mounts the Royal Throne

The day after Her Royal Highness started walking, she started climbing. I knew that once she was walking she would have two free hands to get into everything, but for some crazy reason I still encouraged her to walk!

Her Royal Highness is the only child I have had that climbs. I never saw this coming! One morning I was working on my menu and in the unusual silence ran into the living room and found Her 'surfing' on the rocking chair. Later she plotted and planned and climbed herself up onto the little toddler's table. You might wonder how I knew this was premeditated? She had to think far enough ahead to know that she wouldn't get up unless she first pulled out the chair.

So here is Her Royal Highness mounting her throne. By the way, she didn't stop there! She was on her way up to the top of the sink after she made it to the top of the toilet!

The President's Good Luck!

I have spent my whole entire life looking for a four leaf clover. In fact, I remember going to recess and spending the whole recess time searching for one. I even got so desparate, that I would split the leaves down the middle and remove leaf segments until I had what looked like a four leaf clover! Leave it to the president to find one in his short 5 years of life! "Lucky!"

The Garden Challenge!

Here is the start of a gardening challenge that was extended to our stake from our wonderful stake president. He has encouraged us all to seriously study, plan and cultivate a garden. He felt like we ought to be getting in some practice before times become seriously hard. He shared his experience of living in East Berlin during the war. He knows what hunger is and how difficult it was to get food to people during those impossible times, especially in the cities. He suggested that we practice these skills and also share some of the bounty with our neighbors.

I love gardening, and we have gardened every year since moving here, however, we have had a very difficult time growing healthy plants. I am pretty certain a large part of the problem has to do with the quality of our soil. It takes several years to get your garden soil happy and thriving. In our situation, I really felt like we weren't experiencing much improvement. So, this year we have decided to start from scratch again, this time right up near the house. Our first garden beds are right next to the chicken house. I have planted a lot of flowers here and have expanded and amended the soil like a crazy woman. I have decided that I will not plant unless I know I can heavily amend the area that I choose to dig. I am also loosely applying the square foot gardening principles.

Currently planted in this area, besides old peonies, columbines and several plugs of perennial cone flower, russian sage, wild snap dragons, and yarrow, are also potatoes, broccoli, onions, peas (they didn't germinate very well), tomatoes, swiss chard, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, radishes, carrots, 4 o'clocks and nasturtiums. We have started several cukes, cantaloupes, lettuces and squash in our new cold frame (more to follow on that)!

Gardening with a challenge has brought on a new excitement to the whole ordeal of weeding and feeding. Perhaps we can say in a few months that we managed to claim Victory Garden!


It happened on May 4th! The site is amazing. The orchard is full of fragrance and the buzz of bees. The fragrance is mainly from the wild plum and crabapple trees. The buzz of bees is from several hives we have gathered from neighbors. We weren't able to gather enough hives, however, we most definitely can afford to have a good portion of the blooms not pollinate. The challenge will be in thinning the fruit sufficiently so that we can get good size fruit and a descent crop next year. This year the tree will also be producing fruit buds for next years crop. If too much energy goes into producing fruit this year, the crop yield will decrease significantly next year. For now, we enjoy the bloom and we will deal with the chemical thinning as soon as the fruit approaches nickel size.