August 21, 2013

Raised bed garden boxes from wooden pallets

Well I won't promise a full resumption of blogging (after all, I am the World's Worst Blogger), but here's a post for you! We decided to create raised bed garden boxes from wooden pallets. I saw this idea on pinterest, but it just used one pallet. I was concerned that wouldn't off enough soil, especially for deep rooted plants like tomatoes, so we figured out how to put two pallets together to make it deeper and allow for more soil.  One benefit of using pallets is that the slats make it a nearly weed free garden.  Anything that cuts down on the laborious task of weeding is a plus in my book.

We took two same-sized pallets and started by sawing off all the middle slats on one side of each. Then we placed them together with the "empty" sides together to form the box. We then used the slats we had sawed off and cut them to size and nailed them all around the box to hold it together. We had some larger pieces of wood in our garage and my husband used those, too.














Next, we stapled garden cloth to the bottom of the box.  This helps contain the soil.





















Then we flipped it over and moved it into position, and filled it with 10 40lb bags of potting soil.

















It makes perfect rows!  Here are some pickling cucumbers come up. 





















Those are pumpkins that the kids planted at Purdue University's Spring Fest.  I transferred them to the box and they're all over the place now!
















Since we built the boxes one at a time over a period of a few weeks, things were planted a bit haphazardly.  I have three boxes right now (we'll put together the fourth box next season).  One has green beans, green onions, a couple cherry tomato plants, and pickling cucumbers.  Another has zucchini and pumpkin, and the last has green beans and tomatoes.  This was a relatively easy and cheap garden project.  I've seen raised beds sell for hundreds of dollars, so recycling wooden pallets definitely saves you money.

August 12, 2013

Hi!

Well, I don't know if anyone reads this anymore, but I was thinking of my blog the other day and thought I'd give a quick update.

We are doing well.  Our children are now 12, 8, 5, and nearly 3!  We're returning to homeschooling; I will have a 6th grader and a Kindergartener, and our 8 year old will continue at her public school M-TR, then be with us for our small co-op on Fridays.  She also started attending our state school for the blind last year, so she will keep going there one week a month.

I've been helping my sister-in-law and her husband with their gaming company (Proving Ground Games), which has included working on a technical certificate in Business Administration so I can better assist (and hopefully secure a paying, at home job one day!)  It's been hard work but fun, we went to the Origins Game Fest in Ohio a few months ago and did well. 

My husband's employer sold the company to a larger company, which unfortunately is struggling and handed out pay cuts to everyone.  At least it wasn't a pink slip!  We tighten our belts up some more and keep moving forward.  We've been working on paying off debts and not acquiring more.

My husband and I built raised-bed garden boxes from pallets, that's worked pretty well and I've been canning a lot, which I love to do.

I can't think of much else to add!  I've toyed with the idea of blogging again, but as you know I'm the world's worst blogger and I don't have much to say these days, I guess.  God is good and I hope all of you are doing well!

March 29, 2012

New Blog

Hello everyone!  I've decided to do a cooking blog, I hope that having a specific focus will make blogging easier and more enjoyable. You can find me now at www.thedownhomecook.blogspot.com

Blessings!


January 17, 2012

Goodbye

After tossing it around in my mind for the last year, and especially the last few months, I've decided I'm done blogging.  It's simply not enjoyable for me anymore.  I will leave the blog up for a few days and then delete (I've downloaded it to keep for myself).  I sincerely appreciate all the support and comments I've gotten over the last few years.  Thank you so much for reading, and God bless you all!

January 10, 2012

Homesteading and homeschooling

Homesteading and homeschooling both used major focuses of my blog, and I have questions about both pop up now and again, so I thought I'd go ahead and address them (I don't think I really have in the past!)

Homesteading-  Well, I am still very interested in this.  I would absolutely love to have a family farm and live off the land as much as possible.  However, it is a lot of work.  Even just enough livestock and produce for our family is a good amount of hard work, and it's more than I can handle on my own.  My husband, however, is enjoys the fruits of the labor (ie, food!) but is not at all interested in labor aspect.  I don't say that as a dig on him, he just does not want to do it, and he's honest about it.  He was sick of living outside of town ("town" being a small town with a population of about 5K), and while I could have pushed him into moving farther out into the country and getting livestock and such, I didn't feel it was fair to either of us when he had clearly stated he didn't want to.  And, as I'm not able to do the "heavy lifting" work and the children can only contribute in a very limited way, it was not feasible to take on a family farm effectively on my own.  Furthermore, it was just not a financial reality.  The only homes available with a few acres of land in our price range were either very small or run down, and we don't have the know-how or inclination to remodel and such on our own. So, it's a dream that will go on the back-burner, and I'm okay with that.  I do hope one day that it's something we can do, but we will see.  I have enough space here for some veggies, and I'd like to look in to the legality of having a few laying hens (I could get a "tractor" coop to move around the yard for them). 

Homeschooling- I am not currently homeschooling any of the children, which feels strange after three years of homeschooling my oldest!  She really wanted to go to public school, and as dh and I are both adamant that junior high is out of the question, fourth and fifth grade were her last chances.  While I wish it were more academically rigorous (ie, classical!) it is a very nice school.  Small, rural, with none of the liberal PC junk infecting many larger schools.  It's the school that our 6 year old with special needs has been attending since preK (it houses the developmental pre-school for our area), so we're very familiar with it.  She's doing well and enjoys going, so she will go again next year for fifth grade, and we will be homeschooling again for junior high.  After that, we will re-evaluate based on her needs (for example, if she's certain she wants to attend a 4 year college, it's imperative that she be able to take full advantage of all available scholarships.  In that case, we would probably send her to high school, at least for 11th and 12th grade).  I don't enjoy doing pre-school, so I've always sent the kids out for it, and our 3 (almost 4!) year old attends a Christian pre-school.  She's enjoyed this year and has a lot of fun, but I think I will homeschool her next year.  Frankly, it's a lot of money for what's effectively a playgroup (which is not a criticism of the school, it's lovely!  But pre-school in general is really more about learning to get along with other kids and preparing  for how public school is structured than anything) and because of the time difference between her school and the other girls' (they start at 8, she starts at 9) it's a lot of back and forth driving that's inconvenient.  For now, I plan I homeschooling her from next year on, but I do admit I feel a fair amount of conflict about it.  As I said, we really like the local elementary school, and I go back and forth on whether or not they're "missing out" if they don't go.  If I'm honest, the turning point for me with my oldest was when we went to dd2's Christmas program.  She just looked very wistful and sad and said a few times that she really wished she could be up there with the other kids.  It probably sounds silly, since in the scope of things it's such a small thing to "miss out" on, but I guess in the moment it was kind of one of those "knife in the heart" things where I really questioned if I was doing the right thing but not allowing her to go when she earnestly wanted to. 

At any rate, dd2 repeated kindergarten this year, and after starting on Strattera for her ADHD, she really made significant academic progress.  She won't be held back again (the school system only allows a child to be held back twice K-12) but even with the progress she's made, she's still significantly behind her peers.  So I believe she will spend much of her time in the resource room with the special education teacher next year, and I'm okay with that.  I personally don't feel it's fair or reasonable to make her sit in the classroom while they learn things that are beyond her current abilities.  It just makes her frustrated and bored.  Much of the focus in 1st grade is on learning to read, and as she's nearly blind, I would much rather have her in the resource room getting one on one attention and instruction with Braille readiness than listening to other kids learning to read when she's not even able to distinguish most letters of the alphabet (even when significantly enlarged and contrasting colors are used, there are only a couple letters she can identify).  At this point I'm pretty confident that she will continue at this school until she's ready for junior high, and then she will board down at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.  I would like to get her in sooner, but I just feel like before that she's not going to be emotionally ready to be separated from us all week, and I want her self-help skills strong enough that she doesn't need to rely heavily on the people there for help with her personal hygiene.

I think that about sums it up for now!  I hope that helps clear up any questions.

January 3, 2012

I read this beautiful story on Yahoo! about an elderly woman who had given her baby for adoption after being raped as a teenager, and finally reunited 70+ years later.  The baby girl she lovingly placed with a pastor and his wife went on to marry and have 6 children of her own, including one son who is an astronaut.  Although the article doesn't discuss abortion, I can't help but think of it.  Mrs. Disbrow would certainly have been a poster child for abortion.  But this is a side of it that is rarely talked about-it isn't just the aborted child that's lost, but generations!

In a few days, it will have been 33 years since my husband was born and placed for adoption.  He was born just a few years after Roe V. Wade.  His birth mother could have legally killed him.  Instead, she made the difficult choice to give birth to him and let him go, and because of her gift of life, I not only have my husband, but four beautiful children.  Someday we will have grand-children, and great-children.  Generations of a family that would have never existed if not for one woman's choice decades ago.  I am so very grateful to her for that, and I hope that wherever she is, she is loved and blessed and has peace in her heart.