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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Playing Grandma

I've had a lot of fun playing with three of my precious grandchildren while I've been in Florida awaiting the birth of baby Katie. I got here in time to see the first soccer practice and then games for Andrew and Matthew. This is Andrew's first year and you can see the joy and excitement on his face. When they lined up and were told where to stand, at first he kept standing there after the ball was kicked but he finally got into the game. He actually scored two goals in his first game.

Matthew's game was after Andrew's. He's a good little player and very aggressive but it was hot by the time he played and he got sick from the heat and didn't get to finish his game.

On our last day, I got some giant bubble swords for a party. They had fun running around the back yard making huge bubbles.

Four year old Andrew got the hang of blowing the bubbles that we about as big as he was!

They also enjoyed swimming in their little pool. It's quite warm and muggy here in the afternoons so it is a welcome relief so they can be outside. Rains have come almost daily the time I've been here.

Maggie's 8th birthday is on Monday the 31st so I got her a present and a Disney cake and some ice cream for our party.

I have to say life will be much quieter when I get home. I have been able to work from here but am looking forward to getting home to my sweetie! We plan on coming back in another two weeks over Labor Day weekend so we can be here for Maggie's baptism and Kathyrn's blessing.

New Grandbaby!

I've been in Florida since August 18 playing grandma so Bonnie could get some rest and hopefully have the baby! Our little one, Kathryn Violet Harper was born on Sunday! She weighs 8 pounds 8 ounces and is beautiful. She is named after Bonnie's grandmothers and is welcomed with open arms!
I go home tomorrow but have been able to have a lot of baby holding time the past two days. Hopefully she will sleep for mommy. She is so precious as are her siblings!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fall Garden

We started our fall garden. I started the seeds and kept them up on the deck to keep water to them in the heat.

We had a heat wave and they had such little dirt in their pots that I could hardly keep them damp enough. I did what my dad told me years ago. We made a hole for the plant, filled it with water and then put the plant in and covered it up and then watered again. We did this at night (ended up doing it in the dark).

Even though we had 95 degree weather, we decided to go ahead and get them planted. I had cleaned out the beds from what we planted earlier and the soil was so great I could put my hand down into the bed in the loose soil.

We planted broccoli, Swiss chard, cabbage, collards, lettuce, green beans, squash and brussel sprouts and cucumbers. Everything survived and they are growing.

We do still have tomatoes growing and blooming. Our plants went up to the top of the 5' fence we built and are going down again so they are probably 8 feet long!

Our apples seemed to be attacked by bees (if you look close you can see one eating an apple! I went ahead and picked the apples to get them before the bees do!

Wall of Harper

Here's the retaining wall so we can have more of our yard with more level beds for gardening. We figured it's 9 1/2 feet in elevation change.

Here's the view from the greenhouse end up to the raised bed area.

Here's a view looking from the fence up to the house. It gives an idea of the hill we are on.

The wall of that will become our garden storage shed to the north of the greenhouse.

A view of the shed area with my smart sweetie!

This short wall will become the taller one and will be the side of the greenhouse.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A hot summer afternoon without electricity

It's odd that last summer, the first week or so in August, we lost power in 90 degree weather for several hours ... and the same thing happened again to us yesterday. Of course, it happened in the heat of the day about 4:00 pm. We were out until about 8:00 pm. We waited awhile to see if we'd get it back but it soon became apparent it was not going to be an immediate fix! To complicate matters, I was having a RS Enrichment special interest class at my home at 6:30.

Now we've been working on preparedness for a long time. In fact when we built the house, we had it double wired to handle a switch for a generator to keep some lights on, freezer and refrigerator going.
So what did we do??? Michael kicked in our generator so we had some fans going and made it comfortable. I was able to hook up my laptop to our TV so I could use my PowerPoint presentation! We had a good class and in the middle of it, the regular lights came back on. Some sisters hadn't realized we were powerless!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Since we have really gotten into garden, I have been intrigued with learning vermiculture. What is that? It's using worms to make compost and liquid fertilizer for plants by using food scraps, hair, shredded newspaper, and any other garden waste.

After reading about it for several months, I finally bought a Worm Factory. This is what it will look like when it's full!

Since my worms came yesterday, Last night we put it together. You fill the first worm bin with some dry newspaper on the bottom, followed by some compost, shredded newspaper and then add the worms and put wet newspaper on top.

The worms will acclimate and then go for the food scraps and start eating it and make worm castings that is wonderful fertilizer! You can also add junk mail! I guess this is the ultimate in recycling.

I had to peak this morning. They are babies right now but will grow and multiply into about 10000 worms before long! Some say you can keep them in the kitchen or in a shaded, covered area outside and bring them inside in the winter. I put it in a corner of the garage so it's handy to feed them with table scraps!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cement footings are poured!

Thursday was the day we poured the footings for the wall and the greenhouse.

Michael was able to figure out a way for the cement truck to get down to where the greenhouse is going to be so we could pour footings and also footings for the terrace wall we are building.
For the wall, we had to have the cement truck fill up a wheelbarrow so they could move it up the hill.

Michael was smart and used the lawn mower to pull the wheelbarrow full of cement!

Here they are pouring the footings for the storage building and wall for the greenhouse.

The finished footings for the garden storage shed and greenhouse wall!

Michael figured it was a 9 1/2 foot elevation difference from where the cement truck was and the top where we started the retaining wall. You can see that with this photo of the wall footings.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Harper Stone Hedge

We have our neighbors all curious as to what we are doing! This is what the back yard looks like in preparation for a retaining wall we're going to put up with block to stop erosion on the hill.

Michael has gotten help from Duane Jones a good friend and a coworker of his to help with the concrete and block wall.

They are laying the footings and hope to have concrete poured for the foundation tomorrow!

We are surprised but it's about 9 1/2 feet rise in elevation from the bottom to top of what we terraced.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cash for Clunkers!

I never thought I would say this but we bought a new car! It's weird that "change" seems to be coming to almost everything. We always have heard that you don't buy a knew car because it costs you $1000 to drive a new car off the car dealer's lot but not anymore! We went in on Thursday to look at the Hyundai's to see what a deal we could get. We found the Hyundai's Elantra would give us 10 mph more than the van so we qualified for the $4500 deal from the government. I didn't like that the government had this plan to spend our tax money to buy old cars, but since it was there, I wanted to take advantage of it to get some of our taxes we've paid back to work for us!

With the $4000 in rebates from Hyundai, we almost got the brand new car at half price. I'm not sure it was "change we can believe in" because I can hardly believe it! But we had a car that qualified as a clunker and decided to take a look at what deal we could get. We bought a 2009 Huyndai Elantra that is "Cougar" blue. We test drove it and put 3 of the 9 miles on it. It has a sunroof that the grandkids got excited about.
Our van that is now in scrap metal heaven was a 1994 Chevy Astro. We had bought it a year old in the end of 1994 and had owned it for 15 years.

Boy the memories. Eric and Ryan were at their first year at Ricks (BYU-Idaho) when we bought it. It carried us on many trips and when I taught seminary, it got me and six students into town for several years. (Of course they were hard on the seats, etc with their book bags).

Of course we got home Thursday night with the plan that we would bring the van and pick up the new car Friday morning. That night we found out that the program was already out of money!

We called Friday morning and the dealership didn't know what to tell us but by 10:30 they had gotten assurance that out deal would go through (maybe we are one of the last ones).

We actually got nostalgic when taking the van in. It served us well with the boys and family and hauling things but we're excited to be driving a new car for the first time (and probably only time) in our lives!