Garden 2011

We've been gardening for quite awhile and my plan for 2011 isn't really much different than past years. The growing season has just started and I have peas, lettuce, radishes and spinach currently in the ground. I would show pictures, but it's raining. Again. And I haven't taken any yet. But I do have a couple current year pictures:

We have 5 raised beds. A 16' x 16' , an 8' x 32', two 8' x 8' and an 8' x 16' strawberry bed. We also have a plot that is about 10' x 10' that is not raised. Other than that we have fruit trees and raspberries along the fence and a couple flower beds.

This is our pear tree. So far we've not had much luck with fruit trees. We have plum, apple and nectarine that are at least 6 years old now and they haven't ever given us any fruit. We planted this pear tree last year after I read that pear is one of the easiest trees to grow and there are very few pests for it.

We have much better luck with soft fruits. We have blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and last year we planted these bush cherries.

Other than that our garden is currently inside. I have lemon cucumber, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, chives, patty pan squash..

Lots of tomatoes and peppers.

Once it warms up corn, okra, sweet potatoes, more herbs and butternut squash will go in.

As far as goals....I want to do better than my pathetic attempt of gardening with morning sickness last year and more along the lines of our 2009 garden.

2010 Strawberries

If you look on my sidebar, there is an In Our Garden button. That will take you to all my posts tagged with gardening. So if you want to know how to fight squash bugs, how to make a quick tomato sauce, how to turn all those Cabbage Moth Butterflies into a lesson in life cycles or recipes for all those zucchini that's the place to go.

2010 Tomatoes

I love that my boys are as excited as I am to go out and pick the produce. I love that they eat the peas straight from the pods and tomatoes and berries straight from the plant.


Light: Expansion, Translucency and Shadows

Yesterday we did a couple of activities dealing with how light expands as it moves outward.
First we focused our beam of light on a small object so that the light only hit the object. Then slowly moving backwards and watch the light beam grow larger and larger.

Then we split the beam into rays and shadows to observe how only the center ray travels straight ahead, while the others spread out to the sides.

Cale's notebook:

Finally they made designs on tinfoil and placed them on a cup with a flashlight inserted through a hole in the bottom. They played around in the dark seeing how big they could get their designs to expand on the wall.

We finished yesterday by testing and classifying items according to their translucency. They gathered items and decided if they were transparent, translucent or opaque.

Today we talked about shadows. We read the book What Makes a Shadow, played around with making shadow animals with our hands and made silhouettes.

Can you tell who's who?


School? What School?

I think it has been quite awhile since I have posted anything school related. The boys do school work. They get up in the morning do their math, read for 30 minutes and do some writing. If Annika's in a good mood we read some history. But that is about it.

But I think my brain might have finally made it back from maternity leave. I spent a couple hours Saturday night writing out a unit on Light and Color....I plan to do sound, but didn't get that far. I also made a pretty good dent in my outline for next year.

And today we did science! A first in many months.

We talked about what energy and light are. We talked about how we see light in 2 way- luminous light and reflected light and we sorted items accordingly.

We also did a short experiment on how light travels using cards with holes in them and a flashlight. Then they drew in their notebooks about it. I have a feeling most pictures I will share will be of the notebooks since a lot of our experiments take place in the dark.

Our little co-op is holding a science fair at the end of April and the boys picked their topics last week and we finally gathered most of the supplies and got set up today.

Rylan is studying which medium pineapples grow best in. And 9 fresh pineapples are in my home n0w. Well, 6 actually. We at one for dinner and 2 more are now residing in the pineapple upside down cake in my oven.

Cale is testing which type of light is best for growing seeds. Cohen chose to test substances to see which melt ice (as in icy roads) the best. And as we were setting up tonight Lakin decided he wanted to participate too. And he wanted cups of soil like Rylan and Cale. And zucchini seeds. So here's his set up:

Pulled out of my head last minute based on his chosen supplies: how different liquids effect seed germination. He chose to water them with water, coffee, vinegar and milk.



Springy clothes

Tulip magnolias flowering

Trips to the zoo

Seas of daffodils wherever you look

Tulips in bloom

Pansies facing the sun

And a little girl

turning 3 months old


A Hike to Grotto Falls

Lately Rylan and Cale have been pouring over our Tennessee Waterfall book deciding which falls they want to go see. So since the weather is warming up we decided to head up to the mountains and hike up to one of the falls.

Of course the day of our planned hike turned out NOT to be warm, 45 at the trailhead. But Annika was bundled up and the boys all had layers on so we headed on up the mountain to see Grotto Falls.

My dad (aka Grampy) came with us. And everything is more exciting with Grampy. It was nice having the extra hands and feet, since Cale and Rylan are much faster than Cohen and Lakin.

It's about 1.4 miles up to the falls. Lakin made it about half way before Paul had to carry him on his shoulders. 4 creeks to cross. Muddy trails.

Here they are walking behind the falls. Rylan wanted to continue on to Le Conte, but that will have to wait until everyone is able to walk the entire way on their own.

It got significantly cooler right by the water so I didn't take Annika too close, but she woke up in time to see and hear the water.

After a rest and a snack we were ready to head back down. Lakin was freezing about this time and Paul was tired of carrying him so he got my jacket and got pepped up by sloshing through every bit of mud he could find.

Then Cohen got cold and they swapped the jacket when Lakin got tired of it.

Back at the car ready to get warm and cleaned up. Cale's pants were wet and muddy about half way up his legs!

On our way through the motor trail we stopped to see the Place of 1000 Drips before heading on our way home

They are already paging through the book to see which one they want to go see next. It's been a long time since Paul and I have been to Frozen Head or Big South Fork, so maybe we'll go there next.


Spring Break

Started with going to Douglas Lake. I forgot my camera. Actually, I remembered my camera but forgot the battery I had taken out to charge. It was a nice day, warm and sunny. The water was a little high but we did find a few Douglas Diamonds. And lots of additions for the nature table.

Quartz actually, but some looked very diamond-like.

Sunday Paul had to work so we hung around the yard and in the garden.

Yesterday we drove up to Towsend to see how the fishing was.

It's still probably a little early in the season.

We only caught one fish.

Today was supposed to be rainy, so we went up to the Aquarium in Gatlinburg with my dad.

Annika enjoyed the fish...until she fell asleep.

It was nice, but a little crowded since it is Spring Break for a lot of other people too.

Tomorrow we are off to hike to Grotto Falls



Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

So I am going to smile.

Because Spring is almost here. My bush cherries and plum trees are blooming. My peas have sprouted. Because my boys are happy and healthy and loving the warmer weather.

Because of this little girl- who is closing in on 3 months old, "talks" all the time and as of this past Wednesday is up to 9 lbs 15 oz.

Because of good friends and the fact that my cupcakes were featured on The Cupcake Blog.

Because all of us, Paul included, are on Spring Break this week and I have big plans to get out of the house and out of this funk.