Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Farming Update

My mini-farm sprouted really quickly (and it almost instantly started to droop.)

I was so excited that I started sending pictures of my mini farm to people (which is a sad reflection on how boring my life is, but that's beside the point.)

I was happy. I was excited. I was starting to think, This mini-farming thing is a piece of cake . And then, I noticed the mold growing on my farm:

At that moment I became a wee bit melodramatic. It's possible that I might have shouted up at the sky, "WHY? Why me? Why is this happening? All I wanted was a little bit of basil and a strawberry or two. Is that too much to ask?"
Once I have moved past the panic and the melodrama, I asked myself WWCD? What would Charles Ingalls do? And I decided that he would have consulted with his elders. So I asked my Dad what to do about the situation. First he suggested that I had overwatered the plants. I was slightly offended by this suggestion. How dare he insult my farming abilities? Maybe if I was an amateur farmer the blame could be placed on me. But I had been a farmer for 12 days at this point. Clearly I knew what I was doing.
Then he suggested that maybe the problem was that the air in the house was too humid and that the plants might fare better outside. My plants were growing too large for the original containers anyway, so I was going to need to replant at some point. So, with a hopeful heart, and visions of a mini-harvest dinner looming in my mind, I set to work on phase 2 of mini-farming, repotting the crops:

The cilantro was much more difficult to replant. The stems were so droopy and the dirt in the original pot was so shallow that transplanting it resulted in a plant that looked like it was already dead:
But, as millions of farmers have before me, I bravely soldiered on (picture me humming This Land is Your Land while doing so.) And I ended up with a replanted mini-farm that looked like this:
I watered the crops (with much less water than before), arranged the pots on my front porch, and hoped for the best! Join me next time dear readers, for another installment of Little Porch on the Prairie and I'll share the final chapter of my attempt at mini-farming attempts.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm a Farmer Now. . . Sort of

I'm playing blogging catch-up today dear readers. This project actually happened a few weeks ago when I was still recovering from my broken elbow, but I've been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to blog about it until now.
I've always wanted to learn how to grow things, but since I know absolutely nothing about it, I decided to start small with some packets I found in the dollar store section at Target.

I'm a farmer now!!!!  It may seem a tad dramatic to refer to this as a farm, but the part of me that has always loved Little House on the Prairie just can't turn away from the chance to pretend to be a farmer.

And when you're a farmer, you need the proper tools:

I have no idea why my hand looks like the BFG's hand in this picture, but I can assure you dear readers, my hand looks like a totally normal hand in person:

I invited my co-farmer, Kara, over and we began the work of mini-farming. First we put the dirt packet-thingy (to use a very scientific farming term), and add water to it:
And in the time it took Kara to go grab her phone to take a picture, it turned into this (let's all pretend like that doesn't look like a giant wad of dog doo):

Then we dumped the dirt back into the original container, and hoed the dirt. The kit instructed us to us a spoon to move the dirt. A spoon? What are animals? No, we're respectable farmers, so we used the proper tools:

Then it was time to plant the seeds. The instructions on the back of the seed packet said to plant 10 seeds. We were apparently supposed to take these teeny, tiny seeds and count out 10.
We tried our best to count the seeds, but we could very easily have ended up with 12 or 13 seeds instead of 10. Oh well, a little extra basil never hurt anyone, right. And I finished planting the seeds, Kara watered them, which gave me a chance to take another picture of the water can that amuses me in a way that your average toddler would be amused:

We repeated these steps with the other kits:

Then we made some popsicle stick markers so we would know which crops were growing in each "field":

The end result of our first day of farming:

When we finished, we realized that farming makes you hungry. Suddenly those harvest dinner scenes in the Little House books make perfect sense. But when you're a mini-farmer, instead of a harvest meal, you need a harvest snack:

I'm sure Charles Ingalls came in from a hard day of farmer and ate a Chocolate Rice Krispie Treat. That part just got cut out of the Little House books (Oh, those heavy handed editors. They take out all the best details.)

So there you have it dear readers, the beginning of my farm. Join me later this week for a farming update.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Nursery Reveal

I know you've all been on the edge of your seats since yesterday, waiting for the big nursery reveal (just humor me, okay) but the wait is over.

My Mom didn't want Chad and Kylee (Sofie's parents) to see the nursery until it was completely finished, when she could make her big dramatic reveal, which my Dad videoed. Someone's been watching too much HGTV.

My Mom saved the crib that we slept in. It was 70s yellow, so she had it stripped and repainted a buttery yellow color.

She also saved this shelf that hung in all or our nurseries. On the top shelf are our newborn pictures and our first pair of baby shoes.
My Dad gave this blue/pink blanket when they were still dating. Each of us used the blanket as babies and now Sofie gets to use it!
The beach picture on the wall was painted by my late Grandmother. It makes me really happy to know that, even though she's not physically here, she's still a part of the nursery.
As you can see, Sofie will not lack for books or toys to play with. It's possible she might just be the tiniest bit spoiled!
And what did Sofie think of the nursery? She was not as happy with the outcome as the rest of us were:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Second Post-Surgery Project: Helping to Decorate a Nursery

Sofie is going to be spending Mondays and Thursdays at Grandma's house when her parents are at work, so my Mom (a.k.a. Grandma) wanted to design a nursery/playroom for her house. And she asked my sister and me to help her. I wasn't able to help with any of the heavy lifting, but I helped in smaller ways.

My Mother saved the crib we slept in, but it was 70s yellow, so she had it stripped and repainted a butter yellow. When we brought it into the house, Oliver thought it was a giant cage. He was so confused.

My Mother has been collecting things for years (books, toys, etc.) for when she has grandchildren, and now her closet looks like an episode of Hoarders:

Oliver decided to help:

Then he decided to help himself to a stuff animal:                                                                               

Then he decided to pout because no one would let him have any fun:                                               
Tune in tomorrow for the nursery/playroom reveal!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

My First Post-Surgery Project: Downton Abbey

After I broke my elbow, I had to be careful for awhile and not move around a lot, so I decided my first one-handed project would have to be TV related. I'm way behind the rest of the country when it comes to TV viewing. I don't even attempt to watch shows when they're new anymore because every time I start to really like a show it gets canceled within the first season. I'm such bad luck that I think TV producers should pay me not to watch their show.

I've been hearing people rave for several years about how great Downton Abbey is (or Downtown Abbey, as my parents keep calling it ), but I've never watched it before. So when my sister suggested we watch it, this seemed like the perfect time!

Any time I try to watch a show that has generated a lot of hype, there are always the inevitable questions as I sit down to watch; Will I enjoy it? Will it live up to the hype? Will it be as good as the Sesame Street skit Upside Downton Abbey? So many questions . . .

To be perfectly honest dear readers, I didn't enjoy the show at first, with the exception of the scenes with Bates and Anna. When they first met, I turned to my sister and said, "I think we just found our Sam and Diane."

Other than the Bates-Anna scenes, I had a hard time getting into the show until about the fourth episode, and then I slowly started to like it more. I still haven't reached the point of loving it the way most people I've encountered do, but I think it's a good show.

And, aside from being a good show, it has now given us an excuse to justify using our cellphones at the dinner table. In nearly every episode, at least one of the characters is brought a telegram on a tray while they're at the table and, as Alissa pointed out, telegraphs are kind of like the old-fashioned version of texting, so it's no different than texting during a meal. . . except we don't have anyone bringing us our phones on trays. We then spent a few minutes contemplate hiring someone to bring us our cellphones on trays, before I start complaining and say, "I wish I had servants." Then I looked around at my post-surgery life (my Dad was grilling meat for me while my Mom was doing my laundry and cutting up fruit for me that she then brought me on a tray) and I realized, oh wait, I do have servants! (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

And also, a big thank you to my sister, who had to keep explaining the plot and reminding me of the characters names while I was in a painkiller-induced fog ("Wait, what's going on? Where did he come from . . . you know. . . well I can't think of his name right now, but that guy right there?)