Monday, March 31, 2014

Banana Pancakes

This post comes from my daughter Michelle. She went to a friends house for a few days and came back with this recipe. It is the simplest of recipes. Only two ingredients: bananas and eggs. Yup, just those two. Michelle thinks these are just the best things she has ever tasted so I made sure to get her some bananas when I went shopping this weekend and she made some this morning. She made some for herself. I was lucky enough to get one bite and a couple of pictures before she finished them off.
She took 3 bananas and mashed them with a potato masher and added two eggs and stirred well. Then just cooked them like regular pancakes.

She seems to think that they are best with peanut butter.

As I said, I only got one bite and found them to be fairly good though I am not sure they will replace regular pancakes in my book. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Update on the Kid's Garden

Just a little update on the kid's garden at the Club. We have had some successes and some failures.
We have had some nice blooms:

Our Caladiums and our Elephant Ear are not up yet though.

In our strawberry beds, only a few of the bare root strawberries sprouted so we had to get plants and try again.

We planted our herb bed but unfortunately we had a frost several days later which killed the cilantro and basil. I believe we will restart those from seeds.

We were given 4 blueberry plants and have planted them in between the strawberry beds. There are 3 pink lemonade blueberries and then one variety of actually blue ones (sorry, I can't remember the name right now).

I thought I had taken a picture of the onion beds but apparently not. We planted red, yellow and white onions in one 3 part bed.
Then Thursday I really got them out there working. It was supposed to rain Friday and I was determined that we were going to get the seeds planted. We planted 3 different color squash, three different color beans, three different color carrots and two different cucumbers (that bed has the herbs in between the cucumbers). All we need to plant now are the tomatoes and peppers. I have two six packs of different color peppers already and one of the red tomatoes. Still looking for the other colors in those.
We are really warming up here so these pictures should just be getting better and better.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Update on the Violin Playing

I have been going to update you on the children's garden at the Club but here I am doing a totally random post just because I just finished practicing and was thinking about it.
As some of you who have held on and kept reading even though my posts have been sporadic for several months now, I played violin for a year as a child and always wanted to get back to it but never did until this last year. I bought one of those really cheap ones on eBay. It was okay to start with. It let me know that I really did want to learn to play. I bought lots of "Learn to play violin yourself" books. And I learned a good bit but there was a lot that was left out of these books. They tend to cram a lot into a little book and you miss a lot. I did learn that I needed a better violin though.
So I bought a Cecilio 300. Still a cheap violin but at least it had an ebony fingerboard instead of plastic. It sounded better too.
This January I saw an add in the paper for violin lessons and luckily the lady giving them is in the next town over. I set it up with her so I come once a week on Fridays for a half hour (it always ends up being an hour) for $20 a lesson.
My violin teacher is a very nice 74 year old lady. You would never know she is 74 to look at her. Had she not told me I would continue to think she was much younger. She has a nice old violin that needs new strings and has a crack in it, but she plays quite well. However, she is not exactly a great teacher. She has no books of her own and she has no plan on how she is going to teach you. She looked through my books and started me with what I already knew which were songs with 3 sharps and she started me out with something entirely too hard and then skipped around to easier stuff and then a few weeks ago gave me several really hard things for the week and I gave up, I did what I thought should have been assigned next and then talked about it with her the next time. She agreed to follow one of the books and do things a bit more progressively.  I like her a lot but I don't think she has taught enough. She knows when you don't sound right but can't seem to tell you how to fix it. For example, for the longest time I was very shaky when I played on the E string and she didn't seem to know why but when I looked it up on youtube videos I found out right away that my bow hold was slightly wrong. Once I fixed it, I no longer shook on the E string. Anyway, this was not made to be a rant about my teacher. She definitely is still worth that $20 a week if for nothing more than the fact that I have to go play for her each week and it keeps me practicing hard every week. Plus she has explained several things that I didn't understand from my books.
Still my playing was not so great and I was a bit frustrated. I did get a new bow at Christmas and that helped the sound some and the balance of the bow was much better. The new bow was about $40. But the best improvements came a few weeks ago when I bought new strings and a new bridge for it. Even a cheap violin can sound nice if you improve it enough. I bought the best strings which are Dominant strings. They were $40 for a set and I bought a Teller fitted bridge. My teacher helped me change out the strings though I had done it before and I put the bridge on a few days later when it finally came in. I really believe it was the bridge that made all the difference. The strings are incredible and improved the sound greatly but the bridge is what helped improve my playing. I believe the strings on the old bridge just weren't place well. The new bridge had little slots already cut in it so you knew where to place the strings. Pieces that I had struggled with became easy. Lots of pieces and songs. It was kind of amazing and when I went to her this week we could finally move on to the next thing (pieces with 2 sharps) because I finally could play well the ones I had already been assigned.
I'm sorry I have yet to figure out how to video myself and put it on youtube and I don't feel good enough for that yet. I wonder if I will ever feel good enough. Maybe someday :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crockpot Venison Burger Stew

I have a bunch of things to post about but no time to do so. Here is a quick one on what we are having for dinner tonight.
My cousin had posted a recipe on facebook for hamburger stew. It looked good but I didn't have any hamburger and would rather have the "deer burger" (as it is called here in the South) instead anyway. There was about 2 lbs of deer burger in my package. You just scramble up the burger and add it to the crock pot. I added a cut up onion, 2 cans of tomatoes (one was tomatoes and chilis), one quart jar of potatoes, a pint jar of carrots, celery leaves (because Phil hates celery), 1/4 cup of rice, salt and pepper and a little water (I did not drain any of the jars or cans just added the water that was in them in with it too).
Smelled wonderful cooking and should be ready when we get home from work.
I have pictures of the garden the kids and I are doing at work and will get another post on here as soon as I can.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bucket Potatoes and Other Greenhouse Plantings

Inspired by Mark's potatoes every year, I have finally gotten around to do my own this year. I don't how they will fair in the heat and I maybe should have started them earlier but we'll see how it goes. I had one of these big round tubs with the rope handles.

And remember those old tools I bought a long while back at a yard sale for a dollar each. The hand drill works really good for putting holes in plastic.

I got my dirt from the old duck pen.

I added perlite to it and slow release fertilizer.

Here is my bag of seed potatoes. As you can see they are Red Pontiac.

I have had them a couple of weeks and they were growing pretty good in that bag.

I planted some in nice and deep but there were several more left so I went and got the largest pot I could find (I think it is a 5 gallon one) and repeated the process.

I will add more dirt as they grow and there are still some left so I might just go raid the greenhouse again for more pots.

I also planted lettuce in these little containers. Both are leaf varieties: Grand Rapids and Prizehead (funny name for a lettuce that doesn't really form a "head").

My only other planting was a cherry tomato plant that I bought yesterday. It's pot is only around a one gallon so might not be big enough but I am hoping it will cascade down from my top shelf and produce some tomatoes anyway.

That's all I got planted for today. It was so warm out I was really sweating doing this and the greenhouse was very hot inside even with the door open.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Just Flowers

Everyone else is taking pictures of their flowers so I thought I would. I only have a few so far but I planted some more today and some seeds as well.
We'll start with the viola's or Johnny-jump-ups as we called them when I was growing up. I like to have these in my yard because they remind me of my mother. One year she bought a packet of the little purple and yellow Johnny-jump-ups and we spread the seeds on the bank of the ditch where our yard met the road. We had a wooden fence there so they went on the bank behind the fence between it and the road. They grew great there and we had Johnny-jump-ups all over the bank when they came up and it was very pretty. I was 6 or 8 years old and I remember thinking that because we just threw the seeds out there and didn't actually "plant" them that they would never grow but my mother explained that that was why the were called Johnny-jump-ups because they could pop up anywhere you threw the seeds.
I have 3 pots of these. There were 4 of them but one of the cats decided they were good to eat (I caught him at it) and he got one of the pots.

Here are some of the crocuses. I have them on either side of the pond although this side looks better as the dogs or chickens have trampled the other side a bit. These are the first crocuses I have grown in years and I am so pleased they bloomed for me.

Here are some of the daffodils. Daffodils almost grow wild here in GA. They are just everywhere and always do well. This batch however has never bloomed this nicely as there used to be a rambling rose bush that over grew them. The bush finally started looking bad and dying off and Phil cut it out completely last fall and the daffodils look much nicer this year. I planted these the first year we lived her some 9 or 10 years ago.

This last picture is another daffodil. These are one of the two Tete-a-Tete daffodils that I bought for the children to plant at the gardens at the Club. I didn't know it would bloom so quickly. We have a lot of other bulbs in the bed though so there will be more to take its place when it is finished.

The only other blooms I have are on the quince bush and the peach tree. There aren't too many on the peach tree though as I cut it back not too long ago.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The $59 Greenhouse

As I told everyone in the last post, I had bought a greenhouse. A very small greenhouse to put in the front yard in the one spot it could get sun most of the day. There aren't many spots like that left in my yard as the trees have grown so much here.
The greenhouse came in a few days ago but we were busy with work and then yesterday I went to my brother's house and had a yard sale with him and his wife. I got rid of some stuff Phil and I didn't need and I made just over $100 so it was a good day. (I also got quite sun burnt on my face but I'll live).
Today we opened the greenhouse box. There were lots of pipe pieces and plastic connectors but they all had numbers or letters on them and picture directions that were simple and easy to follow. I don't think it took us more than 15-20 minutes to put it all together, if that.
This is after the frame was all put together:

 Here you can see the plastic connectors and small metal pipe it is made of.

 Here are the metal shelves that sit on top of the pipe. I am not sure how much weight these will really take but I am sure it will be fine as long as I don't fill it with huge pots all the way across.

 Here it is with the plastic cover on. The plastic is nice and thick and I would hope will last several years.

I put the plants that I had inside in it for now. They had been in the bathroom and our bedroom and I was just hoping to get them through the winter. I am sure they will do better now. Of course, the whole point of this greenhouse is not to grow house plants. I do hope to get some vegetables and herbs in it later. I have a large round tub I want to plant potatoes in that can sit on the floor in the back there. 
I know the picture looks like it is in the shade but this is early in the morning. The sun hit it about an hour or so later and it sits directly in the sun most of the day. 

There are 4 tie downs on each corner and I plan to put rocks or something around it on the bottom to keep it held down even better and I think it will look nicer that way as well.
Not sure what I will actually plant in the garden this year, I am rather disgusted with how poorly things grow down there, even with my raised beds. I may just container garden this year. We'll see. :)