Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Look what we harvested from one of our tomato plants last night.

This is honestly the largest caterpillar I think I have ever seen. He's kinda cool...and kinda gross.

Touching him felt like touching a living gummy worm. Ewww.

He put a pretty good dent in the foliage of one of our cherry tomato plants so we plucked him off and brought him home, mainly so I could get his picture. (Our garden is at a friends' acreage a few miles south of town.) 

Once we had him here we weren't sure what to do with him, so Brea grabbed her butterfly home in which we put him, and some extra tomato leaves from the volunteer tomatoes that have grown around the compost area, for the night.

This morning when we checked on him he did not seem very happy, so we decided to release him in the compost area where he would have cover from birds, food if needed, and access to the ground. Thanks to a biologist friend of ours we learned he is what is commonly known as a Tobacco Hornworm. We think he is in his final (of 5) stages of caterpillar life and ready to pupate, which he will need to borrow into the ground to do. We will be keeping our eyes open for a large moth to show up around the yard in the coming weeks.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Going Vertical...

This summer we jumped on the vertical garden bandwagon after seeing a cool low budget idea on Growing A Greener World on PBS. (Yay public television!) On the show they used a pallet garden to plant a salad garden in a small yard. I originally thought we would use ours for herbs, but ended up simply planting inexpensive flowers to test out the concept for this year. For this summer we have our vertical garden leaning up against the garage straight out from our back door. (It won't be able to live there permanently, maybe another year or two, due to the baby sand cherry bush that is planted just out of the right side of the frame in the photo below.) It has been such a joy to watch out little plants fill out and has added a much needed splash of color and life to our yard throughout this very dry for Iowa summer.

(If I have one criticism of our pallet garden, it's that it has been a pretty water intensive maintenance project...but then everything thing garden related this year has been water intensive!)

We've had several people who have driven by out house this summer comment on our new "tall planter thing". In fact one morning a couple of ladies that walk past our house each day ventured up into the yard while I was out watering to ask me a few questions. They commented that they were very much looking forward to watching it fill out through the summer. I love how gardening can do that...brings together community. This week has been sticky and the other morning while I was out watering I was surprised to see a big of fungus joining the party.

But even more surprising was the presence of another little visitor who was tucked down in the shade of the sweet potato vine...

Isn't he cute? It's was kinda one of those "look what happens when you stop to smell the roses" kinda of moments.

Simply perfect.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cool Dude...

It's been a hot summer. We are doing our best to stay cool. Efforts include many, many trips to the pool and homemade Popsicle.

I bought this, here, as a special summer treat for the girls during a Mommy only weekend trip to Omaha. While it was a bit spendy, it has proven to be a very fun investment allowing us to make fun, creative, unique, YUMMY edible treats. Plus the science nerd in us all just can't get over being able to actually watch the ice crystals form. Now THAT's cool!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This summer we were able to make an extra trip out to Western Nebraska to attend Scott's 20th high school reunion (!) during Gering's Oregon Trail Days, and of course visit with family. I did a horrible job photojournaling this trip, though my camera did go along with us on our trip into town to check out the annual OT Quilt Show.

 We looked...

And voted for our favorites...

The girls helped color a quilt...

There were modern designs and fabrics...

As well as my favorites, the old classics...

When we got back to the house, Grandma and Brea napped because quilt browsing (and 100 degree heat) can take a lot of a girl.

We had a very nice trip. It was short. Our days were busy. There just isn't ever enough time to visit with everyone we would like to see during these trips, but we did get a chance to check in on my Great Grandma for a little bit each day while were there. She is doing as well as can be expected after a few rough days that ended with the placement of a pacemaker in her chest and a big old screw in her hip. Recovery is going to be a slow, long road and we just don't know how her 98 year old body will handle the challenge. Chatting with her last week it was still, at times, easy to forget her advanced age. She is amazing and we are truly blessed to have shared so much of our time here on Earth with her spirit. I think of her daily...and smile.


Monday, July 16, 2012


What happens when you combine 1 happy and energetic dog, 2 happy and energetic kids, and the magic that is cell phone camera shutter delay. What a funny pooch my Mom's dog is. We love him.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

What a Difference...

The 4th of July (well technically a week prior to the 4th, but I have a feeling in the years to come we won't remember June 25th as much as July 4th) marks the anniversary of our relocation to Carlisle. The first Independence Day we spent here was quite emotional for me. Actually it was miserable and a big reason I didn't feel bad running away to KC for our 2011 red, white, and blue celebrations.

Every time I turned around yesterday, from the parade brunch in the front yard to the time we spent out and about in town, I was repeatedly reminded of all the good people who have come into our lives over the past 2 years who have helped Carlisle to become our home. I am SO thankful for those lovely, lovely people. Our life regularly involves more laughter because of them.

This is the view from our front step as we waited for the parade to start. I love living on the route!

After our morning brunch and parade watching party we headed to the park. Having been wrestled into doing a little volunteering this year, I called Bingo while Scott helped keep track of the fun at the inflatables. The planning committee does such a nice job of putting together fun events for the community for the day!

It was so hot here during the day that we were melted well before the 10:00 fireworks. Scott went to bed with a terrible heat related headache, but the girls and I managed to sneak down the block a bit (Brea half asleep and in her PJs since I pulled her out of bed to join Lexi and I) to see a few that shot above the trees of our well established neighborhood. My favorite image of the day is one that is only visible in my memory: the girls snuggled in the grass, Brea in Lexi's lap, quietly talking about each firework and which were their favorites. At that moment I wanted to stop time and just bask in life's perfectness.

As fun as our day was, it did have its own dark spot unfortunately. Mid-day I found out my 98-year-old great-grandma had fallen in the night suffering a fractured hip. She lives independently and alone. Thankfully her neighbor, Ruth, noticed that something wasn't quite right when grandma's newspaper was still laying on her step mid-morning. An ambulance was called when Ruth discovered grandma on the floor. My thoughts have been a bit scattered and hundreds of miles away since the first text from my Mom saying they were in ER. At 98, even though she is in relatively good health for her age, treatment options are a bit more complicated. As far as I know she is still in surgery as I write this needing first to have a pacemaker put in to help with a slow heart rate issue before any hip repairs could be addressed. We have plans to head out to Western Nebraska in 5 days. My heart wants to be able to be there NOW. I do hope I will have the chance to hold these precious hands in mine when we finally get there.