Sunday, August 31, 2008

The green beans are growing!

We are breathing a sigh of relief (or disappointment that school won't be canceled) that Hurricane Gustav is not headed for Houston. We are already experiencing floods of people from Lousiana. I hope that they all find safe haven and keep their crimes to themself.

The exciting news is that our garden is sprouting! We have 3 green bean plants up (out of 8) and it's only been 5 days. We won't plant anything else until the end of September if the temperatures get back to normal.

Nate is still baking bread and brought home more supplies from our canning date on Saturday. He and Ben worked really hard and ran into Becky Clarke from Tulsa/PA years. Nate says that work is picking up and so he won't have time to build projects for himself until next spring.

I am loving my first week at school. When the principal told the teachers that they were THE science teacher and I was just support and enrichment it took alot of the pressure off. The children are all very happy to be back and have had excellent behavior. The work last year with the 4th graders has paid off a little. Their knowledge level is still low, but the spark of interest has ignited, so we'll be able to work with them much better this year. I started wearing a shoe in earnest yesterday, and my foot seems pretty good, but my ankle and knee are weak and stiff.

Ben had "my best day ever" on Friday. He got his schedule change from Spanish to German and it caused him to repeat his math and English classes, so he got to read a book for 3 straight hours. Then he was able to see some fancy thing at the Warhammer shop. He is very excited about playing the French Horn in band and mostly about the band lockin at the local game center. He has achieved his First Class rank in scouts and will recieve the award in 2 weeks. He is excited to see our garden grow and is s l o w l y getting his room clean. He rides the bus with a girl from our ward, but the bus route is different so he doesn't get to ride with his good friend, Zac.

Life continues at its normal school-year crazy pace with multiple places to be at the same time. I'll try and post another update after my dr appt on Friday.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August Update

Nate ordered our wheat grinder and bread maker and has been baking whole wheat bread like crazy! He's an excellent baker and we are enjoying the wheat we ordered for our food storage. In fact, we may need to order another case before December. He was thrilled when his long-time customer, Glen Eller won the gold in double trap and was disappointed when another customer, Chilly (nickname) from India came in 15th.

Our garden is still not planted. The heavy rains and high temps have made poor planting conditions. We plan to try for FHE on the 25th.

I started back to work on August 11th. I gave my first full day professional development workshop and it went really well. I was exhausted by the time it was over, though. I returned for my follow-up appt with the orthopedic doc on the 15th. The new x-rays showed another break perpendicular to the single fracture that had been hidden by the swelling. The doc says that I can start to wear a stiff, lace-up shoe at home, but my boot if I'm going out. Unfortunately, everytime I wear the shoe, my foot swells up and hurts. I think I'm never going to get back to normal. Especially now that I'm on my feet all day at work - I'm trying to elevate it, but teaching science is not a sedentary job. Another follow-up is scheduled for Sept. 5th.

Ben spent a week at Camp Eagle in Sugar Land. He had a great time. We dropped him off in the midst of TS Eduard, and picked him up 5 days later mosquito-bitten, sunburned, and with a bad cold. They did 2 service projects, 5 merit badges, went water-skiing, and inner-tubing behind a fancy motorboat, visited the Channel 11 studios with the stake president (he's some BYU football alum). All the boys were in a group shot on the 6:00 news, but they did a close-up on my handsome boy. Since I've been back to work he has been extremely bored. Ben says he's not ready to go back to school, but I think he's secretly glad.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Announcing our Garden!

I have been planning our "square foot garden" for months now. I read the book,
researched the climate, found sources for soil and seed varieties, ordered the "grow bed", saved cardboard boxes, and waited and waited. I waited for August when our fall/winter growing season begins. I waited until my foot was strong enough to go to all the places to have soils loaded into my truck. I waited until Ben and Nate were available and willing to do the labor. Today we went to "the" source - Southwest Fertilizer, and picked up our components for Mel's Mix. I wasn't real sure about how important this soil would be, but this is Houston - CLAY is all we've got around here. We picked out our seeds and came home to start the garden. I laid out flattened cardboard boxes as a barrier between the bermuda grass and the garden, watered it real good, and built the bed. Meanwhile, Nate & Ben were dumping an even mix of sheep & peat compost, vermiculite, and peat moss on a tarp and mixing it. Then the boys shoveled it into the bed, and I watered it in. This soil is amazing! (Don't laugh if you come from places with real dirt - but this stuff doesn't glob onto your hand when its wet, and it stays loose and finger-workable even when it is sun-baked. It is a whole new experience for me!) Unfortunately, we weren't able to plant any seeds yet...I get to wait some more. Wait until the temperature gets out of the 100's and down to the mid-90's. Wait until the squirrel-proof cover is no longer on back-order. Wait for the seeds to sprout. I sure hope that good things come to Ottosens who wait!