Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Tomato Hornworm, an Earthquake and a Hurricane

Take a look at these suckers! Hubby came in, with three tomato stalks with these guys on them. Not knowing what they are, we turned to the internet. Hubby thought the white sacks were some sort of wasp eggs, and he was right! Turns out, this is a tomato hornworm- the biggest worm in the states. Fullsize it is 4 inches long. The white sacks are not its own eggs, but maggots from a wasp. The wasp injects the hornworm with its eggs. The eggs develop, start eating the innards of the worm and the maggots push through the skin and form a cocoon . Eventually they will hatch into the wasp. These wasps are good wasps (apparently there is such a thing as a good wasp) and will hunt both the tomato and tobacco hornworm. We didnt want to take any chances, and let the chickens devour the "treats".

In other news, we all survived the 5.8 earthquake that hit on tuesday. I was out to lunch with a girlfriend. I though it was just blasting at the quarry. We found out it was an earthquake when people started texting us to see if we were ok. Ha! And I grew up in California. You would think I would know what an earthquake is...

On to the next natural disaster- people here are preparing for Hurricane Irene, which is supposed to hit this weekend. I am preparing by making cookies. Yup, folks, I am not too afraid of this hurricane. We are pretty far inland, and up in the hills. I imagine all we will get is some rain and wind. We do have jugs of water in storage (that we have anyways), and plenty of canned food, should we not be able to get out. I am hoping we dont lose power as our chest freezer is full of home grown chickens...

Between natural pests and natural disasters, you would think we are feeling pretty low here. Quite the opposite. Thursdays I am off work, and I was really productive. I started this morning on the deck, in my new robe, with a cup of coffee and a library book. I watched the thunderstorms roll in and decided I should do farm chores before it actually started raining. Sure enough, near the end of my rounds, the sky let loose. All day long the rain clouds and the sun have been playing tug of war. Being confined to the house, I was able to get a lot of work done. I cleaned the bathroom, which really needed to be cleaned. And by really, I mean reeeaaallllyyyy... as in even I was embarrassed to use it. I organized the bedrooms, did some work on the computer and entertained a good friend and her daughter. We made chocolate chip cookies. I had a coupon the other day for dark chocolate chips (I lurve me some dark chocolate!) so we used those in our cookies. I was out of vanilla extract, so we substituted peppermint extract. YUm!!! After they left I split my time between cleaning and reading. Hubby came home to dinner on the table, and fresh cookies. Not a bad thing to come home to if you ask me. I cherish my days off, and I am dreading going back to work tomorrow.

I am going to spend the rest of my evening reading and eating a cookie or two. Bring on the hurricane...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Now you see you dont...

Two days ago one of the upstairs rooms served as our office, aka man cave. Yesterday it turned into our bedroom. You see, since we are going to remodel the whole basement, everything needs to come out of it. We dont have a garage to store stuff. The mattress downstairs was moldy, along with a great many other things. When I am in a time of material need, I turn to craigslist. Craigslist is awesome! For example- we needed a new bed. Not just any bed. We decided if we had to start from scratch, we would get a king size bed. We shopped at ikea. I just couldnt swipe my debit card for the $500 bed and $500 mattress. No siree I couldnt. Thats a lot of mulah. Especially for a bed. So hubby made a list of the beds we liked (he loves making lists and taking notes when we shop- maybe because I keep changing my mind?). I searched high and low on craigslist for something that would work. Then I found it. The holy grail of beds (if you are on a craigslist budget and need something asap). $100 bought the headboard, frame, footboard, rails and mattress. Thats a pretty stinking good deal if you ask me. The mattress has been steam cleaned, and has a mattress pad over it. It will work until we can buy a new mattress. With craigslist you have to act fast. Everyone else is looking for the same good deal as you. So on thursday after hubbys cancelled softball game, we high tailed it down to baltimore and picked up the bed. It has been parked in our living room since. Well, half was in the living room, and half in the kitchen. I was not a happy camper. Neither was hubby. The dogs didnt know what to think of it. Yesterday we cleared everything out of the office. We gave the turtle and tank away to an amazing family (via craigslist). We started painting. We set up the bed. We love it! Not too bad for a 24 hour makeover. The king bed takes up the entire room. Its not ideal for the long haul, but it works until downstairs is done and we can have a huge room then. If you had come to our house on friday you would have seen an a bedroom. ha!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


To steal a quote from Rachel Ray- "Yum-o". Last night for dessert we had cantelope. from. the. garden. yum-o! It was amazingly juicy and fresh. Hubby mentioned he had never had cantelope before. what? We now have two more sitting on the counter ready for the eating. Hubby calls them personal size as they are a tad small.

Yesterday we were touring through our garden and collected the two cantelopes, jalapenos, and tomatoes. We fed the spent stalks of lettuce to the turkeys, chickens and rabbits who devoured them!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Knitting and Nascar

This past weekend Hubby and I were able to get away to Lancaster PA with some friends. We left early saturday morning, did some antiquing on the way up there and met friends for lunch. We visited the Landis Valley Museum, where I was inspired by the gardens and old buildings. I took pictures of the hog pen, the fleeces drying and the bread ovens. Now we just have to figure out how to incorporate the ideas into Victory Garden Farm.

We spent the afternoon, evening and night in a cabin by a pond. The pond provided fishing spots for the "men" and relaxing grassy slopes for us girls. Hubby and I enjoyed swimming in the pond while our friends took the kids up to be bathed. It was a perfect combination of relaxation and shopping. Sunday Hubby got up early to get more fishing under his belt (it was all catch and release). We then got on the road once again to head up to the Pocono Raceway for a NASCAR race. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I think Hubby liked it, and thats what matters. One of our friends got him tickets for his birthday. I enjoyed knitting and people watching! We left early as the weather was iffy and we had a long drive home.

We are now caught up from the weekend and settling back into the routine here. I personally am loving that each day brings us closer to fall. Already the lightning bugs are not making as frequent appearances as in June. We have been able to turn the ac off a few times. I long for the days when I can throw the windows open. When we fall asleep under quilts, with a chill in the air. Tomorrow Hubby is turning in my check for a table at a craft fair on Fort Detrick. Its time to start seriously knitting. Time to start planning for Christmas presents. I guarantee that my needles will be flying and strings of yarn will be turning into hats, mittens and other items. I love this time of year, and I hope the days slow down so I can enjoy and cherish them.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A little crazy around here

Sorry I have been MIA lately. It seems the basement has eaten me whole! Back in may, the basement flooded. The basement has taken us on a whirlwind trip ever since then. We shop vac'd the carpets. didnt work. we pulled carpets out. we pulled pergo wood floors up. we pulled up laminate flooring under the carpet and pergo. we took out a kitchen. for every one thing we do down in the basement, we find two more things wrong.
Yesterday while hubby was at work, I was "working" in the basement bedroom. I decided it was time to wash the sheets to keep them fresh. When I pulled off the sheets, to my horror I found mold (just a small spot but there nonetheless) on the mattress. Out went the mattress. The sheets got washed with bleach. When hubby got home we started to move the couch into the basement bedroom. Hubby lifted up a couch cushion, and guess what he found...mold...i am sick of the m word. We are washing all the quilts that were displayed in the basement just in case.
I am not even going to get into the finding a contractor nightmare...I wish a basement fairy would come and clean up the basement (by the way did i mention we found mouse skeletons? and nests?) and furnish it with non moldy furniture...
Hubby and I are going to tackle the workout room today after I work 9-5. Until we get this figured out, all outdoorsy projects have been put on hold. There is a pile of fencing ready to be put up. There are plants that need planting, and a pig pen that needs building. oh yeah, and a basement. Did I mention our basement is a nightmare?
I dont mean to be negative, I am just overwhelmed with this all. On a good note, I have found a few couches on craigslist that we could get on the cheap. A mattress will need to be bought new. The basement should be super nice when its finished. I am glad we are finding all of this now, before guests stay down there. I am so thankful for Hubby and all his hardwork. I am always thankful for my parents support. I am glad that we get to put our stamp on the basement. I have a stash of antique doors, and a mantel that will find themselves worked into the remodel. Ill post more about them tomorrow. Until then.