Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Watermelon Elementary: Preparing the Land

Real school is out, so now I’m back to Watermelon Elementary!

To get the land ready to plant watermelons, Brad and the boys use three different implements.

First they use the bedder to made the watermelon beds. They like their beds to be raised pretty high. The are not as high as a strawberry bed, but they are definitely elevated.

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The land goes from unbroken to bedded up nicely!

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The next thing equipment is my favorite: the bed knocker. I just like saying that.

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Brad built this plow. It has two different sized rolling plows to break up large dirt clods. (I’m using some real technical language here – dirt clods, bed knocker. I don’t know any other way to say this stuff!)

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The final part that goes over the ground drags over the top of the bed to make it smooth. If there is time, sometimes they run this plow over the beds twice.

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008011Here, the tractor is going over the beds, and you can see the what they look like before in the foreground.

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The next step is laying plastic behind the bed knocker. Below all three implements are hooked to tractors in the field.

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Now we’ve bedded the land and flattened the beds. Next post: laying plastic!

Monday, April 25, 2011

This is it.

The last day. Tomorrow is the very last official day of nursing school class. I made it – with help from lots of folks! I have an NCLEX review course next week, and then I’m officially done.

But my work then begins again. I have to clean my house, catch up on weeks of blogging, clean my house, organize, file papers, declutter all of the flat surfaces in my house… the list goes on. And I should probably study too.

The most important thing? I’ve got this precious thing at home with me for a month before I start work.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First things first.

Admit that there is a problem.

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I don’t think she’s ready to do that yet.

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We obviously have a blanket problem too – you should see the bedtime ritual of setting all of the toys of the moment around the bed and covering up with at least 3 to 5 blankets (and I go back in there later and take all but one off).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cast and Catch

Blair and I went fishing yesterday right as the afternoon was getting late and the weather was getting iffy. There were some big bad storms forecasted for parts north of us, so it was pretty windy. Brad says that’s a good time to fish. I didn’t plan it that way – it was just one of those spur of the moment things – but he must have been right!

We usually go to the pond at the barn, but there were some people there, so we headed over to what we call the “big pond.” That’s what the field is called next to it as well. (If you haven’t experienced how farmers name fields so that they can refer to them when working, you can read my post about some of our field names.)

We got a bite within 15 seconds of casting – every single time!! I didn’t catch all of the ones that bobbed my cork, but I caught a few, and Blair caught her first fish!!

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After she reeled it in and touched it, she didn’t want to fish anymore. (I just couldn’t possibly leave when the fish were biting so well, so we stayed for a bit!) But she’s been asking to fish all day today!

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Brad even came by for a few minutes and grabbed my pole to see what he could reel in. He wasn’t quite as successful as me and Blair’s my Garfield fishing pole!

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Wow – this was the first time in a long time I had been fishing with the fish biting so well. We ended up catching somewhere around 15 in a very short time and took a mess home for supper. Brad was so sweet to clean them – I didn’t know how anyway – and Blair was a big help!

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Yum!

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Fried bream brings back memories of my family all piled up in my Grandparents’ single wide at the lake, making jello dough balls for carp fishing, and bream fishing in the little fishing hole the kids used. Another favorite part of going to the lake was getting these things that grew in water. They weren’t the foam ones – they were rubbery material, and we loved those things! I hope Blair will have good fishing and lake memories one day too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blair’s “Joke”

Several months back when she was learning her colors, Blair learned about red and green lights. Her Gigi always pointed them out when they were on the road to her house. “Red light” and “green light” quickly became “go green light” and “whoa/stop red light.” These have been popular for a while now, and I swear the child can see a red light from further away than I can!

It didn’t take Blair long to start teasing with her knowledge about lights, and I just realized that I guess this is her first little joke. Now she thinks it’s so funny to say “go red light!” And we have to say, “You don’t go on a red light” and she just smiles and laughs and then says, “WHOA red light.”'

She’s also doing this with my car. She knows what my car is and can point out cars that look like mine. Now it’s funny to her to point at a car, like in a parking lot, that’s not mine and say, “That mama’s car!” When we finally see my car, she’ll finally say “thaaat mama’s car” – so proud of herself for teasing me the first few times.

It’s so neat to see her little personality and sense humor developing! It reminds me of my brother Alex’s favorite joke when he was just barely older than Blair: Why did the little boy throw the clock out of the window? To see time fly!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seriously, just don’t talk.

My name is Ashlee, and I say too much.

I stink at people sometimes. Most of the time I’m great with people, and sometimes I really, really stink. I’ll give you an example.

“Sir, are you going to smoke all day?”

This came out of my mouth. Saturday. At the Masters. Seriously, why did I just not say that? Well, because my brain had really good intentions, and those intentions did not come out of my mouth. As usual.

Let’s back up a tad.

Brad and I and some friends of ours went to the Masters! It was a blast. The weather was beautiful, and we saw some great golf. And we laughed.

We ran a bit behind getting to the course, so we were in a rush to get our chairs into an appropriate spot first thing after we arrived. At the Masters there are galleries for patrons’ chairs, and they fill up quickly. I always try to get a good spot right off the bat, otherwise I end up standing and/or not seeing all day. We quickly picked a spot that looked great, and then I noticed that he man right next us had a cigar. My brain says: well, maybe this is the only one he’ll smoke…maybe he only smokes one a day…my Pop only smokes one a week. Yeah, I’ll just mention that to him.

This is when my brain should have said, no, DON’T EVEN OPEN YOUR MOUTH, just move somewhere else.

But it didn’t. “Sir, this may sound rude, but I’m really not trying to be…are you going to smoke all day? (This is the exact moment when I spot his girlfriend's menthols in her lap.) Great.

WHY? Why did I ask that? And I just blubbered along embarrassingly after that saying things I’m not even going to admit.

So I left awkwardly and found another place to sit. And we made fun of me for the rest of the day. And the man and his girl chain smoked for the rest of the day just down from us.

This just another great example of my big fat mouth – even after last week’s post about how I needed to stop saying things like that.

So obviously I’m not learning a thing about keeping my mouth shut and need to keep praying about this. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Honoring our Moms through Ronald McDonald House

In the past, some sort of plant has been a gift of choice for our mothers for Mother’s Day. Both of our mothers love plants, and a plant is supposed to last forever, right? Well, I know that I’ve been guilty of neglecting my Mother’s Day plants.

rmdhlogoThe proudest Mother’s Day gifts I’ve given were when we honored our mothers by giving to the Ronald McDonald House. The RMH of Central Georgia, where we stayed when Blair was in the NICU, does a Mother’s Day donation program in which we can sponsor a family for a night (or three!) in honor of our mother. They do a card that we gave our moms to tell them about the donation.

What better way to honor our mothers than allowing another mother to stay closer to her sick child for a night or two? I feel like that donation was one of the best gifts that we could have given. To accompany the donations, we also gave our mothers the RMH cookbook to further support the house.

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As a RMH family, we know the indescribable benefits of staying at the RMH. Even though I supported the RMH of Greenville, SC as an Alpha Delta Pi at Furman, I never realized the blessing that that place provides to families until we were there ourselves (twice!). Brad and also know the financial burdens of having a child in the hospital away from home. We spent an enormous amount of money just in gas for Brad to go back and forth from work to see me and Blair. I know from personal experience that just a night or two sponsored for these families means the world to them.

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So, we’re proud to support Ronald McDonald House Charities in honor of our mothers on Mother’s Day! You can find a local Ronald McDonald House at http://rmhc.org/!

And you’re saving your pop tabs, right?!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shoes

My mom says we’re creating a monster.

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I think she’s right.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adventures of a Farmer’s Wife: Plant Pickup

Last Friday Brad had one of those days… they didn’t have enough pollinator plants (more on this later) for one of the watermelon varieties and a water line at an employee house was busted with water running all over the place. On Brad’s dad’s first attempt to go get more plants, the trailer he was pulling broke a few miles from the barn because some part wasn’t put back on properly; then on his second attempt to pick up plants, he had a wreck. Thankfully he’s okay.

It worked out that I was available (I’m always willing, of course!), so Blair and I headed out to pick up the plants!

We hopped in Brad’s truck and made the hour drive to the grower. Their greenhouses were the first sign that we were in the right place!

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They had a place where they had some plants boxed up ready to travel.

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They loaded us up and tied us down! We had a full load!

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While all of the loading was going on this is what was going on inside the truck. (Notice the cheesits and the hoodlum-like expression.)

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Blair also practiced her photographic artistry.

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We had to make a pit stop on the way home… this girl can’t go to a big city and pass up Chick-fil-a!

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More watermelon posts to come… I’ve got pictures taken for a post about plastic and beds – watermelon beds, that is!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Big mouth… hurt feelings.

I got my feelings hurt today. I realized that a committee of which I’m supposed to be a part (the newest part) had a meeting today, and I wasn’t included. I found this out by chance as I was pushing Blair around town to do some errands.

It was like a punch in the gut. I was really hurt. And my paranoid self immediately thought that I had done something wrong to warrant being left out. You see, I do those type things sometimes… stick my foot in my mouth, say too much, give a suggestion when I should just bite my tongue, think my way is better… I could go on. Maybe I’m on the right track by at least realizing these things I do?

You know that confrontation thing I mentioned… well I really didn’t mean to confront anyone, but while walking today I saw a committee member, and it reminded me that I needed to ask when we were supposed to get started with some of this year’s projects. As I was saying hello and asking, more committee members arrived. Ooooh, this is a meeting? Then it was explained to me that they just thought I was too busy. I am, but I’d certainly like to be given a chance to say that. This was a group top which I was excited about contributing.

Maybe it’s true they thought I was too busy, or maybe I just showed them too much of my blunt self. I was a new member of an already established committee whose members had been together for several years. Maybe new folks aren’t what they need… or maybe it’s just they don’t need me! The thoughts that go through my head… I can quickly create a whole scenario about how I ruined something. I appear to be a really secure person, but that’s not always the case!

All I could think was that I offended someone the last time I suggested a way for something to be done. Brad says it doesn’t matter if what I suggested made more sense, sometimes folks just don’t want to hear it – and I can’t change them. He’s right. He says I need to learn to keep my mouth shut when what I say is not going to make a difference. He’s right. (Ahem. I just said my husband was right. Twice. This needs to be recorded. Well I guess it is – right here for everyone to see!)

I reminded them that I wanted to participate, so I guess we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’ll work harder on keeping my mouth shut.

Giant Strawberry Cake

I made a second strawberry cake and ended up the strawberries that Blair and I picked last weekend. This time I made the giant strawberry cake like Brad requested for his birthday last year – “this tall (indicated with his hands) and rectangular” were my instructions!

I use a modified version of my Strawberry Cake recipe to make this cake.

2 boxes white cake mix

1 (6 oz) box strawberry gelatin (or two 3 oz boxes)

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups oil

4 cups chopped strawberries plus 3/4 cup sugar, stirred

Chop strawberries and add sugar. Set aside. With a mixer, blend all other ingredients. Add strawberries. Pour into three prepared 11 x 7 baking pans. Bake at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes.

And instead of just a stick of butter in the icing, I use butter and cream cheese.

1 stick butter, softened

1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened

2 lbs powdered sugar, plus extra if icing is too thin

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar added

Mix butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium to high speed until fluffy. Add strawberries a little at a time, making sure that icing does not get too thin. All of the strawberries may not be needed. Add powdered sugar if icing is too thin.

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A note on the rectangular pans… I got mine for Christmas from my mom, and I just love them. Mine are Wilton.

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They make the prettiest two layer cakes that are easy to slice. And they’re a different look from the same old round cake. They’re worth it if you’re a baker!

Now go pick some strawberries and get to baking!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Get your grubby hands out of my kid’s mouth… a “tiger mom” story.

While we were in St. Pete, Dr. B kept calling me a tiger mom. I took it as a compliment. He was referring to my advocating for my daughter. I think all moms do this, and I’m no different from any other.

I just happen to be a little more… how should I say it… aggressive than others.

In the geneticist’s office we were called back by a Genetic Counselor and interviewed. We spent the better part of the 10 minute interview being “mmm-hmm”ed when we told him things that had NOT been done – a kidney ultrasound, hearing tests for me and Brad, and so on. (It may have been just me, but this guy seemed to think he was far superior than we were. I tell you one thing, I may have a southern accent but that does NOT make me dumb.)

When asking about Blair and inquiring about her teeth, the guy actually PUT HIS NASTY, UNWASHED HANDS IN HER MOUTH. Seriously? As he was asking about her teeth and reaching for her with his unwashed hands, I objected with “Are your hands clean?” He completely ignored me. And as he is touching Blair’s mouth, Brad objected with, “Sir, I just saw you wipe your eye with your hands.” What did the guy say? Nothing. Not one word. Not “sorry.” Not “you’re exactly right, I haven’t washed my hands since I put them all over my face.” Nothing.

Enter tiger mom.

As soon as the doctor came in I did not hesitate to tell her that her assistant did NOT wash his hands before touching Blair’s mouth to see her teeth. She explained that he usually washed his hands before he called the patient back.

Not good enough.

“Well he had just rubbed eyes before he touched her mouth, and that is not appropriate for a health care professional. And when we objected, he did not even acknowledge that we said a word.” She said she’d talk to him.

Not good enough.

So we talked to Dr. B who subsequently told the director of audiology. This, to me, may be good enough. I hope something is done about the situation. I was NOT happy. I did NOT want any germs in my daughter’s mouth and certainly not any from that man.

You may be thinking I’m crazy for being so upset about this, but we work hard to keep Blair healthy. I certainly don’t need any health care professionals who know better making our job harder.

You know, I think I was so shocked that it impaired my usual bluntness. Or maybe I’m finally growing up. The other me would have immediately confronted him with very firm but appropriate and not ugly words. And after the fact, I really wanted to go back over there and demand an apology. We were ready to get home though, so this man was spared. (This confrontation thing is sort of a problem I have.)

Now I guess I need to forgive and move on.

I would like to add that this was the only issue we had during our trip to the All Children’s Hospital. Everyone else was great. I just hope I don’t have to deal with any more geneticists.