May 26, 2021

Flower Arranging Class

I was asked to teach a flower arranging class to the young women of our church.
I was delighted! My oldest daughter helped every step of the way.
We were planning for 15: 12 girls and 3 leaders. My budget was $130, of which I spent $107. Yeah!

We bought flowers from Costco and Safeway for this one.
Costco provided us with mini carnations, mixed mums, and large spider mums.
From Safeway, we got lilies, roses, some bigger carnations, and snapdragons.

We cut a whole bucket of vetch from the dunes, and some other greenery just from around our yard for that, so we didn't spend any money on the greenery.

Each girl made an arrangement in a pint jar. I provided flower food, and a laminated "recipe card," along with clippers, and a large vase or pitcher at each place to put their flowers in while they were working. (Some of the supplies were brought by the leaders as well.)

After we bought the flowers, we got them home and prepped them all--removed plastic sleeves and lower leaves, re-cut stems and put back into water.

It was great having buckets of flowers in my garage and car again!

We had a lot of fun at the class itself.
I think the girls enjoyed it as well.

I will add in the recipe we came up with, once I track it down. I can't find where we saved it at the moment. We had laminated cards for them and everything!

May 20, 2021

Flowers for Friends

 Sometimes it's fun to pretend that I'm still in the farmer florist business. 
Coming out of a rough week, I needed some flower therapy!
My husband took the kids--school, swimming, other fun stuff--and I had a flower day!

My older daughter and I went out first thing in the morning and cut wildflowers on the dunes: lupine and vetch. It was cool and misty--perfect flower cutting weather! 
Not sure if that's actually allowed, but no-one stopped us.

Then I bought flowers from a couple different stores.
I came home, processed them, and put them all into 5 bouquets--just wrapped with paper.
It seems that it's easier to give flowers away if they're not all fancy in a vase.
Or I should say--it seems like it's easier for other people to accept a gift of flowers if it's not done up all fancy, for whatever reason. So, paper-wrapped. Check.

Filled up 2 buckets with my bouquets. 
It made me really happy to have buckets full of flowers again!

This time I didn't really find a bigger flower to be my focal, so I went with the green hydrangea, filled in around the sides with alstromeria, mums, mini carnations, tulips, and snapdragons. Then I put the lupines and the vetch around the outside; I really liked the little bit of wildness that they added.
I was so happy with the way they turned out!

Top view.

I took them to 5 different ladies that I'm becoming friends with, or hoping to become friends with. :) 
I had the time to stay and chat, so I did at a couple of the stops.
It was such a good day.
Flowers + friendly connections = healing for my soul.

My husband and kids were home before me. They had a good day too.
Swimming, a new 3-D movie at the museum, and lunch from the taco truck.

May 16, 2021

Garden Update

 I haven't taken very many pictures of our community garden plots, because so far they are still full of tiny seedlings and weeds, which don't make for very good pictures. I'll get some the next time we go over and add them to this post.

I'm happy to report that our gardens are coming along! 

We have been asking around as to when is the best time to plant warm-weather stuff, like tomatoes and peppers. Everyone has said around Mother's Day, which--as you know--was last week.

So even though the weather has been almost identical every day since the first of May (60 during the day, 48 at night), we waited until this past week to go get our plants. Truthfully, we've been busy with other things too, otherwise we would have just gotten them in earlier!

We put in 4 varieties of tomatoes: Sweet 100, Oregon Spring, Black Krim, and Roma. I still want to look for Sungold, as those are my favorite. Another tip from the locals: the tomatoes that do the best here are the smaller, earlier varieties, because it just doesn't get very hot during the summer. 

They put marigolds between the tomatoes. We didn't get any peppers, which was an oversight, so we may be going back this week and looking for peppers to plant.

Meanwhile, the yard-long cucumbers are finally start to sprout some true leaves, and the cantaloupe, gourds, and mini pumpkins are trending in that direction, as well.

You get two pictures of the carrot patch.
This is what we're sorting through to find the actual carrot seedlings!

I think we've finally figured out which seedlings were carrots, too, which is a big breakthrough. We've had so many weeds coming up, many of them "gifts" from neighboring garden boxes that let their plants go to seed over the winter, that we've had an interesting time figuring what's what. 

In amongst the carrots that we planted, we also have had volunteer fennel, cilantro, swiss chard, and lettuce coming up. Plus all the ones we know for sure are weeds. Oh, and something bright pink that we think might be either a type of spinach or possibly kale. 

The kids transplanted all the cilantro into one little patch, to give our carrots some more room.

Adam's spinach patch is looking good, too, and starting to produce some edible leaves.
He's reluctant to thin it, however, so not sure how big they'll get.

The peas are getting tall and sort of climbing up the trellis.

Over in the flower box, my bachelor's buttons are doing fantastic.
I've thinned them a couple of times, but now I'm just letting them grow a bit crowded.

I was excited to find 'Madame Butterfly' snapdragons for sale at the nursery, so I bought three 6-packs, and planted them out in a block right next to my bachelor's buttons. This is the type of snaps I had last year, and I loved their frilly, open faces. They're a mix of colors.
Here you go--I found a picture of last year's.

The snapdragons were all about 10 inches tall, and I gave them the chop--cut them off to just above the lowest sets of leaves. It will set them back by a couple of weeks for bloom time, but instead of one main stalk, I'll get 4 or 5 per plant. It's hard to pinch them when they're doing so well, but it will be worth it!

I've got cosmos coming up next to that, and I'm still waiting on zinnias to pop up. 
I'm not sure it's been warm enough for the zinnias to come up yet. In warm weather they will sometimes pop up in 3 days--it's been 10 so far and no sign of them yet. They're sulking.
So in the picture are all volunteers: potato plant, swiss chard, lettuce, and something else.

Oh, and I bought 6 dahlia tubers from a roadside stand and put them in on the end of the box (behind the parsley there in the middle.) 
I'm actually really excited for those! 
They haven't come up yet either.

If I have any extra room, or things don't come up, I'm going to fill it in with sunflowers. 
I'm looking forward to having a box full of color and beautiful flowers!

May 11, 2021

Beautiful Rhododendrons

The rhododendrons in our backyard have been slowly opening up, and they are just gorgeous!
I'm usually not a big fan of the lipstick pink, but what can I say--this tree/shrub is rocking it!
So, so beautiful. 
They don't have scent, which is probably just as well. It would be overwhelming!

Just starting to open.

Peeking out from the side yard.

May 1, 2021

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team, by Christina Soontornvat

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team, by Christina Soontornvat 

* 2021 Newberry Honor
* 2021 Robert F. Sibert Honor

5 stars: Excellent writing, on this incredibly high-interest topic. Very well done.

I remember when we first read the news articles about the Thai boys' soccer team that was trapped in a flooded cave. We were riveted, and horrified. From then on, we searched out any articles we could find and eagerly read the latest news and attempts to rescue them. We prayed for them as a family, every day. We were so worried about them. When we heard about the successful rescue, we were so happy and thankful. 

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew we needed to get it. I was not disappointed! I read it first, in one sitting. Then my oldest two children took turns reading it. This had all the answers to the questions we had asked each other those long months ago. It filled in the details that the news story didn't know or didn't share. It had pictures and background information on the boys, their coach, the rescuers, and other pivotal people involved. We learned how the cave flooded so quickly and why they couldn't just wait until the water drained away. We learned how they survived, physically and mentally, for so long. We learned about the rescuers, including the Thai Navy Seal who lost his life in the cave.

The sheer number of people involved in the operation was incredible to read about, especially all those who took it upon themselves to help in any way they could, with no thought of reward. And the way they finally came up with to bring them out, sedated. It was truly a miracle that it worked.

It was everything I could have hoped for in a book about this incident. We are going to buy this book for our own library. 

* * * * *

Were you as invested as we were in this story? Have you read the book? If so, what were your thoughts?