Sunday, May 29, 2011

Project Garden: Building a Raised Bed and Compost System

Project Garden has kicked off with a bang!  Friday afternoon The Australians swooped in and tackled two projects that I have wanted to start on my own for a while but had no idea what to do: start a composting system and set up a small raised bed for vegetables. The greatest part is that we were able to use materials we already had and didn't have to spend a cent!  You can do this too for free, or at least very cheaply. 

Go ahead; don't keep putting it off like I did. 

As I watched my sister-in-law drill holes in an old trashcan I thought to myself, "Ok, I sooo could have done this.  What was I waiting for?" I just needed that extra push to actually start!  All she was take an old trashcan and drill 1/2" holes all over it (but not in the lid) so that the stuff inside could get some air to break down.  We set it up on some bricks so the bottom could airiate too.  Then we began filling it with all sorts of leaves, broken down twigs, grass cuttings, and newspaper to get it started.

Have I said that I feel like I'm on HGTV?  Because I do.  I'm so thankful that they are here to help me!

 While Carolyn and I worked on making a compost bin, Andrew used some old pallets that we had out by our shed to make the sides for our raised bed.  Literally he just cleaned them up a little and sawed them in half.  They are the perfect size and, again, free!

Carolyn had brought some vegetable and fruit scraps over to add to our compost.  I ran inside and grabbed the coffee filter and grounds from the morning's coffee and we broke down part of a cardboard box.  A system was born!  Now we just continue to add our daily fruit and veggie scraps, paper, egg shells, and coffee grounds together with our yard scraps and lovely composting soil will soon begin to form!  I'm so excited!  (Patrick has always told me that I'm easily amused...)

I wish I could crop myself out of this crazy picture.  The hair...oh, the hair.  It's so bad.  It was humid, people; and I had been working hard.  And I had not changed from the school day before all the excitement began.  Ok, enough about me... LOOK AT MY RAISED BED IN THE MAKING!
We are going to use a method called "No-Dig Gardening" because our soil is not so good.  Bascially we are going to layer and build on top of the soil.  The layers include newspaper, hay or straw, manure/fertilizer, more straw, and good potting soil on top.  We have already secured lots of newspaper (thank you, recycling bins behind Walmart) and manure (thanks to a friend with a few horses and a stable).  This week, I'm going to get some straw and start the layering and planting!

I already started a few herbs and lettuces in some containers with Carolyn's help.
 It's all coming together so nicely and I'm learning so much!

Friday, May 27, 2011

5 Years Ago Tomorrow

We nailed this thing down.

It was the smartest thing I ever did.

Happy Anniversary, babe!
You're the cheese to my macaroni.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

For Today.

After the Storm
by Mumford and Sons

And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.

I will die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I'll just go home,
Or God knows where.
Because death is just so full and man so small.
Well I'm scared of what's behind and what's before.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday is Modern Family Day!

On this Wednesday, I am looking forward to:

Hanging out with my kiddos at school

Getting caught up on my grading

Planting tomato plants

Prayer Meeting with my church family

Going on a run

Watching Modern Family

Laughing a lot

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Project Garden

The Australians have arrived!  We welcomed them to town Saturday night and met up with everyone for family lunch after church on Sunday.  I did not take pictures because I am lame-o.  But everyone will be in town for a while so we will get some good family shots one of these days. 

As promised, they have already come to my rescue on my dreams for a garden.  I have been paralyzed as to where to start.  I have collected a few containers, bought some potting soil and some random seed packets and that is all.  And it all just keeps sitting because I don't even know where to start. 

So in they came and we've already figured out that we can construct a small raised bed using a few leftover pallets out by our shed!  I've googled some tutorials and found this one and this one

They have also configured out a way I begin composting by using an outdoor trashcan we've already had and drilling some holes in it.  We can set up a little composting stall using the same pallets by the shed.  I am loving this because it's using things we already have!  Patrick is thrilled because he was worried I would spend a lot of money on this project.

Finally, and this is the stinky part, we are considering using a no-dig gardening method so we won't tear up what little grass we have.  This means we will have to have manure.  So when I say stinky, I mean that literally.  I have called my uncle with the amazing garden and he just happens to have a pile of manure just waiting for his own garden in the backyard which I am welcome to.  Lovely!

So things are coming together!  Tomorrow, after school, is a little work day on this project.  I promise to take a few pictures of our progress!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's A Wonderful Weekend

This weekend is the weekend to beat all weekends lately.
It has been, to say the least, a welcome change from the norm around here.

Last night, we went to dinner with a group of friends.  We ended up taking the party to a coffee shop so we could look at pictures from a recent trip.  It was a great time of catching up and talking and laughing.

This morning...are you ready?...I slept in!  Like until 10:00 slept in.  Patrick woke up at 11:00, which he does not consider sleeping in, but it's better than having to get up at 7:00 like we have had to do for the past three weekends in a row.

I made baked eggs for breakfast using this recipe and it was yummy.

Then we went to Kaitlyn and Shawn's wedding.  Kaitlyn was in our youth group when Patrick was a youth pastor a few years ago.  They are a couple who both love the Lord and seek to glorify Him in everything they do.  We are so excited to see what God has in store for them!
 And the groomsmen did a choreographed dance, which may have made my day.  People, this is why I coach cheerleading.  I live for choreographed dances.

 We caught up with the girls from our youth group who are now all grown up and off to college! 
It was just like old times.

We met my mom for dinner and then headed over to Lowe's to get some things we had been meaning to pick up.  We ran into a couple from church and ended up chatting for a good while.

And finally, we made it over to Patrick's parents house to welcome The Australians to town!

All of this and it's not even Sunday yet.
Looking forward to heading to church to worship with our Family tomorrow!

Happy Weekend!

Friday, May 13, 2011

This Kid.

I never expected when I started teaching
how much of my heart these kids would capture.
They all find a way
to work themselves in there
so that I begin to think of them as my own.
And then it's hard to say goodbye at the end of a long but somehow short year.

But this one.
This one I did not see coming.
Dustin was in my first class
three years ago.
He had a lot going on
He was a typical ninth grade boy
I had to fight him to get him to read a book
to write a paper
to share his answers.

But he fought his way into my heart.
He and his best friend
became my boys.
He announced at the end of the year that he was moving
and I cried.

I wanted to see him grow into a man
he would have been such a good one.
I wanted to see him walk across the stage and get a diploma.
He moved and we lost touch.
But I did not forget him.

I sat with his best friend two days ago.
He pulled up a chair to my desk after school
and told me that we lost Dustin over Spring Break.

He said, "Mrs. Herndon, he had so much going for him."
He had become president of FFA at his new school.
He was playing basketball.
He was going to college on a full ride scholarship.

Another teacher came and told me as well.
He wanted to make sure I knew.
"I wanted you to know because I knew how much he loved you."

And so, my heart is a little broken.
But it reminds me that what I do
is not really all that much about English and books.
But it is life and death.
It is loving kids
and letting them know we care.
It is sharing the good news and the hope that we have.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Today, Tonight, Tomorrow.

Today: I read Psalm 57 over my eggs and salsa for breakfast. I let the words God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth wash over me.  I went to school thinking about His lovingkindness and tried to show it to my students.  My goal for today was TO BE NICE.  Not that I am a mean teacher.  I don't scream or yell (most days), but I do get stressed.  And I often make things harder than they are.  So, for today, I tried not to panic when it seemed 10,000 kids were asking for my help.  I left students get a drink of water when they asked.  I let my silly ones tell their jokes and I laughed with them.  Some days this is easier for me than others.  I think it is the first child/overachiever/williamandmary/analretentive side of me that so often wins out.

Tonight: I left the dishes from dinner on the counter.  I ran 3 miles for the second time this week.  I listened to Mumford and Sons and loved the line It's not the long walk home that will change this heart, but the welcome I receive with a restart.  Such. A. Good. Song. I am now sitting in the floor in the middle of my living room, still in running clothes, reading some new, encouraging blogs and getting ready to watch Modern Family.  A good end to the day indeed.

Tomorrow: We have our first cheerleading open gym of the new season.  Did it ever end?  One season just seems to blend right into the next.  But it's Thursday!  And I have big plans for the weekend. You a movie on the couch and sleeping in and lunch with my mama.  Good plans.