Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting Good Use Out of the Place

My oldest son turned 5 June 15th. We gave him a "big boy bike", which he is working hard on learning how to ride. It won't be long and before he'll ride sans training wheels and will be able to cruise all over the place. He'll get good use out of those knobby tires!

Ashley constructed a massive slip-n-slide in the backyard for the party, which was enjoyed by all of Levi's cousins and friends. When we were building the house, I mentioned that we had an unfair advantage because we immediately had a landscaped yard, thanks to Ashley's line of work. His work with irrigation came in handy for the slip-n-slide project, too: he rigged up three irrigation heads on stands to provide the water stream. 

We used our side yard as the supper and sweets location--it worked out perfectly, thanks to mild weather (little humidity). We've never used the parking side yard much (favoring the front, back and garden side yards) but after having the party there, we'll use it more. Debbie, Ashley's mom, is helping me dream up ways to create more of a room feel (think arbor, picket fence, and more plants). Oh the party's theme was construction (in case you notice the caution tape everywhere). 

The fort got lots of use, too!

Back to the blackberries...stinkbugs have been a BIG nuisance. 

Notice how the berries have white spots? That's where the evil stinkbugs injected their "poison". Yuck.

Never fear, I have waged a war against these pests...flicking them into a bucket of soapy water. And I continue to harvest around 2 gallons of blackberries a DAY. 

Last week I made blackberry jelly for the first time. Here are the berries getting ready to be juiced.

Then squeezing the berries and putting the juice in a jar. Jellying is a lot of work!

 This past Saturday we had an unwelcome visitor...while my friend Sandra and I were enjoying our lunch in the dining room, our heard our dog barking. I went outside and discovered this HUGE snake. I called my father-in-law, who came over and took care of it (we can't have snakes like that roaming about when we have chickens). Good riddance!

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