Thursday, March 29, 2012


You always hear about the Texas tarantula, like it's as common as a mosquito. I've lived here all my life and never seen one...until today.

I was spreading leaves over my newly planted squash. We use leaves as mulch, and this year Nick got a huge pile of bagged leaves. I had been carefully pulling each bag from the pile, dragging it far away from me because I knew there were probably critters living within the nooks and crannys of the pile. I come to the end of a row, turn to get another bag and..."AAAAAAHHHHH! AH! AHHH!" It was right there.

A huge (well okay, not really huge, but none the less) tarantula!!! Furry and all, with mandibles twitching!

I was so freaked, I literally stood there trying to decide what to do: run, scream, panic. I briskly walked back to the house to calm down. Then I grabbed my phone and headed back out to take a picture. I'll admit, I was pretty much hyperventilating. But I got a good shot!

Of course, when Nick came home he had to go find and catch the beast to play with it. He tried to convince me that they only give a wasp-like bite, but he also didn't tell me how much the needle would hurt when we went to the dentist.

To make my day all the more adrenaline exhausting, I found a black widow on the front of our house not half an hour after the tarantula discovery. Oh joy.

Now my skin is crawling and every little bug (because we live in the country and bugs are everywhere) has me jumping on tables. And I never finished what I needed to do in the garden.

Ryder and I heading out to look at the spider.
(note, i had already had a long day of running and screaming so please excuse the look)

On the upside, we were given a new tree to add to our growing orchard (ha! no pun intended): a kumquat.

I don't recall ever trying a kumquat before, but this sucker came with fruit and boy is it quite the treat. hopefully it will do well here, we'll see.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First Strawberry

We have our first strawberry ripening on the vine! Nick left it on because it looked like it needed a little more time before we pick it. But how exciting! So looking forward to jam!

I also found that I have some watermelon sprouts popping up from last year. I guess I had enough melons that rotted to reseed - a lot. I have so many coming up, I don't know what to do with them. I'll be sharing some seedlings!

Coffee Sense: Salted Caramel Mocha

At this time, my favorite latte to order at Starbucks is the Salted Caramel Mocha. I have come up with a recipe that, to me, is exactly like it. It does require the Starbucks brand Toffee Nut syrup, to get that nutty flavor right. I tried Hazelnut, and trust me, it is nothing like the Toffee Nut.

Here's what you need:
Caramel Sauce
Toffee Nut syrup
sea salt

 And of course, milk.

Load your cappuccino maker like normal.

 In your mug, add 1 Tbsp each cocoa, Toffee Nut syrup, and caramel sauce.

 In your milk, add 1 Tbsp Toffee Nut syrup.

 Brew your espresso and froth your milk like normal. Add espresso to your mug, mix well.

 Add the milk. Top with caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coy Up A Creek

 We were out walking around Sunday, looking at our creek after the torrential rains. We were admiring the big waterfall, when Nick spotted a huge orange fish in the water! He ran to get his net and boots and waded into the water. He scooped it up in his net and ran up the bank to show Ryder and me. It turned out to be a coy fish, like one from a pond. Don't know how it ended up in our creek, but here are some pictures of it!

This is a view of the fish while it was in the water. Kinda blurry, but you can see the orange of the scales.

 A close up of the coy.

My first video uploaded. Nick thought it was a carp at first, but later looked it up and confirmed its identity as a coy. We were so excited!
By the way, Nick let the fish go in our pond, and most likely he traveled upstream.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Baby Foodie

Ryder has become quite the little food lover since we've started feeding him solid food. It was a little slow in the beginning, but soon he was eating it up. I've really had a good time feeding him different foods and coming up with combinations.

I'll admit though, I had no clue what was okay to start him with and what I needed to wait on. My mom found this awesome website that gives guidance on what foods are good at what ages, as well as how to prepare them. I prefer to feed Ryder instead of letting him feed himself. Frankly, I'm lazy and don't want to clean up a huge mess every time he eats, and I really don't think much food would make it to his mouth. My mom did the same thing; she fed us until we were old enough to use utensils or to know better about eating instead of playing with the food.

Anyway, I thought I would share this website because I really love it, and, from the looks of it, Ryder does as well!

Momtastic's Wholesome Baby Food

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dual Birthdays

I'm a little late posting this, but better late than never. My dad's birthday and mine are just a week apart, so we're usually celebrating near the same time. We were at Mom and Dad's for his birthday, and our place for mine. My grandma was in town visiting for Dad's.

Dad got to play with Ryder a lot, and this picture really captures how much Ryder looks like him when he smiles. Definitely one of my favorite pictures!

Mom made Dad's favorite, Strawberry cake.


Typical grandparents.

My birthday was pretty low key. My cousin-in-law (or whatever you would call her, she's family and a friend) brought her kids over and they came bearing gifts, literally. Cake, cupcakes, balloon, flowers, and cards. So sweet!

Mom got me some authentic from the '70's soup mugs with mushrooms on them. So me!

We had a good birthday season. My birthday was followed by a party where we had people over and enjoyed good food and a cool campfire. See my post about Blazin' Axes.

Spring Begins

Spring has come early this year and the plants are showing it! I'm really excited about my garden this year. We've obtained some good compost/manure that's been spread over the whole garden, and Nick's planning on building the rest of my terraced beds so it will look a lot nicer. We like to add new stuff every year, which usually means a trip to the nursery, but with spring starting so soon it's kind of too late to plant any trees.

I'm really getting into canning and making my own stuff, and that includes growing my own stuff. I couldn't resist trying to grow an avocado tree, and I'm really excited at how well it's doing.

 The stalk is about 5 inches, so another inch and I'm supposed to cut it back to 3 inches. That'll be hard when the little leaves are so pretty!

I've also started my milk jug seedlings, and they're working out really well. Of course, I haven't really tested the greenhouse effects of the milk jug yet because it hasn't really frozen since I've planted them. Everything has come up except my bell peppers and banana peppers, but that's not too surprising. Peppers seem to take a while to come up and they may want some more warmth.

 This is my first year to grow tomatillo from seed, and so far they've all come up and are doing well.

Our asparagus is coming up more and more now. It's our first year we can harvest, and we ate our first few spears last night. I'm shocked we can grow them so well in our solid rock iron soil, but they've made it just fine.

Our fruit trees are in full bloom. It's our first year to have a pear tree bloom, so maybe we'll get some pears this year!

 This is our first year to get blooms on this particular plum. The other plum tree is already losing it's blooms. Plums are coming soon!

 Ryder has fallen in love with animals now. Every time he gets around them he starts laughing out loud. Our garden shares a fence with the dog pen, and every time we go out to check on plants we have to go visit the puppies. He just laughs and laughs.

Our new addition this year instead of trees was strawberries. Even better, they were free. Nick's grandpa gave us his runners. About 50 feet of strawberries!!

 Some already have blooms! Looks like we might get strawberries this year. I'll have to post when I make my favorite jam, strawberry.

Spring has just begun, there's so much more to do and much more to plant in the future. Looks like a busy season in store! Hopefully the weather will cooperate better than it did last year. Pray for rain!