Monthly Archives: September 2010

Keeping up with the Kids

Life has been very busy around here since school started.

All three kids are involved in multiple activities, which keeps me running around…a LOT.

Swimming

I have been going to high school swim meets to watch my daughter and her team compete.  I love the sport of swimming.  I never imagined that I would.  I knew nothing about swimming until three years ago when she started as a seventh grader.  It is so exciting to watch.  Who knew?

High School Football

I have also been going to high school football games on Friday nights.  I love watching football too.  Even if our team has not won a single game.  It has been a tough season.

I still enjoy watching #22.  He’s serious.  He’s determined.  He’s my boy.

He is also a senior, which means he will be graduating in the spring and leaving home. I often find myself thinking, “this will be the last ______.”  I know that is how things are supposed to work, but I am sometimes still sad about the whole process.

It was parent’s night at the last home football game.  The senior football players were introduced before the game, along with their parents.  We are so proud of this young man.

Middle School Football

My youngest also plays football.  His football games are after school during the week.  I have gone to watch him play too. He is very serious about football.  He will still stop and pose for a picture for his mother around his teammates.  I love that about him.  He even smiles!

It is hard for me to believe he is already in seventh grade.  Where has the time gone?

Piano

It is not just sporting events that take up all my time outside of working and sleeping.  I also get up bright and early on Thursday mornings to drive the youngest two kids to piano lessons before school and work.  It is the only lesson time that works because of their sports practice and events.  The early morning drive is worth it, however, because they enjoy playing and I love hearing piano music in my house.

Violin

On two other days of the week, I drive my daughter to the cities for violin lessons and her orchestra rehearsal.  All of her hard work practicing fills our house with music.  It will be very quiet in a few years when she leaves.  Those darn kids.  Why do they have to leave?

It is true that having three very active teens in the house certainly does make for a chaotic life.  But, although it exhausts me at times and even leaves me feeling a bit frazzled, I would not trade it for the world.  They are all happy, doing things they love and staying out of trouble.

What more could I ask for?  (Besides a nap.)

Lynell

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Fall around the Farm

Although the growing season is winding down around here, there is still plenty of activity going on outside.

The honeybees are busy collecting pollen from the blossoms of the mini-pumpkin plants in preparation for winter.

The morning glories have finally started blooming.  It won’t be long before the first frost around here, so I need to enjoy these beauties as much as possible over the next few weeks.

Even the shrub roses continue to offer some blooms to enjoy.

The Sedum is in full bloom.

The Pee-gee Hydrangea has taken on the rich pink hues of fall.

The Rudbeckia continues to push out some new flowers, but most of the blooms are becoming tattered.

The asters have just started to blossom.  The warm weather predicted for this week will likely encourage them to burst into full bloom.

Squash awaits harvesting on the vine.

And the leaves are changing.

No doubt about it, fall is here…which means winter is around the corner.  I am not a big fan of winter (especially here in Minnesota), so I am going to cling to the beauty of autumn as long as possible.

Lynell

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Caution: Pipeline Coming Through

We have a gas pipeline running through the north part of our property.  The gas company has a 40 foot wide utility easement along the pipeline.  We were completely aware of this fact when we purchased the property ten years ago.

The pipeline runs across our field and through the backwater area of the river, which is a combination of grassy swampland, brush and various sizes of trees.  It crosses the river and continues east through more woods.  The pipeline’s presence has never been of any consequence to us over the past ten years.  Until a few weeks ago…

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Frogs and Bees

The autumn joy sedum is in full bloom in the garden now, a sure sign of fall.  On warm days, it is absolutely covered with honeybees.  They love this plant.  Because Jesse is always trying to figure out what the bees are up to, he started checking the sedum daily for bee activity.

One day he found this little neon-green tree frog sitting on the sedum blossoms.  What a strange spot for a tree frog to hang out.  He grabbed the camera and took some pictures.

As he was taking photos, a honeybee happened to come along to work the blossoms.  He landed next to the tree frog.

The little frog didn’t seem to care.  He just continued to sit motionless on the flower.

Sedum, tree frogs and honeybees.  A strange combination, indeed.

Lynell

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Pumpkin Pictures

Life is crazy busy at the moment with fall chores and all the kid activities.  I decided to take a quick moment today, however, to post some pictures of our harvested pumpkins. Despite the mildewy mess in the pumpkin patch, we still have quite a few pumpkins for decorating and carving!

We tossed all the mildewy vegetation over the river bank instead of potentially contaminating our compost pile with the fungi spores.  The pumpkin patch is mostly cleaned up and ready for tilling this fall.

I also planted decorative mini-pumpkins this year.  The vines are growing on my garden fence and have been very prolific.

I have started picking these cute little things for decorating around the house.

After using 4-5 of them for decorating the dining table, I am at a loss as to what I am gong to do with the other fifty mini-pumpkins.  Any ideas?

Lynell

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The Mildewy Pumpkin Patch

Growing pumpkins.

It is not as easy as one would think.  I discussed in a previous post all the issues we’ve had with growing pumpkins in the past.  Last year was our first successful growing season.  Encouraged by our success, we grew pumpkins again this year.

Our pumpkin patch looked beautiful and healthy earlier this season.  The plants were robust and filled with blossoms.

The weather, however, turned hot, humid and soggy during late summer.  It seemed like overnight, the pumpkin patch turned into this powdery mildew mess.

Powdery white spots appeared all over the leaves and eventually covered many of them.  The severity of the infection started causing the vines to wither and die.

The good news is that there are several ripe pumpkins hiding under the disgustingly infected leaves.

Powdery mildew is caused by a fungus.  My challenge for next year will be to try to catch this sooner if it reappears and apply a fungicide and dispose of the infected leaves.  Spacing the plants further apart to help with air circulation might help too.

The thing with gardening is that just when you think you have something figured out, nature throws you a curve with weather, insects, disease, etc.  Gardeners are stubborn though, and this minor setback in my pumpkin patch will not deter me from trying again next year!

I’ll post pictures of the pumpkin crop soon!

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Rudbeckia and My New Lens

I bought a new lens (Tamron 70-200mm/ 2.8) a few weeks ago to try to capture some better pictures of my kiddos at their sporting events.  Over these past weeks, I have taken hundreds of pictures trying to get the feel for the new lens.  I’m not convinced yet.  The return policy is within 30 days and I am facing that deadline in about 10 days.

I called to talk to the technical people at the store yesterday to ask about some of my problems with the lens.  The kind gentleman was very honest and told me it was most likely a combination of my “older” Nikon D40 (It’s only 3 years old!!!) and what he called, “the operator.”  I managed to stay calm, mostly because I knew he was right.  I’m still learning all this photography stuff and this fancy schmancy lens might just be too much for my “outdated” camera and my fledgling ability.

Nonetheless, I took the lens outside today to try a few more shots.  I tried shooting in a variety of modes, settings, etc.

The Rudbeckia is blooming in the garden and I thought these two shots turned out nice.

The low aperture setting allows some nice depth of field effects.  I did a little editing to them in Photoshop Elements:  cropping and running Pioneer Woman’s soft and faded action.

The final test for the lens will be over the next two evenings at an indoor swim meet and a Friday night football game.  If I still can’t manage to capture some good shots after talking to my friend at the camera store, I might return the lens and try something else.  Any suggestions?

This photography stuff is fun, but frustrating.

Lynell

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