Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Fruits of our Labor

 "Build ye houses and dwell in them; and plant gardens and eat the fruit of them;" Jeremiah 29:5

This month marks two years since moving into our home in Illinois.  First of all, it flew by.  Two years of homeschool, "big time gardening", new friends, and new adventures for our family.  It's been amazing and we have really enjoyed living in this part of the Midwest.

We made it a priority to plant as much as we could that first summer.  From apple trees, to grapevines, to blueberry bushes, to even rhubarb and strawberry plants.  I wanted to share the progress.  Everything is doing amazing and producing fruit this year.  I am so excited to finally enjoy some of the "fruits of our labor":

Strawberry Plants
Last year, I lost a lot of my strawberries due to the drought, but this year a few came back and I was excited to see a few strawberries for the first time.  I planted a few more plants this year to fill in where I had lost some.
This is my first season to finally have some rhubarb.  We enjoyed some rhubarb crisp over the holiday weekend. 
Blueberry bushes
Raspberry Patch
I planted about 40 new raspberry plants (which were given to me by a neighbor and friend), and started a whole new patch around my picket fence.  They are all doing very well, and I think it will be a lovely place for a raspberry patch.
Cherry trees
Apple Orchard
We have 16 apple trees so far, and are hoping to add a few more this year.  They all are full of buds and I'm so excited, even if the harvest is small.  Last year we had half a dozen apples and this year, we should have a few dozen.  I know each year will produce even more, so I get excited with each passing year.
This grapevine has very special meaning to me.  It may not look the prettiest, but whenever I look at it I remember when I planted it 9 years ago in northern WI.  I remember the first time we had grapes and my "little" kids and their tiny hands, picking the grapes and eating the sweet fruit.  This grapevine has come with us wherever we moved.  It has been from Wisconsin, to Iowa, to Indiana, and now in Illinois, where it is finally again full of clusters!
This is one of my favorite and most decorative.  It is along the front walkway into our home and is just full of beautiful clusters.  One thing I have found to work very well is coffee grounds.  Every single morning we mix our coffee grounds with water and pour it all over and around  the grapevines.  We also do this with our blueberry bushes.  It has been a wonderful, natural fertilizer and the plants are so beautiful and lush!
This has been a good lesson for the kids, to see that it takes hard work, patience and diligence, but in the end, the reward is great!
♥  Shannon
(all photos were taken by my talented daughter Molly)


Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

What can I say, it was a great day/weekend.  My mother and sister and kids came to visit.  My husband cooked and cleaned for everyone ALL weekend.  Friday night, our family performed for a Mother Daughter Banquet at a local church.  Saturday evening we had company for dinner followed by a Sunday, Mother's Day brunch at church.  I am realizing more and more, just how blessed I am, and I don't want to take it for granted ever. 

And lastly, it wouldn't be a Mother's Day without a dandelion bouquet...

♥  Shannon

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Catching up!

I've been SO busy, as I'm sure most are, this time of year!  So I wanted to do a quick post of what has been happening at our house.  It's exciting times as spring brings with it so many beautiful things.  The first excitement of spring is always baby kittens!

Our mama cat had four babies, and so far they are all doing well.  The kids LOVE this addition and play with them as much as they can. 

Molly is such a great photographer and loves to take pictures of these adorable kittens.  While we are on the subject of Molly and her photography, she had some exciting news as well!  She one 1st place, for the second year in a row, in the Whiteside County Conservation Photography contest.  AND, she won best overall photo, and is going to the state competition!  This contest is for 1st through 12th grade, so that was a big accomplishment, since she is only in 8th grade!  Here is her winning photo:

It's always exciting times, when we start planting the garden.  We had a rainy weekend, but were able to squeeze in just enough time, to get the garden rows lined up, and even planted some potatoes, lettuce, carrots and 500 onion bulbs.  I'm hoping this weekend, we can attempt to finish it up!

Me and the girls also enjoyed a Mother Daughter Banquet at our church this weekend.  It's always a fun time and I feel so blessed to have 3 beautiful daughters.  We had fun doing pictures before we left.  Of course Molly was the photographer (for most of them)

Me and Marykate had matching hair for the day and it was fun!  Especially since she was still young enough to want to match her mom :)

The weather has been beautiful this week and we are enjoying our days outdoors, as much as we can.  We are taking many walks down to the creek, which Abe loves, and I have been hanging clothes on the line whenever I can.  We are also enjoying our time in Wisconsin and have been taking lots of walks around the wooded neighborhood. 

I think our absolute favorite thing about spring is bringing out the grill.  Brent is excellent on the grill and loves to cook for us on the weekends.  We usually grill on Saturday, and make enough for Sunday's lunch.  It makes Sunday so much more enjoyable, when lunch is already prepared, when we get home from church.  I can't wait until we have fresh veggies from the garden to go along with it!
These are just a few of the reasons, why I LOVE Spring!
♥  Shannon