Saturday, May 25, 2019

How Our Garden Grows

The kids aren't the only ones around here growing. Look at our garden!!! Michael was inspired to start hydroponic gardening after touring Vertical Roots. We had to dismantle our old gardening space because of termites. As much as I find them fascinating, I don't want them anywhere near our house. They'd eat it! Also, we had lot of trouble with all sorts of worms and bugs eating our plants. Michael is an engineer so you can see the appeal of a system that you can control and regulate. There's a lot of information on it online but we are old school and like having books to consult. Hydroponic Food Production by Thomas Resh is the most comprehensive one we found. 

Michael set up an Aerogarden first (to start plants from seeds). Then he set up buckets and bags filled with pebbles that would support the plant and hooked them all up to a tank of water with nutrients and a pump that would cycle the medium several times a day (it's on a timer). He strung up line to which the plant can take support from as it grows. We are already harvesting cucumbers and squash and soon tomatoes and okra, maybe even eggplant. Obviously, we can't grow root vegetables in this system but having our garden on the porch keeps it safe from the critters. 

This system takes quite a bit of babysitting--the pH (acidity) has to be adjusted and now that it's hot, we have to add about 5 gallons of water daily to the tank due to evaporation. Every 2-3 weeks the medium has to be drained because the nutrients get used up. The expense has been about the same for this as building the fence/raised beds for the garden in the backyard. But playing with hydroponics has been a lot more fun and we think we can tweak the system to produce year round. We'll probably set up something indoors for the winter. 










  
 

We have another bucket system that's quick and dirty for the lettuce. Basically, you start the lettuce in the Aerogarden, then transfer it to a mesh cup that fits in the lid of the bucket. You prepare the medium, balance the pH, and let it be. The roots keep growing down as the water evaporates and you just cut the tops of the lettuce as you need them. You can set up a bucket every week for continuous leafy greens.  


Just like the kombucha brewing has become automatic that we no longer have to take notes, we hope our hydroponic gardening will become more automated. The only danger is that if the electricity fails, our plants could die--it's a risk we take with high-tech gardening. I love that Michael is willing to spend the time experimenting. I love all the fruits of his labor! On our walk the other day we saw these grapes growing--we might have to start our own to make some wine!


Monday, May 20, 2019

Growing, Growing, Gone


Here's Max having a last cuddle with Jules. Time seems to both dilate and constrict in relation to the kids. They are growing up so fast, we only have adults in the household now. And Max is already gone to WA for his internship at the Dept. of Education. I'll be very interested in what he learns there because I've spent quite a bit of time overseeing and supplementing our kids' education and coming to the conclusion that home-schooling might be superior than even Catholic schools. 


And here's my darling girl--18 now--I'd forgotten she always had a thing for coloring until this birthday card arrived from my dear friend Colleen (why yes, the Colleen in Bound is modeled after her and another friend!) I was so happy Max was here to celebrate her birthday and Mother's Day, too. We had trick candles for her birthday but she did manage to blow them all out after much smoke and sparkles and laughter! 






And here are the girls, all dressed up for prom. So lovely!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

My Most Beautiful Art

My daughter! A friend made this beautiful portrait of her (and yes, it will be framed!). She's been the best gift of all to us and also to her big brother. I have no words to describe all the emotions and longings of my heart...from the very moment we knew of her existence (I suspected I was pregnant while on a hiking trip with my girlfriend) I was in love. And how she's grown!!! Best of all, she is a beloved child of God. My dear Dagny, may God bestow all His blessings upon  you, grant all the desires of your heart, and make you a saint. I love you so much.   

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Winners

Everybody who left a comment on A Conversation with Michael Seagriff is a winner! Thank you, Michael. I know it will be a great blessing to each of you.

It's May and my Max is home from Ave Maria for a short time before he leaves for an internship in DC again. What a homecoming--the dog is deliriously happy but the cats are nowhere to be found.