Weather you like it or not
I visited with Wendy this weekend and she noted she hadn't seen the pictures we took during Ernie Mason's celebration of life. I put together a basic slideshow of the images I had from that time in case anyone wants to look at them. Link here (opens in a new window)
A Raspberry Pi is a small computer. I like to think of it as a development platform. I had an idea that one of those computers helped me realize. My idea was that I could make a picture frame and put it on the wall and have that picture be worth more than a thousand words, as they say. I wanted to have something like the newspaper in the Harry Potter movies where the images were essentially movies. So I did that. Below is a quick overview of how the project looks now. I don't feel it is complete, but close enough to get a feel for the idea. The video that is playing is a live feed from a restaurant on Tybee Island Georgia named AJ's Dockside Restaurant. They have a webcam set up that looks out over their dock and offers a view of Little Tybee Island as well as Tybee Creek. To me, this is serenity, and below is how I decided to capture that. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Tennessee is in pre-spring mode and with a vengance. It seems Mother Nature has gone on vacation and left one of her step-sister's in charge. Said step-sister sucks at her job. We've hit highs in the low 80's and lows in the teens this month. Heat wave one week, Arctic Chill the week after, another few days of cool rain, now warm rain, some more rain tomorrow and then more cold followed by mid 50's-60's. That Groundhog did say Early Spring this year and it looks like he was right. Somehow I think, since winter was a warm wash-out, spring will be cold, it'll be grey and it'll last you the rest of your life. Curl up with a book or a good movie and settle in for the roller coaster ride!
I hope soon we will have more things to update with but for now, this is it.
Changed the website from what the code was running on to what it is running now.
Desi, Amaya and Autumn rolled in last Saturday night (18th) and boy did we stay busy. We couldn't really afford to take them a lot of places because we were saving for Wednesday night where we had rented the local Drive-In so we could watch the movie RV with family and friends. We had a huge downpour of rain at about 5pm though and had to cancel. Even with movie night a bust we took the girls out to dinner instead and had a great time.
Through the week though, Jenny made tons to eat. She told us what she'd like to make and we'd go get it for her. Between that and making about 5-6 batches of cookies over the week for all the kiddies, she's worn out. John took Dez to Burgess Falls State Park and they took pics there. Autumn and Noah were in the pool every day and we took the girls skating twice in two different counties. :D They had to head back on Thursday morning the 23rd.
Seth and Sid were over on Friday. I took Seth back over to where Tif works after noon because they had to go to a dental appointment for Seth's root canal. Tif came back for Sid later.
We had the King family reunion yesterday and it was a blast but we're exhausted. We had a frozen pork loin in the freezer so we did it up for the occasion. Dad brought in a box of peaches for us and a box for Tif. We get her peaches. :p Only 4 of the elder King's are left and it was wonderful to get them all together again. I saw family I knew and some I didn't but that's the point of these things right?? :D John was the uber photographer. He put it on continuous and took tons of pictures.
As for our garden, it is overgrown and weedy. Well more grassy than weedy but still...a mess. We've had fewer blueberries this year than last year for sure. We got some grapes this year though. John made blueberry jam and grape jelly. We even managed to salvage a bag of blackberries for the freezer to use later. The garden so far has given us about 6 green peppers and started some tomatoes. We got 18 the first day and more are ready today. We're going to can them all if we can. They didn't do so well this year so we may only get this shot at it and they'll be done. I've never known tomatoes to be so weird. We started these from seed in April and they're just now giving tomatoes. The cucumbers are coming at about 6 or so per week. We're covered up in them. I don't think we plan on pickling any but Tif might if we send some her way. We have some beans but many plants died from excess water.
Today seems clear so John and I are working up some peaches for canning. I get the feeling we'll fly through all those jars we saved :p
The Mennonites have been getting corn so I'll probably head that way tomorrow to get some to freeze. Anyway, busy busy, so hope you are all having a wonderful summer and CLICK HERE FOR SUMMER PICS!
January kind of flew by. The kids were home until January 5th. So I started coming up with new ideas of things to sell in my @HomeNinja shop for geeks and for Valentine's Day. I have a few Pokémon items in the shop now. (Even at 14, Thor still enjoys that stuff.) I also did some flower rings, black and white baby sneakers, yellow and white baby sneakers, pink and white flip flops and a heart bookmark. Whew.
My dad, Roy, has been unwell for a while and finally ended up with a visit to the hospital. He has several pending issues and they could not do surgery on a hernia that is, at this point life threatening, until they take care of other issues. As of yesterday though, any infection has cleared up with antibiotics, he still refuses anything for pain, he has a heart murmur and they have done EKGs, Echos, Halter Monitor and really everything they can do and are awaiting results to see how he will fare in surgery. They will call him this coming week with more information on that and hopefully set a date.
I've been looking for work to make things ... not so tight around here. Of course no one is really hiring anything except factory (2nd/3rd shift) and truck driving but something will come up. John has a second job working from home doing website work but it's going to be a monthly pay gig and only when he has time to get the work in. :) We also received an order for a table, custom, and she paid up front for the wood. In the past 14 days, John has labored 12 of them to cut, sand (three levels of sanding so takes ages), stain and varnish. I've been able to help with the last two. We're doing the top over the next few days so it should be done by next weekend!
The end of January and beginning of February brings us Thor's big concert in Mount Juliet. He was the only White County student to attend the Freshmen Honors Choir. He was selected in September and had his concert on Jan 31st. He practiced with 50+ other students for the entire day and the concert was that evening. Al and Pat came and bought Thor a Tshirt and plaque that was available for him.
This month, so far, I've started making bunny slippers for little ones. Yesterday we attended the birthday party for Seth and Sidney. Tif made an awesome Minecraft cake! Yup that's it above. All those pics are included in the new image folder for 2015. Expect great things in there. :D
We've had some ice and we've had some snow. We're all safe and sound. Tif had a power outage for about 3 hours a couple of days ago but as far as I know they are good. They have the fireplace and lots of wood. :)
We had a tree come down toward the end of the driveway yesterday. John and I went out there with a couple of simple saws and hacked at it until we got the top off. John pulled it with the Jeep to the open area by the end of the driveway and we can at least get through. Snow this morning, still have power, still safe :D Lots of pics though. They are the ones that are numbered or you can sort by date.
The sun is out a bit now so we should melt off some. I also included a pic of the picachu I made for Thor's lady, Kasey, and I think I included the fish that had 23 babies last night. For now, here's the ice, click it to go to the pics directory.
Since it's not yet Thanksgiving but after Halloween I figured it's time for some photos. Here's what we've been up to. Moose has a lady friend again. A couple of weeks ago she was in heat so we saw lots of her and Moose hated that they didn't get alone time. She's a pretty little neighborhood pup. Click a pic for more images, sort by date and these are Nov 19th uploads.
We also had some friends over this month! Yay! The Cook's came over for a visit. Earnie and Leila have 5 girls, this is Earnie, Lauren, Taylor and Sophia. They needed a break from just sitting at the Howell House (Leila's parent's place, they were in between houses atm) and we fed them and gave the kids a place to run and play with a couple of boys. :p Thor stayed on the first floor with Hannah and Kasey playing every video game they could find that was both anime and lame. :D Of which I'm sure we have plenty.
Noah has been reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He reads 20 minutes a night for school. Once he gets through these we'll start him on something less "graphic novel" and more "read to enjoy the story" of it all. :) Parent Teacher Conferences were yesterday and Noah, while he still has work to do, is doing okay. He has GOT to focus and he has GOT to start using his book for the exams that are OPEN BOOK. sigh. For now though, proof the boy reads. :D
John made this absolutely gorgeous island/cart! It's the same height as the counters. It's got 2x4 base with bottom, 1x3s for the middle shelf and butcher block paint grade edge glued panel for the top. Thick outdoor white paint for the exterior, amber colored shellac for the middle and top. One hook on one end and a paper towel roll with 4 super heavy duty castors on the bottom, two lock. This one is a gift but we hope to have enough lumber left over to do another and maybe start making more later.
Last but not least, Katie had her baby! Zaydahlyn Mae was born November 7th, 9lbs 5oz. Here is Kate and little Zayda wearing the owl hat I sent, I'm glad it fit :)
Jenny is up there with her now and they're trying to get moved into an apartment. Kate, Dimitri and Zayda are going great. :)
Dez and the girls arrived on Sunday the 13th and stayed with us through Friday the 18th when they headed out at 4am to head back home. It had been so long since we had seen the girls. I think the last time we saw them was around 4 years ago when we lived in Lancaster.
The girls arrived early enough the first night that we had time to get them unloaded, have dinner and play/relax a while. We didn't pull the camera out until later in the week because, honestly, we were enjoying ourselves and I had totally forgotten. We think it was the first night that John set off several fireworks for the kiddos to enjoy. One of them did not go high enough in the sky and gave the adults a bit of a fright but the kids thought it was the greatest thing they had ever seen and wanted more. :p After fixing the tube all other fireworks were way up in the sky, where they should be. I have some pics of the July 4 firework display John did for us but did not bring out the camera for this one. Somehow I've misplaced those but will find them and upload some.
Jenny spent quite a bit of time over at our house with her girls. Autumn and Amaya were so excited to see her that they also spent a lot of time at her house too. It helped pass the time for all 4 kids awaiting the arrival of yet another batch of cookies or cupcakes. :D Jenny also managed (with a house full of kids either chatting or watching My Little Pony episodes) to make a heap of bread and butter pickles. Dez, Autumn and Noah helped me pick another gallon of blueberries, which brought us up to two gallons. No worries, we had them for every breakfast and sometimes with desserts. The girls took the remainder home for snacking and to have once they got there.
While they were here Autumn and Noah played in the pool all day, Thor and Amaya played lots of Mario Kart Double Dash or were upstairs where Amaya played the Sims 3 with Pets and had horses and a cat. Dez and I crocheted a lot too. She's started a beautiful blanket! I made a couple of small things for the kiddos to take home but it reminded me I should do that more often. John grilled up lots of hotdogs and spent mucho time with his sis. We took the girls to Rock Island and got some really fabo pics. I have put the best ones up here. I've also put that link under the photo so you can click that too. I would have renamed the pics to better describe but then they'd be out of order. :p We greatly enjoyed the visit and hope you guys enjoy the pics as much as we do. :)
Though it's hard to tell from the photo this is a glorious garden. John keeps the pathways through the rows looking low and spiffy, as well as short around the garden. Everything is growing quickly now!
On this end we have the banana peppers (left) and acorn squash (right). The next row on the left is Carrots and an empty spot for more carrots but we didn't fill that one so it's empty. Next row, Cucumbers and beets. Watermelons and many many tomatoes, then more peppers, basil and cilantro and celery. Next down is a big beefy tomato plant and tall lettuce that's mostly gone to seed and more tomatoes. Lastly is zucchini and bell peppers. mmmmm. On the far right we have pole beans and on the row that looks like a walkway is peas but they didn't like the overwhelming amount of rain recently and seem to have mostly died. Somewhere in there we also have onions that didn't want to grow. Way back on the left are the forever bearing blueberries, the huge bushy tree in the center is the peach tree that did not bear fruit and on the right are 2 apple trees.
John has been making heaps of JAM out of the berries we've picked. We're up to 19ish pints of blueberry, 6 pints of blackberry and 3 quart jars of blueberry jams. Zucchini we've made about 4 total loaves of zuke bread, 8 mini loaves, 24 mini muffins and 9 quart bags containing 2 cups each of shredded zucchini for later bread making. And we get at least 2 if not 3 zukes a day coming off those plants so we're going to have to start blanching and freezing in halves and slices...or come up with more people to take some of these freakin things.
For more pics of our garden you can head over to the Garden Pic List and sort by date. 7-7-14 are the ones from this week so they're most recent to this point. We also have to stick in a pic of Moose hanging out in the dill watching the gardening action. You can see more puppy pics over at his puppy pic list too.
Thor's birthday was yesterday, the 20th, and he is a whopping 14 years old now. Two more years and he'll be old enough to work and drive *begin chest pains now*. Thursday evening we had invited his girlfriend over for some game and "Thor time". They started seeing one another the last week of school but have only talked on the phone since. Thor said it was what he wanted for his birthday gift. How sweet is that?? ;)
Thor and Emily played video games and had dinner with the fam Thursday night, Friday we had Seth, Sid and Daxter over for the day and they all played games and jumped in our lil pool, today's plan is to have two of Thor's friend's over for the night. Thor has received money and cards from a few relatives, lots of birthday wishes online on FB and we got him two dance games, a book/DVD on how to play guitar and guitar strap that says Thor on it. I'm pretty sure it's been a darn great birthday for him.
As for the rest of the place, things here are going really well. The garden is nearly in full swing. The lettuce is all but gone for most of the plants due mostly to the storms a week or so ago that soaked the ground to the point they all uprooted themselves. We made cages around the tomatoes this week and put those on. John and I have picked roughly 8-10 zucchini and our first tomato from the vines. The dill is wild and waist high, the beans are running up the poles and the peas have already sprouted some babies. Our beets are about an inch in diameter, carrots have small but defined tops, squash is growing fast, celery is getting tall tall and we have our first banana pepper. The onions kinda pooped out. We think the seeds were just not good. We're working on a plan b though. So far it's the zucchini that keeps us on our toes. My uncle had this to say :
"Watch the pretty plants grow and bloom a few days/week or two. Watch the the fruit grow hourly. Get your first finger sized fruit and enjoy. A few hours later get your first fist sized fruit and enjoy, put some in the refrigerator to eat later. The next day start harvesting the arm sized fruit and store that in the refrigerator to eat later. START CALLING ALL YOUR FRIEND AND ACQUAINTANCES and offer to deliver zucchini to them. Be careful from now on trying to walk near the plants because you will be tripping over the body and leg sized fruit you missed harvesting a few days ago. Start sneaking up on your friends houses and leaving 40 pound bags of zucchini on their porches in the night because they stopped taking your calls."
Well that just about sums it up. If you've not heard from us recently and you find a 40 lb bag of green things on your porch, blame it on veggi ninjas. :)
Ah the last day of June. Noah's birthday is now complete also. Although he is having a hard time this year dealing with that. This year for both the boys birthdays we got a swimming pool from walmart. All in all it only cost us $49 and the kids can jump and play in it. We gave them that a week before Thor's birthday. We took Thor to Cookeville to choose a game for his birthday (We knew he wanted Just Dance 2014 for months but the price didn't come down until recently and we were going to get it...plus we can never get rid of the kids so they went). Noah ended up with a game also. From the 20th on there was the Steam Summer Sale. Noah probably got 3-4 games from that, only one of those were saved for his birthday.
Friday we had Tif's boys and pup over for the day while she worked. We had to run over and get them at the store that morning before sis worked and bring them back. Noah seemed to have a pretty good birthday, getting juice pouches and whatever he wanted for lunch. He and Sid were at each other more than usual but no biggie. Both of our boys went to Tif's Friday night and I guess Noah was in trouble a few times for random... junk. But they had a great time at Auntie Tif's pizza pool party. Saturday Uncle Al, Aunt Pat and the Simmons' came over for the birthday party which consisted of John and I being up late on the first night we've had alone together in many years, baking the Minecraft grass block birthday cake, cleaning the kitchen and moping up a blowout under the sink. Sooo Minecraft cake, chips, fresh blueberries, less fresh apple slices and grapes.
Noah got the off brand Nerf shotgun he'd been desiring. Turns out Nerf shotguns are hard to find because they've gone to spinning cartridges and crap that shoots you 30 times from 40 yards away or something. He got a "gold watch", gold plated actually and he'd told John "dad, if I had one of those I'd wear it all the time because I'd be rich". Grandma Jenny got him an electronic basketball game with two hoops so you can play against one another and Nestle glasses straw. All of which he loves. Tif gave him $10, Papa King sent a card and $10 plus gave him a $2 bill and Uncle Al and Aunt Pat sent a card and $20. Yet somehow that evening and next day Noah kept coming in saying "well I mean, you guys could give me more birthday money because it's like birthday week or something". Yeaaaaah no. Kids these days. :p
June 30th is one of my favorite days of the year. It was my grandpa, Sidney Gooch's, birthday and today would have marked 96 years old. It also marks the end of June. June seems to be the longest, most bank account and emotionally draining month of the year. It's always a joyous occasion when we can say "YES we've made it through another!" and we have. We shall roll into July, heads held high (ooo a rhyme) and hopefully the mighty Thor will stop bringing the rain or the mighty Noah will build a boat around the house to save us from it because we're quite soggy here. :) Feel free to write or email folks and we'll update again soon with more garden stuff (OMG Zucchini) and Desi, Amaya and Autumn are coming in a couple of weeks!
Monday we received a call from the elementary school and they said we could come in any time that day for Noah to take a grade placement test. After many questions we were told that even if Noah didn't do well on the placement test they could still put him in the 4th grade next year because from his grades before and knowing his learning skills, they knew he would do just fine. Noah took the test and passed with flying colors. Moose also went in for his 12 week shots and got his rabies vaccination as well as a tag for his collar proving it. :)
Tuesday was quite crazy as well and then it was time to take Thor to High School Orientation. John took him and came home with loads of partial information but we'll do what we always do, get him in the doors and wing it. :P
Wednesday morning was awards day at the middle school. Thor was presented an award for Choir and one for Drama. We also learned that afternoon that he was approached by one of the HS choir teachers and he will be in Advanced Choir his freshman year. YAY!
Thursday morning was Seth's 5th grade graduation and awards day. Of course I did not have my camera's memory card (slaps forehead). Uncle Al and Aunt Pat were there also and it was fun for Noah to sit by Sidney and see all his old friends and teachers.
I also somehow forgot Thor was to stay for Dress Rehearsal after school. By 3:30 we decided to start calling around looking for him since he wasn't on the bus. John drove to the school to find him and of course, dress rehearsal. (Slaps forehead again)
This morning was Thor's Talent Show. He and another young lady have hardly had any chance to practice. Last week it was all drama all the time. The week before was all choir. They did a fantastic job. They performed Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, which we'd never heard of. They did a fantastic job. As did all the teachers and other kids who performed and sang. It was a hoot and so much fun!
Tomorrow we plan on letting Thor go in for his report card and returning home on the bus as his final day of Middle School. Tif and the kids may come over later and we'll get some flowers together to put on mom's stone for Memorial Day and a good time shall be had by all. To everyone reading, have a safe holiday weekend and MUCH LOVE!
Thor did amazing in his concert tonight. John, Noah and I were accompanied by Uncle Al and Aunt Pat to the performance. We will be getting a DVD and here's the song Thor had a solo on Don't Stop Believin.
In the long list of busy weeks, the next 4 will be the most busy. Last week John completed the base and table top to another beautiful table. We have his first table upstairs in the dining room with a gorgeous bench and are loving it. There are two coats of varnish on the second table and maybe one more to go...maybe. Noah did well in homeschool all week but tanked the tests I gave him Thursday and Friday. Thor had a great week, two nights of drama practice and two days of TCAP (standardized testing) but all in all a good week.
This coming week Thor has TCAP testing on Monday and Wednesday. Drama practice Wed and Thurs afternoons until 5 and directly after practice Thursday night he does the pre concert and full Spring Choir Concert will begin at 6pm. Thursday and Friday are also Buy One Get One book days at the WCMS book fair. Next Saturday the 10th, Thor will be off to Dollywood from 6am until 9pm. John had lots of work to do, plus we will have lots more gardening, wood working and other projects around the house. And we still puppy sit on Fridays.
Pics included here are of the garden stuffs. Red and green lettuce was purchased a couple of weeks ago, as was a big tomato. We've got many tomato plants we raised from seed and planted, celery and two types of peppers. Beans and Peas have been planted, onions, beets, zucchini and winter squash. I know there's more but I can't think of them. :)
I'm sure we have more coming up that I don't remember. As always you guys can call for updates or email us. Tons going on so check back. :D
Today is a busy day in Longwell Land. John has been working hard to get the table top sanded to a baby soft finish before putting the actual Finish on. He's also sanded the bottom portion and put on one layer of finish. The plan is to put on one more layer of finish on the bottom (maybe more in spots where our feet would hit) and 4 on the top piece. Today he got down in the crevices of the top with the first coat. It will take a couple of days to dry. 3 Table Pics here.
Also the Simmons' boys are here with us today. Seth, Sidney and Daxter are here for the day as it is Good Friday and there's no school. Tif works until the evening. All in all there's been no trouble and everyone is happy. Seth and Thor are pretty much hanging out playing games (see the Cousins Pics), Noah and Sid are upstairs playing and Dax n Moose roughhouse until they're separated out of aggravation and they take a nap. I've taken to taking them "out" separately as they are too busy biting each others faces off to stop and pee. I managed to get some Dax pics because Tif said she can't keep him still for them. You can see all the new pics here under today's date.
I have yet to catch Sid and Noah as they're busy upstairs avoiding everyone. :D OH and those with Noah in his robe were taken yesterday. We ordered a robe from Sears as it was on sale for $5 plus shipping. Yep a steal and Noah hates taking it off...ever. All things considered it really is a Good Friday. Happy Easter all!!
At the first of the year we updated to a new Joomla! that changed our format dramatically. We have not had a lot of time to play with the page lately but I hope to change that.
Introducing ... *insert drum roll here*
Moose is our new Miniature Schnauzer. John found a link on a local sales network that someone had mini pups for sale. They were inexpensive because they are not registered. We spoke with the owner and he stated the mother and father were rescue minis. The mother dog's parents were his original rescue dogs. The father died of a canine cancer and the mother ran away after having her litter of pups. The mother of Moose is the only one he kept from that litter. We did not see the father of Moose but the mother is a lighter grey coloring, and the owner stated the father was more white.
Moose is mostly salt and pepper with his darkest spots being his belly/chest area and across both back legs and back. The back of his neck has some tan as does his ears except for the tips. His ears and paws are lined in black, a bright white strip from his chin down the center of his chest and the back paws have a teeny line of white below the black. Moose's tail is cropped but we will never crop his ears.
According to the owner of Moose's mom he was born February 20, 2014. He will need his "set 7" shots around April 22nd. So as of today Moose is nearly 7 weeks old. I'm thinking the dog owner was confused about how many weeks old he was and we got him a week early. Tif and family also got a pup from this litter and his name is Daxter. You can find more pup pictures here ... Mini Moose. We will add more as he adventures!!
After wearing the same tuxedo for a number of years Alongwell.com has put on a fresh face. Content will be forthcoming as we determine the best layout and fit
In the meantime, here are some of the links you might find useful: