Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Green lemons waiting to ripen

I bought a Meyer lemon tree for the first time in February. When it bloomed, it made the most amazing fragrance. I kept it inside, in the sunroom, until May. Now it has 12 lemons, 6 of them are on one ten inch branch. I don't know how to make a support for that limb yet but I'm afraid another "sling" will be necessary. Remember the pie pumpkin in a sling? It has been picked and is displayed on the coffee table. I wonder what time of the year lemons normally ripen? I look every day for some sign of yellow because my kids and husband are skeptical that these deep green fruit are really lemons. (Maybe the nursery sold me limes by mistake!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rough surf

When we arrived, the surf was calm and the water was so clear. It was the prettiest I'd ever seen the Texas beach. Because of the brief storms on the second day, it was much rougher and the sand was churned up with each wave. Everyone thought it was more exciting and fun to play in this way.


Little dog in the wind

Sunrise over Beach Road

Vacation on the Texas Coast


We just got back from our first vacation ever with my husband's side of the family. It was great to see this little coastal town through their eyes. We rented both sides of a luxurious, secluded condo. Each side has 3 bedrooms (including a loft with a private balcony), 2 baths and a fully equipped kitchen. The deck connected each side to the other and a row of deck chairs provided a full view of the beach. My immediate family is used to the seclusion but the rest of them had never been to such a great place with so few people. The people we did meet were interesting and friendly (Thank you LCRA for the animal rescue show and to Cattails for the local artist displays and the coffee bar). We took turns cooking and then went out to eat in a nearby town the last night. The first night, I cooked garlic shrimp with pasta and bruschetta and the second night, my sister-in-law made fajitas with all the '"trimmings". We mostly just relaxed at the beach or pool, watched movies or just sat together on the deck admiring our view. We have already made plans for next summer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


One of the luxuries of living out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by woods, is that you can easily take your shower outdoors. Odds are you wouldn't be seen even if there were no wooden walls. But since I'm shy and my house has windows, I'm comfortable with walls around me. My husband and kids built the original outdoor shower for Mother's Day about 4 years ago but after a freeze last winter, we had a broken pipe and the bamboo that made up the walls was cracked and flimsy. My husband spent all day yesterday and today tearing down the old walls and putting up the wood. He used wood recycled from some other project, replaced the pipe and had our daughter paint a sign for it. It says "ALCEDONIA", which is supposed to be Latin for "tranquility". My husband got to take the first shower (of course, I took pictures) and now it's my turn.

Bread and Butter Pickles

I made a second batch of Bread and Butter Pickles yesterday. I think I have enough to give as Christmas presents this year.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Beach Party Bible School

Its the last day of vacation Bible school and its the first opportunity I've had to take a picture. Our classes were smaller in number this year, so we combined them into 2 classes. That was great until we shortened each class period into 20 minute increments. It was tricky to use real acrylic paints, sand, glue and permanent markers with 4 year olds up to 5th graders in that amount of time. The sweetest part to me was when our youth helpers gathered quietly together in another room and sat down to paint surfboards (you know, for "surfing" through the Scriptures). These girls probably had attended Bible school each year since they were old enough. I remember some of them as babies. They were now too old to attend but not too old to love Bible school. I know they were supposed to be helping us-the teachers, but it was too sweet to see them painting and talking together and we didn't interrupt them. They also don't know that I lined up their artwork this morning and my daughter took this picture. I'll just call this my special momento.

you seriously want to keep this?

I'm just kidding, I wouldn't get rid of this for anything in the world. I think this is my husband's favorite shirt. It used to be a 3/4 sleeve, baseball shirt with a crew neck. My husband, in his words, "modified" it with the scissors. AND, he's got me doing it to all my T-shirts now. He loves it because he has broken it in for at least 22 years, it is so soft and cool, and he has molded it to fit him perfectly without any constraints. He gets attached to certain things and keeps them forever (for example, me!). I will wash this carefully and keep it whole as long as I can, honey. You can see our daughter's fingers sticking through the material. She was a big help when I tried to photograph this see-through object.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our 15 minutes of relief

I heard the thunder when I was putting clothes in the washer. Nice sound. Outside, I saw a promising bank of clouds to the northwest. I took my breakfast outside and sat on the porch swing, said a thank you prayer and remembered those in other parts of the US who are having flooding. I've been in that bad situation too. I was thankful for this little shower though.

good morning sunflower

I have waited for the tallest sunflower to open its bloom and it did-6:45 this morning. It is red with very little yellow on the petals and the stalk itself is about 6 feet tall. I watered, as usual, and then about an hour later, we actually had a small thunderstorm.

garden wisdom

I began to see the real wisdom of training this pumpkin vine to grow on the fence when a pumpkin formed 3 feet off the ground. I thought the vine would grow a lot longer first, but this was it. The main vine creased alarmingly against the wire so I fashioned a jute string "sling" to hold the pumpkin up for the vine, and it worked! This pie pumpkin probably weighs about 4 pounds and is ripening nicely as the vine slowly starts to wither.

Texas drought continues

The clay ground is the best type for holding water. When it is dry, it is a rock. This is part of my yard, no grass here just dry, hard, cracked clay.

Texas heat, Texas drought

I'M TRYING TO GROW A PUMPKIN! I've never grown my own. I have one large one on this vine and one small pie pumpkin growing on the fence (you'll see how wise it was of me to train it to grow on the fence in a later post) but it is so hot and dry that I try to water every other day. The poor pumpkin stays thirsty, and now it has been chewed upon by some unknown creature-I think a rabbit. The bite marks are too big for grasshoppers. But notice that it is beginning to turn colors, so I'm holding my breath. I need to go water...

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Best Little Dog We've Ever Had

I always was against having a dog in the house. I didn't want hair or a bad smell on the furniture. I grew up with a "country" dog. He lived outside, guarded the house and us as kids, hunted animals, and swam in the tank-all 75 pounds of him. After 2o years of marriage, and two almost grown kids, I decided to get this little, very mixed breed of terrier. He weighs 7 1/2 pounds but has a huge personality. He loves the outdoors and does everything my old big dog did. I also learned that he belongs in the house-with us. He belongs between my feet when I'm sitting in the recliner. He belongs on his bed in front of the fireplace, and occasionally when we are all in the bedroom, he belongs on the bed.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Strawberry Jam Cookies

My daughter used the strawberry jam she made to top these pretty cookies. This is a delicious and easy recipe. Oh, she took her own picture, too.

Strawberry Jam Cookies

1 stick softened butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups flour

stawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or use parchment paper to line it.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beat in the egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add the flour and mix until a firm dough is formed.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart. Make a deep indention with your thumb in the center of each cookie. Bake 7-9 minutes until firm.

Remove from the oven and place a dollop of stawberry jam in each indention. Bake 6-8 minutes longer until light, golden brown around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Makes about 24 cookies.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'll help you if you'll help me

Be patient with me, I am a new blogger and I really excited, maybe really nervous as well. I have been reading a few blogs for about 3 months and I love reading about some of the other women in this world. They have inspired me to try one on my own...
But my daughter is the one who actually is setting this up for me. (Thank you). She has recently graduated high school and is, at this moment, in the kitchen making a small batch of strawberry jam. I keep calling her back in here to answer my questions about the computer and this blog site and then she'll call me from the kitchen to ask something about the jam. I guess we are teaching each other something this afternoon. One lesson she has learned is bubbling fruit splashes burn.
These are special times for me. I will be 50 in December and my two kids are practically grown. I will introduce you soon to my 19 year old son, and my 18 year old daughter. My husband will be retiring in a few months, so lots of new things are happening around here and I would like to share some of them with you. I'll probably share gardening news and photos first because keeping the plants from dying is my main focus right now. It is hot and dry here in Texas and I have to baby the plants daily. So far, I have produced enough cucumbers to put up 8 jars of pickles and enough squash to put in the freezer and I don't want the plants to wither away already. One joy in particular is the first blooming of the morning glories. That is a story I will share next and, if I ever learn to post a photo, I'll share that as well. Thank you for listening.

morning glories

I had been watering this tiny garden for a few weeks. The rain had fallen faithfully through the planting, growing and blooming. The weather, for Texas, had been unseasonally cool ,but now that these plants were established, the heat turned on and the rain pretty much stopped. I had to baby the plants now...

The first blooms finally developed on the morning glories that I had planted beside the fence. They barely unfurled and I guessed they would either be blue or red, maybe purple. I gave them a final watering, then left for three days on a wonderful beach vacation with my family. The garden was wilted and wind blown by the time I got back. I babied it again. This morning I saw two beautiful blooms on those morning glories, both blue. I was inspired to take my first ever close up of them with my simple camera and I loved the results. My first ever close up!