Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Snail Mail

Immediate family can talk to Nate via email, but the rest comes through "snail mail". Since he has limited time for that email, and he cannot print, I decided to send him a letter, with pics, of the doings of the past month, plus any progress we have made on the yard. I should have also sent a picture of the Phoenix Temple progress, but I neglected to. Since he left for his mission on February 22nd, that is my monthly date of snail mail. So, here is the pics I took, and some that dad took as well, to update the yard for him...
Our view of the eclipse, through Dee's welding glass.

Front yard approach. Uh oh...Nate saw that Dad has made absolutely NO progress on fixing up that panel truck (the one I call the diaper truck) And the boys, LAST YEAR, for Fathers' Day moved it from back to front. He DID take the painting class and will soon work on that...at least, I hope so... I have banged my hip on that doggone transmission right by my wood cutting table in the garage more than once!

City of Phoenix does a quarterly bulk trash pickup. This is our pile. Dee trims, I drag out. The mesquites were pretty kind to me, and I think I almost wore out my green leather work gloves. Only the mesquite tree to the east poked me terribly. Our palm trees look much better and we did it, every evening, a tree at a time. Not too bad for a couple of geezers!-

Yep, Nate's truck. I DID make sure the registration is good thru 2014, though I did notice that it expires the end of March, 2014, and his expected mission release date is March 13, 2014. I really expect that, by next year, Dad and Brothers will join forces and get this thing to run  for longer than the end of the driveway. 

Back Yard...across the sand volleyball court...to the garden area...Much improved. Our goal was to complete the rock walkways before he flew to Korea...and we did, with just a few days to spare. The tomato plants on the right are from LAST year...We had a Spring last year, so they just did super, and did so all through summer, fall and winter, and are still giving us the best tomatoes. Our new plants, on left, grew and grew...and then stopped. 100 degree temps in late March and April were the culprit, plus a bad soaker hose that flooded their nutrients, and Celebrity tomatoes (we get them still, but they are misshapen and very acid tasting...not my favorite). Those are about done and then that plot is history. Behind them is an heirloom tomato vine we planted in October and it lived and produced all Fall and Winter (winter was very mild!) and they are my favorite ones! They are greenish red with a dark red interior and they are smooth textured and very tasty.

Our watering system that we put in and four of the 12 basil plants we have. I trim the ones in this area down every Friday and fill our dehydator. Last year, we had crummy basil. Thankfully, not so this year!

Dee worked and worked, for two years, and now has the most gorgeous bell peppers! 

This is Grammy's Grapevine Gazebo, a dream I had when this part of our yard looked barren. I just wanted a gazebo so I could sit and have tea parties with my grandkiddos. The men in my life took it and ran with it. The metal framework was once Ethan and Doran's batting cage. Dee cut, with Ethan's saw, Morgan welded, Doran helped drill to put in the wires for the side vines to grow, Nate mixed cement, and dug, and drug, and planted. We all picked up river rock. I selected and placed. Dee cemented and cleaned. They decided I needed a table and seats. They laid block. Dee cut a granite tabletop and seats. Morgan ground the edges smooth. I mulched. They placed forms for the planter around the outside (still a work in progress. Our water in Phx is very expensive...our regular water bill is $250, so we have to be careful what we plant. Dee welded the wires above. I held the hammer that kept the wires tight..and got burned in between my toes with the welding swarf that fell. I train the grapevines, and the vines, once only along the walls, are now climbing on top.  Now, the gazebo is ready for tea parties. We eat dinner out there some evenings. This morning, I read my scriptures right there. Thanks to my wonderful hubby and sons for this treasure. I guess I need to make a neat sign for it now...

Dee planted green corn...I suppose he will be eating lots of green corn bread. 

A tomato from the crummy vines. 

Back yard from the volleyball court view. 

Playground. Morgan helped trim the neighbor's tree limbs that dropped tons of leaves in our sand, so Dee blew it and raked it and most of it stays clean now. 

Sweet Peas (going to seed), sunflowers and marigolds in the planter Nate and Morgan made for me...my hut is in the back...love that thing!!! The heat from the wall has gotten the marigolds, so they are going (what's left of them) next week. And the sunflowers are now starting to bloom...

Grapevine by the chicken pen...but out of "beak" reach

Under that blue tarp is Nate 2...the cement mixer. I wanted him to see we are taking good care of it. 

My flower bed. The marigolds and gazanias look even better now, and where the iris and daffodils are (drying up) I have planted a greek oregano and three basil plants that rooted in the kitchen window. 

The pool, outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, and pergola. 

Saguaros were almost completed blooming. The Arizona flower is the saguaro cactus blossom, and it truly is beautiful, though it's doggone tough to see them at the top of them cactus! The flowers usually turn to fruit, though this year I don't think the little birds will be very happy...not much fruit. 

We grew this guy. When Dee picked him, he was mostly green, with just orange that looked like a face, so I gave him eyes and a mouth. Now he is all orange. 

A couple of days harvest. 

Those yummy heirlooms.

A sunflower, taken yesterday. 

Yesterday's tomato harvest. That big one, though ugly, weighed 21 ounces. 

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