A Little of This, A Little of That and A Whole Lot of Busy!

I have not abandoned you all, just been on the go for the last couple weeks.  We had a wonderful visit with my darling sister and her family.  My nephew hung with us for the weekend while sis and bro-in-law went to a wedding about 4 hours away.  Mom came up and we had a blast!  Farmgirl's last soccer game was on Saturday and then the after party, which all the kids loved...who doesn't love pizza, cake and a playset?  They all got their trophies and talked playdates and next season.  H was having a blast with all the kids and his cousins around.  Later we came back here and had a fun afternoon/evening at the homestead.  The kids did alot of artwork and hanging out.  We were sad to see everyone leave on Monday, but were re-fueled with the visit and look forward to getting together again soon!

The week went by in a blur as I started my holiday gifts.  We make all our gifts and this year I have a long list.  The kids are excited about the upcoming events and preparations as well.  J's folks came for a visit on Saturday and we were able to celebrate his dad's 70th birthday with him.  The girls made gifts, but their paper mache' bowls didn't dry in time so we'll give those to him at Thanksgiving.  The folks have just returned from a month of hiking and visiting J's sister and family in Australia and New Zealand!  I'm in awe of them as they just go go go!  It all sounded like so much fun, and exhausting all at once...haha  Some day I want to take the girls over there.  The photos are just amazing!

I got a little gardening done on Sunday.  Things are finally starting to slow down as the weather gets cooler.  One thing that has exploded in my front garden are the butterflies!  I can't believe how many we've attracted!  Yesterday I counted 7 different types all within a minute.  So beautiful and affirms what we've done out there as they obviously are happy.   There are all sizes from large Swallowtails on down to tiny yellow ones that almost don't look real they are so delicate.  The rest of the gardens are starting to get ready for their long winter's nap.  I'm really looking forward to what spring will bring...but am excited about gardening in the winter too.  I have brocolli looking beautiful, lettuce, basil, onions, potatoes and beans all still moving forward.  cucumbers are producing too but I'm going to have to start covering them.  I'm thinking about building a hoop house for my raised beds so that some of the plants that don't tolerate the cold so much have a fighting chance.  We'll see how that goes!

I've finished one of my major gifts for Farmgirl.  Xi's doll is almost complete too and then I move on to the clothes for her.  Her sweater is on the needles and I found the nicest yarn for her in cotton.  She can't stand the feel of wool, even a small amount makes her itch so I got advice from my dear friend, Michellerene over at You Just Gotta Keep Knittin' on a cotton/acrylic blend that works out quite nicely.  It's super soft and I think Xi will be happy with it.  My sister in law in Australia sent some gorgeous handmade buttons that will be perfect for this project.  I'm going to knit a matching sweater for her doll as well. 

Amidst all this business, J's cousin (who we are very close to) and his wife gave birth to their beautiful baby girl many weeks too early.  The baby is doing good and while she was only 1 lb 9 oz at birth, is now a hefty 2 pounds at 3 weeks of age.  Poor little thing has had 2 major surgeries already, but the last one seemed to fix her intestine issues and now she's growing finally.  She was born at 29 weeks, but had stopped growing at about 26.  She's a fighter though and just precious.  We are going to try and make a trip to see them in the next few weeks.  J's cousin and wife are my new heroes as their amazing attitude and positive outlook through all of this just shines!  It will be a long road until she gets to go home, but seeing the pictures of mama holding her tiny little girl, and hearing the love in daddy's almost daily emails just makes my heart swell.  Send lots of good vibes that she continues to grow and thrive so she can go home soon.

So that brings us up to date...just busy.  We are looking forward to the holidays and are hoping that everyone has a warm place to rest and good food to eat.

I need to learn the names of all these butterflies.  This one was sunning himself on the lawn chair in the chill of the morning.


The morning sun.  This is the view from the front door.

Where the Zinnias are at home and seem to still be happy.  Lots of flowers on the Green Envy, Polar Bear and Purple Giants.


Butterfly weed.  Last week there were 2 gorgeous caterpillars I'm assuming will be Monarchs, munching away at the bottom half.  Can't find them today..hmm...

 I am so happy with the way this bed has filled in.  I hope things reseed for spring.  Otherwise I'm doing this same thing again in the spring.

African Basil we have had going for over a year now.  It is next to the Mexican Lime and manages to get wrapped up with the tree when we wrap for freezes.  Hah!

These guys have been covering my little Passion Flower vine!  I mean dozens of them.  

Sedums still going strong.  I'm starting to break off pieces for other parts of the garden.  We'll be using all different types in the rock wall we are going to build in the Back 40.

Mother of Millions

And her babies at her feet.

A pile of kids relaxing with a movie on a rainy day.

Xi and my mom.

H and Lola working hard on their drawings.  Notice their matching freckles?

Be still my heart....What a handsome little thing!

Trying to decide what to work on next.  They had so much fun together...

Peace to you all!

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