Yard Work

Last year I took this photo showing the two massive trees in our front yard (very bottom pic).  Yesterday some work was done and this is the result. 

Now I like trees just as much as the next person but these were out of control.  After laying sod twice in two years, the grass is still dead.  The window on the far right looks into my bedroom and every time we got a thunderstorm or are under tornado watch, those branches would sway like crazy and I just knew if they break and fall in the wrong direction I’m dead.  You may think I’m overreacting (and I probably am but I’m OK with that) but in fact, both trees had lost large branches that cracked during thunderstorms and thankfully fell away from the house.  So while that’s been going on in the front, I’ve been doing some cleanup in the back.

Last year I put together a makeshift garden on a whim. You may remember these:

I didn’t really know what I was doing (as clearly demonstrated by my digging a random hole and putting a plant in it) and though it was time consuming and went better than I thought, I really didn’t do it the right way.  This year I still don’t know what I’m doing but have put more thought and effort into the prep work and even though I’ve still got a long way to go this is so far the result.

My dad helped me till the ground and my mom helped me lay all the steel edging.  Then it took 5 bags, nearly 6 hours, and what feels like 2 broken hands to clear out the debris from the bed.

Because this is what part of it looked like:

I THINK I’m ready to buy the plants and actually plant them which is by far the best part.  All the plants you see are left over from last year which is kind of nice, especially a few that I had no idea would come back…surprise!

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First of All…

Yesterday was my birthday!  Whoo hoo!!  I had the day off work and was pretty lazy for most of the day.  My mom, brother, and I had a little gift opening party and then went to dinner.  My brother went on home while my mom and I went to Target so I could look for cheap school supplies and other Crayola type things for the kids at the preschool.  I then went home and watched Thundercats.  And that my friends is how a 32 year old celebrates their birthday on a Friday night…or at least how this one does it. 

Since I last wrote, summer school started and ended.  I’ve never taken classes in the summer and I never want to again.  It blows.  Summer is supposed to be a time of relaxation and freedom.  It was never intended to be a time of research methods and child development.  But it’s done now and I got a two week break before starting up again for fall.  I did get some good news yesterday regarding my practicum.  The university is allowing the preschool where I work to serve as my practicum site so I now don’t have to be placed in a school somewhere in the district which means no scheduling hassels, worrying I won’t get my hours, and I get paid.  Getting them to accept it has been a little bit of a problem so I was ecstatic they finally agreed.

During those two weeks I had off, I went on a little road trip with a friend of mine from Utah.  She flew down here to Arkansas and we decided to drive to Mississippi to the Gulf Shores.  We didn’t really plan this very well so when we got there it wasn’t at all what we thought it was going to be.  Nevermind that we really weren’t in the right place which we didn’t discover until a few days later.  Instead we went on to Gulf Shores, Alabama which is a tourist spot.  If you have kids this is a great place for you.  I don’t have kids and neither does she so we went on to Pensacoloa, Florida. 

 This was perfect!  We got there late afternoon and drove right to a beach and just layed there.  I loved it.  In the morning we got up to see the sun rise which was kind of nice I guess and I was planning on another day of laying at the beach.  We didn’t do that though.  Instead we went to the national park and walked around on some trails.  We decided to go ahead and make our way back to Mississippi after we got some information on where we were supposed to go.  The second time around was a little better.  We had dinner at a place called The Shed which we had both seen hightlighted on different food shows.  It’s a BBQ/Blues joint and if you are ever in Ocean Springs, MS you need to eat there.  Definitely two thumbs up.  It looks like a crappy hole in the wall place but it’s SO GOOD.

   Anyway, here are some pics from the trip:

    

Picture Update

I really didn’t mean to disappear for a couple of months but every time I came to the computer to write something I decided against it and before you know it, it’d been nearly two months.  So here’s what I’ve been up to during that time.

I had a month long break from school before starting back up again about three weeks ago.  This first summer term I’m taking Research Methods and just typing it out makes me snoozzzzzzzzzze.  In about another three weeks I’ll be adding Child Development to my load before getting a two week break before starting fall semester.  See what I mean?  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

During my month of May break, I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to do but you know, time passes quickly and I didn’t do nearly half of it.  I did manage to read 8 or 9 books which more than doubled what I had read this whole year up to that point.  Yay me.  And I’ve still been keeping up with my garden which has yielded barely any vegetables so far:

I have since picked and eaten the veggies in these photos and they were really good.  I’m sure more cucumbers are to come because the plants are huge and full of flowers.  So is the watermelon plant and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one because I have become obsessed with watermelon this summer.

I added to the backyard by planting a lot of flowers and bushes.  It needed it badly and I was in the mood to experiment.  So far the majority of the flowers are thriving and slowly but surely our backyard is looking better and better.  I can’t wait for the sunflowers to finally get big and bloom but it might not be for a couple more months.  In the meantime here are some pics of just some of the flowers I’ve got back there:

I did notice the other day one of the flowers looked like it had been chewed and it didn’t take long to discover the culprit:

Every year we have wild rabbits that seem to roam through our neighborhood.  I have no idea where they actually live and I usually don’t mind them in the yard.  Just not when the eat my plants.

I also went on a little trip with my mom and sister down to Hot Springs.  We did some horseback riding and went to a wax museum among other things.  I’ve gotta be honest.  The wax museum was horrible.  It was so random and no one really looked like anybody they were supposed to.  Here are some of my favorites:

Ack!!  Seriously?!  Prince Charles reminds me of a rat and Queen Elizabeth hasn’t looked like that for at least 60 years.  I had to read the plaque to know who she was.

It was so dark in this section of the museum I took this picture mostly just to see what it was.  And then I had to laugh.  But the laughter really got going when we went into what I suppose was the kids/Disney section and saw this:

Gah, let’s take a closer look:

Hey what do you know, my new facebook profile picture.  I absolutely love his face.

In the beginning of May our town celebrated its annual Toad Suck Daze celebration.  In its honor, we had the kids at the preschool bring toads to school for some toad racing.  Imagine 16 preschool kids with toads but believe it or not, it was fun.  There are a couple of toads that live in the yard of the preschool and the kids LOVE to play with them.  I feel bad for the toads.  We had a frog fatality and I’ll spare you the details but will say barefeet = dead frog.

I hadn’t actually gone to the Toad Suck festivities since I was in high school but my brother and I decided to go and check it out this year.  This included walking the parameter and then leaving.  Too many people and a lot of lame stuff does not a good time make.  Trust me.  Although, one of the booths had a karaoke machine and was inviting participants.  When we waked by some white trashy girls (I know that sounds harsh but you weren’t there) were singing quite loudly and off key to R Kelly’s song Ignition.  It. Was. Hilarious….and terrible.  My brother got some video of it that I will have to get and post.

The only other thing I’ve been busy with is watching TV.  While I’m waiting for the summer shows like Burn Notice to start, I’ve become obsessed with Bones.

I’ve seen the show a number of times and like it but can’t watch it during the season because it’s on at the same time of a number of other shows I watch.  Lucky me, the reruns are on constantly.  There are about 12 episodes that get put on the DVR each week and I recently discovered all the seasons in their entirety on Netflix that I can access through my brother’s Xbox.  Lucky me indeed.  It’s taken me a while to actually be able to tolerate the character of Temperance Brennen.  Admittedly I watch the show for Seely Booth and his sarcasm.

I also spent a day making a ton of homemade strawberry jam that was/is absolutely heavenly and could quite possibly make applesauce a little later in the summer.  I might just be one of the oldest young people I know.

And there you have it – a run down of my two month hiatus.  You missed me didn’t you?

Arkansas Spring = Tornadoes

So if you pay attention to the national weather you know we’ve been getting severe storms down here in the south.  About a week ago we got some crazy, intense wind and this is what it did to our fence

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This is just what the wind did.  The fence posts have been snapped and since I took this picture that other panel has fallen.  Monday I was sitting in front of the computer minding my own business trying to type a final paper for class, when my brother came in letting me know the tornado sirens were going off.  I’d heard the siren but was so concentrated on my paper I kept thinking it was an ambulance or a cop car.  The sirens ended up sounding not once, not twice, not three times, but FIVE times in a 3 – 3 1/2 hour span because that’s how many tornadoes/possible formulating tornadoes there were.   And all of them followed the same path through the state.

I spent the next three hours watching stuff like this on the TV

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I happen to live in Conway located in the middle of the screen.  As you can see one tornado skirted around the north part of the town.  At the same time that was happening, that tornado forming to the south ended up making it’s way up going between Conway and Mayflower and it was this tornado that demolished the town of Vilonia just to the east of Conway.  To give a little perspective on distance, Vilonia is within 10 miles or so from my house.

I took video on my phone with the intent of posting it on here but it won’t upload (go figure).  But it was video so you could hear the sirens sounding and the announcement telling everyone to go inside.  What you can’t really tell from the video is how greenish yellow the sky was and how eerily calm and silent everything was.

The other video I took was showing the street right in front of my house and how flooded it became in a matter of minutes.  This was due to the tornado passing over us and on its way to Vilonia.  I did manage to snap a couple of pics though

I’ve seen plenty of photos showing the aftermath in Vilonia and further south in the Hot Springs area that was also hit extensively by tornadoes and all I can say is we were so fortunate at my house to not experience more damage than a fallen fence.  I know a handful of people that got hit pretty hard and lost extensive amounts of their home and property.  Here are some shots that I got from friends or from the Arkansas Severe Weather page:

Last night we had severe thunderstorms and the sirens went off again but as far as I know, there wasn’t anymore extreme damage done.  I thought we had seen the last of it last night but as I left work an hour ago this is what I saw

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To the east it looks like a perfectly nice and almost sunny day.  To the west it’s dark and creepy.  I ended up driving home in a torrential downpour but it has since stopped raining.  It’s overcast and the wind is blowing really hard but maybe this really is the last of it.  I hope so.

My Garden

The other day I decided I wanted to try my hand at gardening.  We have an area in the backyard where the grass has stopped growing so I converted it into my little makeshift garden.  I have no expectations for it and I probably just spent $40-50 to dig in the dirt but that’s just the way it goes.

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I realize this doesn’t look much different but even if you can’t tell I did anything, my shoulders sure can.  No tiller, just a hoe.  I don’t recommend it unless you have built up stress and frustration in your life.  In that case, have at it.

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There’s not much there but in my mind it looks like this:

It Really Came

Generally I don’t put much stock into what the weather people say.  I can usually flip a coin and make a guess my self with better results but yesterday they actually came through.  No doubt you’ve all heard of the winter blast we got down here in the south and while I know many of you got much more snow than we did, it was record breaking for us.

Some parts of the state got over 2 feet and were 20 below zero.  It snowed for a solid 8 hours straight and made it the worst road conditions I’ve ever driven in and I’ve lived in both Utah and Idaho, so I’ve had my share of winter driving.  See what makes it so bad here isn’t really the snow.  It’s the fact we have humidity.  Humidity = ice.  Lots of ice.  Ever want to know what it would be like to drive on a ice skating rink come on down and give it a whirl.

I took a video with my phone early this morning to give a little live footage but it wouldn’t upload to anything.  Sure glad I spent all that money on a phone that won’t do what I want it to.  Let’s be honest, it’s probably user error.  But I do know how to use my camera so here are a few shots.  I didn’t want to drive anywhere so I was limited to my house.

I took pics of the snow last week and you can view them here if you want.