Sunday, May 24, 2009

Canuck's, Cribbage and Candles

Eric turned the big 38 and rang in the birthday with his entire immediate family visiting Ruidoso with us. Great-Grandma (Gigi), who happens to be a sprite 94 years of age, flew in last week all the way from Alberta. Gary brought an entire case of wine, Mema and Papa Warren made some homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh corn, and the games began. Cribbage, cribbage and did I say, more cribbage? Gigi won the rubber match against Eric and we decided to nickname her "cardshark." I am telling you, regardless of the card game, poker, bridge, crib etc., she always kicks every one's ass. It's really funny and a little embarrassing too! I don't play, but I love the banter around the table. We had a great visit despite a few days of much needed rain.

Eric and Gigi hit old Lincoln for the historical Billy The Kid scene, the Iris farm, which I was told was beautiful, and spent time visiting friends around town that we hang with...she has not slowed down a bit and can walk and go nearly non-stop. Gavin loved all the attention that the presence of three Grandma's can bring. He particularly enjoyed his Uncle this trip who tormented him as every Uncle should. Our house will be so quiet when they pull out tomorrow, we are not sure what we will do, but maybe catch up on some sleep. It is always so sad to see distant family leave, but alas, we are desperately trying to get to Canada soon and are looking forward to much more company this summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Masochistic Wife & Her Dedicated Builders

So far, May has been a very busy month for the Collins' and Warren clan. Much of the activity was unplanned while some of the chaos has been self-inflicted (by me.) Needless to say, we have really gone stupid and bitten off more than we can chew. First, we have had an abundance of social activities (Earth Day Parade at Montessori, Brown family reunion, Mother's Day Tea's, Mother's Day at the nursery and many other outings that have kept us away from home more than the norm.) So what the hell was planned? Just a playset/swingset, designed by Eric, and a small, easy garden, planted by my Mom and I. Nice, easy line up of projects, not to much to manage around an already full schedule...until, I attended a High Altitude Gardening Class and went totally mental. Hence, my title for this post The Masochistic Gardener & Her Dedicated Builders.

Unfortunately for my family, after the class, hosted by NMSU's Extension Office and a flurry of county and state experts, I was just sold on building a hoop house (cold frame greenhouse) for year-around gardening. Our growing season is so short here and the spring wind is so powerful, I felt it was the only way to actually produce anything. Plus, we are tired of paying for organic veggies. So, I pitched Eric on the idea and after the financial and labor requirements began to sink in, Eric was ready to help me make it a reality. Phase one required Papa, Mema, Eric and I to clear the plot, level it and lay out plans. Most of us are finishing up on antibiotics for a sinus infection, so this was quite a feat. Once all the measuring, leveling and etc. ensued, it was time for the serious labor to begin. We hired a friend to auger holes so Eric and Papa could mix concrete and begin to pour. Next went the re-bar, more measuring and placement of the PVC footings. Alas, a week for the concrete to set and time to call it quits for phase one.

Phase two launched on Mother's Day weekend with cutting of the actual hoops and shoving of them onto their footings. It was a back breaker, but the guys didn't waver. Upon appearance this thing looks like a piece of cake. Wrong. Thank goodness my Dad's construction expertise and Eric's determination persevered. The weather has been really good and the guys have eaten whatever we have thrown out there! Phase three should be done next week, including laying of the exterior plastic, baseboard and doors. Phase four, following receipt of our soil analysis will be rotatilling of compost and chicken poop. We are hoping to be all done by the time GiGi arrives from Canada and Eric celebrates his bday over Memorial Weekend. Alas, stay tuned for the continuation of another Collins' adventure.