From the backseat

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ltrrodd13509trucksideanglOn our last run to the dump Zoe and I sat in the car watching the ‘dance’ of the garbage trucks and bull dozers. (it was a busy day and they were moving fast!)  Suddenly, from the backseat I hear,


Z: I want one of those!

M: You weant a bull dozer?

Z: Yep, pink with sparkles.

M: Wow, pink and sparkles.

Z: Yes, for Daddy.

Goodbye Training Wheels

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About a week ago Zoe gave a two wheeler a try and that was it.  She is no longer using those pesky training wheels.  She did and awesome job and picked it up so quickly (and avoided going into the ditch a number of times). 


It all started because one of her training wheeles wouldn’t stay down and, of course, was not helpful at all (it probably had something to do with me running it over with the car a while ago).  So instead of trying to fix that one we just kicked the other one up and out of the way and sent her off.  Well, not quite, she did have some help.  It wasn’t long at all before she was one her own.


And what better way to celebrate the event than with a party!  Our friends Monica and Xavier came over to celebrate with us.  Way to go Zoe.  We are very proud of you!monica-and-x


My Uncle Charles finished well!!!!

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A bit of mixed news came my way a few weeks ago.  My Uncle Charles has pasted from this world to the next.  I sit here wondering about my feelings part of me is sad to never on this earth to see him again.  We are not very close but he was my uncle whom I was like a father to me when my own father left the scene.  He was bigger than life to me, a man’s man you could say. He died from cancer and when he left this world I was told that the cancer had eaten most of his weight away but he still is a big man to me.  He made mistakes but all were covered by the blood of the lamb.


So I am writing this letter to all of you to let you know that “I love him” and I am so sad that my own kids will never get to know the man whom was bigger than life than my Uncle Charles was….  But he knew the Good Shepherd’s voice and I am glad that he has finished the race well.  I can hardly wait to see him in the presents of my Heavenly father and his son, Jesus the Christ.



His Obituary


Charles Edward Hobbs, also known as “Hobbs,” “Chas”, and “Chuck,” was born on February 23, 1953 to the union of James Alexander Hobbs, Sr. and Louise Blake Hobbs (Abston) in Mississippi.  He grew up in South Bend, Indiana and received his formal education at Messmer High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and furthered his education with two years of college.


 Charles accepted Christ as his Savior at an early age.  He was united in holy matrimony with Jeanette Acoff on April 5, 1985 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Charles served in the United States Army Reserves for seventeen years. He was employed by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for fifteen years, retiring in 2007.  He also was employed by the Milwaukee School Board as a MPS Teacher Aide.  In his leisure, he enjoyed playing and refereeing several sports including basketball, baseball, football, softball, volleyball, and others.


Charles Edward Hobbs departed this life on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 2:30 a.m. Aurora VNA Zilber Family Hospice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


This is my Uncle Charles.


Greg Thames

I have teeth!

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That’s right folks…I have my two bottom teeth!  Mom couldn’t figure out what was going on with me since I wasn’t my normal contented self.  But she finally figured it out and now we are all good.  Happy days of chewing ahead!

Gardening Tips for Growing Tomatoes

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Every year we have been blessed to be able to grow a garden.  Maybe it was little and dear eaten as in our home in Sudden Valley or large and in charge as we have now.  As I said we have been blessed to have a garden to grow.  And each and every year we learn something new…  And this year is no different but I thought that I would nice to share some of the things that we have learn over the years, with that said I still feel as if we are novices or at least are learning to grow our green thumb.  Today I wanted to share the little that I have learned about growing tomatoes here in the pacific northwest (West of the mountains).

There is millions of site online and books written about the subject and some of the info is useful but most of it is the same thing over and over again.  Here are a few important points that every northwest tomato gardener should know.

  1. Choose the right variety.  You want to choose varieties that take more than 85 days to mature.  Here is a list of one’s that work for our climate.  Slicing Tomatoes: Stupice, Kootenai, Siberian, Oregon Spring, Celebrity, Slava, Salspring Sunrise, Seattle’s Best, Yellow Brandywine, Black Krim, Green Zebra, Tigerella, Persimmon, Dona, Muskovich, Gregori’s Altai, Early Swedish, Golden Treaure, and Glory of Moldova.  Cherry Tomatoes: Gardener’s Delight, Sweet Million, Yellow Pear, Galina, Sungold, Peacevine, Rose Quartz, Gold Nugget, Principe Borghese.  Pasta Tomatoes: Monix, Almetia, Viva Italia, Oregon Pride, Milano, Oroma. 
  2. Tomatoes Like Heat:  No matter what variety of tomatoes you get they still like heat.  If you are going to plant a tomatoes around your house in small flower plots, choose the flower plots nearest to your house that faces south because the heat from your house will heat up the soil and the heat from the outside of your home will help keep the tomatoes warm at night.  Or you could use those Wall-o-water things. The Wall-O-Waters look like water filled teepees and they act like mini solar greenhouses. The water absorbs energy from the sun during the day and then releases heat at night, which helps keep the tomatoes warm and growing fast.   I think it would be hard to use as your tomato plants got larger but I have heard that it does work.tomatoinwallowater
  3. Tomatoes don’t like to get wet:  This is the hardest thing to do here in the northwest.  Don’t misunderstand me, they like water but really only on their roots.  Extra water on the plant can cause the tomatoes (the fruit itself) the get blight, or Late Blight.  If you are able to plant them near your home you can use the roof of your house to provide some relief from the rain.  If you plant your garden in a garden like ours you should use one of those mini green houses that covers just one plant or you could do like one of our friends a use a temp. car carport (the ones made out of PVC pipe and vinyl). Or you could use a barn cloche pictued below.211
  4. Prune as it grows:  If you are trying to grow well fruiting plants you want to prune unproductive leaves away as it grows.  What this does is put all the plants usable energy into producing fruit (tomatoes) and not into leaves that you won’t be eating.  Again don’t misunderstand me when I say prune “unproductive leaves away” I understand you do need some leaves so that the plant is able to get sun light but you don’t need leaves on the bottom of the plant when all the fruit and flowers are at the top.  042027016_xlg
  5. Tomatoes love fertilizer, but not too much:  I am still working on this mix I just know when I increase the amount of compost I use they grow better then when I use less but, I am not sure how much is to much and how much is to little.  Maybe I will figure that out this year, We will see. :- )
  6. Extending the season: Near the end of the season you will start to notice that there are still large green tomatoes on your plant and you are nearing the end of the season you can pick those green tomatoes and do two things make fried green tomatoes (which are very tasty) or place them in a brown paper bag with a banana in a cool dark place like a cabinet because the gases containing enzymes escaping from bananas will finish ripening the tomatoes.


I hope this helps you have a better tomato experience this year!

~Greg T


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That’s right folks…we have chickens!  A week and a half ago we got our first six.  General Tao, Sweet, Sour, Scramble, Southern Fried, and Omelette.  Can you believe there is a chick shortage this year?  Who would’ve guessed. 



This is Scramble with Sweet in the background.


One week later we went back to get six more.  Three layers (black) and three meat birds (yellow) (Greg wanted to give this a try 🙂  We had quite the separation at first.  The older chicks were acting scared of the little day old babies.  At one point the older girls were jumping on each other trying to get as far away as possible.  They new chicks don’t have names yet.  They are really hard to tell apart.  We may wait till they get older but I don’t know that it will be any easier then.


However, it didn’t take too long for them to get over it and get along.


Sporting his new 'do

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Zeke got his first hair cut the other day.  He did great as soon as we turned him around so he could check it out himself.  Zoe was again our budding photographer during the process. 




Gone is the hair dangling down his back.  He looks like such the little man now.