Wednesday, July 20, 2011

City Museum - St Louis

Last weekend we went to St Louis to make a kid exchange with Nathan's mom.  We went to the City Museum.  We had never been there before because there are so many good free things to do in St Louis that we never went to the things that cost money.  It was actually pretty cool.  It was basically a giant artistic playground/jungle gym.  It would have been a blast to go to when I was in high school/early college (when I was significantly skinnier and more flexible).
 It was almost impossible to keep track of kids there.  There were tunnels under the ground and in the ceiling.
 The artwork and sculptures reminded me alot of the "Dragon Park" in Carbondale and I wonder if the same artist might have had a hand in it.  Most everything there was made of salvaged materials.
  All the floors were elaborate mosaics.
It was really a beautiful place. 
There was a lot of concrete sculpting going on. This was in the "caves".  The caves led to a 10 story slide made out of a garbage chute.
 There was also a large section that was all architectural ornaments off of old builds.  Lots of gargoyles and such.  Iris thinks that we need some for our house.
This is a great place if you have kids old enough to listen really well, and kids young enough that they are smaller and pretty fearless.  I saw several experienced patrons wearing knee pads.  Knee pads, really good shoes, and lots of training before you go (My quads were screaming after 30 minutes of constant climbing, crawling, scooting, etc.) are essential.  The kids really liked the place.
Now the kids are gone for a week, I am off to enjoy the silence.....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Missouri Wildlife

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went to Missouri.  We had a mini vacation of sorts.  We went to Silver Dollar City in Branson.  I took the kids on the cave tour.  It was Zadok's first time in a cave and he really liked it.  We also did various things around the house, like picnics and hand painting fabrics.
The kids went a couple of days before I went down, because I had a really nasty ear infection.  When they got to the house, this was in the yard:

I do not think peacocks are native to Missouri.  Seems to hanging around the place still.

The kids went to Bryant Creek to swim while staying with the grandparents.  Iris has a weird ability to catch animals.  This time she was catching fish with Cheetos.  She would float the Cheeto in the water, wait for a fish to come nibble and then catch it with a net or a plastic bag.  She caught three fish in a very short amount of time.

She also caught a crawdad.  I have not seen one striped like this before.

She also caught the smallest frog that I have ever seen. 

 No animals were harmed in making this post and all creatures were released back into the wild.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How does my garden grow?

Actually it is going pretty well.  Iowa soil is so great, it almost seems a crime not to have a garden.  The issue was that our yard is sloped and not well suited for a conventional garden.  I always thought of doing a raised garden with a couple of beds.  Nathan was able to get some boxes from old shipping crates for free at work and they worked great for the beds. We ended up with nine beds, each approximately 2 X 4 feet.  Enough that I think that I will get enough produce for us and some friends.

We have tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, various herbs, beans, squash, peppers, eggplant, and brussel sprouts.  We did not plant corn.  We have access to plenty of corn in the summer, living in Iowa and all.

I am also slowly working on planting some flower beds around the yard.  I have great ambition, but limited time. I do not want to start something and then let it get weedy.  We ripped out the barberry bushes along the sidewalk beside the garage and I started planting there.  I am trying to put in as many perennials as possible so these will be more permanent fixtures in the yard.  I originally wanted the bed to be only yellow and green, but saw some nice red and yellow flowers and changed my mind.  

It looks a little sparse now but I do not want it to be so large that it interferes with the sidewalk.

There are some nice lilies in bloom that we did not plant.

 I also focused more on the pots on the front porch than the hanging baskets, which have never flowered well on our porch.  I went with some basic ferns.  I got a surprise last week when I took down one fern to water it.  A family of finches had moved in.

When we first discovered them, there was only two in the nest and they had just hatched.  Now they are starting to get some feathers.
 Some parting pictures of veggies that I will be harvesting soon!  Let the zucchini recipes commence!