Wednesday, July 29, 2009

bollywood suggestions

For those of you who haven't discovered Bollywood movies yet you are in for a treat. We LOVE them. Some of them have better plots then others but they all have great dancing/singing/fun stories. And they are "cleaner" than American movies. I don't think they ever get worse then PG. I prefer that.

Here's are suggestions from us Hodgson women.

Om Shanti Om-- I love the dances in this one. It's about reincarnation (I think).
Main Hoon Na-- Action, romance, family squabbles, comedy. This is the perfect "something for everyone" movie. I LOVE it.
Kal Ho Naa Ho-- My daughter's favorite. We're always singing the music from it.
Dil Chahta Hai-- Another favorite from my girls
Veer-Zaara-- An Indian man falls in love with a Pakistani woman. Problems ensue.
Jodhaa Akbar-- More historical, supposedly a true story. We couldn't film this in America, we don't have that many trained elephants on our entire continent.
Delhi 6-- More realistic, gritty. There is still singing and dancing, but it isn't a fantasy, like most Bollywood movies.
Lagaan-- I LOVE the rain music from this one. Set in the 1800's, it is about clashes between the Indian culture and the British culture during colonization. The good guys are so good, the bad guys are so bad.
And finally, an oldie but goodie-- Bawarchi. The only movie our family has ever watched that made my children want to do good deeds for each other. It is set in the 60's, so if you can handle it being a bit dated it is a great movie.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

mid-summer garden

Every year I start out my garden with such high hopes and every year it doesn't live up to them. But every year I have some successes among my failures. This year I've been very impressed with Fortex climbing beans. These seeds were given me by my mother and it is a wonderfully tastey, high-producing climbing bean and an heirloom plant at that! Another plant that was very impressive was the garlic. It has a different growing cycle then I've ever had to deal with before (planted in the early fall and harvested mid -summer) but it produced quite a bit and was absolutely no maintainence. Chinese cabbage was another super easy big producer. This year was my first year to try Yard Long Beans. They are easy to grow and producing quite a bit, but I'm the only one in the house who really likes the flavor. Kohlrabi was easy to grow and tastes good, but it didn't produce that much. Sure looks wierd. Naturally the bush beans did great. The onion sets are the perfect plant, they grow every year and you can harvest them at anytime. Radishes produce dependablely, but no one really likes them that much. Swiss chard was easy, but it isn't anyone's favorite either. Leaf lettuce is easy and produces pretty good as long as the weather is cool. And, as far as I can tell, sweet potatoes are a good garden plant. they worked last year and they sure look like they are happily growing this year. Rhubarb. I like plants I stick in the ground and ignore. Rhubarb definately qualifies as low maintainence. I guess I should mention apples, even if this is an "off" year for apples. When they choose to produce they do it very impressively (they usually only produce big crops every other year). And strawberries. They are easy and taste fabulous, but my strawberries are on the tiny side. We still eat them. I guess I should throw in raspberries. They're easy to grow and taste great but I never get enough to bring in the house.

Things I have trouble with year after year-- spinach. I never get hardly any at all. Sweet peas. I get enough to make it worth my while, but they sure never make it to the freezer. They taste good picked fresh and popped in the mouth, but that is about all I ever get. Potatoes. I get a crop's worth, but they are so cheap in the store they're hardly worth growing. Carrots. I'm really lousy at growing carrots. Tomatoes. You'd think I'd have this one down pat, but I really need to talk to someone who's a tomato expert. I get some but never the huge amounts most gardeners get.

Plants that hardly seem worth the effort-- Broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, nasturiums. Let me just say nasturiums are a lovely flower and are supposedly edible, but no one likes the flavor, so it is more of a bragging right then a vegetable.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

stay at home mom

Whenever anyone asks me what I do I say I'm a mom. I've been a stay-at-home mom since my oldest was little. This upcoming school year will be my youngest daughter's last year of homeschool before she goes to public high school (her choice). I love my job. It doesn't pay well, but it the best job ever. This past weekend I attended a memorial for a friend who died of cancer recently. It was held at the lovely home of his niece. I had never met the niece before but in the course of getting acquainted with her she told me she was a teacher and stressed how she could NEVER stay at home, just sitting around. I managed to keep my mouth shut (not one of my greater talents). She had a preschooler and was pregnant with her second child. I felt sorry for her, she has no idea what she is missing. How I treasured those days with young children. Wearing beyond belief, but a fabulous adventure. It was a huge adjustment to go from college classes and working to staying home with the boys, but I loved it. I read to them, we explored nature together, we entertained ourselves, cooked together, played together, we grew up together. I don't remember much "sitting around" going on. The biggest freedom I remember (which I still have) is the freedom to learn whatever I wanted. I've had tons of people tell me I can do anything. Well, I can. I can learn anything I'm interested in. Largely, because I'm a stay-at-home mom and I decide what I'm doing with my time. I've been able to learn a huge variety of skills/crafts/hobbies. I haven't learned to repair cars or computers, but that is because I don't want to, not because I can't or because I don't have the time. Now I have five of my seven kids out of the house. This is my last year of homeschooling. I don't really qualify as a stay-at-home mom anymore after this year. Great job. I'll miss it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

my products

I was hoping you could actually see some of the stuff I make/design/sell at the farmer's market. I'm having fun with this. Can you see the Panda soap? It's all chocolate and vanilla colored. That's actually made from chocolate. It's a lovely soap, all that cocoa butter makes it so soothing. This is only half of the table, but it gives an idea of the sort of stuff I sell. The weather on Saturday was delightful and we had big crowds. I love it when people come up and tell me they love what they've bought. They did that quite a bit on Saturday.

at the farmer's market

This is my stand at the farmer's market. We were right in the middle of unloading, so the back hatch on the minivan isn't closed yet. I'm talking with the Bee Guy. he's the one I get my beeswax from. As you can see my wares are displayed in baskets.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

library display part two

library display

I was asked to provide a display for the library this month. I choose to show off a variety of things I learned to do. I learned all of these from books I read at the library. The little girl dresses use French handsewing (by machine). I even made the stuffed doll. I made one of those dolls for each of my girls. They were well played with. If you look at the display the dresses are on top, if you look carefully at the right hand side there is a Japanese purse, I used Omiage to do it. The second level has soap and gardening and chicken raising (which is mainly what this blog is devoted to). The third level has a couple of cakes that I whipped up just for this display. They'll be pretty nasty by the end of the month! I also have sugar flowers. That was a fun craft to learn. Insanely too much work, but they look pretty cool. The bottom level has knitting, spinning and making buckskin.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I know, I know, I need to take some pictures. I really am a lousy photographer. It is mid summer here. July is as bad as it gets, weather-wise. It is hot and humid beyond belief some days. We spend most of our time indoors during July. I really want to keep my garden going well into the fall. This is the time of year when I always feel a bit defeated. The only thing I can think of to put in are more beans, but by this time the bugs have figured out that I plant a lot of beans and are right there and good to go. The chickens scratched up my beautiful cucumber plants while I was on vacation and I pulled the sickly plants out, put fresh compost in and some new cucumber seeds. They've already popped up. It is amazing how fast things grow in the summer time.

Right now I'm getting a few beans, some lovely Yard Long Beans (a Chinese vegetable, super easy to grow, why don't more people grow these things?), onions, hot peppers, and that's about it. Oh yeah, a few tomatoes. I really am not a great tomato grower. I wish I was. I need to learn how to do it better. AND we're eating the garlic that we recently pulled out of the garden.

Oh, and the chickens are laying pretty good.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


At the farmer's market today I had several people stop by to tell me how much they liked the soap/lip balm/body bar. That is a real compliment to have people come back and tell me they like my products. I'm trying my best to make this little business a success, but I don't want it to take over my life. It seems willing. I really enjoy solving all the sniggly little problems of figuring out how to make this a successful venture, but God's work comes first, then my family, then, somewhere down the line comes the business. I do like having a business I can fit into my life. For example the other night I was labeling soaps and my daughter plopped down to help. We had "All Creatures Great and Small" running and it was a sweet time. The soaps look good and I didn't have to leave my family. Have I mentioned I like this better then substitute teaching?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

this and that

I've been running around trying to catch up from being gone for so long. I'm almost (but not quite) back to my routine. It's amazing how much work there is to do when you're out of town for a while. I made three batches of soap yesterday and two today. I cleaned out M~'s room and turned it into a soap room. Or I guess I should call it my business office. The garden has suffered from my absence. I think the potatoes are dead. The chickens got into the cucumbers and there are no more cucumber plants, they're all dead. In the same patch as the cucumbers the chickens scratched out all of the green onions. They obviously don't like to eat onions and we ate them all tonight in a lovely onion-y curry. My beans have a bad case of the bean beetles, but I feed the beetles to the chickens whenever I catch them. They sure like to eat those beetles. We had chinese yard long beans with dinner tonight. They are really good. I cut them up and used them like beans. They taste slightly different than beans, but they are very good.

Monday, July 6, 2009


I just tallied up the amounts the garden/chickens have produced in the month of June. The total was 83.8 lbs! This is the first year I've been consistent about weighing the food we are raising. The picture is of the garlic. It was super easy to raise and produced quite a bit. It took a long time, but it was totally brainless once it was in the ground. One sad note. While I was on vacation the chickens squirmed through the fence around the cucumbers and ate everything. So I need to refasten my chicken wire and then replant for a late crop.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

raspberries and apples

The raspberries were wonderful this year. We had to fence the bushes off so the chickens didnt' eat all the fruit. When I left on vacation I picked as many raspberries as I could, then I removed the fencing. The chickens were very happy to finish the picking for me. They love the raspberry bushes. They give them a place to hide in the shade.

The apple tree has some sort of wasting disease where some of the branches die and the leaves turn all brown, but this tree seems to have survived, with fruit! I'm not sure what the disease is but I know it killed one of my apple trees a couple of years ago. I usually lose a few small branches to the disease each year, but that one year I lost an entire young tree. I love apples. We had an apple tree in our backyard when I grew up and that apple tree played a major part of my childhood. We practically lived in that tree every summer.


Beans, beans the wonderful fruit. These pictures were taken right after I picked a whole bunch of the beans. You can see the strings they are climbing up. The beautiful flower is for Yard Long Beans, which is a chinese vegetable, look like a bean, used like a bean, it's not a bean. The other is a Fortex bean, seeds given me by my mother from her garden. They're doing fabulous and they taste great. I haven't grown climbing beans in a long time, I forgot how good they taste. They're so easy to grow. The only problem I've had is a bean beetle attacking them, but the beetles are easy to pick off and kill.

John Pack

OK, so no one has ever heard of him, but he is on a famous statue, farthest to the right, barely mentioned, but he's right there! We went out to Utah and visited the "This is the Place" monument and looked for evidence of John Pack (DH's only even mildly famous ancestor). We found him, last in line, but, hey, he's in the line, right behind "unidentified pioneer." John Pack was with the very first bunch of people who entered the Salt Lake valley with the pioneers. The monument is at the place where Brigham Young said, "This is the right place."

road trip