Monday, March 31, 2008

I grow weary of killing....

...seedlings! I killed some more, this time because they were too wet rather then too dry. And those that weren't dead were doing nothing. So I planted them all outside. Perhaps I will pay for my hastiness, perhaps not. I also picked up a handful of other plants at OSH. Altogether I planted: corn, beans, zucchini, basil, oregano, chives, onions, echinacea, sunflowers, cilantro, thai dragon peppers, jalepeno peppers, another tomato plant (compliments of the local real estate agent, they left it on our porch), and of course...the hops (DH planted those)! I also planted in the border bed an iris plant that had been sitting in a plastic pot for several years. All the plants that I planted a couple weeks ago are definately getting bigger and happier. And the dogs look pretty happy, don't you think? They are chewing on rocks...their favorite.

We didn't get everything done on the to-do list, but still a nice dent in it. The big pile of dirt is almost gone. We built up the back border bed and then I mulched the shit out of it to help keep the weeds down. I need another couple of bags of mulch though, I had to spread it pretty light. Hubby's parents are re-doing their raised beds and walkways and will have a bunch of leftover landscaping cloth when they are done. So we can't really do the gravel in the walkways until they give us that. Sweet of them, we've been spending so much lately that it will be nice to have one less thing to buy.

Other then working in the yard over the weekend, I did quite a bit of housework, and hung out quite a bit with friends. Cheapskate had a show on Friday night at some punk rock squat house which was fun. We were all joking around about how old we felt compared to the youngsters in attendance. Being in that atmosphere brought back some interesting memories of the old party days, especially of our wild parties we used to have at the Probe House. Ah youth....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wow, thursday already

This week has gone very fast and I, unfortunately, cannot claim it's been a good week. But that's okay because the weekend fast approaches and I plan on spending most of it in our beloved little back yard. Our lilac tree's are starting to bloom. :) I really really really love our little yard. Did I mention that I love it? It's certainly not big, but I feel very comfortable working with what we have and letting the yard teach us what it wants and what will work. There's just a simple list of basics for me that I want (for now, until we have acreage someday) and this space already has- or has the potential for- all of them, despite it's diminutive size. And we haven't even begun to start on the front yard! I have plenty of ideas for out there as well. I've been waiting my whole life for this opportunity! Our *very own* space. We can do whatever we want with it!

This weekend, assuming I can overcome my moodiness and lack of motivation, we will be finishing off the pile o' dirt, starting on the gravel walkways around the main raised beds, over-seeding the grassy areas (front and back) with clover and chamomile seeds, and setting up the hops. Because we are planning on painting the house this summer, we opted against setting them up the way DH wanted, in the raised beds climbing up the wall on twine to the roof. So instead we are setting up a little trellis for them in wine barrels. Next year we can always move them around and I had been planning on getting some new barrels anyways. We got two barrels for a good price from a guy on craigslist who works for a winery in oakland. The barrels are stained red from wine and smell really yummy.

Oh, and then there is the spare room. I've reaching the sanding stage. My ultimate least favorite thing to do is sanding. So every night I've looked in there with a sigh and then sat my ass down on the couch or computer chair and been entirely unproductive. We shall see how far I get on that.

May your thursday and friday be swift, and may your weekend be sunny and leisurely.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Here birdy, birdy...

So, I have this big raucous squirrel foot fern hanging on my front porch. The other day, we caught a glimpse from the corner of our eye through the kitchen window of something moving on the front porch. Joe opened the curtains for a better look and his movement startled away a couple of doves that had been loitering there. "uh-oh, I wonder if they are thinking about nesting in my fern!" I said, and we mostly forgot about it. The next morning as we were leaving for work we noticed one sitting up there. I touched the plant's bottom and for a moment it was like The Birds movie! They were flying around all crazy by our heads. I crept up on the railing and peeked into the plant and didn't see any eggs. I decided that when I got home that night I'd put some chicken wire or something over the plant to keep them from building their nest in it. I've had this plant for a long time and it was a gift, so it has sentimental value...I figured nesting birds might kill it, or I wouldn't be able to water it!

Well I was too late. Last night I ventured onto the porch. I didn't see any sign of them at first glance, but prodded the plant first before sticking my head up there. Wise choice! The two love-birds again created a flurry of wings and cries about my head. I squealed and ran inside, then peeked out at mama bird who sat stunned on the porch rail. I shooed her away and got up and peeked in the plant with my headlamp. Low and behold a precious little egg...just one! I should have taken a picture of it. I wonder if she laid more today. I did get a picture of her through the window, warming her little egg(s). At night her mate comes to join her and they sleep in there together. I hope my fern survives the ordeal.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Go Go Gadget Garden

Despite some unfortunate events over the last week, DH and I still managed to finish what we started on the raised beds. Bright and early on Saturday I took the better soil that I saved on each end of the ginormous pile and filled each raised bed to between 1/3 and 1/2 full, tossing out any bits of grass and rocks as I went (see how the pile has shrunk!!?). The soil here is rich, but clay-ish. We then went and got 9 bags of compost from Evergreen nursery. It was a bit spendy, but worth it. The stuff we're using has chicken manure, earthworm casting, sea kelp and something else in it - I forget...but it was good shit. We filled up the beds with that yummy-ness and Joe turned it thoroughly. His parents say it's too early to start anything, but I couldn't wait so I bought some stuff and planted it: tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, crookneck squash and some flower companions for them. I also direct seeded some greens and carrots. They look so cute, don't you think?

It seems like every time I take a picture it's late in the day when the sun is gone! But I assure you both these spots get at least 4 hours of sun a day and will get even more as the sun crosses higher in the sky and spring begets summer.

My seedlings that I started inside are not faring so well. I've managed to kill a whole flat which contained sadly, my tomatoes, basil, eggplant and jalepeno. As with last year, the sunflower, zucchini, corn, echinacea and sage are doing well. The rest are spindly and pathetic and not making any progress at all. I also recently started some onions and beans, but only one each of the little pots sprouted. I never do have much luck with the starting inside. Perhaps if I had a grow light it would make it more worthwhile. The sunflowers will go outside soon, as I can tell they are growing weary of their small peat pots. The rest have a while to go.

Last year I had a lovely show of black eyed susans after spontaneously scattering some seeds. I think I'll do the same again this year. They are so pretty that they bring me joy every time I gaze upon them. I see some teeny sprouts where I scattered wildflower and butterfly garden seeds - but the soil there is so clay that I'm not sure how successful they will be. We will see! This is the first year of many years of gardening lessons to be learned from our darling little yard. Oh, I almost forgot! DH ordered some year old Hop Rhizomes that will be here next week. We need to find a place for them to creep. The obvious choice (against the bedroom wall) won't work because we need to keep it open for painting. We are talking about a couple of big wine barrels with the bamboo tripods in them. He can't wait to make some home brew with home grown hops!

Gardening isn't all I've been up to though! I did start on another room...the spare room which will be a guest/sewing room until such time there is a small person to occupy it. It's pretty freakin' dingy and has spots that need some serious plaster and patching. Blech. But it's only a few evening's of work and I'll be able to start painting it. The color will be "Fun in the Sun" which is a warm, light yellow. A color I like, and may be a wise choice for the future? We will see. Here's a little before for ya...burn these images into your brain so that you can marvel with the cuteness of the "after" room. ;)

Well, that's all I got for now. I hope all is well in your worlds. Until next time fair bloglings.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rattled... nerves, that is. It's been a long week. I haven't much to say other then, here's to hoping next week is less of a pile of crap.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Huzzah for Raised Beds

Greetings Bloglingas. I haven't much time today. My frequent absence last week from work has provided me with much to do today! It will at least make the time fly. Much progress was made in the yard over the weekend. Thanks to Gypsy Junk for the use of her rotatiller. I leveled (mostly) the patch where the beds were to go on Friday and shoveled the remains into piles. See the huge pile of dirt? Oooh my aching back (and arms, and even butt!):

Then DH built the beds on Saturday:

Then yesterday we dug them down a little and leveled them. There are two other beds as well, but we are debating how close to the house we can put them, since they are wood set in dirt and all. I think they'll get set about 6 inches out from the house at some point this week. Also this week I will fill them with some of our dirt, compost and some other goodies and start putting some plants in those suckers! Then I'll put a new border in front there, and add liner and gravel to the walkways around the beds. Yay!

Time is moving quickly! Mid March already? I have promises to keep, and rooms to paint before I sleep.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Do you ever feel like an idiot and a genius at the same time? I felt that way when locating the cause of the musty smell in the spare bedroom. I was cleaning it out to prepare it for painting when I caught a distinct whiff of said smell...coming from the old vacuum cleaner that we'd taken to storing in that room. This old vacuum used to live in the garage until a few months ago - right about when we started closing the door to that room (for heating purposes) and the smell surfaced. It does need a bag change. And it was his Grandma's vacuum. Nasty nasty. Anyhoo - the vacuum has been moved back to the garage (yes I will buy bags for it this weekend) and the smell is gone! WOOHOO! It's not mold! We are so relieved! Because eventually, hopefully, that room will be a nursery so we were extra sensitive to whatever mystery toxin might have been causing the odor. Now there isn't anything to worry about!

Feeling slightly better today. Here's to a productive weekend in the sun! I have tomorrow off people. Na na na na Ha ha ha ha! :b

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ick to Sick

This cold is brutal! I am seriously under the weather. The aches, pains and sore throat have passed thankfully, but now the sneezes and runny nose are in full effect. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be free of this by Friday when my long weekend begins. I'm about half done lifting the layer of 'sod' (really a grass, weed, dead stuff mat) for disposal. DH said he'll help me work on it tonight. I don't have the energy right now to work on it for more then 30 minutes at a time, but I really need to get it done before Friday so I can spend that day tilling and leveling the remaning soil. I am sooooo excited at the prospect of having raised beds! Hopefully I'll have good tidings to report come Monday.

Happy Hump Day.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Greetings bloglings! Another week greets us. DH got me sick so I had a tickle-throat and cough all weekend. I actually didn't feel all that bad so I didn't rest up as I should, consequently I have a sore throat today and I stayed home from work.

We took about to thinking about the aforementioned musty smelling bedroom and the unexpected crop of mold we found in our own bedroom. After much researching and talking with our families and our friends who work in construction etc, we are pretty sure the mold that cropped up in our bedroom was surface mold caused by high humidity and low ventilation in that room this time of year. I used bleach and water to clean it and opened up all the window and blew fans for several hours. The musty bedroom however is another story. No visible mold or mildew. We inspected the roof and attic and there are no leaks or moisture issues that we can discern. DH's dad does not believe the smell is mold. He says it's "old house" smell. I can't say that I necessarilly agree, otherwise why wouldn't the other bedrooms smell that way when they are left with doors and windows closed?

However, we are going to attempt his suggestion of giving the walls and floors a thorough cleaning and painting it...which is fine because that was all on the to-do list anyways. I'm just going to do that room sooner then I planned. He thinks that will make the smell go away. I'm not so sure. But really...the only place we haven't been able to inspect is inside the exterior wall and when we replace the window we'll have our chance. At that point should we find any issue (or should the smell not go away after cleaning/painting) then we will probably take more aggressive action.

Otherwise this weekend I didn't do too much - some cleaning and I starting lifting the grass (for lack of a better word) in the area where the raised beds are going to go. I'm concerned it won't be done in time for next weekend. I still need to till and level it after the grass is gone.

I also planted some seeds and a couple plants. And I took a trip to Sac to game with my homies. Which was certainly fun, but probably was what prompted my cold to take a turn for the worse. Now I shall mope and drink tea and hopefully this afternoon I'll start to feel better.

Happy Monday.