Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Best Laid Plans

Our best laid plans for the outside paint color on our house have gone awry, I'm afraid. I was so pleased that we'd arrived at the conclusion of sagey-green with white trim...something we could actually both agree on! (he likes grey, I like red, or chocolate brown or yellowy-beige). Anyhoo, we were in the market yesterday when we heard a chipper "hullo, neighbor" and thus we met Michelle. Neighbor of two doors down, wife to Jason (who happens to be the guitarist for the Dance-Hall Crashers) and mother to two lovely tow-head girls. She was quite nice but in the course of our conversation we learned that she too was planning on house-painting, and that she too had sagey-green in mind. I suppose it wouldn't matter so much if the house in between us wasn't already green with white trim (a spearaminty-green). Three houses in a row painted green with white trim might just be too much. /sigh.

So now we are trying to think of other options that we'll find mutually pleasing. The current winner is a rich tan with white trim. We both like it...it would look good. The only problem is, it would totally match our living room! Would that be wierd, to have the outside of the house and the living area matching? Heh. Almost like an optical illusion! We must choose soon...because the windows are in (most of them). And they draw attention to the fact that our house is a dirty peach with peeling mauve trim (UGH, wtf was grandma thinking??).

The picture at the top of this post is the before of the front window. Here is the after. I must say I'm pretty pleased.

I'm taking a week off in August for camping, and then working on the house. Perhaps we'll accomplish the painting that week? In the meantime there's plenty to do inside.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My other garden

Upon arriving at my mother's house Saturday, she said "go look at your garden". Oh yeah! The other garden! I'd forgotten in the haze that has been the last few months. The week before my dad's funeral, I looked upon my mothers back yard with despair. The deck is rotting, and at that time the flower beds were full of weeds and cigarette butts (yes my brother has been sharply scolded). I had to make it look decent for the reception for my dad, so I went and spent 40 bucks on annuals, a couple perennials, and some compost and then worked my little hiney off cleaning out the boxes, amending the soil and planting the plants. I also sprinkled a HUGE can of wildflower seed that my mother had stashed. She'd been too busy with dad to get to the yard this year. Wildflower seed is about all the gardening she ever does, she prefers desert landscape.

When all was said and done the back deck looked decent and pretty and I'd forgotten about it since. But mom has been watering it regularly and I neglected to consider what 2 months of desert sunshine would do. It's glorious! I simply must include a bed that can have summer wildflowers when we redo our front yard.

In other news most of the windows are in. I'll have some juicy before and after pics for you later this week. Until then please enjoy:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Little projects and a wee harvest

It was a lovely weekend, the weather was fresh and smoke-free. We did bbq and go see the new Batman (wow, I like it!) with some friends. Other then that it a great time for a few little projects around the house.

The first of which being the other front yard shrub that we decided needed to go - the overgrown camelia. We were slightly more reluctant with this one, as it was quite healthy and had probably been in that spot for 20 years or more. But it's placement was poor...it overgrew onto the porch, rotting the porch railing. And to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of camelias (we had tons when I was growing up, as our land was fairly shady - and I tired of them) and would not turn to them willingly unless I had a very very shady yard to work with. And we are planning on putting a new garden window in the kitchen window above it.

So out it went. And once it was gone I felt less bad about it. The best news is that DH has finally completely come over to the dark side. Or the green side as it were...he came in the other day after raking the front yard and said "I'm so f'n sick of lawn". YES. He's seen the light and has agreed to let me rip up the front yard and replace it with a garden. I've been plotting and will start drawing plans soon. We are waiting until after the windows and paint, and just before rainy (crosses fingers) season so it will take less to get it established. The only argument now is fenced vs. not fenced. I prefer the former, he the latter. We had a rental house that had a wee picket fence around the front yard, and I liked it.

In other projects, I decided to refurbish some old patio chairs my gramps made a long time ago.
They were pretty rough, so I washed and sanded them thoroughly.

I've managed to get one of them painted and I think it turned out pretty nice. I still need to fashion some cushions for them:

I also took an early morning trip to Home Depot, only for a bag of mulch, and found just the right chairs to go with my patio table...on sale! For 13 bucks each. Holding out for the right deal is the way to go. Finally I have an actual patio dining set. It inspired to me rearrange my patio set up. See my new dining room? I just need the umbrella...which again, I'll wait for the right deal to buy one:

What better way to enjoy a new patio set then with a bbq? And for the bbq we enjoyed a wee harvest. Other then zucchini and lettuce, my garden has not yet been a big producer. But it is my first real expiriment and so I'm enjoying what rewards I'm getting. And though this harvest was indeed wee, DH and I both thought the corn tasty, and the cherry tomatoes and carrots were amazing...in my humble opinion. The carrots especially!

Heehee...that's almost my entire corn crop...I have 4 or 5 more ears that I can pull off and then its done. I don't think I'll grow corn next year. I'd need to plant it much differently to make it healthier and in order to do that I'd block sun from other beds. Or perhaps I'll sneak some into the front yard? I'm planning on a mostly ornamental, drought tolerant cottage garden for the front. But I do plan on throwing in some edible perennials in the spots of brightest sun and leaving some small spaces here and there to plant veggies and annuals each season. Yay!
Well well, here we go back to another week of working. BLECH! I so wish I had a couple more days off. It will be a long week. And then a weekend away (visiting mom). Then next week DH is traveling for work! He'll be in the Boston area (jealous!) all week. Poor thing is so nervous! But I am too...a whole week w/o him! I'm going to be lonely. Perhaps I'll paint a room to keep myself busy.
Cheers, everyone.

Friday, July 18, 2008


YAY!!! The weeks have been long lately, so I'm so glad for a friday again. I've had a bad crick in my neck all week and it's been hella bumming me out. It's not better yet either...I'm hoping that maybe tomorrow it will start to improve?

We have some friends coming into town tomorrow and I'm excited about that. I'm gonna make chili for lunch! YUM! Other then that I plan only on cleaning house, gardening, and possibly going to see Mamma Mia with Gypsy Junk (maybe Sunday afternoon??). I'm also kind of looking forward to the new Batman flick which looks fairly savage. We rented the prequel to it for watching tonight after housework.

Not much else to report I'm afraid. I've done next to nothing this week due to my neck pain. Maybe next week will be more eventful. I think I'll make zucchini bread tonight. I have a feeling that dipping zucchini cheddar bread into my chili tomorrow will be extra yummy.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Back at work. Blech! Ah well. At least there's plenty to do to make the day fly! I am moving. My boss will be in town alot and has requested that I move upstairs. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it. The pro's are that it is a change of pace, and much more light. I'll be in the only cube on that floor and it has a huge window behind it and a wall of windows in front of it. Which means, house plants and vitamin D. The con's are that part of the cube area includes 3 printers. And it's not great for you to sit so close to printers. The other cons are less space overall, and MUCH less privacy. So the con's kind of outweigh...but se la vie.

We went to Sac this weekend for a friends birthday. I took what was left of my last harvest of zucchini and used this lovely grilled zucchini recipe, which was quite the success. Very simple, and very tasty. Though by the time I got to the grill I was already fairly hammered and so I think I could have cooked them longer to really do it right. There were no complaints though! And nevermind the 4 or 5 slices that now live in the bottom of Dan's bbq. :D

I'm wondering if the zucchini are done. I don't see any new ones except for my mutant ones (recall my post about needing two plants to germinate properly). The summer squash are seeming pretty done as well. They were okay. I think they needed more room to stretch. The fruit was tasty, but rather thick skinned. The corn is done. I'll harvest them this weekend and grill the ears. My wee little crops LOL. I don't know if corn continues to produce or if it's just one crop period, but I suspect the latter. I harvested the beans and I think I left them on too long. There were a few that were good, but most were just not right. We kind of grew more food then the two of us could eat. Well that's not exactly true, let's just say my gardening eyes are bigger then my lazy-cook ways can handle. The 3 sisters beds which were glorious to look at in early june are now haggard. I'm thinking of pulling everything and trying to start other warm crop late, just for kicks. I don't want them to be completely empty until Sept when I start my cool crops in there. Maybe I could get some eggplant to produce?

Anyhoo - I'd better get to packing my desk.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


My backyard has a terrible infestation of white flies! :( I noticed some on the nasturtium and the geraniums a few days back and have been meaning to take care of them. All of a sudden they have infiltrated everything, and I mean *everything*. OMG. My organic gardening pest control book suggests sticky traps, insecticidal soap or garlic oil. It calls for predatory wasps and beetles inside greenhouses, but I don't think those will work outside! I plan on taking a trip to OSH and the closest nursery to my work to check it out. My friend who has indoor organic gardening experience suggested something called "don't bug me". So maybe I'll pick some of that up!

It feels dirty somehow, to be so infested!

Monday, July 7, 2008


...and the living is easy. I have lots of pictures from the yard and garden to share. I had posted this one of a squash blossom in the side bar, but thought I'd include it here because its a rather nice picture and there's a little green bug to spy. I need to look that fellow up in my garden encyclopedia:

The corn is almost ready to pick and eat! YUMMMY...I'm gonna roast these ears on the bbq grill. I've learned alot this year about gardening, and as usual the lessons come from making mistakes. One lesson this year is that corn likes to be planted in a square or circular plot so that it can germinate (is that the right word?) each other properly. I just planted 4 in a row which I've been told is wrong and why only a couple of the plants are succeeding.

The hops are doing quite well and have lovely wee lil flowers. I discovered yesterday that the cascade plant has spider mites and got to educate Joe on the matter. Per my organic pest control book we'll need to use some insecticidal soap to rectify the matter.

The zucchini is still producing like mad. It's a strange success story. Half the fruit is misshapen, round and small with yellow tip. According to my in-laws its for a similar reason to the corn...you're supposed to plant more then one zucchnini plant for them to really grow properly. But the fruit that is healthy is phoenominal. Here's a big boy for you:

I pulled all the lettuce that had bolted and added some peppers. I'm going to plant more lettuce seed too though I think I'll wait til later in the week when the heat wave is over. The zucchini is doing well, but I can't really say the same for the peppers. They seem stunted. And the tomatoes look lovely, but it seems to me that by this time last year I had red tomatoes, and so far I have only green ones. Likewise the sunflowers and echinacea seem stunted. I am realizing that the main beds simply don't get enough sun for certain specimans. I suppose the tomatoes will be okay, if late. But I'm not so sure about the peppers.

It's okay though, as I've said before, I usually learn the most from gardening mistakes - and next year some new beds will give us more room in the sun. And as my father-in-law says "the yard will teach you what it wants". My In-law's garden is amazing. They planted all their small plants less then a month ago, and the plants are doing better then mine already...and I planted mine in March and April! They told me not to feel bad, because they said they've been working on their soil for 15 years. Also their back yard gets more then 10 hours of direct sunlight a day. But still...it's like the freakin' garden of eden they got going on over there!!

Enough coveting of my neighbor's garden, then. Here's some before and after shots of the removal of a nasty rotten bush that was in the front yard. We still need to pull the stump, and then once it's gone we're probably going to replace it with some Ceanothus, which is a california native...aka wild california lilac.

Well kids, that's all for now. We had a lovely long weekend although it wasn't long enough. And now it's time to work again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Formatting Annoyingness

Does anyone else notice that blogger steals your paragraphs? I find it very annoying...it all runs together and no matter how many times I edit it trying to fix it back blogger just smashes it all together again! Bah!

Formatting Annoyingness

Does anyone else notice that blogger steals your paragraphs? I find it very annoying...it all runs together and no matter how many times I edit it trying to fix it back blogger just smashes it all together again! Bah!

Wee Things...Ginormous things....

What do you get when you plant sunflowers in a spot that gets not even a fraction of the sun that sunflowers need??

Wee sunflowers:

Can you see it? It has a few wee sisters as well. Wee, Wee, Wee.

Now, perhaps only to make me feel better about how wee my sunflowers are, my zucchini are ginormous! I'll check a little zucc one morning and then go look at it the next day and it's quadrupled in size!

Mmm!! I love zucchini, one of my very fave veggies. I made a delicious zucchini cheddar bread that we took camping with us, and we only brought a sliver back, it was a hit! Now I think I'll have to make my famous zucchini casserole for dinner one night this week with these bad boys.
I'm feeling very very tired. For no good reason I suppose other then stress. I sure was sad to have to come back to reality from camping this weekend. Camping was great as usual, though a tad smokey. Driving through Mendicino was alarming...you could see the road and that was about it! Luckilly it wasn't so bad up in Humboldt, although I was sad to not be able to see the moon and stars at night. It was great fun though...terrific company, magnificant trees, spending time in the river, night hikes, rum drinking etc. I took almost no pictures because I was too busy having fun.
In house news, the windows are pretty much a sure thing. DH's buddy gave us a professional quote from his company and when we researched it we realized it was a very good deal. It's still hugely expensive, but we've socked away for it, so fuck it! Windows it is! I'm excited. I'll have to take some before and after pictures.
Hmmm...what to do for the fourth? Anyone have any interesting plans?