Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Sad Little Garden

Sad is an understatement when it comes to the state of my garden. It has been sooooo hot (triple digit temps for a week now) and dry that even with a daily dose from the water hose, things are in a permanent state of wilt. Just a couple of days ago we broke our all time heat record...it was hotter than it has ever been in recorded history reaching 108 degrees F. This is not only hard on our garden, and by extension water bill, it is torture for myself, being pregnant, my husband, who works outside all day long, and my daughter who is going a bit stir crazy because it's just too much to go outside. Andrew is supposed to be doing all of the weeding and physical maintenance of the garden, but after eight hours outside, when he comes home it's all he can do to drag the hose out, and really can you blame him? Supposedly this week will bring a cool down (down to the mid nineties..if you can call that cool), but what we really need is some significant rain. A good day long summer soaker. For most people a rainy summer day spoils poolside fun and trips to the lake, but I am desperate. Anyone know a good rain dance? Even in my state I will give it a go! By the way, we are having a boy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Slugs Slugs Slugs

Slugs. They never used to bother me before. They also never used to eat my plants down to nothing in  a matter of days either. I knew we would have a bug problem this year, but my goodness!! Do slugs even count as bugs? This morning, just on opening the back door, I counted no less than twenty of the slimey little beasts just on the plastic deck chairs. For the past couple of days, while we researched what to do about them, Andrew and I have spent each morning and evening (I get a.m. he gets p.m., which seems to me like I got the worst end of the deal there) combing the garden picking them off the plants. They are particularly fond of the pepper plants. From the reading Andrew did this is what we've come up with: A circle of sand around the plants, supposedly they won't crawl over the sand...cornmeal...supposedly they will eat it and their stomachs will explode....and beer...supposedly they will drown themselves in booze....we'll see what works. At least this year, we are not alone in our misery. Chicken neighbor has them bad too. He doesn't treat his yard either.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Adding Corn

So Andrew has decided to take the summer off from school. (He is currently working on an engineering degree with concentration in solar energy). He went last summer and it was really hard on him, and since we have a lot to do this summer it made sense to take a break. The past couple of weekends were spent planting and mulching and fencing the beds. The fencing is a big hassle because our dog  really likes to dig in the gardens when we add fresh compost, and so we have to keep her out. The game is to come up with something different every year without spending a ton of money, because she always ends up figuring out how to get over/under/around by the end of the summer. Last weekend Andrew said, "how about corn?" I love fresh corn on the cob so I was agreeable to the idea. Apparently he meant right then, because within the hour he had me outside figuring out where to put the new bed, how big it needed to be, and researching different corn varieties to figure out what to plant. Before the night ended he had dug the bed and added compost. The next day corn was bought and planted. So, we have added corn, and assuming all seeds germinate (though by the squirrel party I witnessed out there yesterday we may be missing a few) and  all plants are healthy, we should end up with nearly a hundred ears of corn. Every year we add more and more to our garden. When I first started gardening, I was doing it all on my own, but now Andrew is as much a part of it as me, which has been great. Between the greenhouse and new corn bed, our garden space now takes up half of our yard. But that's just fine...less to mow!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bad Year for Bugs

I foresee an epic battle with the insects this year. Our winter was extremely warm...I don't think it dropped below forty more than a couple of times, and it is already, before summer is even here, getting into the 90's. Not to mention that we have had a huge drop in the bat population, which are crucial to help controlling the insects that are already taking over. All over the city they have hung bat houses up in the trees for the bats, hopefully to help their population re-growth. The ticks have been insane. Everyday now before coming back in the house we have to check each other and the dogs, because they are crawling everywhere. And the gnats! I think I must eat a hundred a day just sitting on the back porch. Just opening your mouth to talk you can't help but swallow them! Of course we have wasps...we always have a problem with them making nests right at our front door...but I don't mind a few because the help control garden pests. Since we don't treat our yard (most of our neighbors do) with chemicals, we are researching some natural things we can do to help alleviate the problem. I know we are not going to wipe them out completely, but we have never seen such an invasion as this! Strangely, though, for the second year in a row we haven't seen ladybugs. Used to be they would be everywhere! Always crawling in the windows and if you sat still long enough outside one or two would be crawling on you. I don't mind bugs..(although I really could do without the huge black widow that was in the garden shed with a big egg sack)..they have a job to do that is important in the overall balance of things...but this is a little bit ridiculous.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lot's of Pics and no Way to Share!!

I have taken lots of pictures that I would like to share...the plants, the greenhouse, and some pillow covers that I am making and hope to post about when they are done, but I can't seem to find the cord that connects the camera to the computer!!! It's probably in some really obvious place too.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Searching for Land

After much discussion over the past few weeks, Andrew and I have agreed it's time to seriously start looking for more space. By more space I mean more land. We have a pretty good size yard now, and it has amazing possibilties, but it is still surrounded by neighbors and doesn't really work well for our personal goals. Just what are those goals? Well, ultimately we'd like to be as self suffiecent as possible. Being able to live with what have, and maybe producing just enough income for things that are unavoidable like property taxes. Right now we garden and preserve to help supplament our food....which has been invaluable as the cost of food has skyrocketed, while our salary has not. Not to mention the food industry in this country leaves much to be desired. We do our best to buy other foods directly from thier sources (love the farmers market!), and make staples like bread from scratch. But we'd really love to have some animals of our own. Goats and chickens mostly. I would love to have not only milk goats, but goats for fiber too! Now we have enough space in our yard for some miniatures, and this was something we seriously considered, but then the new neighbors and their chickens came. Now when they first arrived, as you can tell from the post I wrote about it, I was thrilled! And really, they still don't bother me that much. But the rest of the neighbors...well they are not too pleased. Not only are there chickens, but they have turkeys too, and these birds are loud. All day long the turkeys gobble and the roosters crow like they are in a competition for who is king bird around the yard. Not to mention that everyone else around the neighborhood has dogs, including us, and dogs really send those birds into a frenzy! The roosters start crowing well before the sun is up. It doesn't wake me up, but I've heard other people complain, and it can make it hard to fall back asleep if I've woken up for another reason. The point is, while goats don't crow, I'm sure they must make noises of their own, and obviously we are just too populated for farm animals. It's okay to not care if the neighbors think your crazy for talking to your tomato plants, or shake their heads because you grass is knee high before you mow, but you still need to consider them when your choices will affect them too. So we search. We would like at least five acres, and something more rural than where we are. Truth be told if we are going to afford five acres with a house on it it's going to have to be way out in the boonies anyway, but that's just fine with us. The only complication is the house we have now. What to do with it? It's in a very desirable location, close to the best schools and only ten minutes from the most popular shopping areas, but still outside city limits, but that is the best it has going for it. Our neighborhood is one that was built in the 70's, when the lot sizes were big and houses were small. (As opposed to the current trend of building three thousand squre foot houses that are ten feet from the property line so all you see is a good view of your neighbors bathroom). Our house has only 1027 squre feet and one bathroom, and by today's standards, that's a closet. I think it will be hard to sell. We are toying with the idea of renting it, but that's a scary venture in it's own as I know nothing about being a landlord. Either way, it needs a few things like new carpet and kitchen cabinets, all of which cost money. So we figure this whole buying land and moving on thing is probably going to take us a while, but we are ready!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


              It has been quite a while since I posted anything, and so much has happened since!! I had intended to get right back into regular postings with the arrival of spring, and all the activities that usually go with it. A couple of months ago we started preparing the garden beds and Andrew even spent several weekends building me a greenhouse. (Pictures to come soon!) The garlic I planted last fall has come up and is growing strong as are the onions. Again we decided on doing potatoes in the containers like last year, except this year we added a purple variety. I started from seed bell peppers and tomatoes as well as hot peppers this year, and all are doing really well. I have started the hardening off process and they should be ready for planting in the first weeks of May. With the virtually non-existent winter and really warm march, it was so tempting to doing things too early, and I am glad I didn't, because last night we had a late freeze....well, not really late as it is not unusual in April, just out of sync with what the weather has been like this year.
          The biggest thing in our lives right now, is that we are expecting another baby, and this pregnancy has brought the most changes to our lives. Last July I had a chemical pregnancy, and so when in march the test was positive I was anxious to get to the doctor and have it confirmed. Then, a week before my scheduled doctor's appointment I started have heaving bleeding and spent the night in the hospital. The baby was fine, and I was sent home and told I may still miscarry. A few days later the bleeding returned, and this time on an ultrasound they saw that I have a tear in the placenta. This means that I have been on virtual bed rest as to keep any more damage from happening, and to allow the tear to heal itself, I've been restricted from anything strenuous at all. This means no picking up Isabelle, who at two and a half doesn't quite understand why I can't hold her, no doing household chores (except I still wash dishes) and to my horror, no gardening. No digging out that new bed I wanted, no pulling weeds (okay really I'm not that sad bout that), nothing. This has been really hard for me. Andrew is doing his best to keep up with everything, and really his is superman. He works full time, plus does side work on weekends, and he's still going to school. What has really amazed me about him through this whole thing is even with all that, and having to do laundry and carpets and scrubbing the tub, and pulling the weeds and mowing the lawn, he still finds time every night to spend with Isabelle. Those two are inseparable. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, but sometimes when I see them playing together I get a little teary eyed. But, it's been a couple of weeks and I haven't had any bleeding, and I have an ultra sound later today. Hopefully some of these restrictions will be lifted and maybe I will be able to do more, otherwise it's going to be a long nine months. By the way, baby is due November 11th!