Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mid-October Garden Update

It has been one month and 5 days (35 days) since we planted the garden. I'm happy to report that it is doing REALLY well. Better than I could have hoped or imagined. Here's a look at the garden:

Matt's Poppies!
Matt's giant tomato plant and his crazy garlic---that stuff has grown faster than anything else in the garden!
From back to front, left to right:
Parsnips-sprouted; Marigold-growing taller; Turnips-growing; Broccoli-growing; Beets-struggling to not fall over every day; Swiss Chard-Struggling to grow upright; Onions-growing taller; Spinach-the only patch of spinach growing.
Marigolds, Marigolds-Growing; Peas-2 plants growing up the trellis, one random plant sprouted, not sure what we're going to do with it...; Cabbage-one growing taller; Radishes-almost ready to harvest; carrots-growing, needing thinned about every day; Lettuce-ready to harvest; Carrots-thinning needed.
Marigolds in the back-growing strong; Onions-growing tall; Peas-one plant growing up the trellis; Beets-a couple heirlooms growing; Carrots-needing thinned; Spinach-can't seem to get to grow in this square; Carrots-needing thinned.
Marigolds in the back-growing; Cabbage-one plant growing; Broccoli-one plant growing; Radishes-ready to harvest; Swiss Chard-struggling to grow; Lettuce-ready to harvest; Spinach-Struggling to grow.
Parsnips in the back-sprouted and growing; Turnips-the drips from the gutters almost destroyed the turnips...; Beets-struggling to grow; Onions-growing tall.
Now for the herbs, back to front: Mint-2 sprouts; Chives-3 or 4 sprouts; Basil-2 sprouts; Oregano-a bunch of sprouts.
And the strawberries (big pot) are growing well, and the Catnip (small pot) are thriving.
So, I mentioned that some of the crops are ready to harvest. Well, Thursday I supplemented our salad stuff from the fridge with the following:

Don't they look yummy? Well, they sure tasted yummy. I'm thinking I'll have to pick some more radishes and lettuce for lunch today. There really is nothing better than growing your own food and being able to eat it. :)

So, what else has been going on? Let's see...I'm tutoring pretty much every day. With 11 students, it is a little challenging coming up with 11 different lesson plans. But, seriously, I love all my kids. They're awesome! Motivated to learn (so far) and excited to have the attention. Now, if I could just get over this cold and get my voice back, everything will be perfect. I started losing my voice about a week ago, after an awesome and long conversation with a good friend, and it got progressively worse over the week. By Friday, I was basically whispering. I can not talk loud today...which I'm sure Matt is glad of ;) Other than that, not much going on. I'm enjoying the great weather here: sunny and warm almost every day. The rainy days (like today) are a nice break and still beautiful. I never thought I would say that; coming from Virginia, I hated the rainy days. They just happened too often for my taste!

Well, that's about it. I'm going to sip a hot mug of tea and enjoy reading a book. Matt's up in the attic crawling around, and he might be taking the power down, so I'll just try to relax and take care of myself. I might *gasp* even take a bath, or something :)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday, Wednesday

OK, to make this clear, I'm definitely NOT complaining. About the rain. Not gonna do it. Nope! Because, this moisture is SOOOOO good for my garden. Well, most of it, anyways. Matt and I didn't count on the rainy season starting so soon, and haven't repaired the rain gutters, and the ones right over my garden are LEAKING!!! Most of the veggies are ok, but my turnips are right under a drip, and I had to take drastic measures :) I grabbed a cardboard box, and tried to redirect the drips. This is what it looks like...

 It is doing a decent job...

So, what else have I been doing today? Well, since I'm obviously not spending much time outside, I decided to try to clean up the place a bit. I've been wanting to make reusable swiffer sweeper cloths for a while now. I found this AWESOME tutorial over on Sew Much Ado and decided to give it a try. I pretty much followed her tutorial, except I used a microfiber cloth, t-shirt material I cut up, and didn't topstitch around the whole thing. Here's what mine looks like:

 And with the swiffer attached:

 Ok, so I made two of them. And I actually used them both this morning, then hurriedly hand washed them and dried them so I could take pictures {I know, I should have done it before I cleaned with them, but I forgot. And trust me, they pick up the dirt!}.
 After cleaning, I decided to put something on for dinner. I probably won't be home until after 6 tonight {tutoring} so I put something in the crock pot. I had picked up some butternut squash from Costco the other day, and decided to try out my version of this recipe from Made with Love.

I'm letting the carrots and squash cook in the slow cooker. And I don't have potatoes, don't want to go shopping {in the rain} so I'm planning on adding instant mashed potatoes to the mix at some point. I'll let you know how it goes.

Well, my tutoring job is picking up. Today I have two more pretests to give, and that will be 10 total. I picked up another student, to bring my total to 11, and next Tue I'll give my last pretest! After the pretest, I can really get to work, making lesson plans, and deciding a tutoring plan. Twenty hours might sound like a long time, but sometimes I think it isn't quite enough time to give these kids what they need! I'll just do my best :)

Well, for all of you out there in the rainy country, enjoy it! My garden sure is! :)


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Hooo Are You?

And I've decided to do the Night Owl Crafting "Hoo Are You? #17" post. Every week, NOC posts new questions, and readers post answers on their blog, then link up in a linky party. Here's this weeks questions, and my answers:

1. If you could add one room to your house, what would it be?
Wow, our house is already just about the right size for us right now. But, eventually we're going to combine our laundry room and kitchen into one giant kitchen, so I guess that counts, right?

2. How many pillows do you sleep with at night?
Just one. Sometimes none. :)

3. What is the best costume you've ever worn for Halloween?
I think my only adult Halloween costume was Pippy Longstockings. My best kid costume had to be....the boogeyman???? My dad had an old gas mask from WWI or WWII, and we would put it on for our costume. I'm pretty sure each of the kids used that as a costume at one time or another!

4. If you could erase one item off the face of the earth, what would it be?
Rhino poachers. Just heard a terrible story about them in South Africa. Evidently they fly in on helicopters, spot the rhino, shoot it or tranq it, and then use a chainsaw to get the horn. Then the animal, if not already dead, bleeds to death. Such a waste!

5. Where do you do your best thinking?
Probably in the car. Or when I'm by myself. I need some peace and quiet, you know?

OK, if you're interested in joining up, here's the button. It'll be fun! You'll get to know some more people of the crafty persuasion :)



Monday, October 4, 2010

Rainy days and {Mondays}....

Well, today it is raining. And it is Monday. So, I decided to do a little project. Ended up taking me longer than expected, since I did MORE than I expected, but here's what I did!

At the Alt Expo, I saw this really cute bus:

It's made of cardboard, and opens at both ends. So, its basically just a box. I opened it up:
This will be my template {for the moment}
And then, using my stash of cereal boxes {yes, we eat a lot of Special K, there's actually one more box not shown}
I opened up the cereal boxes, and traced out my template. It fit perfectly on the bigger box, and I was able to make 2 buses from it.

I used my scoring tool and my cutter to score along where I was going to fold.
Then, it's just a matter of cutting it in all the right places, and hot gluing it along the edge.

Unfortunately, the smaller cereal box made it a little harder. The template didn't fit. So..I made myself a new template. I have the .pdf, if anyone is interested. Just email me or leave a comment with your email. The .pdf is in two pages, which you just cut out and tape together. Worked pretty well for the small box, and made a slightly smaller bus :)
And, here it is. My fleet of buses.

I'm going to need to get cute paper to cover them. So, this project is only half finished. On the upside, I thought I was going to go tutoring at 3pm, but instead it is 5pm, so I have 2 extra hours! Woohoo! Maybe I WILL go shopping :) I need to run to Costco at the very least. We are pretty slim on the lunch fixings....

Well, there it is. I'm thinking I have 6 little nephews that might be getting a Christmas gift. These things could be filled with all sorts of goodies!

{hehe, I'll see which of my sisters is paying attention to THAT one!}


And, I'll go ahead an link up here:

mmm button
The Girl Creative

What a {productive} Sunday

Ok, so Matt and I have decided to go ahead and start our {next} home improvement project. We're taking this one slowly, one step at a time. Our goal is to have plenty of storage in the garage for all of our boxes of stuff, plus a workspace to help complete further house projects, and a whole section for emergency preparedness. Did I mention that we live in Earthquake Country? Yeah, one of the most active places on earth. is never too soon to start preparing for the {BIG} one, right? Matt got a good deal on some supplies from Costco. A 6-month supply of food for each of us. Unfortunately, right now we don't have a place to put it. So...on to tackle the garage. We have plenty of space up in the rafters, but, well, the rafters, instead of being spaced 16", they are more like 3', almost 4'. So...we had to do some reinforcing. We put up some 2x4's between two of the rafters, reinforced the rafters vertically, and man-handled the 3/4" piece of plywood up there. Now, we have a nice 4x8 storage space, up out of the way. We even had enough energy to start putting stuff up there!

Here are the before and after pictures. I didn't take a picture of the whole garage, because, well, no one needs to see that!

Before: but after we attached the 2x4 to the wall. With 4" screws, I might add. That puppy is not going ANYWHERE!

And, After: See! Already being used! Notice the vertical support coming down from the ceiling. We definitely needed that!

So, in other news, we've had a bit of an infestation in the garden. Leaf miners. I noticed yesterday that my marigolds' leaves were changing to a lighter color. When I looked closer, I could see that there were little tunnels in the leaves. Then, I looked around the garden. EEK! They were EVERYWHERE! Radishes, turnips, peas, all of them had some leaves affected. We quickly googled how to get rid of them, then went out with a pair of scissors and did some surgery. We had to cut off the affected leaves, and destroy them. No mulching for those! Leaf miners are basically the larvae of adult insects. The adults lay the eggs on the leaves, and the larvae tunnel their way through the leaves until they get big enough to metamorphose into adults. They are deadly to leafy green plants. Which is what I basically have in the garden. Oddly enough, the cabbage and broccoli that are MOST susceptible to pests and disease didn't seem to be affected much. Hmmm....So, anyways, I'm about to go out and check on the garden. It is raining today {!} which I'm very happy for. I'm not sure if I will water today like I planned. We'll see. It depends on how much it actually rains. Right now it is just misting. I'll keep you updated. Hopefully my plants recover!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday, In the Park, I think it was....

...the second of October. Ok, so not quite. Oh, and there wasn't a park. But, yesterday Matt and I had a really full day. We went to the Alt Expo in Santa Monica. Guess what! It rained on the way there!

"It never rains in Southern California..."

Wow, I'm all about the songs this morning.

Anyways, obviously the song is inaccurate. I think a pretty good shower came through Santa Monica before we got there, because there were puddles on the pavement. We haven't really seen rain since about April, so it was kinda nice. It was sunny the rest of the day.
Oh, what is the Alt Expo? Well, it is where all the major car manufacturers show off their alternative fuel cars, and other vendors give out tons of information about "going green." There were Fuel Cell (hydrogen) cars, EVs (electric vehicles), Natural Gas vehicles, and even a pickup that ran on propane. No joke! It had a miniature propane tank in the bed of the truck!  I got a bunch of information AND I got to ride in the new Nissan Leaf {Matt got to be the driver}. That was tons of fun, especially since we've already ordered our Leaf and are waiting for it to be delivered sometime in the Jan-Feb timeframe. The Leaf is an EV (electric vehicle), with a range of about 100 miles. Could be as much as 130 miles, as little as 70 miles, depending on how you drive. This is perfect for us, since we could use it as Matt's commuter car and our drive around town to do errands car. We qualified for a home charging station, so instead of having it charge in 20 hours, empty to full, it will take about 8. Although, I bet we could go a week on a single charge! Now, we will be able to use the hybrid for long trips, and the pickup for hauling stuff. And we'll save tons on gas. Hopefully we'll be getting the Federal and State rebates associated with the EV, and that will reduce the final price by quite a bit. :)

Here are some pictures from the Expo:

Here's a Leaf doing a fast charge (80% in 30 minutes)

 Leaf Interior:

 Me, standing next to the Leaf inside the Expo:

 After the Show, we decided to get lunch at a great Caribbean place down the street. I had Chicken Gumbo, beans and rice, and Matt had Jerk Chicken Enchilladas, Fried Plantains, and Baked Sweet Potatoes. Yummy!
We were so close to the beach, we HAD to walk down to it. There's the Santa Monica pier off in the distance. We enjoyed ourselves, watching the cyclists and runners going by.

Then, it was down to Orange County for Matt's 10-year High School Reunion. We stopped in at his Mom's place to change, and had a nice visit.
Well, that's about it. The reunion was at Angel Stadium. I got to meet a bunch of people Matt went to high school with. It was a pretty fun evening. We left there around 10, got home around 11, and were in bed by midnight. I was ready to SLEEP IN this morning! Whew!

Well, we're going to try to do some mulching today. Last week, we tried to pick some up, and were unsuccessful. I'm not sure if they ran out, or what, but we couldn't find any free mulch from the city. Wish us luck! :)