Friday, June 15, 2012

Four Outside Days

I managed to spend four out of five weekday afternoons outside this week. That's a new record for me (since I moved to MA at least) and I'm rather pleased with myself.
Monday, Brian and I loaded our bikes into the truck and drove down to the canal for a very pretty afternoon ride. We started at the Herring Run and rode to the Railroad bridge and back, which is seven miles all told. I would like to do the full fourteen - one side to the other and back again - but we'll build up to that.
Tuesday, Jennah and I parked our butts in beach chairs and people-watched on Duxbury beach. She brought the sandwiches and I brought the lemonade. I got my first true sunburn of the summer - primarily on my face. I always forget how much light the water reflects back.
Wednesday was my trapped-indoors-day this week, but since I spent it at the USO office, and it was a miserable rainy day, I can't really begrudge myself.
Thursday, Brian and I buried the rest of the tires in the garden and set the last of the tomato plants in place. I started weeding, but quickly realized I needed an all-day-weeding event. I scheduled it for the next day.
Which was today! We got up and spent three or four hours in the garden. I not have landscaping cloth between all my rows of beans and the majority of my garden is blissfully weed-free.

I spent the rest of my time today in homemaker-type-pursuits. I made a pie, prepped sangria, and purchased the components for a simple fruit salad - all for Brad's going away party tomorrow. He's being deployed - hopefully to Qatar but possibly to Afghanistan - and we won't see him for the better part of a year.
I'm grilling almost every night now, which means that summer is well and truly here.

I managed to burn the parts of my arms that didn't burn on Tuesday, except for the top-front of my shoulders, so I have the most ridiculous farmer's tan ever. -sigh-

Sunday will be spent in the garden, too, I believe. I have lettuce to rescue (since it finally decided to sprout) and while the carrots have wiggle room, the carrot beds are currently not aesthetically pleasing.

I would like to maintain this pace for the rest of the summer - one day of the week and one day of the weekend to rest, but every other day is spent at least partially outside. Once it gets hot (it's been in the mid-60s and lower-70s all week), my ideal day will start in the garden but as the heat chases me out I'll jump in the lake to cool off before showering and running whatever errands I have to do.

Yeah, I know, I'm spoiled.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Caught Up!

Surprisingly, I managed to get caught up to where I needed to be on the garden before we left for Emilee's wedding.
We got up early this morning and headed for Boston. We'd agreed to help our friend Jose move into his new apartment in Quincy. We ended up helping his roommate - which is fine, because honestly it was a lot less driving and a lot less stuff. No complaints here! His roommate is a nice guy, and we were on our way home again by shortly after noon.
I got out of the truck. Put my purse down. And went right back to work on the garden.
I managed to get my beans soaking after the June Bug incident last night, and so all four kinds went into the ground today.
I got six hills of cucumbers assembled, and I rigged a temporary watering solution (as I have yet to hear back from the landscaper - but it is a holiday).
The peas that have already emerged were given a twine-and-stake trellis to keep them occupied while I'm away. We'll judge what further supports they need when we get back.
I know we're only going to be gone a week, but a garden can die in a week!
I'm making a very anal-retentive list for my beloved housesitter, but I'm hoping for rain. If it rains he doesn't even have to worry about it. This spring has been moist enough that I'm not too terribly worried about it.

It doesn't sound like I did a whole lot when written, but it was hours of work and I hurt all over. Today's move and gardening on top of yesterday's tire burial strained muscles I'm not sure I've ever used before. The obliques I utilized to swing a pickaxe are particularly peckish this evening.
That said, I had a nice dinner with my husband. I'm sitting in my comfy office chair with a huge glass of lemonade. And I'm going to do as little as possible for the rest of the evening. to-do list for tomorrow is over a page long.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Falling Behind

I utterly forgot that me leaving for a week (for my cousin's wedding in Kansas) would absolutely sabotage my gardening plans.
Fortunately, I remembered before it was too late to do anything.
UNfortunately, I didn't remembered until there wasn't enough time left to do much.

Everything going on right now is a good-news-bad-news kind of scenario.
Good: Brian got tires!  Bad: We only have 8 of them in the ground and OMG is it a lot of work.
Good: Peas came up!  Bad: I planted 2 20' rows and only about 8 plants germinated. Good: I had more peas to plant!
Good: A carrot came up!  Bad: A single carrot came up. Out of 40 square feet of seeds.
Good: The potatoes look amazing!  Bad: Not a single f--king lettuce sprouted!
Good: All my hose and my sprinkler heads are in great shape!  Bad: The f--king irrigation won't turn on so I can't use the g-ddamn hose.
There are about five more cursewords in that last sentence when I say it out loud.
You get the idea.
I'm soaking beans tonight and I plan to put them all in the ground tomorrow morning. Maybe tomorrow afternoon. We're helping a friend move so that makes a mess of things.

I called the landscaper and asked him to please come make my sprinklers work. I don't really care about the lawn... its the poor thirsty seedlings I'm concerned about. If it rains while I'm gone it won't be a big deal, but if it doesn't  the garden will be a wash because I don't know if I can rely on my housesitter to come out every other day with the hose and soak the important parts.
I'm not sure the inside plants will get watered. Those at least I know I can either salvage or replace.


The cats are going insane. I have to stop typing now before everything I own is destroyed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I am once again past a milestone in my education:
I am done with finals, so my last semester as a wannabe is over.
My next semester, as I got my acceptance letter in the mail two weeks ago, I will be a nursing student.
Hells to the yeah.
That said, I have three and a half months of blissful freedom stretching out ahead of me.

I plan to start spending at least half my mornings - starting this weekend - out in the garden. There's always something to do in the garden.
Once summer truly hits and the lake starts to warm up, I'll garden until the sun gets brutal and then wander down to the beach and take a quick swim.
Then a shower, and then the rest of the day will be mine to kill.

The other half of my mornings will start either on my bike on the canal trail, or at the gym.

I will spend as much time as possible with family.

I will be happy.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


As of this morning, every last herb pot has started, and every last tomato has sprouted, and not a single damn bell pepper has emerged. But! The consistency is comforting. :-D

The weather is not as miserable as I feared. 25 degrees colder than yesterday, yes. Drizzling, yes. But pouring rain and windy? No. In fact, now that all my little seeds are safe in the ground, there's a nice light rain falling, soaking my little plantlings. I'm rather pleased with the way this turned out.
It's definitely chilly outside - maybe 50, maybe - but everything I put out was a spring plant so that's no big deal.
While I was digging rows for my carrots, I watched two tufted titmice visiting the birdfeeder nearest the garden. I told Brian, who was quite pleased.
While he and I sat on the patio yesterday, me soaking up the sun and him enjoying the breeze from the shade, we heard a woodpecker in the trees on the hill. I spotted him and showed him to Brian, who asked what kind of woodpecker it was. I couldn't tell - "big" was all I could say. Brian said I needed a pair of binoculars for birding. I couldn't agree more.

So today is a day for soaking up peace.
By noon I had everything done for the day. All I can hear out the window is the light tapping of rain and the occassional feasting robin. There are sleeping mammals in nearly every room of the house. My bills are paid, my mail is sorted. All I have to do is some schoolwork.
But that can wait for tomorrow.
Today will be a lazy day.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Official Start

The garden is officially started.
My husband made his annual contribution to our garden (besides eating the results) by tilling the entire 800 square foot main plot on his own. I didn't touch the tiller - except to help get it into and out of the truck - and he's more impressive when you consider he did it sans ankles.

I love it when you rent something and it comes with its own ramp. (also, a view of our beautiful forsythia)

The end result was two very tired people and a large swath of earth ready to produce tasty things.

The stakes in the front mark where my two kinds of carrots will go. The stakes in the back are for the lettuce patch. Both will be seeded tomorrow morning, along with my peas... which will go somewhere in the middle there.
And, looking at the weather, I should have done it today. Poop. But! Instead of seeding the garden, I took photos for you of everything else we have around the yard:
The tulips are about ready to bloom, although the crocus are already gone.

The deck off our bedroom. I hauled the patio furniture out of storage today.

We added a bird feeder outside my bedroom window to taunt Seamus (pictured). I later added a hummingbird globe to the shepherd's crook there. The plants you see are rhododendrums and blueberries.

Two new bird feeders! Brian wanted to buy bird houses, but I challenged him to name the birds in our yard and he couldn't. I told him he could put up bird houses when he knew what birds we had that needed one.

Sully Monster did not understand why I was outside.

 The last straw for the sanity of our poor cats: a squirrel feeder. You can see this in the background of the photo of the deck. The cats can see it from the door and from our window. Ha ha ha.

I also hauled my clothesline out of storage and my adirondack chairs. They look so tempting in the sun, surrounded by grass and a gentle breeze. -sigh- I can't wait for summer to truly be here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gardening, Finally.

While I intended to start my garden projects some weeks ago, life interfered. Like it does.
To sum up,
Lisa (whose relationship to me I truncate down to 'sister,' removing the burdonsome 'step,' 'in-law,' and 'future') had fairly short-notice back surgery. With a nine-month-old she can no longer pick up, her life is difficult and I spent a weekend cooking food for her & her fiance.
School and work and volunteer work also happen. A lot.
And then my grandmother fell a week ago Friday and broke her hip.

There are also fun things.
My brother flew in on Thursday (the day before Gramma fell) and we went to PAX East(er) together.
Brian and I sprung for a fairly swank hotel for the weekend, rather than get up at the asscrack of dawn and drive an hour into the city, fighting traffic all the way.
The view from our room:
We didn't just have ANY room. No! We had a corner room:

I won't bore you with PAX photos. I'm putting all those on my facebook, anyways, no need to double-post.
So that was last weekend, the first weekend of April.
THIS weekend, we celebrated Jennah's 25th birthday a bit belatedly.
And then I had all day today to work on the garden.

I came to the conclusion, after I'd staked off 100 square feet for my lettuces and 60 square feet for my carrots, this was the year I needed to get a tiller.
We generally rent one, but I would like to till the garden more than once. The lettuce patch and the carrot patch and the row of peas should be done first. I would till the whole thing, so any weeds would have plenty of time to die in the sun before I planted. Then I would like to till a second time, right before I plant my tomatoes and beans and peppers and cukes.
I hate renting something twice.
So we headed out!
And could not find a single store that would sell me a rear-tine "rawr" type tiller.
So I'm renting a huge one Friday, taking out my neatly measured out stakes, and tilling the whole damn thing. 20 by 40. Done.
And then when it comes time to put in the rest of the garden I'll have to either rent it again or till up the individual areas by hand. (witness the eye roll)

Anyways. When I wasn't lamenting my lack of a tiller today, I potted a ton of plants.
There are four pots of my newest attempt on the back deck: container potatoes. I hear the plant part of a potato is actually rather pretty, and I would love to find out.
I have 3 dozen tomatoes started, and another dozen red bell peppers sitting with them. My beans and peas and cukes will all be direct-seed.
I convert my laundry closet every spring for seed starting. This year I'm adding a mat to help heat up the soil.
My tasty babies:

My very-nearly-clean laundry closet:

Hopefully I post again before they've all grown up and gone into the ground!