Tag Archives: House

Fall garden and the impending spring garden insanity

As kind of a last-minute thing, I decided to put in a vegetable garden this past fall.  The garden was 12ftX12ft and had several different types of vegetables seeds that I bought from Lowes. Only a few things from the fall garden came up well.  It could be because I didn’t water, weed, or really take care of the plot very well in general.  The things that did well: radishes and swiss chard.  Things that came up and didn’t really grow to full potential: cabbage, green onions, and lettuce.  Things that didn’t really come up at all: broccoli, spinach, and carrots.  Unfortunately, we didn’t end up doing anything with the radishes.  If I plant them again next fall, I’ll have some recipes planned out.  The swiss chard I’ve used in a couple different recipes which turned my dinners reddish, still pretty good though.  The bit of cabbage that came up (and then stopped growing) was used in a casserole, which also turned reddish-purple.  The green onions and lettuce came up but never got more than about 6 inches tall.  The lettuce is gone and the green onions were pulled the other day to till up the garden area.  Oh, and the ONE broccoli plant that came up was delicious.

Carrots from the fall garden

Carrots from the fall garden

So, what does spring hold for the vegetable garden?  My friends may never see me again.  This garden is going to be 65ftX20ft and will have several different crops and a couple different planting dates for some of the crops.

My grand plans

My grand plans

I may have gotten a little carried away…

But this spring, we bought some automatic watering timers and I have started the cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, and bell peppers in a greenhouse.  I’ve also added what little compost was ready to the tilled area.

However, the weather is not quite cooperating, so it is lucky that I started the plants almost a week later than I had wanted.  Some big, burly friends of mine tilled the garden area and a little over a week later I spread the compost over the tilled soil.  Three days later, the skies opened and it rained about 7 inches in four days.  I am coaxing my little crops to grow big and strong in the greenhouse while I am waiting for the ground to dry out a little.  The lettuce and brassica crops are growing a little leggy, but I am hoping that they  will do ok once I plant the outside.  We are going through a bit of a cold snap, which should pass soon.  I should be able to place the plants outside to weather harden them in the next week or so.  Here’s hoping that at least some of it will produce.


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January Summary: Habitual Cleaning

January was supposed to get me into the habit of regular cleaning of the house.  There were no weekly goals for this one.  The chores I wanted to do every week were:

General pick up and putting stuff where it belongs
Sweeping/mopping the floors
Clean off counters and mirrors
Laundry (including changing bed sheets weekly)

So what was my “score” for the week?  I achieved about a 75% success rate. My main obstacle is that the house is rather large, so it is a time investment to sweep and mop all the floors (all are either tile or wood).  It takes about 2-3 hours to do just the floors (especially with moving furniture), then another hour or more to do the rest of the chores.  Easily my day was half over by the time I was done cleaning, so the last weekend just fell to the “I don’t wanna” excuse.  This also creates an issue when I am gone for the weekend, I don’t have time after work to run/lift, cook dinner, shower, and do the floors.

On the plus side, I got my vegetable started!  Look the tomatoes and bell peppers are coming up!



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Pool Critters: Summer’s Swimmers

It has been quite warm here lately!  The weather reminded that I had several pictures of rescued animals that I had not posted from during the summer.

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

Virginia metallic tiger beetle (Megacephala virginica)

Virginia metallic tiger beetle (Megacephala virginica)

Eastern narrowmouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Eastern narrowmouth toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)

Southern toad (Bufo terrestris)

The pool is covered for the winter, hopefully well enough that animals can’t wander into it.  And now back to your regularly scheduled cold weather.

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Swimmers in the Pool

Here are a few things that have been spotted swimming in the pool:

Snake! Snake! Oh, it’s a snake!

The snake was seen prior to cleaning and hasn’t been seen since.

Bunny rescued and given a chance to relax before being released back into the wild.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Big guy!

Five of the six we pulled out of the pool in one afternoon!

Quite a large frog!

We try to check the pool a couple of times a day, so that we may rescue wayward creatures.  However, we do have little tragedies every now and then.  Luckily, we have thus far saved more than we’ve lost.

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May Week 4: No Sugar

Again, I did really well this week!  Sunday I cooked some Crockpot Gingered chickpeas with Spicy Tomato Stew  (from Cookin Canuck) for a party, which were complimented a few times.  I cooked an excellent Roasted Tomato Soup with broiled cheddar (from Smitten Kitchen) for my weekly small gathering of friends on Thursday.  I even bought ramekin mugs for this cooking adventure!  On Saturday, I made a Green Goddess Grilled Cheese Sandwich (from TasteSpotting) and paired with some leftover tomato soup.  The grilled cheese was a bit heavy/rich, next time I may reduce the amount of cheese and avocado or maybe just split it with a friend.  The end of May is imminent!  Next post will the last few days of May and a recap.


And here is a pretty picture that has nothing to do with anything!

Too early for me!

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Quick pics

A few pictures that I’ve taken recently that make me happy.

Soft Pink Rose

When we moved in, there were a fair number of plants that were decided to be undesirable.  Nandina?  Absolutely gone.  Crepe myrtles?  Soon to be gone.  Roses?  Useless plants, thorny, not kept up, growing in the blueberries.  Most of them were cut out.  This little one with a few stems survived the carnage, mostly because it wasn’t planted with the others.  It might be a keeper, at least for a while.

Everyone likes the scent

A cute little green lynx spider hanging out in the rose.


After we moved in, one of the plants I wanted was gardenia.  It has been one of my favorite scents for several years and they are a rather attractive flower too.  It turns out that the sad little chopped-up bush near the back door is a gardenia!  It is a large shrub that they had trimmed like you would a boxwood (which is another plant they had planted).  It either needs to be moved to another area or will just need to be dug up and thrown out.  I am also going to look into the possibility of rooting a cutting.

You’re not a hummingbird!

We saw this little guy at the nursery when picking out some plants to replace the Nandinas.

Not a very Super 8 Motel

I took this picture last year coming back from Florida.  I am not sure if I like it better in color or B&W.


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Week 4: Festival Fail… again… sort of

Beware, this one is a bit long… If you don’t have the time

tl;dr – Had party, no festivals, water is not my friend

Long Version:

It pains me to say that I missed another festival weekend.  So, let me explain.

We had a house-warming party.  Though to say it was just a house-warming party would be slightly incorrect.  We rolled three birthdays, a welcome home, and a house-warming party all into one evening.  This resulted in a lot of people and food into one place at one time.  Not the largest party I’ve been to, considering my family’s Christmas events, but the largest one I’ve had to prepare for directly.  We were expecting about 20 people, so in the days before the event was to take place we spent time cleaning and planning what we wanted to cook.

So of course, 11 pm the night before the party, the guest bathroom floods.  It seems that when you decide to clean the area behind the sink faucets, you should first look in the under-sink cabinet to see if the supply line is only held on by an industrial-esque bobby pin.  I wiped behind the handles and one fell off.  I put it back on and heard something metallic when I turned the handle but didn’t hear anything else.  I finished wiping down the counter and moved on to the next bathroom.  About five minutes later, I made my way back through the house and heard a low hissing.  Then I saw water.  FYI, the shower in this particular bathroom is almost completely stopped up.  I had to wring our the towels and mop in the toilet.  Oh, and Lowes is not open at 11:30 pm.  The guy and I are figuring out a new faucet for the guest bathroom.

Other than not being able to offer multiple sinks for hand washing, and accidentally dumping a half of pitcher of water on myself, a guest, and the floor, the party went well.  I do wish that there had not been so many desserts left over!  I hate wasting food, but I can’t eat two partial cakes, multiple kinds of cookies, and brownies all by myself!

A couple of the guests I invited were from a few hours away, and so stayed the night.  We did what all 20-some year-old kids do the next morning: watched public domain cautionary films and youtube videos and then went for a run!   We didn’t end up getting out for the run until after 11 am due to rain and they stayed for a late lunch.  They went back home around 5 pm and by then the festivals were wrapping up.  No festival this weekend.

Next Weekend: Warrior Dash!  A race and festival/party in one!

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