Friday, April 22, 2011

The Part Where I Drag My Feet

So I have finished assembling the my second granny-square baby blanket. This one went faster since I already had an idea of what I was doing. I couldn't find the same exact yarn colors. Don't you hate it when that happens? So the colors are slightly different, but that just makes it one-of-a-kind, right?

A few weeks ago I went to a Stitch and Bitch with my friend Katie. It was fun gathering with women, needles, hooks, and yarn. There is something about working the yarn in, over, through, and out that is soothing to the soul. As the yarn unwinds, so does the mind. It is the weirdest thing- that I can be so relaxed while being so productive. But it's true. There is nothing like whipping out a beanie or a scarf when I am stressed out. And the final product is so satisfying, so rewarding, until...

You flip it over. Ugh! Tails!!!! I hate hiding tails. This topic came up at the Stitch and Bitch. We all shared the same sentiment. Someone thought it would be a great business to have a place to send your nearly-finished work and have some one finish it for you. But I started crocheting to solve my gift-giving-on-a-budget dilemma. So paying someone to finish my work defeats my purpose. But if anyone out there is bored and has an odd love of hiding these rascals

We should join forces. We'd make a perfect team :) Until then, I drag my feet. Maybe tomorrow I'll pull out the needle and get to work, maybe...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells,

And cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row

The "pretty maids" are Okra we planted from seed. It is so exciting to see them pushing up through the dirt.

We lost one of the Julia Child tomatoes, but the other tomatoes have started to perk up, which is encouraging.

It is starting to get warmer, and we'll have to see how the plants hold up in the SoCal heat, coupled with my unintentional neglect. But today, they are lovely. Yes, today was a good day.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Plants

So after we got the soil ready, Mr. J built some raised beds for me and we filled them with compost and topsoil. And it looked like this:

We went to the Fullerton Arboretum and bought some tomatoes, then to Lowe's for the rest (strawberries, squash, swiss chard, onion, okra, and peppers). I tried to give myself a better chance by buying most of the rest as healthy plants. We'll see if it works.

NOTE: It is integral to make sure you have a trusty wagon to help in the planting process. I'm pretty sure all the experts say this...somewhere....probably.

So then we planted the plants and seeds in the raised beds and viola!

It looks promising here doesn't it? Sadly it didn't staying looking like this. Some stuff is holding up alright. Some stuff ahem, cough, cough*Amish Paste tomatoes, squash, and Julia Child tomatoes* are not. I'll keep you updated.

I remember hearing once that the prerequisite to having a pet is to have a plant and make sure you don't kill it. Then you move on to a dog or cat and if you don't kill that you can have a kid. Let's just say, I may be destined to aunt-hood for the rest of my life. Things might just be better that way. At least I can't seriously damage anyone...I hope. I promise not to over-water my nieces and nephew, well I might over-water them with loooove *wink*.

I wanted to show you the detail of our raised beds. The tutorial we watched suggested laying down wood chips between the beds, but we didn't have any. We did have some bricks that the previous owners left behind, and we did have rocks (that I had sifted out in the previous post). And we did this with them

And this

And this

If nothing else, at least I made it look pretty, so maybe these plants will want to stick around and bask in this luxurious place. Wouldn't you?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tilling the Soil/Prepping the Soul

If I haven't said it before (which I think I have) I really really want to be a gardener. There is something about this art that I am drawn to. It speaks to my elderly ways (I'm really a Grandma trapped in a 29 year old body), my inner hippie (I did mention this before here), my desire to live a simpler life (one that is full of whole and healthy foods), and it is one small way I can help take better care of this beautiful planet.

But wanting to be a gardener does not a gardener make. If only... you see every time I have attempted this in the past, I have found that my thumb is not as green as I had hoped. There! I've admitted it. Still I haven't lost all hope. I think I have figured out some of the things that I have done wrong in the past, and I hope to fix those this time around, and maybe we will see more success.

Also I have a new home, with a new yard (well new to me anyway). I'm actually attempting to plant in the ground instead of in a pot this time. Let's see if that doesn't help me out either. Also, my partner in crime said that I should use a small area and start small to see how it all goes. He pointed out the perfect area for us and I began to get the soil ready.

You see, the area was perfect in location, but not in condition. The previous family that lived here left hundreds and hundreds of small garden rocks piled up and strewn about the yard (making in impossible to mow the lawn, but that is another topic). And of course they were settled and multiplying in my "perfect" gardening spot. Looking something like this:

As you can imagine, this is not a welcoming place for plants to grow, fighting against rocks to get the smallest bit of sun. And so I began the task of clearing these rocks. Man oh man, did this make me realize how "soft" we are in the 21st century. I mean after the first day I was exhausted, achy, and defeated. But it had to be done, and so 4 days later this was the result:

Not bad, eh? While this was grueling work, an unexpected bonus was that I was simultaneously tilling the soil. And there was something spiritual about that act. I became intimately connected with my soil. I realized how the earth is truly living. I couldn't pick up one shovel of dirt without finding a worm, a grub, a rollie-pollie. And I was in awe of this life that thrived unbeknownst to me, and unaided by me. As it turns out, I am not the center of the universe, but I am part of the fabric of life weaving this wonderful planet together.

"All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all..."
Yes indeed!

Tune in next time to see how the garden turned out. Did I in fact help beautify this earth? Or did it end in total disarray and destruction? Only time will tell...