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sakon76: (Sakon)
I went out with the weed-whacker this afternoon and decimated most of the paths in the kitchen garden. (The last path has lot of weeds that go to fiber when whacked, so those need to be pulled by hand.) Then I cleared one of the remaining three (long) beds of weeds, and got about a quarter done on the next.

I know I have two soaker garden hoses that need mending/splices, but if I have any ability to move tomorrow, I'd like to get a working hose on the cleared bed and plant it. I grew corn in one half of it last year, so I'd like to do beans there this year to replenish the soil, and maybe shift completed trellis #2 there and put either melons or summer squash on it to grow upward....

Maybe this evening I'll sew?
sakon76: (Sakon)
I got another of this year's new blueberry bushes into a pot. Only one left! I mix the potting soil with a cup or so of cottonseed meal to acidify it. So far so good. And having more bushes around, albeit in the small from-the-nursery pots, during flowering time definitely made an upward tick to the amount of blueberries per bush we'll be getting this year.

This afternoon was spent in something of a more hectic mode, though. My sister has been readmitted to the hospital for a mastitis abcess and infection. She wasn't going to be able to keep Niecelet with her, and there's no one else to take care of things. So the social workers at the hospital were going to arrange for me to fly up. A good chunk of the afternoon was spent back-and-forthing on this with her and Wonderful Husband. Jazzy was to go with me; Squiddle was to stay with Wonderful Husband. About an hour before the last possible time I would have been able to leave to catch the flight, a different doctor came in with a different verdict. Sister's getting admitted overnight, probably will be released tomorrow, and a friend of hers can room in and be the responsible adult so far as Niecelet is concerned.

So, I can go to Wondercon this weekend after all.

But at least now I know how quickly I can tidy up necessary crap around the house and pack for a trip.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Urgh. Only one out of the four of us slept well last night, and he's the one who has his own room. Nonetheless, stuff got done today including, yes, the purchase of two African dwarf frogs for the fishtank. Plus another bundle of plants for it - this time telanthera cardinalis. I'm figuring every couple of weeks I'll add a new species and a new plant to go with it, pulling out the plastic plants as I go. Of course, I'm only planning to add like two more species: some ghost shrimp, and probably some rasboras.

One thing that I wish I could find online is a tank stocking calculator. Something that says if you have this size of tank, how many fish you can you fit in it. With inputs for things like "I want X number of Y type of fish" where it will calculate their size requirements for you and do pop-up warnings if a type of fish will try to eat one of the others you've selected.

Also today I did get some more seeds planted. Sugar Pie pumpkins, Charentais melons, Minnesota Midget cantaloupes, Sugar Baby watermelons, rainbow chard, and jalepenos. Counting the popcorn seedlings this afternoon, it looks like I got somewhere around a 75% germination rate, which is not great, but also not terrible for a year-old packet. And that's why I planted the entire packet! Anyway, now I'm at the point where I need to fill more seed starter packs with soil. And research vegetative cloning of my surviving tomato plants....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Not much going on at chez Stonham since we've all fallen under the flu crud to varying degrees. Wonderful Husband took today as a sick day. And even Jazzy has a snotty nose and a nice chesty cough going! But none of it is worth a doctor's visit - fortunately Squiddle's fever broke Monday morning, otherwise we would've hauled him in for poking and prodding. And he was miserable enough as it was.

Unfortunately, however, the fact that we're all sick has meant no playgroups and classes for Squiddle this week! So he's been bouncing off the walls at times, which has drained me down further. Today, though, I'm hoping constitutes a turning point.

This afternoon, while both the boys were napping and Wonderful Husband was vidgaming, I did another session of "tame the kitchen garden." The dead bay tree was put in the brown bin for yard waste, as were the ginormous kale plants. The bin is FULL. No more yardwork until Tuesday, I guess. Though I need to examine the bottom of the pot the bay tree was in, since it died of drowning - the pot clearly needs more drainage holes before I use it again.

The hundred-and-seven popcorn plants just started peeping their heads up today, and the peas/spinach/radishes/beets/lettuce/carrots/whatnots in the one bed I've planted are all neatly sprouting. As are the onion sets at my parents' place that I thought wouldn't sprout, so goes to show what I know! Tomorrow we're due for more rain, which makes me happy, but... I'd kind of like a dry week so the back lawn and kitchen garden paths could get mowed. Ah well. Grass is always greener and all that.

I also did a 10% water change on the fish tank this afternoon and will probably add in a few more critters tomorrow. Likely either a couple African Dwarf Frogs or half a dozen ghost shrimp, depending on which one excites Squiddle more when we're at the store....
sakon76: (Sakon)
I planted 107 popcorn seeds (one whole packetful) on Tuesday. Will be interested to see how many come up. Meantime, in the garden bed I planted with fifty bajillion seeds a week or so ago, the radishes and mizuna are popping their heads up and I think I saw the first sprouts in the spinach and snow peas areas. (Also in that bed: mesclun, lettuce, cucumbers, two types of beets, leeks, carrots, arugula, and parsnips. Plus the potatoes and calendulas that had self-seeded from last year. I may have drawn myself a map so I remembered what's where.)

We bought a betta to add to the tank, so that's up to six fish now and everybody seems happy thus far. I'm going to wait a week or two before adding anything more. I'm thinking maybe some mollies or guppies would be pretty, but I want to do some research first.

I got an out-of-the-blue call today that pretty much summed up to "Hi, you don't know me, but I was given a bag of quilting fabrics and I don't really do that, so would you like them?" Seems someone (I suspect one of my guildmates) had given Shirley my phone number. And I love the fabrics she gave me - they're quite varied and I think I'll find them useful.

Also today, my sister, after two weeks in the hospital, has finally been released to go home. Hooray! This extended postpartum stay involved an abcess the size of a tennis ball. *grimace* Nobody was really happy about that. And she's still on antibiotics. But she and niecelet finally got released. And apparently the frozen breast milk I shipped up has come in handy, so at least that was good.

And, last but definitely not least, Wonderful Husband and I have now been married thirteen years. ^_^ Still my lover and my best friend, even if we don't get to date or dance as much as we used to. ^_^
sakon76: (Sakon)
When I was younger, cleaning the toilet was the one chore I hated most. Disgusting! I used to negotiate with my mother and sister to try and get out of it. Now, however, I'm a homeowner and housewife, so there are fewer people to try to negotiate with. And, frankly, after two years and nine months of changing diapers, somehow the toilets no longer have that power of extreme gross-out. Still disgusting, has to be done, doing it, moving on.

On the other end of the grossness spectrum, however, is what happened when Wonderful Husband and I had lunch at the Mitsuwa food court over the weekend. In the middle of my bowl of udon, I cough/choked and something went the wrong direction. Wonderful Husband didn't understand what I meant when I said it had gone up the wrong tube... until after lunch I blew my nose and a noodle came out into the handkerchief. I'm sorry, I still remember being seven enough that that was funny.

And yesterday my mother and I went plant shopping at Armstrong Garden Centers. She found a tomato plant to suit her needs, while I came away with six-packs of Italian parsley, jalepenos, summer squash, cucumbers, and strawberries. Which I got on sale! And apparently food plants do not have sales tax on them, which I hadn't realized. This morning, with Squiddle happily digging holes into the ground nearby, I planted all that as well as another row of radishes/carrots and some basil seeds.
sakon76: (Sakon)
It's apparently National Blueberry Pie Day. Which was a thing I didn't know we had, and which I fully support. This morning I mentioned this to my husband, and told him that I didn't think there were enough blueberries on the one currently producing bush to make a pie. There's like a double handful of ripe ones this year - I'm spacing them out to better savor them. Squiddle and myself and whoever else is around get one or two each morning.

So on the way home from my Stroller-Striders-walk-that-wasn't, I stopped at the store and got frozen blueberries. And, as one does, turned them into a pie.

Wonderful Husband does not know there is pie. :) I look forward to surprising him.

And, completely unknowing anything about Blueberry Pie Day, last night I'd written in my planner for today to plant another blueberry bush. I splurged and potted up two instead. Only three more to go! (I need to get more potting soil first.) Then I shall have eight blueberry bushes dotted around the kitchen garden, hopefully giving more and more fruit each year.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Still not time-adjusted, thanks to Squiddle. This morning had a 3:30 wakeup. And, again, though I was able to get him back to sleep, I failed myself. So I stayed in bed until just past 6, then gave up and got up. Thanks to Wonderful Husband pushing for an early bedtime last night, though, I did get six hours of sleep.

Making hay while the sun shone but not yet too warmly, I got all dozen-plus of my rosebushes deadheaded and a bit of weeding done in the kitchen garden. Where the paths are ALL WEEDS. With thorny stickers. I need to figure out something to do to prevent that in the future. Pavers? Bricks? Weed suppressant cloth covered with bark mulch? In any case, the yard waste bin is pretty full, so I'm calling it a day on yardwork. I'm out of shape and not particularly in the mood to push too far and need painkillers come bedtime. Time to start in on housework.

On Carrots

Mar. 15th, 2016 08:44 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle is occasionally a selective eater. (Like right now, he's eating all the rice and none of the stir-fry out of his bowl of stir-fry-and-rice.) He refuses to eat store-bought carrots but will happily nom away on the ones I grow in the garden. I thought it was just a matter of texture.

Then, this evening, while cutting up a couple of store-bought carrots for the stir-fry, I nibbled on a slice and stopped.

UGH.

No wonder he won't eat them, if this is what they taste like compared to the ones in my garden!

After this bag is used up, no more. And clearly I need to dedicate more garden space to carrots....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Though it is winter, my heart and head are in spring. I grant you that, living in SoCal, what we call winter is what many parts of the world would call spring. But still. It's cool enough (in the 60s) that seeds are taking weeks and weeks to sprout.

I've been going through the kitchen garden beds one by one, digging in fertilizer, compost, and amendments, as well as fixing/adjusting/replacing the soaker hoses as needed. Two more beds to go. I also, the other week, finally found a spiral plant stand at an estate sale! Rusty and dusty, but I took it and a vintage hanging plant stand to the powder coating place, and though not cheap, will have them back shiny and pretty and weatherproof sometime next week. At the same sale, I also bought a strawberry pot, so spent a bit of today pulling dead plants (ie, most of them) out of the bed in front of the house and putting successfully rooted strawberry runners in the pot.
sakon76: (Sakon)
I shaghai'd Wonderful Husband into yardwork this morning, both in the kitchen garden and the beds out front. The last of the compost is dug in, a heck of a lot of weeds pulled, and the last of my tomatoes/peppers/aubergines/strawberries planted. The roses are mulched, and three out of four blueberry plants finally in their forever homes. The yard waste bin is full.

This afternoon, I got the colorful parts of the baby quilt cut and started sewing them. Pressing seams open is a new and interesting way of doing things. We'll see how it works out.

This evening, we finally played the new board game we picked up at Wondercon, Trekking the National Parks. It was actually quite fun.

Tomorrow, baking and more sewing.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle's taking an early nap today. I should be on the bike right now, but I just can't. I've been being very good about doing it five days a week, but I'm also suspecting that's what's causing the persistent ache in my left calf, and until I can stretch that away, I'm giving myself some slack.

The Santa Ana winds are blowing today. Joy. I should've suspected it when I looked at the weather forecast and saw it was going up into the 80s this weekend. Luckily, I did a spot of gardening yesterday which included watering everything. And also putting bean and parsnip seeds into the ground. I apparently had three packets of parsnip seeds. I used up the oldest, spreading the seeds liberally down the rows, and will see what sprouts in the next month or so. Of the seeds I have going in flats, right now the zinnias, alyssum, cucumbers, and the second round of corn are sprouting. Oh, and one jalepeno. :/ But the radishes in my radish-and-carrot rows are also poking their heads up, and if I can clear the space in the bed this weekend, the first round of corn is ready to go in the ground.

For dinner, I've put a pork shoulder in the slow cooker along with some homemade applesauce-based barbeque sauce. Hopefully it will turn out well and we shall have pulled pork for dinner. First time trying the recipe, and I had to make a couple of substitutions. And ran shy on paprika, alas.

Time to go make a sandwich for lunch, and then either convince myself to bicycle, or work on Field of Stars.

ETA: Wrote ten pages during the Squiddle's nap. 2239 words. Booyah!

ETA 2: The pulled pork recipe shines. This one's going in the keeper pile.

Catching Up

Feb. 4th, 2015 05:30 pm
sakon76: (Sakon)
Wonderful Husband and I celebrated our anniversary on Monday. Eleven years, hooray! We went to see Big Hero 6 before it left theaters, and very much enjoyed it. I think this is the first Disney film where I want the artbook not for cosplay purposes, but just for looking at the world Disney created. OMG, such gorgeous backgrounds and art and concept and everything!

I'm giving my mother's 201 a workout by piecing a quilt top on it. I've won an auction for the quilting foot I need, but given that it's coming from the snowed-in section of the country, it may take a while. A couple days ago I also found this tutorial, and it spoke to me. So I cut strips from all my green Christmas fabrics, and raided my box of 2.5" strips for more, and sewed them to various white/cream strips and cut and cut and cut... and still only had 362 of the 480 white/green sets I need. Grr. Back to more cutting and sewing, as needed.

I've also started this year's jam-making. Thus far I've done a small batch of lavender pear jam, and one of chocolate pear jam. I have plans for a habenero kumquat jam batch as soon as I get some more lids. Giving jars of jam as Christmas presents neatly cut down my oversupply of half-pint jars, to the point where I'm raiding my mother's oversupply for this year's. ^_^ I also need to start another batch of sauerkraut going, as it turns out the Squiddle likes real kraut as much as I do. (Wonderful Husband is less on board with the lactofermented flavors thing. I'm working on him.)

Last night we went through Squiddle's oversupply of toys and winnowed out the ones he doesn't play with, and the ones that are too young for him, and boxed those up. There's so much more room in the office now! But I still need to make a couple fabric baskets for storing things like his Megabloks.

And, lastly, yardwork is slowly getting accomplished. I've pruned all fifteen rosebushes at our house, and need to find time to go over and do the ones at my parents'. Weeding of the kitchen garden is a slow, steady task, but at least I've finally tossed the contents of the weed-ridden pots, and tossed as well those plastic pots in less than great condition. I need to move my succulents up into bigger pots, and now I have some free. And I've started starting seeds. I've got three flats of two kinds of corn (one had weevils so I'm expecting a low germination rate), and another flat filled with soil, ready for other seeds to go in.

And that's the news from Chez Greenwood. How're you all?
sakon76: (Sakon)
...make risotto!

After years of it being in the back of my head every winter when my kitchen garden gets taken over by stinging nettles, this year I finally looked up recipes. And in Hank Shaw's Hunt, Gather, Cook, I found a recipe for Nettle Risotto.

Now, I've never cooked with nettles before. Never blanched veg before. Never made risotto before.

Yet I have to say, the results are delicious. Even Wonderful Husband agrees. (Though the results are, um, green. Very very green.)

Best part? This took one heaped colander. There's tons more still in the yard.

*wanders off to find other nettle recipes*
sakon76: (Tsubomi)
The baby has started getting a couple tablespoons of rice cereal added to his breast milk diet this week. He seems to quite like it, lunging for the spoon as it is offered to him. I estimate about ninety percent of the cereal gets swallowed. The remaining ten percent... around the mouth, on the hands, and anywhere the hands can reach. Eyelashes, for instance. ^_^;; I finally understand why people gave us a couple dozen baby washcloths. Why is it that it only takes three to wash all of him, but four just to clean off the Squiddle's dinner?

Yesterday, I prepared the next bed along in the kitchen garden, digging in blood meal, bone meal, and compost. Today, I went to the Fullerton Arboretum plant sale and got ten tomatoes (two each of Indigo Rose, Green Zebra, Black Krim, Japanese Black Trifele, and Bloody Butcher), two lavenders, two bee balms, and two different varieties of stevia. And this afternoon I proceeded to plant exactly none of them in that bed. Instead I put in the half-dozen jalepeno peppers, Yellow Pear tomatoes, and remaining four potatoes I already had, plus a row of cucumber seeds, and several rows of carrots/radishes and leeks. There's still a block of space left; I'm debating what to sow there tomorrow, but I know parsnips are getting some of that space, as are either peas or beans.

For now, however, I should return my attention back to sewing. I've made a new deadline goal for that 1950s repro dress, which is my cousin's bridal shower on the 5th. I've never been to a bridal shower. Am I supposed to bring a gift? Is it supposed to be any particular sort of gift? Help me, internet friends - you're my only hope!
sakon76: (Sakon)
Every year I see bundles of bare-root strawberries at the gardening centers and think they're a good idea. And every year I learn again why they're not. Six plants out of thirty starts is not a successful ratio! I ended up buying more plants and putting them in the ground yesterday. So now my two patches of strawberries are planted, the potatoes have almost all come up and are looking ridiculously healthy, and the most of the questionable Walla Walla onion starts have started perking up.

Today, I'm hoping to get the parsley plants put in the herb bed, and then start amending the next bed down the line. Blood meal and bone meal and compost, oh my! If I'm particularly productive, I'll manage to get that done and plant the Yellow Pear tomatoes and jalepeno pepper plants I have waiting on the dining room table. And next weekend is the Fullerton Arboretum plant sale, for which I have a shopping list....
sakon76: (Sakon)
Squiddle finally asleep. He had a mad scalp-scratching fit the first time I tried to get him down for the night. Which, I knew he'd been scratching his scalp now and again (the red marks are hard to miss beneath baby-fine hair), but this was the first time I've seen him do it. So he's back in mittens for now. If he's inherited Wonderful Husband's itchy scalp, I pray he outgrows it.

Today was largely a day of yardwork. A bit more clearing of the beds and rubble in the back yard, trimming the rosebushes there, clearing the old nasty lemons off the tree and out of its bed, and starting to clear the kitchen garden. We pulled all the pepper and tomato plants save the one that's actually giving us tomatoes, and I pulled about two-thirds of the oregano's seed head branches. Which is the source of the blisters on both my index fingers. ^_^;; But the yard waste bin is full, so doing more gets to wait until next weekend.

And Wonderful Husband cleaned our bedroom fan today. As it's on year-round, it gets pretty darn nasty sometimes....

I'm down from painkillers-every-three-hours to painkillers-every-eight-hours. Yay! And now, bed for me too.
sakon76: (Sakon)
Last weekend, the cats were outside enjoying themselves in a patch of dirt and shade in the back lawn. Unfortunately, we needed to go somewhere, and they're only allowed out while we're at home. And they didn't want to come in. So out I went to them, picking Sushi up and shooing Paris in with the side of my foot.

Only to notice that right where they were, in the middle of the needing-to-be-mowed lawn, there were strawberry plants. I have no idea where they came from. Seeds passing through a bird's digestive tract, maybe?

I took a mental note, dumped the cats in the house, and off we went.

Wonderful Husband was good enough to remember that I wanted to dig up these plants and put them in the kitchen garden, so he waited until I was home today before starting mowing. I now have nine new strawberry plants, and a mint plant, courtesy of the lawn fairies. Hooray!
sakon76: (Sakon)
This year, my boss is taking every employee out for lunch. I missed my day due to, well, being in the hospital, and didn't really mind, having other things on my mind. Eventually Scott rescheduled for yesterday, and we went to a pretty good Mexican restaurant.

When we got back, I went up to my desk. To discover that the patio outside my office area was decorated in pastel streamers and balloons and a cake and baby-themed gift bags....

So, now I've had two baby showers. ^_^;; And confirmation that my coworkers (and mother, and husband...) are sneaky wossnames.

Unrelatedly, this, a generally off gardening year for me, is the first year I've really been able to successfully grow carrots. The trick is in keeping them constantly moist while they sprout and for a while afterward. And I've been noshing on them at work for lunch since I ran out the big bag of organic carrots that usually lives in the crisper drawer. But tonight Wonderful Husband suggested matzo ball soup, to which we add chicken and whatever veggies we have on hand.

And these homegrown carrots? Shine in the soup.

I think carrots are getting bumped up into my regular growing rotation.
sakon76: (Kitten)
Among other things today, I went to the annual Fullerton Arboretum pepper and tomato plant sale. The weird weather spurts of hot/cold/hot/cold we've been having sadly affected the plants they had on offer. Some were very leggy, some were simply pale and not healthy looking. I only ended up getting three: two tomatoes (Hillybilly, and Isis Candy) and one pepper (Jimmy Nardello's), all of which are varieties that have intrigued me.

Unrelatedly, there is a black cat which I think belongs to the neighbors two doors down, which, whenever Paris sees it in our backyard, results in a session of her growling through the back door. So I was amused to find this cat and Sushi laying in my front rose bed, sunning themselves quite companionably.

And, of roses, there is a rosebush in the backyard that's been here longer than we have, and never bloomed. I've kept giving it just one more chance each year. It seems all it was lacking was sunlight, because now that the trees near it have been trimmed drastically back, it has buds! I'll be interested to see what the blossoms look like.

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