helblonde: (Flocke and seal)
I did, finally, get around to nagging (in a nice way) the landlords about Getting Things Done(tm). So, Friday, they sent the Landlord's sister over with her handyman (she is also, apparently, a landlady in the area). I showed her the things that needed to be fixed: the decayed door trim around the exterior garage door and the adjact door the the water heater; the decaying water heater door (yes, using an interior door on the outside of the house means that it will fall apart when rain gets inside of it); the sagging gate; the worn-away grout on the kitchen counter. While she was contemplating the garage door trim, she saw our dryer vent pipe sitting out in the middle of the floor, pointing out the door*  and said "do [landlords] know about this?" I assured her that I had told them when we moved in that it needed to be done**. She responds that it must be fixed! Now! Woo hoo! I am unreasonably excited by this. Hurrah for someone who can see that pumping steam and lint into the structure is a Bad Idea! She can come be their representative any time.

A little later, she asked whether I had put in the nectarine tree. I confirmed that I had, along with all the other fruit trees. She mentioned that she had just moved down to this area, so I pointed her to Regan's Nursery and Dale Hardware. Then we talked about the tomatoes I have going. I ended up walking her through the whole garden and showing her everything I had put in. She was suitably impressed, which is always something to aim for in dealing with landlordery.

I liked the handyman. He did a reasonably quick job. He also knew when to ignore the LL instructions and do what needed to be done. I especially noted this in the grout repair in the kitchen. LL sister says that the only spot that needed repair was the really worn spot. I said that any place where it was worn below the lip of the tile needed to have more. He did it my way. :-) I also got him to caulk around the base of the range, so that when liquid spills on that counter, it doesn't drip on the pans in the cupboard below. Because that's straight up nasty.

Having all the repairs done really inspired me, so I finally got 'round to laying cardboard down in the few garden beds that needed it for weedblock. [livejournal.com profile] moriven got most of the rest broken down for recycling, so we don't have a big unsightly pile in the side yard any more. I covered the cardboard I laid in the front rose bed with some cedar chips I got from [livejournal.com profile] joycebre, which have now filled the whole house with the cedar smell. Nice! Next comes getting more compost for the garden beds in preparation for the fall growing season.

Today's project is to clean the top of the washer and dryer and then take the shop vac to all the lint in the garage. Talk about taking care of something that has been bugging me forever. W00t!


* See, the houses in this development were not built with exterior dryer vents because the developers were... just not thinking things through. I am unconvinced that people did not want dryer vents in 1973.
** I told LLs three years ago that we would do the work, but it needed a permit. We were not about to pay for the permit. Also, I doubt the city would have issued us one. Anyway, I am quite certain that the handyman did not get a permit for this change. But, since we have not done the work, I consider whether or not they get fined to officially be Not My Problem(tm). I'm pretty certain they'll have to change it once the inspectors notice the change. I'm guesing that it's too close to another wall. Boy, that's going to suck to have to patch.
helblonde: (Poppy)
I've been cutting out the under branches of our* oak tree. Partly, this clears out space for walking. It also takes a bit of weight off the fence. This is my second week of filling the green bin with twigs and leaves. I expect to do this for a few weeks more.

Do any of you workers of wood want the larger diameter pieces (1.5"- 2" now,  and larger once we can get up there with the chainsaw) for knife handles or anything? Most of the pieces are gently curved or crganically straight. None goes more than a foot and a half without branching. I'm happy to save them for anyone who can use them. Otherwise, they'll be firewood for later.

I have been saving the mid-sized branches because I want to burn them for ash to make lye. I want to make lye, well, mostly because I can. But also, because [livejournal.com profile] joycebre and I have settled on a day for abusing hair in a period style. We're going to be trying out a few period recipes for hair bleaching, and lye is a component. Yes, we're trying this at home! We're using donated hair, by the way. We're enthusiastic, not crazy.

I'm going to have the samples at A&S for my "Make a 16th century hair bleaching hat" class, but it you want to check them out some other time at the event, I'm happy to play show and tell.

In other news, I took a closer look at the garlic. It was severely afflicted with rust. I trimmed off the worst-affected foliage today and sprayed the rest down with fungicide. The garlic picked up the rust from the mallow that afflicts my yard. Pleasantly, the onions, which are right next to the garlic and theoretically closer related, are completely unafflicted.

Since I was already spraying fungicide on a day clearly unsuited to it (stupid wind), I decided to go ahead and spray the nectarine tree, since that is already showing signs of leaf curl (thank you neighbors who can't be bothered to treat their heavily infected tree). I sprayed the roses, too. Mostly they are looking healthy. I only have one which had a nasty bit of rust (that I cut out mercilessly), and another which is still fighting black spot. No powdery mildew so far this year! Considering how much rain we've had this spring, and how that interferes with keeping the plants treated, I'm rather pleased.

However, if it should decide to rain in the near future, you know who to blame. Spraying the plants is rather like washing the car; Mother Nature takes it as a dare.



* Strictly speaking, it's the neighbor's tree, but it grows behind their shed where they ignore it and over the back fence, where we can enjoy its shade.
helblonde: (Flocke and seal)
For the three of you who say you like these posts...
Massively pic heavy )
helblonde: (Default)
I had a mostly from the garden meal tonight that I'm pretty proud of. Roasted chicken (carbon-based, etc.) with home-grown garlic and purple sage under the skin, then stuffed with sage, garlic, garden onions, and bread cubes. Baked with potatoes (TJ's), onions, carrots, and many tiny zucchini. I followed this with a nectarine crisp with the first fruits off my tree. Num!
helblonde: (Poppy)
So far, I've lost 3 cabbages, 2 marigolds (!), and the japanese cucumber to a gopher. It's mighty disturbing to come out in the morning and find an entire cucumber plant gone without a trace.

Today, I actually saw the little blighter grawing upon my zucchini. The hose is currently running full stream down the open hole. Based on how much water has gone in so far, I'm apparently watering my entire yard and possibly the neighbors'. Washing a dozen dried japanese chilis down the hole was just me being vengeful.

grumble

Apr. 15th, 2012 10:53 pm
helblonde: (Poppy)
I have a bazillion posts bouncing through my head, but I'll start with the first thing on my mind:
What's wrong with this weather? My bok choi bolted. I'm a bit irked by that.
helblonde: (Default)
Tonight was garden pasta - roma and yellow tomatoes, zucchini, beans, oregano, rosemary, and basil from the garden, sauteed with olive oil and purchased onions, then tossed over angel hair pasta with parmesan. Good stuff.  I added the beans last and their barely-cooked flavor made the dish zing for me.

I also took the other ~50 romas (we only have one bush, yo!) and made them into a sauce for tomorrow. I've never made spaghetti sauce from scratch. It wasn't as much work as I was led to believe, but enough work that I wouldn't want to do it all the time. There's another big crop of tomatoes coming, so I'll get to do it again soon. :)

On a related note, I want antifatigue mats in the kitchen. These are the prettiest I've found so far.
helblonde: (Default)
Yesterday, the neighbors took out one of the trres that was overshadowing and dropping leaves all over my veggies! Sure, they were just clearing a volunteer that was growing too close to their shed, but it was a boon to my maters.

Speaking of tomatoes, the plants are happily putting out fruit now that the brocolli is gone. My reading since this spring says that the two plants are not compatible (anti-companions? sworn enemies?) and sure enough, they aren't.

The peas are gone, but the beans are still going strong, as are the cukes and zukes. I had to pull and use the onions, since they started going to seed instead of drying out for winter storage. In the seed department, I have learned that lettuce grows about 3 feet tall, then throws dozens of heads which seed like dandelions. I have cut and stored the Romaine and hope to get red and green leaf seeds in the coming weeks. The sunflowers are also getting seedy. I have stored some for next year, and expect that they will mostly reseed. I overwatered one night last week and most of them fell over. Oops. They do have surprisingly shallow root systems.

The potato towers were a bust. I think we got a meal's worth of spuds ranging from fist-sized to pea-sized from 3 plants. I can see a few things to try differently. Maybe. I may just  not mess with the towers again. 

We just put tarps down on the foxtailed part of the yard for some soil solarization. In theory, it should heat up the soil enough to kill the weeds and seeds so we can start fresh there in 6 weeks. The side yard is going to get tarped this coming weekend after we have given the diatomaceous earth a chance to work its magic. It looks like we had termites living in the fence that we had pulled out and were storing there.(The landlords said we could dispose of it in the roofers dumpster.... We expected that to appear sooner than it did.) Speaking of bugs, between the heavy watering last weekend and the tarping, we are having another ant incursion. :(
They're in my bed!
They will be dead.
helblonde: (Poppy)
We had brocolli fresh picked from the garden and steamed to perfection tonight. Yum! Even the little broc which was almost eaten to death by bugs made a turn around and put out a tiny head. Aw! We'll have a couple nights more of happy broccies. Hopefully we'll get a second round off the plants.

Also in harvesting news, I've had a few red currants and a couple of strawberries. We have scads of Romaine.

The Roma tomato is showing tiny green fruit, and we have flowers on the peas. The beans have grown to the top of the fence and are now into the neighbor's tree. I had to thin the carrots, so I figured I'd try to replant them. I had a surprising success rate.The zucchini is producing as one might expect. There are some pickling cukes growing nicely, too. The chard was looking a bit sketchy for a while, but is perky and bright again. The corn seems to be growing slowly. Hopefully the sunshine will help.

In the realm of things I didn't expect to produce fruit this year, a handfull of blueberries are ripening. The apple tree has some happy little apples coming along. Come winter, I'll be in Pippin heaven. The nectarine has a few fruit, too, but they're pretty stunted. The fungicide I'm using to kill the leaf curl appears to be working. It's doing a good job on the adjacent roses and their fungi problems, too.
helblonde: (Poppy)
Stuff is growing!

I put in a row of lavender in the front yard last weekend. I hope it liked the rain. I also put in purple sage, basil, and thyme in the veggie beds.

The veggies are looking vigorous for the most part. The tomatoes are 3' tall, the onions are looking happy, the cukes and zuke are doing their thing, the lettuce is quite perky. The first set of peas and beans are growing vigorously. The second set of beans is doing well, but the second set of peas has only sent up 2 sprouts. The corn has also sent up two sprouts. And, since two is the number of Nature having a laugh, I got two carrot seedlings from the first planting. The second planting looks like I have eleventy seedlings, so I'll be thinning them in a couple of weeks. The second planting of sunflowers is doing great, but I may need to replant a few, since I have some too close together and some big gaps.

The potato towers are exploding with growth. The blog I got the idea from was shy a few details, so I'm making some of this up. I'm using 4' wide bamboo window shades (on clearance at Lowe's!) as the body of the towers. I've found that the blog was right about needing more reinforcement. Instead of a tomato cage, I used more of the metal screen I put up for the peas and beans. Two are about 3' circumference, the other is about 4'. Another detail the blog doesn't mention is that the straw snags on the tower, so I have to shake them to to get the straw below the level of the top leaves. The blog also says that you should use three stakes to hold up the tower. This is true. Using two just makes it lean in the wind. It's a good thing I had extra bamboo poles.

The broccoli has a serious bug problem. I bought some ladybugs Saturday, but they've been slow in the cold and rain. If things don't look better after the weekend, I'm going chemical. Well, I'll use whatever "organic" spray I have in the garage.

The chard has had better days. For whatever reason, some of the plants have just failed. I'm hoping a few pull through.

Since it's rained, I need to spray the roses and nectarine with an antifungal again. Ideally, that would happen tonight. It won't.
helblonde: (Poppy)
I'm excited! Two of the blueberry bushes we put in are developing berries! The red currant has a few fruit developing, too. I didn't expect to see them bear fruit while so young. Yippee!

Dreadfully dull stuff about my garden )

Dove!

Jun. 23rd, 2009 11:50 am
helblonde: (Shadayim)
We have baby mourning doves! I saw another small head peeking out today.

Dove!

Jun. 8th, 2009 01:04 pm
helblonde: (bear hugs)
I have a mourning dove nesting in one of my hanging geranius. She's a ballsy lady. She didn't even flinch when I watered the plant. (No, I didn't splash her. That wouldn't be nice.) She didn't like moriven using the shop vac on the cobwebs on the porch, though.

We haven't had a nest in a planter in a few years. It's nice to have her here.

Refenced

Mar. 23rd, 2009 04:51 pm
helblonde: (Art Crawl)
Sunday our landlord gave us a new fence to replace to one that was dead and sagging. It would have been nice to have some notice that the power tools were coming, but mostly I'm just glad to have a real, working fence. As a bonus, they chopped the ivy that was all around it, so there's room for new plants. I spent today planning and shopping so that I can spend tomorrow planting.
helblonde: (oak and acorn)
The tomato plant on my front porch has been holding on through the winter. The stalks are nearly bare, but leaves have survived at the tips. A brave half-dozen fruit have held on green and waiting for the sun. Now, slowly, they are ripening to red. New leaves are spreading, and a few white flowers herald new fruit in the new year.

Not bad for a volunteer plant, and an annual besides.
helblonde: (clara)
This was my own personal arts and sciences weekend.  

Thursday I came home and got a wild hare up my keister, so I cut back some of the ivy that was growing through the fence into my patio. This caused the rest of the ivy to pull the fence over the other way. Apparently those bugs that we told the landlord about really were eating away the fence. I ended up cutting away a big chunk of ivy just so the whole fence would not go over. moriven came home just as I was hauling the larger chunk - maybe 6'x4'x3' - to the trash. The look on his face was priceless.

I got the next coat of paint on the side rails of the bed. I'm down to the detail work now. I had to go out to buy different paint yesterday because the latex house paint that I've been working with, while durable, dries too fast to do the blending and shading that I want. I think it will provide a nice undercoat, but the details are going to be done in acryllic. Then we're going to varnish the crap out of it. (Right, right, sure, I could do it in period paint... but I'm not really up for grinding my own pigments, thanks.) I finally decided on the design for when I paint the footboard, but I'm nowhere near starting that project. I want to finish the sides first. The headboard, well, we're still debating.

I also got a ton of necklaces made. And photographed! And posted on smugmug! Tusya, I'll have some of these for your next auction. I need to find a good time to give them to you. Some will go the the Esfenn raffle, too (more about that in a later post). 

Last night I finished another big piece in the massive embroidery undertaking. I am pleased.

Veggies

May. 23rd, 2008 09:29 pm
helblonde: (Default)
We started getting CSA boxes a few weeks ago. New veggies are good. We've never cooked rhubarb before. This will be fun. Well, different, at least. We still need to tell them no cilantro, since I'm allergic.* It's not a deadly allergy, but it sure doesn't make me feel good, either.

My 'mater plant is already coming out with ripe fruit. How cool is that? Kitty incubation is the way to go.



* Reason 17 why I don't like most mexican food and have trouble with a lot of south asian foods.
helblonde: (Will)

I have a volunteer tomato growing in the planter where I had a tomato in last year. It did surprisingly well over the winter. I think part of that is because of the neighbor's kitty, Sophia, who incubates it. I don't think I get to plant anything else there, though.



I've had a lot of photographic successes recently.

[profile] morivenhas posted two of my better shots in his LJ. (tiny aside: moriven F-locks all of his posts so that his exwife doesn't troll his blog again. **mumble mumble sorry excuse for a human being mumble mumble** He is happy to friend you if you want to keep up with his photography posts.)

I loved the afternoon light in the hall at Investiture yesterday and I got some really nice shots with it. The site was really nice and I hope we use it again. Hopefully on a day that isn't during a freak May heatwave.

The horsey shots at M-C war were really nice, too, though I wish that the other photographers had not joined me at my vantage point so that we could have gotten the cavalry charges from different angles. I have a tiny passion for seeing Alden ride. Damn, that man looks good on a horse. Zanaida looked damn fine, too.

 

helblonde: (Default)

This morning was cleaning the kitchen time. That was unexciting.

Grandpa came over and showed us the award that he was just sent recognizing my great grandfather as one of the top 100 people from the University where he taught from 1925 to 1962. Aparently last year was the University's centennial year and so on. It was very nice that L.E. was recognised. I know it means a lot to grandpa. I think it's pretty neat, too.

Grandpa also apologised for not getting Dad's Christmas gifts to me yet. Aparently they're still at my aunt's house. We had a good laugh about that. It's kind of odd that neither grandpa nor my aunt mentioned this before. Since December, I've been working under the assumption that Dad didn't bother to get me anything. It's nice to know he didn't forget about me. There was no other wierdness, which was a relief.

We've been putting aside "grandpa portions" when we cook meals, so I was able to send him home with a number of frozen dinners to give him a little variety.

After he left, I cut back about 2 years of growth from my bouganvilla, since it was toppled in the wind storms we had. I now have bandages all over my arms, since it fought back fiercely. The scratches usually becoem huge welts if I don't keep antibiotic goo on for a little while. I also repotted some asparagus ferns and transplanted my spider plants to the yard. 

Do any of you friends in LJ-land need small (mostly 5" or smaller) ceramic pots? I have a bunch that I just don't use and would be happy to give them away to someone who would.

I've been debating getting a composter from the county, since there is a spot in my yard that just won't grow anything. I worry about the compost smelling, but the neighborhood cats use that spot as a litter box, so the smell couldn't really be any worse.

On another hygenic note, I never really thoguht of Tom's of Maine deodorant as being particularly effective, but I forgot it one day this week. For those of you who saw me, I'm so sorry.

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