Yesterday was a day of productivity in the morning and not so much in the evening.

In the morning, I mowed the very tall backyard grass. It was so tall, the mower was struggling and I had to go over each spot twice. Near the end, I was exhausted. At one point, the mower slid back on a hill and trapped me against the fence. It was not a proud moment. But it is done and I refuse to let it get that tall ever again.

After a short lunch break to recover, I went back out and finally transplanted all my summer veggies into the ground. In the main garden, I've got one long row of tomatoes (of various types), a short row of zucchini, and a square of cucumbers. Oh, and one line okra plant in the back. This is in addition to the kale, collards, and garlic that were already growing there.

On the deck, I have pots of rosemary, sage, and thyme. The rosemary pot could use more dirt though. I also planted okra in the center of the pots filled with peas. I figure the peas can use the okra for support once their support sticks are no longer tall enough. The long pots have kale, collards, and bush-type cucumbers.

Hopefully I will have a decent harvest this year. I always feel like I never have enough to eat AND can. But ben said we couldn't do the csa this year....

Anyway, after that, a shower was in order. Then I had to start making dinner. It pretty much destroyed any hope of getting anything else done that day. I was making gumbo, which takes me hours. But when I was done, I had a huge pot of the stuff! We'll be eating that for days.

I went to bed pretty early after dinner and had dreams about being stuck at that job I hated. I woke up wanting to cry. But it's nice to remember I don't have to be there any more. :)
I was once again overly ambitious with my gardening and now I am running out of spots under the grow light. If I had a job, I think I'd buy another grow light. I really wonder what my neighbor's think, seeing all these grow lights and plants.

Luckily, it will soon be spring (hopefully!) and some of these guys can go outside!

The kale and collards should be out already. In fact, they were supposed to be planted in the dirt on Sunday. BUT! We got that stupid snow storm. Good thing I waited! But now they are under the grow lights again because it's so dark and cold outside. I wonder if that means I'll need to harden them off a little again?

Most of the space under the grow lights is being taken up by tomatoes. I planted way too many tomatoes. What was I thinking!? I have something like 20 plants! And I need to buy larger pots for them too. They have nearly grown out of their little seed starting pots. I may have to give some of these away. To many tomatoes...

And then I have 5 zucchini plants. Because clearly I'm not sick of zucchini? To make it worse, these plants are part of a test. I'm also going to plant 5 zucchini plants from seed directly into the dirt once these indoor ones are ready to go out. I read somewhere that zucchini grows better if you start them outside and don't transplant. Last year I only transplanted and they grew horribly. So we'll see!

Then the other day, I planted some okra seeds. I don't even like okra. But I really love the flowers that grow on them. So I'm going to grow a few mainly for the pretty, with the occasional gumbo thrown in. The good thing is that okra freezes really easily!

And next weekend, I'm going to start cucumbers from seed. I want to make a ton of bread and butter pickles this year, so I'm going to plant a fair amount of these as well. I hope I have enough room!

On a side note, I wrapped mylar around one my growing light areas this year and what a difference it makes! The plants in the mylar section are about an inch taller than the ones in the regular section! Definitely going to expand the use for all my growing going forward. (You can make your own sheets with those cheap emergency blankets from walmart.)
This past week has been crazy hot. DC broke their record for # of 95+ degree days in a row and they're still breaking it. Normally I like hot weather but 100 degrees is too much for me. I feel pretty lucky that our house has central air and absolutely wonderful, amazing ceiling fans.

The local paper had an article about how we should start expecting summers like these as the new normal. The new normal has been consistently hotter (including humidity) than new orleans for the past week. This is a bit crazy.

I've been trying to avoid the direct sunlight, but maggie makes it hard. She gets bored A LOT. And the only way to cure that boredom is to make her tired. About once an hour, she begs me to take her outside for a walk or to play ball. Luckily it only takes about 10 minutes for the heat to wear her down. But an hour later, she's ready to go at it again.

I have to limit my gardening to the early morning or late evening. And I still end up drenched in sweat. I'm super excited to watch all my tomatoes and cucumbers grow though. It looks like it'll be a good tomato year, assuming this heat wave doesn't kill them. I've been keeping a careful eye on the moisture of the soil, so hopefully they'll survive! I may buy a diffusing cloth though if things get worse.

I wish I could head out to the farm to pick up my CSA in the early morning/late evening too, but the traffic is a nightmare in the morning and the farm closes at 5. Last week, the tractor to take us to the back fields for our u-pick portions broke down or something and was 30 minutes late. (It runs the top of the hour.) There wasn't a lot of shade to wait under, and even in the shade it was super hot. The complaining kids were making me batty. (As in I wanted to smash them all in the heads with a bat.) I was pretty grateful when the largest group took their kids to the back area where sprinklers had been set up to cool them down.

Picking food in that heat gives me renewed respect for the people who harvest our food for a living. I was hot and sweaty and dirty and the sweat was dripping painful dirt into my eyes. And I wasn't even out there for that long! I can't imagine surviving a full day of that.

I picked blackberries, green beans, swiss chard, chives, and mint. The blackberries was the easiest since the berries were so big and ripe. But there were huge beetles in the bushes that would suddenly fly at your head if you disturbed them. The green beans were the worst. They were the low bush-type, so you had to get down on your knees in the hot dirt to pull them up. At least it encouraged me to get into a good solid rhythm to get out of there as fast as possible.

I came home with another solid box of food. We've definitely had a good share this year so far. It has really cut our weekly grocery trip. I only go to buy things like dairy, spices, beans, or pasta. I didn't even go grocery shopping this week. I found recipes that only used the csa veggies and stuff we already had in the house.

The plan for today is to turn some of that squash into chocolate zucchini bread. I made some last week and it was super tasty and moist. AND used a ton of squash. Bwahaha!
I fell out of the habit of updating this thing. That is bad of me.

Couple highlights:

Doing something with my life - I have registered for a programming course at the local community college. I need to take a math placement test, and then I can finalize my schedule for the fall semester. After that, I should look into either a part time job or an internship.

Gardening - Food grows slowly. Most of the tomatoes are finally tall enough for stalking. I used the florida weave method, which sounds really interesting and was super easy to set up. It's what the professional growers in florida use. Hopefully it will lead to many tasty tomatoes this year.

Other stuff - Ben and I joined a CSA this year. A different one from what we've used in the past. This one is a 35-45 minute drive from the house and I have to pick up my food directly from the farm. I could have it delivered (for a fee), but you only get certain items if you go directly there and pick them yourself. Mainly tiny things like berries or herbs.
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
I am up to my eyeballs in cherries and squash.

Last week it was drizzling when I headed out to the farm. By the time I got there, it was a torrential downpour. No hyperbole. And I insisted on picking my fruit in the rain because I was not going to drive back and forth all the time wasting gas for cherries. Two pints of cherries and half a pint of blackberries later, I was extremely miserable. The family that runs the farm got out a golf cart and drove me to the blueberry field after that so I wouldn't have to trudge through the mud. That was nice of them. Then they gave me a ton of paper towels to dry off before I headed back home.

This week was hot and humid and filled with crying children. Based on the number of children red faced and sobbing, you would have thought this farm was the worst place in the world. Everywhere I turned, screaming kids. And they were so whiny. They didn't want to walk. They didn't want to pick berries. They didn't want to carry anything. And the worst part was their parents caved in every time. No wonder the kids cried so much. It was working for them!

Other than that, life goes on and my dogs are annoying. Maggie expects me to play with her at all times when I've got cleaning, cooking, gardening, and studying to do.

Oh! And I made one of these two weekends ago. With my own hands! Woo!
Not being at work has been lovely and I'm really glad I decided to give myself a little time to recover. I am down to once a day panics about things being overdue and I only have work-related nightmares every couple days. Yay progress

This week I need to get myself registered for school. I need to talk with an admissions adviser though because I have a few questions. Hopefully I can get over my social anxiety and get that done.

Other ways I have been keeping myself busy:

Cleaning - I am not terribly good at cleaning but I think I am making some progress. The bedroom is nearly done. Roomba is vacuuming right now. After that, I just need to change the sheets and wash the blankets. Progress is continuously lost because I keep cooking in there. Too many fancy recipes! I think the living room and dining rooms will be my next rooms to get clean.

Cooking - As mentioned, too many fancy recipes! I am constantly washing dishes and cleaning counters. I have made many tasty things though. I am trying out new recipes from my stupidly large collection of cookbooks. (Cookbooks I should not have because I have the internet.) My big goal for the summer is to make at least 1/4 of the recipes in my star trek cook book.

Dogs - They are super annoying and want to be walked all the time. It is a good thing they are very cute.

Gardening - With spring here, it's time to garden! Yay! I cleaned out most of the weeds from my main garden bed and loaded it up with seedlings I had started this winter under grow lights. I planted 6 different types of tomatoes. Heritage hybrid, pink pounder hybrid, orange slice hybrid, sunny boy hybrid, son gold hybrid, and roma. The roma isn't growing too hot after transplant, so I may need to buy some more from the store if they don't survive. The sun golds are doing awesome, except when maggie tramples them with her giant monster feet. I also planted 2 types of cucumbers. Salad bush hybrid and white wonder. The white wonder did really well last year, so I'm hoping for a repeat. In addition, even though it's a little early, I transplanted my zucchini. Burpee hybrid, I think, which was doing great last year until the squash borers killed it. The only think I have left indoors is my luffa, which I think I'll transplant next weekend.
This was a tough week. So tough, one evening I came home crying that I was going to quit. It eats all my free time. I constantly have to work late. The hours don't line up my mass transit well, so I always end up having to come in early too. Plus I waste time every day doing stuff multiple times because no one has the time to teach me how to do anything. (But they do have the time to tell me I did it wrong. Thanks.)

Thankfully it ended on a good note. I managed to get one disaster in order by the end of the week and it only mailed a few days late. The other big disaster is not done, but it's in much better condition than it was on Monday.

The online department bought me lunch on friday. On the order form, I added the special direction to draw a pony on my bag. Which they did. It cheered me up a lot.


Today ben and I got our eyes examined. I'll get new glasses as soon as my insurance comes in. I was pleased to learn that my eyesight only got a tiny bit worse after two years. I also learned that my left eye doesn't focus was well as the right one. Even with glasses. Isn't that weird?

When we got home, I pulled up the last of my summer crops (now all totally dead) and planted garlic. I really hope the garlic grows well. I have found that most of my garlic comes from china. I find it crazy that I'm getting garlic from halfway around the world (in a place that has no serious regulations). Occasionally my garlic comes from california. Which is also ridiculously far. So I will try to become more sustainable by growing my own. I can save a couple bulbs every year for the next growing season too.

The variety I bought is supposed to be good for beginners. The only fault is that the flavor is very strong. I really like garlic, so that won't be a problem for me at all. I should get between 40-50 bulbs by summertime. If they are a good size, I will be set. :)

In other gardening news:
- Broccoli is growing slowly. I thinned the rows out a bit today and sprayed them with insect killer since something is nibbling on some of the leaves.
- Spinach may have been killed by the snow, or possibly may just be growing really slow. There's a few small leaves here and there.
- Carrots seemed to have really liked the snow. After everything melted, tons of little carrot sprouts popped up.
- Lettuce, which I thought was totally dead, seemed to like the snow too. The cold must have shocked the seeds awake because they have finally sprouted.
- Cucumbers died in the snow.
Ben and I had a nice morning. We got to sleep late. Then we went to the farmer's market. We bought fruit for jam and cucumbers for pickles. And more peach butter! Then we stopped at a nearby cafe for brunch. I had very tasty french toast.

We ran a few more errands after that, then returned home where ben passed out for the afternoon. I did some gardening, then joined ben for a nap.

When I woke up, I made dinner. Then noname decided to be a total psychopath and attack maggie for no reason. I was walking into the kitchen when maggie raced in front of me. Noname sped around me and immediately started to bite maggie. For no reason at all!!!

I had to break them up with noname biting me the whole time. For a dog with no teeth, she bites really hard! I had to smack her a couple times to get her to release. I am not happy about that. I shouldn't have to hit my noname. :(

Once I got them apart, I had noname sit upstairs alone for an hour or so to calm down. By the time I brought her back down, she had completely forgotten why she was in trouble in the first place. Stupid dog. I don't know what I'm going to do with her. Why does she keep flipping out like this? I try to give them attention/toys/food equally. *sigh*
Today I pulled up most of my summer crops after a miserable first season. It's amazing how many things there are out there trying to kill my crops!

Zucchini - Destroyed early on by vine borers.

Cucumber - Either feathery or downy mildew killed one plant. Managed to keep it from spreading to the other plant, only to have leaf cutter beetles destroy it.

Cantaloupe - Mold took hold right after the hurricane. Too much water everywhere.

The only thing that managed to survive were the tomato plants. And they barely gave up any fruit at all due to the heatwave. *sigh*

So this afternoon I cleaned out the zucchini, cucumber, and cantaloupe sections of the garden, treating the soil for all sorts of insects and mildews. Then I planted my autumn crops.

Broccoli - Never tried before. Purchased a variety that is supposed to be fairly easy to grow.

String beans - Old seeds I found at the bottom of my seed envelope. May be too old, but figured it was worth trying at least.

Cucumber - A bush variety. This one is resistant to feathery and downy mold.

Lettuce - Have never had any success with lettuce. May give up growing my own if this fails.

Later in the season, I plan on planting garlic. I will probably plant that in the tomato section once they finish their run.

Your Victory Garden Counts More Than Ever! 1941 - 1945
Got dressed. Chose seeds I wanted to use. Grabbed garden tools. Look outside.

POURING.
Yesterday I went to georgetown to get my second laser treatment on my bikini line. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it didn't hurt as much the second time. Probably because half the hairs were burned out the first time.

Then I met up for lunch with allicia. I don't think I've seen her since her wedding. That's a very long time! We met at a place called Leopold's Kafe. I got a $10 waffle. DC prices always shock me. At least it was a very good waffle, so I felt a little better. I also got elderberry soda. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I would get it again.

After lunch, we walked through georgetown and over a bridge and were suddenly in rosslyn! It was like magic! We hung out in front of the rosslyn metro station for a bit until her husband arrived to take her kayaking. I hope she had fun. It seemed like a good day for it.

I then headed to the airport to pick ben up! YAY! I was so happy to see him! I wanted to hug him forever, but first he needed food. He hadn't eaten all day! Crazy boy! And then once he had food, he fell asleep. :P No cuddle time for me.

Instead I did laundry and mopped the floors. Woooo. Exciting times.

This morning, I went to a different place to get my underarms lasered. I liked this place better. They put an ice pack on the area first to numb the pain away. And then gave me some lotion to reduce the redness.

When I got home, I played with my adorable little dog until ben was ready to go shopping. First we stopped at the comic book store. Then grabbed lunch. Then went to lowes for a whole bunch of things.

The rest of the afternoon was spent doing yardwork. I cut down one of the trees growing around my mailbox. Who plants a tree next to a mailbox!? It already looks better. And there was a random azalea growing under the first tree. I was too tired to tackle the second tree.

Instead, I went out back and did some gardening. I bought some full grown tomato plants since it was clear it was too late to grow from seed. I also have some ordered. Today I bought a replacement for the roma and yellow cherry tomatoes. I also put tomato cages up around them. And I added some trellises for the zucchini to climb up.

I'm not sure what I will do for the rest of the evening. We ate a late lunch, so I probably will skip dinner. Maybe I'll just wash up and go to bed early.
A while back, our marketing agency produced a package that was direct lobbying. (Asked members to contact their representatives about specific legislation.) I assumed that psycho boss knew and was ok with it since she reviewed the copy. But she apparently did not know what direct lobbying was. So she was surprised when we got dinged against our lobbying cap.

In response, psycho boss set up a meeting with our lobbying guy to teach us all what lobbying was. I was kinda really annoyed by this since I have sat through this meeting twice already. Our marketing agency account rep was supposed to attend too, but she conveniently decided to take the week off and not 1) send someone in her place or 2) tell us she was going to be out.

I send them a polite but firmly worded email with a copy of the presentation, telling them they absolutely had to review and understand it because otherwise we could lose our nonprofit status. Though honestly I don't think these people care.

When I got home, I decided I refuse to stress about them anymore tonight. So I had a nice dinner. Slow cooker vegetarian chili with a fresh spring salad on the side. And then my dog and I took a nice walk. She had several very good poops and sniffed several new people.

After that, I did some weeding in the garden. The weeds had been trying to take over the strawberry patch. One weed was growing right on top of the strawberry plant! How is that possible?

I also took a look at my other garden. If nothing else grows, at least I'll have zucchini. That appears to be the only thing surviving. My tomatoes did not get eaten by squirrels. This time they just curled up and died on their own. I suspect they were not adequately hardened off. Annoying. The cantaloupe and cucumbers are still seeds, but that's expected since I only planted them Sunday.

Once I washed off a bit, I took pictures of my knitting projects - the sweater I am stuck on and the socks I finished a while back. Behold!
Monochromatic Tubey Sweater - In progress My first socks

And then I enjoyed some dessert (homemade rice pudding with freshly grated cinnamon) while I watched an episode of Good Eats on making hamburgers (A Grind is a Terrible Thing to Waste). I want to make my own burgers for the Fourth of July. In theory, it'll not only taste better, but also reduce our chances of catching a nasty bug like e coli.

When my episode was over, I decided to go through the box of old clothes my mom sent me. I kept two or three shirts for sentimental reasons. The others all went into a bag for goodwill because they were comically small. The bottom hem stopped at my belly button for one too many shirts.

While trying on shirts, a GIANT spider came crawling out from under my dresser. The thing was nearly the size of a quarter. Normally I can handle spiders but THAT was not a normal spider. I used up all my courage, but I managed to trap him in a cup and slide a piece of paper underneath to carry him outside. I did a very graceful fling-the-cup-and-run-like-a-little-girl move before I slammed the door shut.

Now I have to go to bed in that room, knowing there was a giant man eating spider living in it. What if there are baby man eating spiders? I'm going to die in my sleep.
So after my massively long nap yesterday, I was feeling much better. And kinda upset over losing an entire day. So I did the laundry. And washed dishes. And sorted all my cookie cutters. (Fun fact: I filled two gallon sized bags with halloween shapes. Christmas, easter, and thanksgiving fit together in one bag.) And sorted the tupperware. And cleaned the entire kitchen. Right down to polishing the stovetop.

In the morning, I managed to sleep until 8:30, which I guess means there was still a tiny bit of recovery needed. I built a menu for the week so that I could make a shopping list. Then I went to the grocery store and did battle with the soccer moms and church crowds.

Soccer moms are the more aggressive variety. They will ram you with their wagons if you happen to be standing in front of something they want. On the other hand, the church crowd has alllll the tiiiiime in the worlllllld. They clog all the aisles with their slow sunday morning stroll. I managed to acquire food though, and put both groups to shame by buying absolutely no prepared foods.

When I got home, I put groceries away. Then ben helped me clean out the guest room/library. My parents are visiting soon, so we need to buy a bed and set it up. While we cleaned, we set roomba to vacuum. The whole set up was highly efficient.

After that, we went out for lunch. Because I was starving and was too dumb to remember to buy lunch foods at the food store. So we had burritos. And there was a free taco on my burrito elito card! Woo!

Once I had been sufficiently refueled, I mowed the lawn. When I was about halfway done, ben came out and took over. I think cause I looked near-death. While he finished up, I dragged out the edge trimmer and took care of the rest. Now our lawn looks pretty and presentable!

I took a short break to drink some water, then went out back to work on my garden. All of my tomatoes had been eaten by birds and squirrels and all of the black tarps had blown away. So the first thing I did was lock those tarps down solid with wooden skewers. Then I replanted everything, plus planted my cucumber and my cantaloupe seeds, and put clear plastic cups over everyone. They have holes in them for air and water, so hopefully they will baffle the various pests in the yard while also letting my plants grow. I finished everything up just as it was starting to rain.

After all that work, I badly needed a shower. I felt like a new person once I was clean. Then I did some more laundry so that the grass stains would not set into my clothes. I also carried roomba upstairs so he could vacuum up there. He hasn't been on the second floor for over a month and it shows.

While roomba worked, I made dinner. I finally used our fancy induction cooktop for the first time. After fighting so long with our stupid slow electric cooktop, I was caught unprepared by how quickly food can heat up! I also didn't believe the pan would become instantly hot and touched it to test. Luckily my hands were wet, otherwise I would have had a nasty burn.

I made cashew stir fried veggies. It was a good, well balanced dinner after such a busy day. And I have plenty of leftovers for the next few days at work. Yay!

I guess I will get my parental phone call over with next. And then I think I might sit down and knit for a while. And attempt that thing called relaxing.
I slept practically the whole day! But I do feel a lot better. Still a bit tired (the stairs leave me winded), but my sinuses are clearing up and most of my headache is gone. I'm glad I have been able to avoid a full cold.

In other news, my aerogarden cherry tomatoes have begun to ripen!

Aerogarden - Cherry Tomatoes
Aerogarden - Ripe Tomatoes

Maybe tomorrow I'll stop by the farmer's market and pick up some salad greens to enjoy with my tomatoes. I hope they taste good.

Especially because I have a ton of other tomatoes growing on the far side of the plant.

Aerogarden - Many Ripening Tomatoes

I'm going to have sooooo many tomatoes when these ripen. Plus there are plenty more flowers growing all over. Looks like this was a success.
Yesterday was another insanely productive day.

In the morning, I carried the new hose outside and hooked it up to the house. Then I figured out how to turn the water back on to the outside.

With my newfound watery powers, I was able to hose down an old rusted fire pit that the former owners left in the backyard. There was a colony of ants living in it. I laughed as they escaped the floods, carrying their eggs. (When they stop living in my mailbox, I'll stop delighting in their suffering.) Once everything was clean, I left the fire pit to dry in the sun. It was already hot and sunny, so that only took a few minutes. Just long enough to dig up a screwdriver and head back out. I then tightened all of the screws on the fire pit. I was a little worried they'd snap from all the rust, but they seem ok. The plan was to give the pit a new coat of paint, but I ended up not having enough time. Sad...

When I was done, I got dressed and drove down to another local farmer's market. I had never been to this one before. I had a hard time finding it. It was much smaller than saturday's market too. But they had eggs, which is what I was there for, so it all worked out.

After I got home, ben woke up and we went to the movie theater to see Thor. I quite enjoyed it. It didn't really feel like a blockbuster film, but had plenty of humor and action. And it definitely had the feel of Thor the Mighty Avenger, which made me very happy.

I kept arguing with ben that it was totally a girl movie.
1. Passed the Bechdel test.
2. Nearly naked Thor.
3. All the women wear reasonable clothes.
4. Complex reasons for villainy.
5. Smooching.

It was a most excellent girl movie.

We saved some money and saw it in 2D. I don't feel like I missed out on anything, with the bonus of not having a headache when it was over. And we had free tickets that ben's boss had given us. Unfortunately they can only be used 12 days after a movie comes out, so we had to pay an additional $1.50 a ticket to get in. I still think it was a good deal.

Ben hungered once the film was over, so we stopped for lunch. I didn't want anything, so ben got to enjoy a rare opportunity for fried chicken. I hate fried chicken.

Then we stopped at the hardware store and picked up a ridiculous amount of dirt for my garden. (This to go on top of the ridiculous amount of mulch I put in the garden yesterday.) We got four bags, which managed to just barely cover the entire area 1/2 an inch. Note to self: Build smaller gardens.

I planted:
- 1 sun gold hybrid cherry tomato (plant)
- 1 heritage tomato (plant)
- 1 pink pounder tomato (plant)
- 1 orange slice tomato (plant)
- 1 sunny boy tomato (plant)
- 2 burpee's hybrid zucchinis (seeds)

I have two more of each of the tomato plants inside just in case some horrible bird or squirrel eats the ones I set outside. Hopefully I won't need them.

Next weekend, my cantaloup and cucumber seeds go in the ground. I am hoping for a very delicious summer.

I cooled down a bit after that before heading out once again. This time to the fabric store to pick up some thread to hem a pair of pants for a coworker. I got there about 15 minutes before closing and they were nice enough to let me grab what I needed. (Though they did tell me no fabric. The cutting table was closed. Fair enough.)

When I got home, I started on dinner. I made artichokes stuffed with quinoa. It was good, but I'm not sure it was worth all the effort to make. It took nearly 2 hours.

In between steps for that recipe, I also threw together the ingredients for slow cooker bean and spinach soup. That way this morning, all I needed to do was put the pot in the slow cooker and plug it in. I saved myself a lot of time.

Ben and I watched supernatural as we ate dinner. Then I made a 5-minute-cake for dessert. After dinner, I was too tired to function. My day had once again been far too productive. I need a vacation from my weekends.
I have done too much today. I am very tired.

I woke up early this morning to head to the farmer's market. I was in need of fresh spinach. It was obtained with only mild frustration. Why can't the market sell spinach by weight? How can I compare a bag vs a basket vs a different size bag? I had to eye it.

The market is much bigger than last year. There was a new pickle booth which was too crowded for me to check out. Also a wine booth. And alpaca yarn! But wow that yarn was expensive. I thought I could get some as a gift for a friend and then went "woah" at the prices.

While I was in the area, I browsed the used bookstore. I scored a copy of The People of Sparks. It's the sequel to City of Ember, which I enjoyed.

After that, I drove to a nearby park where I knew the county provided free compost. I filled three garbage bags worth.

From there I drove to the comic book store for Free Comic Books Day. I was dismayed because there was a three comic limit, but at least I had prepared so I knew what I wanted. I ended up getting the Captain America/Thor comic I REALLY wanted, plus Baltimore/Criminal Macabre and Civil war Adventure. The Mouse Guard comic I originally planned on getting was a reprint of a past issue I already owned. Which I guess makes sense if the goal is to get new readers instead of attracting the ones you already have. I had a hard time choosing my third one and ended up picking the civil war one because it looked so so lonely. It was the tallest stack in the store. Nobody loves history...

Captain America/Thor was just as delightful as I expected. It was both an ad for the Thor: the Mighty Avenger trade and a reward for all those that bought the comic in issues. It doesn't look like they plan on spinning it off into a series, but I hope someone at Marvel will give that creative team more work. They got ME to read super hero comics!

When I got home, I had a mild breakdown because I was doing so much stuff and ben had the audacity to ENJOY his weekend. He eventually came down and mowed the grass while I went out front and trimmed the TREES around the mailbox. The previous homeowners planted trees around the mailbox! What were they thinking!?

The neighbors were nice and let me borrow a hedge trimmer to tackle the branches. It actually wasn't that helpful, but it was quite nice of them. After about an hour of trimming and sawing, I got the trees in somewhat more respectable order and now the mailperson can actually get into our mailbox.

Then I went back into the yard and emptied all my mulch into my garden. And wanted to cry. Three huge garbage bags only filled 1/8 of the garden. I had to go back and get more... Thankfully ben was able to go with me this time and help. We stopped on the way to get sturdier bags so we could fill them even more. It started to drizzle as I was shopping, which didn't help my mental state, but the sun came back out soon enough. We ended up filling up 4 much bigger bags. They managed to fill the rest of the garden, just barely. Depending on how early I wake up tomorrow, I may go back and get more mulch while ben finishes sleeping.

We had burgers (well, I had nuggets) for dinner, so I went into a bit of a protein coma after dinner. I took a badly needed nap. Now I am awake and crave dessert. I am contemplating apples dipped in caramel. Then I think I will finish reading my comics. (The Captain America/Thor one was the only one I was in a rush to read.)

If I wasn't so tired, I'd ask ben to take me to the Thor movie tonight. *sigh* I was far too productive today.
Today I built a tiny garden area for STRAWBERRIES! Yum!

I didn't want to have to dig up the dirt and do battle with the thick tree roots all over the yard, so I made a slightly raised box out of some old planks of wood I found sitting around the backyard. I feel quite clever for recycling the old wood.

In later weeks, I will need to buy fresh wood to build a raised garden for my tomatoes and other veggie plants. A kit is $70 but I priced out the wood by itself. If I do it all on my own, it should come out to about $40. And then I will get free compost/mulch from the county, so that should handle the massive amount of dirt I will need to fill the box.

I also need to figure out what I want to do about a compost bin. Is there any kind anyone would recommend? I guess I could just make a big pile, but that kills the ocd side of me. I was hoping for something around $50, but that dream was shattered when I looked at the prices in the stores. Wow. Maybe I should just buy some fencing and nail together a big box.
Sprouting!

My seeds have sprouted!

The marigolds popped up first, but the tomatoes caught up so fast, you can't tell. My older sun gold tomatoes are the slackers sprouting up just now. Those seeds are old though, so they're doing their best. The peppers didn't sprout at all. I'll give them a bit more time, but it looks like it's time to toss that packet.

According to my calendar, I should get a delivery of strawberry plants in about two or three weeks. I've been scouting out good places to put them. I was thinking of lining the back edge of the yard with them against the fence. By putting a garden there, it'll also deter my little dog from digging her way out on that side.

I think the regular garden will go to the left of the huge tree in my yard. If the tree ever gets cut down. I contacted three companies and only one responded to me in a reasonable amount of time. But once I told him, "Yeah, let's do this," he suddenly became very hard to schedule with. Hopefully I can schedule something with him this week. That tree has to go! It is going to block all my wonderful summer sunlight!
Today was a day of productivity.

In the morning, I took care of the dishes and laundry.

Then ben and I paid a visit to our local library to pick up my new library card. I was horrified, to say the least. The library was ONE ROOM. There were hardly any books! I wanted to cry!

Looks like it's fairly easy to order books from the other branches and have them delivered to the local one though. My library is only a mile away, so I thought I could get a bike and ride there. That will only work if I order the books I want.

After that disappointment, ben took me for lunch. We got burgers. Then we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things we ran out of during the week.

When we got home, I attempted to trim one of the hedges in front of the house. The previous owners must have never trimmed them. Ever. There is no other way the bushes could be that overgrown. So when I tried to fix that...it did not go well.

Things I shouldn't do: Landscaping

At first I tried to just cut back to the edge of the garden so that it wasn't sticking out onto the sidewalk. That's where the giant bald spot on the bottom came from. It quickly became evident that if I wanted the bush to have any leaves on it, I was going to need to be a little bit less aggressive. But there was nothing I could do about the top of the hedge, which was reaching up far too high and really needed to just be cut down to size. Honestly, I would have trimmed it shorter, but I was trying not to be too aggressive.

The bush to the right should be a bit easier. It has more leaves on it, so I should be able to cut it back as far as I need to. I'll attempt that tomorrow. I have a blister today, despite my gloves. And maybe next weekend I'll tackle the bushes on the side of the house that are so big they are falling over.

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holytoastr

January 2015

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