June 30, 2009

Two Years, Baby!

Today is my two year wedding anniversary and two weeks shy of seven years of being exclusive, with one year of casual dating before that. So, I don't think either of us is going anywhere. As RA stated, we've learned to share the hammock. In two years, we've adopted a family of animals (including our newest addition: our neighbor's dog), bought a house, planted many things, and were even able to walk down the aisle toward each other again (bridal party)!

I love looking back over our first years together, but I enjoy looking forward to the next year even more. Travel (Wisconsin in 3 weeks and maybe Savannah, Georgia or Belize[!!!] later), a new nephew in two months, a rejuvenated backyard, a possible career expansion, no new animals, and no broken cars are all things I hope for in the next year.

June 08, 2009

Rookie Mistake

So, the tomatoes. They have arrived. They are still mostly green, but they number well over a hundred.

I knew when I planted them they were too close together. "It's fine," I told myself, "it's an experiment, survival of the fittest and all that." Well, apparently, they are all fit. And fertile. And heavy. I let the ones planted closest together kind of slide on the staking schedule, thinking it would be fine if they kind of sprawled on one another. Well, weekend before last, I noticed they were sprawling right out of the bed, so it was time to resume tying them up. At least I tried. The last few days I have noticed the overburdened end of the bed looked... different. Wrong. I started poking around the vines and realized that the fruit had gotten so heavy that where I had tied the nodes to the bamboo stake, the string has slid down the stake to lay the vines right back where they were, on top of everything else. Obviously, since half the fruit on that side was now sitting directly on the soil, a solution had to be found. So, I am hoping to institute this:

From Random

I'll put up a before and after picture to see if it helps.

Now it's time for garden picture dump! Wooo!

May 21, 2009

Go big or go home....

So, funny story. On the last day of detail, I got my truck stuck for the first time and saw my first snake. Luckily, the snake was just a black racer of which I only saw the tail end. But when I say I got my truck stuck, I mean stuck. As in, scared I had broken the axle stuck. Except, yay, Built Ford Tough.

Scene: perfectly dry and compacted dirt trail, winding around in the wilderness. I drive around a curve and over a stream, and WHAM! Nose into horn and flying of pens, pencils, empty coffee cups, and bug spray. This perfectly good road apparently has a rusted out culvert across the stream. After surveying the damage, I find that my left front tire has fallen through the road bed, suspended about five feet above the bottom of the pipe, and the truck is held up by the bumper and step bar. And there is no way I'm getting out of this.

So, I hiked back the highway and started the 3.5 mile trek up to the nearest house and flagging traffic that might have a cell phone with service (seriously, an entire county in which the largest nationwide network gets no service = rural). I get several polite waves back, but, while friendly, does me no good. Luckily, 2.5 miles in to my leisurely walk, a logging truck with a very nice driver pulled over and gave me a ride the 8 miles to the nearest town (in which I barely get service). Fast forward two hours, coworker has shown up, truck is winched out, no visible damage, and mapping is finished. My boss is quoted is saying, "Well, if you're going to get stuck, at least you did it right."
End scene.

Hopefully, I can add a picture later once my husband shows me how to download a picture from his old phone.

Also, tomatoes! Now I just need them to turn red. I tell them that at every opportunity.
From Random
Not working

April 28, 2009

Attack of the Killer Pollen

Today was the first day in the history of my entire life that seasonal allergies have affected me so much as to actually bring down my quality of life. And not only did I feel weird, my eyes watered so much that my contacts came out, my left eye was so puffy that I couldn't see out of it, and not even Claritin cleared it up. So, while I am doing computer work and taking a break, here's a photo montage.

One of the areas I've been mapping in. Jealous? Don't be. The views were about the only nice part.

And it was spring, so the flowers were out. That was nice.

On the weekends, I found out my puppies like tomatoes.

From Random

And waffles.

Also, my garden exploded.

From Random
In this picture, you should be able to find three tomato plants, one parsley plant and one rosemary plant (top), four Swiss chard plants, fifteen spinach plants, and one hundred and thirty-three thousand kale plants. And this is after I thinned more than half of them. And this is only one quarter of the garden! For scale, the cell phone = 3 inches.

I also went to Lincoln, Nebraska.

From Random
Disregard the grimy hotel window. Facing 9th Ave, Cornhusker Stadium is just off to the left. It was pretty cold, as it was back in February.

And how's that for a photo dump? Actually, let's take this one step more and try out the video function.

March 31, 2009

You know what will kill a blog? Two months of detail in a place that doesn't have internet access combined with not having internet access at your house.

So, at least for the next month, this blog will probably continue to be pretty quiet, but I do hope to put some updates up soon. I at least have to put up pictures of the killer kale that is taking over my garden. And now, back into land of no connectivity....

January 22, 2009

Who Are You Wearing?!?

I hit a major writing block this week, but luckily RA of definitelyra.com agreed to interview me! It's meme time!

1. Why did you start blogging?

In the fall of 2005, I interned on Capitol Hill for a senator. There wasn't a whole lot to do, so after I had seen an article about her in The Washingtonian, I began reading amalah.com. It was the week after her son Noah was born, and I got hooked on reading her archives at work. Soon, I made my way over to misszoot and joyunexpected. Eventually, I wanted to start commenting on their posts, but it seemed a little creepy to me to become a regular commenter without them knowing anything about me. So, I started up this here blog in 2006, let it languish for about a year, then started it back up again. I think I started it back up as a way to be able to look back later at my early years with my husband, to keep everything in perspective, and, since my job sometimes requires a lot of travel, to keep him updated with my day to day life. Also, I love to talk, and I like to think people are listening.

2. What makes up a great weekend?

Well, it would have to be a weekend in the summer, because I hate the cold. A great weekend would probably entail my husband bringing some sushi home on Friday, a Saturday spent picking actual vegetables from my garden and cooking up some Italian, and a Sunday afternoon in the kiddie pool in the back yard, drinking a cold beer, and playing gin with waterproof cards with David.

3. What was the best gift you received recently?

I'm not going to include what I'll be getting for my birthday (tomorrow!) because I technically haven't gotten it yet. I'll say the cookbook my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas (Williams-Sonoma Classic, it's huge and has so many recipes I'm not supposed to be eating right now) and the vegetable bed that David built on Monday. Finished size: 16'x3'x15". I think I'll be able to fill it up.

4. If you could hire a personal servant, who would you choose?

I'm going to take this as type of personal servant, instead of a name of a person I want to work for me. It would probably have to be a washer-person. I absolutely hate laundry and will let it pile up until I'm reduced to going commando to work. And even when I get around to cleaning it, I will leave the clean clothes in the hamper basically until the clean hamper is empty and the dirty hamper is full again. David is meticulous about his laundry, though, so I try to do laundry at the same time as him so I have someone to motivate me to fold my clothes.

5. Which occupation would you try for a week?

I would love to try to be a teacher. I love kids and love science, but didn't want to commit to an Education major because I didn't know if I love kids that much. I get to talk to classrooms every now and again in my current job, and it is so much fun to expose children to new things. Through these guest talks, though, I learned could never teach junior high. I wanted to throttle those kids.

January 13, 2009


- I'm down to 147!! Progress is being made. This is the first time I've been under 150 in at least a year. I've been working out here and there, but I wanted to see the number go down before it plateaued or came back up.

- Garden planning is still spinning around in my head. I need to measure how large I want the bed to be in order to make lumber or seedling determinations. Also, in order to see some harvest before June, I'm going to try an early crop of lettuce and spinach until planting the less cold hardy things in April.

- I've also got a few starter ideas for the yard/flower beds. We're going to put in edger blocks to keep the mulch in and, hopefully, the dogs out. Then I'd like to pull out the bedraggled mini boxwoods that are in there and put in some creeping phlox (which is evergreen in this area and blooms at least twice a year) in the front and something mid-size in the middle, maybe some azalea bushes or something. I would like to put a shrub that blooms through the summer, though, so maybe I'll mix and match (I don't really care for Encores). Also, the next few weeks are prime tree planting time, and I am so looking foward to putting in a Japanese Magnolia in the front yard. It will take some precision, though, as we have to judge the right distance from both the field lines of the septic system and the power lines.

- Is anybody that drops by here from the Great Plains area? I am going to training the first week in February and have absolutely no idea what to expect or what to pack. I don't have a parka, I don't own a scarf or snow boots, and I've never driven in snow. Am I completely up a creek?

January 09, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Yes, I am feeling very contrary this morning. It was cold, this has been a long week, and I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch the BCS Championship game (GO SEC!). Plus, I am tired of salads. I had some very filling and tasty salads this week, with homemade dressing, but I feel like a rabbit. Tonight: steak! I haven't weighed myself since Monday (153), so I'm not sure how much progress I've made. I'm stepping on the Wii Fit tonight, and I swear I'll scream if I'm not down a few pounds. But, back to the actual topic of this post...

This year I am starting an honest-to-goodness garden. I had a bucket garden last year that I started way late in the season, but with the moderate success I had (4 huge bell peppers, 3 tomatoes, and a sage and thyme plant that made it through the winter), I am very excited about this growing season. Between our local farmer's market, my coworker's fantastically abundant garden, and our own garden, we should be more than set for this summer/fall.

My hubby has finally found the perfect Valentine's Day present for me: build my raised bed. Since we only have about 1/3 third of an acre of arable land right now and no real hard-core gardening tools (greenhouse, tiller, etc.), we decided to build a raised bed in a pretty unusable strip of ground between the driveway and the house. It's going to be right outside the kitchen door and will be bookended by gardenia bushes, so, hopefully, lots of pollinating going on.

So far, the list of plants to be included is as follows:
- peppers
- tomatoes
- spinach
- lettuce
- broccoli
- kale
- squash
- assorted herbs: thyme, oregano, basil, sage, parsley, chives, and dill

If I have room (doubtful), I'd like to include tomatillos and zucchini. In the buckets from last year, I want to grow mint, garlic, rosemary, and onions.

These are all very lofty goals, and once space is considered, I'll probably be cutting back on something, but I can't decide what. But, hey, dream big. And of homemade spaghetti sauce.

January 05, 2009

Getting All Resolution-ed Up

So, last year, I said, "No resolutions, I never keep them, it's something I should be doing anyway," etc, etc, ad nauseum (sp? Google doesn't do Latin). And what did I accomplish last year in the way of personal betterment? Zip. Yes, I cooked, but I always cook. Yes, I bought a Wii Fit, but, much like always, it has been languishing under the sofa.

So, this year, I'm going to write them here where I can see them and come back to them at the end of the year. On with the listing!

1. Get in better shape. I've only lost about five pounds so far, and I'm pretty sure the holidays destroyed that progress. Yesterday, I started the South Beach Diet, which my parents accomplished and lost a combined total of 70 pounds, so I know it works. I've already found a pretty awesome cooking website that puts together a whole bunch of recipes broken down by phase.

2. Be better with money. We have some lofty goals for this summer, and even with the 2.5% competitiveness raise I'm getting, it's going to take some work. But, with Dave Ramsey and Quicken's power combined, we shall freaking rock the savings account. Also, the closet. With all the clothes I'm going to buy.

3. Freaking learn how to decorate a house already. My husband and I have realized that we actually have to start watching HGTV this weekend. The horror.

4. Do laundry in a more timely manner. I have a tendency to let it pile up, both clean and dirty. Of course, as I say this there are 2 hampers of clean clothes waiting for me at home. Ugh.

5. Start cooking vegetarian-ly once or twice a week. This should help with both items #1 and #2.

6. Conquer homemade hollandaise sauce. It always comes out funny. Though this may be in direct contradiction to item #1.

7. Use locally grown vegetables when they're in season. They just taste so much better and are usually cheaper than the grocery store. I'm attempting to accomplish this by starting my own vegetable garden and utilizing the two local farmer's markets. (Damn, now the only day I get to sleep past 6 am is Sunday. It ain't the day of rest for nothing.)

8. Finish my two sewing projects. I'm about 1/32 through both of them. I need another writer's strike or something. (SAG, I didn't mean it! You can work it out!)
Keep up writing on this here blog.

God, I sound so old, don't I? Sewing, gardening, cooking, laundry... Gag me with a spoon. Oh, I've got a non-old resolution: Get my good-ass jeans back from my aunt and wear them and heels more often. Because I totally don't have a workplace where that is inappropriate work attire. Nope.

Happy Freakin' New Year!