Monday, June 25, 2012

Garden Update

This morning when we went out to check on our veggies, we met our backyard neighbors, L. & B. who are diagonally across from us and came away with not only new friends but a giant bunch of fresh green onions and some lettuce! 

L. said that if we need more lettuce, to just ask because he's got more. I hope that our veggies turn out so that we can share our bounty with them too!

Our own garden has been doing great. I returned home last Thursday to find our garden exploded in size! It's kind of amazing. Did I mention plant life amazes me? They are so much more resilient than I thought they would be.

The tomato plants that I thought were on their way out have branched like crazy in the two weeks I was away & now are flowering!

Our pickling cucumber seems to be the only lost cause:
Something's been eating the base of the stem and all the flowers I saw when I got home last Thursday are all shriveled up & gone now =( The pests & diseases I've read about exhibit more leaf-related symptoms so I have no idea what is wrong here.

Anyhow, I've still got some space in the strawberry/herb bed and in one corner of the tomato bed so I'm wondering what I should put there. Maybe I'll try sprouting my seeds again.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Garden: update

It's been about 3 weeks and I haven't killed anything in our garden (yet)! Though I did kill some arugula, chili, and cilantro seedlings, but they weren't in the garden yet so that doesn't count. I think I neglected them for one day too long during a really hot spell. I've re-sprouted the arugula but still waiting on the others. I bought some Martha Stewart seeds from home depot for peppers & eggplant but neither of those have ever sprouted in either of the times I've tried. Not sure what to do about that. Anyhow, on to the things that are growing!
Look at how big everything got compared to when we first got them:
The cauliflower, broccoli, & tomatoes are probably the most noticeable ones. I'm really really pleased with how the tomatoes are doing considering how sad & stressed they were to start out! I had plucked off all the bottom leaves that were scraggly & obviously dead & was afraid I was making it worse, but new leaves have sprouted from the spots where I plucked off old ones so I think we're good now. =)

We've got some green & yellow peppers, jalepeño, & tomatoes coming out.

You might also notice that we ran some drip lines in the garden beds (the brown tubes). I was determined to get those in before we fly out on Thursday so that I can set it up on a timer while I'm away, so we got that done this past weekend. 
We bought a battery-operated timer to operate the drip line. Eventually we'd like to tie it in to our existing sprinkler system and control everything from one main controller. For this season though, I think we've accomplished more than I dreamed of doing. One other thing I want to do after I get back is make some cover or cage for everything as we've already lost all our first strawberries to squirrels. Plus there's a fox that dug up some holes (thankfully didn't damage anything) in the garden beds so I'd rather not have to worry about all that.

Oh, did I ever mention we have a grape vine? 
I thought it was a wine grape, but our neighbor told us it's a concord grape. I'm not sure if that's better news than it being a wine grape since concord grapes have seeds, but oh well.... I think we're set up for a boat load of them at the end of the season 'cause look at that vine! The whole section of fence you see in this photo has the grape vine growing on it. 
I've never been around and cared for plants like this before, so all the growth really ceases to amaze me =) I can't wait to come back to them near the end of the month and see how big they are, presumably they survive... I'm still very paranoid they're going to die, even though I've seen how resilient they are!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Office: Complete! (sort of)

I'm embarrassed to note when this remodel started, but I am happy to say that it's quickly coming to an end =) And I'm also at the point where I think I'm not too embarrassed to share what it looks like with you so far!

Just as a refresher: this is what it used to look like:

What we did in this room:
- tore down damaged drywall
- hung & mudded new drywall
- installed floating laminate floor
- painted
- ran computer cables behind the wall (of the ones we could run)
- installed a new ceiling lamp

This is my new computer desk that sits along the back wall of the room. It's the vika amon/lage/alex combo from ikea. I.S. got me a monitor mount to attach to the desk so that we could get rid of the monitor stand and free up some desk area. Eventually I'll get a keyboard tray so that I have more space to work on the shallow desk, but I need to plan that out a bit more since the table is hollow and can't have anything directly mounted to it.
And this is my new chalkboard wall! This is the wall that used to have a cork board that we tore down to the studs. M. drew the moose head & Canadian flag. In the middle near the bottom is what is left of I.S.'s outline that I drew after we chalked up the wall, in case you're wondering. Eventually the white jars on the desk will be hung, but I haven't quite decided where to put the rail yet so for now they get to sit on the old desk.
The hardest part of the whole remodel: putting the PC in the closet & hiding the cables. I.S painstakingly crawled through the attic 3-4 times (more than once is painful enough!) to run audio for the speakers, a dvi cable, and usb to go from behind the desk drawers into the closet. Why so painful? 1) It's a million degrees in the attic; 2) It's hard to breathe with a face mask on in that heat; 3) fiberglass insulation everywhere; 4) It's a million degrees in the attic. And there were other complications with the actual feeding of the cables, but I will spare you the details and just say that it required I.S. to stay in the attic far longer than he thought he needed to be.

I forgot to take a photo of it, but this is the ceiling fixture I installed:
Things left to do:
- remove the room door (it's in the way when open and it's never closed so it's really pointless)
- do a better job of hiding the computer cables that didn't make it to the inside of the wall
- get a low-pile rug to go under the chairs
- get a new work surface for the center
- get some book shelves
- get more storage in general
- install some sheer drapes
- and hang some art-work!

I would like to do something like this to the wall my computer desk sits against, but I feel like the giant monitor would compete with little postcards. We'll see what I end up doing. Just give me a few more months ;) I might get a large rug that reaches from under the computer desk to under the center work space but that is dependent on what I can afford and what I can find. Ultimately I want to be able to turn my computer chair around and work off the center work space as needed. Anyway... that is all for now! I'm sure you don't need to hear me think out loud any more than you already have =) Hope everyone's summer is off to a good start!