Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Garden from scratch

I'm so tired.  So, so very tired.  But accomplished.  This weekend has been so busy.  Wedding prep, moving, gardening.  All exciting things.

I can officially say I have a garden at our new house.  To think that I had no idea whether a garden would even be feasible this year, it feels really good to have some dirt with stuff growing in it.  It was actually pretty easy, and something that everyone should do of they have a corner of their lawn to spare.  And who doesn't want food growing in their yard?

Here's what you need:
*12 Cherry tone timber logs
*12 1ft long 3/8in. rebar
*Drill with 1/2in. drill bit (or smaller, as long as it's bigger than 3/8in.)
We broke ground on Tuesday after we bought the logs at Home Depot for super cheap.  The biggest job for this was digging up the grass.  After we started digging, we noticed that it was originally sod so it came up in nice sheets.  Once we took out enough grass for the size of box we wanted, we stacked the 8ft. logs three high and made a box that is 4ft. wide and 16ft. long.  We stacked them Lincoln logs style, with ends overlapping in the corners and the middle, and drilled half inch holes for the rebar that we used as a skeleton to keep the logs in place.  They were each put in about 6 inches from each corner and from the middle so that each end of each log was secured.

This was then filled in with a combination of dirt and two types of compost: the chicken crap stuff from our place and the yard waste/kitchen scraps stuff from my parents.  Hauling dirt is hard work, but great exercise.

Eager beavers, they are.

Then we were ready to plant.  I had some squash plants on hand because they were busting out of their pots, so they went in first.  I had some help from our new, young, next-door neighbor friends (who I have a feeling are going to be coming over a lot once they see the zoo that is moving in with us,) and garden 2012 was in business!

Today I went back in the rain and planted some tomatoes, onions, and broccoli.  The kids were over helping once again, and were really excited that the tomatoes each had a little house to live in.  I'm already out of space, which is sad, but not surprising, and I'm itching to get the other two boxes we have planned, built.  We're hoping to make another one that is 4'x16' and another smaller one that'll be 4'x8'.  We're also hoping to try straw-bale gardening, but that's a topic for a whole separate post.

So there you go, garden 2012 is well under way, despite this nuisance called a wedding that is just 7 days away.  I guess I should make sure to enjoy that too.

Have a great week and send good weather vibes!  I don't want to get married in this rain!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I don't have any.  For anything.  I'm freakin' out!

Well not really.  At least I'm trying not to anyway.  Being that we're 12 days out from wedding-time and just got the keys to the new house we'll be moving to, things are getting a little cray cray around here.  I'm making lists like a mad woman and the TV hasn't been turned on in days.

I'm trying to enjoy it.  This is a time of really exciting changes that I want to look back on with fond memories.  I don't want to remember this time as a time I was too stressed out and frustrated and angry and rushed and a whole slough of other negative feelings.  I'm only letting good feelings come around here. 

But it's hard.  I had to take Gus to the vet today because he was acting really funny like he had a really bad tummy ache and wasn't eating at all.  He's acting like he's feeling better now but he still won't eat and that's what's currently stressing me out the most.  (It could be that he's just reflecting the stress that I'm feeling.  In that case I would feel really bad for doing that to him.)

As far as wedding stuff goes, I'm feeling surprisingly in control.  I have a list of stuff that I still need to do but it's a manageable one and each day I tick more and more off of it.  Centerpieces: done.  Favors: ready.  Seating chart: almost there.  Booze: purchased.  Ceremony: planned.  Dress: fits.  Rehearsal: planned.  Peeps: coming into town next week. 

But here's the kicker: this stress I'm feeling is totally all my fault.  Why?  Because of my insistence on having a garden.  In March, back before we knew where and when we would be moving, I planted a ton of seeds hoping, just hoping, that I would have somewhere to put them.  Now that we have a house and a yard to put them in, I know that this dream is about to become a reality...

...as soon as I build some planter boxes.  The new place has a great yard.  The only problem is that it's ALL LAWN.  So we need to build some garden boxes, and quick, because those seeds I planted back in March are really starting to outgrow their greenhouse.  My goal is to get it done by this weekend.  I think I can do it.  I'll make sure to document the process so you all can see the transformation our backyard will go through from plain Jane to urban homesteading paradise!

And don't get me started on the stress I'm feeling about having to build another chicken coop for the ladies at the new place. 

(Take a deep breath.  Do it for Gus.)

I long for the days of kitty cuddling.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Babies = Warm Cuddlies.

If you haven't noticed, everyone around us is either getting married or having a baby.  In the last 2 years, I think I have knit seven baby blankets for my friends.  Crazy.  That's a lot of hours if I think about it.  But you know what?  Each one has turned out amazing and were, or are, well-used by the babies who received them.  This makes me happy.  Many of them have been the entrelac pattern that I like so much, but the last one I made, I made in a fan and feather pattern.  It's a lacy one that is much quicker to complete and really pretty.

This pattern is done in multiples of 18.  So for this project, I cast on 172 stitches.  (That's 9 x 18 +10 so that I could have 5 stitches on either end for a border.)  I also used a size 8 circular needle and cotton yarn from an ugly Goodwill sweater.  (The colors are really nice as you can see, just not the way it was used in this particular sweater.)  I always use 100% cotton yarn in all my baby blankets since it's super soft and I just don't like the idea of making tiny humans cuddle up to something unnatural like acrylic.  (Yuck.)

Rows 1-5: Knit
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: K5, *(k2tog) 3 times, (k1, yo) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times.  Repeat from * until last 5 stitches.  K5.
Row 8: Purl

Continue alternating between row 7 and 8 (right side and wrong side respectively) until you feel like it's long enough or until you run out of yarn.  Then finish with another 5 rows of K.

Here are the abbreviations if you aren't used to reading them:
K5: knit 5 stitches
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together
yo: yarn over
k1: knit one stitch

That's it, super easy.  Well, as long as you're good at counting.  It's really important for this pattern that you do exactly each number and don't forget the yarn overs!  There were so many times I realized I forgot a yarn over or two and realized a line and a half later.  I definitely did some major rewinding at times, which is a pain in the ass.  So count count count and keep track of where you are.  After a few lines, you'll know based on how it looks what you need to be doing next which helps, but it doesn't prevent mistakes, it just makes it obvious when you're off by a stitch or two.

After I took these pictures, I also added a thick double crochet border all the way around.  I always finish my blankets with a crocheted border because I think it makes the whole blanket look cleaner and more polished.

The detail... so pretty.  (This is a for a pretty little girl with awesomely cool parents.)

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