Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You're Killing the Letuce!!!

You would think that we live in the South with the amount of afternoon heavy rains we've had.

This is a shot of our front entry way (with a full gutter).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Update

Considering how many trees we have (little sunlight) the garden is coming along nicely. I would say that half of what I planted has grown, most of that is doing really well.
The peppers get an A

So do the tomatoes.

And the zuchinni and summer squash. 

The radishes get a B, along with the broccolli and peas.

The letuce is questionable the brutal thunderstorms we've been getting are really beating them up, I might try again in the fall. The melons, cucumbers, beans, asparagus and spinach were a no go, most likely not enough sun for those guys.  Yes, the garden is very weedy, it's the first year and we expected this. I have been weeding.  I also started some things in the house for a summer crop, stay tuned for cucumbers (again) spagetti squash, butternut squash, acorn squash and sugar pumpkins.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Ready

We have a BIG delivery coming tomorrow and I am beside myself excited. But I'm going to be cruel and make you wait until the delivery actually happens.
In preparation for the BIG delivery Bruce replaced one of the outlets in the kitchen.  I'm not a big fan of DIY electrical work so I'm sparing all the details, bottom line: if you aren't sure hire a pro.
Old two prong outlet was removed, the purpose of this photo is to show that there is no ground wire.

Then clean out the box.

Add ground wire, with green screw. Apparently everything is color coded.

Secure new outlet.  Yes, it is upsided-down on purpose, for things that have the third prong it helps them stay in better as the ground pole is the longest, also if something spills the "bottom" which is our top, protrudes the farthest and will prevent the spill from getting in the outlet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We're Still Alive!

Sorry I know we've been MIA for a while, June is always a busy month for us with birthdays and holidays. Plus I seem to have miss placed my camera . . . again. This is becoming a reoccuring problem for me! I've been busy job hunting and keeping house, the wood is split and stacked, and the garden (for the most part) is coming along nicely! Stay tuned, we have some good things coming up!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Weekend Warriors: Lumberjacks

We had a very busy weekend "dialing up our doing dials"; we took down five trees in our backyard which were standing dead or very close to dead. We started by going out Friday night and picking up a new bar and chain for the chain saw and for me, work gloves that fit. They are also pretty.

Even on the working side.

Now, Bruce has been cutting down trees with his dad for a very long time and I would never recommend that anyone do this if they've never done it before. Bad things can happen the tree can fall on your house or your neighbor's house, ditto for cars, or you. Scary, I had the phone in the breezeway just in case. That's the main reason we have a land line (so 911 can find us). Call a professional to bring the trees down, don't get hurt, this isn't a step-by-step DIY guide. If you click on the photo below it will take you to the Picassa slide show.

Sometimes, the tree is disagreeable to be taken down. In this case the tree got stuck on a neighboring tree, Bruce cut sections out of the bottom until it dislodged and we were able to pull it over.

Our backyard looks like we've been through a hurricane!

Sunday we headed to Home Depot for some lumber to build a wood rack.  It's pretty sturdy and should hold almost a cord of split wood.

After the rain Bruce split one all the wood from one of the trees then we stacked it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Kitchen Cabinets

I was inspired this weekend (during the rain on Sunday) to participate in Tackle it Together from Young House Love, our cabinets definitely need it! I'm going to do this in stages because our "dry" food is spread among many (many) cabinets. For stage 1 I tackled our "Top Pantry" cabinets, they house all our pantry goods minus the cans, which are down below with the Tupperware.  They are also the source of those nasty little bugs and I was determined to find the source. Left is the before photo and right is the after photo!

This doesn't look like a huge transformation, this skinny cabinet is fairly obstructed by the fridge but we still use it for breakfast items and some little appliances.  All I really did here was move all the mixing appliances (there are: a magic bullet blender, a stick blender affectionately called the "boat motor", and a hand mixer) to the top shelf, arrange the non-cereal items in the middle, and the big cereal boxes on the bottom (they are the most used.  We really like to keep this right near the fridge so that the cereal is close to the milk.

The middle cabinet took the most work, I took everything out and went through it all.  Here there was a lot of "drink stuff" lemonade, ice tea, hot coco and tea, lots of tea.  I threw out anything I had before moving to CT (some of the "pantry" from my Amherst apartment was packed with my kitchen supplies and stored with them and when I unpacked them here they just moved into the cabinets with everything else).  I also combined some of the boxes of tea.  Everything we back in groups, bottom shelf drink mixes, middle shelf mixes (for soups and dips), and the top shelf stays the same with the French Press, coffee and can opener. This cabinet is also partially obstructed by the fridge so the stagger you see is purposeful as end of the middle shelf is hard for me to reach.

I used some wire bale jars that came with the house to store my single serving drink mixes, I really like them and use them a lot so if I forget to put it away it's a little more decorative on the counter.

The end cabinet still looks cluttered but now I know where everything is and things are grouped more appropriately.  The pastas, rice and grains are on the bottom (for easiest access for the vertically challenged, then snacks, then nuts on the top. I tossed about half of the different types of nuts I had that were past their expiration date and "feeding" the nasty bugs but I still have a good supply to make my own snack mixes.  They also gave me some ideas for things with almond crust or peanut candy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Backyard Adventure

     Our latest and greatest adventure has been planning, prepping and planting the garden.  I've had the spot in the backyard picked out since before we owned the house, those long months in limbo . . . I was plotting.  The first step was to till the soil, now we had an idea (after burying poor PeanutButter) that we would have a lot of rocks to contend with and would need some mechanical assistance.  So after much deliberation, Bruce purchased a Boylens tractor, circa late 1970's, that he found on Craig's List.  It has attachments to mow, roto-till and blow snow.  He adventured a few Sundays ago, in the big red truck, to pick it up and the next day after work he was ready to go!

Notice he's still wearing dress socks from work. "It's working, it's working, wait what's it hitting?"

"Oh it's a rock" Notice the tree in front of Bruce and the beginning of the rock pile.
It took us a week (with the weather and mechanical delays) to till roughly an 8' x 19' plot.

This is the rock pile after one pass with the tiller.

My job while Bruce was operating the machinery was to follow behind him, remove rocks and notice where the "big ones" were so that we could excavate them with the pick. We did two passes with the tiller to even everything out and to get as many of the rocks as possible, looks pretty nice right?

After the tilling was complete I got to work planting, the very next day, which happened to be the hottest day so far! Each row had to be raked into place, more rocks and roots removed, raked again to even out, then planted.  I had started tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and summer squash in the house and they were ready to go!I also planted lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe, beans, peas, broccoli and cucumbers.

Last weekend we got the fence up to keep the Chipmunks out. More on those guys later. I still have a few tomato and pepper supports to go in, but now that everything has been in the ground for a week it's looking promising, I have shoots popping up everywhere and have already thinned a few rows.

Check out that final rock pile, way more than we expected!

I also love that I can spin around in my desk chair and the garden takes up the entire view out the window!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I'm sure there are a few people getting antsy to see the dining room makeover pictures, but to be honest its not quite done. I'm working on painting the top door and getting the art in frames. But here's a quick DIY to tide you over.
I was reprimanded for the amount of paper in my desk trash this week and while I was cleaning up my desk yesterday I made a recepticle for my paper recycling that looks nice on the desk top.

I started with this box, its low profile was perfect, its not the size of a full sheet of paper but things can always be folded in half.

I cut the top off.

And lined with some neutral wrapping paper that I've used to wrap other boxes around the office that hold little odds and ends that still don't have a home! Using packing tape on the bottom to make sure there is no potential for rips as it gets tossed around.

It now sits on the corner of my desk.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Coming Attractions

We have been very busy . . . and we have a very big garden.