Sunday, May 25, 2014

Building a garden trellis

Sundays are usually the days when I putter around with my plants. Today was the first Sunday that was actually clear and warm enough to consider digging up the garden plot and creating the trellis I need to support my pea vines.

So I started out by outlining the patch of ground I wanted dug up by my freakishly tall teen (no, I'm not insulting him - he likes it when I call him that).

You can barely see the outline, but it's there.

I didn't want the boy kid working too hard, so I decided on a modestly small 4x10 plot. He got to work with gusto and very quickly had it done. In the meantime, I started working on two 5x4 trellises for the peas.

Finally, after hours of work, I was able to put the trellis in place and begin transplanting my eager little sweet pea seedlings.

Of course, I had barely gotten all twelve of the seedlings in place when Jacob accidentally knocked the wheelbarrow full of dirt over the top of the tiny plants. Most were salvageable, but we lost one plant.

The forecast calls for rain tonight and over the next three days....I think those seedlings are going to be very happy with the damp and shade, and with a nice new trellis to climb up on!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gryphon Lard-Butt gets a name change

May 5th started out like any normal Monday. Kids rushing around, me attempting to rein herd (and only being partially successful). Trouble laying his head on everyone's knees, hoping for a handout, and cats trying to pretend they aren't interested in the milk in the cereal bowls (and not fooling anyone). The worst is Gryphon Lard-Butt, who is a very large cat in his own right, but is also overweight. He tends to sneak any food he can get his grubby little paws on.

I was in the bedroom putting away laundry when I heard a loud crash from the kitchen. Gryphon Lard-Butt came racing out of the kitchen, eyes wide and fur sticking out in every direction, moving faster than I have seen in years.

Turns out our resident tubby kitty had hopped up on the table, hoping for a couple drops of milk, and instead, his weight had caused the table leg to collapse!

This was actually the second leg on this table to collapse. The leg behind it had broken a year ago, and was held in place with layers of duct tape. That damage, along with the second broken leg, was too much, and the table was irreparable.

This left us in a bit of a pickle, but not as much as we would have been in normally. Sean had just gotten paid a few days before, and he'd pulled an extra shift and a half during that pay period. So we did have a little extra money on hand. We had been planning on putting the extra money towards our back-due rent...but clearly we would have to use at least a part of it on a new table.

So we looked around, and almost right away we found a lovely table at the thrift store. Solid wood construction, dark stain, and it came with four matching chairs (which we really didn't need, but it was sold in a set).

 Best of all? The price. It was only $50.

Getting it into our tiny Kia was a bit of a hassle, but Sean got it done in his normal miraculous fashion. We had barely gotten it home and set up when Gryphon Lard-Butt decided to check it out.

"Hmm....I wonder how many drops of milk I would have to sneak in order to collapse this table?"
On the way home with the table, Sean had cracked a joke that we should change Gryphon's name to commemorate his momentous achievement.

So congratulations, Gryphon Lard-Butt - you are hearby dubbed Sir Gryphon the Table Slayer. If you kill my new table, I'm gonna force you to eat diet kibble until you get down to 12 pounds.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mother's Day

I have been growing seedlings in my living room for the last six weeks. My seeds are old - I haven't been able to afford to buy new ones in years - so the germination percentage is very low. For that reason, I've been re-planting seeds every two weeks, once it became obvious that some of the seeds were not viable.


In addition to the seeds I've planted, my husband was amazing and decided to buy me seedlings for Mother's Day (we celebrated early for personal reasons). The first garden center had a great sale (buy 5 get 1 free!). I chose chives, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, peppermint, and spearmint (though I'm kicking myself for not getting sage). There was also a sale on celery - four seedlings for under $2, so I snatched them up.


A second store had a good deal on a blueberry bush, and a pack of 55 gladiola bulbs for ten dollars. I also grabbed a few low-priced pots and two more bags of soil, and that was it for my shopping spree.

Rosemary to the left, oregano on the right - empty pot as a placeholder for future sage.

Or so I thought.

The next day, my husband called me from the grocery store and said "They have fruit trees here for ten bucks. You can have one if you want." He ended up buying me two - a Granny Smith apple tree and a Stayman Winesap apple tree.

James and the Granny Smith on the left,
Jacob and the Winesap on the right.

I did some research and discovered that both trees do really well when paired with Golden Delicious as a co-pollinator, so I'm on the prowl for a third apple tree.

I'm truly excited - my little homestead is gaining ground!