Archive for April, 2007

How NOT to grow garden vegetables

(this is an exerpt from an email I sent my SIL last night – as I was writing it, I realized that I wanted to post something about my garden efforts so I’m cutting and pasting with not a lot of heavy editing.  I’ll be updating our garden progress here off and on…I’ll try to go lightly with the garden posts so as not to put you all to sleep…)
Today we started our garden.  We bought organic compost by the bag and tilled it into our existing soil.  I’d like to start a compost bin but need to do further research.  Rich is convinced that it is going to smell, but I’m telling him that there are things you can do to prevent unpleasant odors.  We’ll see who wins that battle.

Last year our entire gardening game plan consisted of:

1) randomly picking out plants
2) sticking them in the ground with absolutely no forethought
3) doing nothing until fruit does or does not show up on the plants (if they even grew!).

As you can imagine, our results SUCKED last year, with only 50% of the plants making it out of their infancy and very little actual vegetables for our “efforts”.  Our garden was technically an organic garden only because we never bothered with any sort of fertilizer, weed killer or insect killer.

This year, besides the organic compost addition to the soil, we are trying a several new things:

1) actually reading a bit on how to care for each of the plants we buy (never thought to do that last year!)
2) buying plants instead of starting from seed as it lessens the chances of failure as they are already half grown. Some of them are already purchased, but for those that are not, I’ll have to do shopping at our farmer’s market that opens next weekend!  At farmer’s markets you sometimes can purchase garden plants that are grown organically.
3) planting in such a way that plants that help each other grow are next to each other (called companion plants)
4) planting crops in a sort of haphazard rotation so they naturally regenerate the nutrients in the soil
5) we’re hoping to actually do some weeding this year since we did almost none last year
6) putting some sort of gate around the garden area because last year Zoe (our dog) ate all our strawberries before they were ripe.  (As it turned out that was a lucky accident – since they were first year plants, we were supposed to be pinching the flowers off anyway.)

I did have two herb plants that are still with us from last year.  We have a robust sage and a thyme plant (both extremely easy to grow, so says the info I’ve actually read this year.  No wonder they survived with little to no care).  I cut them back today (as apparently I am supposed to in the Spring) and Rich and I worked on washing, tying and hanging bunches of herbs to dry up in the attic.  In two weeks we should have enough dry herbs to make poultry and pork for our entire lives.  Obviously we’ll be needing to give most of it away.

Want some?  If you live in my general vacinity, this is your last chance for polite refusal.


Earth-like planet found 20 light years away

A “second earth” has been found 20 light years away in the constellation of Libra. Gliese 581c has a rocky surface, probably has water and an atmosphere, and has a temperature range from 0 to 40 degrees Celcius (32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit).

“‘We wouldn’t be surprised if there is life on this planet,’ said Stephane Udry, an astronomer on the project at the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland.”

In other planet-related news, Dan alerted me to this sustainability quiz. It turns out that at my present rate of consumption, if everyone on earth lived like I did, we would need 3 planets to maintain life’s precious balance. (Hey, I’m working on it. I took the quiz as if I was still living as I was several months ago, and I got 6.2 planets for an answer.)

So, I’m calling dibs on this planet. Now the question remains – how many carbon offsets will I have to purchase to get there?

(Seriously, though, the planet discovery is pretty cool. Fueled by hours and hours of Cosmos viewing during my childhood and staring up into the starry sky on camping trips, I’ve always been a sucker for the thought of life on other planets.)

Gratuitous mommyblogger post in which I quote my children

Me:  Would you like some milk with that oatmeal?  Milk tastes good with oatmeal.
Connor:  I want orange juice.
Me:  I don’t think that would taste as good.
Connor:  Would it taste like chicken?

Rich, to Zoe (our dog):  I know, you are still our baby.
Siena (her first sentence, very angrily):  Zoe no baby! Siena baby!

Connor (staring into wishing well):  Mommy, do you have any money?
Me:  Sorry sweetie, I don’t.  But you could probably make a wish anyway.
Connor:  *thinking hard*
Me:  What did you wish for?
Connor:  I wished for Sarah to hold my hand.

Siena (pretending to talk on toy phone in her car seat): (unintelligible)
Rich (thinking Siena was talking to him):  What did you say, sweetie?
Siena (sticking out her neck, says accusingly): I’m ON the PHONE…

Connor:  Mom, you make the best grapes in the whole wide world.

Siena: two…three…two…three (to infinity)

Connor:  Mom, can you help me count to 186?
Me:  Sure.  Why 186?
Connor:  Because I’ve never counted to it before.

*After going to our annual fast food restaurant visit, the kids are playing with their kid meal toys in the back seat*
Connor: I can’t wait to get home so I can play with my new sex toys.
Rich (looking at me, we are both having to SERIOUSLY cover up a bout of laughter): Connor, what did you just say?
Connor: I SAID, I can’t wait to get home so I can play with my new stegosaurus.

Have a happy Earth Day

I could have tried to say something wise and meaningful, but Bill Maher already said it better.

I’ve updated my blog a bit, so if you are reading via RSS, come give it a visit.  New banner photo (Glastonbury Abbey), new sidebar stuff, and a blogroll!   (If I missed you, let me know.)

Virginia Tech: the bigger issues

At Virginia Tech, a horrible tragedy has taken place today. And the question is once again being asked all over the net – why is it that there is so much seemingly senseless violence in America?

Before I checked the news, I had a lot of posts swirling about in my head. I was hoping to write about something lighthearted. But this morning while I was enjoying my green tea latte and a few stolen moments with my husband then going to lunch with friends, I was oblivious that so many children – and that’s what they were in so many ways – had taken their last breaths.

The question of “why so much in America” has been asked so many times, causing reactions by Congress, parents, and even Michael Moore. We know it is a problem, yet we cannot agree on an answer. Is it the gun laws? Is it our fear-based society? Our tendency toward solving international problems with war? I don’t think any of these by themselves addresses the bigger social issue. But what that bigger social issue is exactly is hard to pin down. We all keep yelling for a bigger bucket, but no one is bothering to mention the giant hole in the roof.

Sidenote: at the time I’m writing this, not much is known about the gunman who also died in the shootings. We don’t know if he was a student or what his motive might have been. An eyewitness says he was of Asian decent. Was he even an American? An international student?

Here in America we value our individual rights above all else, and certainly it’s one of the reasons I love my country. Our bill of rights is the heart of each and every one of us. It is what makes the ACLU possible, for goodness sake. How could I not love it? But for all that yin love, there is a yang that follows. Individualism has a violent side when the rights of the other individuals are lost in too much hate, anger and misunderstanding.

I feel that the same forces that are allowing our capitalist/individualist selves to get out of control and ignore the warning signs of global warming are the same that drive an individual, in extreme cases, to let themselves slip down that dark tunnel into violence. In America, a big SUV like a Hummer is a status symbol. In England, to waste so much gasoline and emit all that nasty pollution is seen as incredibly selfish.

To achieve balance, the yin and yang should be equal. Why is it we as a collective American society cannot manage to find a dichotomy between individualism and community? Why cannot they both exist together? We are unbalanced. We need a cause to pull us together again and out of our collective selfishness. Can I suggest one?

My thoughts, prayers and heart goes out today to the unfinished lives of our nation’s best and the friends and families who mourn them.

Shameless plug

One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world finally started a blog.  I say “finally” because she has an incredibly dry, sharp wit and when I listen to her talk it is like reading a really good blog post.  Also, she’s an avid blog reader so it was only a matter of time.

If a blog from a single girl who internet dates a lot, travels even more and is both an ex-volunteer firefighter and a girly-girl sounds interesting, click here.

Imus out of a job

Am I the only one that sees the irony in this man calling ANYONE a nappy-headed ho?  I hope someone buys this man a hairbrush and a cut for his “retirement” present.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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