Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fall Like Symptoms

Is it just me or are there signs of Fall showing?  My mums have been in almost full bloom for a month now. The squirrels are driving us crazy with their mess of walnut shells all over the deck.  And then there's the random yellow leaves we keep finding all over the yard.

Not sure if I'm ready for Fall yet.

Are you?

P.S.  Be careful if you have dogs near the walnut tree.  Hardy got a piece stuck in between his paw pads. Luckily it didn't puncture through the skin. 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Life With Dogs: Who Did This?

When something out of the ordinary happens in the house we asked the boys, "Who did this?"  There's been a few incidents lately. Someone left a puddle on the bathroom floor, dirty laundry is scattered throughout the house, or garbage (mostly paper) is removed from the trash can in the office.

No one confesses.  It's usually their body language that gives them away.  I don't believe in discipline after the crime.  Each incident is turned into a educational moment for everyone.  As the mess is being cleaned up, I'm explaining how this type of behavior is a big "no no".  Then everything returns back to normal.  Chaos and all.

For those of you with (fur) kids, I'm sure this sounds familiar.  

P.S. The photo above is from last Fall.  Makes me think of the cool nights and colorful leaves.  Almost ready for the season.

Until the next word...


Sunday, August 3, 2014

A New Adventure

I've been busy working behind the scenes on a very exciting new project.  More details coming soon.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”    ~Confucius

Meanwhile, this is Barney.  I had the pleasure to hang out with him yesterday.  Sweet boy.

Until the next word...


Friday, July 25, 2014

Gardening Tips & Ideas: Part 2 of 2

On last week's garden post, I shared a few tips and ideas that were used with this year's garden.  If you missed that post click here. I'm happy to report everything is doing awesome!  Please excuse the color variation from photo to photo.  They were captured with different cameras throughout the days of documenting the garden's progress. 

Patiently waiting for crops.

Once the plants started to grow, cages were placed around them.  As you can see the tomato plant on the left has a stick in the center of it.  It was growing way to big for a cage, but needed some additional support. Actually, it was an old broom stick I had in the garage that wasn't being used.  (recycling tip)

After the cages are in place keep an eye on the plants.  You'll want to make sure as it grows to keep the leaves on the outside of the cage.

The tomato plant continues to grow.  As you can see in this photo the first support stick is invisible, so a second one was positioned according to what branches were the heaviest.  Then I cut up a t-shirt (recycling tip) into strips to be used as a rope.  You want to use a cotton t-shirt that way it's soft against the stems.  A robe may cause it to break.

Keep an eye on the straw in the garden.  If the newspaper starts to show through, add another layer.  The birds are having a blast stealing pieces to build their nests with.  I don't mind sharing with the condition that they stay away from the vegetables.

This has been the biggest tomato plant ever.  Perhaps it's because I opted not to place a cage around it. The photo shows another support stick, but at present time there are three sticks supporting its branches.  Lots of tomatoes! 

My favorite part of the garden is the recycled pallets.  The leafy vegetables are doing well in them.  Snipping off what I want and more comes in right away.

The collard greens have their own section in the garden.  Adding the strip of straw down the center has proven successful.  No weeds anywhere!  And it makes a nice walkway in between the plants.

Have you ever harvested green peppers?  It's super easy.  Click here for the details.

I captured this photo a couple of days ago and shared it on my Instagram account.  They smell as good as they look. 

So, I ask you.  What's in your garden?

Until the next word...


Friday, July 18, 2014

Outdoor Music Festival Essentials

Coachella kicked off the start of the outdoor music festival season back in April.  Live music festivals are everywhere and in full swing as summer flies by us.  You wait patiently for the day to arrive weather it be at a local venue or it involves a road trip.  Either way you are completely stoked for the day to come.  The last thing you want to worry about is getting soaking wet from the rain or having the drunk girl ahead of you spill her 13th beer all over.  Yes, they both happened to me.

So, from past experiences, I've come up with a few essentials you should pack in your shoulder bag. 

The three most important things being a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and a rain poncho. Portable restrooms have improved greatly over the years, but you may get one that doesn't offer a working sanitizer dispenser.  Don't forget some bug spray.

I always pack two sharpies, black and silver.  If you get in on a meet n' greet, it's nice to have a marker handy.  Taking along something for the band to sign?  Place it in a zip-lock for save keeping.  You know, from the rain and/or flying beers.

Do you have any other tips?  Please share in the comment section below. 

Until the next word...


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gardening Tips & Ideas: Part 1 of 2

This year we planted the garden on Memorial Day.  Why so late you ask?  First, it was the only day my boyfriend (Adam) and I had off together.  And second, it was the first day of the season that Mother Nature decided to give us nice weather.  

Adam did a lot of research into different techniques that could be used in the garden.  He usually tills the garden by hand with only a shovel.  Last year we borrowed my Uncle's rotary tiller.  This year we chose not to do either.  Keep reading.

We spent Memorial Day weekend pulling out all the weeds that have accumulated since last year's garden.

Now it was time for a quick road trip.  I won a contest ($50. gift card to Home Depot) that was hosted by LA's How2Girl, in which I was to submit my favorite DIY projects for the garden. A couple weeks later, my prize was in the mailbox.  They don't have a location here in town, so the closest one is in Cedar Rapids. Well worth the trip.

Everything on our list was on sale.  Perennials for $2.50, vegetable starter plants for $3.33, seed packets for $1.50.  We always do a mix of starter plants and seeds for our garden.

We filled up two carts, loaded the truck, and headed home to get started.

First we positioned the plants in the garden.  Then brought in two pallets.  I had seen several ideas on Pinterest and wanted to try it myself.  I hate weeds and refuse to use chemicals in the garden, so this was one way to control them.  Refer to this article when looking for pallets to use.

Using the leftover fabric landscaping from last year, we cut enough to cover the bottom of the pallet to secure the dirt inside. Leave extra fabric along the edges to staple up the sides.  

Depending on the construction of the pallet you may use less fabric to secure the sides. 

Using a staple gun, Adam secured the fabric to the pallet.

We put the starter plants in first, mixing the dirt with some miracle grow.

All of our leafy vegetables are planted as seeds.

Funny story.  We recycled a dog kennel that my neighbor gifted us to keep the dogs out of the kennel.  It works!  They enjoyed watching from the other side.

I filled the pallets with dirt and then planted one with leafy vegetables and the other with herbs.

The cilantro and basil were starters.  In between we planted garlic chives and green onions (seeds).

Using a sharpie I marked what was in each row.

Next, using a Rubbermaid tub filled halfway with water, we dipped the newspaper in, enough to dampen it, and then placed it all around the plants.  Skip the sale ads, that paper is to glossy.  Instead of cutting holes in the paper it was easier to just rotate the paper around the plants.  Your goal is cover all of the exposed dirt.  Read more here about newspaper weed control.  We did three layers of paper.

After the newspaper was in place we added a layer of straw.  And last watered the entire garden.  That's it! The garden is in.  

I'll be posting part two of this post to show how everything is turning out.  Including a couple more tips to help you out.

Until the next word...



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