Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cold Windy Days in February

The sun is shining and it looks beautiful outside, from the inside of course.  Step outside and the 25mph wind helps the 35 degree temperature just bite right through.  It's a great day for hanging out the laundry, as long as it's pinned on tight and you do so with gloves on!  No dryer sheet can compare to the smell of line dried clothes and sheets.  And it's free!  There are so many variables to calculate this, but my guess is our small household saves $50-100 each year.  That equals a few free bottles of gin in our book.
On these winter days we're also dreaming of the garden.  We put up our greenhouse in the fall, but  heavy winds warped it slightly.  We also failed to properly grade the area on which it sits (we placed it strategically right in the middle of the river that flows past the house during heavy rain).  Now the ground is frozen and the door won't open, so that's pretty useful.  We are always learning.
Back to dreaming of the garden and having an abundance of peppers for eating, freezing, canning, and roasting.  Peppers, we have learned, take a LONG time to germinate and grow.  For many years we've ended up buying pepper plants from the nursery because by the time ours are big enough to produce fruit, the season is about over.  Or the one fruit that does grow on the tiny plant is actually larger than the plant and ends up sitting on the ground, pulling the rest of the plant with it.  Well, this year we were determined to get it right, ourselves.  So the first weekend in February we planted our pepper seeds along with some other cool season veggies for early spring.  We usually like to plant according to the moon phases, but in our haste, we ignored that this time.  We'll see how that effects things.  We like to plant with the moon for shits and grins.

Here is a simple explanation on how to plant with the moon.  
Here is another site that is a little more involved.
And here is a link to the Farmers Almanac's take.

trampled wheatgrass
Okay, the seeds are planted.  But there is a problem.  A cold night, fuzzy grey refugee problem.  We have an older house that has gaps here and there.  Some gaps are small, but they don't need to be too big for fuzzy grey refugees, other gaps are huge, as in the back door is open all day.  We'd like a doggy door, but a Newfoundland mix is not much smaller than the original door anyways.  So, these fuzzy grey refugees have found our dixie cup seed pots and our wheatgrass tray.  We woke up on morning to find wheatgrass trampled, soil scattered in odd spots, and little dimples in each cup and in the larger pots holding our citrus trees.  It makes me think about all the other seeds that never sprouted out in the field, and who they may have been feeding.  Luckily we also have a problem maintaining healthy window screens, so we have a lot of extra screen material around the house.  We wrapped those seedling cups up so good, nothing's getting in or out!  Turns out planting seeds in pots rather than straight into the ground has so many benefits.  You can get an early start, and you can easier protect these babies from fuzzy grey monsters or other pests.

seeds are safe

A couple of the seeds have sprouted so we took them out of their safety net, and moved them to a temporary safe spot with plenty of light.  It's been 18 days since the first seeds went in right around 2 weeks since the seed replacements have gone in the soil.  It always feels like it takes forever for those seeds to sprout, but we're looking good.  Pretty much everything should be sprouted by next Friday.  Fingers are crossed!
sprouted seedlings in safe location to get sun


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Challenge: Blog

We enjoy a good challenge.  Since (and prior to) moving to NJ, we've been taking on various challenges on our own.  This blog is a huge challenge itself for many reasons.  Dogs are hungry.  Dog needs to go out.  Dog needs to come in.  Dog needs to go out. Dog drank all the water.  Dog threw up all that water on the carpet.  What do we write about?  Where do we start?  Let's get a workout in now.  Sometimes we're shy, definitely introverted.  But here we are sharing away.  We can figure this out.  We managed to move ourselves and 4 dogs across the country, from 2 houses down to one that is smaller than the previous smaller house.  If we could do that, and not have a house that looks like one you might see on a hoarding tv show, we can do anything.  Unless it involves electricity or perhaps knocking down a wall in the house.  That is for the professionals.
We love gardening!  Gardening is an everyday, all year challenge.  Our back yard will be paradise one day.  One day.  It's getting there.
We love nature!  The garden is included, but so are all the other creatures that you invite or don't invite in.  It also includes mother natures giant garden.
We love a happy, cozy, inviting home.  We do this through furniture, lighting, and liquor.
We love animals!  Making them happy is a fun challenge, that literally bites you in the ass if you don't try hard enough.
We love being healthy!  This includes home grown and cooked meals, dog walks, herbal medicine, exercise, yoga, swimming, surfing, and learning.  Perhaps learning is the reason we like to try to do it all ourselves.  Well, it's that and the satisfaction of saying, "WE did that."
And so, Challenge: Blog is accomplished.  Not finished.  Some challenges are never-ending.  But blog one=done!  Sometimes that first step is the hardest.