Urban Gardening – Pots + Plot

The Boy and I had an AWESOME long weekend.  One of the big plusses of this summer – no weddings.  Don’t get me wrong. I love a good wedding.  I have happily attended all of the weddings we’ve been invited to.  We’ve gone to events, and strongly support the “what goes around comes around” mantra (in life and in weddings).  When it was our turn – we appreciated each and every person who took the time out of their weekend to come and celebrate with us. But I think we can all agree – when almost every weekend of your summer is scheduled by either a friend’s wedding or wedding related event – it gets a bit much.  That was our summer last summer… we have been rewarded with no weddings this summer. What goes around comes around.  I’m a bit disappointed – I do love a good wedding, but mostly it’s just awesome to get to live by our own schedule.

And that brings us to the first long weekend and the official kick off of summer – Victoria Day.  She was a beauty. We golfed, we golfed again, we had dinner with the siblings, and we planted our garden.

That's some nice dirt.

This year we’ve got not only 9 pots, but a plot that we lovingly plowed and tilled. We’ve added A LOT of dirt and manure to try and turn our concrete rocky patch to a high yield local urban farm.

The ability to grow on land instead of a pot gives us a couple of bonus – mostly in terms of squash. Squash and melons grow along the ground.  A few years ago the Boy and I learned – they don’t grow so well in a pot.  Fingers crossed.

So what do we have?

16 pepper plants

8 broccoli

4 eggplant

4 red cabbage

a row of carrots (from seed)

1 fairytale pumpkin

1 sugar baby watermelon

Green and Yellow Zucchini  (seed)

6 tomatoes – 3 varieties – 2 in pots, 4 in ground

green beans (seed)

garlic (seed)

potatoes (seed – in ground and I think we’ll use the potato bag as well)

onions (seed)

basil x 2 varieties

parsley

corriander

thyme

oregano

rosemary

chives

We looked for butternut squash or acorn squash but couldn’t find either… next year.  We also had the BRILLIANT idea that we should plant beets – because they’re so delicious.  That thought was about 2 hours too late…  Next year.

Our plot is about 15’x 10′ according to the Boy.  According to me – 12’x8’…. but who’s counting.  We have a couple of new challenges with in ground planting.

  1. We have 3 Walnut trees that are behind our garden.  This is mildly concerning since a lot of plants won’t grow near a Walnut tree.
  2. We have 3 Walnut trees and a bunch of other trees around our garden.  One word – shade. Versus four words – Vegetables like full sun.
  3. Our backyard is North facing.
  4. We have animals.  While Gordon is on a leash when she’s in the back, the neighbours dog and the neighbourhood foxes, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels are not.
  5. Rain. Yesterday it POURED.  Turns out the drainage of our little plot – not the greatest.

In regards to all of these concerns we say – meh.  Our urban farming philosophy has always been, if it works, it works; if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

The Boy is blissfully optimistic.  Optimistic but was out in the rain last night trying to improve the drainage.

If it works, we’ll have enough veggies for the entire neighbourhood. All at once.

Hopefully the Boy is right – but I’m also hoping our best harvest isn’t left to the neighbourhood animals when we’re away in the summer.

Fingers crossed.

marigolds are good tomato partners

What are you growing this year?

30 While I’m 30 – Update

Less than a month to go to the big birthday.  And since I’m such a terrible blogger and haven’t been updating as I’ve gone – I thought I’d do a little halfway update. SPOILER ALERT – I’m not halfway through the list.

Shocking I know.

Here we go:

  1. Take Gordon for 30 walks – we’re making progress, but seriously Mother Nature, could you give up on winter and bring me some nice spring days. Puppy needs some walks!
  2. 1 week moratorium on Starbucks I made it more than 1 week, 10 days in fact… but then I had training.  And turning 1 week into 3 all went to hell.
  3. 2 week moratorium on Starbucks
  4. Finish the ottoman DEFINITELY a post to come about this experience.  M&D Enterprises we’re going into business.
  5. Make a jewelry solution – I have the solution… I have not made it.
  6. Unpack my backpack (the last “real” box from our move) – the backpack is full of jewelry… see #5.
  7. Organize purses/purge for easier rotation – halfway – I have purged.
  8. Build a desk
  9. Clean/organize office
  10. Take wedding dress to be cleaned
  11. Update resume
  12. Take a long walk on the Tom Taylor Trail with my camera
  13. Organize photos on new computer
  14. Frame canvases from Sista I’m picking them up from the framer today – I’ll post a picture when we hang them this weekend. They definitely deserve their own post.
  15. Decorate bathroom
  16. Go to a spin class
  17. Set up a regular RRSP contribution plan – I’m pretty sure this makes me an adult.
  18. Have Kristyn, John and Logan for dinner – or bring dinner to them – We split dinner and had it at Kristyn and John’s so that little Logan could go to bed.  Turns out he’s not interested in missing the party no matter where he is – so everyone had a great night! 🙂
  19. Organize knitting patterns
  20. Finish Tanis sweater
  21. Finish cowl
  22. Finish baby girl sweater
  23. Stencil bedroom
  24. Clean hall closet
  25. Surprise The Boy with a present – Apple TV – although The Boy still thinks that we need cable… argh.
  26. Clean and shelf paper linen closet
  27. Vacuum and clean both cars
  28. Plan a front garden
  29. Get kitchen table and chairs – We’re halfway there.  We got a pedestal round kitchen table with a 24″ leaf for $100 at the ReStore – SCORE!
  30. Make cupcakes – just because. Made Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter frosting for dinner with Kristyn and John.  We had leftovers and the Boy may have eaten 3 in one day.  When I told him that was slightly gross he said “aren’t they healthy cupcakes?! Usually when you make a dessert it’s got something good for you in it.”  I suppose the peanut butter frosting made with natural peanut butter could be good for you, but the 1/2 lb of icing sugar probably negates that.

Mmm Peanut Butter Cupcakes 

Lookin’ good – but I’ve definitely got some work to do this month.

A Lollapalooza

English: The 2nd generation Apple TV ‪中文(繁體)â€...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can officially check something off my 30 While I’m 30 list.

This weekend I got the Boy a Lollapalooza.  While a recent trip to dictionary.com has informed me that Lollapalooza refers to something extraordinary or unusual, a person, thing or event or an exceptional example or instance – in my family a lollapalooza refers to a little present, that someone has bought for you for no particular reason.

A couple days after making my list, I brought the Boy home a peanut butter cookie from Starbucks. I told him I got him a present and gave him the cookie and his response was “this doesn’t count as my present.”  I told him he couldn’t continue to accept presents and deny they were presents just to get a bigger or better present out of me.  He said he wouldn’t – but a cookie is not a present. As it turns out, the new peanut butter cookie at Starbucks is AMAZING! Not as sweet as the other cookies – and really chewy… it was totally worthy of the present category. But since I ate part of it, I had to agree – I couldn’t quite cross the present off my list.

But this weekend, I got the Boy a little somethin’ somethin’ and he agreed – it could count as a present.

Apple TV.

We’ve been talking for a while about getting rid of our cable.  Honestly, I would be happy if we could at least get down to basic cable.  Sports is really the only reason we have as many channels as we do.  But since basically everything is streamed online somewhere, I see paying for cable as more and more of a scam everyday.

With Apple TV we can now stream from our computer, or iPad directly to Stevie – the TV.

Since we recently got a new computer (yeah!) we now have the ability to download movies and tv shows – and Apple TV let’s us stream them wirelessly to Stevie instead of physically attaching our computer to Stevie.

And why was getting the Boy a present on my list in the first place? Two reasons, when we did our marriage prep class, I learned that the Boy’s love language is receiving a gift.  So – I’m honouring the love language lesson and letting the Boy know that I love him.  Aww…

Before you go thinking I’m a total Sappy McSapperson – my second reason was to encourage the Boy to in turn find me a lollapalooza.

Lead by example.

So now we are officially Apple TVers.  This week we need to try and watch any sports deemed necessary by the Boy through Apple TV and then I can ditch cable.  Woot!

No commercials and no $70 monthly bill?  Yes please.

Chillin’ with the Family on Family Day

The American’s have President’s day and for Canadians living in Ontario or Alberta – we’ve got Family Day.  A long weekend in February, quite possibly the most brilliant idea ever. I love a long weekend that doesn’t have an event involved in it.

The Boy and I had a pretty low-key Family Day weekend, but we did hang out with the family and we did have some productivity.

The Boy,  the Brother and I headed to Lowes on Saturday afternoon to embark on a family adventure that could end in disaster or the start of a new family business.  The business of ottoman making.

Getting all the pieces - I heart Lowes

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I shared this picture

are we handy enough?

And I thought DIYing would either result in a BEAUTIFUL custom made piece of furniture and a great sense of accomplishment, or shenanigans.

I’m happy to report that we are halfway there. We have a great sense of accomplishment – but it’s not quite beautiful yet.

some handy work of handymen

If you’re in need of a storage ottoman – I know two boys that can help you out.  But I can also tell you that from our first DIY experience – DIY doesn’t always mean cheaper.  We’re at about 25% of the cost of the one we were looking at at Urban Barn – but we haven’t bought batting or fabric yet.  I hear fabric can be expensive.

Plus – labour is expensive.

These boys aren’t cheap.

fabric me

The rest of the weekend included a family dinner, a family knitting bee, a family effort to clean our dirty house, and a family walk.  Different family members for each of these events, but in the cold and snow of February, I’d rather spend a long weekend with the family than the President!

Before and After

The Boy and I just enjoyed a full 2 weeks off of work for the holidays.  It was much needed and completely glorious.  We spent time with family and friends, between Christmas and New Years, but the bulk of our second week was spent turning our house into a beautiful after from a very blank, very white before.

We had some help, my mom’s interior designer came over and helped us pick colours.  Some people might love working from a completely blank slate, but I found it really overwhelming and was very grateful for the help – and the ability to choose from bigger swatches than just the 2×2 inches you get at the paint store.

When we bought our house, all the walls were builders white. Personally, I don’t know how the people we bought from lived with builders white for a 5 years.  It was driving me crazy! It might be because it was the crappiest paint job I have ever seen. I might have been able to live with a decent looking builders white for a while, but really – for me the starting point is paint on the walls.  I’ve lived with white walls before, many of my apartments were white walls, but for some reason, likely because it’s our house (and did I mention the crappy quality and dinginess?), I couldn’t do it. It didn’t feel like we should bother hanging many pictures or find a rug, or even organize our small book shelf before we put a some colour on the walls.

Before CollageSo over the last week we did just that.

Day 1 – ceilings.

Day 2 – living room – October Mist

Day 3 – kitchen – Windham Cream; small bathroom – Wheat Penny

Day 4 – entrance and up the stairs – Raintree Green; upstairs ceiling.

Day 5 – trim

Day 6 – new IKEA wall unit –  installation and filling/decorating

Day 7 – just as God did when creating the world – we rested.

In between we had a small break for New Years Eve and we (and by we I obviously mean the Boy – I showed up for unpacking) moved the Brother.

My God, we are tired.

In Progress CollageBut it was totally worth it.

Now we’re decorating, choosing a rug, looking for pictures and it generally just feels so much warmer and more homey.

Seriously love it.

A sneak peek at the after - some better ones to come.

A sneak peek at the after – some better ones to come.

What was your first project in your house?