Acorns!

Aug. 23rd, 2009 05:27 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Fairy - Hazelnut)
Well, our community garden at Epic isn't doing so well. Okay, so the lettuce is doing GREAT, but I seem to have killed most of the squash (I couldn't bring myself to just cull, I tried to transplant, which seems to have caused them to all die). And I love squash and am not a huge fan of lettuce, so this makes me sad. The tomatoes that we planted are still scrawny, but some of the volunteer tomatoes look like they might manage to bare fruit before winter. We'll see. I want my own land to plant a garden on, where I can do starts and stuff, and have it just be there instead of a few miles away so that I see it everyday and can improve the soil year over year. And plant perennials. :-(

Anyhow, what there was truly a lot of when we were there today was acorns. Lots and lots of acorns from the giant oak trees towering over our plot. We gathered about 2 lbs and brought them home, on account of I'm pretty sure I've heard of people eating acorns before and not dying (actually, of people eating acorns as a normal part of their diet). Well, it seems they were actually a major staple of many Native American diets, and thanks to the internet, I have information about how to treat them such that they should be yummy. Unfortunately, it's not exactly going to be a fast process, I don't think, since first we will have to shell them and then we will have to soak the bitter tannins out. But it sounds cool. And they are supposed to be healthy and yummy. Plus cheap, local, organic, and independent of the man.

I love Wikipedia. I love Google. And I love Mother Nature.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Last night Josh and I made Chili Spaghetti (Cincinnati Chili over spaghetti with cheese on top), only we substituted spaghetti squash for the spaghetti. We first saw this substitution of squash for pasta at Chris and Newt's house a few years ago, and I must say neither of us were too keen on the idea at the time. However, Josh and I both really like Chili Spaghetti, but it bothers me that we've never been able to come up with a vegetable that seems to complement it properly.

Well, now we have. Chili over spaghetti squash is certainly different, but quite yummy (possibly yummier, but that's a matter of opinion) and probably a pretty big improvement on the health of the meal.

Yay squash! And on that note, I've signed up for a community garden plot at Epic (though I wont necessarily get one, they are concerned they may have too many applicants and assign by lottery... though I'm trying to figure out how with the bagillion acers Epic owns they can't just make more plots, hopefully they will figure that out). I'm rather excited about the prospect of a garden plot at work. I will be able to go visit it over lunch. I've also been looking at seeds and picked out a dozen or so squash I want to plant (not even counting spaghetti squash). I don't think I'm actually going to plant that many, but it's really tempting because squash is so yummy! And seed savers has seeds available for kinds of squash I've never seen, let alone tasted yet. Mmmm squash...

Compost

Mar. 26th, 2008 05:36 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Photo - Watkin's Glen)
The are precious few signs of worms or compost in my compost... but if I don't miss my guess, the 4 little green things poking their heads up out of it are volunteer butternut squash plants.

Score!
sillygoosegirl: (Fairy - Convolvulus)
Something has happened that I never really expected to have happen once we were married. It seems we are going to be sharing our home with another couple. Fortunately, I don't think they are going to take up much space. That's right, Mr. and Mrs. House Finch are building a nest on our balcony!

It appears they've been continuing to munch on my pea plants, but that's okay... a bunch more sprouted and I have enough to share now.

I don't know if I ever posted a picture of it, but for Christmas I made this nifty light ball out of a string of lights and a bunch of clear plastic cups. It was out being decorative on our balcony, but I never took it down because I don't have a place to store it inside! Well, now the finches are making a nest in one of the cups! How cool is that? I am just tickled. We should put up a bird feeder!
sillygoosegirl: (Default)

The day before yesterday, my garden was visited by a lovely pair of doves.  They were so sweet, walking about on my planters.  It didn't really bother me, since I figured that there weren't any seeds out there I anticipated growing anyhow.  I saw them again Friday morning, got some photos, and said to myself and Josh, "Aw, how cute.  We should get a bird feeder."  Then, of course, Friday night I realized that I did have some new seedlings out there, so I regretted a little bit not chasing the doves away.  Well, anyhow, this morning, I go out to look at my plants and I notice that someone has eaten all the leaves off of one of my poor little baby pea plants!  I thought of the doves and cursed them.  Then I went back inside.  A little later, a cute little bird with a red head came to visit my garden, followed shortly by his lady friend (another little bird that looked just the same except for being plain).  You know, I'm used to seeing doves coming and going in pairs, they are such romantic birds... but I don't normally see it in other birds (Guess maybe other birds I normally see don't do it?  Or maybe there are so many of them I don't notice that they come and go in pairs).  Birds that come and go in pairs always make me smile... as silly as that is... or maybe not silly, I smile when I see human couples out together too.  I guess we don't call them "love birds" for nothing.  But anyhow, I watched them to see what they would do.  They flew up to the light fixture at first, and made me wonder if they were crazy enough to be thinking of building a nest there.  Then, they flew to the planter of peas.  And started pecking at them!  At that point I started moving fast and scared them away.  They flew to the tree right outside our apartment.  Josh came in and I pointed them out to him.  Then I went outside and informed them that they are not allowed to eat my pea plants, but I'd be happy to get them bird seed.  I don't know if they understood.  I think perhaps I should buy some chicken wire or something to make cages around my peas (and anything else that ends up showing signs of being nibbled on), at least until they get more mature (the peas that is--I think the birds are as mature as they are going to get).  I still do kind of want to get a bird feeder too, but I'm not sure that's a good idea as a way to keep the birds from eating my plants.  As Josh pointed out, I might just attract enough birds that they can't all eat at the feeder at once and some of them will decide to have some salid while they are waiting... that putting out a feeder for the birds might be about as effective as leaving out a bag of sugar to keep the ants away. 

Edit: Mr. and Mrs. House Finch were back after we went to the grocery store. Apparently they wont be easily deterred. Especially since I don't really want to deter them, I just want them to stop eating my seedlings.

sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Well, it seems I spoke too soon the other day. The weather has gotten lovely and my plants are starting to grow! Since I bet you don't all care as much as I do )

And completely unrelated to my garden... Josh has an interview scheduled for Wednesday! Yay!
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I took a few extra minutes this morning before work to look over my garden. There seems to be some mold growing on some of the soil, and it bothers me. I have 3 pasta bowls, 3 yogurt containers, and 1 milk jug bottom all growing plants inside. I've noticed mold growing on the soil in at least 2 of the yogurt containers, and I think maybe the milk jug too (not sure it was mold). I need to figure out what is causing this and what to do about it. I don't think I'm over watering. I worry it might be something from the yogurt.

At any rate though, I have 5 super healthy looking zucchini plants all growing in one pasta bowl. I think I'm going to need to transplant them soon--sooner than I think I can realistically put them outside. I was only aiming for 3 zucchini, and I don't know how much longer 5 of them can be healthy in one bowl. And in the mean time, though I've planted a couple more cucumbers, I still have only the one plant that has come up. I was aiming for more like 5-6 cucumber plants! Sigh. I also counted (I think) 8 pea plants coming up outside. Additionally, something else is coming up next to the peas. I planted Oregano there, and I don't think Oregano is supposed to be able to handle the cold. So I'm guessing that what I'm actually getting are a bunch of volunteer* chamomile... it looks kind of like chamomile I guess. Unfortunately I didn't want chamomile this year. My parsley and green onions should be up by now outdoors, as they should be able to handle the cold, but I've seen no sign of them... perhaps due to a lack of water. I was kind of lazy about that after the frost.

Also, I've planted two rounds of tomatoes so far, and I have yet to see any sign of a tomato plant. I'll give it another go, but I think I may end up needing to buy some started plants from the nursery. :-(

Anyhow, I think I'm due for another round of planting this weekend. So far, I think this year's garden is having a lot more disappointments than last summers. But I suppose on the other hand I'm starting a lot earlier... so maybe I should count my few successes as bonuses... since it's still earlier in the year than I started last year.

* For those who don't know, an annual that comes up on it's own the following year without being planted by the gardener (ie from seeds dropped by last year's plants) is called a "volunteer"... I think all gardeners call them that, but I know my mom does, and I do. I thought I'd share that because Josh gets a kick out of the name.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I let the balcony get pretty overgrown last summer. I had 7 long planters, 3 of which I put on hangers over the edge of the railing. The other 4 long planters were along the ground. Additionally, I wasn't real smart about where I planted things. Oh yes, I was thoughtful... I thought things planted below would climb up the rails... or that the cucumbers and zucchinis would want to rest their fruits on the ground. I thought wrong. The cucumbers and zucchinis wanted to climb down to visit the lady down stairs who hates water. If the peas had not died, I bet they would have done the same. If the tomato had gotten big enough, I bet it would also have done the same. And of course there was the disaster of the corn.

Anyway, at the end of last summer, the balcony was overgrown with mostly with cucumber vines and corn stalks. There was dirt here and there... leaves... chunks of clay tile from a project Josh did... sticks I tried to get the peas to climb... and so forth. It was a mess. I didn't want to even go out there. At all. Ever.

Today, I cleaned it up.

I moved the existing hangers on the railing and added two new ones. I moved 6 of the long planters up onto the rail. I gathered all the organic materials to compost. I threw away the trash. I swept and then vacuumed then scrubbed the cement floor. I washed the rail. And at the end of the day, Josh and I ate dinner out there. I hope to keep it nice and clean this summer, mostly by having the plants on the railing. I will still have 2 long planters and a circular planter down below (and a strawberry pot if I buy one... they aren't too expensive at the nursery), but that's a far cry less than I had last year, particularly since none of the planters will have corn in them this year, and one of the planters I will put below is smaller than the ones I had down their last year. I hope that we will be able to eat dinner outside throughout the summer, and maybe get a small gas grill so we can do some cooking outside and avoid heating up the apartment so much (mmm... summer kitchen).

Also today, I went to Home Depot (one of the new hangers I bought was defective and needed to be exchanged), and Josh and I walked to the nursery across Rand Road for some window shopping. Josh was pretty silly about it. When I asked him to come to the nursery with me, he asked me if I wanted to buy a baby. I told him that I just wanted to window shop for one.

The rest of our apartment is still quite a wreck, but maybe we'll get it cleaned up sometime soon too.

Edit: Oh, and I should say why I cleaned the balcony... because the reasons implied above are actually inaccurite... those are the reasons for which I've been telling myself for the last 6 months to clean the balcony... and they didn't convince me to do it. I cleaned the balcony because I thought I was going to work on the bookcase (remember at Christmas time we were building a bookcase) out there to avoid getting saw dust in the apartment. I've been waiting for it to be warm enough outside on a day I had off to finish up all the drilling and whatnot. Yesterday was the day. But the balcony was a mess, so I had to clean it up first. By the time I got done cleaning it up, the day was almost over and I was tired. Yeah, it will get sawdusty out there when I do the drilling on the bookcase, but that should clean up pretty easy since I'll be starting with a clean area where I can just run the vacuum about without running into things. I might even try to work on it one evening this week. It's Monday now and I got to work early, so I'll be home by 5-ish... so I'll get a decently long evening... sunset isn't until 7:34 tonight and it's supposed to be 50-ish out this evening.

Compost

Apr. 1st, 2007 11:19 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
A decision about compost has been made. It should not put me in any danger of eviction or divorce. The first bag is in the freezer already. We'll see how it goes.

http://www.dfwnetmall.com/earth/compost-condo-apartment.htm
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I planted my zucchini and cucumber today. I decided to start them inside because they said things like "late spring" and "May" on them. But I don't want to run into the situation I had last year where I had hardly started getting produce from them when we started getting winter frosts.

Then I checked the weather. We're supposed to have another freeze this week. It's supposed to snow on Wednesday. And here I am planning to ride my bike to work, rain or shine, sleet or snow... I thought I was going to have a few months to get used to biking before I had to deal with the latter! It's almost Easter for crying out loud! Then I checked my journal entries about my garden last year (I should use the tags feature more, it's nice for stuff like that), and you know what? I didn't plant my garden until late April last year! And as I recall, I planted it right before the last frost too. Sigh. At least my peas, parsley, and green onions should be okay... they all say to sow seeds directly outdoors as soon as the soil is workable. As for the basil, oregano, and dill we planted last night, I guess maybe I should start more inside in case they don't make it, as I do have more seeds in all the envelopes.

All this time I'd been thinking I was getting off to a really late start with all this gardening stuff. I've been talking to my mother and sister about it a little, and I think they have their gardens planted already. I keep forgetting how much later spring comes in Chicago than it does in the Pacific Northwest. The daffodils are only starting to bloom... that means I should remember that outside it is still only late February, even though it's April inside on my computer.

I've also been reading up on indoor and patio composting. I would really like to be able to compost, for so many reasons (well, mainly spiritual/environmental and plant-food reasons), but I need to figure out how to do it without putting myself at risk of getting evicted or divorced. That probably means figuring out a way to do it without making a mess or a nasty smell (and the lady down stairs thought she didn't like it when water dripped off my plants). And apparently that is quite possible... from what I'm reading, it seems that with the right mix of ingredients, smell shouldn't actually be a big problem.

Also, I've been reading a bit more on container gardening too. Not surprisingly, a lot of information about indoor/patio composting has links to info on container gardening. And I'm realizing how stupid I was for starting my indoor plans in some of our pasta bowls. Sure, I can do without our pasta bowls for a couple months and wash them when I'm done with them... but they provide no drainage, and obviously I'm not about to drill holes in the bottoms of them. Why on Earth did I choose pasta bowls when I have a box overflowing with plastic and metal containers waiting to go to the recycling center? I think I am out of touch. It's been too long since I've lived with my mother... I've gotten so out of the habit of re-using things for other purposes. Sure, it's been fun to be my own master and just buy a "whatever" that was designed to do the task at hand... and sometimes it's still the best option (I think I will look for a small composter that is on a stand for turning to keep it easily oxygenated), but lots of times there's stuff on hand that I can make work just as well in a pinch... and all I would need to do would be to stop and think.

I need to remember to look at the half-full part of the glass, and that we need to build the republic of heaven where we are. It's useful. And now to go make some draining containers and plant some basil, dill, and oregano.

Oh, yeah, but first, one of the cooler things I found: Grow a pillar of vegetables -- 12 square feet of growing area on only 1.2 sq ft of ground. (Not that I'm going to attempt this one... at least not this year!)
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
From left to right on the balcony I now have planted:
Parsley, Basil (new), Green onions, Oregano, Chives (perennial from last year), and two types of sweet peas (planted a while ago--one variety is coming up already, I fear the other isn't going to). Josh planted seeds from last year's basil and some dill in last year's basil pot. The tomatoes need to be started inside (and kept inside until MAY), so I will try to do that tonight. I plan to get the cucumbers and zucchini planted tomorrow. I think that's it for seeds I have purchased, though there are a few other things I'm thinking of getting.

I've been anxious to get the garden started for a while, but each time I went to do it, I got frightened away by the dead plants from last year that needed to be dealt with first. I finally got over that tonight, and Josh was kind enough to help.

I think the remainder of the agenda tonight, at least when it comes to useful things, would be making more nutella cookies and making fire starters. Plus maybe useful stuff in preparation for backpacking next weekend, and finishing my white linen blouse I've been sewing on.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
It's just lovely out today in Chicago. It got up to 73 degrees (or there abouts), and I wore a tank top home from work. Josh packed us a picnic dinner, I changed into a skirt, and we went to the park to eat.

When we got home, I went out on the balcony and planted sweet peas. We're still expecting at least one more frost this year, but my mom says the peas wont care. Hopefully they will do better this year than last... I got two varieties, so I'm thinking that will improve my odds. So anyhow, my garden is officially started for this year!

But I still have to (well, want to) bite the bullet and fork over some cash (I'm thinking $50+) to get the rest of the supplies I want for this year. Normally that wouldn't be much money to me... but now that it's becoming clear that Josh isn't going to get a job within 1-2 months of finishing his masters degree like we'd hoped, we're wanting to tighten our belts and cut at least $200/month out of the budget. But that's no fun to think about, and I think we're going to take it out of something other than the garden category, so back to what I want to do...

I've determined that virtually everything I want to plant is going to do better hung on the railing than below... so that I can let them grow down the balcony rails rather than trying to get them to climb up. Also, this means that hopefully we will have more usable space on the balcony and will still be able to have dinner out there even with all the plants and whatnot. So I want 6 more attachments for hanging long planters, and one more planter of the short variety, so I can make maximal use of the balcony... running 8 hanging boxes (6 long and 2 short) all the way across, and then one long one hanging on the inside of the balcony at each end. And then I want to buy and install 14 feet of gutter to hang below the boxes to catch all the drips and carry them away so I can be a good neighbor and not drip on the flowers of the woman who lives down stairs. Plus, I need a few more seeds. Also, if anyone knows where I can get a ceramic (or is that terracotta?) strawberry pot on the cheap, please do let me know...
sillygoosegirl: (Default)

I'm so annoyed at my downstairs neighbor right now.  I was just outside watering my garden and a little bit of perfectly clean clear water splashed off the leaves of my plants and fell down one story to her flowers.  And she yells up at me, "Oh my God!!  My flowers!!!  My flowers!!!  You're dripping on my flowers!!!"  It's clean fucking water for crying out loud!!  What is your problem?!  What on Earth do you do when it rains?!

Ugh.  There are many things I love about apartment living, but this isn't one of them.  

Oh well.  I guess I'll just go back to my "watering after dark" routine.  It doesn't seem to cause a problem when it is out of sight, out of mind.

sillygoosegirl: (Default)
There comes a time when gardening stops being like pretending to have a baby or a pet...

...and gets even better )
sillygoosegirl: (Fairy - Lords and Ladies Autumn)
Q-tips are sex toys... if you are a flower.

Garden porn... don't worry, it should be safe for work :-) )

Pictures!

Jun. 5th, 2006 07:09 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Pictures from our camping trip at Rock Island (unfortunately only from our day hike, none of the camp site, silly me): http://www.pbase.com/sillygoosegirl/rockisland

Two pictures of my garden with labels to tell you what the plants are! Well, I'm excited... )

Weekend

Jun. 5th, 2006 08:31 am
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I had a pretty good weekend. On Saturday, we cleaned up the kitchen for the first time since our camping trip over Memorial Day Weekend, so as you can imagine, it was in pretty desperate need of it. We also did some more unpacking of the camping gear, since upon getting home we only unpacked those things which we thought might be wet and need to be aired out... and aired them out rather than putting them away. My mom asked me to take a look at how to do those cool Java menus on a webpage for her, so I also spent some time on that this weekend. Also, we did our end-of-month (beginning-of-month?) update to financial records... May was a seriously expensive month for us.

Then we went down to Hyde Park for bridge, Thai food, and Contra Dancing. My new dance shoes (jazz shoes) are working out pretty well. My feet still hurt at the end of the evening, but I'm not doing the kind of damage that causes them to hurt the next day and the following week anymore... so that's good. Also, we brought some zucchini and cucumber plants down to Hyde Park since we have far too many. Saturday morning I counted 8 zucchini plants, when probably 3 zucchini plants will produce enough zucchini for 2 people to have zucchini every night. I pulled out 5 plants to bring too Hyde Park, and discovered I still had 9 plants left... since I'd had more than I realized in the first place! And we don't even have very many zucchini compared with how many cucumber plants we have...

On Sunday we did some serious apartment cleanup. We ended up doing 4 loads of laundry, cleaned up and vacuumed the bedroom, finished putting away the camping gear, and did a decent amount of clean up in the living room (though we didn't quite get to vacuuming out there). I also took care of a number of small sewing projects, such as making some alterations to our backpacking backpacks that we discovered we wanted during our trip... though I have several more camping-related sewing projects still on my plate and awaiting supplies: an sheet-bag to go in our sleeping bags, compression sacks for our sleeping bags, and better modular waste-pack day packs for both of us. We also went down to down town Des Plaines for the "Taste of Des Plaines" and got to see lots of art, and listen to local music, and so forth. For dinner we made Indian--the Josh's chicken tikki masala turned out excellent as always, but my palak paneer was pretty disappointing. The nan from Shop & Save was okay, but I make better nan... we knew that before, but decided to make Indian too late in the day to make nan.

On Friday night we watched Kenneth Brannagh's Frankenstein, which I found to be very true to the book in such ways as having horrible dialog, but I did not like the creative license he took in resculpting the ending. But I do still think Kenneth Brannagh is pretty cool for a man with no lips. After that, we stayed up until 1am talking... we should do that more often (though only on the weekends).

So it was a nicely busy weekend. And now, back on my head.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
This is probably one of the most unbalanced dinners we've had in a long time, and probably also one of the healthiest, oddly enough.

Cucumber
Zucchini
Asparagus
Corn on the cob

We decided this meal didn't really need a salad...

My garden is only starting to grow, but if prices are any indication, a whole bunch of my favorite veggies just came into season somewhere. Not that corn is, strictly speaking, a vegetable...
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Well, it's been a crappy-ass week at work, but there was good excitement when I got home and checked on my garden (as I haven't had time to do in a while--thank goodness it rained!). And my corn is coming up! And my basil is coming up! And my onions are coming up! And my chamomile is coming up in a BIG way! And my flowers are coming up! And my beats are coming up! And my chives are coming up!

YAY!!!! It looks like a garden now!!!! (Well, if you look closely...)

Still waiting on seeing any peeps from my cucumbers and zucchinis. Also waiting on the lemon grass and sweet peas, but I planted those later...

Edit: Actually, the lemon grass is coming up too! What a surprise!! Yay!!

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