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Dec. 26th, 2009

it is snowing SO hard! I drove around in it today for awhile, shopping, but I didn't buy anything and then I just came home. When I got there, our covered porch was coated in snow, drifting up from the sidewalk a couple of inches deep. yikes, winter in indiana is here, and I'm never ready for it.

my car is, though.


I am SO anxious to set down some roots
but every time we settle in to a place,
we decide to leave.

our roommates this time around are lazy, self-absorbed teenagers
the living situation is getting worse by the day
10 more months of this may kill us
so we're already looking for a new place.

when will I get to plant some fucking asparagus?

abandonment issues

Midway through May my partner and I decided to sign a lease on a different apartment. I became extremely discouraged with yardwork due to the fact that I wouldn't be around very much longer to enjoy it.. and so I basically stopped working on it. We moved in July to a new house with a HUGE backyard (the footprint of the house is about the same as the surrounding yard). The backyard has a privacy fence and a small dog kennel sectioned off inside of it. We also have a one-car garage which my partner intends to use as a studio/workspace.

As disappointed as I was to leave our first home together, it was definitely worth the move (if only for the yard)! I didn't manage to get any photos of the "final" product before we left, but one of my coworkers actually signed a lease there and I will be able to continue poking around in that mudhole if I ever get the urge. It will be interesting to see next spring if the work paid off, or if everything just sinks!

The new house has a shade garden that runs the entire north side of the house. It has been planted lovingly with beautiful lillies, big-leaf hostas, and some obnoxious vinca vine. Once fall rolls around I intend to thin out the bed a little bit, splitting some of the hostas and moving some plants to the shady area of the backyard which looks a bit bare. I want to run a path through that bed with stepping stones, birdbaths, and raised stone planters, as it just looks like a big green jungle right now with no structure.
the backyard just looks like a lawn... except for the small herb garden I built right outside of the kitchen window. I put that in probably on the third or fourth day we lived here! I couldn't wait to have fresh herbs, just a few steps away from my stove. Delish. It has two types of basil, thyme, rosemary, catnip, savory, cilantro, pineapple mint, and salvia for interest. We also have some pretty spindly looking tomatoes out there, and dwarf eggplants. Edible nonetheless!!

photos soon.

Apr. 11th, 2009

the weather is always nicest when i have to work!!

I've collected enough rocks to go all along the edge of the east-facing flower bed. I think I'm going to collect just a few more to go around the north side.
Next week I'm going to make stepping stones!
And plant seeds!

Frost-free date is April 15 (: (: (:

I should probably get going on my veggie boxes. I tried to clear out the area I intend to use but the ground is so steeply sloped and there is already so much weedy vegetation there that I worry. I need a lot of help leveling the ground there if I want to build a box.
my partner is always nowhere to be found when I finally have time to work outside :P

pricker 911

while collecting rocks & picking up trash today, I walked straight through a pricker bush without noticing... my wool coat was covered with the little buggers - and I do mean LITTLE. I've never seen burrs this small - smaller than burdock. I tried a fine-toothed comb and also duct tape, but what worked the best was a disposable razor (the more blades, the better). Also, I noticed they stick really well to wool so if I had had a spare piece of wool, I might have tried to rub that across the burrs to remove them.

Miraculously, none attached to my jeans, my new sweater, or my dreadlocks.

Some dude on craigslist is dropping off a tractor tire for me next week.


plant identification help (:

What kind of plant could this be?
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thoughts are welcome!

also, I took photos of my garden inbetween rain sprinklings today.
I made another album, and it is especially fun to compare with the album from last month. looks so much better!

flower beds

I have been collecting rocks from a vacant lot next to the cafe where my partner works. there's a sign out by the highway advertising the lot for sale - today it was covered up with a tarp. must have been sold. I feel like I should hurry up and collect all of the rocks before they pave over it and they're lost forever!

I use the rocks to edge the front/side flower bed. I also acquired a quantity of logs which I used on the side bed - I hope they rot and grow mushrooms. (: that might take awhile, though, because the tree they were collected from was alive before it was struck by lightning, and these logs are pretty sappy.

My hostas are popping up everywhere (did I really plant that many last year??).  The tulips are budding, too!

As I was mixing compost into the soil for the flower beds I also unearthed some hens-&-chicks I didn't know I had planted! (under the compost pile??) I moved them to happier places in the yard, though I worry because just after I replanted & watered them, the temp dropped down below 30. oh, Indiana.

I have another day off tomorrow, so I'll take photos of my progress. The yard already looks MUCH better, and I'm starting to feel more confident.

I drove up to visit my family again today (I'm in zone 5B, they're 5A) and there's an inch of snow on the ground. My own backyard is flooded right now, and I'd rather have this pond than that accumulation.I don't envy you Chicago folk. If I never again hear the words "lake effect" I'll be a happy camper.

Mar. 29th, 2009


it's snowing.

after weeks of 50-70 degree weather

after I already uncovered what's leftover from last year's garden

pft. we're supposed to accumulate at least an inch. the ground will be too cold for me to work in tomorrow and tuesday, my only days off since my vacation, and there's so much work I must still do.



Illinois Mushrooms

On the way back from my recent road trip we stopped in Cahokia State Park (Cahokia, IL). The visitor's center had a little gift shop where I picked up this excellent text, published 1945:

This gem is apparently one of a series written for the Illinois State Museum. Other epic titles include "Some Plant Galls of Illinois" and "Poison-ivy and Poison-sumac" (both by Glen S. Winterringer, numbers 12 and 13 in the series, respectively).
A couple of illustrations - pardon the lack of a cut-text here, I have recently returned to LJ after a long hiatus and have forgotten how to use it properly..will remove these if requested.

I live in a state that borders on Illinois, so I think many of the fungi I encounter in the wild will probably be included in this volume.

Nothing will grow in certain parts of my yard, but I'm interested in trying to cultivate mushrooms in those areas. I have an exceptionally damp space beneath a tree. Has anyone here attempted to grow your own? Any tips to share? I think I need to go to the library.



My garden is in danger of project abandonment syndrome -

I tried to sit down and block out my square-foot garden, but once I began I realized I would be spending about $40 for packets of organic vegetable seeds to fill the garden - that doesn't count the building supplies, soil & amendments, OR the flower and herb garden seeds.

Should I ditch the idea of growing organic? The expense is menacing, especially for my very first veggie garden, especially because I'm worried they'll all fail.

I only want to grow 15 types of veggies (;
and only about 50 varieties of herbs and medicinal plants.....

Maybe I'll settle on organic tomatoes, lettuces, and peppers (probably what I'll be eating the most of), and then grow everything else conventionally. I feel like I'm caving, but I also am not made of money, and would like the garden to be a penny saver rather than a money pit.

Of course, it is possible that purchasing OG veggie seeds is cheaper than I imagine. I might be able to buy them at wholesale through the store I work at (we order from Seeds of Change), although that's still a possibly-maybe and even then, I don't know that wholesale would really save me a whole ton. I bet it's at least $1.95/packet, and at 65 packets, well, you get the picture.

Here's the list I've DEFINITELY decided to grow. I'll have to select varieties later for those asterisked. Both gardens are 4x4.

Square foot garden #1:
  • Stowell's sweet corn (x4)
  • WITH suyo long cucumbers (x2)
    AND Kentucky wonder beans (x2)
  • Pacman Broccoli (x2)
  • Snow Crown Cauliflower (x2)
  • Four Seasons Lettuce (x2)
  • Simpson Black-seeded lettuce
  • Tom Thumb Lettuce
  • America Spinach
  • Viroflay Spinach
  • Carrot* (x2)
Square foot garden #2:
  • Stowell's sweet corn (x2)
  • WITH snap peas* (x2)
  • Sunflower* (x2)
  • Peppers* (x4)
  • cucumber* (x2)
  • zucchini* (x2)
  • PUMPKINS* (x4)

I also plan to plant earth-tainer tomatoes in the front yard (two plants, but depending on how easy they are to build, maybe four). I want to grow a couple of strawberry hanging baskets and maybe also some sugar plum tomato trellises. These seem like worthwhile front yard crops.

Now I'm getting hungry. And I'm starting to feel a little less overwhelmed.
Tomorrow I plan to pull out the wood I have and take a look at building options. Hopefully I can put the boxes together on Wednesday. I would like to order seeds by Friday.