Monday, April 07, 2008

Gardening hazards

I needed to break off a branch of the aloe vera plant to rub on the all the cuts I got pulling the weeds around the ... aloe vera plant. It injures and then heals!

There are at least two lizards living in the aloe vera. They eat bugs. This is not a hazard, but a good thing as far as I can tell. They don't mind me, I don't mind them, we co-exist peacefully.

Sunscreen is a good thing. Shoulders are pink, arms are brown, ears red. I have a tan line on my wrists from wearing gardening gloves. Must purchase big floppy sun hat.

My new strength training regimen consists of a shovel. That's the only equipment needed. Well, and some dirt. I never knew what a workout you can get digging - arms, shoulders, legs, butt, I can even feel it in my abs.

When you hear rustling nearby when you turn on the garden hose, step away and watch. Yes, we had a snake in the yard (under the banana tree, where no one goes anyway, and we have frequently seen frogs toads and other things yummy to snakes). As best I can tell, I don't think it's poisonous or otherwise dangerous. It disappeared and hasn't been seen again. Also as far as I can tell, blonde woman with shovel beats snake in most battles.

Not a gardening hazard exactly, but: If you don't want your mom (who is coming for a visit in 11 days, and is terrified of both flying, which she is about to do, and snakes) to know there was a snake in the yard, then don't tell your son as he is dialing her number, "Whatever you do, DON'T tell Grandma there was a snake in the yard!!!" Because the surest way to get a child to do something is to tell them not to, and of course then the first thing he said when she answered the phone was, "Grandma we saw a snake in the yard!!!!" (Which he in fact did not see.)

And finally, who wants to take bets on how many things will actually grow when as soon as I had some seeds planted and done, Turner immediately went over and sat in the garden patch to play in the dirt?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why does my garden grow

There were lots of things that prompted me to consider a garden. I just read Michael Pollan's latest book, In Defense of Food, (which I highly recommend, btw) and one of his tips is to grow a garden - the ultimate in local, seasonal, organic eating.

The increasing food prices have made me think about it too - it's not hurting our budget too much yet, as we don't eat a lot of the foods showing the biggest increases - little meat, we've cut back on dairy already - but it is enough that if we grow our own produce, or what we can, then we don't have to be as bothered by the increases in other things.

I've also thought this would be good for the boys. Our kids (and adults) are often so separated form nature, and our food supply, that they don't get it at all. We don't know where our food is coming from, what it looks like growing, what it tastes like fresh.

And so I decided what the heck, let's give it a shot.

Only I've never been successful as growing any non-human living things before (I've had a few pets, but I've not been the best pet owner and they've mostly been other people's responsibilities, and I've become allergic to cats and dogs), and I've never really witnessed gardening in action, and I'm basically clueless as to what I'm doing. My dad grew a garden a few years when I was little, but I didn't pay much attention to what he actually DID, just helped pick, prepare and eat things when they were ready. Last year we tried a couple strawberry plants, but the birds always got to the berries before we did, and I gave up on it pretty fast.

I've gotten some books from the library, found some good websites, and gotten reassurance from the guy working at Lowe's that it's just not that hard, and we can really grow just about anything here. I got a few tomato plants yesterday, put the cherry tomatoes in barrels and put the tomatoes in the ground. Guthrie and I planted some flowers, and put some cilantro and basil in some other little containers. Containers are not nearly as intimidating as digging up the lawn and putting things in.

I find the whole thing frightening and intimidating, but a little exciting, and I feel good already having started.

Just now, we went out in the back and I started digging, trying to get the grass pulled up out of the ground. (Turner does not seem to be scared of the shovel today.) I can tell the garden is going to be good for me in more ways than one - healthy fresh veggies for fuel, and the workout that is digging, shoveling, hoeing, and planting. I'm hoping the boys will be more eager to eat more veggies if they have helped grow them too.

It's an adventure for me, and we'll see how it goes. If the only thing we get out of it is some tomatoes and playing in the dirt, it will be time well spent.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Because there is something to be said for feeling like a 12-year-old girl again


So, we don't have a TV or cable, so I'm checking to see if I can watch this live online. And if not, I've gotta figure out where I can go to see it live, even that early in the morning. (Denny's?)

Oh, yes, I am a total dork. But, see, it gets worse. My bedroom, when I was 12 or so, actually looked like this:

Okay, stop laughing. I'll wait. Done?

Obsessive is probably the right word to use. But anyway ...

Who knew Joey would be the hottest one 20 years later? Or that time would be the least kind on Jordan (whose poster I had hanging on my ceiling - it's not in the pictures - so I could look at it as I fell asleep at night)? And you know, Danny wasn't all that hot back then, but time HAS been kind to him! Whoo!
The big question has become, when they finally announce their reunion tour dates, who am I going to go to the concert with? And where? Goodness knows they're probably not coming to the RGV - Austin? Do I go back to KC?
So ... who's in for a little old-fashioned NKOTB party? I'm still "Hangin' Tough" as long as they've got "The Right Stuff." Just taking this all "Step by Step."
(Oh goodness I've gone over the edge now. Someone stop me. But I'm practically giddy right now thinking about it. I do feel almost 12 again.)

How does my garden grow

So the totally insane and brilliant idea I had to try to grow a garden might be going much better if Turner was not frightened to death of the shovel. Yes, the shovel. What was I doing with it? Trying to dig a hole to plant some tomatoes. Pretty scary stuff.

Yes, the kid has some weird fears. At Wal-Mart (don't ask - we try to avoid it, but sometimes we just have to - plus it's the only place we've found that carries the kind of cheese we eat) in the Garden section they have these enormous fans on the ceiling. Those are so scary he had to cling to me - while still sitting in the cart - whenever they were in view. The vacuum he thinks might eat him. Same with the leafblower that was being used at the park. The street cleaner? Might as well be a monster from Mars. Lizards are not at all scary, but flies cause screaming hysterics. The mop - the MOP - at the restaurant last week had him jumping out of his seat.

Otherwise, Guthrie and I planted some flowers while Turner took his nap. Eric dug up the nasty rose bush (that didn't bloom, and housed an enormous black bumble bee) and the tiny oleander in the front yard. I planted two cherry tomato plants in barrels, and as soon as Eric can dig the hole (because I'm not going to try again) I'll put the other tomatoes in the ground.

We have a TON of seed packets, because the boys (and I) went a little nuts at the store, buying everything that seemed interesting. I have to figure out how much space I'm actually going to have and prioritize what I want to try. I've always had black thumbs, but I figure it's worth a shot. Wish me luck. And hope Turner gets over his irrational fears.