Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Front Yard Garden

Well, we tried the backyard garden plot, but all the shade from the neighbors' trees made that first year's crop turn out looking like the "7 years of famine" corn from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

So last year Ryan moved the garden (1 wheelbarrow full of dirt at a time) to the front yard next to the driveway & rebuilt the cedar planks. Total cost: $Free.99!

May 21 2010

...then installed the iconic white picket fence:

May 31 2010

That was so 2010. We learned a lot (we think!) and have big hopes for 2011. Over the winter, we tilled in all the leaves from our 2 huge trees, added some nitrogen, and let them compost. Then in April, we added a good helping of Oakdell Organic Poultry Compost (the good stuff! and doesn't smell at ALL) and planted spinach & snap pea seeds:

April 7 2011

We went on vacation for the next couple of weeks. It rained enough for the tiny spinach seeds, but none of the peas came up. Oh well.

The next couple of weeks we added a drip irrigation system and a lot more vegetables:
Tomatoes - 4 Roma, 1 Early Girl, 1 Sweet Cherry, 1 Beefsteak)
Peppers - 4 Bell, 2 Cayenne, 2 Jalapeno, 2 Anaheim
Onions - 1 Vidalia, 1 red
Garlic - 1 garlic
Squash - 1 yellow crookneck, 1 zucchini
Herbs - 1 sweet basil, 1 cilantro
Cucumber - burpless (seeds)

May 22 2011

Note the grass clippings covering everything. It's to (1) keep weeds down, (2) retain moisture, and (3) provide more nutrients. $Free.99 again!

Oh, and there's an empty spot in our backyard where fruit trees used to be, so we put some seeds in there: Pumpkin (giant and carving varieties), Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Cucumber.

Everything started off pretty slowly since it was a cold / late spring, but it all took really well except the cucumber seeds (bottom right by the stake), which never came up:

May 29 2011

We've watered everything (with the soakers) for 4-8 hours about twice a week, without much help from any significant amount of rain since then:

June 12 2011

And the spinach has been EXPLODING!! We could pick it all 2x / week, but we don't, so the leaves get monstrously huge. It's finally starting to bolt (June 26th) so we'll probably only get another 1 or 2 pickings:

June 26 2011

The tomatoes and peppers are now flowering. So is the cilantro, so we'll let it go to seed (coriander) and figure out what to do with that later on. The peppers and basil aren't growing nearly as much as everything else, but we expect them to now that it's heating up outside.

More updates to follow!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Portrait of an Anniversary

Sunday, May 16, 2010:

Between church meetings and dinner with the neighbors, we paused to exchange cards and appreciate the two blissful years we've shared together as husband and wife.

Then, after yet another noble but futile attempt at reading a good book, Laura succumbed, curled up next to the open window, and took a well-deserved nap. Meanwhile, Ryan took his turn in making yet another Sunday-afternoon-triple-batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Later, we'll bounce along on a pleasant walk through the neighborhood, each with a hand holding a plate of cookies to share, and with our other hands comfortably intertwined, swinging away into a happy beginning of Year Three.

Life is good.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Halloween 2009

Good grief.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Paradise 2008: Tahiti, Fakarava & Tubuai

Come tour the islands with us!

Here are some pictures of our trip to Tahiti and a couple nearby islands in July 2008: Paradise 2008 Photos (click here!)
*it works a lot better if you're logged in on Facebook, but you can still see them if you're not. If you are though, feel free to leave comments on the photos!

[I'm NOT going to put them all here now that I just spent all night putting them on Facebook! But you should be able to see them all by following the link above]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Extreme Yard Makeover

For me, the best part of home ownership may be having a yard, because I get to go out and work in it. Yeah, call me crazy, but I really love getting out there and putting a shovel and pickaxe to good use.

It's been a little over a year now, and I thought I'd document the progress. Here's a picture of our front yard on May 12, 2008:
It was a neglected, overgrown mess. So, since then, I've:
* removed 2 large trees * overhauled the sprinkler system * built a retaining wall * removed all the ivy * pruned a LOT of tree and shrub branches * carved some definition into the edge of the grass * removed lots of weeds, then covered the non-grass areas with mulch * planted new shrubs & flowers * revitalized the grass

And here's how we're looking now, about a year later, on May 20, 2009:
I still have a few things left to do, but we're pretty happy with how it's turned out so far. I figure with the retaining wall, sprinkler parts, and plants, I've probably put about $500 into it. Money well spent, if you ask me :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

San Fran & May 16th (with pictures!)

We did it!

When we were fixin' to get married, a lot of people gave us advice to the effect of "the first year is the hardest, but it gets better after that."

Well, after one year of 99% bliss and 1% "let's never again play against each other in Scrabble," we're convinced that those people must have mistaken marriage with prison, or maybe a mission. We've had a blast.

So after scoring round-trip tickets for $80 and an equally sweet deal on a hotel, we took off to San Francisco to celebrate our first anniversary.

We flew there Friday afternoon, found out about the helpful from a friendly local on the train to downtown, rode the tourist-laden trolley to Fisherman's Wharf, and dragged our suitcases a couple of blocks to our hotel.

Fortunately for hungry us, the self-proclaimed "Best Pizza in San Francisco" was right around the corner, so we dropped off our stuff and dove in.

Saturday we took the sage advise of my sister and rented bikes to ride around town and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Great idea! We loved it. It's a cool way to see the city, the bridge, and the town of Sausalito on the other side.

tee hee

That day being our anniversary, we returned and cleaned up for a super nice Italian dinner. Yum!

Sunday was bizarre, to say the least. We were on our way to go to church at the Golden Gate Ward, and out of nowhere, we get passed up by a bunch of Smurfs.

That afternoon, we continued on to see Alamo Park, home of the nostalgic scene from the opening credits of everybody's all-time favorite show, Full House. Looked more like a Meth House bust at the time, though, with 5 cops in the front yard and 2 patrol cars across the street.

And the park just happened to be full of crazy people. Turns out we were there on the wild day of the "Bay to Breakers" race, which is basically a cross between a 10k and Mardi Gras.

Our plan was to spend some time in Golden Gate Park, but it turns out that's where the race ended and, consequently, where the partying was centered. Thousands of people in (and out) of crazy costumes with plenty of alcohol . . . and for once in our lives, we were the weird ones people stared at because we were (1) sober and (2) modestly clothed. We were proud.

After seeing one too many acts of true friendship ("Will you hold my hair back while I puke my guts out?" and the such), we decided to move on. Whew.

We marched on, up and down Lombard Street . . .

. . . then walked up to Coit Tower, then back down and around the piers and back home. It was a lot of walking for an unusually hot day, but well worth it.

Monday was Ghirardelli Square (free samples!) . . .

. . . Alcatraz . . .

. . . and shopping (Gap headquarters!)

And then we zipped over to the airport and got to our gate while our flight was boarding. Very nice.

In all, it was a wonderful trip, and we're glad we went. Now we're back home and excited to see what Married Life: Year Two has in store for us.

Life is so good!

[editor's note: holy crap, it takes FOR-EVER to post a blog like this! Is it really worth it?]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blame it on the Inversion

There's a new scapegoat in town!

One of my coworkers was home sick today.
Because of the inversion, of course.
You know, all the pollutants in the air and whatnot.

Another coworker was late to work yesterday.
All because of the dense fog. Caused by cold temperatures mixing with smog. From the inversion.

Today I read two articles:

1.Trapped Clouds and Hidden Sun cause Anticyclonic Gloom
(from a London newspaper)
[Summary: Are you depressed lately? It's because of the inversion.]

2. Jets in the Living Room? Blame Inversion
"Inversions act . . . as a sort of reflective ceiling off which low frequency sound waves can bounce" thus trapping and amplifying noises from, for example, loud cars.
(from the University of Alaska Fairbanks)
[Summary: Are you suffering from headaches, overly sensitive hearing, or edgy temperament due to loud noises? That's because of the inversion.]

Have you seen a mirage lately? The inversion. Picked up more FM radio stations than normal? Another effect of the inversion.

Anyway, since it seems like everybody I know is blaming everything on the inversion lately, I figure I might as well jump on that bandwagon.

So today I told a joke that everybody laughed at because of the inversion. Yesterday I ate some ice cream because of the inversion. I was speeding to work, but if I got pulled over I knew the officer would understand that it was because of the inversion. The stock market took a huge dive yesterday because of the inversion, but today it shot back up due to the inversion.

And I wrote another blog entry.

Because of the inversion.