Crabgrass is coming, but it’s not too late to stop it!

For any readers in the MD/DC/VA area, if you haven’t had time to put down pre-emergent, it’s not too late.  There are several different methods for determining when to apply crabgrass preventer.   There are certain plants that bloom just prior to crabgrass, and I always forget which ones they are.  There’s also the technique of looking for young crabgrass sprouts on the edges of your driveway or house, since the thinking goes that crabgrass needs warmer temperatures to germinate, and those locations warm up faster.

However, it you’re like me and you forget to look around your driveway or against your house before you leave for work every morning, there’s a handy little website that tracks historical data and will let you know when you’re getting close to crabgrass germination time.  Now, it’s not live data as far as I know, so unusually warm or cold springs will be off on the forecast pictures, but for your average working stiff, close is good enough when you have other things to worry about than total crabgrass annihilation.  The important thing is not to apply too early, since the pre-emergent only lasts a few weeks in the soil; and not to apply too late, because there’s nothing the pre-emergent will do if the crabgrass is already germinated.

Before I post the pictures, I’m also going to give you the link, since it’ll be easier to go directly to that website to get daily updates, and also so I don’t violate any copyright laws by posting someone else’s property.  Technically, I’m pretty sure merely posting the heat-map pictures will get me in trouble, but to Syngenta’s lawyers: “I don’t profit from this blog at all, I think I have about 4 people that read these blogs.  Not only do I not profit, I don’t get any money period.  It’s a hobby, like growing vegetables that die or get eaten by deer, and trying to build things but giving up and buying it at a home improvement store.”

So here’s the link to the crabgrass outlook map: http://www.greencastonline.com/tools/PestOutlooks.aspx?po_id=6

4-8 crabgrass

 

 

Today’s crabgrass cast means that there’s still time for people north of Virginia to get that pre-emergent down.

 

 

 

 

4-10 crabgrass

 

But by Friday, it’s looking like this weekend will be your last stand.  After that, it’ll be up to you with a crabgrass spray can spot-treating all summer until you give up and wait for it all to die after the first frost.  All those brown patches are a pain, so do yourself a favor and catch it early.

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Birdy it’s cold outside

In other news, the hyper-accurate weather folks at [insert your local mid-Atlantic/northeast news channel] had once again called for more snow, resulting in a state of complete panic and chaos in the area.  Having forgotten what grass looks like, let alone a blue sky, it might be easy to lament the situation and complain loudly to whoever is unfortunate to be within earshot.  Or perhaps you were busy stocking up on milk, eggs and toilet paper, since you either don’t carry more than 2 days worth at any given time, or your inventory of said items suddenly flies south at the mere mention of snow, much as all of us should seriously consider.  Whatever your first-world-problem predicaments were, stop for a moment to think about the birds.

Yes, birds.   …seriously.

I know there are cold and hungry people too, and I will try to help them all too, but I don’t have enough suet and corn meal.  And I hope they’re not eating suet and corn meal, at least unless it’s in the form of grits and biscuits and gravy, more on that later. So, yes, seriously, hungry birds.  With all the snow we’ve been getting and the ground being covered up, there’s slim pickens for the birds.  Now, if you’re anything like me and like bulk warehouse clubs and storing food, you may occasionally run into the problem of too much food and fast-approaching expiration dates.  I absolutely hate wasting food.  Period.  I was a wasteful little kid and I was picky as hell, but lo and behold, when I started working for a living and buying my own food I became an overnight frugalist.  So while I manage to go through my pantry/frig and eat most of what is about to expire, sometimes there’s too much. Like a 50lb bag of steel cut oats.

wpid-wp-1425901351049.jpegI love buying in bulk, and I love Amish/Mormon country stores, because they love bulk too.  That bag was only $25, so it was a great buy. So as I was saying, things sometimes expire.  However, don’t throw them away, many pantry items can be used to help feed your local birds.  I have an assortment of cardinals (my favorite), blue jays, finches, doves, and a few woodpeckers, and they can go through a 50lb bag of bird seed in about 3 days.  Bird seed is expensive, but homemade suet can be free(ish).  I consider something that I was about to throw away to be more or less free.  It’s not perfect logic, but it’s good-enough logic.

 

 

 

 

 

Another free item laying around my kitchen: bacon grease.  Oh yes, the good stuff.  Left over bacon drippings that I store in a tin and keep in the frig for Southern cooking.

wpid-wp-1425901365712.jpegThere’s 100 ways to cook Southern food, but 90 of them are butter and the other 10 is bacon grease.   I keep the bacon grease because no self-respecting biscuits and gravy eater would use instant mixes.  I also keep it because I learned my lesson about pouring that stuff down the drain.  So, occasionally, I build up quite a stockpile of it (I buy bacon in bulk too, you know).

So with many of these food items sitting around, you may have put two and two together, or already know where I’m going with this, but it all can be combined to make your own homemade suet cakes.  Bacon grease is salty, but so long as the birds have a supply of clean fresh water nearby, they should be fine.  A heated bird bath is even better.  Set up a suet feeder near your kitchen window and you’ll have a great reminder that there is still life outside and spring will be around soon enough.  Just make sure you use the suet up now, bacon grease isn’t pretty when the temperature starts rising.  I’ll experiment with beef tallow later on, so I’ll share my experiences with that when I do.  First I have to find a butcher or grocery store willing to give me the fat cuttings, or at least sell them to me for a reasonable price.

 

wpid-wp-1425901357869.jpegIf you’ve ever bought a suet cake, keep the plastic container that it came in, since that makes a great mold for making new suet cakes at home.  I have a simple recipe below.  It can work with quick oats too, since honestly the only thing quick oats are good for is feeding to horses and birds.

 

But first, here are some foods that are great for birds:
-Oats
-Raisins
-Sunflower seeds
-Corn meal
-Flour
-Bread crumbs (I don’t like the heel of the bread loafs, but rather than throw them away, I freeze them and when I have enough for a batch, I put them in the food processor to make my own bread crumbs.  They’re great for mixing with flour and making chicken tenders or fried chicken.)
-Old sugar cookies (use sparingly, too much sugar is bad for birds)
-Peanut butter
-Honey

Now honey can be really easy, since everyone has experienced the crystalized honey at the bottom of their jars.  I’ve tried heating them in warm water baths or scooping it out and microwaving it to get it to de-crystalize.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it just makes a hot crystalized mess.  In the latter case, don’t throw it away, but use it in the suet recipes.

Here are some foods to avoid (some of these may seem obvious, but so does looking both ways before crossing the street…)
-Chocolate
-Onions
-Apple/pear seeds
-Avocado
-Uncooked dried beans
-Coffee grounds

Without further ado, here is a really quick and easy suet recipe:

1 cup bread crumbs
2 cups melted bacon grease
1 cup corn meal
1 cup steel cut oats
Mix all the ingredients together and press into leftover suet cake molds.  I kinda tossed the ingredients together, so you can play with the amounts to fit into the mold correctly.  If you want to be able to pop the suet out, freeze the suet for a few hours and it should come out easily.  If you want to ensure it comes out, spray some Pam in the tray and then dust with flour before filling.

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Guess who’s out of hibernation?!

*Yawn*  What have I missed?  A lot of potential opportunities to post here, for one.  Now, I’m a cold weather person, I tolerate hot and humid days because my tomatoes love them; but let me join millions of people across the country in saying “Go home winter, you’re not welcome here anymore”.  Partly the reason I haven’t posted lately (months??) is that there isn’t much to talk about in the winter, the other reason being it’s hard to write when you’re depressed and cold.  However, the days are getting longer, and I’ve started my tomato and pepper seedlings so there’s something to talk about.  Indoor greenhouse

I’ve rebuilt my “greenhouse” in my basement, and that’s good enough until I can get a real one outside.  I was able to reuse the solo cups from last year, so hooray for frugality.  To start the seeds, as I’ve done in the past, is to put them on the little Jiffy peat tabs in the covered greenhouse tray.  I put the heating mat under that, and while some heat escapes through the bottom, it’s warm enough to germinate the seeds (one rather spry tomato popped up in two days).  If you wanted to, you could cut a thick piece of packing Styrofoam and put it under the heating mat to hold the heat better.  Once the seedlings get bigger, usually when they hit the top of the cover or the roots start poking out of the peat pot, I transfer them to the solo cup to continue growing under the grow lamp.

Let’s see, what else?  I suppose in another post I can talk about my food storage plans and progress.  I’m working on cleaning up a mess of a pantry in the basement.  I can’t seem to get out of Sam’s Club without spending at least $400 and coming home with a 50 lb bag of something….Last time it was sugar, the time before that, flour.  I’m not sure if I’ve shared in the past my organizational goals, so I’ll post them again.  Eventually I’d like to have a good long term storage and short-term rotational plan.  I’m not a crazy end-of-the-world prepper or extreme hoarder, I just believe in the old boy scout motto “Always prepared”.  After losing power for a week after hurricane Irene came up the east coast, I’ve learned that it’s good to have some non-perishable food on hand; candles/oil lamps in the closet; and even a generator if you can afford one.  Non-perishable food isn’t totally necesary if you lose power, since your first priority would be eating yourself through your frig/freezer anyways.  Having a gas range is good, since I’ve never had the gas go out on us.  Things would have to be pretty bad to lose that supply.  Anyways, there are plenty of examples in the recent past where events have shown us the only one you can really rely on is yourself.  I trust the Government to go to war often, fix the roads eventually, and at the very least fund itself and keep the lights on….mostly.  But my blog isn’t about the Government or politics, it’s about growing food and finding peace in your own backyard.  So, here’s my pantry plan, I’ll get there some day, the best way to build up an emergency food supply is gradually, it takes the pressure off the wallet, so to speak.

Shelf_Reliance Jug_Storage_6_months

I’ve already started gathering the jugs, not exactly like the picture though.  I really liked the idea of the handles to make it easy to grab, but after searching for weeks/months I couldn’t find ones I liked.  I found half gallon and gallon sized jugs, but I didn’t like that the plastic was PP (polypropylene or number 5 on the bottom of the jug), PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride or number 3), or HDPE (High Density Polyethylene or number 2).  HDPE has BPA and phthalate , and can leach endocrine disruptors (which is basically a fancy way of saying it can mess with your hormones in high enough quantities).  PVC also leaches phthalates , which studies have shown can be bad.  PP is one of the safer plastics to use in long-term storage, but it’s not clear, so it doesn’t look as nice on the shelves.  I know, silly excuse not to use it, but hey, if you don’t mind translucent jugs, go for it.  Eventually I went with PET (or PETE, plastic number 1), it is the type of plastic used in water bottles and soda bottles.  It too can leach chemicals (plastic is basically a bunch of chemicals anyways, somethings bound to breakdown in it eventually), but I’m only using it for dry food, so I figure it’s the best of the 7 plastics.  The safest material of all to use?  Glass, naturally.  Glass doesn’t survive falls or clanking together though, so while I could have used half-gallon or gallon mason jars, I opted for plastic in the end.  Hell, glass is heavy too, I’m a guy, so it wouldn’t be too bad for me, but a gallon of salt in a mason jar would be a heck of a workout bringing upstairs.

Finding PET jugs with the handles proved fruitless, GallonJugI tried 4 different plastic companies and couldn’t find any.  So eventually as I was walking the aisle in Walmart I came across these jugs, and they won by default.  They’re gallon sized, PET plastic, and they have an easy-grip side, so it’s dang close enough.  You can’t buy them online, so you’ll have to troll the aisles over the course of several weeks to get a large supply of them.  At my Walmart they’re $2.97 each, so not too expensive, but considering these things probably cost 30 cents to make (if even that), that’s a pretty hefty profit margin for the Waltons.  I’d love to find their supplier, but since I’m not about to buy a pallet of them (as most plastic suppliers require as I’ve found) and pay the freight for said pallet, I believe I’m getting a deal at Walmart.  Below is what it looks like all happy and full of egg noodles.  I printed out some 2×4″ labels and they fit nicely.  My only complaint is that the way I put the labels on.  As you can see, the label wouldn’t fit on the grippy side, so to look pretty on the shelves, you can’t easily grab the jugs.  But I’ve found it’s not that hard to turn around the jugs to get to the grippy side.  They have little ridges on them too, so it really is easy to pick up.

gallonjug1 gallonjug2

Okay, I tend to get carried away when I finally get around to blogging, so I’ll wrap it up for now.  I’ll be back again soon to post my raised-bed garden expansion plans and more pictures of the seedlings.  I’ll leave you with my recent purchase from Burpee.  I’m going to try growing some lemongrass, lemon balm and spearmint.  I drink a ton of tea in the winter, so I’ll let them grow nice and big this summer to give my tea a nice herbal minty/lemon taste.  New seeds 2015

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The Raised Bed Project

loft_bed3

Just kidding, not that kind of raised bed.  Rather, a raised garden bed to avoid some of the pitfalls and nuisances that I experienced last year (weed creep, bad soil, insects, deer, myself, etc.).  I decided on a simple 4’x8′ raised bed for 3 reasons.

1) 4′ seems to be the internet-agreed-upon width that allows you to easily reach into the center from either side.

2) Most 2×6 or 2×8 boards come in 8 or 12 foot lengths, making less waste in the end.  (Note:  I did get stuck with 10′ boards for one of the beds because that’s all they had, so I had some 2′ sections left over, still looking for something to do with them.  I did eventually find 8′ boards at the other home improvement store.)

3) They looked good in my “raised bed master plan”, meaning, inline with my usual “Go big or go home” mentality.  More to come on that later.

I decided on Douglas fir as my wood because it was cheap and readily available in 2″x8″x12′ sections.  The 2″x12″ boards were very much more expensive, relative to the 2×6 and 2×8’s, but I wanted my beds a little deeper than 12″.  Two 2×8’s stacked would get me about 16 inches, which I thought would be good enough.  I wanted to go with cedar or redwood, since I heard they were rot and pest resistant, but the cost in the end helped me decide.  They weren’t available in the local home improvement chains, and the lumber yards wanted one of my arms along with my credit card.  I figure I could replace the beds every 3 years (if I even needed to that early), and it would still be cheaper than cedar or redwood in the long term.

Eco Wood TreatmentI did splurge on some wood treatment, and I came across this stuff, which is pretty highly rated.  It’s called Eco wood treatment, and it’s supposed to protect against mildew, rot, and pests.  From what I researched online, it contains iron oxide and “other proprietary” ingredients, all of which is supposed to be environmentally and human friendly.  That was the main reason why I avoided pressure treated wood.  Even though they stopped using arsenic in the chemical treating process, they still use copper, and I’d rather not have those chemicals leaching into the soil of plants that I will be eating.  I’ve read that pressure treated wood is generally safe, but I’d rather go with something that says it’s definitely non-toxic.  It is expensive, but it’s supposed to protect the wood for years, it’s made in the USA, and it stained the cheapy-looking Douglas fir boards to a nice aged look.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures all through the process, but I did take the pictures of the final beds.  I decided towards the end that I wanted a little ledge on the beds to rest tools or whatnot, so I nailed some 2×4’s on the sides.  I used pressure treated wood for that, since they don’t directly touch the soil. I also added 1/4″ hardware cloth under the beds to keep groundhogs from burrowing up under my bed. They’re a problem where I live, so I figured the extra measure of protection was warranted.

IMAG0957Here’s the picture of the stained wood after the Eco treatment.  It looks rather dull and splotchy, but the color evened out and looks really good.  Much better than the bleached framing boards that I started with.IMAG1001

I started off with two beds for this growing season, but never fear, I have big plans for my suburban farm.  The white PVC pipes you see on the inside of the bed is for adding floating row covers.  If I need to add a frost cover or insect barrier, I just insert a long length of 1/2″ PVC pipe into the 1″ sections to form a loop over the bed. I can then attach the covers to those loops. I didn’t use it this year, but I figured I might as well install them now in case I need them.

IMAG1038IMAG1043 …and here is the first bed with my sad looking plants. That’s a story for my next post, but I didn’t really do a good job in raising those little seedlings on account of not setting up my indoor greenhouse in time this year. They didn’t get enough sun and were stunted for at least a month (hence why I just started getting tomatoes in late July) I planted 5 tomatoes, 5 bell peppers, and there are two eggplants in the middle of the bed. Once everything started growing, I also tossed in a packet of basil, since all of the plants in this bed are complementary. It worked out great, since the tomato and basil are great with some mozzarella cheese.  For my lessons learned post, you’ll learn why square foot gardening might be a better idea to follow.  I might have packed the plants in a little too tight.  You can’t tell from these pictures, but it became more evident as the summer went on.

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For anyone that’s curious on what I have planned for my suburban raised-bed farm. Here is the master plan. I hope to add 2-4 beds per year, that way I can stagger the replacement of them when the time comes, which will spread out the time and cost associated with that.

Garden layout designs
Why the weird design? Well, I’m glad you asked. Because I now have the opportunity to think about that. I’m not sure. I didn’t want just a bunch of raised beds in a row. I wanted something to be visually pleasing to look at. …and I wanted a dwarf fir in the middle that I can decorate with lights every Christmas, hence why I labeled it a “Christmas tree”. Maybe I’ll get bored this winter and build more than two. It’s a long winter, and I prefer the cold anyways.

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Adventures in DIY, or how NOT to make a compost tumbler

One of my first projects this past spring was to build a compost tumbler.  As an aspiring suburban farmer, soil is everything.  One of the hard lessons I learned last year was that poor soil equals poor crops.  Or no crops at all.

So one could go out and buy bags of soil and spend hundreds of dollars, or an enterprising suburban famer could simply make all the rich organic soil they desired!  Simple, right?  No.

I was Google-educated enough to know even the most effective composters still took weeks to break down base matter into hummus (black-gold soil, not that creamy dip from chickpeas).  So I knew it wouldn’t help me this growing season, but I figured it was better to start now and even if I didn’t get the composting ratios and ingredients correct for a good hot-compost, it would still break down over the summer with the copious amounts of heat and rain.

Full of ideas, plans for a compost tumbler in hand, and more ambition than sense; I set out for my local home improvement store to start my quest in outdoor DIY projects.   Looking back now, the journey seems more like Frodo traveling through Mordor…

If anyone is interested in the plans for a compost tumbler, here they are.  You might want to keep reading first to see if you really would rather just spend the $100-200 and just buy the darn thing.  http://thebigmanual.com/gardening/building-a-compost-tumbler/

So speaking of cost, that was my main reason for building my own.  That and I had an extra 55 gallon plastic barrel lying around from my abandoned rain barrel project.  If anyone remembers me talking about my “ingenious” idea of growing potatoes in a 55 gallon barrel with the top cut off, I learned something from that “experience building event”.  When cutting into the plastic barrel top, leave the lip on the barrel to give it additional strength.  Or rather help it retain it’s original strength, since that lip is thicker than the sides of the barrel.

So building the base was straightforward and easy as any wood project, but give yourself several hours, since measuring twice and second-guessing yourself three times is rather time-consuming.  The barrel cutting went smoothly, I just drilled a hole in the top and used a jigsaw to cut a big circular hole in the top.  Simple, right?  Just plop some hinges on it, a latch and presto: Instant compost barrel.  More on that in a bit….

IMAG0921

The PVC pipe insert was also simple, drill some holes in it for aeration and attach the toilet flange to the bottom of the barrel with some machine screws and nuts.  The hard part was drilling the holes in the side to line up the PVC pipe and the barrel sides so that the galvanized pipe could be fitted through.  It took some heavy banging with a hammer to get the pipe to go through, and unfortunately I found out later that I should have probably put the cap on first, as I had completely mashed down the threads on the pipe to an unfixable degree.

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Still undeterred, I mounted the barrel triumphantly to the base and coated the barrel with some metallic paint so that it would be more aesthetically pleasing to the neighbors and my wife (the latter of whom I’m much more afraid of)

IMAG0959

Not having an end cap on one of the sides wasn’t a huge issue, it was just an hour further waste of time as I tried to bang the mashed threads apart with a hammer and chisel.  It didn’t work, by the way.

IMAG0926 IMAG0928

I filled it about a quarter of the way up with leaves, wood shavings, cardboard from egg cartons (only non-dye type), toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls (don’t use too much, they have glues in them and they take notoriously long to decompose).  Also I added vegetable scraps that I had been holding onto for a little while in anticipation of said composter, much to the chagrin of my wife, who had to tolerate a large bowl of slightly rotting banana peels, avocado rinds, and wilty lettuce in the kitchen for about two weeks.

I gave the composter a spin and heard the contents successfully moving around and combining in a pleasing “congratulations, you didn’t mess this project up” kind of way.  Perhaps what I didn’t hear as I walked away, proudly beaming was a snickering coming from the composter and a sly “…yet”.

The spring gave way to summer, and I assume the contents of my composter were happily breaking down.  I kept adding kitchen scraps and yard waste into the barrel.  Spinning it afterwards, and letting it do it’s thing.  I’ll tell you now, you might want to add some compost accelerator since, unlike ground-base composters, the microbes have no way of getting into the barrel.  If you already have a compost pile, transfer the contents of that into the barrel.

HOWEVER, and I hope to all that is good in this world, you have NOT been making the compost tumbler as you read this, since you will have traveled beyond the point of no return by now.  The instructions clearly state to use a pickle barrel.  Why is this important?  Because 55 gallons is a lot of volume, and essentially filing it with wet leaves, veggies, cardboard, grass and straw makes it heavy.  While the ground can hold up the tumbler contents with ease, the latch that I put on the lid….not so much.  Around the end of spring, I noticed that the tumbler was getting increasingly hard to spin, and as you probably guessed by now, one day the not-big-enough latch holding the lid closed decided to catastrophically fail on me, spilling the contents (luckily not all, just about 7 shovelfuls of rotting smelly compost) onto the ground around my feet.  The pickle barrel has a screw on type lid, so it’s much stronger and form-fitting.  One of the first things I noticed with my tumbler was how the plastic lid was starting to warp in the heat.  So it really didn’t even close tight after about a week or two.

 

SO…was it worth it in the end?  Yes…and no.  I gained more experience, which is always valuable to someone, most likely you all, since you can benefit from my mistakes.  I still have a semi-working compost bin, unfortunately it has all the cons of a compost bin, and all the cons of a compost tumbler with the only benefit being that I have a place to put our banana peels and vegetable scraps other than the trash.  It’s not a complete loss, since the base is still perfectly fine.  I could decide to get a pickle barrel on Ebay or something, but at around $40-80 plus shipping which is around the same price as the barrel, it is pretty much as expensive as just buying a ready-made tumbler.

I haven’t completely given up on my tumbler though.  I’m much more DIY-active in the fall and winter, since I’m not losing my body weight in sweat every hour.  So there’s still a chance I could fix the lid on the barrel by securing a sturdier latch to it.

Then again there’s a chance I could win the lottery, but nobody’s holding their breath around here that either will happen 🙂

 

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Bad Blogger, no web traffic for you

So, I’ve been horrible.  Like, not-posted-in-forever horrible.  I wouldn’t even begin to remember the last time I posted if WordPress didn’t painfully display it for all the world to see.  Not that I get much viewers, but I can’t blame you guys, I just don’t write anything new.  The only thing I have are my old posts.  Who wants to read a book they already read?  Well, actually that’s a bad example, if the book is really good, like Jurassic Park, I’d re-read it.  This blog isn’t Jurassic Park though.  In humble apology, I vow to post more.

Or at least I vow to promise to post more.

I think the issue is that I write such long posts, when it comes time to sit down and write something I psych myself out of writing.  I think it also is my work hours.  Being at work or getting to/from work is 12 hours of my day, so it doesn’t leave much free time to write.  So my posts will be shorter and have more pictures, since everyone loves pictures.  They’re always said to be worth a thousand words, which would cut my posts in half if I posted a picture.

Even though summer is more than halfway through, I have been busy on the farm.  I have taken plenty of pictures in hopes of blogging about them, so I can still play catch-up and show everyone my progress.  Things to look forward to:  my attempts at making a DIY compost tumbler (with hilarious results), building raised beds for my veggies to grow in good soil and away from weed-creep.  my veggie plot map, the growth, and the harvest results.  As a quick spoiler, I’ve had a pretty good season, with WAY better yields this year with the raised bed method.  Working a full time job leaves little time for gardening, so the raised beds have helped with their low maintenance.

 

So, goals for the next few weeks:

1) Post more

2) Ramble less

3) More pictures

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Another rambling post, or how to write a blog about gardening that doesn’t talk about gardening much

It just occurred to me that many people might not understand the subtle significance of my blog titles.  Most people might just not care, who knows?  I think I started out doing it unconsciously, wanting two titles in my blog posts, but I think there was some aspect of naming them that just seemed right.  I wouldn’t want to age myself too much, but I’m doubting how many people younger than me would get the back-story of the “[Title], or [another title here]” reference.  Then again, I doubt many people younger than me might be interested in backyard gardening, do-it-yourself’ing, or even living outside of a city anyways.  Now, granted that is a huge, sweeping generalization, so only take what I said as humorous sarcasm.  Especially if you’re a young’un that is interested in gardening and self-sufficiency, good for you!
Back to the titles.  Many of you may remember the movie “Dr. Stranglove”, some of you may not.  The full title of the movie is called “Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”, now of course, that’s very hard to put on a movie theater billboard, so it was obviously shortened.  Then, some years later, when the Rocky and Bullwinkle show came out, they played off that title, and most of their episodes were comically named in the same manner.  So of course, whenever I started to think about titles for my blog, two ideas generally popped into my head, a serious one and a not-so-serious one.  “Why play favorites, self?” I asked myself, so naturally I used them both.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m sure Dr. Strangelove was guiding my hand, not much unlike the one he couldn’t stop from constantly saluting his fuhrer, or maybe Bullwinkle was saying “Gee Rocky, maybe he should use both titles, since he has a hard enough time picking a table or booth at a restaurant, and paper or plastic at a grocery store”.  Either way, I feel as though I have sufficiently explained myself and my titling style, as well as feeling confidence and satisfaction that I have posted to my blog twice in one week.  A major accomplishment indeed, if one is going with the buffet-method of performance tracking.  No, I don’t mean Warren Buffet, but literally an all-you-can-eat buffet, where quantity triumphs over quality and you leave feeling 10 times worse than when you came in, but happy that you got your money’s worth.  On that note, I hope everyone leaves my blog feeling like they got what they paid for it, because that’s how I feel when I’m done writing.  I don’t get paid, if anyone is even slightly confused.  Just kidding, I do very much enjoy writing down my experiences with gardening and my general thoughts, if only I had more time to do so.  Then again, I should stick to the topic, which is suburban farming, self-sufficiency, a smattering of DIY projects, and hopefully someday chickens.  Yes, I am still determined to get chickens.  But probably not next year either, since a one and a half year old will still be a little too much work to try building a coop and raising more mouths to feed in this family.  I think when my daughter is a little older, maybe 3 or 4, she’ll have more fun watching the chicks grow and will even be able to help out.  Which is exactly why we have children, right?  To help tend to the farm and feed the livestock as we gracefully age and become less able to do anything other than answer questions quicker than the contestants on Jeopardy and waiting around for reruns of Matlock to come on.  I’ll just be happy when I don’t have to load up the dishwasher and clean the house anymore because my kids will do that.
Yeah, I know, I’ll keep dreaming.

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