You don’t have to dig deep to find dirt around here

…or in some cases rocks. Even a length of chain.

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Yes, it has been a busy weekend for me. I got my makeshift “greenhouse” up and running, did some work in the yard and even some home security and storage improvements mixed in. Where to start? Well, I guess with the dirt.

I decided to look around in my front yard, though “yard” is not really the case yet, since there’s no grass. We bought a new construction home, and since it was completed in the winter, there isn’t any grass growing in the front yet. The builder we went with doesn’t lay down sod, and from what I hear, many builders don’t anymore since it’s too expensive. Poor sod farmers, I bet they’re hurting without builders buying from them. But I’d have to assume they’re doing ok selling less but for more. Supply and demand economics for you.

Anyways, I was walking around and noticed several large rocks lying about, just on or above the surface of the dirt. So I grabbed my handy gardening fork and started digging them up.

…and more of them up

…and more

…and you get the picture.

Well, now you do. Those are just some of the many holes all over my yard now.

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Mixed in with 3 5-gallon buckets of rocks? A hunk of wood and a length of chain. Yep, I wonder how that got there?

The big thing about those rocks is that everyone with a yard knows that grass doesn’t grow on rocks. It grows barely on dirt, and then mostly the weeds prefer that. Really nice grass grows best in sweat and money. That’s at least been my experience growing up helping my parents in the yard. Countless hours of labor, bags of fertilizer, and oh yeah…blood. Grass loves it when you hurt yourself trying in vain to make it grow. It loves the carbon dioxide produced from foul curse words that you shout as you cut, stub, gash, mash, and crush various digits and limbs with outdoor tools that were probably invented by a torturer in the middle ages rather than a gardener.

But that task is done. For now. I’m sure there will be plenty more rocks and maybe even a car part or two that I’ll be digging up in the future.

The other task I did this weekend was get my tomato plants started. March is the time to get your tomatoes started indoors, and since I lack a greenhouse, I decided to improvise. A plastic shelf from Walmart and some mini greenhouses should hopefully work nicely. I never have had luck growing plants from seeds, but then again I never had any land to do anything with the plants once they grew, so there wasn’t much point in trying too hard prior to now. I also have a heat mat to keep the little seedlings nice and warm. The varieties I have started are Roma, Big Boy, Beefsteak and cherry. I have some pictures of my fancy-shmacy greenhouse rig down below.

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Up next was the home security improvements The security of my family is always the first and foremost concern of mine. That’s why I buy safe cars, install safety devices where ever I can, have an alarm system, and enjoy the 2nd amendment. As such, I also take precautions even though the risk can be small. I always think about what the risk level or chance of something happening is compared with the damage that it could cause. I have an alarm system, but that’s more of a deterrent than a fortification. Since 90% of all breakins happen through the front door, I figured that should be the place I start when thinking about home security. Since all my sliding doors already have bars on them, I didn’t have to worry about that. Most burglars and such don’t like breaking windows, it makes too much noise that is instantly recognizable. However, kicking in a door just sounds like a large “THUD”, and may even go unnoticed altogether. Except if you’re in that house. Most people think that a deadbolt is a security measure to keep your home safe. Not really, it’s there so your doorknob latch won’t be picked by the very simplest of burglars. Plenty of people know that just a half inch screw is the only thing holding that deadbolt plate to the door frame. So I installed a reinforced door frame plate. It literally took about a half hour for the door frame plate, and another half hour for the door reinforcer. If you want to install the frame reinforcer, don’t forget that if your door breaks, there’s no point in strengthening your frame. So there’s really two parts to bracing your front door. The frame and the door itself, always do both. The whole job went pretty smoothly except for the part where I didn’t quite set the frame plate back far enough, so now the door doesn’t seal as well as it did before. I’ll have to fix that soon, since a lot of bought air is now sneaking out the gap in the weatherstripping and the door. At least that’s the only thing that will be sneaking in or out that door. Here are some of the pictures of the completed job. Take note of the picture of the screws. The one on the left is your standard door frame screw, and the one on the right is the reinforced screw that came with the plate. I plan on cleaning up the door frame plate, but since that requires cutting and painting, I think it will have to be on another weekend. I think I need a cold beer and a long movie 🙂

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