April 11, 2008

If you build it, they will grow

Matt and I are participating in our food this year and attempting to grow a garden. Last year, we played at this and had a few containers going, but the crazy Texas weather and sheer laziness got the better of us and our plants. We have bigger plans this year.

Based on recommendations from Chris and the internets, we are following the Square Foot Garden (SFG) method.

Basically you ignore the dirt you have, build relatively small raised beds, and fill them with a soil-less mixture. Then you anally plan and plant small quantities of your favorite veg, herb, and flowers just enough for your family to nom on, not excess that'll have your neighbors hide when they spy you holding zucchinis.

Matt enjoyed the building and construction of the raised beds, and I enjoyed the planting and garden tending. We used 2" x 6" boards of cedar with the intent that we'll want these to hang around for a year or two. The instructions in the SFG book are very well done, and soon we had two very nice 2' x 3' frames.

We went with this smaller 2' x 3' beds because the only portion of back yard we have is a small section between our house and our fence; basically a stretch of grass 7' x 30' (not even enough to play cornhole). I call these my north and south beds.

The frames are treated with a linseed oil and paint thinner mixture (on the outside only), and we fastened weed fabric to the bottom. Then it was a simple matter of setting them in place and filling with the compost mixture. I had a small issue with math, so we ended up with twice the amount needed to fill our two small boxes.

Not one to waste (especially at the price) and with a skeptical look at how small those raised beds are, we decided to take over another corner of our yard for a third raised bed (in a much sunnier location). The added benefit of this was that Matt could break away from the tried and true (and boring) square boxes, and play with angles and math to make a triangle. (Both an isosceles and a right triangle, I believe, but math ain't my forte.)

In no time at all, I eagerly planted the north and south gardens and posted my progress up on myFolia. (Oh, I didn't tell you about this before? myFolia is very similar to Ravelry, except being garden-centric instead of fibery. And for anyone looking, my id is NanJo on both sites.) I'm also keeping a paper garden journal, but it is a hard competition between this and the shiny internets.

With the exception of tomatoes, a banana pepper, and marigolds, I planted most of the garden by seed, sowed directly into the compost mixture. Channeling my inner hippy, I cut water bottles in half and used them as make shift cloches. (And they worked wonderfully, aside from Matt joking that my plastic bottle garden is growing well.)

Within a week, I started seeing sprouts! Oh, how exciting. Now a few weeks in and everything has sprouted and doing well. There are still a few sprouts that are tiny and I'm keeping the plastic cloches on until I'm certain they'll survive our Texas storms.

The surprise of the garden? The onions. Those stalks just keep on growing and growing, by far the tallest plant in the garden. I'm growing a lot of things that I've never tried growing before, eager to find some winners. I don't have the greenest thumb, but my childlike excitement must merit something, non?

I've selected pictures with Matt and I being goofy for a bit of visual interest. 'Cause otherwise you're looking at raised beds being constructed and dirt.

Posted by Nanc at 03:36 PM | Comments (6)

April 08, 2008

This puts the wee in sqweee!

Okay, I purposefully misspelled squee just to make a clever. (One "u" or two, what the big whoop?) It's not the first time I've done this, and probably not the last.

I received my wee sock in the wee sock swap, and I love it. Like I seriously covet this yarn, STR in In The Navy. (The picture doesn't do the knitted up fabric justice. But that's STR for you: a different beauty in each form it takes from skein to ball to sock.) In addition to the wee sock, Tawana included a wee sock blocker, ta boot .

My swap pal is pretty fantastic, too. And her newborn baby is just as sweet as can be! I feel compelled to knit something for her. (Any suggestions?)

Thank you, Emily, for another wonderful wee sock swap! I look forward to 2009.

Posted by Nanc at 03:35 PM | Comments (6)

April 06, 2008

Random Images

We've taken some random pictures over the past week.

Last weekend, Stina stopped by and helped me break in my Lava Lite shot glasses with a few shots of Uzo. When the shot glasses have liquid in them, they light up. Once you do the shot, the light turns off. How cool is that?

I also found a great Gameboy case while thrifting. The case looks like a Gameboy, but huge. Inside, you can fit your Gameboy, 10 games, and all of your favorite accessories. I passed the thrift score on to Jesse, a friend who still has a Gameboy to store in it.

On Monday, we returned our defective Guitar Hero game disc. When the disc was first released, there was an error in the way that the sound is reproduced--- sort of important for a music game. Since I've been playing way too much of the game lately, it's absence has been noted. Activision promises to have a new disc sent back in a couple of weeks.

On Tuesday, Nanc and I checked out a restaurant called "Burger Island." Apparently it's a local chain. The burgers were fantastically tasty, but huge. The fries and onion rings were made fresh. We will be back. As a bonus, there was a mural on the wall. I love restaurants with murals -- take-out art.

Posted by Matty at 09:46 PM | Comments (4)

April 02, 2008

Changing a first gen iPod Nano battery

In the immortal words of the Byrds, "There is a season / turn, turn, turn " -- hang on, wrong part of the song.

As I was saying, in the immortal words of the Byrds, "[there is] a time to be born, a time to die." For our friend Angi's iPod Nano, the former was February, 2006, and the latter was now.

The battery in the Nano just wouldn't hold a charge anymore, which made it less of a portable music player, and more a small, shiny rectangle. Instead of tossing it, she asked if could change the battery for her.

I said sure, why not? I was positive that a stiff shot of liquor would calm my nerves and steady my hands. Besides, it wasn't like it was my Nano, or anything. gulp.

All the details and an lurid electronic pictures can be found in the gallery.

Posted by Matty at 11:06 PM | Comments (6)

Not a Wii® sock, but a wee sock

'Cause a sock for the Nintendo Wii® would be ridiculous, right?

I participated in the wee tiny sock swap hosted by Yarn Miracle. I did this last year, too, and had a good time. It's a relatively simple, quick, and inexpensive swap to participate in so why the heck not?!

I knit this wee sock for WoollyMoose from some lime green Koigu that I picked up at my first trip to MSWF in 2006.

There has been other knitting on my needles, and I know that I owe y'all the Knitting Future segment of the Past and Present series. Write me up an IOU, 'cause it may be a while still.

Any complaints should be taken up with Munny. No worries, he's a friendly guy... I think (hard to tell with no expression or face).

Posted by Nanc at 04:19 PM | Comments (6)