Monday, March 31, 2014

What to plant in April (zone 9)


Plant seeds of:
Beans: Bush, Pole, Lima
Cantaloupes
Okra
New Zealand Spinach
Malabar Spinach
Amaranth
Orach
Roselle
Yard Long Beans
Peanuts
Cow Peas
Southern Peas
Sweet Potatoes

What to do:
* Stake tomato plants with a rigid stake that is at least five feet tall. This will help keep fruit off the ground.
* Keep everything well watered during dry and hot spells

Monday, March 10, 2014

To Do List Item: Create a New Fire Pit Area

Since we no longer wanted the simple hole in the ground as our firepit I found a simple and cheap alternative; Cinder-blocks. We had tons of the littered around our yard that through our cleaning were stacked in a neat pile ready to bed used. So i built garden bed after garden bed out of them, but what do you do when you have no more room for gardens? Find another use and a firepit was perfect.

Here is our before shot of the area:
(Warning: It looks like crap, dont harm your eyes)
I went and leveled out the ground adding crap dirt that we emptied out of other things. I then removed all the torn up cardboard boxes and pavers around the pit. I raked out all the branches that were still in pit and moved them to the side. I then laid out new cardboard as a weed block, and gathered up my cinder blocks. I made a circle and set the blocks around it then best i could. I then used the pine bark my husband had got for me as a mulch on top of the cardboard ( I ran out of mulch and need more). I also built a small bench/ chair out of the remaining cinder blocks for people to sit on; I will add 2 more benches.

Here is the after, no need to avert your eyes its much better!
Brooke is testing out the new bench with her rabbit Nibbler. 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

A New To-Do

To-Do: This list is always changing as I am always thinking of more ways to improve our house and yard.

~ Plant a fruit paradise in the front yard
Since I couldn't keep up with an annual garden in the front yard as well as the backyard, I stripped all the beds away to leave the bare bones: weeds. I am not one for wasted space however so I quickly designed a fruit paradise for the front yard. Hopefully by this time next year I will have a completed and growing healthy front yard full of mulberries, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, kiwi and other misc yummy fruits.

~ Paint Bedroom taupe/grey and  have a corresponding color theme throughout room.
When we moved in I thought it would be super romantic to have a red room with gold, orange accents. Well as it turns out I hate it, I have been stuck with it for almost 3 years now and I am ready for a change. I found these light grey kinda taupe color that I think will be lovely. I plan to do a light yellow accent with it on the curtains which I will sew, and the bedding.

~ Paint the kitchen light blue
From our light green living room you can see into the kitchen (we have a very small house). This is the only room we didn't paint when we moved in almost 4 years ago and its an ugly yellowish color. I found a lovely light blue that I think will look great with our current green in the other room while bringing in a calming nice color.

~ Build corner shelves for the living room.
Because lets face it you can NEVER have enough shelf space, especially when you have an unhealthy addiction to books.

~ Create a flagstone patio by our rocket stove. 
When you walk out our screened in porch and turn towards the backyard you are greeted by a small rocket stove that I built. I would love to create a little flagstone porch right there for a chair and the grill.

~ Create a new firepit area that enjoyable and looks good. 
For a while now our firepit has been a simple hole dug in the ground surrounded by pavers. It served its purpose for being cheap and working but as I work hard to recreate our backyard into something lovely I want the other aspects of our yard to follow suit.

~ Build grape trellises.
This explains itself I have grapes I need something for the grapes to grow on.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring has Sprung








Building garden beds

I have been getting this yard under control after letting it slip away and a big chunk of that was rebuilding beds, weeding them out, and adding the good soil! So that's what we have been up to round here!














Sunday, March 2, 2014

What to plant in March (Zone 9)


Plant seeds of:

Beans: Bush, Pole, and Lima
Cantaloupes
Sweet Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Okra
English Peas
Peppers
Sweet Potatoes
Pumpkin
Gourds
Squash
Tomato
Watermelons
Carrots
Collards
Kohlrabi
Beets
Lettuce
Mustard
Green onions and Shallots
English Peas
Radish
Turnips

What to do?

* Mound up soil around potato stems to protect tubers from sun damage. 
*Make new garden beds full of good soil to plant your seeds in (one can never have enough garden space)
* Yank out all those frozen brown plants and toss in the compost to make new dirt and life for future plants.

Working around the yard on this lovely Florida day!

Today is the 2nd day of March and its in the high 70's with blue skies and a wonderful breeze. A perfect day to start knocking out the heavy work that needed to be done OUTSIDE the house. Trash needed to be picked up, dirt moved, garden beds made, pond cleared out, and so one. I decided to tackle the yard 1 area at a time so I am working on the first corner. This area used to be where the rabbits were kept so the ground is rich with poop. I removed all the trash into a large pile then built a garden bed. Next I cleared out the old pond that had a leak in it so wouldn't hold water, I removed all the pond plants and saw how wet the soil was that was in there meaning it was able to hold water better then the ground so I filled it with dirt and dug up my bananas placing them in the old pond turned wet garden, I also added lemon grass and mint to the bed. I am also working on emptying out the old pool gardens that had become root bound weed growers and adding new soil to grow our herbs in.

Our dirt pile

New garden bed on the rich rabbit poop soil


Pond turned garden

Friday, February 28, 2014

Children Lessons: Never Judge a Book by its Cover

Today Brooke and I had a mommy daughter date night. We went to a food truck rally at MOSI which is the Museum of Science and Industry. After feasting upon delicious food and playing on the playground we decided it was time to leave, as you are walking out they make you walk out through the gift shop. We have done this before but this time we stopped to browse a little a she finished up her mini donuts. There was a large container of polished gems that caught Brooke's eye; she really really wanted these. Next to those polished gems was a bunch of "ugly" rocks that Brooke wanted no part of. I decided to use this as a chance to teach her a life lesson, and I bought her the "ugly" rock. On the 10 minute drive home we talked back and forth about judging a book by its cover, and why she didn't want this rock but loved the others so much. Simply put the others were pretty and shiny and this sad rock was ugly. I explained to her why we must never judge a person or anything for that matter by its outside appearance as it is what is on the inside that counts. She pondered this until we reached home where I had her fetch me a hammer. We wrapped her little rock in a cheap towel took it to the porch and under the light I hit it. It broke into 3 pieces and I gathered them up in my hands and dropped them into Brooke's. She gasped as the light hit the pieces and she saw the little crystals inside. We went inside and she sat by the light moving the pieces back and forth and talking non stop about how beautiful it was. Maybe now she has a slightly better understanding now of how what matters is on the inside. Thank you little geode for helping me teach my daughter a life lesson.





Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weight Loss Adventures.

This is hard for me to write as I don't like to admit my failures, no one does, right? It is important that I do though as I think accepting and owning up to it is a huge step, so here we go.

I have been a bigger girl most of my life, the smallest I ever was in the couple years before I got pregnant with my daughter and I was between 140 and 160 (I'm 5'9 mind you). When I got pregnant I also quit drinking, smoking, and everything else destroying my life at the same time. I settled down with my then 3 month boyfriend and we started our life together. Before this point I had been a runaway consuming only what people were nice enough to give me normally a sandwich or piece of pizza a day. More people we willing to give me alcohol and cigarettes as it seemed that was in excess with the people I hung around with back then.  I walked everywhere because I didn't have a license or car. So settling down with a job, car, and loving partner was something very different then what I had been dealing with. < A much longer story I still don't like to share.

During those 9 months of being pregnant I gained 100 pounds; I think a mix of quitting everything at the same time and having money to buy food aided my poor eating habits and quick weight gain. Since the day I had Brooke I have been trying to shed that weight... well in my head I was trying to shed it, in real life I was eating fast food when I was able to escape work for a few minutes, drinking frozen coffee drinks filled with sugar, gouge on fried foods, and not exercise. A couple years ago we decided to go healthier and we started eating what we grew, as well as local pastured meat, but the fast food still found itself in my belly a couple times a week, the coffee sometimes multiple times a day as work wore me out more and more.

At this point we are talking 5 years after my daughter was born and the only thing I had managed to do was gain an extra 20 pounds. I was ashamed I hated full body pictures of myself, I would look at the older pictures of me and cry. I had to make a change so about 6 months ago my husband and I decided to go healthy. We joined a gym and started going twice a week, we started eating even better, we made an effort. 2 months ago we ditched our deep fryer and now baked everything, we started eating low sugar, low fat foods, we ate less bread, more veggies, we cut out red meat (for the most part).

That brings us to the current. We work out twice a week, I stopped fast food but once in a GREAT while when I am so exhausted I just want to sleep, we eat pretty healthy, no more frying our foods, and we started monitoring ourselves. Since making slow changes 6 months ago we have improved our health, I can dance around the house with my almost 6 year old without tiring, and I have lost 22 pounds. I have a goal of being under 200 pounds by the end of the year and I will work towards that. Last week we had a cheat week, we went out to lunch and dinner a couple times and I gained 4 pounds, so I felt miserable but now I am back on track and ready to knock this out!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sewing Projects.

Since breaking out the sewing machine a couple weeks back I have been coming up more and more projects that I want to create. Right now though my main focus is a Black Mage cosplay costume for my dear friends husband. I am super excited about this challenge because it allows me to try new things like sleeves. I officially HATE cutting sleeves, I am sure I will hate sewing sleeves even more when that time comes though.

Current list of sewing projects:

Curtains for Brooke's room: She has already picked out and we purchased her fabric; its a lovely flower pattern in pink with glitter on it. We are going to do half window covers (also known as cafe curtains) to let more light in since our house is lacking natural light.
Curtains for the kitchen and living room: Once again we are doing cafe curtains in these windows since there is only 1 small window each and I like the sun but also like the privacy. We have not yet decided on a fabric for this yet.
Black Mage: Currently working on this as its a paid project and I am really excited about it. Sleeves have been designed and cut and soon I will being working the body and popped collar.

This is the black mage from Final Fantasy whose blue robe I am designing. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Adventures in Sewing: A Skirt for the Daughter



I broke out the sewing machine after 7+ years and dusted it off. After finding a simple skirt to try out I got cracking...
First I measured my little Brooke around the waist then added 10 inches then divide by 4.
Then I measured how long I wanted the skirt to be (since this is my 5 year old down to her knees was appropriate) then added 3.5 inches.
 I cut out her rectangles and got sewing. After 3ish hours I had a finished skirt for my Brooke to wear and I think she rocks it!

What to Plant in Zone 9: (Feb)


Plant Seeds of:
Beets
Carrots
Celery
Collards
Endive
Kohlrabi
Leek
Lettuce
Mustard
Parsley
English Peas
Potatoes
Radish
Turnips
Beans: Bush, Pole, and Lima
Cantaloupes
Sweet Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Peppers
Sweet potatoes
Pumpkins
Gourds
Squash
tomatoes
Green onions and shallots
Watermelon




What to do:
* Make sure Fall-planted strawberries are getting enough water so they produce fruit.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Looking to get ahead on next months planting for Zone 9?

 Go ahead and plant these things now as they will do great this month and next as they LOVE the Florida chill!! Remember to use Heirloom seeds!

Beets
Carrots
Celery
Collards
Endive
Kohlrabi
Leek
Lettuce
Mustard
Parsley
English Peas
Potatoes
Radish
Turnips

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: A City of the Falling Sky

I just finished reading A City of Falling Sky which you can get on amazon kindle (or the free app) for FREE right now (as of Jan 8th, 2014). The book had me hooked and I have only been reading that for days. Reading it during my lunch break, late at night, early in the morning, pretty much anytime I could. If you can look past the poorly edited parts where simple words are misspelled the book is simply amazing.

It follows a young student in a fictional city of Skyfall after being kicked out of their homeland. The first chapter leaps right in and I was confused for a few pages until things were made clear. In this city this young man must make friends and learn the ways of these city folk. There is a game called friction  which is the most popular thing in Skyfall. It is a virtual world that immerses the player in a suspended pod to link their body up to an avatar. They can then trek through different worlds and compete.

 The book is full of plot twists some that are so page turning you may just lose track of time completely as you dont want to set the book down. You have your bad guys and good guys but its well put together with great story telling. I laughed, and I even teared up in parts, I consider this a great read and for FREE I think everyone should give it a try! If you read it let me know what you think!

http://www.amazon.com/City-Falling-Seckry-Sequence-Book/dp/0957291205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389235430&sr=8-1&keywords=city+of+falling+sky

Friday, January 3, 2014

A January Tomato

With it being a mild winter so far the tomatoes are doing GREAT! Here is one I picked today!

All the folks up North right now have a white garden and me well I am just picking fresh tomatoes!

What to plant in January (Zone 9)

January:

Plant Seeds of:
Eggplant
Peppers
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Carrots
Celery
Collards
Endive
kale
Leek
Lettuce
Mustard
Parsley
English Peas
Potatoes
Radish
Turnips Beets
Chinese Cabbage
Kohlrabi
Green and Shallot Onions





 What to do:
* Remember to keep mulch around your vegetable plants to conserve moisture and reduce weed problems.
* Water at least 2 inches a week in dry spells.

Lost Time.

Here I am after so much time away. Back to banging away on my keyboard. Much has happened that stole away my attention though mostly it was completing my first semester in college and learning how to balance time proficiently. I hope to be back here more regularly as I start to fix up my little city homestead. The house these past couple months has gone from storing old junk to being purged and with shelves hung more space to display my many passions. Christmas has come and gone and my little Brooke was spoiled. This was the very first year that everything mattered to her. The decorations had to be just so, cookies had to be baked, stories read, and of course the lookout for the elusive Santa began. We tracked Santa's ride using Google earth all day Christmas with her popping in every 10 minutes asking where he was then. I loved it, it brought back that Christmas spirit I had thought I lost.

At this current moment in time I am awaiting the arrival of someone off Craigslist that will be giving 3 of our hens a new home. One thing this time in school has thought me was that I needed to lessen my load. So instead of 5 hens we will have 2, instead of 8 bunnies we have 4. The garden beds in the front yard have started being taken apart and moved to the back. It was to much work to keep up with both the back and front so I will plant trees and bushes in the front that require minimal work. The backyard has become a jungle weeds took over and with learning to juggle everything else I couldn't afford the time it needed. My husband and I will now start the journey to clean up, organize and revitalize the gardens and yard. Moving the chickens and rabbits around have created wonderful bare spots of highly fertilized ground that we will use for gardens. The back porch has been reclaimed for human use, bags of trash hauled to the curb, misc "trash" I wanted to re-purpose sadly passed on as I knew I would not have the time. The final result was amazing. A table and chairs ready for lunches, a hammock ready to be laid and read in, a swept floor that didn't send up a cloud of dust when stepped on. Perfection.

So slowly but surely my life is returning to normal. In just 10 days I will be starting my second semester of college where I will be taking writing, spanish, and algebra. Maybe a future post or two will be in spanish and need translation who knows? Anyways friends. I'm BACK!