Saturday, June 28, 2008

On a recent thrifting venture I grabbed a few old Better Home and Gardens how-to books for .50 each. Some of the info was outdated, like the gardening book didn't list romaine lettuce and the sewing book included some rather ridiculous fashions. However, I found a dozen really cute ideas in 167 Things to Make for Children.
This wooden owl puzzle sounds relatively easy to craft.
This felt pillow is absolutely adorable!
Yummy breakfast!

A month ago, I went back to my hometown in South Carolina to say goodbye to my great-grandma on her death bed. At 28 years old, it was the first time I felt like an adult. It was the beginning of the first days of my true adulthood. I stood over my great-grandma knowing her last breath was drawing near; there was a calm acceptance about that fact. She was always as strong as an ox, both mentally and physically, and now the matriarch of our family was now dying.

One morning after I left the hospital I went for a drive in downtown Columbia to clear my head. I found myself finally discovering a part of me that I had been searching for nearly a decade.

My grandparent's house

This is Baby.

The State House.

View from the steps of the State House.

Strangely, I didn't take any photographs of family members. I didn't feel it was a good time to wave a camera in their faces. In her last week, she awoke to speak only once; it was in response to my voice, she opened her eyes, winked at me, and said, "I love you."

Six days later, she was gone.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Look who I found!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

On EARTH DAY 2008, I started an organic vegetable and herb garden.

I originally planted three types of tomatoes (Big Boy, beefsteak, and cherry), romaine lettuce, jalapeƱo peppers, green beans, carrots, cucumbers, and wild onions; along with rosemary, basil, dill, chives, and various wildflowers.

Everything grew amazingly fast. All my seedlings popped up three days earlier than expected, with the exception of rosemary.

However, being in Florida all it took was two days of neglect while out-of-town to kill off half the plants. I began to take this whole gardening thing a bit more serious after that loss.

I ran out to my local home improvement store (okay, okay...Home Depot) to purchase organic soil and three window planters. Carefully I separated the roots that attached each plant from the netting, inspecting them to see which plants seemed to have survived the best. Sadly, all I ended up being able to save were cherry and Big Boy tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and basil; along with a small portion of dill, wild onions, and chives. I was able to save one wildflower seedling. Surprisingly, the rosemary was looking better sans water.

My tomato plants were sad. Most of them had pathetic, yellow leaves so I put aside the six plants that had hopeful new growth sprouting. The romaine looked sullen as it drooped over the side of the seed container, some leaves sticking to the plastic. I pruned everything dead off the plants, loosened the soil and massaged the roots with my fingers before planting them in the window boxes. I kid you not, two days later the green had returned to even the saddest of tomato plants and the romaine looked cheerful once again!

A week later, everything had healed and began to reach for the sky. I began watering twice a day, because the Florida sun tends to dry them out fairly quickly. I also began to spray the plants with a water bottle several times a day.

I decided to give carrots another try with leftover seeds from the first batch. It only took three days for them to sprout. A week later, here we are with the carrots doing better this round (mainly due to my attention to their water needs; they were getting too much before being planted side-by-side with cucumbers) and the basil, romaine and tomatoes have all TRIPLED in size in seven short days.

I have seriously underestimated my green thumb and a tomato plants ability to aim big. I bought stakes today (actually, they are bamboo stakes for orchids, much more attractive than metal) and plan to buy some nice tin pails to re-pot the tomatoes in. The basil tastes delicious! It is plump and growing like a weed! The romaine has impressed me greatly; it's easily one of my favorite things to grow so far.

There is a small matter of pests, as with any garden. I have the ever-popular, yet widely-despised aphid crowd hanging around my romaine, white flies on the tomatoes, and what looks like leafminer tracks. Mind you there are only a few of these spotted, but as I have learned from other gardeners, three aphids easily turn into 30. I have decided to order ladybugs, green lacewings, and maybe some nematodes to help keep pests down without resorting to chemicals. I just need to do a little more research about these insects to make sure they stick around to do the job! :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

This journal was made for a new beginning.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be." - Douglas Adams

I am starting anew in a town I had long lost hope in and with each day realizing it's not half as bad as it could be.

I am house hunting for a small home to share with my daughter and two dogs. I have started dedicating time to learn the art of gardening and am actively making changes for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You can expect photos of anything from home design projects, thrift store finds, food porn, and everything in between.

This, folks, is what they call making the best of a situation. Enjoy!