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Archive for May, 2007

1/2 Price + 1/2 Price = Really Expensive

May 31st, 2007 at 11:12 pm

A couple weeks ago, I convinced my mom (didn't take much arm twisting) to buy all the begonia tubers at a local nursery since they were half price. She used to raise the most amazing begonias, and hasn't had any for about a decade I think.

She opened them up asap when we got home, dug out a throw away pie tin and added some of the new magic compost to it. Set in her little babies and they have been growing ever since.

This led to the flower pot search here. Everything too small to go on the porch. I tried all the nooks & crannies. Also tried listing on Freecycle & CL. Nothing.

So, off we went today to 1/2 price pots.
Wow, are there some lovely items there! We needed 3 pots, and they had to be BIG.... Read, expensive.....even at 1/2 price. As mom said, 'half price from what exactly?'

The total for the project, not counting the tad of dirt.......is just under $150.00. Not exactly the budget project I was hoping for. But, mom is thrilled and it is her money.... Smile They are tall enough she can reach them, they show from the house as well as from the front when people drive up.. I think we will get that much enjoyment out of them.

And, in the future, we only need to get the half price tubers, which should hold the cost down to under $20.00.

Spent half the day running errands and then we got too hot. Home til the sun goes down & then we have to head out again. I've done more shopping since moving here.......more than I usually did in a year! But, the projects on the TO DO list here all seem to require something to finish them up.

Spread some more dirt, stuck in some more onion sets and got some of the old plants moved to better locations. Almost to the end of the bedding plants mom routinely purchases each spring.

Definately at the end of my energy today!

Giving Notice

May 31st, 2007 at 01:23 am

After a bit of soul searching, (and the newest power bill arrival), it is time to give the "back yard people" notice to move on.

They were my mission & I've moved. It isn't fair to expect the others at the old house to try & work with these two. They have had one year next month, & have made much progress. (paying regular rent isn't on the list however)

The idea is to have the property rented, both the rooms inside and the areas out back. This should keep enough monies coming in to cover the expenses, if not make a bit of income.

I know I'll get involved in some sort of mission work, I'll just need to get a bit more creative, or take a bit of a break from it while here with my mom.

Worked outside before breakfast.....as that was the only cool time here today. The yard is coming along nicely and I can see my efforts paying off. I am coming up with some interesting difficulties being in the city. I can't cut a whole bunch of things down with my chainsaw as there is no burning here. So, each week I'm chopping down a van full of brush and taking it to the other house for the burn pile. I can compost here still (although the neighbors complained to mom about the food on her compost pile.......so can only do yard waste) but most of the things are so overgrown it would take years to break down.
And, the real eye opener for me is I'm already running out of room! I've never had a problem, since I've had acreage & could just make gardens until I ran out of energy or daylight. I'm having to hold plants until I can come up with a creative solution as to where they can be planted! (I'm pretty sure the lawn is going to be alot smaller by fall!)

Hoping to harness some freecycler with a strong back; have advertised free trees here this week. I need to clear a path to get the mower to the back forty and there are a couple really pretty evergreens right in the way. Too big for me to dig & transplant and too nice to just cut down and burn. Crossing fingers for some positive (and strong) responses!

Gardening Update

May 30th, 2007 at 02:30 am

I figure I have made it to the half way point on the compost spreading event here. Getting progressively more tired and a tad sore. The rain over the week end made the dirt twice as heavy it seems.

I added a row of beets, along with a couple rows of cosmos from seed. Stuck in a couple dozen onion sets for good measure and transplanted some veggie starts that were apparently in the wrong place. Fairly wimpy versions of brocolli and brussel sprouts. With the new compost, perhaps they will come around.

Planted the cucumbers and zuchinni I had started from seed. Felt very frugal doing it this way rather than purchasing starts at the nursery.

Found stakes for the dahlia tubers that got divided and re planted yesterday and got half of the annuals in the ground.

Made good use of the patio furniture that I'd just put out.......There is nothing like sitting in your garden, viewing all your hard work! Smile

Just when I was thinking I was coming real close to having everything in the ground, a friend drove up with 4 pots of perennials from her garden for us. We had mentioned when seeing her yesterday, that we were putting in a new garden. So, we're blessed with 2 types of iris, a pot of flags, and a great lupine plant. It pays to 'talk' gardening with others..... Everyone needs to divide their perinneals & is usually looking for others to share with.

Crossing my fingers re; the weather & the garden tomorrow. We're supposed to be in the high 80's ....not exactly transplanting weather.

Surprised Myself

May 29th, 2007 at 05:13 am

I was enjoying my morning, coffee & emails sort of day....just sorting through a couple lists I subscribe to, when I had a Wow moment. There, on a cooking list, was www.frugalgardening.com
Big as life.

The question had been raised about saving water, and there was an article I had submitted about rain barrels and saving rain water. Too fun. I still am surprised anyone reads the articles, let alone refers anyone to them.... So, it was a fun way to start my day.

We did attend our little towns Memorial
Day service this AM. Nice the weather straightened out and didn't rain on us, as it is held outdoors. (scary thing to do in WA state!) Sat with my old Camp Fire leader at the service, got caught up on the news from all the other "girls". Invited another friend who we met there to come back with us for lunch. Fun afternoon, no cost fun.

Worked in the new garden the rest of the day........most of the new plants are in the ground, a few more wheelbarrows of compost are spread and we're able to see progress.

Looking forward to tomorrow, nothing, absolutely nothing on the schedule.

Gleaning Day Here

May 27th, 2007 at 09:30 pm

Took mom with me on the glean for the food bank this AM. Easier day all round. The manager was coming out the back door when I arrived, saving me tons of time and a long walk to the front of the store in the rain. Only half the food today too, so it will be slim pickings at the food bank for the clients, but it took me less time. I'm pooped. Hauled 500 lbs of food out, in the van, out and into the food bank. Oh, and then I hauled the spoiled food to my other house for the chickens this week.

Scalped my gardens, bringing bouquets home with us for the cemetery tomorrow. Also dug up boxes of plant starts and some of the garden sculpture pieces I've collected.

Definitely pooped. Mom & I went out to breakfast again after the mornings work. Nice to just sit and visit. Breakfast is a cheaper meal when going out....plus, we only do 2 meals then for the day. Works out well for us.

Pouring here today, so no gardening. Have brought a van full of plants from my other garden to start here....but I'm willing to wait for a dry day. Gotta love these perennials; they just keep producing more plants at no cost. A frugal gardeners dream. Mom has always had annuals each and every year, with no perennials to speak of. This is fun teaching her another way to garden....and odd too. She is a fantastic gardener, so it seems peculiar to be telling her anything!

I'm planning an afternoon of knitting, which is just about as active as I want to be the rest of the day! Smile Oh, and a few freecyclers visiting this evening........I'm starting to give away my dads back forty collection of lumber. So, there will be a bit of traipsing through the woods I guess.


Lifes Good

May 27th, 2007 at 04:23 am

So far, life is very good after moving to my moms. I feel so good being able to do things to assist here on a daily basis. Plus, we're having so much fun.

When I would come for a few days, it always seemed like we had a deadline for everything, and time would go by so fast.

Now, not many deadlines......but time is still whooshing by. Can't believe it is almost the end of May!!!

We had a massive TO DO list made out for today and almost made it through the whole thing. I found a great electrician, referred from a friend, who came for a walk through of the empty rental. He wasn't scared of the old construction, nor the small job....I do think we'll hire him for the necessary work on the place.

The Saturday market was just opening up when we finished our electrical meeting, so off we went for a stroll through the booths. We bought a pound of cherries and 2 pieces of hand dipped chocolate that was better than any I've ever tasted! Heaven! Not exactly on the food plan, but who wants to live without chocolate??

Then, errands for mom, and out to lunch to celebrate our almost deal with a new renter & the pretty sure we're hiring the new electrician. Any excuse will do for a celebration here!

While out, mom had spotted a rhododendron that is in bloom here in WA right now. It truly is gorgeous, & she has none like it. So, off to a nursery to see if we can spot one like this.....and voila, we did. I love watching my mom spend money, as I never remember her doing that when I was a kid. The new plant is perched in the new garden space while we evaluate where exactly we want to plant it.

I Survived

May 26th, 2007 at 05:01 am

Survived........but barely. Yesterdays event with the autistic kiddo coming to "help" spread the truckload of compost went as well as it could. We got at least half the pile of dirt spread, the brand new garden bed is ready to plant and I lived through the whole experience.

This young man truly LOVES to use a wheelbarrow, but is driven to go FAST. I mean really fast. I can hardly keep up with him if I haven't prepared the beds before he gets started. ( I was pretty organized for yesterday)

We stopped a couple times for him to eat, us too.....but barely. He eats as FAST as he does anything else, so back to the garden we went, no matter if I was done or not.

The later the afternoon got, the less energy I had and the more wound up my young man was getting. Bless mom for speeding up dinner & getting it on the table....in we went for a meal I can hardly remember since I was so tired!

Bag up the kiddos work boots, take one more picture of him with half a pile of dirt now.......and motored him back to his new house.

I'm still tired today....but I did manage to get in some more yard work. No money spent today, but lots of projects crossed off the list. I'm proud of myself re; one that was looking like I'd need some help. My dad had installed the water pipes & faucets to the back 40 here with a master shut off valve.....located about 24" underground. I had found it, and dug it clear....but then couldn't figure out how to reach it to turn it on. Today, while looking for a tool to finish yet another job....I found his one of a kind tool he had made to reach this valve & we have water to all the faucets!

I dug around the property the last couple days scrounging up bricks to replace the broken ones on a planting area (again my dads creation). Found enough to do the job and today figured out how to get the broken ones out and got the new ones installed.....and didn't have to pay anyone else to do it.

Feel victorious, tired......but victorious! (small things float my boat)

Freecycle Frenzy

May 24th, 2007 at 03:46 am

Every time my mom gives any hint she could part with something......or a group of somethings.....I box or bag it up and list it on Freecycle.

We have been REALLY busy today, just keeping the people straight. We sent a couch and loveseat to a new home....bless that guy, mom can now park in the garage! A mattress & box spring, lamp, ironing board and iron made their way to a new home too..... A big box of vases, you know the kind that seem to grow under the kitchen sink?? A big bag of chocolates we didn't need here, a light fixture, dahlias that weren't the right color for the new garden and almost anything else that wasn't nailed down!!

I think I'm tiring my mom out! Smile

We broke down & hired a young man from next door for an hour. I was trying to remove some sod prior to the new compost getting spread tomorrow & was coming up OLD! This kid finished the job in an hour (or less). Good decision, definitely a good place to spend $15.00.

Another lunch out today, free to us as we were scheduled to be mystery diners. Had the yummiest salad I've had in ages......grilled shrimp & spinach.

Finacially.......some money out, some will get reimbursed and I made a phone call for mom, getting dads retirement benefits sent again. They have been messed up since 07 apparently & mom didn't notice. First hint I might need to step in a bit more here...

Heading to bed to get ready for a LONG day tomorrow. Bringing the autistic kiddo here to spread compost. Believe it or not, it's one of his favorite things to do. Work boots, huge wheelbarrow and constant moving, everything that floats his boat. We'll see how far we can get on these 8 yards of yummy dirt in the driveway!

Name That Bug!

May 22nd, 2007 at 11:36 pm

I'm working in the new to me garden (seems like I've been doing that now for awhile) and I kept turning up these odd bug/larvae type critters.



Anyone have an idea as to what this is?

They are located in the sod I'm tearing up......they are right in the root area, so only about 1"-2" under the surface.

I can't get a picture to turn out any better, although I tried. Thank goodness for digital, I'd hate to think of all the film I'd just taken of a BUG.

He (she, it??) wiggles at the front end (assuming it's the front end) but doesn't seem to have legs. I've watched it for a bit on the surface of the ground and it doesn't burrow....

The 2nd half of my problem is the lawn is full of ridges. Not that you can see, but when walking on the lawn it feels like the sand on the beach when the tide has gone out and left the ridges...
Wondering if these critters have anything to do with the weirdness of the lawn.......or if they are a food supply to something else that is doing the nasty work to the lawn?

I have a bug-in-a-cup that I'll be taking to the garden center tomorrow to see if there is anyone there that can identify this critter.......but, I thought I'd try this avenue too. I've never seen anything like this before.

Cheaper Equals .............Hard Work

May 22nd, 2007 at 04:21 am

I'm a firm believer in that......if I want to save money, I need to be willing to work hard. Neither one being my favorite word!!

Today was a good example. I could have hired someone to do the patio cleaning event. Or, I could have saved some money renting a pressure washer..... But, we did this ourselves with almost no cost.

Mom had bought a gallon of some sort of plant friendly cleaner, that was supposed to work magic. I brought my extreme nozzle for the hose and we got out a couple old push brooms. With a couple applications of the cleaner, some good exercise on the end of both brooms....we now have an almost new looking 40 year old patio.

So, work and time ........and a great job done for very little expense.

What to Pack?

May 20th, 2007 at 01:30 pm

This is an odd move..........I'm moving, but not. Returning each week end for at least an overnight......and then back to moms.

So, the question as I look at anything here is....do I want it here, or there? Or, the better question, do I want it at all?

I've been keeping the freecycle list moving right along this week end, CL too, with posts of things I'm not willing to move, or pack up here. Voluntary Simplicity at it's best!

Almost done with my week end responsibilities here at the "old house", lawns mowed, sewing job almost finished (some hand work left on it, had to save it for daytime) and another van load of my things ready to load up after the food bank/gleaner job this AM. Even fit in a load of laundry & got it dry on the line.

No money spent this week end, but will be buying gas before leaving tonight. One more plus at moms, is her little Mazda. Way better than the van re; gas consumption.

Back to the packing.....have an odd load, clothes, fresh eggs, the pots of flowers from the garden (since they didn't get watered while I was gone) and all the household files.


Between Two Homes

May 19th, 2007 at 12:25 am

I'm back to the old house this week end, since my week end young man is here today.

Feels so odd being here among all these people!!! I have to admit, life at moms is just so relaxing. This week end is really going to cement the move for me I think. I'm feeling resentful at almost every turn here.

I mowed all the lawns, because room mate person didn't take time last week to meet with me re; the big mower. I refuse to turn over the keys to it until I see if she can manage. Otherwise, I'm going to have her buy her own mower to maintain the place.

Most all of the food for my young man is from the freezer, so that part is a piece of cake for me. I do have a ton of weeding to do & am so thankful it is going to rain the next couple days, so watering is off the list.

Chickens seem to be doing fine, with the limited care I know they are getting.

Will do my grocery store glean for the food bank on Sunday morning, then back here to feed the hens.........and then pack the van for moms. I do need to unpack it first I guess.....I've brought a full load of scrap wood to burn in our burn pile. My dad has saved everything since they bought this property in the 40's, so it is a bit of a junk yard. I figure I'll have it cleaned up in about 30 years!

Also fitting in a sewing job tomorrow, hemming a formal for a pick up on Sunday.

So, it will be a busy couple of days for me..... Room mate person is also holding another Barn Sale today through Sunday, so it is a bit zoo like outdoors. Approx 25 cars here on the property since I got home.