Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oh, and when I do get around to gardening...

I'm going to use this guy's fertilizer! Not only because its all natural, organic fertilizer (made from worm poop!) packaged in recycled plastic soda bottles(!), but because I'm a sucker for the little business guy trying to "think outside the box" and come up with something creative. Seems like the big corporations just can't stand it when someone tries to come up with an innovative way to do business, or with a truly innovative product. Or rather, they can't stand that they didn't come up with it.

In this case, Scott's, maker of Miracle Gro, is suing the 25-year-old founder of Terracycles for copyright infringement. They are claiming that consumers will get confused and accidently buy Terracycles instead of Miracle Gro because the packaging is too similar. You see, Terracycles is also packaged with a green and yellow motif, and has a picture of blooming flowers. After hearing about this product, I decided to support the little guy and bought some of his fertilizer at my local Home Depot. And it did take me a moment to locate the fertilizer amongst the many varieties of fertilizer and other products on the shelves at HD, as I had to really look at the labels to find the Terracylces among the dozens of products with blooming flowers on the front of the packaging, many also in green and yellow. Oh, and there's a lot more Miracle Gro product on the shelves.

But I found it, and bought a bottle of spray on fertilizer for me, and one for my mom (who knew nothing of the lawsuit but was quite taken by the use of recycled soda bottles for packaging). It's not much, but hey, cute 25-year-old entreprenuer guy who's getting sued by Scott's, here's $6 for your cause. Not only do I support your cause, but I'm never going to buy Miracle Gro again (even their new organic brand!)

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

In keeping with the pretty flower theme from the previous post, today's post will ruminate on the type of gardening I would like to do in my yard. We'll call it "Dream Gardening" or "Future Gardening Plans." First thing I want to do is get some containers going for the patio. While it is a covered patio, there should be enough sunlight hitting the edges between the houses to sustain some healthy plants. I'm thinking rectangular planters with herbs and flowers. Well, right now, maybe just flowers, as it's a little late to be starting any herbs.

Another backyard project that I don't want to wait too long to do is to is trim back all the freakishly overgrown trees back here. At one point, the previous owner planted a number of small trees; the next door neighbor says she had intended for them to be hedges. Only the resident after her didn't keep up with them and we have massively overgrown trees with branches strangling each other left and right. A lot of the trees have branches brushing up against the house as well (they were causing roof damage, but the roofers trimmed back some of those). Not to mention, the overgrown trees are blocking my view of the backyard.

We also have this lovely area in front of the stone wall, currently occupied by some flimsy, skinny trees. I think most of these trees will eventually be removed--especially the two that are falling down. I'd like to expose the wall a bit more so that I can use it aesthetically somehow.

The vivid oleander bush will stay, but in the fall I'm going to cut it way back so that I can use the existing planter space in front of it. This is a prime area that gets good sun, so I'm actually thinking vegetables here. Not sure which, but man, I really want to start a vegetable garden. Especially now that grocery prices seem to go up every week. Of course, as the only real vegetable eater in this family, I'm gonna have to get very creative with my cooking. I mean, Z eats veggies, but not as much as she used to--she now has to kind of be "in the mood." It sucks.

These trees here grow way too close to the side of the house and need to be cut back by the wall.

So, anyway, container gardens and tree trimming--my first year plans for my backyard. That, and ruminating on what to do next year...

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Backyard surprise

I have a passion flower vine hiding in the bushes. It's actually an escapee from my neighbor's yard, but who cares? It's everywhere. I've only seen a couple of flowers, and a couple more buds, but I'm hopeful for a nice little flowering vine in the near future. It's a gorgeous flower, almost alien-like with its tendrils, and it smells divine. Yea neighbors that garden!

I did finally meet the nice lady next door. She's lived in the hood for 15 years, and seen lots of people come and go, mostly due to "divorce," spoken with eyeroll. Really, I think she's mostly noticed yards, as she's an avid gardener. Her backyard is nicely landscaped, with a cute little pool and a fountain that has a resident turtle. She's working on a butterfly bush that she's training to run up the fence between our yards, which, if successful, will be quite the beautiful barrier.

Of course, the reason I finally introduced myself was because she'd stealthily mowed my front yard. I thought that was a little weird. I mean, it was a little long, but I'm pretty sure the nice high school boy next door (the other next door) was planning on mowing it this weekend for me. Did she already think us slackers? How could she tell? Hell, I don't even own a lawn mower--I was so happy to have the high schooler come over and offer. The plan actually had been to buy a mower (it's still in the long-range plans) and start to do my own lawn, but hey, if a 15-year-old boy wants to do it for me for $20, I'm going to let him. Besides, he could use the money (probably on dope, but hey, he's 15...)(Not that I suspect my nice new neighbor boy of being a pothead; it's more like I suspect all high school boys to be potheads. I was a high school teacher, after all.) (sometimes I go a little crazy with the parentheses.)

Anyway, while I'm not 100% sure she didn't mow my lawn because she thought it looked like crap, I don't really care. The lawn looks much nicer. The backyard still looks like crap, but I'll let the 15yo have that one.

Speaking of backyard, here's a picture of part of mine:

The oleander bush in the back corner is out of control, but I'm probably just going to let it flower all summer before I cut it back. In fact, the whole gardening thing will probably have to really wait a year before I can attend to it. But I am very excited about the potential of the yard. It's a good size, though not the typical giant-size of many Austin backyards. It's defining feature is the large, white masonry sound wall that blocks some of the noise from McNeil. Surely one can do something really special with that, I'm just not sure what. Right now, there are a line of flimsy trees in front of the wall--seriously, one is actually only propped up with a piece of wood. Another is at a 45 degree angle. It's stupid. I need to attack the trees with a pruning bush (the neighbor mentioned this as well, as some of the trees are rubbing against the fence). Of course, I know squat about pruning, but arborists can be pretty expensive, so I'll probably go the instant internet expert route. And good luck to me when I do.

Oh, one more thing: Tricia requested more pictures of the my kitchen to accompany my last entry, so I'm going to add them to the previous entry in the appropriate places. Why not?

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I see floor!

We are settling in, even though there are still many boxes full of CRAP! surrounding us. Really, so much freaking CRAP!, I don't even know what all of it is. I had a couple of boxes of kitchen stuff that I'd not bothered to unpack for a couple of years and found a few things I'd totally forgotten about. Like the fancy silver serving platter. For all those fancy dinners I host. It was still in the box, a 7-year-old wedding gift. (My apologies if you gave it to me.)

In any case, I've actually run out of storage space in the kitchen. The kitchen is big, but it's mostly empty square floor space. There really isn't much counter space, and actually one counter seems to have gone missing. There's a wall cabinet, hanging over nothing. Surely there was something there at one time, no? No matter, I'll just have to buy something, or find something, preferably something with drawers, because I'd like more drawers. There are only two decent sized drawers in the kitchen, and two skinny drawers that hover over their matching skinny cabinets. Really, what are you supposed to put in these 8" wide things? Right now i have linens and CRAP!.
(Seriously, dish towels and a plastic bag full of empty, unmarked spice jars.) There's another 8" drawer over an 8" door that opens into a bigger cabinet, but since the opening is so thin, I only have thin things in there. Like my narrow blenders, and that espresso machine that I've used maybe 30 times in 8 years.

WTF were the builders thinking? Were they laughing when they installed the cabinets? I think they were.

So, some day, when I have money, I'll find something to go under the wall cabinet, and I'd also like to get some kind of kitchen cart/island on casters, to get more counter space. I'll need at least one largish space to roll out the dough for all those homemade pies I make. Mmmm pie.

Just kidding, I've only made two homemade pies, and they had graham cracker crusts.

Kitchen bitchen aside, I really love this house. It's got a great, wide open and welcoming vibe to it. I love the cavernous living/dining area with it's pretty wood floors (even though there are still way too many boxes in it). I love the master bedroom and even the craptastically huge master bathroom with the ugly wallpaper. And I really love the upstairs gameroom/office, where I spend much of my time working on the computer in front of windows that overlook nothing but tree branches and the neighbor's roof, and nothing looks back at me except sky and eaves.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

house before/after

Wow! Look at all that room for the boxes!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New Pool House

My first thought upon writing is, "Thank effing gd April is over." It mostly sucked hard--I spent most of its days writhing in my own innards. It was ridiculous, really. And even after all the mortgage-related stress, there was the typical oh-my-god-we-just-spent-a-crapload-of-money anxiety.

But now May is here, and while it still hasn't hailed, we are all slowly starting to calm down and get a grip. I mean, we're moved! And hopefully we won't move again anytime soon, because I'm over it.

I know, you all want pictures. Well, I don't have any yet, but will soon, I promise.

In any case, if you need a new address, shoot me an email. Phone #s are the same, though one of these days I swear I'm going to get an austin # for my cell phone.

Oh, and my friend Debra had her baby! Check out the picture on her blog.