Monday, April 30, 2012

Changes and Hopes

OK, first of all I do not like this new post- writing format (yes I said that.) Quit changing things! That said I'll be used to it in no time.
Well, I know it has been some time since the last post but things hava been changin here in the capital city. The wife, youngest boy and myself went over to Camp Lejeune this past Friday to see the oldest boy off on his next summer vacation to a far away land!

A good thing about the new technology nowadays is that we've already talked to him and he's been on FB several times. That will change in the near future so its all good right now. Sorry, no last names here.

On the garden front I have more plants going in preparation for their new home mid- May. It's late to get them in the ground for me but I'll take what I can. I did some more transplanting this past weekend and last count got about 32 tomato plants (another 7 showed up on the front porch tonight courtesy of a benefactor), 8 bush cukes, 10 munchers, 10 california wonder peppers, 6 carnival peppers, 8 hot salsa mix peppers, 6 zucchini plants, 6 black beauty eggplants, and a few more things that I'm not sure what they are. No potatoes or onions or carrots though. 

So while bored at work during lunch ( I take mine so I don't have to go out; saves money on the foods and gas in the truck) so I cruised a few of the blogs and found one talking about the soil block makers. Now, I have seen these in the past and always wondered if they worked as well as everyone says they do. For me lately its been buying the little compressed soil pills (no more peat pots for me; for some reason I can't get these damn things to grow anything right), add water and 'PRESTO', dirt. So, when I get bored, I go to gardening supply websites and just happened to buy a 2" block maker, with a couple of tomato packets (anyone need German Johnson or Eva Purple Ball seeds?) and some bush green beans I'm going to start in July to can this fall. I took some commercially available seed starting mix from the local big box store, mixed some water in, pressed and compressed and viola, blocks. 

Not quite the blocks I've seen on other sites so I am going to have to do some more research into a good soil combination for this maker. 

I can see the allure of using this thing. Squeezing the hell out of something feels pretty good.

On the home front we are getting closer to the closing date so that excitement is building. We visit nearly every weekend to do some measuring and my inspections on how they are doing everything wrong on the landscaping. One good plus for me is that everyday, twice a day, I will pass three (3) greenhouses/nurseries! Maybe it won't end up being a plus after all :) It seems they'll have about one more weeks' worth of work, maybe 1 1/2 weeks. 

WOF of the week. Nothing like some good ole sunshine.

Until next time....

May they all return home to us! Hope is powerful.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Frozen Planet

Watched the Frozen Planet series yesterday afternoon and evening and I must say that it is good TV.

These are the kind of shows I enjoy watching. No reality TV for me. I also watch HGTV and DIY Network when I get the chance although DIY is on my list as Ahmed Hassan is no longer on Yard Crashers! And I can't forget This Old House. Never really liked Villa but these new guys are fun to watch.
Back to Frozen Planet. Now if you've watched any of the other Planet series you know that you're in for a big reality check. First, Man is not at the top of the food chain. I'd say we'd be around 6 or 7. Secondly, the efforts of the filming crews and the shots they get are outstanding. There's a lot going on that you don't know about. Third, you find out just how fragile this planet is and how the activities of some have devastating impacts on others, namely the wildlife and planet itself. Now, I've never been one to go around and loudly beat the save our planet drum or join Greenpeace but we have as a family in recent years began to do more of what is responsibly correct for the environment. We recycle all household items that can be recycled, donate to Goodwill old clothing that maybe go into the trash (and if they are too bad they become garage towels), I recycle the motor oil from the vehicles, fill my cans with rain water, but there is more that we can do. Once we get the move complete, there will be a couple of composting containers and rainwater barrels that I'm making from food grade 55 gallon plastic drums, I'll be looking at a smaller, fuel- efficient car for traveling in and leave the truck at the house, use one metal bottle for our drinking water and rid ourselves of those plastic ones for good, and continue with our recycling efforts. We have upgraded the appliances with high efficiency units and are considering the front loader washing machine and dryer. If I'm able to get the gardens going this year, I'm planting main crops that can be frozen and/or canned. Of course I've spouted about solar energy so this fall I'm going to have someone come out and give me hard numbers for a system.

There are a lot of good ideas out there, more that I want to explore. Watch the series if you haven't.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Cruised outside this morning to load up the car and what do I see.

One of my marigold planters decided to bloom. Certainly made the morning brighter. Then I stopped in my tracks and realized that I hadn't checked on my new seedlings since Sunday. Upstairs I go to find this.

From this

All of this growth just by sitting next to a window. A little more water and they'd be good to go for a few more days. Not I just have to figure out what I exactly planted here. This is the growth since my post on Monday. Super dirt is all I can say. I'll take a look tonight at what we got here and check on the other plat I did this past Sunday. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

How Many People Can We Get In There Again?

Second weekend in a row that we had family come in. This time it was mine and it was good to see them. They really didn't come to see me, it was The Southern Ideal Home Show at the fairgrounds that brought them. That and to see the oldest boy before he deploys.
Saturday greeted us with bright and sunny skies so our plan was simple; cruise by the house, head to fairgrounds to see the home show, then the girls were going to go shopping and I was going home to do some stuff around the yard. The first part worked out OK as we got some measurements we needed and decided on a few more things. Off to the Home Show!
Now every weekend there's a big flea market at the fairgrounds. And this year it is even bigger. So now we have the home show and flee market. Oh wait, let's throw in a boat show too. If that's not enough we'll schedule roller derby on the same day in another building. And to top it off let's have the pipe and tobacco show in another building. You want to talk about a cluster f**k? It was.
This is the second home show of the year and much better than the first. Attendance was very good and there were a lot of vendors that were offering services and products we could actually use.

We ended up spending a good 2 hours roaming the aisles. By this time it was middle afternoon and the oldest boy wants to go out to eat tonight with his girlfriend and everyone else. Great, can we just cook out? No.  Ahhhhhhh. So, we decided to cruise the flea market instead and the girls will go shopping on their way out of town tomorrow. 
And there was crap everywhere. Everywhere! You can easily spend 2 hours walking the outside vendors. And there's more inside. 

We cruised outside for a while. Talked the wife out of a tobacco basket as I told her no holes in the vinyl siding. Went inside and found the perfect desk for the dining room turning into office.

The guy told us it was in a doctor's office and it had the original hardware on it. This thing is big! Showed the wife and she was convinced. Went to the other side of the building where his main station was to wheel and deal him on the desk (the wife did, I hate doing that) and found a perfect table to go along with the desk. It matches the kitchen cabinets great and can seat six.

He takes old furniture and refinishes them and he does great work. Sorry about the desk picture, I know it's shit. He made us a great deal on both pieces and said he would store them until we could pick them up. 

Off we go to one mall for makeup on sale, then to the busiest malls for dinner at 6:30. Cheesecake Factory had a 2 1/2 hour wait (why?) so Japanese Steakhouse it is. Did my first and last Saki Bomb and the food was great. Got home, went upstairs to change, sat down and took my shoes off. Woke up about 1/2 hour later and decided to be rude and went straight to bed. I was beat. 

Sunday was spent transplanting more peppers and eggplants and I started more tomatoes, cukes, cantaloupe, and anything else I could.  

I did another starting last week of watermelon  and miscellaneous items and they were sticking their heads up when I left this afternoon. This is a sight I never tire of. 

There was one thing that we've been considering and I'm sure I've brought it up before but I am too lazy to go back and look. There was a booth set up for solar energy. I talked to this person for a little bit and after considering a few options, she told me a system for our home would run about $30,000.00. But with the government credits, the local power company credits and tax rebates, our out of pocket expense would be about $4,000.00. She said return on investment would be a little over two years. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't. Even five years would be good. Here's a link that may provide more info.

Stay away from the fair grounds and see you later!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

And They Said That They Could Take It!


The tomatoes that is. They told me that they were stronger than they appeared but noooooooo, they were just Pansies.
Inlaws came in this past weekend to deliver the youngest boy and see the oldest one while he's home on his pre- deployment leave. Met with the Realtor Friday morning to look at more houses to see if anything else peaked our interest. A couple did but we decided to continue to wait for the short sale and give a solid date of another week of waiting before moving on. End of June is our move out date so that's motivation in itself. Spent the afternoon basically goofing off. Saturday morning arose so it was time to cut the hay yard and clean up that mess. Also cleaned up all of the siding on the house that was starting to grow mildew. We never had this problem in WV but it seems prevalent here in NC, at least in my area. Must be the high humidity? Anyway, got the cleaning done and decided that I would give my father in law some plants to take back to WV for his garden as I had so many and it seemed like I'd never get them in the ground this year. So away I went, bringing all of the plants outside and putting them into their bigger homes for the northward trip. At the time it didn't seem like I was out there that long but after the transplanting was complete, I had spent the better part of 4 hours in the sun with these self- imposing wannabees. Needless to say what I found the next morning in the garage was total death. Not total, but more like some decided to join their cult leader and take the ride to the hereafter.

I know it says image but as I sit here in Starbucks I realize that all of my pictures are on my flash drive at the office! I'll go ahead and let you imagine what will appear later. I will get the pictures uploaded tonight, promise.
The $1.00 tomato is exceeding all boundaries and is doing quite well. I removed a few of the  growing vines and left a few to continue their skyward climb.

Sunday was a new day and it appeared that there were some open houses to see so off we went like the Beverly Hillbillies, cruising every back road. I wanted to see a couple of places I picked off of the internet first so we drove to the first home and it was nice. Nice and quiet. Brand new and believe it or not the front door was unlocked. So as any good citizen would do, we went inside and had a look around. It was nice and we decided that this could be it. So I pipe up and said that 'there's one more but I'm not sure we want to drive down to see it.' 'Why not' everyone says so off we go again. Even nicer with more room and possibilities for more room than that. Forget the open houses, let's go with this one. Got a hold of our Realtor Sunday night via email (love technology when it works for me) and he put the wheels in motion Monday. And so we.....

Monday Evening:
So, after the obliteration of half of the lying tomatoes, I decided that I might as well transfer the peppers and eggplants so I could kill them too. Had a tear in my eye doing so as I listened to their little screams....... Actually, they are doing quite well. It's been cold the last few nights so they've all been in the garage with all of the other crap we are trying to pack but may just sell. I also decided that since I had a few more seeds of tomatoes, I'd go ahead and start some more plus start some squash since things were looking up. Killl some, kill them all is my motto.

Oh, continuing the story from above

1/2 acre lot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, with room for another 800 sq. ft. minimum. We should close May 18th! They had better finish it by then or the wrath of the Wife will come down.

Pictures tonight.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April??? Already???

My how times fly. Just seem like yesterday it was March. Tonight's broadcast is from a rural town in South Carolina because all of the hotels at the jobsite I visit are booked due to the Masters. Status update....
Been painting the rooms of the house to make them more appealing and less bumped up as they have been. Still filling boxes and putting them in the Pack Rat container (walked out of the container a few days ago and my little neighbor girl scared that shit out of me. I told her I was going to lock her in it and haven't seen her since! Not really but she did get me good), sorting items for yard sale, craigslist and ebay, and now have to get ready for company the next two weekends. The oldest boy came home this weekend after his fun in the desert while the Wife and youngest boy went to WV. We decided in the upmost stupidity to play golf Sunday morning. Thank goodness we didn't go to Pinehurst like we wanted, they would have kicked us off of the course. Awful. But we made it around in about 3 hours. Anyway as you can see we've been busy and it's about to get busier.
I still have all of my transplants going with the anticipation that we will get something soon but I may just end up giving them all away. Shame as I have some real good tomatoes going. Who knows, there may be something right around the corner.
I got a grateful acknowledgement from The Idiot Gardener on his blog about the Felbridge Garden Club. Seems like he has his hands full with the amount of work coming up. Go check it out and donate to a good cause if you can. He says the website is shit but I think it looks good. Better than I can do.
Periodically I check several webcams to see how the others in this world are doing. One of my favorite places to go is Cran Montana in the Swiss Alps. I love watching the golf tournament there each year and hope to actually attend it some day. You know spring is right around the corner when the snow pack starts melting away. A view of the 18th green.

A view of the village from the hotel. 

Since I have no pictures of my latest gardening adventures I will share this oxymoron. 

This SUV passes the youngest boy and myself and I told him, "take a picture of that." It had at least 3 cell antennas plus a couple of other ones on top but a sticker on the back window that said 'Hang up and Drive." 

It's getting late and I still have a drive ahead of me tomorrow morning so until next time, Hang up and Drive.