Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trial and Error Gardening: An Eco-friendly lawn and 55-gallon drum planters

Today was a big day in the yard, Woo!
We made the conscious decision to be Eco friendly in caring for the lawn last more scary pesticides or fertilizers. You know it can't be good when the warning label is longer than the list of ingredients.
We used Eco Smart Organic Insecticide (which smells a lot like wintergreen milk of magnesia) and Scotts Organic Lawn Food. We may have done better had we not shopped at a big box store, but it's a step in the right direction seeing as the stuff the hub used to use was toxic. My goal for this go around was to use products that wouldn't hurt our water supply and wouldn't hurt our puppy...she likes to eat grass and has a very sensitive tummy.
So Eco-Friendly Friends unite! Please pray that this stuff works GREAT on our lawn so the hub is sold on it too!

We started the morning making our list and gathering supplies. I've been saving toilet paper tubes and egg trays for months!

The goal? Plant corn in a container...specifically half a 55-gallon drum.
We got 3 of them from my father-in-law a few years ago. We used them to store camping equipment, we turned one into a rain barrel, and we had 2 failed attempts at compost bins (no holes for aeration...stinky but it did make some good organic matter!

We hosed them off, marked the "middle" with a strap and hub hacked them in two.

I filled them each with a mix of organic potting mix, cow manure and potting soil and turned it all in with a bit of water to feed the seeds...

I sectioned off the barrel with some dowels I had laying around from banners I turned into curtains and used a tp tube to remove a plug of soil for each corn seed.

I planted two half-barrels with 8 sections of Golden Cross Bantam which has a 7 to 10 day germination period. Once the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, I'll add another layer of soil to keep the stalks strong. My goal is for the "block" planting style to aid in self pollination. If that doesn't happen then we'll play some Barry White and shake the stalks on a moonlit night

The next half barrel is home to stringless Blue Lake Pole Beans which have a germination period of 6 to 8 days and can climb up to 6 ft tall. I made a tee-pee trellis (as opposed to the tp tubes used with the corn) with 8-ft Bamboo dowels

In the next half I planted the Bush bean variety of Blue Lake beans. These seedlings should emerge in 7 to 14 days It will be interesting to see if there is a different flavor or texture to the bean. Honestly, I didn't do this on purpose and had I noticed they were both in the same family I may have picked different seeds but, it will be fun to watch the pole beans climb the trellis and both varieties keep well through drying or freezing...I may even try pickling some!

This was another "accidental gardener" incident.
The wheelbarrow broke while transporting all the supplies from the truck so... I turned it into a planter and have 2 rows of Bloomsdale spinach marked with more banner dowels. We LOVE spinach so this is one accident I'm hoping pans out. The seedlings emerge in 8 to 10 days.

Hub noticed the wheelbarrow was propped up on a cinder block and suggested I flip the block so I could use the holes as planters...woot woot! Burgundy beans there. We should start to see them peek through in a about a week. Too bad they don't stay purple when their cooked!

Radishes 4 - 6 day germination period
I finished out the day trying some seeds in left over containers.

Fennel  8 - 12 day germination

Green Onions 8 days to germination

Left: this year's dwarf banana. Right: last year's dwarf banana resurrected

I rescued last year's dwarf banana plant. We thought we had lost it to the un-Florida-like cold we had this year but it was peeking up from under the grass so I transplanted it into a pot and placed it next to a mentor.

And finally...
I planted some mint in my new hanging planter. I'm seeing mojitos in my future!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturdays in the garden....and the recycling bin

strawberries 4/17

chives seeded 4/17
successful rosemary hemispherectomy?

tomatoes 4/17

more tomatoes (patio tomato variety) 4/17

Bell Peppers  4/17
So as you can see we have some new growth and some new additions!
Grandpa's strawberry pot
I planted the chive seeds yesterday in a spare pot I had because I'm just ready for a grow little chives grow! We also got this uber cool strawberry pot from my hub's sister. It used to belong to their grandfather and hub swears it's nearly as old as he is. I love the age it's Enlichened ~grin~
I'm not sure yet what I'll plant in it as I'm still in trial phase with our first strawberry pot of the season...any ideas or suggestions?

I'm also very proud of our blossoming recycle bin!
I finally got serious about recycling our boxes and came up with a system that seems to be working.
I keep a bag in the mud room just over the garbage can that collects the week's used boxes then once a week the whole lot get's transferred to the recycle bin outside. It keeps the single boxes from being taken by the wind and the ever filling bag is a reminder to keep them out of the trash!
I was so proud, I had to share a picture
woot bin less worth of stuff in the landfill!
woo hoo smaller footprint

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hair Salad

I used to use these...
But a year ago I phased them out and switched to these...

A few months ago I ran out of this and I won't buy any more...
I've looked, I've thought about it
but I just can't bring myself to do it

I'm lovin the 'poo free life
and the only day I really feel 'meh' about my hair is the FIRST day I wash now that I'm not using curl enhancing curls are well, not curly

I'm willing to accept that this could just be my need for change.

Yesterday while riding in the fully mirrored elevator thinking to myself " hair looks like poop," a fellow passenger said "Gosh your hair is just Gorgeous"
"Who me?" --no I didn't say that out loud did change my thinking for the day

I was using flax seed gel (1 Tbsp ground flax seed in 1/2 cup warm water, let it set until it thickens) This is also a GREAT replacement for eggs in your favorite baking recipe...
That was making my hair shiny, but didn't really do much for my curls

So...time for the next phase in hair salad.
Just call me 'Balsamic Babs'
This morning I used Olive Oil
I smeared a bit on my hands and scrunched my curls like I would with mousse. (Whatever was left on my hands I used as moisturizer for my hands and face).

The verdict?
Well my hair is softer
my curls look like I did something with them
but I don't think I used enough...which is definitely better than using too much and I'm SURE I erred on the side of caution

I'll keep you posted.
Anyone out there have any suggestions?
As you can see...I'm willing to try anything once :P

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

all because I answered the phone...

A year ago life as we knew it changed.
6 months ago I stopped answering the phone
If I didn't recognize the number, it went to voice mail
If there was no message...well then it must not've been important.

I hated this
I hated it because I knew the calls were coming from companies I owed money
I pay my debts
But when income does not meet out-going, well...choices need to be made.

A month ago, I started answering the phone and one by one I checked creditors off my list
Paid off 3 and brought 2 others up to date
and the phone stopped ringing

It's a big deal for me to answer the phone
for some reason or another, I just don't DO well on the phone
I'm a face to face or in type kind of conversationalist and truth be told...I'd probably always default to text or email if I could.

The phone started ringing again a couple of weeks ago and the ignore button began an intimate relationship with my right thumb.
There was still ONE out there
The one I didn't agree with
The one that dumped me WHILE I was a model customer
Because THEIR bank was having problems
The one that ignored all of my communication, jacked my rates and my fees and wouldn't take my calls I wasn't taking theirs!
Quid pro quo, Clarisse!

I did use the card and I still had a balance

Today, I answered the phone
I plead my case...rather eloquently according to my co-workers...
They offered me a hardship settlement
I explained again, "Um, no...just because I happened to be going through a hardship during the SAME chronological time period as we experienced our issue does not mean I need a hardship settlement...what happened to our financial relationship was NOT  MY  FAULT. As you will see by looking at my records, I stayed current and then some. You dumped me, then you raised my rates. I called to discuss it and you refused my I stopped paying you,"and they agreed.

They admitted they did not respect me as a customer and my impeccable history with them and that I got the short end of the stick!
I offered to pay what I TRULY owed...before the rate change, before the late fees...before the break-up.
My account is duly noted...I made him read it back to me, different times so I could be sure he wasn't just fluffing...
"Customer's line of credit was rescinded due to no fault of her own. Upon review of her account history we find no reason for this action and have cleared all late fees and reinstated the original rate of interest."

I answered the phone
I plead my case
I spoke my truth, even though my voice may have been a bit shaky
I stuck to my guns
I won

and best of all...
I'm taking care of what I owe and...
my phone is not ringing anymore.

Sorry'll have to find a new hook-up

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dinner Harvest

Cilantro and a Cubanelle pepper sautéed with a bit of Garlic added just the right flavor to our black bean tostadas! yumm

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring is in the Air

This weekend the hub and I were kid free and we took in the Winter Garden Bloom and Grow Festival.
On the way there, I spotted a side-of-the-road tool sale so we busted a U-ey and dug through plastic trays filled with old tools and treasures. I was immediately brought back to my dad's workshop in the basement when I was a kid...that greasy but not dirty smell of old tools...and it was nice :)

Digging was worth it because we scored these old school kitchen gadgets
and the hub scored an old FORD belt buckle that he promptly ressurrected with some love and some Brasso.

I've always loved kitchen gadgets, old and new and I'm weighing display options for these goodies now.
I could do a shadow box idea on top of my cabinets. They don't go all the way to the ceiling so the soffit is free display space. I was also thinking maybe a mobile or chandelier...
I'm sure something will come to me.

What I DID figure out is that I need to bring my camera on these escapades. The old guy running the impromptu tool sale was a wealth of information and had a cool story for every funky item there was! He had old horse tail combs and shoemaker stands, a great accent and a warm weathered complexion with more smile lines than wrinkles although his hands told a hard working story. My camera isn't a little put it in your pocket number, but it takes amazing photos and I have committed to getting to know it in the truck it's gotta go. The case will give me a good place to clip my sigg bottle.

We met a local beekeeper who holds montly beekeeping potlucks. He doesn't charge for his classes, everyone needs to bring a covered dish. We share a meal and then go out to work with the bees.
I am UBER excited about this because I've wanted a bee box forever but the hub doesn't want it on our property for safety reasons (makes sense). Mr Bee Man said "there are plenty of folks who will let you keep bees on their land." WOOT WOOT! "And, you can pay them in honey" WOOT WOOT WOOT!
So, the next 'dinner class' is May 23rd and I'm gonna try to get us a reservation!

Downtown Winter Garden is a pleasant stroll even when there ISN'T an event going on. This weekend was definitely a pleasure cruise! Local gardeners and craftsman without the cheesy crafts or the upscale art, just comfy with people from all walks of life and dogs everywhere ;)

It's a downtown district that has fought to keep it's charm with many of the stores in restaurants occupying buildings that have been in families for years. They've recently restored the downtown theater and have great performances and movies less than 10 miles from our house. The latest buzz is the produce guy who moved in not long market freshness 7 days a week! LOVE IT!

Further down the road were all the food vendors.
Now, I usually don't even LOOK because it's either fried (eww fried twinkies really?!?) or glutenous
But...there was an Arepa Stand! Arepas are GLUTEN FREE (we quizzed the guy to make absolutely positively sure) mmmmmm it was sooo good! I forgot how much I loved them and it made a GREAT lunch. I think I might try creating them at home because they'd be great with some fresh veggies inside and we should be harvesting soon!

I don't have picture updates but...
tomatoes are doing great
cubanelles should have a few ready this week
bell peppers are belling
harvested some cilantro...MAN I love that stuff!

rosemary brother is a half brother now...but neglecting him as a reader suggested, has at least revived part of the plant
...and this is the newest addition to the porch...I think I'll use it for Chives
I've always wanted one.
I first saw them when I was preggers with Bm and selling candles on the festival circuit but we lived out of a warehouse so hanging plants was not high on the list of priorities.
I spotted these hanging as soon as we started strolling down the street and picked one up on our way out.
Can't wait to use it

What should I put in it?
Chives on the bottom and what in the top?
Top pots are 4-inch bottom ones are 6-inch
Ideas please :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Addition to the Poll

Okay I realized that the hair poll isn't exactly fair because you have NO representation of what my hair looks like how can you compare and vote?
So here...
This is my hair today
at exactly 4:44pm
vote at will :-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

If I knew how to do a poll...

If I knew how to set up one of those blog poll thingies...I would!
I've got 6.5 months left til I can cut my hair if I decide to go that route (if I stick to my guns about not doing anything with it until Halloween).
So what would YOU do if you were me?
Long, Short, In-between?
In no particular order...



still three





Sunday, April 4, 2010

Keirsey says I'm Ideal

An Authentic Self is the Most Personal Form of Worship

Each of my grade school report cards sang the same tune, “A’s” in each subject with “E’s” for exceptional effort and “tends to talk too much in class” in the comments section. For as long as I can remember I have been a talker, a share-er, and a teacher, sharing what I learned on TV the night before with my desk mates, helping a classmate with his or her times tables and even offering advice to the teacher. That last one might not have been appreciated for the intention as often as it could’ve been. As a youth leader, a summer camp director and a worship leader working intimately with the families in my congregation, I often reminded parents that the very things that we in authority try to discipline out of our kids are usually their spiritual gifts in disguise. Just as God chooses to work through us to do His will rather than just making it happen on His own, we are born with our special abilities and purpose more like a diamond in the rough and those we meet on our journey of life help the Lord with the refining process.

It did not surprise me to learn that my temperament sorter labeled me an “Idealist.” In work, play, family and in my walk with Christ I am always reaching for the promises I know are out there and striving to live a life that exemplifies those promises. What’s more, my bent toward talking, and my desire to see everyone reach their highest potential have led me straight down the path of God’s calling in my life. Okay, truth be told the path I have walked has had more than it’s share of tangents, but each pit stop along the way has served it’s purpose to who I am in the body of Christ and was exactly where I was supposed to be at exactly the time I was there.

The lesson I learned quite young, although not quite as eloquently as this, is an authentic self is the most personal form of worship. I myself, along with countless other youth, friends and co-workers along the way have wasted precious energy trying to be something we’re not in order to conform with whatever institution in which we’re seeking acceptance: school, work, social circles and even churches. While we are busy trying to do our best to be something we are not, we simply cannot be busy doing the work we’ve been called to do living a life that worships God fully with each breath. How can we be doing our special task if we are not being the special creation God intended?

I take this belief to quite an extreme; it is ethically wrong for us to deny our true selves. When you find that thing that you just can’t help doing or that quality in yourself you just cannot deny or hide, that is your God light that you must not “hide under a bushel” for doing so would be a sin.
Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. Keirsey Temperament Sorter

While this strict standard can be a negative quality if not kept in check, as it has been refined throughout my experiences, I believe it is a keystone in my relationships. Truth above all else, even when it is hard to hear, is the hinge-pin of successful communication and conflict resolution.

Currently, I work as a Sign Language Interpreter for two large companies in Central Florida. On a cursory glance, I facilitate communication between two or more people. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults), my intimate knowledge of both the hearing and Deaf cultures help me work from a level of cultural mediation  rather than a basic language translation allowing for more than just words to pass from one participant to another.  Taking the gift of my upbringing a step further however, applying it to my daily activity of worshiping, I am able to mentor and encourage my fellow interpreters, encourage the Deaf employees I serve and educate the administration I work under about the Deaf community. This synthesis of knowledge, upbringing, and blessing makes my work more than mere communication facilitation. Through my spiritual approach I help create better interpreters and foster an understanding about Deafness that bolsters the standing of Deaf employees and from a practical business perspective, creates and caters to a market that companies don’t often consider. It’s a win-win for everyone, the company not only profits financially, but also morally in “doing the right thing” in providing daily service, the interpreting profession grows, the Deaf culture gains a stronger foothold and I am fulfilled in working from my calling. 

Three years ago I embarked on my journey towards seminary. At the time I was Coordinator of Church Ministries for a local United Church of Christ. I’m still weighing the options of what letters my final degree will include, MDIV, MAPC, MACL, MAIS, the list goes on. So far in this chapter I have learned that I don’t want to pastor a church. There are many little things that make this unappealing to me, not the least of which is being on the phone, which I have a hard time with. I do feel led to teach, to counsel, to share and encourage. I love to write and am a regular blogger. I’d love to write a book within the next ten years and travel teaching and encouraging authenticity and relational communication. I think this is another good blend of my skills and gifts. As an “Idealist,” I have a unique talent for helping people get along with each other and work together for the good of all. My studies in social services have only fostered my voracious thirst for the understanding of  personalities and how they can work together. I have seen my conflict resolution techniques, based on psychology and examples in Christ’s own life, work in my own blended family and in a work environment that can be riddled with individuals who are only in it for themselves.

When we live from a place where we honor the sacred in ourselves and believe that what makes us authentic is how God works through us we usher in the coming of the Kingdom here on Earth. Once we learn how to honor that authenticity in our own lives, we cannot help but notice and foster that in the lives of those around us. Then ideas like forgiveness and acceptance do not seem so radical. As I honor that authenticity in others, my need for conflict or strife naturally subsides and I can respect their authenticity, even when it is in opposition to my own. God uses all of us for His end and all of His plans are good.

Being the change I want to see in the world, I live daily from my authentic self and I encourage those around me to do the same. The idealist that I am dreams of a place where we can find worth and value in all just as God finds worth and purpose in each of us, His children. I look to each day, and each opportunity with anticipation of what I will learn and what I can share; how I can best use the talents God has given me so that I can honestly say I used everything He gave me.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
Marianne Williamson

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Trial and Error Gardening...

Spring has sprung and we're back in the garden again.
I have been known to kill as much as I've harvested in years past, but any harvest that comes from a 10 cent pack of seeds is cheaper than a grocery store harvest so it's all worth it! 
This year, I've gotten a bit more practical with what we've sown (the habanero plant that produced for months was a quick lesson in 'you'll only eat what you sow if it doesn't burn your butthole!)
This is my poinsettia from Christmas 2009, I think it's cool that it is still going...
So, lest you think I am Mrs Gardener Extraordinaire, I'll be photo journaling my work; this way I'll make good on 2 promises, grow more of my own food and use my great camera more often.

still going :-)

Newest addition, bell peppers and oregano...OPA!

Patio tomatoes and Cubanelle peppers in the awesome teak toolbox I re-purposed from the garage

Pathway of Begonias...okay it's really not a path to anywhere, it's the flower bed under my bedroom window but it LOOKS like a pathway to somewhere and there's sorta kinda some alliteration there...say it with me now "Pathway of Begonias" :-)

I just LOVE that we are using our rainbarrel this year!!

April 1, strawberry addition

I noticed today while taking pictures that I have a TON of parsley...time for some tabbouleh! THEN I noticed last night that this is a picture of cilantro...doh!

The HEALTHY Rosemary brother

For some reason, this herb pot is not nearly as lush as the other...

peek a boo...I see you tomatoes!

okay, when I TOOK the picture I could see the pepper...

April 1, Dwarf Banana addition (we lost last year's to the frost)

April 1, Honeyberry (Wild and Sweet) I'm gonna have to make some sort of shade tent for this one

The UNHEALTHY Rosemary brother. Sigh, I've replanted him and will see if he can be saved

April 1, Top-Hat Blueberries

Every morning when I see these I think of this bird from Planet Earth!