Monday, September 26, 2016
On Saturday I had the perfect frugal day. First, there was a neighborhood-wide garage sale nearby. I didn't find anything I wanted to buy, but on my way out of the area, I drove by some stuff on the side of the road with a "free sign" and scored three things I really wanted - a wheelbarrow (for hauling compost), a bucket, and some very high quality hoses for watering the garden. Next, my friend D and I went to a new museum to take advantage of the annual free museum day held in DC. This museum is the perfectly-preserved 60's era home of some philanthropists, filled with their personal art collection. I felt a bit awed by people who could afford to decorate their personal living area with Renoirs, Van Goghs, and Picassos. I had brought some apples and what turned out to be perfectly-toasted walnuts as a snack, so we drove to the grounds of the nearby National Cathedral and listened to a whole series of songs played on their bells while we snacked.
Sunday I made apple butter and pesto. This turned out to be more work than I expected, but it feels like the perfect fall activity to be stockpiling foods for the winter. My enthusiasm for the pesto was aided by my personal dislike of purchased jarred pesto, and my friend E's contribution of her extra basil. In a few cold months, it will be a nice taste of summer.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
I will miss her.
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Sunday, September 04, 2016
After my three years of growing stuff at the Pink House apartment, I figured I was a whiz. This year I had mixed results, so I guess I'm not an expert yet. I can probably blame this on my two-week absence in July, or my attention being focused on house updates, or not knowing the sun and soil in my new place. Next year I hope to have more time for gardening, and then we'll found out who's really to blame.
First, the successes:
Tomatoes. I ate lots of cherry tomatoes, but almost no Romas. There's no picture because I've already ripped out all the dead plants. I bought a special hybrid that was supposed to be resistant to blight. They did resist blight, but died in July of something else. I'm going to ask my gardener friend S for recommendations, because this is the second year in a row I had bad tomatoes.
Zucchini. It died after it grew a single zucchini. I blame a zucchini vine borer, but now I know how to stop them. Next year all my zucchini plants will sport medical gauze wraps at earth level.
Other failures: leeks, fennel, cosmos, bachelor buttons, cucumbers and kale.
Lastly, the future successes:
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Next Thursday is the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek airing on TV. I will celebrate by watching said episode on an IMAX screen at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. I also found this book at the library yesterday. It's a little amazing to me that someone wrote an 800 page book on the oral history of Star Trek and even more amazing that my working class neighborhood library bought a copy. Either the library purchasing department bought this book just for me or there is a whole subgroup of nerds hiding in my city that I don't know about.
Monday, August 29, 2016
I also fixed the toilet. It's had a tiny leak, just filling up the tank for a few seconds every now and then. Fixing the flapper (a rubber piece that can grow old and fail) was the first thing to try. The internet assured me this was a five-minute job. And it is, as long as you don't call the phone call to your dad, the 25 minutes of informational YouTube videos, and the 30 minute trip to Home Depot to get the part. After that, it's really only five minutes.
I had a chat with one of my neighbors while I was doing yard work. I've mentioned before that I really like my neighborhood. My next-door neighbors have been quite welcoming, and I like them a lot. They do regularly play super-loud music, but it's almost always on the weekends and never goes very late. They've helped me shovel out the drive during an epic snowfall, and diagnose a car problem. I've now figured out why they like me. Remember the loud Latin music? It turns out that dear old Bill, the previous owner, called the police regularly about them. So I think I get points just for not being Bill.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
It may come as a shock that I wanted to rip out existing gardens in the yard, considering my love of all things growing. But it turns out that my love only extends to edibles, and despite my best efforts these gardens mainly grew weeds. I think the previous owner may have put them in decades ago, when the trees behind them were much smaller. I considered putting in shade-loving perennials, but then I'd spend a lot of time weeding shrubs that I didn't want in the first place. Instead, I decided to rip everything out and replace it with lawn. And since cool-season lawns are best planted in fall, the de-gardening needed to happen now, in the heat of the summer.