Tag Archives: garden

November? November!

Whoa whoa whoa everyone, please tell me it is NOT already November. October slipped through my fingers so quickly and I feel like I barely had time to relish in my favorite month of the year! Who am I kidding, though… it has been a terrific past few weeks. So terrific in fact, that I have barely had time to sit down and update this space!

Lately I have been…

Going to the AZ State Fair

Reconnecting with dear old friends from high school at Hanny’s

Watching the garden grow big —

Carrots –

Kale –

Buttercup Squash –

Sunflowers –

And the broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, radishes, tomatoes, etc., etc., etc. are all doing fabulously as well!

The baby chicks are so big now that we have been able to put them in the large run with the adult chickens. They are chirping along as happily as ever and starting to get rather fat!

In even more exciting news, we had a group of three lovely cross-country cyclists stay with us around Halloween. Em and Nick hail from San Francisco, and Alex, a friend they met up with on the road, is originally from Austin, TX. Em and Nick are currently in the process of filming a documentary about cycling fatalities and are en route to Orlando, FL. Alex, on the other hand, has been on the road for the last six months biking all around the perimeter of the continental US. You can read more about their fascinating journey on their blog. They also have a pretty sweet map on the website so you can see where they’re off to.

While they were here, we did some hiking

Hung out by the pool
(it was a pretty warm day, even by fall’s standards)

Partied it up at the Crescent Ballroom for Halloween

and Alex managed to snag himself a pretty sweet tat from Golden Rule

I guess he liked Phoenix okay!

It was really amazing to spend so much time with people who are so convicted about what they do, and so hardcore that they are literally biking every mile from coast to coast. Even Blaise has done some serious biking in his life (more at his blog, guys, I am not equipped to tell these stories!), and after our visitors left, I was starting to feel pretty left out. Why was I so scared of just getting on a bike?

So… my delightful beau struck it out of the park once more…

By fixing me up my very own little bike!

My bike has a little basket and lights for when I bike around at night. My very concerned parents kindly bought my an Adeline Adeline nutcase helmet and guess what?!

I’ve been biking to work every day. I have probably already saved $30-$40 in gas this week already! Hooray!

Dear Em, Nick, and Alex: Thank You for inspiring me to get on a bike!

 

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Little Bits

A bit of what’s going on around here:

The little ones are growing up so fast. I have to remember to snap a few shots every now and then because even I can’t tell from day to day, each pic reminds me that they’ve already gotten huge compared to how they used to be.

Sunflowers peeking up

New tomatoes

And because I’ve been blathering on and on about how cute the babies are, I’ve totally forgotten about the other, still awesome adult chickens.

Hey Pete!

and finally,

We also rearranged the house! Yesterday we took most of the day to do a ton of cleaning and moving. The place feels so much more open and airy!

Life is good! Hopefully I’ll get around to writing a more substantive post soon, but I’m in a rush this morning so be on the lookout in the near future!

 

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Cruise Control

1/ SR-89 North of the San Francisco Peaks
2/ Utah State Line at Monument Valley
3/ Monument Valley
4/ Arches National Park
5/ Me at Delicate Arch (the arch on the Utah license plate!)
6/ – 7/ Goblin Valley
8/ Glen Canyon Dam
9/ Cute Junior Ranger station!
10/ Lava Field near Sunset Crater / Wupatki National Monument
11/ Sunset Crater
12/ So big!

(P.S. Beach House show was ah-mazing!)

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Seedlings (almost!)

Yesterday we started the process of germinating a few seeds. Not every seed can go directly into the ground, so it’s important to sprout them inside before you throw them in the soil.

To work with a few of the seeds we already had on hand (khulrabi, pumpkin, eggplant, fennel, and a few others), we cut coffee filters into quarters and dampened them with a spray bottle.

We then folded the coffee filters in half, then half again, and tucked the seeds inside, carefully folding the filter back together to lock the seeds loosely in its dampness.

Next we placed the seeds into little baggies to help keep in the moisture. We did not seal the bags up so that air can reach the seeds. We’ll have to spray a tiny bit of water into the bags every now and then to keep them from drying out.

 

Some seeds we were able to do a direct plant into some soil. We had a bunch of tiny pots left over from the mass succulent purchases this summer, so we filled those with potting soil and carefully laid the seeds in them. Each seed needs to be planted at a different depth, so we referred to the seed packets for this information.

We labeled each pot so we won’t get confused as to which pot has which plant in it. Above we have sweet pepper, basil, coriander, and okra. Oh boy!

 

We put the pots onto a cookie sheet so we can spread water across the bottom for the roots to soak up. For now we are okay to water them lightly with the spray bottle on top of the soil, but once they sprout, they’ll need to be watered this way.

I am very excited for all of this garden business! We are also ordering a few more seeds from burpee.com, including varieties of tomato, radish, carrot, parsnip, arugula, spinach, kale, onion, and broccoli. We’re also on a hunt for some herbs, but I’d like to find them already sprouted at a nursery. I’m not sure which nursery around here will carry all the herbs I want… I guess I’ll have to do some exploring!

In other news, the baby chicks are doing excellently! Every day they get a little more clever, a little stronger, and a little more adventurous. I can’t believe that in about six months they’ll be laying eggs! They are so, so tiny right now, and still so very sweet.

 

 

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A Transformation

Oh dear, where does the time go? I don’t have a great reason as to why I have not posted in quite some time other than being merely undisciplined and slightly lazy. Lots of things have been happening over here, however, and life seems to have been taking me on quite the roller coaster lately. More on that later, but needless to say, the times they are a-changing!

A thousand hallelujahs! The weather is cooling down! I can’t tell you what a relief this is. After five years away from the Phoenix heat, it’s been very curious to remember (and relive) what 115 degrees feels like. Now, all you naysayers listen up: yes it’s a dry heat most of the time, but 115 is still very, very hot! And we do get a fair amount of humidity towards the end of the season, as a matter of fact. While it may not compare to the sweltering deep south, or somewhere in Texas, when it’s 110 with a fair amount of humidity, it’s still pretty wretched.

Not only do the cooling temperatures mean that we are all much more comfortable in our own skins these days, it also means that we have little to no excuses for finally going outside and doing some work in the garden. A lot of the work had to do with clearing out the debris that had settled there over the long summer.

Dead sunflowers from the last round.

Lots and lots of little raked up piles that needed to be moved

We tilled the soil and…

A great big dirt-y canvas for our forthcoming garden!
(for those who are curious: the trees [trunks] you can see in the shot are sissou, pomegranite, mesquite, and over to the left, palm [of course]).

Blaise really wanted to find some kind of shrubby plant of some kind to plant, one that the chickens wouldn’t be compelled to munch on. Chickens are pretty non-discriminatory when it comes to yummy plants. This presents a challenge to maintaining a nice garden / yard.

The guys at Whitfill nursery (which is EXCELLENT, guys – go there) recommended this particular little plant. It’s called an emu bush, and the man helping us thought that it might fit the bill because rabbits don’t like it. We tossed a clipping out to the chickens and they didn’t seem to give it much attention, so maybe it’s just what was needed!

We also nabbed a few sprouted plants from Whitfill, and also later from Home Depot. While I feel that it is much more satisfying to plant seeds that you have sprouted yourself (or at least, I imagine it is more satisfying – I haven’t gardened in so very long!), sometimes it’s nice just to throw a healthy plant in the ground and say “look! We have some stuff growing already!”

We nabbed peppermint, tarragon, basil, and rosemary so that we could cook with them, and also an asparagus plant. Asparagus is apparently very difficult to grow in Phoenix, but we’ll give it a shot. We’ve been consulting the Maricopa County Planting Guide to help us pick out seeds for the rest of the garden. But more on that later as we actually get to work on it (hopefully today or tomorrow). I’m so very excited!

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