Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Catnip Kitties

I thought we would share our recent discovery- Lion loves fresh catnip! We bought a little catnip plant that we have on the deck in a pot (since it's an invasive plant otherwise), and for the first time pulled off a few leaves for the cats. They love them! And we managed to catch Lion on video since it was so entertaining.

Maybe we'll have to find a way to incorporate the fresh leaves in some catnip toys. P.S. the catnip leaves actually smell really good! Like mint, which makes sense since they are a member of the same herb family. Enjoy!


video

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Veggies- Month 3

I'm a few weeks late posting the 3rd month pictures of the garden, but I'm sure you'll forgive me! The garden is doing great! It could use a little more sun, but not much we can do about that. 


The onions are tiny, we actually pulled them up this weekend. They didn't do well.

The cucumbers have grown even bigger! They are almost ready for picking.


Lots more Romas are forming!

The better boy tomato is hiding!

Blackberries are doing well!

Just had to show my little clementine tree :)
Most of those pictures I took a week or so ago, so I'll add some new ones in another post this week. My second zucchini flower opened this morning (the first one died before getting pollinated...sad), so hopefully this one will fare better!  I can tell the tomato plants are going to start going crazy any time now, there are so many flowers on them! No eggplants are growing yet, but there are flowers so hopefully soon. The bell peppers are getting bigger, but no flowers yet. Stay tuned for another garden post. We did a lot to the backyard recently, so I'll have to share that as well!

Backyard Upgrade- Part 2: The Rocks & The Dirt

We shared our plan for the backyard (lower area) in this post. Then we made a 'test patch', kind of a way to see if we would like it and find out how much work it would be, etc. 


We decided to go with a checkerboard pattern, but with the grass all the way around the tiles. We used 4 bags of topsoil to level this area, and 6 tiles. So based on that our estimation is around 20 more bags of soil and 24 tiles.

So we started our 'test patch' probably 2 weekends ago, and didn't do much in between {family in town, life, working, etc}, so it gave us a good chance to watch the seed start to grow in. So obviously we'll need to add more seed to this area, but it's a good start and we are excited to see progress!

So where did we move the couple of hundred pounds of rock? Or should I say where did Greg move the rock? Well I helped, but only a little, I did other gardening activities. We only have one shovel.... Anyways, we moved them up to the upper area behind the garden. The rock looks so much better there and is nice ground cover for the dirt, hopefully it will also help prevent the kudzu from taking over again.

Today, we finished moving the rock and added all of the dirt and leveled it. We were pretty close on our estimation of dirt, it took 18 bags. So the plan for tomorrow is to get the tiles and lay them, and then wait for the grass to grow!

So so many projects!

I think one thing I've learned so far is that I get so excited about a project that we start and then start another one and another one. I think we have at least 5 projects mid-progress. So that's my excuse for being so slow at updates lately. Blogs are hard work to keep up on, but it's fun, so I'm going to try to be better at updating.

So with that being said, here are the projects we are in the middle of-
1. Outdoor seating unit
2. Front yard upgrade
3. Back yard upgrade
4. Sewing project that accompanies the seating unit
5. Laundry room organization

Our goal this weekend is to finish the backyard and get the front yard more finished. The front yard has been kind of done for awhile, we just keep doing small things to it. So I will share soon with what we've done to it, it looks completely different from the original pictures we've shared.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Backyard Upgrade- Part 1: The Plan

We love grass. It's soft, colorful and pretty. Unlike the ground cover in our small backyard, rocks. Now that the raised area of our yard is pretty and nice looking with the vegetable garden, the drab brown rocks down below are even more noticeable. So along with building our outdoor seating unit, we are focusing on fixing up the lower area. We bought some Scott's EZ Seed a few weeks ago half price at Home Depot, it says it'll grow anywhere (even on concrete), so we'll be testing out that claim.

Our plan is to do a variation of a checkerboard pattern with 1' x 1' yard concrete tiles. Then plant grass in between and around each tile. Before we can do that though, we have to remove all (or at least most) of the rocks in the backyard, put them somewhere, till up the rock hard clay, and probably add in some new topsoil and compost. So that's all for now, just the plan :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

DIY Rain Barrel

Last weekend we tackled a project we've been wanting to do for awhile- make a rain barrel to collect rain water from the gutter run-off. This is especially good for us since we don't have a hose outlet in the back yard (that's a project for another day!). There's tons of useful information on the internet about making rain barrels, so we went with a simple solution for now. We may add some more modifications to it as time goes on.

Materials
Barrel- we just used a $9 Rubbermaid trashcan
Spigot
Hose washer
'Nut'- I mean something to screw in inside the barrel to hold the spigot in place, we used a female coupler
 Bricks (optional) - we wanted it off the ground, so it's raised by a few inches with some landscape bricks we had



The whole process was pretty simply; first, cut off down spout at desired height. Attach flexible gutter tubing to the downspout, secure to fence (or other object) for more stability. Cut holes in trashcan (or barrel), one for the gutter tubing, and another for the spigot. Slide hose washer onto spigot threading, then into the hole in the rain barrel, then screw the but on from the inside. Put lid on and slide the tubing down into the barrel. Finished!

Since we got some rain over the weekend, we got to test it out last night! It works really well. We are going to add some caulking to the spigot joint once it dries out to make sure it doesn't start leaking, but so far so good. It works more like a siphon if you attach a short hose to it, not much water pressure of course. But it's good enough to fill up my watering can, which beats walking back and forth from the garage to fill up a bucket with water! Plus this water is free!

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