Complying

So guess who has the best dad ever in the world ever ever? That’d be me.

Yes, my dad built a fantastic ‘screen’ around my water tank to comply with the city ordinance and it.looks.good.

He came out, bought the supplies, and BAM, got to work.

SAMSUNG CSCDigging holes, putting in posts, measuring, cutting, doing things I don’t know how to do…and all that.

SAMSUNG CSCHe actually said to me, while working, (as I sat in the sun and chatted, trying not to get in the way) that building wasn’t his ‘strong suit’…..um, please.

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It’s fantastic. I’m starting to feel more indebted to my dad than normal (because, he’s already a very generous and kind guy) so I’m thinking I may need to deliver a pie soon.

In other fantastic garden news, my big tomatoes have been producing and they are soooooo tasty.

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I’m getting Romas, San Marzanos and my small tomatoes too (Juliet and Sun Sugar), but those have been coming in for a while so that’s not news.

I’ve also been harvesting dill by the bundle.

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I’m just letting it dry on the counter and then removing the seeds. I’ll be pickling at some point soon and want to have a lot ready. My own cucumber plants were consumed by bacterial wilt so even though I got a few cucumbers, my future of pickling lies with the market.

I had a rough couple pregnant weeks causing me to be a bit adverse to veggies but now I’m back on the train and eating them for every meal…yup, even breakfast.

SAMSUNG CSCAvocado, tomatoes and hot sauce on English muffin bread. It was really good and the perfect pre workout breakfast.

My lunch may or may not have been the exact same thing minus bread…because those fresh tomatoes and that delicious avocado plus hot sauce is like the best combo ever.

I’ll try to get more creative with fresh produce but remember, I am a big, pregnant lady and I’m not promising anything.

 

 

 

Another Strike

So last week my dad came out and moved the rain barrel to the back of the house to comply with the city ordinance we were written up for. It was kind of sad because we had just gotten a great rain and the barrel was completely full…which means we had to dump it all.

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Sad face…but I guess it was necessary.  Avery had a good time in the flow.

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Once it was drained my dad somehow got it over the fence and onto a stack of pallets all by himself…this pregger can’t lift those big things. He’s good at rigging things.

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He got some more pipe and got it all hooked up. Which was awesome. My dad is pretty cool.

Fast forward to Wednesday….we got written up again. Apparently we have to screen it from any neighbor that can see our back yard. Our yard is tiny, five neighbors can see in our yard and at least two of them are elevated enough by the hill we live on to see over a privacy fence if we decided to take that route. So instead, we’re going to have to cube in the water tank behind some sort of screening. We’re thinking either a tight weave lattice or privacy fencing. Just build a little box around it. Seems pointless and reading the ordinance it is very vague and up for interpretation but they said we have the biggest rain barrel in Overland Park so I guess that warrants the attention.

In better garden news, I’ve started changing things slowly for fall preparation. My cilantro seeds finally dried up so I pulled the plants as well as the green bean plants since they’re done now too. I have plans for the space the cilantro was planted so I used the seeds where the green beans were. First though, I added compost to both spots and gave them a good turn.

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Eventually this whole bed will be planted with a crop but I’m not ready to move the herbs/greens that fill the rest of it just yet. I planted the cilantro heavily in this bed so I’ll have a carpet when it comes up!

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I had to adjust this bed because the trash bins that were moved from where the rain barrel now sits are taking up the space on the left of the a/c unit. I’m fine with that though now that I won’t be using the spigot  (which comes out of the house near the unit) as much.

I got my fall seeds and will be planting throughout the garden next month as I pull summer crops. I’m going to be spending a lot of time on fall planting because my soil is not in optimum shape. My seeds are a combination of soil fixers, soil builders and then actual food crops (because I’m still a little selfish).

Soil builders are crops that you plant in the soil, allow to rot over the winter and turn over before spring planting. An example of what I’ll be planting for soil builders are Diakon Radishes and Seed Turnips. They draw up nutrients from deep in the soil with their long roots and hold those nutrients within the enlarged root. When they rot it creates pockets of nutrients and breaks up compacted soil, adding organic matter.  These are important for my garden because I do have compacted soil (because my garden was sod last year) and also because I have higher clay percentage than I’d like and adding organic matter can adjust that ratio.

Soil fixers are crops that change the chemical balance of the soil to be more beneficial for fruiting plants. For example, tomatoes love to use nitrogen while they develop their fruit, because of this the soil becomes depleted of nitrogen and planting a cover crop that enhances nitrogen will help the soil be productive again (although planting tomatoes or any crop in the same place two years in a row is never a good idea, cover crop or no). The nitrogen fixers I’ll be planting in the tomato patches are fava beans.

Speaking of cover crops, aside from the benefits of doing soil builders and nitrogen fixers, having crops cover your beds over the winter can be a bonus all on its own. The beds won’t be exposed to the elements in the same way if they have plants growing or established in them over the winter, preventing erosion, depletion and providing productive nutrient additions. Some cover crops outside of the ones I’ve mentioned are red clover, arugula, or buckwheat. They can be turned under at the end of winter and the bed will be ready for spring plantings. Having a cover crop can also interrupt pest cycles which will prevent out breaks of the same bugs in the same places each year.

I’m learning these things as I grow into a better gardener but I’m excited to see how my soil is affected by cover crops and I hope my baby garden will mature into a beautiful producer with rich, nutrient, soil.

Second Thought Squash

When my beet crop got demolished by the squirrels I ended up with an empty garden bed. I hemmed and hawed about what to put in there since it was already too warm to plant another seed crop and instead I just plopped a couple spaghetti squash plants in the ground and figured they probably wouldn’t do much or even really make it since it was late.

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Turns out, they actually really liked that spot and made it their home. Now I have tons of baby spaghetti squashes forming and I’m really glad I had that second thought.

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Also, this vine will take over my entire garden and I’m totally cool with that.

Everything is taking off pretty well this month in the garden. I have a couple tomato plants that aren’t ‘making’ it but I’m still keeping them around in case they end up doing something. We harvested our first ‘big’ tomato this week and that was pretty exciting.

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Avery ate it like an apple after he played Veggie Tales with it for a while.

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I’m cool with that. Avery is very active in the garden….which means he has eaten 90% of the cherry tomatoes we’ve harvested. Or rather, he picks them off the plant and I get the left overs….

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I’m getting cucumbers and jalapenos now too. My cucumbers have suffered from bacterial wilt and I’ve lost at least two vines to it completely and another is about to go. I cherish each and every cucumber I get.

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My greens are doing great in this weather and I’m getting plenty of herbs and kale.

SAMSUNG CSCI love kale. Shane isn’t a big fan but I can’t get enough.

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Our dinners and my lunches have included kale in some form or other.

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Herbed chicken, yellow rice and kale salad with tomatoes and cucumbers.

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No kale here but some home grown cabbage from my parents, beets and black beans.

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Kale, golden beets, cabbage and homemade vinaigrette.

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An amazing filet Shane grilled for me with a cucumber, tomato and basil salad and a side of freshly grown baby potatoes from the farmers market. Fantastic Sunday lunch.

I’m excited to use more of my harvests in our meals this summer and really looking forward to more of my tomatoes coming in! I have some yellow heirloom tomatoes ripening at the moment and am slightly giddy about them. I hope your gardens are going well too!

 

Pregger Pics Take 3: Weeks 26-27

Well, here we are, plugging along, wishing it was more like 36-37 weeks but hey, those will come.

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Huge as always and this girl likes to kick.

She’s responsive to the tap game..which is basically when you tap on the belly and she responds with a kick. I like that. Eli was responsive even though his movements were much different than her’s and Avery was completely uncooperative at any of those sort of things.

Weight: I’m not sure, I haven’t weighed myself but I have an appointment tomorrow so I’ll find out then. I feel big, but I don’t necessarily feel like I weigh more, if that makes sense.

Aversions: Same. Coffee is the hardest, as always, since I’m a tired pregnant lady but I choke down a few ounces in the morning and manage to survive on that.  Sausage is one of the other big ones. And chicken still but I think I’m recovering from that.

Cravings: Cold beer. It’s just that amazing summer weather right now and a cold IPA or Saison sounds soooooon good.

Exercise: Last week wasn’t great for exercise, aside from things like gardening, because Eli has been going through some ridiculous developmental something or other that makes him wake up at 2:30am and makes him think it’s totally daytime. Then I get him back to bed and I start falling asleep and bam, he’s up again. It reminds me just a little of those good old days of sleeplessness…wait, not good. So bad. Then he’s up for good good between 5:15-5:45 which is killer for me. So I haven’t felt up to doing much exercise in the mornings (the only time I can do it because of naptime). So far this week has been similar except that last night he slept through the night…only to get up before dawn again. Maybe tomorrow will be the ticket.

Symptoms: I’ve had many less headaches and nausea lately which has been awesome. Mostly struggling with pelvic pain and some  belly cramps and those are sooooo much better than being out of the game with headaches. So so so much better. I’m grateful for that.

Third trimester is upon me now and that means less than three months left. When I look at my belly it seems crazy I have that much time left but I’m trusting that her growth won’t be insane.

Brushes

With the law, that is.

SAMSUNG CSCRemember this? It’s cool, it’s fantastic, it’s helpful and what not. My city disagrees. Despite their claims of supporting rain water retention it turns out (though not specifically stated on the website page) that they only support up to 65 gallon barrels and only when they’re ‘blended in with the residential environment’ or some such bureaucratic mish mash.  So despite my pristine looking set up, it’s going to have to be moved to a completely out of sight place…back yard, specifically. It wouldn’t be SUCH a big deal but the reason we chose that particular spot was because it was elevated above the garden and would provide better pressure. Also, my dad worked really hard on this and it kills me that he’ll have to do more. He’s a good sport.  Unlike me…who’s basically feeling like this.

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Yes, I understand my GIANT belly is consuming half the photo. I see this view a lot. He’s kind of a needy guy.

Outside of the stupid rain water thing (fyi, my 275 GALLON tank is filled that high from just eight tenths of an inch of rain) my garden is doing pretty good.

SAMSUNG CSCI found this extremely pollinated bee hanging out on my bee balm. Coolest thing ever.

Then there’s this lonely beet (that’s being strangled by spaghetti squash).

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The sad thing about this beet is that it’s one of THREE that survived the squirrel invasion of 2014. It looks so good and so pretty and yummy but it will be a reminder of a lesson I learned in my new garden space…squirrels are the enemy.

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Fresnooooo. I harvested my two gorgeous red deliciousnessessssss and now, thank goodness, lots of new blooms have been producing baby peppers. And my jalapenos are rockin’ too.

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I have areas that look sad, like any garden does. But I choose to learn lessons from them instead of be depressed about them.

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Because gardening is about learning and I have so much to learn.

SAMSUNG CSCI love kale. And jungles of tomatoes and basils and peppers.

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Then there’s this baby caterpillar consuming my dill. I’m letting this one get consumed for the sake of nature…you know, birds eat some pillars, other pillars turn into butterflies and butterflies are pollinators so I ain’t hatin’. But my other big dill plant I’m cherishing and won’t let those buggers get it. SAMSUNG CSC

 

All the miracles of growing going on. In my belly, in my garden…lots of good stuff.

So, apparently I’m some sort of menace in the neighborhood (guy across the street, I know it’s you calling this crap in) since this is my second time getting written up for something. I hope there’s no strike three rule around here. I’ve only been here a year for crying out loud. I can’t help if I’m a rebel. I guess my next project should be taking some proactive initiative to the city about changing some of their snotty rules. For now though, I’ll try to comply, have a baby and deal with politics another day.

 

 

 

 

 

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