Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Le Coop

Paul goes to school with a boy named Nathaniel. Nathaniel has an awesome Mom named Elizabeth and a very nice Dad named, of course, Dan. So I was blathering at Elizabeth about gardens (they just moved into a house across the street from the school and she wants a vegetable garden) and I just mentioned "someday when we get our chickens," and she jumped on it! She said "We'll go halves with you." They had scrap lumber at their house, we have scrap lumber at our house, and on Sunday after church we joined forces. We wimmin-folk did the child-watching (we had 6 total running around) and the men-folk did the sawing and the drilling and such. So now we have a coop frame built. I think it could comfortably house a flock of 8, which should hopefully keep both households in eggs pretty comfortably.

Later this week I'll get serious about buying chicks or pullets. We'll have to keep them in the garage until they're older anyway, so the coop doesn't have to be done immediately.

Oh! The first shoots of meadow grass have begun coming up in the backyard. We're using the Western Trails mix from High Country Gardens. It's supposed to look like this when it's grown:


I've also picked up some more drought-tolerant flower seeds. Hopefully I can get the backyard looking like a lush desert jungle.

Chemistry exam #2 is on Wednesday. I'm trying to stay calm. Now I need to get off the computer and let Eli's brain rot in front of the TV while I do worksheets and study ALL DAY LONG.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Light Bulb

I have been seized with the solution to my newfound shade problem. It involves the old leftover pvc piping in the side yard, shade fabric and pipe brackets. The only thing left unsolved is how I attach the pipes securely to the side of the house. My Dad would be proud of me; it's the sort of idea he'd have come up with. Wow, I miss him.

A Guilty Secret

Is anybody else voting in Fug Madness this year? Now you know my secret shame.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Insecticide

I am a mass murderer.

This week I have been killing myself getting the far corner of the garden ready for planting. I've put in onions, beets, tomatoes and peppers. But something had been sneaking out at night and turning the leaves into lacy little skeletons. I showed the leaves to my local garden store folks and they thought it was probably snails, even though I had seen no slime trails. I bought snail killer just to be safe. But tonight I went out with a flashlight to be sure, and to my horror it was EARWIGS! Dozens of them, eating my plants with soulless insect abandon. I loathe earwigs. I was so furious I began squishing them with my fingers, until I suddenly realized that was disgusting. So I fetched my gloves and went on a killing spree. Yecch.

So tomorrow I put in the eggplants. Oh, and remember when I said I wasn't going to go crazy with starting seeds indoors? I lied, to myself and to you. I am starting all manner of seeds. Sunflowers, cocozelle squash, trombetta di albenga squash, jarrahdale and casper pumpkins, charentais melons, blue and strawberry corn, chard, hollyhocks, mexican torch, portulaca, and who knows what else. I've lost track.

My landlord has had a work crew here all week, tearing out the old rotten patio covers and building a new one on the backyard patio. It's really, really nice, but they're leaving the side patio naked, which is going to increase the temperature of the house by about 1000 degrees this summer. Already the lilies and shady plants are wilting. I have to figure out a cheap way to rig up some shade. I have some poles that might do the trick with sunshade fabric, but this means I'm going to have to sew. And I'm already totally overworked. Wahhh.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

This was my big weekend to take Mom to the spa and get girly things like facials and stay at a hotel and soak in a hot tub. Originally I was going to take her to Glen Ivy so we could soak in the mud pools and then in the sulfur pools and treat her to a massage, then stay someplace nice down Temecula way and drive through the hills on Sunday. But then she read an article on how nice Encintas was, so instead I planned to take her to Burke Williams Spa and then we'd go spend the weekend in Encinitas. But then Saturday dawned cold and gray and she didn't want to be freezing on the coast, so we came up with the brilliant idea that we would go to fabulous Palm Springs.

We stopped at the Cabazon outlet mall, window shopped and laughed at $300 purses, bought shoes and a questionable Japanese lunch. The people-watching was fun - trying to guess if people were American or Asian or European or whatever. Sometimes it was obvious and sometimes we were stumped. I thought we'd get a cheap room at Morongo (a reservation casino) and then have a fun evening in Palm Springs, but as soon as we stepped inside Mom smelled cigarrette smoke and that was the end of it.

So we cruised Palm Canyon Drive and started asking about hotel rooms. No vacancy. No vacancy. Vacancy for $149! We decided we'd walk, have dinner, then drive west toward home and find a non-scary hotel with a hot tub (that was our only real requirement). Alas, the spas were closed for the day. We ate at Zin, but we were too late for the Prix Fixe dinner (which sounded awesome and I could have had rabbit!) but we still stuffed ourselves with salad, a charcuterie platter, a veggie entree (which was very hit and miss) and chicken schnitzel. Yes, I ate some meat! Sometimes I can't resist, and I feel no guilt about occasionally indulging. Oy, we got stuffed.

We waddled back to the car and hit the highway, but all we found in Banning were scary-looking dive hotels or nice places with NO HOT TUB. In Beaumont we found out that there was a tennis tournament in Palm Springs and that was why every cheap room in town was booked. Then they wanted to charge us $170 for a smoking king room! Nuh-uh. I have bad luck like this when I travel. Once we were driving home from Montana and wanted to get a hotel room in Ogden, UT. Turned out there was a hunting convention in Salt Lake and there wasn't a room to be had in almost all of Utah. Dan ended up driving dangerously tired and finally we passed out at a rest stop outside St. George. Lesson: DO NOT TRAVEL ON THE FLY. Make reservations and stick to your plans. Sigh.

We ended up staying at a hotel in Ontario that I had been to before. It had a hot tub and two beds in the room and waffles for breakfast, and we weren't in a house full of yowling children (Mom now has 5 grandchildren living with her) and we watched stupid TV and had a lovely time. We drove up through Running Springs and Crestline and pretended we were going to buy a family retreat and of course we blabbed and blabbed and blabbed and never once had to say "Get down off of that! Get out of the street! Don't lick that! Would you please get in the car?" So I count it all as a raging success, despite the minor setbacks. We'll be doing something like this again in late April or early May, but probably with hotel reservations this time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Poor Choice.

This is so Lifetime movie-of-the-week. I never, ever thought I'd ever be even remotely involved in anything like this.

Ethan, one of Paul's best friends at school, has unfortunately been the victim of a custody battle for years. Recently, his mother was awarded temporary full custody. Now his father has disappeared with him. I know both the parents, I've had both of them over for playdates. I knew Ethan's father was frustrated by the process and sick of the endless court battles (I had gently inquired about a communication failure I had observed at school, and he filled me in a little bit), but his mother never talked to me about her feelings on it.

And now it's come to this. I know Ethan's parents both love him, and I can't imagine what it must be like to be involved in an endless tug-of-war over your own child. Ethan's mother must be tearing her hair out. What drove Ethan's father to this, I cannot fathom. Paul hasn't mentioned not seeing Ethan, but I know eventually he'll ask about it. When he does, I'm just going to tell him Ethan went away with his father for a while. This is just awful for everybody involved.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A Happy Day

A hummingbird has decided to make her nest in the half-dead plum tree in the front yard. This was happiness #1.

Dan's ex-boss, who we love, came over for lunch today. He's just an awesome guy and we adore him. That was happiness #2.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to my mother's to help her get her vegetable garden laid out. Tomorrow evening we're all going to my sister-in-law's birthday party. Happinesses #3 and #4.

We are about to go to the park and see some of our friends. Happiness #5.