Thursday, May 22, 2014

Container Gardening on an Apartment Balcony

I am slowly getting my container garden going this year.  A little here, a little there.  Since I live in an apartment and only have access to plant on my balcony, I have to use containers.  I'm hoping we get some food out of it, but even if we don't, I've been happier and been in less pain in certain ways.  Of course gardening, even the slow and easy way I garden, can cause pains in other places.  I think of that as good pain.

Today I planted all my peppers, Italian sweet peppers and hot cherry peppers.

There is one I am worried about, it looks like it is rotting near the base, but I planted it anyway just in case.  I put a chopstick in the ground near it and used an old bit of vine to wrap around it and secure it to the chopstick.  It will probably die, but I can't help but try.  I don't give up easily. I wonder if I should plant it deeper so the first node is under the ground?

I've watered them, but because the soil was so dry when I planted them, I'll go out again later and water them more.

If I have the energy I will go out later and put in the rest of the lettuce and I'll stick in the marigolds here and there.  I'm hoping they will help reduce the naughty bugs.  Really! Have you EVER seen bugs chewing up a marigold??  I haven't.  Let's hope it works, although I don't think that many insects think of looking this high for food.

I still have a lot of pansies to plant, not sure where they will go, but I will find a place!  No plant goes to waste here!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Michigan Loses The Right To Farm

This is truly scary.  

When I lived at home with my parents we had rabbits, chickens, two horses, two big gardens (well...big for our area), an asparagus bed, two compost piles, two apple trees and two cherry trees - basically a "gentleman's farm".  We had people move in next to us and they tried to complain, but since the animals and gardens were pre-existing, there wasn't a darn thing they could do thank goodness.  Michigan your situation is so much worse.  

What is going on in this world?  Do people not think?  The commercial farmers are poisoning us with all the chemical fertilizers and herbicides, etc..  they use on their crops, and don't get me started on what they feed the animals and how those animals are treated.  Now the government is starting to make it impossible for people to feed their families healthy food that is good for them and that they grow themselves.  

In a country with an ever increasing problem with obesity in children that the government says it is concerned about, does it really make sense to hurt people who want to teach their children where food comes from and how to grow it?  

Mark my words, this will not be the last time we see this kind of legislation.

 Read about it here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Last Minute Packing for Pakistan

Fred is leaving tomorrow night just before midnight for a two week vacation with Eva, our daughter.  

I am excited to have time to myself, excited he is going to travel and fearful something bad might happen.  Keep praying he will arrive back safe and sound, because as annoying as he can be I'd rather have him back.    

I have charged Eva's tablet, and the 3ds game systems for her, Tariq and Saad.  They will all go in Fred's carry on.  

One entire to-be-checked bag has gifts for the relatives, clothes for Saad and Saif, and candy, real American chocolate. She requested Easter candy because she knew it would be on sale right before Fred was visiting.  Smart girl!  Thrifty girl!
Fred has packed the other to-be-checked bag with his suit, his clothes and toiletries.  If there's more room it will be filled up with CANDY!!!  lol  and YARN and THREAD and a strategy guide for the game her system comes with as well as the ACNL guide (animal crossing new leaf for the 3dsxl system).  

I should be in bed, but instead I am checking on last minute things.  I think I am missing something...I hope it isn't something important!!!

Tomorrow morning I need to get over to a game store to see if I can get a few more games to keep them busy and the last minute packing and squeezing will commence.

Microwave Dies and Causes Kitchen Chaos and Lots of Work.

Little did I know when my microwave died what chaos and work would be involved in replacing it. My new policy is to buy better as I replace items around the house. I research the item on the internet looking at reviews of the product as well as buying guides. I ended up getting a bigger microwave/convection combination. Don't ask, I haven't used it yet except for heating a cup of water for tea. I'm just too busy.

First of all there's the decisions of what shelf height you want.  I decided I would make the second shelf up from the bottom high enough that I could put in the green plastic bins I had around the house. Sometimes bins look better than stuff on shelves. Microwave shelf at a comfortable height, and the shelf above it high enough to clear the top comfortably.  Top shelf at the top. 

One of the chrome shelves I had in the kitchen that housed the microwave was too shallow to hold this microwave, so I bought new, deeper chrome shelves. The shelves that housed the old microwave has been moved over towards the stove.  Plenty of room between it and the stove.  Nice place to put pots and pans when I can get to them.  The shelf that used to be where it is, is now in front of the cupboard with the pots and pans in it while I empty the shelves and find new places for the stuff.

Then you have to decide what will go where and there's moving the stuff you don't use so much and that's all covered in sticky grease from cooking, so that all has to get washed either by hand or in the dishwasher, which I obviously prefer to use. I'm getting smart in my old age - the stuff gets washed and dried and then if I don't use it too much it is going in one of three bins on the bottom rack of the shelves. Much easier to wash 1 plastic bin than a ton of small items. 

 Arranging, rearranging...stacking, finding bins and containers to put stuff in. Like my measuring spoons. They were on a clip that went onto the side of the wire basket that holds the measuring cups. It didn't work because you had to take a lot of spoons off to get to the different sizes. I had a lovely shiny, light green flower pot I had always wanted to use for something, so it became the new home for the measuring spoons now loosely stacked in it and ready to be grabbed. It is a lot of work, but I am taking it slow and thinking very hard about everything. 

 During the cleanup of the storage closet, which is still in progress, I found a potato ricer. It has a fixed hole setup unlike my new one which is adjustable and which I bought because I couldn't find the other one.  Potato ricers are my secret to fluffy mashed potatoes.  Why was the ricer in the storage closet???? Who knows. I don't know if I will keep both or stick with the newer adjustable one.  For now, since I don't use them daily, they are in one of the three bins on the bottom shelf.

I now have three chrome shelves in my kitchen of which only two will stay. The other one will go out on the balcony and get a bit of a scrub down and then it will go behind my couch, after it has dried, to hold some crafting stuff I don't get to as often. I might use the top shelf for my knitting and crocheting books because it is higher than the back of the couch...of course, the shelving is adjustable.. There's one more chrome shelf in my living room and ...hmmmm....maybe it should go over there in the corner...