Saturday, February 27, 2010


I have been thinking a lot lately about our vegetable garden for this year. We have a large plot near the house and we always seem to find ourselves way over our heads in produce and up keep, which leads to a lot of waste and frustration. We usually lay it out in a traditional format, several long rows about 2.5 feet apart for the garden tiller to pass through. I always feel I have to fill up the whole plot. (I tend to bite off more than I can chew sometimes) I have heard about the square foot gardening method for a few years now, through blogs, websites, and books. This year we are inspired to try it out. The basic philosophy of square foot gardening is growing more produce in a smaller space, with less weeding and upkeep, and ease of harvesting. We are planning on building 3 4 foot square boxes, with 1 foot square planting zones. Depending on the size of the plant, determines the number you plant in each square. I do have summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes planned in the boxes, but with the proper trellising, they should grow vertical, not out horizontally. According to my figuring, this should grow as much as we want in about a fourth of the space. The idea is having less plants, but with more attention in the small space, will create a higher yield. It is bucking the tradition, but we are ready to try something different. My layout above is not the final one, still in the tweaking stage.

As far as the rest of the garden plot, we might try planting some perennial fruit bushes and flowers. I do want to try growing potatoes this year. Heck, maybe the lawn will reclaim a part of the plot. It will be interesting experiment. We are excited to try it out. If I am less overwhelmed and grumpy towards the end of this growing season, it will be a success. Stay tuned. :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wishful Chickens

The chickens are looking forward to spring too, I think they are growing tired of their dry feed rations and occasional kitchen scraps. The feast of greens and tasty bugs will return in a month or two, or three.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The bare patches are appearing, releasing that old familiar smell signaling that spring will come again. That earthy aroma always shocks me out of my winter stupor and for me, gets me thinking about the lush green possibilities ahead. During this time, I grow increasingly intolerant to the snow and cold and long for daylight and open windows. I start scouring the seed catalogs, dreaming of a well kept garden. This year, I promise :-) Research new and beloved places for Zachary and I to explore this summer. I know it will snow several more times and the temperatures will dip again, but I am ready when you are Spring.

ps. Winter, I haven't stopped loving you, I still cherish you and all you bring. It's just when I get that whiff of Spring, I lose my focus and long for the warmer days that you can't provide. I will return to you this Fall, ready and eager for the white stillness and the serene beauty you create. The walks through the woods we share, the frosty artistry you make for me... I know you will understand. It's not you, it's me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet to Cranky

Last Friday we drove down to Illinois and visited Kristanna, Zachary's sister, at the hospital. She was on bed rest at the hospital for a few weeks before she delivered little Landon Calvin last week. He was born early, weighing about 4 pounds. He will have to stay there for a few weeks, to grow stronger. He is a healthy little boy and we are glad both him and Kristanna made it okay.

After meeting Landon, we visited with Kristanna for a couple hours. It was good to see her again. Zachary had her laughing which is good, but with staples in from a c-section, made it more a ha ha ouch. We'd like to visit again once the family is all settled in at home together.

Afterwards we stopped at one of our favorite places to eat in Illinois, Walker Brothers. Breakfast for any meal is a great idea in our minds. Zachary had his stand by, Buttermilk Pancakes. I was feeling a little more adventurous and had the Mediterranean Omelet. It had feta cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onions, oregano and Kalamata olives. It was a tasty combination. We also brought home one of their famous frozen apple pancakes for later. (It was very good. I ate it Sunday.)

The downside of the meal was table near us. There was 3 older women dining together. One was a very loud sourpuss that dominated the conversion at their table and everyone near them. I think every 3rd word from her was either horrible, terrible, or awful. The other women seemed reasonable, but she had an sour opinion on every topic they discussed, from widowers, to children, to clothing, and she spoke it loudly with vigor. I wonder if she has smiled in last 10 years? I am glad not all older people get that way. We both vowed to not become an old crank one day.
Smile lady, it's flowers.

moving on

I am a Mac user. At times, a Mac snob. I have been using them regularly since my college days when I realized Macs are wonderful. My last year in college, I bought myself a Mac Powerbook G4. Nearly seven years later, I still use that same computer daily, for surfing the Internet, playing games, and doing graphic design. Well I did use it daily.

She and I probably spent thousands of hours together, laughing at lolcats, writing papers, and overcoming design challenges. She has been good to me. Her hard drive always retrieved the file I requested and she always booted without fail. I was usually hard on her. I would make her process and manipulate gigantic image files, multi-task on the Internet, and let her sit in precarious places. She did take a tumble off the coffee table about 2 years ago, bending in the power supply port and taking a dent. Shortly after the power cord stopped powering the computer, so I ordered a new AC power cord, but she rallied on. Her battery stopped taking a charge a year before that, so she always needed to be plugged in.

These last few months, she has really shown her age. Playing WoW on her would bring her to her knees and seize. Image files were too much to handle, a simple file save would take several minutes. After a few hours use, she was almost too hot to touch. The power cord connection was so sensitive, if you bumped the computer a certain way, she would instantly shut off. There was the constant battle of the hard drive being full and moving files to an external hard drive.

Seeing the end in sight, I knew I had to line up a replacement. I would love another Mac, but as someone recently said, the "Mac Tax" is high. As in I knew I could get a lot more computer for my money if I went with a PC than a Mac. I needed a replacement now, that will serve me well for a few years, and cost me less money. It was much more sensible for me, and for us, as we are trying to live more frugal. So I ordered a PC, but it is not here yet. Yes, the Mac fan inside me is pouting, but she gets to play on a Mac at my job at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. So we aren't really walking away from the Mac. There just won't be one at home for a while. Maybe one day again.

Sensing my plans, my Mac had a meltdown. Literally. About a week ago, I was at work and Zachary was at home with the day off. He was at his computer and he also had mine up and checking something on the Internet with it. As it has been lately, she suddenly shut off without warning. He futzed with the power connection a bit and it wasn't responding. He just left it alone and continued on his computer. Then he smelled a burning smell, a distinct electrical burning scent. And then to his surprise, sparks and flame appeared out the side of the power brick on my power cord. He quickly unplugged it and it stopped. This power brick and cord sits on a carpeted floor. If he wasn't home at the time this happened, our house could have easily burned down.

So... my Mac is officially decommissioned. I borrowed a power cord from a computer at work and booted her up one last time, to move files to my external hard drive. I didn't want to order a 3rd power cable and try to keep using her, as she seemed to run hot herself, and one fiery incident is one enough. I will miss my little lap warmer, we had a good run and outlasted my expectations. I would love to make something out of her. Too bad it wasn't a Mac Cube. Ever see the Mac Cube aquarium?

Now that is pretty neat.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Good the Bad and the Unbearable

Recently Jenny and I (yes Zachary is actually making a post) watched 3 movies in a relatively short period of time. What makes this event worthy of posting is the categories these movies fall into. I love movies, always have and always will, and these 3 movies fit neatly into the 3 categories in which i place all films. We shall begin as all good things do in the middle.

Craving a movie (and tasty tasty pizza) we ventured out to the local video store. That's right you heard me we are not Netflix users, we go to The Video Galaxy . The Video Galaxy is a house of evil and temptation they lure you in with overpriced rentals and unreasonable late fees. Then when you open the door there plan unfolds, clear to see, yet none are strong enough to do anything about it. For this non-franchised video store is attached to a non-franchised pizza parlor..., but not only attached there is interior access between them. They vent the smell of heavenly pseudo Italian deliciousness straight into the video store. Do not tell me it is a coincidence, they are owned by the same evil genius. Determined to leave with only a rental, we proceeded to wait while the pizza we swore not to order baked. While waiting we decided upon Pandorum.

Pandorum is a bad movie folks, and I loved it. Yes I love bad movies: corny, predictable, poorly acted and low budget, I love them all. My only regret is forcing such obviously terrible movies on my poor wife who regrettably does not share my horrible affliction. Ill say no more about Pandorum accept if you like bad movies its for you.

Movie number 2 was a afternoon at the theater which is sad because movie number 2 was The Book of Eli. I cant get enough of post apocalyptic wastelands, or so i thought. I have no clue what causes a bad movie to become unbearable. Is the acting just too bad? Is it not bad enough? Whatever the cause this movie is terrible.

Third times the charm? Yes indeed! For the sake of continuity we will be ignoring the fact that movie 3 was seen before movie 2. GO SEE Moon RIGHT NOW! I will skip hyperbole in favor of saying that Moon is everything I love in a serious movie. What are those things? I guess you will just have to find out for yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Knitting Underway

I have started my first knitting project, a simple scarf. I sat down, surrounded by 5 how-to books, and attempted to get something started. I was so rusty since the last time I practiced, that I think I struggled for a half hour just trying to cast on my stitches on the needles...
I am using a 100% Merino yarn and it should make a soft scarf. With it being such a squishy soft yarn, it should also hide many of my mistakes. :-)