Archive | March 2011

It’s (Almost) the First Day of Spring!

Monday will be the first day of spring. It may not be that warm — the forecast is predicting only a high of 55 — but considering the super chilly winter we’ve had, 55 sounds pretty darn good right about now. The past few days have been lovely and the flowers in the front yard have been soaking up the sun and loving every moment of it.

This morning my husband and I took a quick walk to the grocery store for eggs, graham crackers and sudafed (which has sadly become a staple for my daily existence the past few weeks), and when we got home we noticed that the full-sized daffodils are about to bloom.

When I bought the bulbs last year I picked an interesting variety, but at this point I honestly don’t remember what was interesting about them, so I really can’t wait to see them. Here’s hoping that I still think they are interesting when they emerge!

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Garden Update #1

It’s been nearly two weeks since we planted our seedlings and I am so excited by how much they have grown! I mentioned before that we were hoping to protect our seedlings from any dramatic incidents after the intense heat/windstorms we dealt with last year, but unfortunately I have to report that the larger tray has already faced its first trial.

To ensure that the plants get as much sunlight as possible while it is too chilly to put them outside, we balance cookie sheets filled with seedlings containers between our love seat and front windows. The other day my husband sat down on the love seat and the larger of the two sheets went clattering down behind it. Thankfully only a few of the seed pods and labeling sticks fell out of their containers, so we shouldn’t have too much confusion come transplant time.

Other than our seedlings, the flowers in the front yard continue to be delightful. We have an abundance of miniature daffodils which make me happy every time I look at them. I am still waiting for the tulips to emerge and I would love for them to bloom before the daffodils fade so the yard is full of spring flowers, but all I can do is be patient and enjoy them when they come.

Working Here, There & Everywhere

I am blogging from my office for the morning — Au Bon Pain in Downtown DC. It seems that “working from home” has meant that less and less over the past few weeks. Thanks to internet malfunctions and meetings, I have found myself working in coffee shops, my friend’s apartment, at church and occasionally from home. Pretty much any space with internet access that (ideally) doesn’t require a constant need (or desire) to purchase coffee and treats has been in the running.

After losing our internet connection on a Thursday night and finding out a technician couldn’t come look at it until Monday (not exactly ideal when you work from home…), I spent a lovely Friday working at my friend’s basement apartment. I was back again only a week later when I lost internet — again. I was so grateful not to have to spend 6 hours sitting in a coffee shop trying to look like I was still consuming the same beverage that I had purchased four hours earlier. Thankfully, the second technician who came to check out my intermittent internet was convinced he found the problem and told me everything should work fine from here on out. Oh how I desperately want that to be true!

Today I am working downtown because between my early morning eye appointment and my half day of working in an office, I didn’t see the point in going home for an hour only to turn around and get back on the train. So I sit with my iced mocha and some sort of pastry concoction with custard and chocolate (I am definitely not complaining about that!) working on press releases. At some point between now and heading to my afternoon at the office, I do have to go look for a new dress to wear to one or two of the four upcoming weddings we are attending. Just have to figure out the timing of working, dress hunting, lunch and making it to the office by 1 pm.

Now it’s 11. I have two hours before I have to report to the office. I have 74% of my laptop battery remaining. Sadly I have no pastry left. Now my biggest question is what’s for lunch?

 

Second House-a-versary

A few days ago I suddenly realized that the second anniversary of the day we bought our house was nearly upon us. Here’s what’s been accomplished around the house since March 12, 2010:

• We started hanging things up. It is true that there was a little art here and there during the first year we lived here, but we have recently gone on a hanging spree, finally adding art to our dining room, bedroom, hallway, stairwell and, most recently, our living room where I love how the addition of three ceramic plates we picked up in Jordan add character to the space.

• I spent a lot of mornings at the garden. We also tried to grow a few things on the front porch, but didn’t have nearly as much success with that as the first summer we lived here. This year we will be back at the garden plot, but we are hoping that during year three we can finally work on our backyard and have our garden here during summer 2012.

• With the help of my mother-in-law, we planted some daffodil and tulip bulbs in the front yard alongside the hyacinth and mini daffodil bulbs that we had planted when we first moved in. The new bulbs are just starting to come up and I can’t wait to see the flowers for the first time.

• Our bathroom skylight got a face lift, thanks to the hard work of my in-laws who cleaned up the window and the skylight space which look so much cleaner without the snowmageddon water damage. Speaking of the bathroom, my father-in-law also installed a vent in our basement bathroom, which has been a great addition since you can’t open the window to get any fresh air in there.

• We finally tackled our “little room” — clearing out all the storage, painting it and setting it up as a craft room. We have yet to actually craft in there, but I have high hopes that this year we will make that happen.

• My husband and father-in-law repaired a water damaged area on our lower back porch wall. It looks much cleaner, but despite being enclosed it is still freezing out there in the winter. They also installed a ceiling fan in our living room, providing some much-needed air movement during the sticky summer months.

• My husband put together a storage area in the basement and it seems we are kind of heading in the direction of making the room a more appealing space for guests. We’ll see!

There is a lot on our agenda for the next year — new windows for the front of the house, possibly a new boiler, replacing the futon in the basement with an actual bed and the large, boxy television with a flat screen, the list goes on and on. There are bigger items — air conditioning, solar panels, refinishing the back porches and knocking out the wall between our kitchen and dining room — on the list for a few years down the road. Despite the never-ending list of things to do, I am so grateful we have this beautiful place to live. And all quirks that come along with it.

March Showers Bring Spring Flowers

Despite the continued gloomy weather, I was delighted to come home on Tuesday night to see the miniature daffodils had flowers on them. It was such a wonderful treat after a ridiculously long day. The next morning I noticed that our hyacinths are also pushing upwards, so those flowers should be blooming early next week. I simply can’t wait for a vibrant, flower-filled front yard!

Rainbow Seedlings

During the weekend my husband and I finally got our seedlings started. If everything grows we could have 21 varieties of veggies and herbs this season between the seedlings and the additional seeds that we will sow directly into the garden plot.

Our seedlings consist of a multitude of peppers (bell, treasure, jalapeno and cayenne), tomatoes (Ukranian purple, big boy, brandywine), cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, thyme, oregano, basil and purple basil.

I have to admit that the seeds I was most excited about were the heirloom rainbow cherry tomatoes — even the seeds were rainbow colored and I am anxious to see what color cherry tomatoes we end up with this summer. From the packet description, we could have red, orange, green, white, brown or a pink and white swirl. Should be interesting!

Despite our late start planting everything (most of the packets recommend between 8 and 10 weeks of time inside before transplanting), I am hoping that 7ish weeks will be enough time for the plants to grow before transplanting them to their more permanent outside home. Now the key will be keeping them watered, warm and in the sun until late April.

We will also have to avoid the catastrophe’s that impacted last spring’s seedlings — an intense wind storm that flipped our container over while it was sunning on the front porch and the ridiculous one-day 90 degree heatwave during the first week of April that completely dried out the soil and fried about half of the baby plants. The combination of the two put a real damper on growth and left us scrambling to start a second round of seedlings as late as April.

Now that our growing season is under way, I am ready to fertilize the plot and sow the additional seeds (carrots, kale, cilantro, green beans, snap peas and arugula). Unfortunately the weather doesn’t agree that it is quite that time yet.

Starting to garden in March and not having any produce until late June can be difficult. It means spending a lot of time playing the waiting game, but each stage of the growing process is encouraging. From the sprouting of the seedlings to the first flowers to the initial baby produce, I have really enjoyed watching our food develop the past two summers and look forward to our third gardening season.

Yeah, it’s been awhile…

I haven’t posted in quite some time and I have so many excuses — I was busy with work, I had no internet for a few days, and then I was hit with a monster cold that I am still getting over. Despite continuing to be busy with work projects, the internet is back and (hopefully) I am starting to be on the mend from my cold. With two of the three roadblocks sort of taken care of, I am sitting at my desk trying to think of something brilliant to post about, but all I can really think is, “Crap, I just used my last lotion tissue blowing my nose!”

Even with all the complications there has been some housewifery, not that that is a word, during the past few weeks. A baking spree occurred with back-to-back batches of cupcakes then a pan of molasses bars. My husband was very excited about the cupcakes and I have to agree that it was nice to have a perfect sized dessert around for a few days.

I am also excited to report that although the weather remains chilly, spring seems to be seriously considering joining us. Our tulips are sprouting in the front yard and I am anxious to see the first flower bloom. Also, seeing the tulips start to sprout reminded me that it is time to get into gear for a new gardening season. I have picked up a wide variety of seeds as well as the seedling materials I need to get them growing. I have everything I need for the project except the motivation to actually do it. I’d much prefer to take a nap. But maybe with my husband’s help we can plant our seedlings this weekend to ensure that they will be nice and hearty by mid- to late-April when it comes time to transplant the little guys into the garden.

I could also use some help finding motivation to fold the clean clothes that have spent the last four days in the laundry basket. You might think that knowing folding the laundry will mean I could pick up all the dirty clothes currently littering the floor of the bedroom and bathroom would be enough, but alas I just walk around them day after day wondering where on earth that Laundry Fairy has gotten off to.

For now, actual work calls, and maybe laundry will get my attention later. And if I can find my camera I will get back in the swing of more frequent (and visually appealing) posts soon.