Archive for April, 2011

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lawn chives

Monday, April 25th, 2011

You know, if this whole trying-to-grow-new-grass-thing doesn’t work out for us, we could just plant more chives. Somehow chive seeds ended up in the lawn a few years back, and now they are spreading just gloriously.

lawn chives

Snip a few chives, pluck a few dandelion greens, and wallah! Dinner is served.

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Posted in Household Management 101, The Growing Season | No Comments »

how to add new soil to reseed a lawn

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

We spent this past weekend diligently adding 10 yards of new soil/compost to our old, tired lawn in order to fertilize and reseed. It was quite a project for two people, but Craig and I did it!

It all started bright and early Friday morning when we got ready for the soil to arrive. We de-mossed our front lawn in preparation for the soil delivery.
raking up moss

We had raked up all the moss on the front and back lawn, added lime, and aerated the soil (translation: Craig walked all over it with his crampons. Handy trick!)

Then came the soil man in his big dumptruck!
10 yards of soil

10 yards of soil

10 yards of soil

10 yards of soil

Holy pile of dirt! That’s a lot of soil. I stared at it in awe for quite some time.
10 yards of soil

And then Craig and I got to work. Using two wheel barrows, we methodically shoveled and dumped, shoveled and dumped, transporting wheel-barrow-fulls to the backyard.
soil piles

soil piles

soil piles

We kept wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. This had better work.
top dressing lawn

After several breaks, we finally got started raking out the new soil/compost mixture. We spread it as evenly as we could in the backyard and front yard where we had gotten up all the moss.
top dressing lawn

We added at least a few inches of new, fresh soil/compost on top of the bare lawn. And we also brushed some soil into the existing grass using a push broom to give it some new soil top dressing.
top dressing soil

While Craig finished up the front lawn using the remaining soil, I snapped some more pics from our second-story window.
top dressing soil

We got all 10 yards of soil spread out! We finished around 7 p.m. And we lucked out because Craig’s parents invited us over for a late dinner. How could we resist after such a long day?

When all was said and done, we were exhausted and very, very, very sore. I literally had trouble using a fork and knife at dinner. No grip left!

Saturday was spent recovering. And putting down organic fertilizer. And today we finally reseeded the whole lawn.

We also spent today doing some serious kitchen floor cleaning from all the dirt we tracked in:
dirty kitchen floor

But we did it! This coming week will be a testament to our watering prowess, keeping the soil moist so that the grass can germinate. Wish us lots of lawn luck!

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Posted in Household Management 101, The Growing Season | 6 Comments »

fixing a lawn with moss

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Gulp. It starts with gulp. Because I have a gigantic confession to make (that which I have already stated more than once). I suck at growing a lawn. Sigh. I am a pretty darn decent organic gardener. Veggies! Flowers! Bushes! Houseplants! But! My lawn skills are subpar. Why is that? I mean, I love my lawn. And I think I tend to it okay. But I have not been very successful at growing awesome grass here at the homestead over the past 5 years.

It’s kinda sad. It’s definitely humbling. But I WILL NOT give up! Craig thinks I am in over my head this year. Because, well, I have pretty much been tearing up our moss-fields. We grow moss. Tons and tons of perfectly green, pretty, organic moss.

You see, we do not use chemicals on our lawn. We haven’t since the day we moved in nearly 5 years ago. And I will not resort to chemical fertilizers and such to grow grass. However, we’ve got moss.

raking moss

Craig takes a snoozer after raking up the moss.

The moss grows so well, it almost seems a shame to keep trying to get rid of it. Our moss problem is due to super dense shade (two HUGE maple trees in our backyard) and a perimeter fence, and hemlocks on the border of our yard that block out even more sun. So we don’t get the right amount of sun and drainage. The area is just dark and wet for so much of the summer. We even aerated the lawn last Spring, but no luck.

However, we are total yard idiots and always up for yet another garden experiment. So, this year we have painstakingly raked up most of the moss. Again.
raking up the moss

raking up the moss

And later today, we are getting a boatload of “super soil” delivered… a premium blend of compost and garden soil. 10 yards worth. Holy moly. Are we crazy or what? Yes! We are going to attempt to top-dress our de-mossed yard and then re-seed.

Yeah, I am a bit nervous. I am a bit apprehensive. And, well, I am a bit excited. So excited that I am taking the day off! This is serious business!

Wish us luck! More photos and updates coming real soon!

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Posted in Household Management 101, The Growing Season | 2 Comments »

a typical week in april… in images

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

I take a lot of photos every day. Photos here and there to document what I am up to, things that catch my fancy, my little observations of life around me. I am passionate about capturing all the little things, reminders that even during a chaotic week, I am doing my best to be present and mindful.

Quite often though, I get too busy and these photos never end up anywhere. Often they are “one-offs”, and I don’t create a blog post about them. But I have been giving all of these photos and slices of life a bit more thought. And I am going to start posting more of them, because they give a bit more insight into my gardens of plenty.

So here’s a small sampling to start!

raw milk

Raw milk!

We get a half gallon of farm-fresh raw milk every week, and it comes in this wonderful glass jar that you turn back in the following week when you pick up new milk. We are so in love with raw milk. I have talked about it quite a bit, and I am especially thankful for raw milk as we enter allergy season. I really think that raw milk helps me combat my seasonal allergies, relieving many of my symptoms. Craig and I each drink a glass a day, and we also use the raw milk for cooking.

plant cuttings

New plant cuttings!

Spring is a great time to trim back your houseplants. I try to keep some of the cuttings going by putting them in water. I almost always have multiple bottles and jars with cuttings adorning my kitchen window sill. Once the cuttings root, I will pot them and either add them to my “permanent” houseplant collection, or give them away as gifts.

vinegar wine stain

Using vinegar to remove a wine stain on the coffee table

I am a huge fan of vinegar. It is a wonder-cleaner. We use vinegar everywhere. And yes—vinegar is an awesome stain remover. We had a red wine stain on the coffee table, and I poured vinegar onto the table and let it sit for several hours. Worked like a charm.

overflowing bookcase

Overflowing bookcase!

As I was trimming houseplants and making new cuttings, I realized that our bookcases are glutted! Spring is a great time to not only do a thorough house cleaning, but to also take a look around and see where the clutter is. We simply have too many books, and it is time to pare down our collection. We start by offering up excess books to family and friends, and then from there we donate.

april compost

This week’s compost!

We are avid composters, easily filling up our 2-gallon compost bucket each week with scraps from the kitchen, including veggie trimmings, egg shells, napkins, paper towels, coffee grinds, hair, dryer lint, stale bread products, and more. There is something rather delightful in peeking in at the compost, knowing that it will all soon break down and get recycled in our large compost bin in the backyard. Then we will dig out the compost and add it to our garden continuing the cycle.

More photos to come!

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Posted in Household Management 101, The Daily Balance | 5 Comments »

the garden is sprouting!

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

It has been raining on and off for the past two days, and all sorts of wonderful things are sprouting and budding in the yard and garden.

For starters, here come my bleeding hearts! Just starting, but soon they will bloom their short but beautiful flower life in the front flower garden bed:
bleeding heart

For the real deal, I look no futher than to my hyacinths. They are blooming and amazing throughout my front garden. All sorts of light pinks, and hot pinks, and deep purple hues abound!
hyacinths

hyacinths

I will give these hyacinths a few more days in the garden to open up, and then I will cut some to bring indoors to make lovely bouquets, because they just smell delightful and are such an exclamation point that spring is here!
hyacinths

What else is coming along in the garden? Ah… so many things!

Here is the current state of the very front raised vegetable garden bed.

Hopefully you can see that there are all sorts of sprouts emerging! I am so pleased and happy about the progress. Up and away! There are spinach sprouts, lettuces, radishes, and broccoli rabe.

lettuce sprouts

lettuce sprouts

radish sprouts

radish sprouts

spinach sprouts

spinach sprouts

There is no greater joy from growing vegetables from seed than observing the garden every day and waiting and waiting… and then suddenly! seedlings emerge from the soil. Just peeking out from the ground angling for the sun. From these tiny seeds emerge baby plants that with proper love and care will keep on growing and growing and growing. And soon they will transform and become vegetables! Very soon my radishes and lettuces and spinach will be ready to pick.

It is not difficult at all to plant these veggies. It just takes time and care and patience. And, of course… a little sun and water. Before you know it, wallah!

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Posted in The Growing Season | 2 Comments »

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