Sunday, April 11, 2010

They didn't play like they were losing.

They didn't play like they were losing.  They had only 11 players, and at least one of them was hungover with only 2 hours of sleep.  But we only had 12, with one sick and one on a 48 hour fast.  That's dedication.  Fortunately for us, it took the whole first half for the much-feared Atlas to wake up and start shutting down our offense.  We were all tired.  We'd all gotten up at dawn for this match.  They never let up, and it was a really good time.

I always thought of soccer as a liesure activity.  When you're setting your alarm for 5:40 a.m. so that you can get up in time to be at the field at 7:00 to set up nets & lines on a Sunday, that's when you really have to question how serious you are about this sport.  We got there at 7, and set up the goals & nets.  Our opponents still hadn't showed at 7:45.  We were beginning to worry that we had gotten up early for a forfeit.  But they did show up after all, and with a full team of 11.  And we had a great game with the wind and clouds coming in, finally winning 5:1 just as it started to rain.

(Borrowed photo.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Garden Project, part 3

We finally got the garden going.  Here's a couple photos:
A friend once said to me, "$4.99 and you're a landscaping genius!"  That's in reference to the amazingly efficient beautification you can get with just a sack of wood chips for your flower beds.  Not only do they look and smell great, but they keep down weeds and help reduce evaporation of your precious irrigation water.  Now here is my new favorite garden-beautifying procedure:  cardboard/wood chip layering.  I got this idea from a book Melissa lent me, and I already forgot the name of the book.  The procedure is simple:  cover up all the weedy area you want to transform with cardboard.  Cover with fresh dirt and plant.  Voila!  Looks amazing!!  We used cardboard and wide roll paper on the artichoke area and covered it with a nice, thick layer of wood chips.  Just put the cardboard around my artichoke plants, so they are sticking up nicely.  Over time, the water & worms break down the paper, and it's all just weed-free dirt.  Added bonus:  the weeds become part of the organic matter.  :)  So far none have managed to get through the solid parts, just a couple around the edges.  In the front yard, we did it with cardboard and 3" of new soil over the top, then sowed wildflower seeds in the soil.  It smelled like manure for a week, but it looks fantastic!  And so easy!  Genius!!

Sowing carrots.  I have no idea why I look so serious.  Probably trying to balance over that fat row without falling on my rear!

I used the wood from the fence we took down to make some boxes.  I intend one for lettuce and the other for sweet peas.  :-)  The best part is that I did them all by myself, and Lyn wasn't even home.  So there!  I'm always thinking I need him around to do stuff, but I don't.

All filled with dirt and ready for seeds.

Two rows of tomatoes:  Celebrity, Early Girl and Cherry Tomatoes.  One row of carrots.  Three to go.

The weeds are down, and we're watering grass seed.  The walk is wood-chipped.  The lettuce  boxes are made, filled and planted.  Now I just have to get the last 3 rows planted and try not to forget to water.  And try not to forget to turn OFF the water!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Quote of the Day

Gleaned from Facebook, from a very smart friend, from an even wiser lady:

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."— Eleanor Roosevelt

The Garden Project, Part 2

They say the invention of the plow changed human history.  It's no wonder why.  With $50 and a quick trip to United Rentals, we have transformed the yard.  I had intended to do it all myself, and didn't expect Lyn to help.  But that great axiom of manhood came into play, and once he discovered that it's a power tool, he wanted to play.

Compost.  Mmm compost.  My pile was probably about 1/2 yard total, and I started it over a year ago.  The fluffy stuff on top I moved over, but about half of it was decomposed enough to put on the garden.  And about 25-30% of it right in the middle was totally turned to dirt!  Yay!  Which led me to another interesting discovery.

Look at all these nice, big worms!  There were round ones, flat ones, red & black striped ones...itsty bitsy fuzzy little woooorrrrrmmmmssss....jk.  I was grateful to find them.  Sometimes in this yard it seems like all we have is black widows and potato bugs and ravens.  So much for wildlife!  lol.  We carefully picked them up and put them back on the new compost pile, where they dug in quickly.

Worm Girl

Okay, now the really interesting part.  Trader Joe's has "compostable" packaging for much of their produce.  I usually select it when available, because that's much better than uncoded plastic, kwim?  BUT, I'm wondering under what conditions this stuff will actually decompose.  These were at the center of 1/2 yard of compost, right in the part where everything had turned to dirt.  NOW, I didn't cut most of them up, many of them weren't in there all that long (average time probably ~4 months), and so on.  But many of these had been in there for some time.  All the material around them was at the very least noticeably decomposed.  One of them did get rained on once, and it looks a little mottled, like it might have melted if left underwater for a substantial amount of time.  All of the other packages remained completely unchanged.  That includes one that I buried in the garden, to see if it would decompose faster if it was underground.  That one had been in the center of the garden, so it was not only buried, but had been watered over and everything.  It came up with the rototiller, perfectly intact.  NO decomposition whatsoever.

Are Trader Joe's Compostable Containers a Hoax?

See all the dirt on them?  These were from the center of the pile!

We took down the fence dividing the yard too.  I didn't really want to, I had some grand plan to grow plants on it and make it a green wall to look at when sitting on the deck.  Lyn, the Lawn Hater, has decided he wants grass.  WTF?  Caius wants a lawn too, and so they are going to plant one.  We'll see.  Lyn complained about the cost of water for the turtle tank, so I can't imagine what he's thinking about putting in a lawn.  He bought seeds and everything, after much debate, advice and then just picking one at random, because every single package claimed to use 30% less water.  If they are all using 30% less, then I'd really like to know 30% less than what?  In the end I suggested a high-traffic mix, thinking that maybe it just might survive.  Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of...nevermind.  The fence was so rotten that it practically fell down as we were unscrewing the boards.

It's nice and open now, but of course now you can see how crappy the yard looks, so we'll have to actually make it nice and keep it that way.  It's going to be a challenge without a sprinkler or drip system, but we'll see how it goes.

Sonja the CalTrans Foreman.  Inspected everything, but touched nothing, except the worms.

My helpers

Here's my pretty tin chicken, with some gorgeous geraniums that Sonja picked out.  I started re-barking the walkway too.

And there's the garden plot - all ready for sowing!