Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Excitement!

I may be out of touch for a bit here now, I start my new job tomorrow! Our team is doing a bunch of vegetation surveying/sampling in eastern Nevada so the system is basically eight days on, six days off. We drive way the hell out there and camp out for eight days, work eight ten-hour days (hell, when the light wakes you up at six, you might as well be working by seven, no lingering in a cozy bed out there) and then come home for six days off in a row.

That means six days of quality time off for projects when I am home! The backyard is in a respectable state right now and I have a bit of money to devote to it so I am going to tackle the front yard... you may remember we killed the lawn and stuck in a tree and a couple of shrubs. Now we are going to put in the rest of the shrubs and perennials that are in my plan and rebuild the watering system so they can all get watered on a timer. And it will look much nicer than a weedy expanse of decomposed granite. I like decomposed granite, don't get me wrong, but there is a LOT of it. Consider, the space I am working with is approximately 20' by 47' and currently has two ambitious but small shade trees and a slightly wimpy flagstone path, as well as about eight perennials I transplanted from the backyard. There will be more.

The current plant list includes:
Russian sage
low-growing juniper
red yarrow
red hot poker
and some daylilies if I get lazy at the end. There are already some of these things out there so I am amplifying on the existing theme. And even with all this added in it will still take a fraction of the water that the lawn did.

Sunset doesn't have a ton of representative photos for what I am trying to do but they do have some nice "replace your lawn with ___" articles. This is from one of them, it is vaguely like what I am going for, just a nice combo of evergreen shrubs and hearty perennials to bring in the bees and butterflies.

Here is another fun one. I can't follow all their plant choices but I am definitely going to include some fun stuff like echinacea and penstemon eventually once I figure out where things will all be. I just want to get a basic framework in so I can lay the drip, then I will probably add more perennials in the fall once I see how things are doing. I don't spend time in the front yard like I do in the back (no real porch or hangout area), so I want it to be minimal maintenance once it is all in. Then I can spend more time working on my backyard!

The only thing I think I need to spend more time on is finding some more evergreens - the barberry, which has fantastic deep burgundy leaves, drops them in the fall, exposing its bright red berries, but once the birds spot them there goes my visual interest. Most everything else gets cut back to a clump in the fall. So based on my current list it's just juniper. But that's not uncommon around here. I need to do some scoping out of the local yards to see what else looks good in the evergreen dept.

And it may be epically nerdy, but I may be taking my Nevada Gardening Guide with me into the field this week.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quote Of Much Awesomeness

“Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I wanted a cupcake, I did not have one” — David Grayson

Dessert plan has settled into this. I am excited.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Dinner Party Advice? Edited To Reflect Current Plan

So I have determined a nice small dinner party is still a better deal than going out with my friends too often. The food is reliably good and the drinks are a lot cheaper. The current menu is as follows:

a couple of interesting cheeses
spiced nuts
crackers or baguettes
some kind of dip?

Roasted pork tenderloin
Roasted asparagus
Sauteed mushrooms (good on top of the pork)
More baguette
Green salad (probably spinach with dried cranberries and candied nuts)
Possibly another vegetable?


Some kind of berry pie or tart since the berries are so good right now, recipe is still up in the air. Nothing fancy. Will have to investigate that Cooking Light recipe, except I can't have almonds :( but The Kitchn had something similar recently...
Ice cream to go with it

This group is less into the fancy food so I'm trying to stick with classics. I'm
looking for:
a cocktail I can make a pitcher of and serve
a second side vegetable?
and a good berry pie recipe.

from here
Does anyone have suggestions? I'm just recipe surfing right now but I need to start shopping in a day or two...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back! Just In Time For Dress-A-Friend-Monday: Esti

This week is PJ party week in Dress-A-Blogger-Land, and I am dressing Esti.

I think it's a good mix of girly (lace and sparkly slippers!) and sleek (cozy pj pants and a fluffy teal wrap). Perfect for a night of movies and hot cocoa (perhaps with a little peppermint schnapps)? So what do you think, Esti?

Further updates when I recover/finish crawling out from under a pile of laundry.

Edit: Click through to see that necklace, I love it! Literary yet whimsical!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Projects Without Pictures

1. I planted another batch of ground covers in the backyard. I still need three or four more gauras for behind things but I got in a half-dozen each of creeping/woolly thyme. With any luck they will spread like their compatriots have, as we promptly got a nice little dose of rain as soon as I finished planting them. Then all I have to do is set up my soaker hoses and plant my tender veggies and I am free to start on the front yard :X

2. I finally finished stripping whatever the coating was off of my end table. Now I just have to fill the cracks, sand and stain it. It's the crack filling I have been stalling on. But the finish was the worst to take off, there is no way any of the rest of it can be that bad. That stuff was so gummy and gross I can't even explain how happy I am to have it gone. And it is gonna look awesome! Gotta go buy some stain...

3. My new fridge comes tomorrow! Gotta do some cleaning out of expired condiments and suchlike tonight, maybe eat some frozen stuff for dinner. I am so excited! We have had this wacky old double-door fridge for so long and it is so loud and old and the ice maker is broken and it freezes my milk so this is it! Also, new fridge is about the same size but uses approximately 0.5 as much energy as this monster. So we get a rebate!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dress-A-Friend Monday: Mel Is A Derby Monster

This week's dress-a-friend is for Mel, as she is a derby aficionado and it is her birthday! So we are giving her a derby outfit and an after-party outfit.

The derby attire I picked up on in my brief time with the Battle Born Derby Demons (looong story), seems to involve primarily short skirts, fishnets and elbow pads. So I tried for some granola-chic and may have failed completely. I also failed in finding green leggings instead of tights, which is what I wanted, because fishnets just seem like asking for trouble. And weirdly patterned floor burns. The shirt is rad though. And I figure I can skip the accessories as she will be thoroughly covered in black velcro and pads.

For the casual granola-chic party girl I found another awesome derby tee. And since she is a jeans/heels kind of girl, obviously some jeans and heels. I think I should get extra points for the studded heels though, I love those! And since she's a little vague in the accessory dept. I gave her a little studded bracelet to go with the general air of badassery of the shoes, and a big-ass bag as I do know she is a fan of those.

And no, I didn't think of a good nickname. I figure if she's an aspiring derby queen she must already have one. So what is it, Mel? And how did I do?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Just Like Heaven.

My house came with a pretty minimal backyard. I have been pretty much doing it from scratch out there one square foot at a time. However, in the completely impossible to see and neglected side yard, there are three big old lilacs. So right now, my kitchen:

my bathroom:

and my office:

all smell like heaven. Also note, best souvenir anyone has brought me in years, la rana hiding in that last picture was brought back from a friend visiting family in Mexico. And I LOVE him. He may deserve a better picture in the future... (the frog, not the friend).

And just because.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Garden Triumph!

Batch number one of seeds is in. The back beds now have lettuces, carrots, radishes, beets and some spinach in the really shady part. Batch two will include some later carrots, radishes and lettuces in another couple of weeks if I am on my game. And batch three at the end of the month will actually be seeds and seedlings, as by that time it will be warm enough to plant the tender stuff. I will be obtaining seedlings of tomatoes, zucchini, squash and peppers (and possibly eggplant). I also plan on putting in more thyme, lavender and gaura, as well as a bunch of basil when it is warm enough, but these don't need raised beds, they will be in amongst the perennials and shrubs.

This is my favorite, it's Gaura lindheimerii or something to that effect, but the common name is "Whirling Butterflies". Is that not the best plant name in quite possibly ever? I'd never seen this plant until I moved here, and I love it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dress-A-Friend Monday: Wende Goes Picknicking

Welcome to another round of Blogger Paper Dolls a.k.a. Dress-A-Friend Monday! This week I got to dress Wende, who describes her style as "gauzy, with a faint air of menace". I'm not sure if I fully captured it, but I know she likes black and flowy with color in the accessories.

Here, she is going to a fancy picnic, so I gave her a nifty little jacket in case it gets cool (ha) in the shade of those majestic palo verde trees.
And some mildly obnoxious accessories to keep it interesting. I love those sandals.

For a more casual look I found her an awesome patterned skirt as I know she is a fan of the flowy/black-and-white. The shoes with the skirt might be a little bit much but they look so fun! And I thought I could get away with a muted gray top as in person it is pleasantly metallic-looking. I actually remembered to include a picnic blanket for her to sit on, too.

So how'd I do, Wende? I think you need that orange leopard-print bag.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


That's the sound my back is making. It took ALL AFTERNOON for me to put those raised beds together. And then I ran out of dirt. On tomorrow's shopping list? Lettuce seeds, and dirt. Then maybe some pictures. But right now? Errrgh.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's All Piling Up (Plus, Hey! New Template!)

Yard Projects:

Front Yard

Weed DG areas!
Plant new shrubs in DG areas
Turn on sprinkler system, make sure it works
Set up new drip system for DG areas
Possibly reseed tiny patch of lawn

This is not my yard.

Back yard
Finish edging on patio
Assemble raised beds, add dirt
Plant herbs, lettuces, other veggies from seed (in raised beds)
Plant gaura, lavender and other perennials (not in raised beds)
Find 1-2 more decent shrubs for the new patio area (maybe another viburnum?)
Finish cleaning green paint off of old patio
Find cushions for new hand-me down chair, ottoman and chaise

It's been raining pretty respectably for Nevada but it is clearing up so it looks like it will be a good weekend to plant. I spent a solid couple of hours today trying to clean that stupid green paint off of the patio so tomorrow it looks like I will be working on the raised beds. Come on sunny weather!

Not on the list: planting tomatoes, peppers and zucchini, as that can't happen for another month or so. No tomatoes in the ground until the snow is off of Peavine, and it looks like it's going to be a while.