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If you think this is about YOU, maybe you should go reconcile with your parent and work to get back your kids instead of continuing to be a jerk. If you think I am you, or similar to you, welcome! :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Next Year's Garden Shapes Up

I am continuing my hanging garden plans for next year, the one that's going to grow between the poles formerly known as clotheslines. I don't hang laundry from them, so they might as well be useful for something. 

I estimated I needed at least 52, up to 72, hanging containers. I managed to pick up more Topsy Turvies, bringing my count up to 20. I'm saving gallon milk jugs, gallon vinegar jugs (we use it as a fabric softener for certain items), gallon detergent jugs and 3-liter soda pop bottles. We are at the 52 mark, so only 20 to go.  Drink up!

I have to protect the roots from overexposure to the sun, growing upside down like that. I suppose I could wrap the planters in a blue or green duct tape, much like a Topsy Turvy, but I think that would ruin my garden aesthetic. So, I cut down some already smallish pillow cases that weren't doing anybody any good and made bottle snoods. They have drawstrings top and bottom, and maybe I'll market them. I'm going to try a couple with Velcro as well. Hanging is a cinch: I have a pile of wire coat hangers nobody will use.

I was looking for something stronger than wire or clothesline on which to run the planters. I found this nifty steel cable at the big-box home supply store that is placed in a plastic tubing of sorts.  I'll put the metal clips onto the cable, first, then hang the cable in place.

As long as I am going for the gusto, I am also looking for other ways to stack and hold planters. I'm certainly not moving my wire baker's rack to the yard! I was thinking of converting a couple of old bookshelves that have stood the test of time. If I don't get to that, I can always make shelves with old boards, bricks and cinderblock. 

We're going to try a few experiments next year. I have some old boxes that are deep, that can have drainage holes so the containers can hold carrots, rutabagas, radishes, broccoli, garlic and onions. Not sure about doing potatoes that way. We have some cleared and ungrassed ground for in-the-ground veggies and fruits as well. 

As far as dirt- I have two compost piles at present. They meet local code and are covered. I am not going as far as putting human waste, or any animal parts whatsoever into them. Leaves, veggie and fruit peelings, worms to root around and aerate the soil. I have spare soil, about 200 pounds, and a big supply of Perlite and sand to lighten things up. I also have several fertilizers I bought at close-out. 

So now I am foraging seeds, both from plants we eat, plants we've grown, and close-outs at local stores. There was an interesting experiment on  growing pumpkins inside pumpkin shells that I'm anxious to try. We currently are set with: peppers of various colors, cucumbers of various sizes and uses, squashes that do and don't squish, herbs galore, chards and kales.

I will be making more planter snoods during the winter, and checking the compost, turning the soil. I can't start seeds indoors until at least early February. All in all, it's starting to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The kids are interested as well, except for the composting part.   


Friday, September 7, 2012

Ring out the bells! Go get the dresses!

We have been invited to FOUR weddings this Autumn: Two cousins, a godson and an aunt.  While we won't be able to attend the godson's wedding Texas,we will be able to attend the local or near-local nuptials. 

This requires dresses for Belle and Baby. There is only one small problem. They are in growth spurts. Up. Tall. 

I am at a loss as to where the tall comes in. My mother's brother is quite tall, as were several late uncles from my father's side. My father is 5'7". Ex is about 5'9". Sonny, my Lulubelle's ex, is 5'7", while Lulubelle is 5'8" (Junior, our son, is 5'6"). My mother is 5'8", as is one of my sisters. I am 5'4".  I also have a sister who is just 5' even. So, while the DNA lottery points to short, it seems the kids are going to be tall. They give the Mister credit for it, at 5'11", but he actually has no chromosomal input into the matter of their height.  

Not only is this tallness affecting dress purchases, it is affecting ALL clothes purchases for the kids. Both Belle and Baby grew an inch overnight, within 3 weeks of each other. Belle can no longer hand down clothes and shoes to Baby. They wear the same size clothes; moreover, Baby wears a larger shoe size than Belle. Belle and I can exchange shoes, and do, as long as we're not going to the same place and want the same shoes. 

So, I have waited until a week before the first wedding to go shopping for dresses. I'm glad I did. The dresses they tried on in July at a closeout would never fit them now without leggings. 

And I can mend, and do lovely handwork such as embroidery and quilts. But I don't sew clothes well. I've never gotten the construction thing. I took 2 years of drafting in high school, as well as 4 years of commercial art, so my view of sewing clothes is not the same as a woman who learned to sew in a class. What often happens is a look of horror, followed by, "You made that, didn't you?" For all my advanced spatial ability, I can't do fabric 2D to 3D. I've tried imagining dresses as just a lumpy quilt, or upholstery. No dice.

Belle still has to practice walking in heels and not killing herself or others. She got the prettiest pair of plum kitten heels at a liquidation sale. Her Confirmation outfit in November will hopefully match them, provided she doesn't grow again, foot-wise. 

So, it's off to attempt to find two dresses, preferably that match shoes we already own (not Baby's "boy" PF Flyers-style gym shoes).  It should be interesting, hopefully not traumatic. The wallet will hopefully cover the expense.