Archive for the 'doing things diffferently' Category

When it Rains, it Pours – or Not

Wasn’t I just complaining about how much rain we’ve been getting?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…

Well, the truth is that we were getting a lot of rain – which if one is prone to doing some gardening – can be a good thing.

About 5 years ago we purchased three 50-gallon rain barrels.  An environmental and financial good idea.  Water with the rainfall, save some cash and divert some of the water from the over-worked storm sewers.  And for 5 years it’s been a very win-win situation.

One of the lessons we have learned is that during a typical summer rain storm, the amount of roof run-off into the gutters then into the rain barrels is amazing.  50 gallons fills in virtually no time at all.  After about a 2 hour steady rain – 150 gallons of rain water is at our service.

Only on very rare occasions have we had to resort to dragging out the dreaded hose to water our flowers and vegetables.  When droughts happen, 150 gallons of rain water seems to get used almost as quickly as the barrels got filled up.

With all of the vegetable garden expansion we’ve done over the past two summers, along with sacrificing more and more lawn for additional bed space and berry bush plantings – we have a lot more green stuff to water, so the need for additional rain water collection became especially apparent.  We have been tearing through and draining the rain barrels faster than ever before.  Fortunately we did have a pretty wet Spring, but more rain barrels were needed – there was no doubt about that.

So we purchased and combined 3 more barrels into our system – doubling our capacity.


two behind our garage and


two more beside our deck.

We have a third set on the driveway side of the house as well – but I think you get the picture 🙂

Our now 300 gallon rain water capacity should serve us well as we move into the heat of summer 2011.

Should.

All we need now is some actual rain to fill them…

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Time Off….WOOT!!!!!!!!!

I am doing the the happy dance. I am on vacation, that’s right V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!!!!!!

I was asked if I would like to come in on Thursday for some training thing…..

NO!

NO! I am NOT coming in…..!

I have moved my vacation time twice already, I’m so done with the public, computer software issues, training, all of it. Homicidal thoughts have been crossing my mind way too often. Really, I need a break.

Back to the happy dance. It has been an interesting start we saved one pit bull from getting hit by a car on Sunday on our way to the store. I have never met such a dominate, ill mannered, no training, feet fixation, mouthing, growing, little girl(40 lbs) like this one. She is not what most responsible owners of this breed or any breed, would call a “good example.” Her owner, lets just say I had some very bad vibes about the whole deal, should not be allowed to own a dog.

This is the second time now that I have had regrets returning a dog to its owner. My gut tells me by her behavior and other observations that there is bad stuff going on. This was the 1st time that the husband has ever been concerned about the behavior of a dog that he has interacted with. In all honesty I kinda think she may have gotten mad because we were taking her back. Nope….she was pissed because she couldn’t mouth at his feet and had a temper tantrum like a child. For some strange reason I didn’t get nervous by her tantrum. I saw it as a type of acting out so to speak of and took the lead from the husband as he requested. I found the whole thing very strange and yet I understood this dog and her ill mannered ways. Btw, she got in our car, jumped in the front seat, in my lap and gave me sloppy bully kisses when we first picked her up. I believe due to her being in “her” environment, street, home set off the behavior. Interesting, I find all of it interesting.

“Can I rake your leaves and have them?” I really asked my neighbor this yesterday because when I see leaves I see compost. I know it’s a strange way of thinking but I can’t help it. All leaves to me, besides smelling good and crunching under your feet make me think of compost. This is a key element to a great garden. Since we have embraced this urban farming thang, I need leaves because I really hate paying for compost. I keep telling my one landscaper friend to dump all his leaves in my drive because I really need them. Really, 8 – 50 gallon garbage cans packed full of leaves is nothing which is what we raked yesterday. I need a huge truck load. I am coveting my other neighbor whose yard may yield about 15 garbage cans full.

So why are we so focused on leaves….well the husband and I have only been cleaning out the back 40 when time has allowed and getting it ready for spring. Let me put it this way, we are cleaning and looking at possible designs. Since we are moving away from a yard that “looks pretty” to a yard that is “pretty” and has purpose “food” the clean slate issue keeps coming up. We have decided that 80% of our landscaping will be finding a new home. We figure that we need about 10 yards of compost to amend the soil of the two zones that will be created next year. There will be a total of 4 zones when all is said and done. I still have much research to do because permaculture is somewhat different than having regular gardens and I’m okay with that.

Projects to finish while on vacation is the office old closet area and re-purpose a 50+ year old shipping crate for the bathroom. Small projects, low cost and large impact.

A Different Approach

How did you spend your Friday?

Here in the Rust Belt we started off our day with a trip to my in-laws. They needed some help with stopping the leaks from their 30 year old windows in their sun room. I told the husband that we were going to spend at least 5 hours putting plastic up to only have it come off over the next couple months because of the way their windows are. Did I mention also that they are not going to be real happy when the paint on the moulding peels off when they take the plastic down. How do I know this? Been there and much cursing has been done in the past by me.

So we assessed the windows, I tightened up some screws on a window they couldn’t get closed and explained to my father-in-law what we have experienced in the past with stopping leaky windows. When the husband and I told him that we just built all these interior window storm he told us to do it before we finished what all this entails. Our list of things to do had just increased.

It was a rainy day and we were off. A stop to the vets – dogs nails trimmed. A stop to the lumber yard to check on baseboard mouldings. Went to lunch to fuel up. Off to Lowes for materials. Picked up tools at our house and off to build interior window frames for the in-laws.

This time we tried a different approach – MDF. Well lets just stay it was interesting to work with and we found out rather quickly we had a design flaw.

Can I tell you that MDF is weak, just weak. These windows are big, 55″ x 61″, the size was causing the center to bow. So it was time to put on our thinking caps and figure out how to beef up the weak-ass material. We tossed around some ideas and I’m the kinda person that like to take the path of least trouble. I suggested that we buddy up the scrap on the bottom and top to give it some support. I wasn’t sure if this would fix it but it was a hell of a lot better than adding a shit load of cross sections.

We used the scrap that was left over and centered the extra support pieces. It fixed the bow and we were off again and on track. We have 2 more left to build and my in-laws sun room will no longer be freezing cold.

In embracing using a different approach last night the ghetto neighbors across the street had a little party. I don’t care if people throw parties, it’s Friday night, it was around 10:00 p.m., have a party. I do have major issues when the bass is turned up so loud that it is vibrating my basement door of our home. Our whole entire house felt like one huge vibrator – it was humming.

So I put on my coat, my boots and I walk across the street because I really don’t feel like calling the cops – I just want them to turn the bass down. A simple request, No?

There are two people on the sidewalk and I really don’t care who they are. I ask very nicely, “can you please turn down the bass”? I explain the whole vibrating thing.

The guy starts to give me a little attitude at first, the girl interjects and tells me no problem and told the guy no she right and the girl says to me “I’ll turn it down, mommie”.

“Mommie”, this is an interesting word in the urban world, it means many different things. It has not been the first time I have been called this. I had to pull up the urban dictionary on the PC to make sure that she didn’t just disrespect me.

This word means respect, the person who is saying it is being submissive. That part bothers me, “submissive”.

The booming bass stopped, they actually turned it off. The party’s noise level came way down and by 11:00 p.m. it was silent.

A different approach indeed!


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