Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not just a miniseries or Canadian clothing brand

There's been both progress and frustration on the garden front, kiddos. As I've mentioned, I've been trying to build up a small stock of basic garden tools. As a way to try to meet that goal without breaking the bank, I'm using a couple of services I've known about for some time, but have not played around with too much before. First, I signed up for Freecycle, both the group for my county and the one for the county I used to live in. (There's a whole post about my experiences so far with Freecycle...I'll refrain from going into the interesting details for now). And, since my time is somewhat open, I also cruise Craigslist. Oh wait, not that kind of cruise. Nope. I look at the classifieds, concentrating on the Free category, but delving into Tools and Household as well.

Craigslist has not panned out, but I squealed with joy (on the inside) when an email came through from Freecycle offering "misc. gardening stuff". Tools were what I was after, but I was not being picky. I walked out with a garden rake, a flat bladed shovel, and a whole slew of other crap. Pots galore, lots of weed killer (which I have no idea how to use, cause wouldn't it poison your food through the soil?), insecticidal soap, sprayer bottles, gardening gloves, and a couple of tools that don't have handles. I think I can get handles though.

So that done, I set about yesterday to do a slew of work. I felt buoyed by the knowledge that Freecycle had come through at least a little bit. Here's where the bulk of the progress and also frustration comes in.

I dug up a little bit more of the bed I've been working on, and raked over it to level the ground. All good so far, except that I know I need to prep the soil with some compost. I'm trying not to buy anything I don't absolutely have to, so I went over to the compost bin to see how things were cooking along. The only compost that's actually ready is at the very bottom of the bin, which is not readily accessible. So I decided that the best course of action would be to take the bin apart and flip the pile. That helps things break down faster anyway, and I'm all about quick results. I'll be flipping more often now, because roots had invaded from the ground.

I felt like an archaeologist. The pile from inside the bin was layered, and my kitchen scrap additions were not so decomposed. I relived the meals of the past few months, and felt new guilt at the food that had gone dodgy before I remembered to eat it. Among the remnants: two entirely intact additions in the form of an apple and a potato. I had added those whole before it occurred to me that I'd speed the process along if I'd just go ahead and cut the things up. Stomping on the apple and potato and tossing them back into the bin was really fun. I might have even said "Hi-YAH!" Not that I'd admit to that, of course.

The really fun part though is that at the very bottom of the pile I got to see what the former tenants contributed to the pile. As I scooped up this layer, which was the only layer that actually seemed to be compost, I came across all sorts of fun things. They ate a lot of brown eggs; the shells were not entirely decomposed, but you can tell that they had leached some of their goodness into the soil from how fragile they now are. Peach pits, avocado pits, a corncob, a spoon, a shoelace and some plastic containers were the other survivors. The not-yet-broken-down-but-they-will-eventually pieces got tossed back into the bin. The others are lying beside the shed.

Wow. That's really a lot of talk about compost. Nobody ever said I was entertaining.

More progress: I have begun seedlings: peas and sorrel. They're cooking inside on the kitchen table, in the sunniest part of the house I could find.

Pretty good, hm? Well, don't worry there's always a balance, you know?

The bad news is that I really don't think the garden plot I've been basing THIS WHOLE GARDEN ON is even usable. I pushed aside the leaves I'd been using to mulch the plot with over the winter, yay new rake!! I figured I could go ahead and turn the soil now, so that when the peas had sprouted I'd be ready to just shove them into spots and hope for the best. Nuh-uh. There's only about 2 inches of topsoil before you hit a dense root system for the invasive yet gorgeous Mimosa tree that sits nearby. And on top of that problem, it seems that the proximity of the plot to the driveway means that there's a goodly amount of gravel thrown in. Roots, y'all, roots. And gravel. I moved on.

I think I'll be making another bed. If I can't use that plot, I'm going to be hard-pressed to dig up enough spaces for me to be able to plant everything I had intended to. I'm pouting. Literally, which in this case does not mean figuratively, like most people mean when they say 'literally' (It's literally raining cats and dogs). No, my bottom lip is poking out and the brow, it's furrowed. I can't furrow 2 inches of soil.

On hair:

Wow, I never expected such a throw-away complaint could yield such comment results! Woo hoo!

I went with no conditioner at all yesterday. Extremely hard to comb out. Despite great care, I lost a lot more into my brush than I was comfortable with. To top it off, it's still greasy this morning at my hairline. (Roots)

Luckily my friends have my back. I got an email from Michele first thing this morning:

I got a haircut last night and talked to my hairdresser about your greasy hair. She said it could be a number of things, from a hormone change to the change in water (which could take a while to show up.) She suggested trying a clarifying shampoo or mixing 1tsp of baking soda into your shampoo and washing your hair with that. She said that should make sure it's clean- it may not be rinsing out as well as you think.

So I'll be taking the Arm and Hammer into the bath today. Report to come. Thanks for being my cat sleuths.

p.s. All's I wanted to do was to make a blog quote. Blogger threw in the damn big quote marks. Sillies.