New Garden Beds

We’ve been in this house nearly two years, but we’re coming up on our third planting season. I had success with Straw Bale Gardening last year, but my bales will not last a second season. The garden beds that came with this house have been sadly inadequate. They are small, differently sized, falling apart, and quite shaded. While I can’t change the placement, I can fix the rest.

I tried to repair them first, but the wood kept splitting and popping free. So I hit up a local cedar place and picked up some fencing boards on the cheap. I decided to up the bed size to 3’x6′ (they were 2’x5’2″ and 3’x5’2″) and just replace the rotting boards completely. I bought 1″x6″ standard grade cedar boards in 3′ and 6′ lengths. I also bought some 2″x2″ railing boards for the corner supports.

2015-03-02 16.00.41

I brought them home in the car (which smelled awesome) and dropped them in the garage. Now, the projects in the garage are lining up and there is still compost waiting to be unloaded in the trailer, so  I knew I needed to make this a priority project.

The allure of the garage for a two year old is incredible. He loves playing out there while I work on projects. I was able to saw the supports and screw the whole thing together in just a couple hours, even with the help of a toddler. He even handed me screws when I did the last parts on the floor. I made both beds 3’x6′ and used 1 1/4″x#8 wood screws that I had on hand, putting three in each end of each board.

2015-03-04 17.56.54

The beds won’t win any carpentry contests, but they’re sturdy and made from good material. It was getting dark as we finished, but we pulled up one of the garden beds and laid a new one down.

2015-03-04 18.14.14

This one is replacing the 2’x5′ bed.  You can see the second deteriorating bed to the right there. The ground is a bit uneven, so I need to purchase or fashion some stakes to hold the bed tight to the ground. The previous bed was built onto integrated stakes. I’ve got some landscaping style ones in mind, so a trip to the hardware store is in my near future. In the meantime, I can mark these guys off my list as built and move on to the next project.  Which, Rex informed me, is his train table.

But more on that soon.

Social Reprieve

An unexpected break, but I’m back!

I pulled away from social media over the holidays and continued the trend through January and February. The increase in overall mental health is amazing. I log on to Facebook and Twitter a few times a month to check in on a few friends I don’t see in other avenues of communication, but that’s about it. I also keep myself sheltered from news channels and parenting magazines.  I am still active on Plurk, but not as much as I was. My Instagram usage has increased because I have it cut down to a few choice people, whose pictures make me happy.

This has resulted in a few things:

  • I spend less time looking at my phone. I still do (often), but I’m not glued to it, stuck in the endless scroll.
  • I am less burdened by the negativity and unhappiness of others. I can focus more on putting good out into the world, than being pulled down by the bad of it.
  • I’m getting more done.
  • I’m making more real life friends. It’s scary and hard (and a lot like dating), but I’m doing my best.

I know social media has a different role for everyone. But if you’re feeling anxious and stressed out every time you tap that app, maybe take a week off. Like any addictive substance, you need a tolerance break from social media once in a while to bring your usage back down to manageable levels.

That being said, I am going to try being more active in this space. I feel like this blog is part of a past chapter in my life, but I’m going to adapt it. There will still be yarn content, but that is no longer the main focus in my life. I do hope you enjoy how it grows and changes.

Thanks for sticking around.

FO: Pointy Elf Hat

I’m still feeling displaced from my yarn after our move. I’ve yet to find a shop that feels like home and my moments with yarn are not as plentiful as they once were. I’m not sure where I saw this hat, but it was on one of the blogs I read. I saw it and went, “Hey, I have that pattern.”  I grabbed the book, dug through my boxes for a yarn of the correct weight, and went for a quick knit.

2014-10-16 15.53.42

It worked up fast on size 13 needles. A mini-marathon of Bob’s Burgers and I had a finished hat. (It took me three days to find my tapestry needle.)

2014-10-16 15.53.40

Rex loves it. He tore it out of my hands as soon as I finished weaving in the ends, so these pictures are pre-blocking.  After a gentle wet blocking, it fits much better.

2014-10-16 15.54.15

The yarn is some of my own handspun. It feels like a merino, but I don’t know for sure since the tag is long gone. If you want more project details, just pop over to Ravelry.

Something Fishy: Fish Fact Sheet

Apologies for the onslaught of fish posts. We’re very excited about our new additions and have been spending a lot of time worrying about their well-being. Our five strawberry rasboras are doing well, especially after the addition of some extra foliage and a tank rearrangement. The current our filter puts out is almost too strong for these diminutive fish, so I’ve been working to correct that. With the addition of a large Amazon Sword and some creative rearranging, they seem to be less tossed around.

2014-10-15 12.44.48

The new arrangement is also serving to hide the necessary electronics (heater and filter) and give the tank a more natural look. (I know the blue rock isn’t natural in the slightest, but I just love it.)  We also picked up some bloodworms to supplement their diet with, as my research indicates they’re micro-predators.

In being true to my nature, I went and got all nerdy by making a fish fact sheet.  As we add to our tanks, I’ll add to the sheets and put them in a binder. My hope is that this tank will not only be great entertainment, but also a portal for education. Want to be a fish nerd, too? Click to download your very own copy of the Boraras naevus fish fact sheet.

 

Something Fishy: The Saga Begins

I wondered, briefly, if this fish tank was actually a good idea. I worried about having a toddler and a 10-gallon glass water balloon in my dining room. And then this happened.

2014-10-13 10.12.50

So, yep, totally a good idea. Rex is enamored with fish tv and I can’t really blame him. So far, our little fishies are starting to develop their personalities.  Three of them stick right together. One is adventurous and bold. And the fifth, well… He’s sort of special. He disappears and wanders off and eventually you see one of the other fish herding him back to the school. Meanwhile, the snail is about halfway in his arduous journey from the lava rock to the wall.

Stay tuned for more Tales from the Tank!

Something Fishy: Getting Our Toes Wet

I love fish tanks. I had a beautiful 10-gallon setup as a teenager and often miss it. The fish tank urges have been strong for months and a few days ago, I finally saw THE tank.  Half price, round front, 10-gallon. It came with the full kit (heater, filter, light) and was very easy to setup. I chose a blue/green mix rock and added two plants (Anubias Congensis and Echinodorus Amazonius) from the box store.

2014-10-11 20.59.18-2

 

Today, Rex and I ventured out to The Wet Spot, an enormous fish supply store.  The staff was very helpful and spent a long time helping me decide on the fish for our little ecosystem.  Thanks to the internet, I was able to research modern fish tank practices prior to venturing to a real fish store. In the days of my little 10-gallon, you brought all the fish home, floated the bag for a bit, and then dumped them in. These days, a lot more information is available on proper and humane tank practices. I feel it’s important for Rex to always see animals being treated kindly, and fish are no exception. As tough as it is to wait, we’re following the right steps to keep our fish as comfortable and happy as possible.  This means, introducing one type of fish at a time and being careful how many total creatures we put in our ecosystem.

2014-10-12 13.11.55

We picked up an additional plant (Cabomba Caroliniana) and a moss ball (Cladophora Aegagropila) as well as a lava rock with hidey holes and rounded edges. Besides the flora, we came home with five Strawberry Rasboras (Boraras Naevus).

2014-10-12 14.53.04

 

These were my second choice, as the green rasboras were under quarantine. But I think they’re almost a better choice. They are less-flashy, but show up with red accents under the light and top out at a length of roughly 1/2″. We purchased five, as rasboras are a schooling fish and require a minimum of three to be happy. The guy helping us was more than happy to also scoop us a little snail.

2014-10-12 14.53.29

In 2-3 weeks, we can add the next fish. We know we want some guppies (male only) as well as shrimp (added at the end). I’m still waivering on adding another type of schooling fish to the mix.  Rex is just loving our new additions and I am too.

2014-10-12 14.24.51