Summer Splashing

Last night at Grant Park:

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This morning at Blue Lake Park:

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Trying to get in a bit more summer fun before August zooms away…


In the Garden: July 18

I watched a seminar on straw bale gardening earlier in the year at a Home Show. The premise was fascinating and seemed pretty solid. With living in a rental, installing garden beds and killing large swaths of lawn is not an option. So, I bought the book and four straw bales and gave it a go.

The bales are positioned between rosebushes in the decorative border filled with bark that edges the yard.  One set of bales has tomatoes.  The left three plants are Mortgage Lifters from Liisa and the one on the far right is a cherry tomato variety called Juliet.


The other set is half cucumbers (lemon and burpless bush varieties), half zucchini.


I used yarn in place of wire between the fence poles and put old CDs on the top string to help fend off birds. The CDs are also doubling as plant markers.

I’m pretty pleased with the straw bale garden so far.  The cucumbers plants are huge and happy, the most success I’ve ever had with them! The tomatoes are a bit small, probably because I planted them a little late.  Now if I could just figure out what keeps eating the ends of my baby zucchinis, we’d be doing great. I’ve already lost three baby veggies to whatever is nomming on the ends.

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Besides the bales, I have one tiny garden bed that isn’t completely overrun with strawberry plants.  In this bed are two snap pea plants and one edamame plant.  The greenery not in cages are beets.  I also have a banana pepper and basil and mint plants in pots, but I forgot to get pictures of those.  I enjoy gardening, but I am thankful that I don’t have to try and feed my family on just what I can grow.

So what are you growing this year?

New Sandbox

Seven months ago, Woot had a fantastic sandbox for CHEAP.  Normally $129, they were selling it for $59 plus their normal $5 shipping/handling.  $65 for a kickin’ covered sandbox? Yes, please!  Since we acquired the sandbox in September, it hung out in the garage in its box for a while, waiting for the sunshine to return.  Yesterday, during naptime, I assembled the sandbox and today, we filled it!

2014-05-02 16.56.31Looking perplexed because the sandbox has no sand.

2014-05-03 16.59.16Digging in the sand happily.

 We also scored him a bicycle helmet for $10 from a great local bike store called Bike Gallery. They were clearancing last year’s colors and we found the perfect fitting one that just happened to have excavators and dump trucks on it.

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Little does he know, he’s getting a balance bike for his birthday. Please admire my self control for not giving it to him early.  I’ve had it assembled and stored downstairs for over a month. Patience is not my strong suit and it has taken a lot of control to leave it in storage…