Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wow. Okay, so it's been a really, really long time since I posted to this blog. But I need a way to show the Swap-botters the paintings I've been working on for the forums' ROAK offer I made. I want to paint more, but with two young boys and life in general, it's hard to make the time. So I posted an offer to paint people's favorite animals as a way to get me commit to painting.

And I finally got one done! Mr. Moose will be on his way to LoveToCraftInAZ by Saturday, I hope. My Dearest Deer is nearly finished. I'll post it soon.
Then it's just 11 more paintings to go! :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Growing Season Has Begun!

Using the charts in the back of the Square Foot Gardening book, I figured out the start dates for all the seeds I need to sow. Last weekend it was broccoli and parsley, specifically Romanesco broccoli and Italian Flat Leaf parsley.

To the left here, you can see the exciting little broccoli seedlings I discovered yesterday. It took exactly 7 days for them to sprout. How freakin' cute are they?

The parsley takes 15-21 days, so they remained stowed beneath my bed, in a large ziploc bag to keep in the moisture.

Snapdragon seeds are next! I have always bought transplants at the nursery, so it's going to be a whole new experience starting them from seed. I love snapdragons, not only because I associate them with my grandfather, but because they just never quit. They bloom and bloom and bloom up until the first hard frost.

Naturally, once seeds have sprouted, they need to go to a sunny spot, but with no available south facing windows, I've got them in the kitchen window in the morning and the living room window in the afternoon. Not ideal, but it's the best I can do until I can set up my portable greenhouse outdoors. With yet another snow storm on the way, and continued freezing cold temps, that won't be happening anytime soon. I may have to put a table by the livingroom window to hold all the seedlings I'll soon have.

How exciting!

I've gotten all my seeds so far from and I've been very happy. Friendly, helpful staff, cute packaging, and free seeds with every order.

Just wanted to share this shot of Jack's seedlings. This fall when we took a walk to the local park, Jack discovered some fascinating seed pods on a neighbor's evergreen bushes. They were all spiky and weird and when we broke them open, we found some brown seeds. So, we took them home and attempted to grow them.

And here they are. Jack is convinced they will turn into beautiful Christmas trees in no time at all. It's fun to see his excitement.

Oh yeah! And tonight is my first Master Gardener class at URI! I can't wait!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My favorite gardening sites

I have found some really wonderful gardening sites that I want to share.

I just came across this great blog, Cheap Vegetable Gardener and particularly found this post helpful about cheap organic fertilizer. But I really enjoy the whole site. I'm definitely gardening on a budget and this offers some really helpful ideas.

This sounds so obvious, but even though I subscribe to the magazine, I never thought to look at their website - the Better Homes and Garden plant dictionary is excellent. I'm constantly trying to identify plants.

This is a really fun site. I could spend all day here, just soaking up info: Dave's Garden.

Another site similar to Dave's is Doug Green's Simple Gifts Farm. It's amazing how generous gardeners are with information.

I've sort of been anti-annuals and pro-perennials, I guess because I want the most bang for my buck. But this article made me realize that annuals just give a different kind of bang - maybe not in longevity, but in beauty and color all summer. I went out the next day and bought some fun annuals.

We just became members at Bristol, RI's Blithewold Mansion, Garden and Arboretum. The head gardener there writes a fascinating blog that is worth checking out, no matter where you live.

And this is a really intriguing idea - The Plant Exchange - where people swap plants. I did a local plant swap this spring and got some great stuff. But this expands it way beyond your hometown.

That's it for now. I'll add more interesting links as I come across them. Please feel free to share your own internet finds.

Gardening is Great!

The title of this blog has taken on a whole new meaning, as I've become intensely passionate about gardening this spring.

It makes me feel connected to my grandfather, as he was quite a gardener. I did this painting as part of a project for my 2D Design class last semester. My strongest memories of Grampy's garden are tomatoes and snapdragons.

I love that there is so much to learn - it's like a whole new world has been opened up to me, which is very exciting. I love going to local nurseries and perusing their wonderful selections of interesting plants.

I love going online and finding interesting and useful websites full of info for people like me who don't know a thing about plants.

I love that my good friend Eileen is also a new gardener and we can talk endlessly about our endeavor.

And I love that it's something I'll be working on for years to come - that I can plan, make notes, daydream about it. That's really the best part, even if all my plans don't come to fruition (no pun intended).

Friday, May 14, 2010


I'm afraid I've been a bit absent lately. I haven't been able to quite get back to normal after my grandfather's death.

But, while I haven't been posting, I have been reading. Reduce Footprints had a challenge last month about taking fewer showers. When I read it, I had to laugh.

Pre-kids, I was someone who had to take a shower every day. Now, I'm lucky if I get one every other day. Most of the time, it's every two days. It's not a conscious decision to save water, though that's something I try to do in other ways constantly. It's simply the result of being a full-time mom to two little kids who never want me out of their sight.

I certainly cherish my showers now. That blessed alone time under soothingly hot water. Finally washing off the dirt from the backyard, the Crayola marker my youngest has drawn all over my arm, the chocolate milk kiss I received on the back of my neck as I was bent over changing the other one's diaper.

I have to admit to a 10- to 15-minute shower. I know that's quite bad for an eco-conscious person. But I can't give them up. I just can't. I don't take baths; I reuse the kiddie pool water for my plants; I practice the "if it's yellow, let it mellow..." philosophy with the toilet; and I bottle the cold water that I have to wait through to get to the hot. I hope that makes up for my thrice-weekly indulgence.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ashes to Ashes?

Last week my dear, dear grandfather passed away. I was with him for his last hours and saw him take his final breath. What an experience.

Later that day I accompanied my parents and aunt to the funeral home to make the decisions on his service and burial. I've never been party to this kind of conversation before and it was stunning.

The funeral director took us down to the casket viewing room, really just corners of caskets that give you an idea of what they look like, as well as miniature versions of the liners into which the caskets are placed.

I was shocked to realize that these pricey coffin liners were mostly made of non-corrosive materials. If they ever broke down at all, it would take thousands of years. Why on earth would we want that?

I always thought the purpose of being put in the ground was to complete the circle of life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, as they say.

I'm glad I spoke up and we ended up purchasing the concrete liner (required by law apparently) that will take only a hundred years to break down instead of thousands, as well as a wooden coffin - no metal of any sort. I don't like the thought at all of my wonderful Grampy spending so many years encased in metal, alone. Better that he should become part of the earth and the grass that grows above him.

This whole concept is new to me and I need to do some research on it. But my father's wishes for his future burial seem much "greener" to me - there's a cemetery in NH where your body is simply laid to rest - no coffin and certainly no liner. I like that idea.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this whole thing. And also a little advice, as morbid as it may seem: start planning your own burial now. The funeral home had pamphlets on how to do it and I wish I'd taken one. That way your loved ones, who are in shock, will not be talked into buying the $12,000 coffin. You will have already selected the coffin and paid for it (or most of it). The cost of dying is ridiculous. We paid $500 for the hearse to drive one mile from the funeral home to the cemetery.

Take care of yourselves and your families!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Water on my mind

Water is definitely on my mind these days, from our massive leak that is now fixed, to the record rainfall we've had here in RI (and our many neighbors with flooded homes), to just how much of it we personally go through in an average day.

If you don't have it already, I highly recommend going to your local library to take a look at the April issue of National Geographic (the photo above is from that issue). It's all about water and it's absolutely fascinating. And educational. Just the photos of the fresh water scarce areas of the world are stunning. It's nearly impossible to truly imagine what it's like to trek hours to get fresh water and then to have to turn around and carry heavy bottles and jugs all the way back home.

My two young sons are pretty much constantly dirty. If we've been playing outside, they are brown from head to foot. When my oldest comes home from preschool and we take off his sneakers, we pour a small mountain of sand from his shoes. So, baths are a pretty regular occurrence in this house. After the latest bath, I stood there looking at this tub of water, dreading the thought of pulling the plug and letting it all swirl down the drain.

So, I did some research and found instructions on how to make a bathtub siphon. A company in the UK sells them, but they use PVC, so this site describes an alternative method. I'm pretty excited about this and dh has signed on to build it for me!

And my idea of saving the water normally wasted while waiting for it to heat up is working great. I already have nearly a dozen gallons sitting outside, waiting to go on my garden once it's planted. And once it stops raining here.

Next up is a rain barrel. I'm doing research on the best ones. If you have one you love, please let me know about it.