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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 01:02pm on 21/10/2013 under
My homemade laundry detergent got the true test yesterday. I brushed against some wet paint. The stain was bright red and felt dry to the touch on my cotton hoodie, and water did nothing. I took it off and decided to throw everything I had at it. I sprayed the stain it with vinegar and water solution and put the sweatshirt in the washing machine with my homemade detergent in the detergent dispenser and lemon juice in the bleach dispenser. I even used hot water even though I normally only use cold. It came out almost completely clean! There is just a faint pinkish tinge which you can only find if you are looking for it.

Either (1) my homemade detergent really works, or (2) you don't really need detergent to make your clothes clean at all. Either way, I'm happy that I'm not buying Tide anymore, and that my favorite hoodie is okay.

Yesterday we also made a jack-o-lantern out of our little CSA pumpkin. We separated out all the seeds, roasted, and ate them. And we food processed the gunk inside and used it for a pumpkin spice latte and pumpkin butter. We used every part of the pumpkin. No part of the pumpkin was wasted!

Fall has the best flavors. It's also apple season, and when we ran out of orchard apples, we bought a big bag of Macintoshes at Whole Foods. They're not normally my favorite apple, but right now -- at the peak of ripeness -- they are both beautiful and delicious.

The CSA is over. I'm sort of relieved. I love the idea, but in practice, we couldn't use all the vegetables and many things just rotted in our fridge, especially greens. My current plan is to take the money I would have spent on a CSA for next summer and add it to our grocery money, for farmer's markets and organic, local produce. The few times we made it out of the local farmer's markets this year, we felt too guilty to buy anything because we had veggies at home, but I'd rather have the veggies I like in reasonable quantities.

Maybe I will also be inspired to work harder to curate my own little veggie patch.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 02:39pm on 03/05/2013 under
I haven't updated in awhile but there have been improvements to garden, largely without any effort on my part!

Spinach coming up like weeds
The spinach seedlings popped up all willy-nilly! The LITHA (Leave It The Hell Alone) method is working.

Strawberry leaves
The strawberry plants are coming along.

Tomato in dirt bag
I replanted two of the tomato plants into dirt bags, but then I ran out of soil.

Lemon tree
W gave me a baby lemon tree as an anniversary present!

There have also been some interior improvements!

I had the bedroom light fixture replaced with a ceiling fan! (Not pictured. It's kind of boring.)

Headboard
We ordered a custom upholstered headboard from the amazing Custom Design Home Decor on Etsy! Such an improvement, especially since W's computer is perfectly situated for watching TV from bed.

More recent photos of spring around the homestead!
Porch view down

Flowering bush

Porch view

Flowering tree

My plans for May are to have a cold, do some plant maintenance, finish Couch To 5K, and keep on keepin' on.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 03:08pm on 13/04/2013 under ,
The cold weather is easing up. Today it is merely cool. For today's farm task, I planted bare-root strawberries in a multi-tiered strawberry urn.

Strawberry urn

I had some left over, so I also planted some in my bed, even though I have no idea where I planted pak choi seeds. We'll find out! If too many things come up, I can always make decisions later! (So not organized enough to be a farmer.) You'll also notice that I put up the trellis. Now all that's left is for the peas to sprout.

Trellis

In fitness news, my roommates and I did day 1 of couch to 5k on Thursday, and we hope to do day 2 at some point today. I've signed up for two (2) 5k runs this summer, so I am required to keep on schedule this time, and not just do day 1 four or five times and then forget about it, like last time.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 10:04pm on 09/04/2013 under
Shortly after my last update, we went out and planted the outdoor veggie seeds in the little bed: a row of snow peas on the end (to be supported by trellis when it arrives), and a few rows each of spinach and bonsai pak choi, which hopefully will mature before the pea trellis blocks the sun.

cultivated bed

It doesn't look like much yet. But compare that to a weedy, rocky, uncultivated bed!

uncultivated bed

I'm excited about it!

gardener

While I'm posting picspam, just look at the meals W made for me today.

pancakes

For breakfast, gluten-free pancakes. Don't they look like an ad?

sushi

For dinner, sweet potato, avocado, and mango (triple O) sushi.

What a good housewife! Too bad the day job starts Tuesday.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 05:36pm on 09/04/2013 under
This past weekend, after coming back from a two-day trip to find my cilantro all wilted, I decided it was time to move the seedlings out of the jiffy pots. I repotted the tomatoes in 4" pots and made a little forest for the herbs. In the process, I gave some seedlings away and cruelly discarded weaklings.

Five tomato seedlings

Herb seedling forest

Aren't they getting such big, nice leaves? It's hard to believe I planted them only three weeks ago. You don't actually have to be that patient to grow things! These guys have now logged about 3 hours of outdoor sun time as it's been beautiful the last couple of days. We're getting some lower temperatures later in the week, but we're rapidly approaching the average last frost date, so it's time to kick the farm into high gear.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 11:21pm on 31/03/2013 under ,
The tomatoes are developing tiny adult leaves!

Tomato seedlings, day 15

I made a huge order of garden stuff. I'm planning on doing two planters of assorted herbs, one multi-level planter of strawberries, 4-6 tomato plants in individual containers, and spinach and peas in my little bed (with a little trellis). My roommates and I spent a ton of time raking and cleaning up the garden this weekend, now that warm weather is here. (And we finally tossed our Christmas poinsettia. It did good service!)

What else am I keeping you updated on? My trivia team kicked ass this week (thanks largely to a new addition and NO THANKS to my music studies, but the fruits of that endeavour will be more long-term). My piercings and bike injuries are healing nicely. I lost one pound on my new food regimen. I wish I hadn't started calorie counting between when I made a huge Peapod order full of processed bread products and when I got it. I can't throw away food! Too wasteful!!
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 12:34pm on 27/03/2013 under , , , ,
Okay, lots of things to tell you.

I. The Sprouts
Are doing well!

Seedlings in the window

Most of the pods sprouted, and the tomatoes were getting real tall and spindly, so I moved them to the window. I've been keeping them under my daylight-spectrum drawing lamp, which hopefully will work as a grow light. They seem to be doing well. I'm not sure when I'm supposed to transplant them to new homes. I'll give it some time, since I can't put them outside yet anyway.

II. New Pieces of Metal for Springtime

I got a bike!

my little red bike

Still working on not falling off, but having the equipment means I can practice.

I also got some new/old piercings: third lobe and helix on the right. (The left side is the same, 2 lobes.) I've gotten my helix redone like three times now. Third time's the charm!!



III. My New Games

1. The Fitness Game

I've never been one to count calories. I don't have a big problem with my weight and it changes so slowly that it doesn't seem to have anything really to do with what I eat or don't. (I know it does, but it doesn't FEEL that way.) Little did I know that I was MISSING OUT on a GREAT GAME!

I started using the My Fitness Pal app to track what I eat and any exercise I do. It was just out of curiosity, sort of to see where I am instead of to change anything, but it has influenced me to make different choices in order to meet my daily calorie goal. If I only have 50 calories left, I have a square of dark chocolate instead of a scoop of ice cream for dessert. When I go over, I'm like, "Okay, time to exercise." I still don't super care about weight, but I'm making better general fitness choices, doing things I agree I should do.

I have always tuned out when people started talking about calories, but I get it now. Without the numbers, I wasn't motivated to make these choices in the moment. Now, I not only KNOW INTELLECTUALLY that the most efficient way to improve my general diet is to replace my morning bagel and cream cheese with a lowfat yogurt and sugar-free granola; I FEEL it. With my HEART.

And maybe someday I will do it.

2. The Radio Game

My trivia team always gets crushed on the music round, where we're played a short clip of a song and must guess the title and artist. I decided it's time to get serious about practicing.

Most of the music is from the 80s through today, so I auto-shuffled Pandora's pre-made pop stations for the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and "today's hits." Each time a new song comes on (unless I'm absorbed in something else), I write down what I think the title and artist is. I get one point for each one I get right. (I don't get the title point if I only get the title because they repeated it in the chorus, which wouldn't be played at the bar.)

It's amazing how many of them are very familiar to me, I can totally sing along, and yet have no idea of the title or artist. This is actually what makes the game fun. If it was just a bunch of music I'd never heard before, it would be too hard. For someone less remedial than me, it would be too easy.

Here's a sample of the first "round" of 8 songs I played. How many of the songs do you think you would have been able to identify before the chorus played (or ever, if they never say the name of the song)? I got 3 points out of 16.

Don Henley - The Boys of Summer
Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy
Rihanna - Stay
Counting Crows - Mr. Jones
JoJo - Too Little, Too Late
Icona Pop - I Love It
Shakira - Hips Don't Lie
Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 01:47pm on 22/03/2013 under
Admittedly, the sprouts were kind of hard to see and dubious and speck-on-the-lens-like yesterday, but how bout now??

Sprouts, legit

I'm amazed that this seems to be working.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 01:23pm on 21/03/2013 under
Teeny weeny sprouts! Man, that heating pad works it magic fast.



The largest is in a weird, off-to-the-side place, making me think it was an accidentally dropped seed, but whatever. I'll take it.
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posted by [personal profile] lauraredcloud at 07:06pm on 18/03/2013 under
Apparently, you're not supposed to allow seeds to soak more than 24 hours or they could drown. So, like a true farmer, I got up early to tend to my crop before I had to turn on Outlook and sign onto Yahoo Messenger for work. It turns out that I LOVE waking up at 8:30. Like, it's easier than waking up at 9:45. It's possible this has something to do with sleep cycles.

What the instructions don't tell you is how to fish all your tiny seeds out of the water they were soaking in. They just slid off my handy Miniature Seedling Trowel(TM). Little ones got strained through paper towels, others just got dumped unceremoniously into pods, again, depending on my patience level.

This is going to work out great.


Miniature Seedling Trowel(TM) (Patent Pending)

Mmm, dirt sushi. Things I have no thought about: supposing they all germinate, what on earth will I do with 36 plants?

Note my innovation of marking the rows so I actually know where I put what. Because it's not like I did it in any logical way.

1-5 Parsley
7-10 Thyme
11, 13-16 Cilantro
17, 18-22 Oregano
25-29 Chive
31-35 Basil
6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36: Tomato

Oh yeah, I didn't use all the pods on herbs, so I added some cherry tomato seeds, also a present!

You're supposed to place the pods in a warm place out of direct sunlight to germinate. Darkness I got, but there are no particularly warm places in my house. I ended up creating a little womblike cave under my coffee table, draping a towel over it. It's next to a radiator, but I think I need to up the warmth. I ordered a seedling heating pad (my first actual money spent on this project), which hopefully will also serve as a human heating pad at times of the year when I am not germinating but just being cold.

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