Monthly Archives: March 2012

Adventures in Square Foot Gardening

There are cars stopped on the side of the road and groups of people posing for pictures in the medians here in Texas.  That can only mean one thing…spring is in full force around these parts. It’s true, temps have reached the 80’s and I’ve already gotten my first sunburn of the season. Yeah, sounds more like summer I know, but that’s Texas for ya. I’ve spent the last few days trying to get a garden box built and planted. I thought this year I’d give the Square Foot Gardening method a shot, seems like a good idea for a small space.

For your sake I’ll give you the abbreviated version: (the long one involves multiple trips to the nursery for the correct amount and type of soil, a Home Depot employee having a really rough day, dumpster diving for newspapers, the wrong size screws, the right size screws, and moving the whole thing half way through)

First things first, before you begin you’ve got to put on your “gardening attire.” In my case this old “Leave me alone I’m having a crisis” t-shirt did the trick, some shorts so I could pretend like my legs would get tan, a crazy out of control hair-do, some really sexy garden shoes (aka really sexy hiking boots), and a pair of found XXX Church sunglasses. Yeah, I was lookin’ real good:). 

For the box… I put together this 4×4 frame. Wood (2×8’s cut in half), screws, a little bit of muscle. Done.

Then I lined the bottom with newspaper. This proved to be quite a challenge since the wind never ceased to quit.  I spent most of my time chasing papers across the yard.

After that, I filled the frame with a mixture of compost, pre-bedding soil, and some square foot garden mix. If you didn’t know, soil is the key to a successful garden. What they don’t tell you though is that soil is expensive!! Thankfully the lady at the greenery helped me figure out a combination of things that saved me a ton of money (unfortunately not on my car insurance).Once I loaded her up with soil, I measured off square foot sections. As you can see, somehow I didn’t end up exactly square so I’ve got a few spaces that aren’t quite the right size. I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal. Screw on your grid.I planted some seeds in the squares. We’ll have to see if anything actually grows. I’m very skeptical at the moment. I have a few plants that I bought that I want to put in, but I need to put some kind of fencing up before I do that. I have a feeling the animals around here will think my garden is a delicious gourmet salad made just for them. So a fence…that’s my next project. What about you? Any gardening plans this year? Any gardening tips? Do you even like vegetables??

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Skype Date

As some of you may or may not know, my sister Erin has been working in Port-Au-Prince Haiti since February. She’s been filling the role of school nurse, as well as making weekly medical visits to the area called the Ravine. She helps with a feeding program that is established there in that area. That’s just a vague description of what she does, she does so much more than just those two things, but you’ll have to check out her blog for more info on the happenings in her life in Haiti. She’ll be there until May this time around. Even though when she is not in Haiti, she lives in Michigan and I live in Texas, it still seems like I miss her more while she’s there. Luckily we’ve got technology this day in age and we’ve had the chance to keep in touch. We had a little siblings Skype date the other day and here are some screen shots:). We do actually talk sometimes, but it appears that most of the time we just like to make faces at each other. Haha. She makes a sister proud.

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pieces

This week in my world…

It rained in Texas, for about 2 days.This is Dan’s homemade, organic rain gear. We got a kick out of it.

Chad finally put together our grill. We’ve concluded it’s made for either midgets or lazy people, because it only comes about thigh high.

First attempts at a planter.

We’ve got baby lettuce.

Speaking of babies…I had nursery duty this week.

Speaking of duty…one of the babies had doodie all over and I tried my best not to gag the entire time I was cleaning it up. {She is not that baby}

Then afterwards we had Chipotle for lunch. I won’t even make jokes about their burritos being comparable to a dirty diaper…

Hope you all had a great week!

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So I’m really feeling the whole dead computer thing this week. I’m starting to get a little computer stir crazy if ya know what I mean. I’m beginning to wonder how long one can live without a computer in this day in age? I’m not by any means a techie, I’m actually not even sure if that’s how you spell the word correctly. I have an iphone 4. I’ve never upgraded it. I have an ipod Nano. It’s frozen in time to the tunes of 2007. I still own VHS tapes. I still buy VHS tapes. I feel like I should be able to survive without a computer. However the lack thereof is really putting my “living with less” lifestyle to the test. It’s so crazy to think how far the technological age has come in just my lifetime and I haven’t really been alive THAT long. Seems like yesterday I was playing Paper Boy and Million Dollar Pyramid on my grandma’s (yes, my grandma had a computer before we did) Commodore 64. Now I’m having to be annoyed by a table of 40 somethings and their preteen kids going on and on about their tweets, how many followers they have and how they’re going to unfriend certain people on their facebook because they are sick of their status updates. What has the world come to?

One thing however that I love about the internet….Etsy. Yes, I know Etsy has been around for quite some time now, but I finally jumped on board and opened a vintage store. So far I love it. It’s a lot more work than I expected, but then again it takes a little while to first get my hands on a computer for a couple hours, then take a picture with my phone, email it to myself, load it into iphoto in order to rotate the image, then upload it to the site. Time. Takes time. But it’s been so worth it. I actually just sold something while sitting here typing this blog. Craziness, this whole internet thing.

I didn’t get on here tonight though to even tell you about my store, (but if you want to take a look, be my guest, I’d love that). I actually came here tonight to tell you about the other side of Etsy. The part where you get to be the shopper. I came across a lovely little store called Botny a couple weeks ago. I fell in love with these hand drawn earrings by Dana. I couldn’t decide between two different styles, so I asked her to chose between the two for me. When the first pair came in the mail I loved them so much, that I went ahead and ordered the other color about a week later when I saw she was having a sale. I’m pretty sure these are the only pairs of earrings I own at the moment and maybe they’ll ease me back into my earring wearing phase that I’ve been away from for so long.

I didn’t get a picture of the first pair, because I’m actually wearing them right now and I don’t want to have to take them out for a photo, but here is the second pair. They even came in a cute little decorated box with a handwritten note from the artist.

How cute is this pair? Might have to make another purchase!

Oh and it’s been awhile since I’ve talked about any kind of music I’ve been listening too. Two words. Andrew Bird. I’m really digging his brand new album. I started listening to it one night when the ceiling fan in my room was driving me absolutely insane while I was trying to sleep. See for yourself, give it a listen.

I’m not a techie but…

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pieces

This week…

I am still currently the Fruit Ninja master with this high score.

Onions and garlic. Great for keeping vampires at bay, or to add flavor to chicken pot pie.

The ole Suburban needed some oil. I had to stand on a chair to fill it, it was windy, I was wearing a dress…awkward.Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake for the Bliss Breakfast. Recipe here.

I got a new dress and the weather is perfect.

Scary outtakes from my brother and I’s impromptu “photo booth” shoot. (I look like I have a burn victim beard. weird).

Beads. I wanted them all.

Boots + Pattern.Spell check may have come in handy?

If I had an extra $100 this would so be mine, it was way cool.

Creepy shed that I was concerned was holding dead bodies or something of the sort. So naturally I should stop for a photo op.

Hope you all had a great week! I’m planning to get some spring cleaning done tomorrow…we’ll see how long that lasts before I get distracted.

-Melissa

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Blueberries and Bedhead

Let’s talk breakfast. Let’s talk bedhead and flannel pajama pants shall we? Who doesn’t love a good case of bedhead? I mean in my opinion straight, shiny hair is so overrated.

Let’s talk blueberries and cream cheese. Let me tell you about french bread and eggs and maple syrup. Oh and butter too, can’t forget about butter. You don’t even have to get dressed for this one. I’ve got a really simple breakfast bake that you can throw together in no time at all. Heck you can even put it together the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning. We’re talking make yourself a cup of coffee and sit down with the paper because breakfast is done.

Here we go:

This guy gets cut up into pieces and becomes the base of this breakfast dish.

In a 9x13in greased pan, layer the bread cubes with blueberries and chunks of cream cheese.

In a separate bowl beat up the eggs, milk, butter and maple syrup.

Pour the mixture over the bread so it gets nice and soggy.

Either wrap it with foil and stick it in the fridge until morning, or pop that baby in the oven to bake at 350. Pull it out, let it cool…done. Not even kidding, your life just got easier and way more delicious.

The only way you’ll remember that you actually had to work to put this together are the blueberry stains on your fingers. Totally worth it.

The beauty in this is that you can adapt it however you’d like. Want to use raspberries instead? Great idea! Throw some cinnamon and sugar on it? You totally should. Chocolate chips…say what? I think that might just throw this dish over the egde. {{recipe adapted from Simply Recipes}}

Roll Call

  • 1 loaf of white bread bread cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 block of cream cheese, cut into small cubes (8oz)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I just used the small size bag of frozen berries. I think it ended up being 2.5 cups)
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup maple syrup plus more for serving

How we do it

1 Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 9×13 square baking dish. Place half of the bread cubes in the dish. Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and half of the blueberries over the bread. Top with remaining bread cubes and blueberries.

2 Combine eggs, milk, maple syrup and butter in a large bowl and pour over bread mixture.

3 Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cover with aluminum foil if you notice the edges browning too much during baking.

4 Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into squares to serve. Serve with additional maple syrup. Can be prepared the night before, and baked before serving.

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walking weather

The weather here in Texas has been perfect the past couple of days. I’m really trying to take full advantage of agreeable weather. You know eat dinner outside on the patio, take a walk, find reasons to be out and about. I can’t help but cringe when I think of the coming summer months. I’m a northern girl through and through when it comes to mother nature.

If like me you are experiencing enjoyable weather these days, then get yourself outside.  Take that dog for a walk, throw a frisbee, have lunch at the park.

As for those of my friends still dealing with the forces of winter…well, throw another log on the fire, cozy up with an extra blanket, make a pot of chili and have hope, spring is just around the corner.

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