6.26.2015

Back Porch Curtains

Our back porch is a freaking mess.

Sort of.

It's always been HOT in the summer and COLD in the winter because it's not insulated, it's just attached to the house by nails and glue (just a guess from what we've found that previous owners have done) and there's french doors from the dining room into the porch. Andplusalso, the porch sits on posts, it's not sitting on the ground and there's no basement beneath it to even keep it partially heated or partially cooled depending on the season. Basically, it's an extra room for 2 - 3 weeks out of each year.

I put up white curtains to keep the sun out in the late afternoon when it's the hottest - so far it's working to a certain extent but I'd like to get some insulated curtains back there so at least if the Monkey wants to play back there in the summer, I'm not letting all the cold air conditioning out into the world.

My parents used to tell me, "I'M NOT PAYING TO HEAT/COOL THE WORLD!!!"

Quite frankly, neither am I.

I need the 63 inch curtains so I can let SOME natural light in towards the top of the windows and not have the curtains touching the floor. One of my pet peeves is when curtains touch the floor. Have you ever vacuumed up curtains??? It fucking sucks. Literally. The next thing you know you're fumbling for the off switch on the vacuum while screaming "GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!!! JUST DON'T RIP OFF MY WALLS!!! YOU SHIT VACUUM! WHY DID I HAVE TO BUY THE SUPER POWER FUCKING VACUUM!?!"

So yeah, long curtains are out. In an ideal world I'd get shutters, but I don't think we'd be able to afford them. If we knock out the back of the house, then it would just be a waste of money anyway.

A quick google search also lets me know that my options are incredibly limited AND expensive.

I guess I'm going to have to live with the white ones for awhile. Whatevs... at least we have SOMETHING up so you don't fry yourself every time you go back there.

A girl can dream about insulated curtains.

CSA Box - Week 2

This year I opted for a different CSA other than Driftless Organics (which btw... was a GREAT CSA and still is! I just wanted to try a different one).

I decided to go with Turnip Rock Farm because it has a closer pick-up site to our house. We can bike there!

For week 2 we got:

  • bok choi
  • salad mix
  • green onions
  • garlic scapes
  • radishes
  • arugula
  • broccoli
  • herb pot - basil & parsley
  • Scarlet Queen Red Turnips
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Head Lettuce

So I've got a major list of recipes that I want to try - last night I already made turkey lettuce wraps with radishes, garlic scapes, green onions, two turnips, with the head lettuce being the "lettuce wrap" part. The sauce part is 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/4 cup soy sauce, a pinch of dried ginger, and 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Mix it all and dump it into the pan you've browned your meat and softened your veggies in. I really don't have much more of a recipe because I switch it up almost every time depending on the veggies in the fridge - I could use carrots instead of turnips, white or red onions instead of green onions, etc... 

BUT more recipes I want to try:

Napa cabbage - stuffed cabbage wraps
Turnips & radishes - roasted with some sort of lemon vinaigrette
Arugula - I have no clue yet, arugula isn't exactly my favorite but I WILL eat it on pizza so that might be what I'll end up putting in on - and my pieces only because I know Bimmer Man doesn't like it and the Monkey won't like it because it's too peppery - otherwise it will end up in the compost bin. 
Bok Choi - some type of stir fry - probably with chicken
Broccoli - I LOVE it steamed, so we'll do a stir fry with one head (along with the bok choi) and then I'll make an easy meal with the other head (sauteed or grilled chicken with rice and steamed broccoli)

Bimmer Man also complained that I didn't sign up for Turnip Rock's cheese share.

I'm quite regretting that decision as well and I'm pretty sure I've learned my lesson - next year I'll sign up for the full share (AGAIN) along with the cheese share and possibly the egg share.

6.20.2015

Bad Mommy Moment

I practically had a panic attack earlier this week.

I FORGOT THE FACT THAT MY CHILD IS ALLERGIC TO STRAWBERRIES.

Does anyone else forget shit like this?

Probably not.

I bought two tubs of fresh, organic strawberries. They were on sale. 2 for $4. HOW CAN YOU PASS UP ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES THAT ARE ON SALE??????? Yeah... I couldn't. Fresh freaking strawberries.... Yes, please!!

Well, at least until your child has an allergic reaction and starts getting hives all over her body.

Oops.

Bad Mommy Moment.

The Monkey has now fully recovered and is no longer itchy or red or showing signs of strawberry consumption.

6.15.2015

Front Boulevard Photos

I really didn't want to mow anymore grass than I had to. Besides, grass is really an invasive weed anyway. You water it and water it and it doesn't really give you anything back, does it? So, it's really time to start getting rid of the grass and putting in a perennial garden with Minnesota native plants and pollinator plants. Mother Earth gives so much to us (like um, air to breath, water to drink, etc...), so it's time to give back to Mother Earth. 

This side is mostly irises, daylillies, and bee balm. It's what I planted last fall with what I had. The irises were really pretty this past year - some were purple, others were yellow, I really had no idea what they were since they came from my mom's house. 

This is the other side. This is more of the pollinator garden side. I've got bee balm, butterfly weed, a few hostas, wild geranium, and more daylillies. Half I planted this spring from splitting plants and moving what didn't work last year. The other half came from local plant nurseries. 

This is wild geranium (I think). There's already TONS of small bees all around this thing - but they're too small to see in a photograph like this.

Here's one of the beds with more pollinator plants. We don't have a great area for a true veggie garden so I have to stick my veggies into my flower beds, which is fine except that it's really good for the rabbits and not for us. I can't do anything about that until next year AFTER the huge Norway Pine comes down on the side of the house. THEN I'll do a raised bed with all veggies and put up rabbit fencing so I don't have to deal with that problem again. 

I bought a new variety of bee balm - I LOVE my hot pink bee balm but the bees like a variety of plants so I decided to get the light purple for a variety of colors and pollens for the bees. 

My shasta daisies are doing great - they're twice as big as last year and I've already split some and moved them. Next year I'll have to pull a few more so they don't take over. They're so tall though, I need to swap a plant to the front so it's not hidden by the daisies or in the shade of the daisies. I'll have to wait until everything is done blooming to do that.

SO... WELCOME TO THE GARDEN.

Happy summer! I can't wait until more flowers are blooming!

6.10.2015

An Unintentional Break

When things get busy around here, I cut myself off from certain things. Like I don't post as much on Facebook, I stop reading blogs, I miss people's birthdays on Facebook, I stop looking at Instagram, I basically retreat into my little world of my house and seek inner peace instead of cramming a boatload of stuff into my life that I don't really need to know or do - and then I read the newspaper. It's sort of calming reading about other people's shit. 

In any case, the past few weeks has been nuts around here. We had foster dogs, then just a foster dog, then we went to Brainerd and the temp foster home wanted to foster the dog we had (I said yes... so now we're back to being dog-less, which by the way I still miss the MONSTER and that was really apparent when we had the foster dog, I'm still in the camp that I don't want another dog for a really long time, I just miss the MONSTER too much. Dogs really do leave footprints on your heart).

I haven't meant to cut myself off from the world but it happens, it's like pre-social networking. If you don't have it, then you don't know what you're missing and quite honestly I really didn't miss it too much. Last night I didn't look at my phone at all, instead I read a book. I'm halfway through it (it's a stupid Nora Roberts book which means that I'll just fly right through it, great for starting off summer reading!). I suppose I'll see if I can carry on without looking at my phone too much or worrying about checking Facebook or Instagram. If I miss something, then so be it. I'm not going to cry too much. And I like to blog when I have the time, so I'll be here... if not updating Facebook. HA!!! 

My friends, who read this blog, you'll know about shit if it happens first! (Such as... I bought a Mason Bee House, I'm putting that thing up today!). Or how about yesterday when I watched two robins attacking a squirrel, and the Fire Station Open House was a GREAT time for the MONKEY. I couldn't get her OUT of the fire trucks!

My goal this week is to get the last half of the front boulevard weeded, de-grassed, and mulched (I also noticed that the thyme that I planted out there isn't doing so well, so I have some Echinacea that will replace it). I also need to work on my god-daughter's dollhouse tomorrow - so that will be sanded, painted, and finally glued together after I cut up an old glove for some leather for a hinge for the front door. Yesterday I sanded the shit out of the little door for it to fit the opening so it can open and close without sticking. 

See? I'm too fucking busy for social networking shit. 

Though if someone says.... MEET ME AT FRIDAY'S FOR APPS & DRINKS... I will most definitely find the time to go!

Brainerd International Raceway For My Birthday

My birthday was last weekend. I went to Brainerd and the racetrack again this year (and stayed at a golf resort. HA! Neither of those are typical me considering that the cars use so much fossil fuel and the golf course uses so many bee-killing chemicals). Had an absolute blast.

Bimmer Man had a North Star BMW Club track event - last year I went and had a blast so this year I did it again. I did not get a manicure though (I'm one of those people that doesn't need the bells and whistles of a two hour manicure at a spa, a massage would have been great but seriously... 4 hours later I'm pretty much ready for bed!). He's an instructor and sometimes it makes me nervous - but he's been doing this so long that he now requests his students and requests the people that he's going to race with which means (in a strange sort of way...) it's not as dangerous as some of the drivers who are at the track for the first time. It's still dangerous flying around a track at over 100 miles per hour.

The cars that people bring are pretty awesome. There's racecars, Porches, Mini Coopers, Mustangs, BMWs, and sometimes people bring other awesome cars, like The Admiral brought his Mazda 3 and took that out onto the track (in the rain, with the D class and was PASSING people. The Admiral is a great driver).

And of course, I got to stop at Albertville. A new Coach purse, clothes and shoes for Simone, a pair of shoes for Bimmer Man, and shoes and clothes for me... I do love shopping! But again, I've gotten rid of so much stuff that no longer works for us, it can be nice to splurge a little bit and buy items that I know I'll use continuously - I bought a pair of Sperry boat shoes, which are super cute and I've been looking for a good pair of slip-on shoes to run around and do chores, run to the store, etc... I had to toss my old Simple shoes last year after they got holes in them and a certain dog chewed on them.

At some point I wanted to go to Nisswa - but at the same time I didn't. I can be pretty frugal, sometimes cheap, sometimes not (see the new Coach purse above). I had already spent my self-imposed monetary limit and to be quite honest, I didn't really feel like shopping anymore. We need a tree cut down, so I'm trying to NOT spend any more money if I don't need to.

The Club even sang Happy Birthday to me. That was hilarious. I really didn't know that was going to happen. HAHAHAHA.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME.

6.04.2015

Cleaning Out The Fridge/Summer Meal Planning

I think this is my most hated task.

Really.

But this time it wasn't too bad.

I've been so much better at grocery shopping and buying what we eat (and I home-make most of our food, including bread).

There were only 5 items that ended up in the trash - two bags of half finished chips, four strawberries that went into the compost as well as a head of lettuce, and leftover chicken that I didn't use.

Not too bad.

Normally I feel like it's the whole fridge (and then I'm pissed that I wasted so much food!).

This time our fridge is nearly empty enough that I was able to wipe down a whole shelf - but I still need to do the veggie crisper and the bottom of the fridge. That will suck.

Note: this is all in preparation for our CSA to start on June 18. I need the fridge space for the veggies that we're getting so I can prep and cook with all of them.

SO EXCITING.

A few weeks ago I went through our pantry cupboard and donated items at a birthday party that I knew we weren't going to use in the next month so that's been cleared out.

This summer for grocery shopping I'll only really need to buy dairy products - milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Last week I bought 15 pounds of meat, which I separated into portions and put in freezer bags with marinades. I also made mashed potatoes, Spanish rice, and a few other freezer meals for this summer, so we're basically all set for food - as long as we get great CSA boxes and they're not filled with eggplant.

I HATE EGGPLANT.

If I get any eggplant in our box, I'm going to put it out in a box at the curb with a sign saying FREE or else it's going into the compost pile.

Happy Thursday.

Happy CSA prep to me. I can't wait for all the fresh goodies!!

6.02.2015

More Sun!!!

A few weeks ago our neighbors had their tree removed. It was GINORMOUS. 

But leaves only appeared on about half of it - I'm pretty sure it was diseased. 

So it was taken down. Sad to lose a tree (bah, we have another company coming over for a quote for our tree tomorrow), but I'm happy to gain more sun. 

Though, I have to say that now our table and chairs for eating is now directly in the sun during dinner time so I have to come up with a plan for that, I might have to take the umbrella out of the table and move it into the yard so that we have shade at the table so we can eat outside again. I don't mind eating lunch in the sun, but dinner can get really hot, so that's my main concern. I really like those umbrellas that attach from above, not on a pole in the middle of the umbrella - I'm going to have to look into the cost of one of those, but it's not a priority right now. 



Instead my priority is making sure my blueberry bushes are growing and all of my bee-friendly plants are growing to attract pollinators to our yard and not to a yard that sprays chemicals or a yard where people use chemicals. I spoke to a neighbor about it just recently - they said they sprayed and I told them about the U of MN Bee Squad - I suggested they look on the U of MN Extension's website for some alternatives to the gross stuff if they want a weed-free yard.

Also, you can see some dead spots in our grass - those are still there. I actually ordered some "weed" seeds to fill in the dead spots - I ordered red clover to fill in. Bee friendly, soft and green with some red flowers! Hopefully it will attract more bees and it will keep out some of the other crazy weeds that we get.

Happy Tuesday!

Save the bees!

5.28.2015

Nature

This morning seemed like the perfect morning to do SOMETHING outside.

The Monkey is with her Nana, the foster dog seemed perfectly content in its crate so out into the wide world I went.

Nine Mile Creek in Bloomington seemed like a great spot. I would have brought Edie (our foster dog) but she's just a puppy and I wanted to go further than a mile. So I did.

I've wanted to go on a more serious hike than I normally do - normally it's with The Monkey and we pretty much walk to the docks down at the Westwood Hills Nature Center and then back to the car. It's really not much of anything except a "walk in the woods" with random squirrels. Although one day we encountered a flock of wild turkeys and had to completely turn around because they most definitely wouldn't let us pass them on the trail... Not that I would try with my 3 year old anyway.

So I walked along Nine Mile Creek for a few miles. Stopped to pee in a bush (and accidentally peed on my shoes... OOPS... luckily there's a stream so I walked through that). Saw a few butterflies - but not as many as I have seen in the past. Saw a HUGE tree that fell down.

And then realized that I had probably wandered down the trail a bit more than I planned.

So I turned around and walked back.

Normally when I bike I don't think of anything except biking - you have to pay attention to the road, cars, pedestrians, and busy streets. You seriously can't think of anything except biking.

When hiking... well, I could think a lot. Without hearing 4,987,532 questions from a 3 year old. Oy. It's been a lot of questions lately. Frustrating? Yes. But you have to remember that a 3 year old is brand new to this Earth. They've never been here before, they have no idea why things work or how things work or why the grass is green (or The Monkey asked me what pistons do inside of an engine the other day, that one was a bit tough!).

So I needed some peace and quiet.









And We Might Lose a Tree

Last year there were large branches that came down in our backyard from the Norway Maple that sits right outside The Monkey's window at the corner of our house. It's this weird (healthy, sort of...) tree that has some nasty scars from old branches that have been ripped off and fallen down. There's some scummy stuff on it.

I was thinking... just trim the heck out of it and get the branches off the tree.

BUT THEN WE HAD ARBORISTS COME TO LOOK AT IT.

And only one recommended keeping it - but by that he meant to keep it from falling on our house or our neighbor's house by putting rods into it and then tethering branches together. For "safety" reasons.

Um.

WHAT???

I really didn't like where the tree is anyway... but seriously? Put steel rods in my tree?

So 2/3 recommended tethering branches and trimming it - but STRONGLY recommended just a whole tree removal.

SOOOOOO....

I need to get more estimates for a tree removal.

On the bright side... maybe I can have an actual veggie garden with rows instead of sticking veggies in between flowers. And even possibly some sort of outdoor storage for all of our crap.

Mer.

More to come on this as the story unfolds...