Thursday, September 1, 2011
Planting trees in line with the neighbors' windows was the first step, and following a lucky find at Costco of all places, we now have three pink Jasmine plants in between them. Since Jasmine is a climber, the plants needed a trellis, and we quickly realized that we had something that might work; left over wrought iron fence pieces.
As you might recall, when we moved into the house over two years ago, the side yard had an iron fence, but we replaced that with a redwood one (with great labor). The cut out pieces have been sitting on the side of our house ever since, waiting for an opportunity like this one.
Here is the result:
Since this picture was taken, we added cement blocks to the bottom of the fence to make it a bit taller and more sturdy, and took out the stick in the middle of the plant to let it spread out a bit more. I expect that by this time next year, the whole of the iron fence will be covered with plant, and hopefully the neighbors will be that much harder to see.
On a side note, I cut down the last pieces of the fence this weekend, and let me tell you, there is nothing so fun as taking a Sawzall to metal fences. Cut it like butter.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Every new grill needs new recipes, and after cooking the obligatory barbecue foods like steaks, chicken legs, corn, and kabobs, we decided to try something more ambitious. We also had 2lbs of chips left over from a party. Result?
Enter Grilled Nachos.
This basically used the grill as an outdoor oven, although I did grill the steak ahead of time. I got the temperature up around 250 degrees Fahrenheit and kept it there for about 20 minutes, with the nachos on a cookie sheet wrapped in foil to protect it from baked on cheese and grill flareups (of which there were none). Aside from the steak, I also grilled some tomatoes and tomatillos from our garden (featured in the last post) and some onion, all of which were added to the nachos.
Here is the final result:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
|They're here already! You're next! You're next, You're next...!|
I hate to spoil the yummyness that was the last post with this post, but I am having an Invasion of the Body Snatchers moment here. This morning, some strange things were found out in the garden by my dad's wife. She brought me outside to their garden area to show me. She that she had found several of these buried in the dirt, all along a 3 foot span. She thought they were insects and described it as looking like a "shrimp" inside. At first they look like mushrooms, with the outside having that same spongy leathery texture, but then you cut in to it and I am pretty sure this ain't no mushroom. Just inside the skin there is a layer of smiley substance, then another white skin type layer. Inside that is more goo and then pink/brown little things. Please help me figure this out!
|The mystery - intact w/ trowel for scale|
|Just inside the skin|
|Skin opened more|
I thought it was maybe a snake egg. . . but the inside doesn't really seem like it. I hate to think of insects this big crawling around the garden. Please advise!!
SO! After much thought and poking and digging, we have turned up some additional whatevertheseare, and they look like the might be different sizes, even very small, and have roots??? Here are more pictures.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Today we finally got around to juicing lemons from our lemon branch. That pitcher of lemon juice is straight juice. And there are still SO MANY MORE LEMONS. We are getting ready to post an offer on craigslist to try to get rid of some lemons and some grapefruit.
In any case I decided to make some simple syrup and make some fancy lemonade. I even mixed the juice, syrup and water in a cocktail shaker and poured it over ice. Delish! Now if I only had some vodka . . .
Thursday, March 24, 2011
In the fall of 2010, a CAW contractor installed a water meter in our backyard, after telling us that they would be coming out to do so about five times. (starting in September 2009) Our house was built in 1958, and has the water main in the backyard, running along the property line, east to west. As you might expect from a 1958 construction, the utility maps are not very useful.
However, you would not expect that it would take four holes and a whole day to find the water supply, but somehow it did.
Here are some pictures of the "delicate" work that the contractors performed in our back yard. These were actually taken several days later, after they came back and cleaned up the mess, pictures of the original state would merely send me into (another) rage.
After a few heated phone calls, and several meetings with the contractors, I was able to get the drainage pipe re-installed, the yard cleaned up, and got a $40 gift card to some obscure local garden supply store, which seems to primarily cater to landscapers. Said supply store did not have artichokes.
Fortunately, several months on, the fig appears to be doing well, and they must have missed a root when ripping out the artichokes, because one grew back. The lawn looks fine as well, although it does have a huge box in the middle of it. We hope to get a prickly pear cactus from the garden store, but who knows if they even carry it.
Wednesday we had some pretty heavy hail, which is as close as we get to snow around these parts...
We are expected to get another 1-3 inches today (2.5-7.5cm), with up to 65mph (100kmph) winds, so good times!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Mrs. House decreed that this needed to change, and further, we are planning to put in more berry planters in the location where it is currently sitting (as well as some sprinkler plumbing). You will also note that the place it is sitting is pretty low, so the rain puddles and gets the bottom stack of wood wet. So a project was born!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Additionally, for Valentines day, Mrs. House received an aloe and two cacti. Our killer cactus jr. will have some more company!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Our water company, California American Water, wants to raise rates a little bit for next year... a mere 40.3%. This is on top of last year's increase of 24.3%. (next year projected at 22.8%). If I am calculating this right, that means something like a bill of 210% of the bill the year we bought the house. Fortunately, local area customers, and the PUC's independent Division of Ratepayers Advocates, disagree with this increase.
Anyway, hopefully the rate hike is mitigated somewhat, since our new car, and young Master House are somewhat crimping on the budget. Further, it seems that utility costs should not increase in a time when raises and inflation are correspondingly non-existent.
Coming soon: a rant about water meter installation, what happens when your house has 60 year old utility maps, and what happens when your water main is in the backyard.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Alas, no more. So, looking for a replacement, which will also eat into project funds. I hear that Foresters are popular... (no one was injured in the production of the photo)
In other news, we took advantage of the unseasonable weather, and did some yard work. Also need to apply some copper to the nectarine, although if the squirrels carry off all the fruit again, I will be pretty mad.
Monday, January 10, 2011
1 T canola oil
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 onion, peeled and roughly diced
1 red pepper, seeds removed and chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 jalapeño, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t cayenne pepper
3 c vegetable broth
14.5-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juices
1 c frozen corn
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c freshly squeezed lime juice
Shredded cheddar cheese to serve
Heat canola oil in a large, heavy-bottom stock pot over medium high heat. Add sweet potatoes, onion, red pepper, jalapeño, and garlic, stirring to coat. Sauté until onion and peppers are soft, about 4 minutes.
Add chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, cover pot, and allow sweet potatoes to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After sweet potatoes are fork tender, add vegetable broth, black beans, and tomatoes. Bring stew to a boil, stirring well and scraping the bottom of pot to incorporate all of the spices. Add frozen corn, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Before serving, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve stew with cheddar cheese and additional cilantro, if desired.