Rain, Rain…You Know the Rest

In our neck of the woods (depending on who you ask Upstate or Central NY), spring is a luxury. It usually lasts a month, tops, before hitting the gas and speeding into summer. While we’ve had some humidity and high-ish temperatures this year, we’ve definitely had a SPRING. I write that in all-caps because we’ve had an ungodly amount of rain.

Aside from some flooding and already a few tornado touch-downs (which is rare around these parts), we’ve generally been subjected to just lots ‘n lots ‘n lots of rain…or at least warnings of rain. Some days we had “chances” of rain, so we made plans accordingly, only to see a mostly sunny, gorgeous day. Looking at the 7-day forecast has been enough to make you cry, especially when you’re dying to get your garden going.

So, rather than bitch about things that we cannot control (but, sigh, isn’t it good to do that from time to time?), I shall focus both this blog post and my general mental state towards the projects that I’m itching to complete…once the forecasts for rain (and tornado waches) taper off.

My list includes those things that I’ve look at while holding Winston for his once-and-awhile “outside time” (gotta hold him tightly, that cat is FAST), thinking to myself “I should….” In other words, these may be summer projects…or autumn projects…or….

– Stain and paint the deck (which has had a year to “cure” since it was built – and, yes, I’m both staining AND painting the thing. Don’t judge. It’s gonna look fab.)
– Actually put furniture and the grill ON the deck!!! (Clearly have waited to do that until the above is completed.)
– Finish weeding.
– Prep last year’s veggie bed and build/fill/prep the new one (and mound a “pile o’ dirt” for the zukes ‘n taters). The building can’t be accomplished ’til a weekend since the hubs and I enjoy building stuff together. Gotta keep things fresh and exciting, ya know!
– PLANT both veggies AND flowers, finally.
– Get the front porch fixed…and stain/paint accordingly when done. It’s fine, really, just not regulation. Whatever (ahem, holding my tongue) individual built the thing originally before selling/dumping the house built the porch part without measuring the proper height for the stairs, so there’s a mini 1″ step up at the top. Not so safe. Silly.
– Take tree pictures. Gonna miss that sucker, especially with its wildlife and shade…but it’s just too dangerous and half-dead. Bittersweet. The cats will hate us for getting rid of their #1 place for entertainment. (It’ll be taken down in late June.)
– Finish digging out the rest of the intrusive ivy plants.
– Get the windows wrapped… (This one’s kind of out of my hands, but they look bad so it bugs me. Oh, and I’d just like to brag that we have almost all-new windows. Almost.)
– Power wash the house. Hope that the siding doesn’t lose any color in the process. Paint the whole darn thing if it does damage. *sigh*
– Paint the foundation, side door, shutters, and possibly scrape ‘n paint the garage. Yeah, you know this isn’t all going to happen this summer. A girl can dream, right?
– Speaking of “ain’t happenin’ this summer” (there IS such a thing as $$$…wait, does that make me an adult now? Crap.), one compound word: driveway. It’s N-E-V-E-R been re-done since it was first put in well over 50 years ago. Can we say “ruts”?
– Spray paint my clearance matchstick blinds. Yeah, there’s no other place to do that without asphyxiating myself, and we wouldn’t want that, would we? All I can picture is the cats saying, “But but but who will take us outside? And clip our nails? And punish us LOUDLY? Oh, wait.”
– FINALLY Drylok & paint the basement, then organize. Yes, that’s inside, but the walls and floor need to be completely dry before we Drylok, and right now we’re experiencing seepage. Hee hee. Seepage. Love that word!

I’m guessing there’s more, but I just don’t have it in my head right now. But, guess what! Here are some things that I CAN do INside while I wait for the weather to change:

– Turn my sights back to the bathroom. Why is it that whenever I get the motivation (sorry, but the ceiling work makes my hernia act up, very uncomfortable…TMI?) it’s at a moment that I have plans coming up and probably shouldn’t show up to them with drywall dust and paint all over my head and face.
– Clean. That includes the fact that I probably should go down to the cellar and condense stuff so that things are easier to work with when we DO finally get to the painting.
Reupholstery.
– Work on plans for my sister’s baby shower. (Excitement!!!!!!!!!)
– Redesign the blog. Somehow, this gets me nothing but more frustrated.
– Actually FINALLY order professional-ish prints from the wedding. Ka-ching. 😉 But, this could help with adding some art to the house. This is another thing I should ppprrrrobably do with Dave.
– Draw/paint.
– Read.
– I’d bake bread, but it’s sooooooo humid and hot lately!!! Okay, okay. I’ll crack out the bread maker that my mother-in-law so graciously let me take. Oh, but that means I’ll have to look up baking instructions online. There. That’s on the checklist.
– Research some grants for the theater.
– Start planning for the next show we’re doing.
– Determine a final color scheme for the living room/staircase. When this rug is finally pulled up (oh, what a happy day that will be! Er. I hope. God, I can picture something horrible happening and my going nuts just tearing this sucker out. *shivers* Okay, let’s hope that doesn’t happen), that will change the entire ball game as far as design. Currently, the living room feels okay but slightly outdated with dark tan, sage green, crimson and cream (the dining room is crimson and also neeeeeeeeds to be transformed)…but things seem to be leaning towards the tans/browns/creams — too monochromatic. Eh. Clearly need more thinking on this point. Any suggestions are welcome.
– I’m sure my husband has a handful of friendly reminders. There are far too many “to do” lists when one owns a house. But, we’re lucky.
– Ah! Sleep!! You can SLEEP inside. Nice. A thousand points for me.

Did I miss anything I should add?? Do you have any projects or overwhelming (or even underwhelming) tasks on your radar? Feel free to vent.

As a post-script, I’d like to send my condolences to those who have lost everything, from belongings and homes to loved ones, in the tornadic events of the Midwest. I can’t imagine and am lucky. Period.

“V” Stands for Victory Garden :-)

This week, the Young Actors Workshop (at ILTC — if you don’t know what that stands for, read this or check out this site…er, please) had its culminating performance(s) for friends and family, so I was a little blog-distracted. Now, I’m waiting a few days to announce some HUUUUGE news (for us, anyway) which is currently being released on a semi-need-to-know basis — at least, ’til my mom finds out. No, we’re not pregnant.

So, while patiently (not) waiting to say the stagnant news, I thought, “Hmm, I should blog about something. But, what?” Then, I looked over my recent entries and smacked myself in the forehead. Dave and I planted our herb/veggie garden last weekend and I hadn’t posted it. D’oh! *smack*
Buuuut, there are pics, so it MUST be forgivable, right? RIGHT?!

Anyhoo, I’m calling it our victory garden because a) I secretly live in the 1940s and occasionally ration myself and b) our neighbor seemed strangely confident that our attempts at gardening would be battled by seed-stealing birds and rodents, among other things (apparently she hasn’t had much luck in the past). So, yeah, part of the name comes from petty “ha-ha, I-told-you-so” thinking. Something wrong with that? Heh.

While we did have to dig a bit, we had decided to take my parents’ advice and just create a frame with 2x4s to contain the garden. Dave did a great job of putting it together.

Yeah, we got overzealous on the whole digging thing. Working on getting that grass back. ANYhoo…here’s a close-up of our oh-so-professional construction technique. We bought three 2x4s at Lowe’s (under $10) and had the friendly fellows in the lumber department cut one in half — for free, might I add — which would create two short ends for the box. Genius! But, we can’t take all the credit; Jerry suggested it.

Here I am in the oh-so-sexy work jeans leveling out the dirt. Yeah, enough of that. Next picture! Oh, wait. After I did that, I filled in s’more with topsoil.

Now, it’s time for the eco-friendly plug! We had originally bought (for 2x the price) some good ol’ regular weed-preventing landscape fabric, but the NEXT DAY found this. It’s the same quality, made from recycled plastic bottles and works just as well. Oh, and it was around $8, a bit cheaper.

Good stuff. So, we laid down enough to cover the bottom of the garden bed (overlapping in the middle). We poured the dirt in, then trimmed the edges down. (Found wayward garden tools to keep the fabric from blowing away on that delightfully breezy day.)

Check out that stud doing his best to keep things in place. Lookin’ good, buddy!

Close-up of my kindergarten-level cutting ability.

Oh, yeah. This is the stuff we used. I believe we used one of the fertilizer (COW POOP! Hee hee) and 9, count ’em, 9 of the Organic Choice garden soil. Good stuff.

Now, it’s time to PLANT! Oh, wait. I forgot. This part of the project, we finished the prior week. So, at this point, we actually…um…rested.

Fast-forward to LAST weekend! (Wow. How much of a procrastinator am I that it took me 3 weeks to plant and post the story? In my defense, we still had a frost possibility for awhile there, so nyah.) We went to two local stores to find our produce: T&J’s (which also contains a yummy local grocery store) and Massaro’s (our wedding florists — we may just be lifers), and split it up pretty evenly at the two places.


Mwahaha. Had to include this. I foresee some verbal harassment in my near future. Eh, worth it.

So, here are our lovelies awaiting their new places in the world on that fateful morning. Well, I know I was pretty excited about it, not sure what they thought. We had the following (and, gotta tell ya, I was worried we might’ve gone overboard for the space we were allotting ourselves): tomatoes (ick…but I’ll cook with ’em), peppers, onions, Romaine, mescalin mix, red lettuce (can you see we’re salad fans?), hot peppers for the outskirts (we hear they keep pesky bugs and cats away), and my herbs: thyme, parsley, and *adoring siiiigh* basil. Here are their “before” beauty shots.

“All right, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.”

After posing for awhile, we played with their placement while still in their containers. Then, one at a time, I showed Dave how to get his hands dirty. It was fun and relatively easy, although I’m still wondering, “are they too close? Will Mom approve? Will my neighbor try to sabotage their success?” (Naw, just kidding.) Here’s the final placement:

I’ve got some more close-up shots, but I won’t bother you with them here. I figure I’ll give it a month or so and compare them. Leave something to the imagination. 😉

So far, we had SWELTERING heat and BLAZING sunshine during these little guys’ first week, and they seem okay. The lettuces (particularly the two weaker) wilted, but would come back early in the morning — and seem much stronger now. I’ve already stolen some of the basil for an orzo recipe. I know, I know, but I couldn’t help myself! 😀 I’ll let you know how it all goes. I’m also planning on planting some strawberries for a container garden, and perhaps a lemon tree in one of our backyard’s “monstrous tree bush from the black lagoon used to be there” gaping holes (I’m just wondering how well it could POSSIBLY do since we don’t live in a Mediterranean environment…hmm).

I just can’t help myself. I LOVE BASIL!!!

Cooperstown Farmers’ Market – Our First F.M. Adventure of the Year

Although the weather forecast seemed doomed, Dave bouncily suggested that we head to our first farmers’ market of the year – in Cooperstown. With all that enthusiasm, how could I possibly say, “What, no cozy, “stay in and clean” day?” Plus, I already knew that it’s one of the area’s only indoor markets — it’s open every other Saturday throughout the winter, with normal hours the rest of the year. After hearing some great things about it, and with such an eager partner in tow, we left beneath a steady stream of chilly rain.


Strangely enough, by the time we reached the baseball rhetoric-riddled Main Street, the sun had taken over and our jackets were unnecessary. It made the short walk toward the barn-like structure used for the market incredibly quaint, especially with other locals and travelers meandering their way with grocery store reusable bags and homemade baskets in tow. The vendors were overflowing to outside its doors, which we saw as a good sign.

Compared to the, admittedly, only other farmers’ market I can recall attending, it was kind of sparse. I’m sure the local ones I’ll start attending next week will be teeny-weeny, so I’m not necessarily complaining about it. There were plenty of vendors, several with the same goods (which we LOVE — it makes it easy to compare prices), mostly incredibly friendly and willing to talk. However, several of the goods were pretty irrelevant to us — tie-dyed shorts, anyone? And there were only a couple vegetable vendors, each with few items we could actually choose from.

Having worked on a dairy farm and lived in a quasi-rural area my whole life, I’m not ignorant about the reasons I wasn’t overwhelmed by lush and plentiful goodies at the CFM. I know. We’re still pretty much off-season. And, I knew that when Dave asked me to go, wide-eyed. Mostly, I wanted to see what the place was about, what the farmers and artisans and cheese-makers were like, and whether it truly is worth it to schlep 45 minutes away for locally-grown goods. There arises a paradox: If you’re going to release your fossil fuel into the atmosphere with a 1 1/2 hour round-trip to get organic, locally-grown goods which are good for you and the environment, is it really equaled-out?

Mind you, it was a wonderful drive (other than for the occasional rain shower) and we did get our first-ever free-range multi-colored XL eggs, Amish cheddar cheese (INCREDIBLE!), very well-priced European-style yogurt and some homemade, environmentally-friendly soaps (all well-thought-out and exciting purchases) as well as a side-trip to visit the ducks at the Fly Creek Cider Mill.

And, as far as the quandary is concerned, I say we still hit the ball out of the park (I do spend too much time at Cooperstown! We’d live there if we could! – not for the baseball). While we used up some gas, we got a great overview of what to expect when the yields REALLY start coming in. I foresee perhaps visiting the CFM once a month while supplementing the occasional CSA and local farmers’ markets more regularly, but it’s definitely not only a great resource for healthy, sustainable goodies, but an always-needed excuse to get away for part of a day.

***I realized after I wrote this that I’d taken a bit of a novelistic approach. Perhaps a slightly-more-sophisticated version of Donna Thompson *cringe*? (If you’re local, you know what that means.) Just a thought.***