Friday, March 25, 2011

Good morning Baltimore!

All right, so we're in Ypsi, not Baltimore. But I woke up with tune in my head, after seeing the YHS production of Hairspray yesterday. It was pretty entertaining, and there were several great singers. The guy who played Mrs. Turnblad was just cracking me up the entire time. It was nice to see a high school play, I don't think I've seen one since I was in high school!

Yesterday was also Parent/Teacher Conference Night, which was pretty awesome, but also kind of sad. All of Sam's teachers say that she's so attentive and she turns most of her work in on time, and that she doesn't give up when she finds something difficult. Several said she one of several "bright rays of sunshine" in class that keep the teachers going. The sad part is not any of those things, the sad part is that trying at a moderately hard level and turning things in on time seems to be a huge accomplishment at YHS. I really admire the work of the teachers there, and I think it would be a hard job. From what I hear from Sam, there are disruptions from students all day during class, and I don't envy the folks who teach there. I think there are some students that just don't care, and also there's issues of homelessness, poverty, and other factors that makes for a stressful learning environment, I'm sure. I think that in turn makes it hard for some teachers to persevere and feel like they're making a difference.

At any rate, it was very very nice to hear that Sam is doing so well, and my heart swelled up with more pride than it already has, which is a lot! Sam came with us to conferences and I think it was nice for her to hear how proud her teachers were of her. She has really turned things around and although we've had a few little hiccups this year, she is a great student, a really intelligent and funny young lady, and a kind, thoughtful, awesome sister.

Tomorrow we're going to Explore Eastern, a college fair day at EMU, Mike and my Alma Mater! I'm overly excited to say the least- this will be her first college visit as someone who is potentially considering a college. I think there is a tour of the campus involved, and maybe we get to visit some classrooms? I will need to tape my mouth shut- I'm such a talker and I know I will not be able to stop myself from telling millions of stories if allowed to speak.

I am just so excited for her future, and I know whatever she does will be great. She has been a joy to have in our home, and I'm very lucky I've gotten this time with her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Home Garden Plan 2011!

Trying to be consistent and timely in when I start my seedlings indoors, but its tough! Since it's my first year starting seeds indoors, I am going by several planting guides, but it still feels like guess work. I guess some of it is.. who knows what Mother Nature & the weather will do? So far I've started indoors: several Vidalia onions, 15 Copra onions, 10 heads of Great Lakes lettuce, 5 Batvia leaf lettuce plants. My goal is to stagger the starts by several weeks, so I have several different harvests of lettuce, onions, etc. I have carrots seeds all ready to be planted outdoors, and planted a few experimental ones early outside this weekend to see how they do.

I also placed a seed potato order, from High Mowing Seeds, but they're all back-ordered until April 15th. I probably should have just bought some organic potatoes and let them go, but I'm impatient and the idea of ordering was somehow more appealing. I hope the potatoes are shipping on the 15th, and not like... completely unavailable until the 15th and then who knows when they'll ship? I could always get a refund. I ordered 2.5 lbs of Yukon Golds, 2.5 lbs of Red Norlands, and 2.5 lbs of Russian Banana Fingerlings.

Also, two new "crops" for this year- Light Red Kidney bush beans and Sweet REBA Acorn squash! I've begun to look for and buy local beans in bulk, because they're way cheaper, and I like that I have them when I need them. It would be so great to grow beans, let them dry, and be able to save some for the winter! I'm not a super-fan of squash, but I figured I need to grow some kind of squash. They're late season veggies, so they'll extend my "seasonality", and they store well.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It is that time again already?

I went out and worked in the garden yesterday- it was gorgeous outside! While this picture may not properly demonstrate it, I got a lot of weeding done!

I also got to visually lay out what I want where, when it comes to planting time! Here's a rough, rough look. The browned out spaces are little chunks I plan to expand this year, for an extra 28 sq. ft of space.
I'm pretty thrilled about my increased capacity to start seeds indoors this year! I finished hanging up all the florescent fixtures that I have, for a total capacity of 8 trays of seeds at a time. Those 4 lights on the shelves are mine! I also am borrowing the awesome seed starting contraption pictured below, from Growing Hope, my employer, to start seeds for them! It's very fulfilling to check out the little guys in the morning before work and see them growing bigger every day!

Here's some lettuce and onion babes that I have going for myself. They're doing well and they seem to be liking the greenhouse effect that the plastic lid over their tray provides:

Tomatoes for Growing Hope, almost ready to be planted in our passive solar Hoop House!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Two posts in one day? Insanity!

Seed Starting Update:

Right now I have a whole basement (ok, slight exaggeration) full of little, amazing seedlings! Mike keeps insisting that it could be a great growing location for other, more alternative plants, but I'm looking to eat these future-plants, not smoke them! At any rate, I have onion and carrots that are doing quite well! You might be asking, "Who starts carrots indoors? Can you even actually start carrots indoors successfully?" The answers to those questions are "Me" and "Probably not", respectively. I don't know if the carrots will transplant, but they make me happy to see them each day when I go downstairs, so in my mind, they're already a success!

I'm also starting a lot of seeds for work- Growing Hope needs lots and lots of seedlings, to fill our hoophouse, our outside growing space, to donate to our raised bed install families and to sell at our annual Spring Plant Sale. For Growing Hope, I am starting two flats of tomatoes, as well as a flat of peppers, a flat of onions, and some miscellaneous other plants. Most are coming along quite well, and will be ready to be planted in the hoop in a month or so!

Seeing greenery indoors makes me so happy. It's a simple pleasure, but I like to watch things grow.

with an average of 1 post/week...

This is it, folks- my 100th post! 
 (that link takes you to one of my earliest posts- look at those freaking KITTENS. So, so cute. Unbearably cute, really.)

Thanks to everyone who's read and followed along the way- I appreciate you :) I wanted to be a bit more regular in my postings than I've managed so far- that's my goal from now on, to post weekly. If for no other reason, it's nice to have documentation of how the seasons change, plant progress throughout the months, and a place to post adorable pictures of my cats like the true crazy cat lady that I am.

I changed my blog background in honor of all the new, updated posting I'll be doing in the future, hopefully. Do you like it? I made that model of my house on Paint and it took like 3 hours. I am more proud of it than I probably should be.

I also have some exciting professional developments, related to gardening, food systems etc. This week has been Arika's Professional Development week, which has proved to be exciting but also kind of hectic; I have my first and second professional presentation at the 3rd annual  Local Food Summit and the 5th annual MOFFA conference, and a little blurb I wrote was published in Natural Awakenings magazine for Ann Arbor (check out pages 12-13)! This has made for an insanely busy week, but I thrive on pressure, as well as procrastination! Although I just noticed that the end of my Natural Awakenings article is pretty un-empowering, due to a typo.. "Growing Hope recognizes that getting involved with the food you eat by growing and purchasing local foods, cannot help make people become more involved in their food community."... So for the record, all 5 people that read this blog- I meant to say CAN! Funny how things turn out.

Exciting to be getting my name out there and doing things I love at the same time. I am a lucky, lucky person.