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Monday, July 7, 2014

Adventure 29: Welcome to My Gardens, I'm Getting Crafty, and Our Hazardous Home!


Jun and I recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, (it's been an AMAZING two years)!  And with seeing how much joy my gardens bring to me, he got me a gardenia plant as well as a seed savers bank... Talk about knowing his wife well!  It's always a rule of mine, no cut flowers for me to watch die... If you get me flowers or any plants, let them be in dirt and let them live out their life giving me food or beautiful flowers to smell.  I also have a habit of giving seeds to friends on special occasions.  

My favorite is this one:  


The seeds are all non-GMO, and they mail seed packets every month for a year, so it's like a gift that you give to someone, (or to yourself), year round!  I think it is the most appreciated gift I've ever given.



Now juggling a toddler and trying to get things accomplished don't always go hand in hand.  I manage to keep a clean house, get my marketing work done for the veterinary clinics, and cook "real" meals.  When Jun is off work, we try to make it family time and spend the majority of our time at the beach, park, or hiking... or napping.  On days when he works, we rotate every other day so that we each get a little "me" time to de-stress.  He goes to the gym to work-out and the next day I get to work in my gardens.

When we moved into this house, we gained full responsibility of the yard.  The tenants before us let the yard go completely and were evicted because of it.  When I say they let the yard "go completely", it may still be an understatement.  The grass was so high and in the area that appeared to have once been gardens were weeds so tall and thick that I found gobs of garbage hidden in them, (including shovel heads, pick axes, wires, screws, screwdrivers... you name it!). 

I took the following pictures of the front yard area after I'd already done a days worth of work weeding and trimming, and these still don't show the entire area:


BEFORE:





This is a small view of the side wall where below you will see I
now have sunflowers, lemongrass, eggplants, kabocha
squash, zucchinis, pipinola and cucumbers growing.


So after hours of sweat, a little blood and some definite enjoyment, I've moved out loads of gravel, dug out an insane amount of weeds and lava rock, planted gardens that never even existed, and now we've got food flourishing all around us.  We also have a HUGE backyard, (not pictured), that I plan on putting in a corn and bean patch soon.  Not only is gardening good for the mind and soul, it's also good for the soil and the belly!


AFTER:

This was when I finally got out all the weeds, trash, and gravel,
(or kitty litter for the feral cats as I like to call it), and planted a few starts.
This is a recent picture, but you may have to blow it up to
really see.  This garden has quite the mix!  Fennel, green onions,
 garlic, hot peppers, rosemary, white radishes, basil, taro, marigolds, roses
and beyond, (this is only showing half of the front gardens).
Taro, hot peppers, fennel, and the Koi fish
rock I painted, (see below for more on that).
When you go to the other side of the front garden, you'll
find plenty of other yummy foods.  I have marked most of
the plants with wine corks that I wrote on with permanent
marker and then inserted a skewer into the base.  And so
now planting more food and more variety is a great
excuse to have to drink more wine! ;)

Lavender, sage, more sunflowers, lemon balm,
and missing in the photo of this garden are
more marigolds, oregano, more spicy hot
pepper plants, parsley, cilantro and thyme. 
Along the side wall you'll find eggplant, squashes,
sunflowers, lemongrass, cucumbers, and beyond the
gate is a tomato garden I recently put in from seed!  I
went into the jungle with Reise and chopped down
bamboo and made trellises for the squashes to grow
up.  In the process, I learned a lot about knot tying
to securely join bamboo together, (which was fun!).



And this one is "just because".  ;)
My marigold flower girl garden helper! 
Jun LOVES the kabocha squash best, (I'm certain of it!).
He looks at how it's grown everyday, and it's growing so fast!
This bamboo trellis has completely disappeared with four
kabocha plants taking it over.  I can't wait to eat these!
Working up to the front porch, I decided to plant strawberries
in (3) hanging baskets.  So far it's worked out great and
 these are definitely Reise's favorite.  Every time we walk
outside she points and says, "Straw-bur".  Needless to say,
she is the one who gets to pick and eat ALL of them. :)
If you were to look straight down from the strawberries,
you would see a 8' x 2' garden I planted along the deck with
loads of lettuce, dill, and aloe.  Arugula is my favorite!

As for crafts, well, when Reise colors, so do I.  She uses crayons and I use paint.  These are the coffee can planters I made.  My original plan was to do something like this along the lanai:  



But Jun thought it was just a bit too tacky, so I painted cute sayings on them and they are now on our step up to the front porch.




And these are some rocks I found at the beach that I made into garden art.  The gardens are turning into something of a fairytale land for a child.  My sweet friend Safron gave me colorful wooden sea creatures that were part of a kids ring toss that I've also added to the gardens.  OH, and we picked up a pin-wheel for Reise for $1 at the store the other day.  She loves to watch it spin!






I hope to also make some potato people soon.  :)


Our move here has been quite the journey.  Our first day in the house proved to us that the previous tenants were a complete hazard.  I can't believe the house didn't catch on fire, (not an exaggeration)!  They had burned a hole in the lanai using a charcoal grill on it, then when we started inspecting the place for ourselves, we couldn't believe the mess they'd left, (beyond a dirty kitchen).  The dryer vent had a screen shoved up it, (intentionally), and was backing up all the lint and debris, (which come to find out, the dryer before ours was broken... DUH!  The darn thing got too hot!).  The outlets in the two back bedrooms weren't working, so, (thanks to my Dad I know a thing or two about this sort of stuff), I went into the breaker box to find the fuse would spark, but not go to the on position, (TALK ABOUT DANGEROUS!).  I then looked around the outlets and found my culprit when I spotted a black mark around the plate cover.  It was this guy:

Some ding-dong put this huge screw where a teeny-tiny
screw is supposed to go to hold the plate cover on.  It
was poking through the wires.  This was in Reise's room
so I'm happy to have found it right away.

There were also metal b-b's all over Reise's carpet that we had to comb through to keep one from ending up in her mouth.  I've re-hung cabinet doors, fixed hose mounts, Jun and I have re-sealed plumbing and even installed a new kitchen faucet.  The first week I felt like "Tim the Tool-man Taylor", with a drill or a screwdriver always in hand.  Now that the repairs are done, the house really is a beautiful, (and safe), 3 bedroom/ 2 bathroom home.  The only other complaint I have here is some of our neighbors, but that's a whole other novel.

Next blog I promise to tell you some really great and fun things about living here, (with pictures too of course), but I'm afraid I've written too much already.


Aloha and Happy Gardening,  :)
Danielle

4 comments:

  1. Love your gardens, Danielle! Looks like you're like me and just can't stick to a couple different types of plants -- you've gotta grow it all. My soul has been so happy and peaceful the past couple months. I attribute most of that to the move in general, but I honestly think being able to finally grow a garden has something to do with it. There's is nothing better to keep stress at bay than digging in and getting your hands dirty. Wish I could do it year-round like you can there. Happy digging!

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    1. Thank you Jessica! Gardening is SO GOOD for the soul. I can't survive winter climates because I'd miss being outside too much! I'd love to see pictures or hear a list of what you're growing in your garden. Jun knows a very secretive secret about me and gardening that I'm going to share with you now... The only reason I paint my toe nails is because I garden barefoot and my toenails get so gross and dirty. HA! ;)

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  2. Me too! About the barefoot gardening thing. But even toenail polish can't hide the dirt that seems to be a permanent fixture in the lines in my feet. I know, gross, but I just love the feel of warm soil under my feet. I'll have to take some pictures of our garden. Everything has gotten so big in the last two weeks. Some things I planted never came up, like spinach, chives, and spring onions, but there's plenty that's doing great. We have corn, four kinds of tomatoes, pole beans, bush beans, okra, turnips, Swiss chard, zucchini, yellow squash, sugar snap peas, kale, basil, radishes, habanero peppers and King Arthur sweet peppers, a leaf lettuce and some kind of gourmet lettuce blend, white onions, cabbage, broccoli, cantaloupe, sugar baby watermelons, pickling cucumbers, straight 8 cucumbers, and another type of watermelon called Carolina Cross #183 that's supposed to grow to 200 pounds. I have some beets I need to get planted and a couple other things I can't remember, but I've had trouble finding the time. I'm also losing a battle with weeds. I picked the first of our radishes two weeks ago, and the first zucchini and squash two days ago. It's been really great for getting Kaegan interested in vegetables. Any time he eats a vegetable, he picks it up and ask if it grew in our garden.

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    1. I'm with you on the feet thing! Luckily, if I spend enough time surfing and swimming in the ocean, the dirt finds its way out eventually. ;) Just reading your comment made me so hungry! You have such an amazing array of foods growing! You must have a nice little plot of land to be growing all of that. I'm really excited to see if the Carolina Cross watermelon grows to be that big!!! You'll have to just cut it open right where it grew if it does and have your whole family over to eat it! :) I've struggled with with the broccoli family, (brussels sprouts, etc.). I hope your successful! And Kaegan eating things out of the garden must be a real thrill for him and such an amazing experience. What a way to get the kids to eat their veggies! I remember my Dad doing that with me too when I was little. Reise is ALL OVER our strawberries, that's for sure! Xo

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