Sunday, October 5, 2008

Been a long time

Sorry it has been so long since I have reported. The reality is that I am just lame, I haven't updated because I am weak. So here is the update: We have been eating absolutely lucious tomatoes for weeks, only one of the lemon boys survived the neibor kids but we had early girls and beefsteaks. We have 5 huge pumpkins, and 1 little one that have taken over most of the yard. We actually got 2 clusters of grapes off of our brand new Fire vine and they were F - A - B - U - L - O - U - S! Our summer squash was so wonderful that someone pilfered it. We have winter squash on the verge of coming to our table. We had great blackberries this year (First year they produced). We had our first potatoes today and they were wonderful.

This has been a pretty fun experiment. We had traditional square foot raised beds, lasagna beds, even potatoes in straw. Some things worked, others did not. Like when Heidi called me and said that I needed to get the book "How to eat fried worms" because my worm bin cooked in the first heat wave of the summer. BTW there are some worms still thriving in the bin, and I need to get some of that vermicompost out for next year. The Lasagna beds fared better than the Mel's Mix beds but that probably had more to do with the water that they got than the soil (or rather the poor watering that the Mel's Mix got).

Anyway, sorry that this took so long to come and I hope to put together some more soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Going great guns

The Garden is well under way. We have potoatoes coming up like crazy, there are blosoms on our Early Girls and away it goes.

We had rain all morning and I threw some buckets out to catch a little. We caught about 30 gallons between our two 25 gallons buckets and the cooler we had out. I know that sounds like alot, because it is, we put the buckets at the valleys of the roof, so we were using most of the roof as a capture surface.

I will try to get a few more pictures up in the next few days.

By way of report, the tomatoes are doing significantly better in the lasagna boxes. I replaced the two dead toms with new Red Beefsteak heirlooms on Saturday. The new transplants seem to be doing well. Even though the Toms are doing better in the lasagna beds, the pumpkins we planted the same day are going nuts.

On a final note, we now have Carrots, Corn, Grapes, Lettuce, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Rubarb, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Various Herbs and even more in the garden.

Monday, May 26, 2008

And I've never been to Boston in the fall.

Here I sit in the Vegas airport. Our flight is an hour delayed, and I finally have time to publish a few posts that have been sitting around for a while. I am off to Boston for work (still not in the fall I might add).

I just want to say thanks again to Heidi. She has been soooooooo busy keeping things in order for us the past few days. This morning she found out that I was flying out at 7:55 pm while she was supposed to be at a concert with Kelly. Mom and Dad, and Mom were going to be at the Little River Band concert (BTW I want a full report...) I tried, and tried to think of something we could do to make this work. Then she gets up, and in just a few minutes has the perfect solution. I am in awe just watching her work!

I am so lucky to have someone like her watching out for me and the boys.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Good Times

Kelly and Danny have a an area East of their driveway that is covered with rocks. They are going to put some sod down there, so last week I started hauling rocks back to our yard to put down on the paths between our boxes and to clean up the way things look a little bit. when you only have 2 twenty gallon buckets to bring rocks home it, it doesn't go very fast even with a couple of trips in the same night. Dad let us borrow the truck, so we spend what seemed like hours loading rocks into the wheel barrow and then dumping them into the bed tarp we had protecting the bed.

We filled a few buckets full and put them down the window wells (poor Danny had to get down into each one to dump the buckets and spread the rocks out). Then we filled the wheel barrow again and put it in the back of the van with both of the buckets. What a long afternoon. I do have to say though, we got everything unloaded and I spent twenty minutes or so spreading out the easy stuff. and the rock looks great! I am excited to see things getting cleaned up and actually feeling like I can take pictures of the Garden again (without the two foot high crabgrass that is going to seed blocking out the boxes!!!).

I will snap a few more pictures soon so you all can see how nice it is turning out.

Big (huge) props to Danny and Kelly for all their help (and the rocks.) I think my arms would have fallen off if we would have done it alone.

Update: 5/25
I thought I would not be able to move today, but actually I fell pretty good, it's amazing how a little regular exercise can make your body able to recover more effectively.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lengthen Your Stride

Today was supposed to be the fathers and sons outing, but Taylor has been acting sick all day, and I was not about to take a miserable little boy out to West Canyon with his more than overly active older brother. I can just see Taylor not letting me set him down because it is cold and it smells like camp fire, while Brady is running like a scolded cat through the underbrush. Not good times. So while Heidi had "grills" night down stairs, I took the boys upstairs and we watched VeggieTales on the bed and ate cereal for dinner. It was great!

Once the boys went down for bed I felt like I probably still needed to leave the women to their own devices, so I threw on the running shoes and headed out the door at about ten to ten. It felt too late to run over to the local gym so I drifted up to the north side of town, heading over the over-pass and up toward the junior high. The ipod ran out of juice only 10 min in so I was left to the night noises and my own thoughts to keep me occupied. As I started up the slight grade to the junior high thinking "just one more block and I can turn back," I caught a rhythm and felt pretty good and decided to push it all the way up to the top of the climb and then make a decide. Even though I felt strong, my whopping nine inch steps were not taking me anywhere really fast. It felt good to be out. I was enjoying the cool night so I soldered on

Suddenly there was a car waiting for me to cross an intersection before it could pull through and so I took a few longer steps to move things along. Wow what a pace change. as I focused on my stride; putting my heel down first, out in front of me; I found that I was moving pretty quickly but without a significant increase in effort. In fact I had to breath more often because each step was happening much slower, but I was moving much faster. President Kimball's image flashed in my mind. The strange part was that it felt so unnatural even though it was more efficient. I found that I had to focus mentally or I would slip back to my traditional mini steps. So, Lengthen your stride was not about putting forth some huge new physical effort (as I had once supposed,) it was about making the present physical effort more efficient through focus and mental effort.

About this time I was reaching the top of the hill, and rounding the corner I entered a path into the cemetery. As I descended on the narrow road of the cemetery paths, the oddly illuminated headstones were a bit unnerving. Many people had put solar powered lights of every color at the markers of their loved ones. Then I noticed the (almost) full moon and thought about how this embodied all of the child hood stories of ghouls and goblins. At the same time, it was serene and peaceful.

I started talking to Dad. It was a bit of a one sided conversation. I started by chastising him for never helping me understand "lengthen your stride!" I called up images of Dad running, his Olympic trials, the many times that I found him departing or returning from a run so calm and poised. He had such a beautiful long stride. Compared to my stubby little stuttering pace he was covering huge tracts of land with each step. I realised that after some time that, with focus on that long efficient stride, it became natural to him, something that he did with no conscious effort. So this was not a principle just of moving mountains in a moment of focused mental effort, but a principle of long term improvement. Again, I chastised him a little for not teaching me this sooner, and then thanked him for the example that helped me understand. I let out a laugh (OK more of a forced gasp) as I thought of him looking down saying "well I never thought I would see him running...except maybe away from something big and hairy."

As I finally slipped around the final corner and started walking to cool down, again I felt at peace. What a great night, I got to spend time with the boys, time with Dad, and a little time alone with my thoughts.

I need to lengthen my stride a little more hear and post more often. We'll see how that effort goes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers

Today I just want to say "Thank You!!!" to my mom and my beautiful wife. More than any one else these wonderful women deserve our recognition.

I heard one of the most wonderful talks I have ever heard on the subject today. Perhaps it was the best talk I have ever heard outside of General Conference. I just want Heidi to know how proud of her I am.

I love you! The boys love you. We are so grateful for all that you do for us, and the men that you are helping us become. You make our lives bearable. You make our challenges worth while. You make me want to be a better man so that I can be worthy of your greatness in the hear after. Thank you! Thank you!! THANK YOU!!!

You are the greatest!!!!

We Love You,
Tim, Brady and Tay

Pics of the garden

Ok it is time to get some of these pictures up here.

These are the three square foot beds on the north side of the house. Notice the bucket of sun warmed water next to the left bed. Over on this side we will have 9 tomato plants, most of them are early girls on this side, but a couple of better boys and lemon boys. This is where we planted the pumpkins too so that they can sprawl out over what probably should be our driveway.

These are the first two radishes that have come up on their own. They are planted in the left box over on this east side. We are still waiting for pumpkins, and carrots to come up over on this side.



Here are the beds on the South side of the house. You can see the potato bed covered in hay, the three 4x4 raised beds, and the back bed that right now has just a couple of squash in it and twenty two squares of corn. once the corn comes up, we will add some pole beans to that bed. The beans add nitrogen to the soil, for the corn which are heavy feeders. The beans can climb the stalks of the corn. and the squash acts as a ground cover. This is known as a three sisters bed.


Here is the left lasagna bed. you can see the tomatoes, Yellow Boys and Early Girls. The Yellow bush beans are in down there also. You will notice that I planted the toms with a row behind them. We have some shade mix greens that we will plant behind the toms so that they will get some shade throughout the hot months of the summer.



Here you can see our very first potato to grow up through the hay. There are a couple of others that are almost out, but they didn't photograph as well.


I had hoped to post a picture of the raised bed that I made for Mom's Mother's Day gift. But the picture did not show up. Apparently I didn't really take a picture. So I will have to take a picture of that and get it up shortly.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Cheesecake and transplants

Yesterday was our anniversary and we had a pretty great day. We went to the junk store. Then we went out to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. It took us an hour to get in, but it was yummy for my tummy. The only downside is that I found out half way through my tres leches cheesecake, that it had strawberries in it. No more tres leches cheesecake for me. Then I got the longest night's sleep in a week (8 hours).

Today we planted 14 tomato plants and two squares of 9 bush beans (1 square of green and 1 square of yellow). We had our first plants break through, I saw 2 potato plants and 2 radishes today.

I also built an elevated box for mom and set it up in her yard. She was pretty excited, it was a good mothers day gift.

It's getting late, so we are off to bed. I will post some pics of the garden tomorrow.

What a week

On Monday we finalized our adoption with Brady. Heidi covers it better than I will on these plates but it was great and Judge Noonan was awesome. She gave him a build-a-bear that he calls his judge bear and he carries it all over.

Tuesday I worked in the temple baptistery from 10:00 to 4:30. What an awesome day. I cannot think of another time that I felt the spirit so strongly during the baptisms. We had more than the usual amount; there were the regulars, and then we had a sister bring in 150 names for her two children to be baptised for. At one point we had 6 people waiting to be baptised. It was awesome to See so many people serving.

Then on Friday we were sealed in the temple. The boys had the cutest little white outfits, and they were wonderful in the sealing. Brady just Jumped in Grandma Anhder's arms when he came in, it was so cute. Then after the sealing Taylor climbed up next to the altar to say his own prayer.

With three half days off of work I had to work some long nights to get my work done. It was a long week, but it wast lots of fun.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Vermiculture, Vermicompost, worms and rotting table scraps

So lots of you asked "Why worms???" The answer is "The Garden" of course. One of the most important pieces of a Square Foot or Lasagna garden is compost. In order to provide sufficient nutrients in an organic garden like this you have to harvest organic matter and break it down in order to feed the plants. We are trying a few different methods for composting (I anticipate at least one more method before the year is up). We have a compost pile on the west side of the house and we have a couple of pounds of worms.

The idea is that, in the compost pile, microorganisms, digest the plant material and break it down to rich black fertilizing soil. In the worm bed, the micro organisms start the process and work with the worms to digest the food and produce worm casts (which look like black sand and are also very nutritious organic fertilizer for our plants). The worms break down the nutrients quickly, a pound a day when our little worm bed gets up and going. while the same amount of kitchen scraps in the compost pile would take at least 6 weeks.

So, "Why worms?" because I want to get better compost faster. At some point we will probably try a tumble composter which is also supposed to be quicker, but not just yet. The boys getting to feed worms in my office is just an added bonus!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

How great shal be your joy

We had General Priesthood Meeting this morning with the Stake. President Smith gave a wonderful sermon about missionary work and capped it off with a discussion about Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16
10 Remember the aworth of bsouls is great in the sight of God;
11 For, behold, the Lord your aRedeemer suffered bdeath in the flesh; wherefore he csuffered the dpain of all men, that all men might repent and ecome unto him.
12 And he hath arisen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of brepentance.
13 And how great is his ajoy in the bsoul that crepenteth!
14 Wherefore, you are called to acry repentance unto this people.
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one asoul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the akingdom of my Father, how great will be your bjoy if you should bring many csouls unto me!

As we discussed this the term "joy" became very prominent and I remembered 2nd Nephi 2:25, so putting them together,
Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, [souls] unto [Him]. Then we talked about the same things in priesthood just a few hours later, isn't it amazing how things tend to fall in line.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Vermiculture, wrangling worms for fun and profit!

OK, maybe not profit, but I am trying a little worm farming. I built a worm bin based on this design, and I bought 2 lbs of red worms (No Eric you can’t come by to get some for fishing, these little guys are too small.) The bin is in my office for now as it is still getting pretty cold at night, but I hope to move it outside in a few weeks when it warms up a little more. I have read that the worms can eat half their body weight in food every day. So my little colony should be able to eat about a pound a day.

So far mine have been eating left over rice, moldy bread, some clean crushed eggshells, potato peals and the like. Heidi says that they really “stink” but I think it smells like Oregon. More specifically I think it smells like an old forest. The worms seem to be finally adjusting to their new home. I am hoping that as the real gardening season starts I can start harvesting worm casts. I also understand that worms are self regulating, meaning that they will reduce or increase their numbers based on their food supply so I am going to try to feed them heavily and hope that they multiply quickly.

And so on to another adventure growing red worms in my office in order to feed my garden.

Getting Started

So I have been contemplating for a long time what to write about. Heidi is blogging about the boys and doing a great job. So I am working on other subjects, this year the garden, probably technology, and perhaps even a little bit about religion.

Today was a good day, we started the very first real planting of the season. We planted Giant Pumpkins with the boys, they helped me plant carrots and radishes too. Then I spent three hours turning the soil for our three sisters garden. I dug down about 6 inches and put all of the soil through a soil screen. Then lined the bed with newspaper. I screened in another load of manure and added that to the bed. I put all of the soil back in then added a about 2 inches of screened manure and peat moss to the top. The corn is in now, two per square foot (twenty two square feet), and there are five squash plants on the corners and one right in the middle. It's great to have some seeds in the ground.

We have sixteen tomato plants ready to go in early next week. There are four better boys, six early girls and six lemon boys. I am excited to get them in the ground too but everything I have read says that last frost is going to be a few weeks away. So we will wait a little longer.

We also planted basil; yellow, and green bush beans; bell peppers; three chilies; and some dill. All of those are in the little greenhouse inside. Hopefully they will sprout soon and we can get them in the soil too.

We got 30 russets down too. We did the potatoes in a "lasagna" bed which is a thick layer of newspaper, the potatoes and about 10 inches of hay on top. I hope to find more potatoes to put down soon, we may get some waxy potatoes like the reds that usually are harvested young or maybe even some Yukon Golds.

The berries that have been in "lasagna" beds for a couple of years seem to be really taking off this year. It will be fun to see how they turn out, and Bishop Gray has some more blackberries to move to our bramble.

Good day in the spring. It was fun to spend time in the garden today.