Monday, April 25, 2011

Wood Chip Saturday

On Saturday, Patrick and I were up bright and early. We were ready for a long day of putting wood chips down in our landscaping. Our friend Adam has a trailer, so we used that to transport the wood chips. Before Adam got to our house I started finishing up cleaning up the dead plants from last fall.

Here is a photo of the front on Friday before I cleaned up the dead plants and added the wood chips.

Woodchips - Front Before

And here is the perennial garden on a cold wet Saturday morning.

Woodchips - Garden Before

The plan was to use the free wood chips from the yard waste site. Patrick had looked at the website earlier in the week and it showed a much larger pile than when we arrived. We decided to take what we could and see how far it would go.

Woodchips - At Yard Waste Site

Here is a close up of the free wood chips.

Woodchips with Snow

At the yard waste site we had to shovel the chips into the trailer. What a pain. Obviously I was not much help with this aspect. It took the three of us about 45 minutes to load up the trailer.

Patrick with Woodchips

The first load of wood chips only went about half the length of the back fence line. Patrick and Adam went back to see if they could add least get enough to finish the back fence line. They were only able to get about a half the amount we got the first time, but we were able to finish the back fence line.

After that it was already lunchtime and we all needed something to eat. We had lunch at Chipotle and decided on a game plan for the afternoon. Patrick did some calling around and we ended up deciding to get the rest of our wood chips at the Dundee Nursery.

At Dundee they just dump the chips into your trailer. That cut down on quite a bit of time.

Woodchips at Dundee

I guess you get what you pay for. The wood chips at Dundee were much nicer and ended up being a lot easier to move around and shovel out of the trailer.

Woodchips from Dundee

Here is an in progress shot. You can see how desperately we needed to do this. The previous owners put down wood chips before we moved in, but that was almost 3 years ago now. In the future, we should really do this every other year.

Woodchips progress

We ended up getting eight and half cubic yards of wood chips to do our entire yard. In the future nine cubic yards would be just the right amount. We got two and half cubic yards for free and we paid for six cubic yards. Dundee had a sale buy one cubic yard get the second half off. For our six cubic yards we paid $184 with tax. If we would have paid full price and not got the free stuff it would have been around $360 ($40 per cubic yard), so all in all we saved a lot of money with the sale and the free wood chips. And we would have never finished this project in one day without Adam and Maran's help. Maran came over later in the day and helped me spread out the wood chips, while Patrick and Adam loaded the wheelbarrow and dumped it in the garden areas.

Here are the after photos. It looks so much nicer, I am glad that we spent the time and money to do this. Hopefully it will cut down on some weeds this summer as well.

Woodchips backyard after

Woodchips near garden

Woodchips Garden After

Woodchips collage

Woodchips Front After

Woodchips Front Before & After

Monday, April 18, 2011

Planting Seeds

A couple weeks ago, Patrick and I were at Lowe's looking at grills and we bought some seeds to plant. I tried this a couple years ago, but I was unsuccessful. For Christmas last year my dad got me this seed growing set, so over the weekend I set out again to start our vegetable and herb garden from seeds. This year we decided to plant these vegetables and herbs: roma tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, grape tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, onions, carrots, dill, basil, thyme, rosemary and cilantro. I started all the seeds indoors except carrots.

Planting Seeds 2011 - Seeds

Here are my supplies: the 72 count tray, popsicle sticks, gardening gloves and seed starting soil. I also used a spoon to scoop the dirt into the tray holes.

Planting Seeds 2011 Supplies

Planting Seeds 2011 - Soil

Before I put any soil in the trays, I premoistened the soil. This way you don't have to add water after you have planted your seeds and risk drowning them.

Planting Seeds 2011 - Soil

I then filled the holes according to the directions on each package. Most of my vegetables and herbs said to plant the seeds with 1/4 inch of dirt on top, so I filled the holes so there was a 1/4 inch unfilled on top. Before I added the seeds I labeled all my popsicle sticks and put them in the tray. I then added one or two seeds to each opening. And finally I added soil on top of the seeds until it was flush with the top of the tray.

Planting Seeds 2011 - Seeds Planted

Here is the tray with all the openings filled and the contents labeled.

Planting Seeds 2011 - all seeds

This is the heat mat that came with my seed starting kit. It is supposed to keep the temperature consistent.

Planting Seeds 2011 - Heating Pad

And this is how my little seedlings look currently. They are just trapped under this plastic dome trying to sprout.

Planting Seeds 2011 - with dome

Since I am obviously not an expert in growing seeds I used this article on Weekend Gardener to guide me through the process. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Snowy April Morning

This morning we woke up to a blanket of snow. I am sure it will be gone by the end of the weekend, but it is still depressing that it even snowed this late in April.

April 2011 Snow - Backyard

April 2011 Snow

April 2011 Snow

Dinner at Stonebrooke

Last night Patrick and I went to the Stonebrooke Golf Club for dinner. We had our wedding reception there almost three years ago. It was fun to look back on how much our perspective on life has changed since then. The food was good too, we had the all you can eat crab legs.

Beers at Stonebrooke

Stonebrooke Dinner

All You Can Eat Crab Legs at Stonebrooke

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tacos, Pasta, Pizza & Sandwiches

I have been slacking in keeping up with my recipe posts lately, so I thought I would just do a little summary some of the meals we have enjoyed lately.

These Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos are made in the crockpot and really good not to mention easy to make.


Since spring has arrived I have been looking for healthy, easy meals for dinner. This Orzo Super Salad is becoming a spring favorite in our house. This salad has tons of vegetables and it is easy to make.


We have been eating a lot of homemade pizza lately. I want to make Friday's pizza night, but we aren't home enough on Friday evening to really call it pizza night. We didn't have dough ready this night, so we made these personal sized Mexican Pizza's on pita bread from Holy Land.

Mexican Pizza on a Pita

While Patrick was on a work trip, I had free reign on what was for dinner. I made these Sesame Soba Noodles. I had some frozen edemame from last year's CSA and I wasn't sure if it would still be any good, but tasted just like it did when we got it.

Sesame Soba Noodles

And last but not least we had these Lentil Sloppy Joes. These also in a crock pot and super easy to make and a great alternative to sloppy joes with ground beef.