Making Our Beds

Making Our Beds

sledgehammerThis past weekend, we ran away from the city to begin work on our vegetable garden at the Niagara house. Our goal was to build four raised beds – three for veggies and one for cut flowers – using this tutorial from the awesome Pioneer Woman blog. We packed up the car and a small mountain of laundry (our city dryer has been broken for over a month and it’s hard to keep up with the laundry demands of six people) and we set out at seven p.m. which is the time to travel on the Friday of a long weekend.

Saturday was a late start. I needed the extra sleep, because the Noodle has taken to waking as of 2:30 each morning, and then every hour or so after that. At first, he was just interested in eating during these waking moments, but now he’s into trying out all of his new moves; scooting, crawling, sitting up, standing, all with his eyes closed and mostly still asleep. Thankfully, on Saturday he was into sleeping in, and when he was done, extra hands made it possible for me to get a little bit of extra rest. After a leisurely breakfast, Nekky and I set out for the Home Depot at around noon, while Mamma S stayed behind to tackle the epic chore of lawn mowing. Both adventures turned out to be day-long investments.

The finished product

The finished product

Nekky and I took Noodle with us because he’s a fussy monkey these days. His little teeth are ready to burst forth, and he can fight a nap with UFC flair. Once he was secured in his car seat, he was k.o’d and remained that way for the two hour duration of our Home Depot visit, where he slept in a cart, still in his car seat. He really must be a man’s man (whatever the hell that means) because the smell of sawdust and paint and dudes really lulled him into deep sleep. Not even my stacks of garlic and onion bulbs disturbed him from his reverie. Also, if you want to see cute, take a wee baby to a hardware store. Even the burliest men were cooing at him, and straining to get a look inside the cart to watch him sleep. 260355_10151635320720535_312581582_n

We cut down on some material costs by choosing untreated fir over cedar or pine, and we’ll be sealing it with an Eco wood treatment. Our real surprise came in seeing just how much wood we ended up with. There was no way it was fitting in the car, so we had to rent a Home Depot van to drive it back to the house, ten minutes away.

Of course the baby’s car seat wouldn’t work in the cargo van, so I hung behind with the Noodle, who was still out. I grabbed myself lunch at Subway, and got three quarters of the way through it before the baby woke up, all smiles and game show host charm for the seniors lunching around me. Man this baby can work a room!

He can also work his shorts, and so after I finished lunch, we wheeled back into the Depot for a bum change and some boobie. By now we were on a first name basis with the staff, who were all happy to see the awake Noodle, riding in the cart like a pageant queen on a pride float, clapping his hands and squawking with glee. (Our baby is so happy to have everyone’s eyes on him. I don’t know where he gets that from.) The restroom was kitted out with a big comfy leather chair so we had more privacy than the patio furniture section afforded – this is where I’d scoped out some breast feeding real estate earlier.

After Noodle’s snack we waited for daddy (and Ayla, who decided to come for phase two of the shopping excursion, which was Costco) in the garden centre. Noodle loves flowers, birds and old ladies and all were plentiful in the garden centre.

So, yes we tackled both Home Depot and Costco on a long weekend Saturday and lived to tell the tale. Needless to say, not much building got done on day one, though us three parents ran outside after dinner to take advantage of the waning sunlight and cooler temperatures. We got quite a lot of the more tedious stuff knocked out too – measuring and drilling pilot holes and such. There was also some beer drinking, which we all know is essential to any home improvement project.

building2Sunday was building day, for real. We got a much earlier start and got a lot of work done before noon, when the sun became unforgiving. There isn’t a lot of shade at the Niagara house, so our veggies will be happy, but us laborers were not. Coconut water has become a staple for us and the kids. It’s a greater source of electrolytes than those sports drinks, and it’s delicious, especially with vodka and a twist of lime. No, the kids don’t get vodka.

We took a break for lunch, and then hit Home Depot again, because one trip is NEVER enough, no matter how thorough you think you’ve been. After lunch I got to learn how to use a jigsaw (terrifying) and a drill. Yes, it’s true, I’ve barely used power tools. I’m more of a sanding, staining, finishing, painting kind of worker bee. I’m also really good about planning, and I quite like being the foreman.ayladrill

I’m very pleased with the results of our efforts. Lulu got in there and worked with daddy, and was very proud of herself. She was also thrilled when I pointed out that she’d been in homeschool wood working class all day.

Next we’ll need to seal the beds and line them with landscaping fabric, then order dirt and compost and get planting. I can’t wait to get my hands in there and plant our little seeds. I’ve never attempted a vegetable garden before, so I have no idea how successful this project will be, but it’s really been wonderful working together towards a common goal.

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Nearly Over the Hump

Artichoke pendant lamp shade

This has been a mostly good week when it comes to separation anxiety. Mostly.

Monday came and went in a flurry of keeping busy, running the business, making dinner. Tuesday started out the same, but somewhere during dinner prep I thought of him and the girls and the busy noise and sweet activity of our bustling week night kitchen and then the sadness started to creep in. My lady went to baseball, and I tried to banish the sadness with books, and then this made me unconscious. I went with that, and took myself to bed early.

Today, as always, is an entirely new day and it’s a good one! I worked hard, and when my eyes were starting to cross from staring at the screen too long, I planted an herb garden on our balcony. The master bedroom has a lovely balcony that we really haven’t used, but I’m trying to turn it into a morning coffee, evening cocktail paradise.

I need a bistro table with three chairs.

I also need a handsome shade umbrella and a very sturdy stand.

Then I need some flowers that are hopefully late summer/early fall blooms.

Next summer I will tackle the rooftop patio on the third floor. Or maybe this summer, if time allows. Early autumn dinners would be lovely under the canopy of trees.

My herb collection consists of:
Flat leaf parsley
Coriander
Dill
Rosemary (I want more of that, in it’s own fragrant pot)
Tarragon
Thyme
Oregano
Basil

Sarah brought home some tomato plants that a co-worker grew from seed and they are thriving! They’ve even got little green fruits ripening on their vines.

Ella the bunny just about ravished me as I tried to carry the paper bag filled with plants through the house. She’s been very naughty since the kids and daddy have been away. Every single night she pees on me or near me, at about the same time. Her consequence has been to lose some of the freedom we’d been giving her. She never has these accidents randomly, so I think it’s some kind of weird bunny dominance behaviour. Guess what bunny? You’re gonna lose that battle.

I found some STELLAR recipes on Epicurious. What a tried and true resource that website has proven to be! For weeknight meals I always search the fast & easy section, and then sort by which meal and by rating.

On Monday night I made Chicken Breasts with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce. It was ridiculously good. I followed the advice in the reviews – more butter, some white wine, some de-glazing – and it was perfect. It was even fantastic the next day.

Last night I made Pork Tonkatsu with Watermelon Tomato Salad. This dish was all about the salad, which was so light and refreshing! The pork was yummy, but my attention was divided by a phone call, so only the first batch was perfectly cooked. Make only what you can eat, unless you plan on a sandwich the next day.

Another new favourite time-killer is pouring through Etsy. There are some birthdays and celebrations coming up, and I’ve decided to only buy gifts from that website from now on. I love it so much! We have a UPS inbox in Niagara Falls New York which only costs us about $20 a month. We visit family in Niagara-on-the-lake regularly and the inbox is just a short trip away. It’s really changed the way that I shop, and Etsy is a nice way to still support artists. I’ve decided to start featuring some of my favourite Etsy finds here too. The beautiful lampshade pictured above is a reasonable $55 and can be found here.