Sunday, June 30, 2013

Herb Garden Progress Report #1: Day 15

Obviously, this early in, there isn't a WHOLE lot to report, but there has been some progress.  

The first week or so I watered every couple of days because all three herbs grow best in mostly dry soil.  Then, when the heat really picked up and the soil was bone dry at the end of each day,  I began watering it at the end of every day.  

I originally planted 3 herb columns: Parsley(3 rows), Basil( 4 rows), Oregano (3 rows).

 Basil was the first to peek through;  It began showing at just day 5, all 4 rows.  It is in the middle.
One row died out a couple of days later.  Here is a close up of the basil sprouting

Parsley joined the party 10 days in. The picture was so dark I didn't bother adding it.  

 15 days in.

Today, at 15 days,  all 3 rows of Parsley are growing strong (left) and the 3 surviving Basil rows as well (middle).  Still no sign of Oregano.   

That's all for now.  I'll try to give another 15 day update.  Happy Summer Y'all.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tour de Texas

Mid May we were blessed to go Dallas, Texas for the wedding of a good friend Simon went to college with: Austin Click.  Dallas is not a quick trip for us, so a few months ago, when we were planning the whole thing, we decided to make it a vacation of sorts.  The weekend fell on the day after out anniversary, plus most of Simon's America-dwelling family resides in Texas, so we decided to combine wedding fun with family time and a celebration trip. :)

Thursday morning, early early, we drove to Atlanta and hopped on a plane to Houston.  From there we rented a car , a Chevy Impala of all the rotten luck, and drove to Dallas for the rehearsal dinner since Simon was to be an usher.   

We spent a lot of time in the car.  I will spare you all of those pictures but I had to include one. :)

The country club, where we all ate dinner after rehearsing at the church, was decorated beautifully and we enjoyed the time we were able to spend with some of the friends Simon never gets to see anymore. We continued the fun out on the town for a couple of hours once the pre-wedding festivities were complete. 

Late that night we drove back to Austin and crashed in the living room of Tanya and Wilson, Simon's cousin and her husband.  It was kind of a crazy night with the long drive but being able to spend Friday morning and early afternoon with them and their kiddos, Mia, Ally, Emi, and Jonas definitely made it worth it. It was also our only opportunity to say hi to Dan, Sarina, and Hannah, another cousin and his wife and their sweet daughter.  Sadly our schedules conflicted all weekend so out time with them was brief. But we at least got to enjoy a lunch together and a little chit chatting. 
This is Ally parading around in my heels.  It was pretty cute; she wanted to know exactly what I was doing with each step of my getting-ready.  She asked me what each makeup piece was and had questions about how I was doing my hair and if I would be wearing a necklace, etc.  We don't get to see any of the Texas family, including the girls, nearly as much as we would like, so it was fun having her be so inquisitive and desire to spend time with us.  

Friday afternoon it was back to Dallas for the stunning wedding. Chelsea looked beautiful and the ceremony was so sweet. The reception was on the 6th floor of a fancy building in downtown Dallas and was, once again, perfect.  We enjoyed some delicious food and lots of socializing while we watched the presenting of the newlyweds, their first dance, and the cake cutting.  

 Newlyweds being introduced
...and us again

Back to Austin we went, for another short night followed by a fun day of just relaxing with the Robertsons and Hannah. 

Tanya and I were talking the next morning and I look over to find that all of the girls have made their way over to the still-sleepy Simon and are helping him wake up.  

 That afternoon we packed up or things and drove to Houston to spend some time with Toni, Bill, Julia, Nikolas, Jason and their two new dogs!!   Amidst all our chitchat and catching up with the family, we were fortunate enough to go over to the home of some friends we made back when we lived in Houston a year ago: Ben and Maddison Hisey. 

 I got to hold their precious 2 month old baby boy, Will; it was fantastic!  He was conked out in this picture.  
We're both so thankful that they took that time for us amidst their newly-hectic lives of parenthood adventures.  We shared a delicious meal and caught each other up on the past year. A lot can change in just one year! 

Sunday we went to church at First Colony, just like old times, and hung out at the house with everyone until we had to pack up and leave for the airport. We said our less-than-fond farewells to the Impala and then sat in the airport, waiting on our delayed flight to Atlanta. 

Once in Atlanta, we shuttled to the hotel where our car was parked,  grabbed some dinner at Wendy's, and headed home.  
It was a long, action-packed weekend and I contemplated walking to work the following Monday just to avoid getting back onto a car.  I decided against it, but after driving 1,100 miles in that rental car, it was a tough decision.  

We had so much fun and were so thankful for everyones hospitality and patience with our crazy, sporadic schedule. 
We  can't help but send out a huge thank you to everyone who housed, fed and just spent time with us that weekend.  We love you all and hope to see you again as soon as we can.  

We, also, are so happy for Austin and Chelsea Click and wish them many happy years together! 
Thank you for letting us be apart of you special weekend! 

Planting an Herb Garden

When we first started dating, Simon couldn't come to terms with the traditions bouquet of flowers, and insisted on giving me potted plants.  After the repeated emotional turmoil I underwent each time I killed the thoughtful gift, he gave up on his idealistic intentions and now will occasionally bring me a lovely bouquet of flowers that are bound and determined to die regardless of any heartfelt effort on my part.  Knowing this little fun fact, planting an herb garden might seem an odd pastime for my Sunday afternoon.  I, however, am hell-bent on overcoming my natural inaptitude to gardening.  I love nature, plants, flowers and the idea of growing your own food etc.  Somehow I feel that having ambitions of a vegetable garden later on is rather unrealistic if I can't even keep an herb garden alive.  So this is a trial run. of sorts, for my future endeavors. :)  I've been meaning/wanting to do this for awhile but somehow never seemed to get around to it.  Luckily, now is the ideal season to plant herbs on the middle east coast, so maybe that will be in my favor.  

Well, enough about that;  Here is how my little project went.    

I decided to plant the three herbs I seem to use the most: parsley, basil, oregano.  They all have the same sunlight and soil moisture needs as well.   They sound relatively compatible and should, I am hoping, enjoy each others company as much as neighboring herbs can be expected to do so.  

I read that soaking the seeds in water before planting them is the best way to go about an herb garden.  

Who knows if that is the case but, regardless, that is what I did.

While they were soaking, I prepared my planter.
  I used a tub we used to keep drinks on ice at our wedding.
I think it is cute and it has, until now, merely been collecting dust on our balcony. 

I drilled holes in the bottom of the tub to allow for proper drainage.  Here's how I went about that.  

 Here, with Simon's help, we set up a little drilling area.  Drilling directly into the deck would be frowned upon by the complex I think.  
 Stabilized the tub.  
I chose to drill from the inside out.  It seemed like more of a funnel shape would be formed, allowing for better water flow.  I based this off of absolutely nothing at all.  It just seemed like the best option.  
 I used a 1/4 inch drill bit and Simon's Makita drill to make 6 holes that formed a circle.  

The potting soil package recomended mixing local soil in with the store bought stuff so, I ventured into the "forest" behind our apartment and, frankly, stole some dirt.  

I mixed it in with the potting soil, filling the tub a little less than half-full.   
All of the herbs can grow to about 18 inches so I didn't want to fill it too full.  We'll see how I did.  

I have to brag on/thank Simon for this cute little herb-garden-table he surprised me with.  It fits the little tub perfectly and is much cuter than just having it sit in the ground.  You can't really tell in this photo, but the tub is actually sitting down into the table a few inches.  Thanks honey! It's perfect!  And it makes me feel good that you have enough confidence in my herb garden to build it a table :D  
Love you.  

So then i planted three rows of the herbs. 

To remind me which is which, I wrote the name of each herb on a wine cork and jammed a wooden skewer into the bottom of it.  I placed them at the beginning of each row.  Can't take credit for that idea: I saw it on pinterest.  haha

Then I covered up the holes and watered.  

 So... that's that.  
I'll keep a little update going so you all can be excited with me if they grow into usable herbs.  Keeping my fingers crossed!! 

Any advice on maintenance? I've read they mostly like rather dry soil and need almost constant sunlight.  

Happy Sunday everyone!