Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Least Favorite Chore

I really, really, really do not like vacuuming. I've been vacuuming the ceiling. That's right, the ceiling. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but today marks the first time the ceiling has been dusted or vacuumed since we moved in.

Gross, I know.

There was a healthy spider web in each corner of the living room and the bathroom, too. It's amazing how quickly these things can pop up out of nowhere!

I know that we have to be more diligent about keeping the house clean, but vacuuming is not enjoyable. One bit.

We have a nice vacuum, and I probably wouldn't mind vacuuming the floors (but my husband likes it, so he can continue with that chore!), but it is so time consuming. It doesn't help that we live in a smaller home. To do a good job in the living room, for example, the coffee table needs to be moved, otherwise, the vacuum cleaner can't maneuver around.

But, man. I was on an amazing cleaning kick this afternoon. Vacuumed the ceilings, around the cupboards and cleaned the entire kitchen. Ugh.

I feel like such a grown up.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garden Beds!

Finalmente, my husband and I bit the bullet and make our garden beds. When we moved into our home, there was a small wooden box filled with sand. Since the previous owners had a small child or two, we figured it was a sandbox turned stray cat litter box (seriously, gross).

Being that the husband and I don't have kids (and when we do, they will have a much bigger sandbox!), we decided to make it a garden. Last year, it housed our potatoes, onions and sunflowers. The sunflowers and potatoes did fabulously. The onions...not so much.

Our dream, though, was to add three more raised beds to make our garden more fruitful. Our seeds have already been started (the tomatoes aren't looking so hot) and will need to move into the ground sooner, rather than later. With the free time that we had yesterday, we headed to Menard's to pick up some cedar (hooray, it was on sale!).

We made three 4 foot by 4 foot boxes that have 10 inch anchors in each corner. Well. Our original plan was to have them be anchors. We are now discussing the possibility of using them as a fence post to protect our veggies from the rabbits I have seen in the yard. We'll see what happens when we get to putting the garden beds in the ground.

Isn't it pretty!?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fletcher & Floyd

As mentioned in a previous post or two, my aunt gave my husband and I two bearded dragons. It was a stressful gift to receive, I have to admit. Here's the scoop:

My husband and I were boiling sap from our maple trees to make syrup when I received a phone call. My aunt was on her way into town and had lizards (and all the gear) for us. I had to meet her at my grandparents' house when they arrived to take the stuff home and get everything set up. I left my husband to boil the sap by himself and headed to get these two animals that I knew nothing about.

I brought them home. I set everything up. I put the dragons in their new terrarium and waited. They didn't drink their water. They didn't eat their crickets. They didn't move. Did their flight kill them?

They moved, one ate. They were alive. My husband and I started writing a list of all of the things we would need to purchase to keep these dragons alive. We picked up a book and read it cover to cover. We scoured the web. We learned that they shouldn't necessarily live together. But what could we do? It was late in the evening. We left them together, in the one terrarium, with 15 large crickets.

                     Fletcher                                 Floyd

Ahh, the things we have learned since that first night. Bearded Dragons will nibble at each other's toes (especially if they are both male). Poor Fletch. He received the brunt of the toe-nibbling incident. We learned that, while living together, one will make it so the other doesn't get enough "sun" or enough food. Again, poor Fletch. We learned that in no way should either of those two Bearded Dragons have been eating large crickets (rule of thumb: no food bigger than the space between their eyes).

As you can tell, Fletch kind of had a cruddy beginning to his life. Eventually, we realized that we could no longer house both Fletch and Floyd. Fletcher was not growing (he did shed his red color, though). He was hiding and wasn't enjoying life (or so it seemed). I did my research online and came across the Herpetological Society. We decided to give Floyd a new home so that we could care for Fletch. My heart just broke for the little guy (I know. He's a lizard).

Today, we are headed to the pet store to get him a new basking branch. We are also headed up north to meet our puppy (oh crap, we're going to have a zoo) and buy a few needed items for him...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tapping Trees

This "winter" (if you can even call it that in Minnesota this year), my husband and I tapped our silver maple trees. I had the idea when we first moved into the house, but didn't realize until this winter that any maple tree can be tapped. Not just sugar maples. Sweet! We have three silver maples and tapped two of them. It was extremely simple and unbelievably awesome.

First, my husband drilled a hole into each of the two trees. We had to drill at an angle so the sap would run more fluidly. In the photo, you can see the metal spile in his hand. This is put into the drilled hole and then tapped a couple of times so it is secure.

On the spile is a small hook to hang the bucket and lid. If the trees are tapped at the right time, the sap will start flowing immediately. Unfortunately, with the crazy winter we had this year, we had tapped too late. It was warm enough during the day, but wasn't getting cold enough overnight.

After the first night, we didn't think we'd get any sap. In fact, from one of the trees, we didn't. Not even a drop. That was a bummer, but we did end up with quite a bit from the second tree. Our spirits were lifted! You can store sap in the fridge for up to a week, so we had to boil rather quickly.

It was so interesting. Sadly, I didn't get to be present for the boiling portion of syrup making for very long. My aunt called with a delivery, and I needed to be there. I left my husband to the boiling and didn't get any pictures. BUT! We made syrup! Six whole ounces of syrup!

The only thing I can say is that homemade syrup is amazing. And I can't wait for next winter to tap the trees again!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Oh, The Vegetables

My husband and I started our garden. With the weather having been so odd this year, I think we will be able to move the little buggers outside rather soon. We started seeds indoors last year and had some luck, especially with cherry tomatoes and potatoes. We also got married, went on a two and a half week honeymoon and a week long family vacation. Most of the garden died or was eaten by the wildlife.

This year, we are more prepared and more in town. We are scheduled to be gone for two weeks this summer, instead of 5. About six weeks ago, we headed to the local garden supply store and picked up seeds. A lot of seeds. Carrots, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, peas, tomatillos, bell peppers. So many vegetables! We will also be adding potatoes, cantaloupe and pumpkins to the mix.

About three weeks ago, we planted the little buggers and they grown like weeds. Holy cow, we need to move them outside soon. Sadly, though, we've had frost over night this entire week. I don't want to risk moving all of my veggies outside quite yet...

Last year, we had our back garden and a small elevated garden. This summer, we have big plans. Our back garden is slated to be the salsa garden: tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos and fruit: raspberries. Our current elevated garden will hold the peas and carrots. We also plan to build three more elevated gardens. We need a place for the summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. I also have to figure out where I want to plant the dill.

Maybe you can tell, maybe not, but I am SO excited to have homegrown veggies!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Back to Life, Back to Reality...

Well, Spring Break ended a week ago. I've been back at work for five days and have eaten dinner at home once. I find it sad that this is my reality, but it is. The husband and I are so busy. We both have family that lives nearby.

It's become tradition to have dinner at my parents' house each Monday, which I love. My sister and brother-in-law are there with my niece. Sometimes my younger brother shows up. It's a great family time. It has also become a tradition to meet up with my high school girlfriends on Tuesdays. Two nights out of the house right at the beginning of the week. I don't know why, but having those two nights booked makes me feel extra busy, all the time. Even if those are the only "busy" nights.

I will say, though, that it makes it rather difficult to get things done around the house. We have a pile of mail that has sat on the kitchen counter since before we left on vacation. Our office and bedroom are still a disaster.

I'm unsure as to whether or not the two are correlated, but I have been in tears quite a bit this week. We have been home since Saturday, but have accomplished nothing at our house (irritating, I have to admit). This makes me frustrated, and frustration can easily bring me to tears. The other side of the teary-eyed story deals with the dragons we were given. One started displaying dominant and territorial behaviors. The other is not doing well. They've been separated and the territorial one has been re-homed, but I cried about them, too.

I'm hoping that it's a combination of being away so much these last weeks (we leave town tomorrow), the mess that is my living space and the full moon that have made me cry so this week.