Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oddly, I HATE to vacuum in the house...

Normally, I'm not a big fan of power-driven gardening tools. I don't think there's anything wrong with them per se; it's just that I get a peculiar enjoyment of doing things with my own two hands, even if that turns out to be the hard way. I also like the quiet of using my hand tools. Plus my little garden is just that: little, so the need is really not there. It's true the lawn is large, but I'm afraid of our gas-powered mower, and to Mulch Boy's amusement I bought myself a little rotary mower this year, which I happily push around the yard when Mulch Boy doesn't mow it fast enough to suit The Queen. It makes this great little "whiiiiirrrrrr" noise that I love. AND the doggies are not afraid of the rotary mower, so we can all be together while I mow. Good times!

There are, however, exceptions to every rule, and my exception is my fabulous new electric leaf blower/vaccuum/mulcher. Oh how I love it! It is my new best friend. Mulch Boy even named it: Sookie. (Pronounce that "Suckie.") (Yes, we are addicted to True Blood.)

Thanks to Sookie, this weekend we vacuumed up and mulched all the leaves in the front yard and filled up our both our compost heaps with nice shredded leaves. No more endless raking piles to the street for the county to pick up. Instead, we're recycling it all on our own property. And of course there's more to come, as Fall has really just started here in NoVa.

I don’t want to come off as a shill for the maker by trumpeting their name (what are the ethics for that on a blog?). But if you want to know the brand/make, shoot me an email or comment and I’ll share. It really is a good tool and works great. Or just do what I do and go to Consumer Reports and live your life according to their reviews and recommendations. I’m sort of a slave to Consumer Reports. A dork slave.

Monday, October 18, 2010

10 Things I Enjoy

I just found the Garden Musings blog of James Roush in Kansas and have started following him. His reflections on his gardening, Kansas, and life in general are nice stuff, and he has some lovely lovely roses, of which I am now jealous.

In September, James proposed a garden game in which he invited ten of his favorite bloggers to share ten things they enjoy doing (he in turn received this request from the blogger at Onenezz, who was invited by someone else in what appears to be, as James called it, a blogger Ponzi scheme). Well, I've not been personally invited and they were doing this a month ago, but it sounds like fun and I'm gonna give it a whirl anyway.

Ten Things I Enjoy Doing (Garden Edition)
  1. Renew the garden. Come Fall, my yard has usually become a weedy mess due to neglect during the hot summer months here in the DC area. When the temperatures finally become bearable, I'm rarin' to dig out all those weeds, move/divide/replant the overgrown perennials, and plunk in some new pretties. The work is hard, but so so gratifying..
  2. Taking a shower after renewing the garden. You're exhausted, you're coated with soil, and you're speckled with mosquito bites. The shower you take now will be more satisfying than any other. Then you can put on your pajamas and sack out on the sofa with your puppy dogs and your husband.
  3. Sacking out on the sofa with my puppy dogs and my husband. Especially when worn out from gardening. There's nothing snugglier than the entire family pack smooshing together.
  4. Watching seeds sprout. I've only been growing vegetables from seed for two years, so there's still a large part of me that thinks "this will never work." Thus I'm astounded and thrilled when it does.
  5. Picking food from my very own garden. Much as I'm amazed that seeds I planted actually sprouted into plants, I'm equally excited when I can go out and actually fill a colander full of vegetables from our own little garden patch. There's dinner!
  6. Composting. My good friend and I went to a free composting class given by Falls Church City, where the wonderful instructors assured us that compost is not rocket science, and if you're in no hurry, you can just make a nice pile of leaves and wait a year and voila!  Compost!. So I went home and started a little compost pile. Soon, Mulch Boy got into the game and created a second, double-wide compost heap behind our shed. And it really does work, and now we don't have to rake all those leave to the street. 
  7. Collecting rocks. I have a rock fetish. I'm not sure when or why it started, but I love rocks in the garden. Some I've collected from the side of the road on the interstate (those Falling Rocks the signs tell you to be cautious of), some I've collected from friends' and family's homes (and which moved with me from my old townhouse to the little blue house), and some I've bought from the quarry down the road. Yes, although I am in the DC metropolitan area, there is literally a quarry up the street from me that sells all kinds of rocks, including beautiful boulders!  My first birthday after getting married, I told Mulch Boy I wanted rocks for my birthday, and he knew I didn't mean from the jewelry store.
  8. Collecting plants. I also have plants that have come from friends and family, mostly from my dad. I am very sentimental, so they are extra special to me. When I moved to the little blue house, it was February and the ground snow-covered, and so many such plants got left behind. I still fantasize about going back to my old townhouse under cover of darkness to recover some of my old buddies.
  9. Digging. There is nothing like digging to work out your frustrations. Especially with a hand trowel. Using a stabbing motion. Stab stab stab. Also, that business about digging deep in your vegetable garden? They are not lying: it makes all the difference.
  10. Enjoying the fruits of my labor. After I finish a project in the garden (like, for instance, the Fall renewal), I find myself darting outside over and over again (sometimes in my jammies) to glory in the results. Then I take pictures and send them to my daddy.
If you're willing, I hope you'll share ten things you like to do in the comments or by linking to your blog in the comments.