Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More on the Wind Chimes

You know, once I started showing dear husband the selections, he was wanting more than one. I always over worry that they annoy the neighbors, but a quick poll showed that they couldn’t even hear them (“you had wind chimes?”)

To me, though, it’s important that we have quality tuned ones that are nice to listen to on a warm evening with the windows open. When we first bought the house in 1995, it didn’t have air conditioning. We’d shut everything up, close all the drapes, and go to work. We wouldn’t open it back up until it cooled down outside or we went to bed. It would keep it somewhat manageable. Once daughter was born, though, we had to get a/c since I started working out of the house.

But I remember being young and pouring a glass of wine or a beer, and sitting outside in the chairs under the old tree and talking about the day while the wind chimes provided a nice background.

Outdora also stocks Music of the Spheres wind chimes. These are very cool in that they’re tuned to a pitch, like soprano, mezzo, tenor, and even basso profundo. That set looks like they have some really large pipes. Another reason I like the Music of the Spheres wind chimes is that you can turn them ‘off’ by sliding the clapper up the central cord and into the ring. This can be useful if I get neurotic & worry about the chimes bothering the neighbors at night. I can just turn them off before going to bed.

We should get them up again soon, once we agree upon which one to get. And if you can have more than one set. And we do have a front and a back of the house. This year, though, we’ll take them in before the rainy season hits.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Can Wind Chimes Soothe the Soul?

We were cleaning out the garage the other day so that we can start working on the Harleys again. Lo and behold, in a corner, in an unused mini cooler that his mom left with us (which we’ll never use and she won’t take back…we should donate it, but it’s one of those things where as soon as we do, she’ll want it back)….there was a set of wind chimes that hubby’s friend gave him probably 15 years ago.

They were beautifully tuned and we had them outside for many years until the string disintegrated and parts started falling off. Then, one winter, a really bad storm knocked the wind chimes completely off. There they were hanging all over the orange tree. And I picked up all the pieces that I could find and put them into the cooler in the garage intending to get it fixed some day.

Dear Hubby pointed out that I didn’t pick up an important piece & he’d seen it kicking around the yard for months. I didn’t ask why he didn’t just pick it up and put it with the rest of the stuff. 22 years together, you tend to gloss over some things.

So, it brought out some nostalgia. Should we get them fixed or should we buy a new set. I don’t even know if you can get them restrung, honestly. This set was well tuned with a deep throaty call.

So I’ve been looking into new ones and found Woodstock Percussion wind chimes. My new favorite online store Outdora has a huge selection of them. Woodstock Percussion even makes glass wind chimes as well as the usual metal ones.

My favorite is the Woodstock Pachelbel Cannon Wind Chime. I think dear hubby would want the Woodstock Chicago Blues Wind Chime. And I am NOT under any circumstances getting a gong.

What a heat wave we had

Goodness, it was hot. Some people reported that it was over 100 on Saturday. My car said it was 98 when I snuck out at 1230 to go to Starbucks and see an old friend. We'd lost track & refound each other on Facebook, so I'm happy. It's nice when friendships transcend time. We both busted a gut laughing about the same old silly things.

So my garden seems to be surviving OK. I watered around 830am and it was already over 80 on both days. By the end of the day, the stuff growing out of the compost were a little wilty as were the strawberries in a regular container, but everyone in a self watering container were happy & ready for more. Whew. And that is why I use them.

I had my first real tomato become ready this weekend. Yeah! I gave it to my parents.

Heirloom tomatoes definitely look funny, and I haven't heard but I'm hoping it was delicious. The hot weather is great for my peppers too. The Love Apple Farms Orange Bell is producing about 5 peppers at the moment.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A greenhouse can produce your dinner all year round

Last time, we talked about a mini-lean to greenhouse. But what if you had more space, or you wanted a greenhouse in place of some of the space for containers. If you live in a place with a shorter growing season, you’d be saving yourself money by having a larger greenhouse where you can keep things producing all year.

In fact, you’ll be the envy of all your friends if you happen to product a tomato in the middle of December. And it’s possible. There are varieties cultivated in Czechoslovakia such as the stupice variety that doesn’t need as much heat, and can produce with shorter light cycles. Plus, really, if you have a greenhouse, you can add in growlights to extend the light cycle.

A good greenhouse like the SunGlo Greenhouse brand will let you adjust the humidity with venting windows. So if you get an unusually warm day in October or March, you can ventilate the greenhouse to maintain a happy growing temperature. And not cook the poor leaves. It’s happened, and I just want to get past my accidental vegicide.

The SunGlo Greenhouse kits are unique in that they have an automatic shutter ventilation system included. Most places expect that your kids will automatically remember to close them. It doesn’t work that way in my house.

I like the idea of getting to assemble my own greenhouse too. I can spend a whole weekend out in the garden anyway, so I might as well have something to show for it. And let’s face it, it’s a nice place to go hide. They can find me too easily when I’m in the middle of the plants.

The other reason I really like the SunGlo Greenhouse kits is that it looks like an old fashioned barn with the curved roof rather then the traditional A-frame. It makes it feel like its much larger and spacious. I’m sure that it also helps out a lot with the air circulation.

Let me know if you have one and what you think!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A greenhouse could save my marriage

If you’re like me, your partner really doesn’t appreciate having seedlings on warming mats all over the dining room table all fall, winter and spring. You understand my dilemma, I’m sure. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on new plants, and frankly, it’s a lot of fun to buy unique seeds that I can’t get at the local nursery.

For example, there are at least 15 varieties of cauliflower. Some are purple, some are yellow, and some are the purest of white. And I really want to try growing a romanescu just so I can photograph it.

And should we talk about tomatoes? I think we should along with peppers. We need to start our seeds early on in the cold of winter, just to ensure that they’re large enough to thrive once the evenings stay above 50F. I confess to cheating and sneaking them out sooner, but covering them in the evenings right when the sun goes down.

I take such pride in telling people I started a plant from scratch. But how to appease my husband with dirt all over the place when a cat got too curious?

A greenhouse. This is what I’m saving up my pin money for. Living in suburbia, I have a larger backyard then most, but I want to spend most of my space on my containers so I can have more vegetables and fruits.

Juliana manufactures a perfect mini lean-to greenhouse for a very affordable price. I should be sitting it up outside in no time. Then I’ll attach it to the side of my home where I used to have a woodbin (can’t really burn wood in California anymore, so why not replace it with a greenhouse). The Juliana mini-lean to has a 5 year warranty as well. If you’d like to find out more information, here is where I found out more information on the Juliana mini-lean to greenhouse.

Can you imagine how many seedlings I’ll get with 3 shelves that are 4’3” wide and 2’2” deep? And imagine how happy my husband will be to get the dining room table back. But then, we’ll be hosting more holiday dinners.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Leadership Los Gatos

Well, I finished up Leadership Los Gatos with barely a squeak. I came down with a virus and had to miss the graduation. Drat. I highly recommend the program for people to learn more about Los Gatos and how it's managed.

In the letters to the editor, I constantly see complaints about this or that, and I have to think that if they would get more involved instead of sitting back and armchair quarterbacking, everyone's life would be better in the community.

I went to the planning commission where they discussed the future of the property at the corner of Gateway and Los Gatos Boulevard. I'd say it was where the McHugh Lincoln Mercury dealership used to be, but that's old news. So it's where Swanson Ford dealership expanded to for awhile. There were people complaining about how they might connect the parking lot with where Trader Joe's is located. Don't they realize that's a good thing? If there are offices in the new building, what a great idea to walk over to TJ's or Crimson or Little Lou's and spend some money in Los Gatos. Every little bit helps.

And frankly those that are worried about the noise should have lived there when it was McHugh. I could always here their P.A. system, and I'm half a mile from the place.

So I was happy to see the Town Council approved it.

Those who are interested in a career in civic leadership might want to earn a Public Administration degree from an accredited college.

The Weather Is Finally Warm in Los Gatos

Well, whew. I was starting to think we'd never feel some hot weather. I have these enormous tomatoes but they're all green. I think they need a bit more heat to change color.
So far, I have tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, onions, asparagus, and green beans going. The asparagus crowns went in the ground in January. The first year, you ignore them. But goodness it was cute watching them grow up, and then fern out.

I thought planting onions in the same area was a good idea since they're both nitrogen loving, but the gardening books say never ever do that. Whoops. Live and learn. I've been sprinkling compost and bloodmeal periodically and everyone seems happy.

I'm going to start a new blog just for gardening, and will let you know what the URL is once I finalize it.

School has been out a week, and goodness the time has flown. I'm sure the whole rest of summer will be like that. Kiddo is in the Los Gatos-Saratoga Recreation Summer School starting Monday the 22nd. She just graduated from 5th grade and will be going to middle school next year. Time has flown. She'll be attending Summer School at Fisher Middle School. I haven't been there since I graduated from 8th grade in 1981. Since then, I know they built a new gym. I'll be very curious to wander around and see if my old locker is even still there.