We had a very nice surprise Monday night. The patio door was open with the screen door closed and I went to look out upon the garden. That's when I saw it - a Praying Mantis. This is a good thing! It was crawling up the screen door. Of course Kevin and I spent quite a lot of time admiring it. He had never seen one up close before. While we were taking pictures Kevin noticed it looking at him. These little guys can turn their heads 180 degrees. They eat moths, flies, crickets - all of which we have. Since he was on the screen climbing up, I'm going to assume that he was climbing towards the porch light where the moths like to gather. The nice thing about his presence is that he came by naturally. I didn't buy any to release in the yard. I have done this before - well, the egg sacks at any rate, but the insects failed to materialize. We were very happy to have this visitor in our back yard. Hopefully it will mate and have hundreds of babies who will stick around and eat our bad bugs.
It was 107° F in Lake Elsinore on Monday. I'm officially changing the city's name to Helsinore!
According to the Farmer's Almanac Saturday and Sunday are good days for planting above ground crops and vines. This heat needs to dissipate soon or nothing will grow, regardless of what the almanac says.
Kevin insists that we have green shoots coming up but when I look I see nothing. Is he seeing things? Or am I blind? I had him show me what he was talking about. Yes there were shoots - scratched out of their little homes in the dirt... chickens...
The Mad Scientist
I may have quit my laboratory job, but I'm still a scientist at heart. I'm doing a little experiment. According to the Farmer's Almanac the best days for planting above ground crops in the near future is August 21 & 22 (Saturday & Sunday). So what about Friday?
I've taken the garden indoors where I can keep an eye on things - and keep out chickens and scorching heat from drying out my soil. Friday I planted a set of seeds in peat pots, Saturday I planted the same seeds in another set of peat pots and I also planted the same seeds outside in the dirt on Sunday. I want to see if there is a difference between seeds planted on different days (though it is only 1-2 days difference) and seeds planted indoors in peat pots vs seeds planted outside in the garden beds.
Should any of those in the peat pots survive (and I suspect that they will), they will get transplanted outside. But I want to see if there is a difference in growth and overall health.
The only problem with this is that I've taken up the kitchen table as my indoor workbench. Sorry Kevin, you'll have to eat at the coffee table or standing up in the kitchen.
So WOW! This is a huge surprise, the seeds planted on Friday late afternoon have already started to sprout... That's fast.
Planted 2 days before picture was taken.
Planting, Bird Netting and Kittens
Being a planting weekend, I knew that I needed to get my butt out of the house and into the garden... but oh how I hate the heat. Nothing was done in the garden on Saturday - only the pots indoors were planted, and on Sunday I didn't make it outside until after the sun was on the west side of the house and shade was fast approaching. It took quite a long time, but I finally got everything planted only to find that I need more planting beds. One is a garden of greens, one is miscellaneous vegetables, two are herbs and one is flowers plus the one planted before that is root vegetables. But I didn't get any squash or tomatoes planted, no beans... I ran out of room before I ran out of seed packets. Typical. We did decide to try to save these planting beds early on (unlike the root crops) and put up bird netting. By the time we were finished, the chickens and ducks had already put themselves away in the coop so I didn't get to see if it will keep them out, however Toby managed to get himself caught in the netting a few times and had a hard time figuring out why when he went to step into the garden beds a barrier stood in his way.
By the way, it's nice to know that plants from the nursery, still in their pots, fit nicely in the holes of the bricks. I have some jalapeño, bell pepper and tomatoes.
Over protective me had very little sleep Monday night as Toby figured out the doggy door. I knew it was going to happen, but hoped to delay it until he was a little older. Luckily I bought a collar and name tag for him Sunday. He's just too young to be adventuring out at night alone and unsupervised. He disagrees and kept taking off. Kevin found him in the yard early Tuesday morning happy and hungry. Dang cat. So he's found his way out numerous times, but he's never found his way back in on his own. We have to keep brining him back in.
Stairway to Heaven
It's a little difficult getting in and out of my trailer. It's a huge step up and back down again stepping onto the hitch bars and hoping not to fall. (Those who know me well know what a total klutz I am.) Home depot has stair risers already cut out, you just supply your board and voilà, you have steps. So I'm making my own. I also wanted a platform to step onto instead of the hitch bars - I can see myself falling through. I had to purchase an entire sheet of plywood and cut it down. It took me quite awhile to do this, I'm horrible with measurements...
The platform still wobbled because the middle bar is higher up than the other two. I used a double layer of garden stakes I had laying around as support on both sides. To get the placement right, I used sticky back velcro strips on the garden stakes. I placed them where I wanted them (on the lower bars) then removed the backing from the upper side of the velcro strip and placed the platform on top of it all. Then I stood on the platform to make sure that the sticky part stayed put. I carefully removed the platform making sure I didn't jar anything out of place, then attached everything with wood screws. Anyone who knows how to measure and work with wood is laughing at me right now - ok, so are some of you others but hey, it worked. The platform is very solid and stable. And I'm really proud of my accomplishment.
I have been searching everywhere for a very small freezer for my trailer. I looked online and found nothing. Big Lots had nothing. Wallmart's compact freezers were too big. Sears had none, but the salesperson looked online to see if they could order something smaller. He found that Kmart carries one that is 1.3 cubic feet. He didn't have dimensions in his computer however. Off to Kmart I went. They didn't have anything in stock, but I convinced the timid sales person to look online since Sears showed that Kmart carried them. I got the dimensions and found that it will fit perfectly under the counter. The brand is Haier. It's an upright with a reversible door opening. It is 19 3/4 inches Wide; 19 3/4 inches Deep; and 20 5/16 inches High. It cost $149.99 with free shipping to my house. It was supposed to come at the end of the month but arrived in 2 days. I'm very pleased with my find. But I'm thinking that I may still need an ice chest... this may not be enough space after all.
I had an electrician come by on Wednesday to look at my trailer. I was hoping that he could change the plugs so that I would have 110 V instead of the 220 with 4 prongs. I have no way to plug that in here at home, and when I travel, I can never be sure that I'll have access to 220. Yes he can do it, but I wouldn't have enough power to run my equipment.
Everyone I've talked to tells me that I need a Honda generator. They are the quietest. They have a Super Quiet series. The electrician tells me that I need a minimum of 4000 watts. That means money, a lot of money. What I finally found and ordered was a Honda Super Quiet EU6500iSA from wisesales.com.
The power level is my first concern, but noise is also critical. This generator runs full power at 60 decibels. That is the level of a normal conversation with no one having to raise their voices. At idling power it drops down to 52 decibels. The only thing is the cost. This is the cheapest I've found at $3399 + $31.91 shipping insurance. Tax not charged because it was out of state and they covered the shipping costs. Ouch on the cost but YEAH on finally getting independent power!
I received a phone call from FEDEX - they will be delivering it on Wednesday between 9 - 5.
This is a short update I realize, but it was a shorter weekend than normal. We went out Friday night with our very fabulous QOL friends who I miss terribly and I had too much fun. By the time I realized that I should quit drinking, I was toast. I held it all together until I got home, but then spent the night, and the next morning, praying to the porcelain goddess.
QOL was created by just a few close friends. It stood for Quality of Life... a reminder to us that we needed a work/life balance. Since those humble beginnings, the group has grown... and grown... we now number around 24. We know each other from working at the same company, Quest.
A newer member, Kate, was asking us on Friday what QOL stood for and she was told to guess. She came up with Quest Out Laws... we loved it and have now decided to change the meaning of our name. We are after all the bad kids. Ha Ha Ha!
A little video just for fun - it reminds me of Kevin and Myself
I just realized that I don't have a picture of a cat, dog, rabbit, chicken or duck this week... oh well. The chickens are huge but still no eggs yet; the ducks have almost all their feathers and go around chasing and eating flies. I didn't dig out the wood pile to see if George has babies. What a lazy girl I've been.