Last week, we got new gutters for the house. I didn't have to do anything for that other than write a check, but there was a method to my madness. I had 2 brand spanking new 75-gallon rain barrels I wanted to install and what's the point without gutters that are draining into them? Though they came with a linking kit to have one barrel overflow into the second, I decided to put one in the back of the house and one in the front so I can hook a hose to each for ease of watering since I've planted in both places. We haven't had any rain since they were installed, so I'll give an update when it rains, but I can tell you these things collect dew! Aside from the obvious reduction in our water bills, I'm proud that this will move our home one tiny step forward in our efforts to become more sustainable. I have no doubt that next year we'll end up ordering 2 more barrels because it gets mighty warm in south Florida in the summer and the veggie plants will need extra watering.
This leads me to my shopping spree at Gardener's Supply. I considered the stash my Hanukkah presents to myself. I made sure to tell my husband he didn't have to shop for me this year (as if shopping was his favorite thing to do; I think he's been in a mall 4 times in the past 12 years). And everything I ordered was useful, from the tomato cages and pea trellises, all the way down to my new hot pink Daisy Clogs that I got on sale for $12.00 (I couldn't pass them up).
Then there's the garden. Well, there's more good news than bad, but there is bad news. Rats have gotten my entire crop of broccoli, but, for some reason that hasn't yet made itself clear to me, they didn't touch the brussel sprouts or eggplant that are in the same bed. Rats with tastebuds? Got to be something in the broccoli I'm guessing. On the good side, my Meyer lemon tree is blooming profusely, we've eaten a couple salads made with our own lettuce, I've got baby tomatoes beginning to pop out all over, the blueberry bushes are sprouting beautiful tiny pink bloom buds, and the herbs and onions are doing well. I honestly can't complain. Oh I forgot. I can complain about one thing. I had stuck 4 bush snap bean seeds in one of the beds that had some room just for the heck of it and they actually all started to come up, but my eldest child Caleb (a dachschund) decided to push his way through the gates we built to keep him out so he could check out the beans himself. One lonely little bean plant survived. I tried it again today and this time placed cinder blocks against the gate to block him.
Somewhere in the midst of all this, I baked 6 loaves of a really easy and delicious honey-wheat bread and started a new project to make a bread board/slicer with my dad. Thank goodness for two 4-day weekends in a row. I'll put the recipe in the next post as this one is getting rather lengthy, and post pictures and instructions for the bread slicer.