Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Our Garden

Graham and I both love to garden and watch things grow, and we love having an activity that we can do together that's fun and productive. He's especially good with plants and he knows when to water and how. His green thumb gets greener all the time! Last year was our first attempt at container gardening and it wasn't a complete success but I was pretty impressed with what we accomplished. We grew tomatoes in large planters and I grew some herbs in small pots. My herbs did well, and we actually got some usable tomatoes! They were rather small, but hey, we didn't have to buy tomatoes all summer so it was a small victory.

This year we've "expanded our operation" as Hubby would say. We didn't stick with regular sized tomatoes this season; Graham found a type that supposedly thrives in smaller containers so we're giving those a shot this year. I have also planted a few more herbs and I've already got some Italian parsley, some marjoram, basil, a little thyme, chives, and some dill. Still waiting on the sage, though. It's exciting to wake up every morning and check on the progress our seeds and seedlings are making.

In addition to all the edibles, we've planted a number of flowers and I can't wait to see them bloom. This year we planted marigolds, nasturtium (supposedly edible but I prefer the flowers for viewing's sake alone), four o'clocks (very unedible as they're poisonious upon ingestion), snapdragons, zinnias, moss roses, and poppies. I can't wait to see them all in bloom!

We can't transplant the seedlings until after Mother's Day. Apparently in Illinois that's when the danger of a frost has passed, but I swear I remember a freak frost in late May when I was younger. Hopefully if that happens, we'll have enough warning and we'll be able to move everything indoors for a day or two.

Some photos of our fledgling garden:

Some four o'clocks. If you look closely you can see 4 seedlings. Four o'clocks are strange. The root breaks out of the seed casing first, and the plant grows upwards still wearing the casing. When the leaves grow large enough, they pop out of the seed casing. Right now 2 of our seedlings have sprung free, one is very close, and the other is getting there.

There's nasturtium in the foreground and our tall tall zinnias in the background. Zinnias are naturally tall so it should be fun watching them adapt to smaller containers. I hope we get some pretty blooms from them! This picture was taken on Sunday and overnight the nasturtium shot up and now they're taller than the zinnias. It's so cool to watch them grow. Last year we got some pretty yellow and peach colored blossoms from the nasturtium and we only had two seedlings take. This year we've got four, so I can't wait to see what they do. They're a little on the viney side.

Herbs! That's marjoram in the far left and center, and one of my dills on the right. The dill seedlings are growing nice and tall, and the marjoram is a little slow in getting there but I'm sure it will take. We planted these in biodegradable starter trays, so when we're ready to plant them we just have to break the trays apart and plant the tray, no popping and digging required!

That's enough for now. Hopefully sometime soon we'll be able to show off some growing plants and usable herbs.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting ready for Spring

Graham teaches at a year-round school and one of the perks of that schedule is that is "summer" break is broken up throughout the year, so he gets a month off in summer, fall, and spring. His schedule is actually a little nicer than some because his months off don't coincide with any other holidays, so he gets a winter break on top of that time off.

One of his projects every month off is to deep clean the apartment in some way. I consider myself lucky; he's self-motivated enough to make himself a list of things to do over break. Every time someone asks me, "Did you leave him a list?" I can say, "Well, actually...."

During his most recent month off the weather was nice enough for most of it that we got to take care of a few things we were hoping to get done, particularly taking in our bikes and getting our garden planted. One thing Graham did that really helped was washing the windows. Living so close to the airport and off a major street, our windows take a beating thanks to weather, plane fuel, and bus/truck/car exhaust. We don't really clean the windows from November-March or April because it can get so, so cold here. Once we clean them in the Spring...wow.

Here's a picture of Graham hard at work. (I was supervising.)

Hubby's good to me! :-) I don't even want to think about the condition the windows would be in if he didn't take the initiative to do them; had I moved in alone it probably would have taken me until July to clean the windows on my own. Thanks, Graham!

Why, hello there...

So this should be interesting.

If you don’t know who we are, we are Angie and Graham. We got married in December 2007, and since then we’ve been living the dream in Chicago. We’re not sure whose dream, but that’s besides the point.

We’re both teachers-one of us at a private school and the other at one of Chicago’s fine public schools. We live in a small apartment on Chicago’s southwest side very close to Midway Airport. We share our living space with a beta fish named Prince. (Angie kept changing his name and couldn’t decide who he should be, so we decided on Prince because, well, you know.)

We enjoy spending time together, which is good, because as the priest reminded us at our wedding, we will be together “for the rest. of our. lives.” DUN DUN DUN!! Good thing we like one another, eh? Stuff we like doing together:
  • Gardening in small containers on our balcony.
  • Riding our bicycles down trails in the Greater Chicagoland Area.
  • Camping.
  • Watching bad movies and then blaming one another for our bad taste in movies.
  • Eating food made by Angie.
  • Going on long walks around the neighborhood.
  • Talking about what we want to do to our home someday. (Angie wants a large kitchen, Graham wants a large fish tank.)

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s good for the time being.

Thanks for visiting, and please check back soon for another update from one of us. Don’t expect too much “excitement” from us until the summer months when we have some weddings to attend and trips to take. In between now and then, you’ll just get some random updates on our life together. Not quite boring, but not quite action-packed excitement, and we’re a-okay with that.