Skip to main content


So I haven't posted in a while.
We are still dealing with the child's lead poisoning. Her levels went up again, coinciding with he warmer weather and more outdoor time. One possible reason was that the sunlight and vitamin D were expediting the transfer of stored lead from bones to blood. The other possibility was lead in the soil.
child in the driveway
Maybe the driveway isn't the best playground
child in the yard
But then the backyard is suspect too

We started her back on basic iron supplements, but also had the soil tested at the state university. One concern was that the soil in the raised beds was suspect, but there was also an open dirt patch where a tree went down and we were working on getting the stump out. I thought that the front would actually be the most contaminated, but as it happened`that and the raised beds were fine but the back was at medium levels, which is still unsafe for growing food and, to us, playing.

Future home of sunflowers
Future home of sunflowers
Spouse had done some research and found that sunflowers can take some of the contaminants out of the soil.We're testing that with the spot where the willow tree used to be. (The tree came down last fall during a storm and we decided not to put it back when the neighbor told us it had happened before.) I've got two packages of sunflower seeds in there in the hopes that a few flowers come up. If we have a decent enough crop this year, we'll get that patch tested again and see if the lead levels have gone down.

me with pitchfork
I'm bad-ass with my pitchfork
Since the raised beds were okay, that meant we could actually try a garden this year. I had spent a lot of the spring hoeing the beds and adding some extra soil as well as some potting mix made from coconut husks. The beds needed some lime though according to the soil test results so I've gotten that in and will soon be getting what little compost was under the heap in the back.

Pea trellis
Pea trellis
There was enough soil there though to get some peas in this week, and I got to use the handy snap together pea trellis things that the previous owners left in the shed. Not that we need it yet, but it does help mark off where the peas are planted, and makes it look like we have a real garden.

potato container
Potato planter
In the taller of the beds I put in some potatoes. I bought a grow kit and some seed potatoes from Gardener's Supply, but ended up planing those potatoes in the raised bed, along with some red fingerlings that had gone to seed in the pantry, and saving the bag for some Marris Pipers I managed to score online! They're a variety that seems harder to find here, although it's a common chip potato in the UK.

seed packages
Seeds to feed a family
I had grand plans for growing a lot more food this year but the seeds I ordered months ago only just arrived today. I think we'll still try a few, but the majority will have to wait for next year. We've got some seeds starting separately anyway, so we'll just add to that growing batch.
Starting some seeds
Starting some seeds

But some things we won't have to start on our own are tomatoes and peppers!  I managed to score some left-over seedlings that didn't make it into the garden at work. I'm not going to try the upside down tomato planter again (that's going to become a "raised bed" for the child to "garden" in) but will try the traditional way. We have a lot of scrap wood in the shed so since I've already used the trellis, I might try to make some supports for these on my own.

Peppers and Tomatoes
Peppers and Tomatoes

I do have more pictures and more to tell on the front herb garden, but this is probably too long and tedious as it is. So instead I'll just leave you with a picture of my first try at making my own puff pastry: croissants. Plain, chocolate and almond. They were worth the effort!


Popular posts from this blog

Kitchen table

So I made a table.

We really needed a kitchen table, in addition to other things in there that will be coming later, and Spouse and I disagreed on they style. I wanted a formica '50s jobbie like I used to have years ago and he preferred a farmhouse style. The ones I like, however, are rather expensive. So I went with farmhouse and decided to make it myself.

I found the Ana White site, which has TONS of plans of every level. The Narrow Farmhouse Table was the style I was looking for, but not the size. Fortunately the plans are very clear and I was able to alter it to make the table the size I needed.

I decided to go for a cheaper wood for the bottom of the table and paint it. My main concern was just that it be sturdy so I went for poplar. In retrosepct, I think I should have gone for something heavier as the table top is oak which is incredibly heavy. All the planks were purchsed in standard widths and cut to the right length at Home Depot. That saved me a lot of time and probably…

Squash Blossoms

I haven't planted any squash this year (although some sort of marrow or melon is growing in the compost heap) but I saw some squash blossoms at the farmers' market on Tuesday and thought I'd give them a whirl.

We have found that in the summer we consume less milk, but have not actually cut back on our milk order. This has been leaving us with a lot of extra milk at the end of the week and I've been trying to find ways to use it. Last week I made yogurt1 and a few weeks ago I did a fresh cheese with herbs.The cheese was really yummy and easy so I opted to try that again and make stuffed squash blossoms.

I do not have pictures of the cheese-making process, but it was quite easy.
Gather random herbs from the garden (I used oregano, basil and sage)Chop said herbsPut milk and herbs into a pot and bring to a boil.Add 1 cup buttermilk (I make it from powder)Add 1/4 cup vinegar - the curds will separate almost instantly.Drain curds in cheesecloth. Add some salt
The n…

The London Trip - LONG POST

The Doc and I had the following email exchange yesterday:The Doc: I just noticed, I can't find your England Report on your blog, you say you will tell people what happened but I can't find the actual info

Teru: Hmm, I should put that up, shouldn't I

The Doc: Only if you want to go into details about your booty call ;-)

Teru: Hmmm, I'm still uncertain about how much information I want to share on the web. It might get me more readers though :)

The Doc: Don't mind what you tell people, let them know how badly I was at sex, I don't care... tell them how you got ill and had to be cared for. tell them about the time I ran out of money and had to ask for NTL to put my money back into my account. you have my consent.

Anything you want. But most importantly of all you MUST tell people how much I love you, and how much I smiled and how much we kissed in public.

Oh and don't forget the meet and the reading bit.Since he said I could tell all, so I might as well say r…