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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kelly, Kelly, how did your garden grow?

The 2014 growing season at the Merrick household is now over. It was definitely a learning experience, as we had our fair share of pest problems, mysterious fungi and some under-performing plants, but the positives far outweighed the negatives and I'd call it a success! We learned a lot about gardening and hope that everything we learned will result in a better garden next year.

This is mostly for my records, but I thought I'd recap the success of our crops. The project manager in me planned to keep a detailed record of how much we harvested and then compare that to what we would have paid at the farmer's market to calculate the financial return on investment, but that just didn't happen.

I didn't get into gardening just to save money, and I felt like keeping track of every pound we harvested would take the fun out of gardening. Plus, we ate a lot of the cherry tomatoes, berries, peas and cucumbers while standing in the garden, so there wasn't much chance to weigh them anyway. So, you'll just be getting our estimates of how much we harvested.

Here it goes!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mighty Ductless Heat Pump

I don't know about you, but I am so happy that cooler weather has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. I enjoyed the hot, dry summer we had but I am definitely ready for fall. I wore boots and a rain coat to work, walked through crunchy fall-colored leaves and made soup this week, all signs that fall is upon us.

But as much as I like the shift to cool, crisp days in the fall, I don't like being cold, especially at home. And last winter, I was cold all the time. The electric heaters in our house couldn't keep up, and so I was forced to wear thick socks, slippers, sweaters, a hat and sometimes even gloves to stay warm.

But not this winter, because last week we said goodbye to those terrible heaters and hello to our new friend, the mighty ductless heat pump!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 things I hate about...canning

I was barely a teenager when the movie "10 Things I Hate About You" came out and I was instantly obsessed. I watched it over and over, and memorized all of the sarcastic lines that Julia Stiles' character Kat, spewed at everyone around her.

Ever since then there have been many more movies that use the same premise - guy's friend bets him to trick girl into liking him, then the plan backfires and he falls in love with her, girl finds out and gets mad, guy professes his love, and then they reconcile.

But "10 Things" is by far the best one. It probably has something to do with the fact that both Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are in it, or the fact that Julia Stiles is one of my favorite actresses (remember Save the Last Dance?). But it's definitely because of the poem that Stiles' character Kat reads to Patrick, Ledger's character, after she finds out that her sister's boyfriend paid him to go out with her.

Anyway, you're probably wondering what a movie about teenage romance has to do with canning.

Let me tell you.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Everyone loves a good before and after + some accidental advice for life

Raise your hand if you're a homeowner and still have a mile-long to do list with tasks that have been there since the day you moved in.

[raises hand]

The annoying thing about being a homeowner is that you never get everything on your list done, but I guess that can be fun too. When you have a constant stream of projects, you're never bored and your house is continually improved.

There are a lot of things still on that list for us and we're adding more every week, but we did cross off a big one from the list last weekend: refinishing our deck.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sustainable meal planning + a gardening win

I picked the first tomato from our garden last week and oh boy, was it delicious. It was a bright red sun gold from a plant that I grew from a seed. And not only that, but it was from a seed that I saved from a sun gold tomato I grew in last year's garden.

If you told me last year that I would be able to grow tomatoes, keep them alive, save their seeds, plant those seeds and keep the seedlings alive long enough to harvest from those plants the next year, I would have laughed.

But our garden is thriving despite my fear that I'd kill everything. I'm not the best gardener, but I'm learning, and every day when I come home to discover another ripe blueberry, or a group of bees pollinating the zucchini, I am so thankful that nature has a way of thriving despite my presence. I am even thankful for our mint, which is out of control and now trying to escape through the cracks in the raised bed. Mojitos, anyone?