Apr 18, 2014

New Music: The Week's Dear Bo Jackson

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

Last year The Week's were listed in a Garden and Gun article about Southern music. I downloaded the album. I haven't listened to it yet. Whoops. So this week I listened to an album I purchased many, many months ago.

They have a rollicking sound which makes me think they'd be super fun to see live. In a bar. With several beers. Ha.

Favorite song: Brother in the Night

When to listen: dancing around the house, porch times, heading out to the bar, Fridays

Apr 15, 2014

Weekend Report

We had a fun, action packed weekend. Seems like once spring hits the weekends get a little crazy until it becomes stifling hot. I love all the spring festivals and just being outdoors in general.

We kicked off the weekend with dinner and drinks at SOB. It has been a while since we've been there even though its one of our favorite places. They just launched their new spring menu and it is a good one. I was tempted by almost everything on the menu. In the end I settled on the snack plate which had fried deviled eggs and a salmon mousse. I also got the cream of grilled corn soup which was amazing. I'm making a mental note to making something similar as soon as corn comes in season.

After dinner we walked on down to the Forum for the Grizz game. Grizz are in the push for the playoffs and are on a roll. We won! I'm a little sad this was the last of our 11 game pack of tickets. Hopefully they'll make it to the playoffs and we can go to one or two more games.

Saturday morning I went to the CY Farmer's Market while Bryan got his run on. I love that each week it gets a little bit bigger as more stuff becomes available.

By noon it was time for the Overton Square Crawfish Festival. This is my favorite festival of the year because it's in our neighborhood. And also crawfish.

Bryan and I shared 3 trays throughout the day. We were able to share the experience with my parents, Bryan's parent's, Max, and Eric Butze.

Sunday morning we were feeling a bit sluggish on crawfish and took it slow. I went to a baby shower for Julie and Chad, while Bryan went to the baseball game with Mel. Afterwards we went to the Easter choir concert at Independent.

There was a reception afterwards and we snacked on some food, which meant I didn't even have to cook the entire weekend.

What did you do this past weekend?

Apr 14, 2014

Garden Update Monday

As I decided last week, I'm going to try to make Monday's a regular garden update while things are growing. So you know, until November or December. Let's see if I can keep it up. No promises.

On Friday I went to the Licterman Native Plant Sale and the Memphis Botanic Garden plant sale. I bought too much.

Highlights: 2 artichoke plants, 1 common fig tree, 1 tomato plant (I can't remember the variety), and tons and tons of herbs and a couple of peppers. I bought a bunch of started herbs because a) the ones I've started from seed are not doing anything and b) I've decided to go ahead with the cinder block garden bed and these will be a nice jump start to an otherwise sad looking bed.

Here's the garden side of the yard from the top step. The potato bed is to the far left. I'm not seeing any activity here besides weeds, but its only been a week. I put my common fig in a bigger container for now. Once it's a little more established it will go in the front yard.

Here's the other side of the yard. Don't mind Roux, there was a squirrel in a tree. I've got some peas started in pots and I've moved my lemon tree outside this past week.

The left side of the garden. Rosemary, lettuce, and a sweet pepper are in the left bed. In the center I've started carrots. Some asshole pet keeps digging a hole here. In the right bed I put some Egyptian Walking Onion transplants I received from the garden class a couple weeks ago.

On the right side: Mostly weeds in the left bed, although I put a chocolate bell pepper in there on Saturday. It's kind of hard to see in this picture though. Lettuce and basil in the center bed. The lettuce is really doing a lot better this week. Nothing in the far right bed yet.

My tomatos, peppers, and cucumber seedlings are still doing well. They've spent some time outside this weekend as part of the hardening off process. Later this week I'll probably put the cucumbers in their bed (the empty one above).

My main goal this week is to get cinder blocks in place and order dirt for the new bed. Right now its looking pretty darn sad.

Here's a closer up on the more ornamental side of the yard. Roux has not been kind to the new plants as they are in her way of terrorizing squirrels. One of the azaleas lost it's front half, but seems to still be hanging on. We'll be adding more dirt around these plants when we order our dirt for the new bed.

Nothing to harvest yet, but it's great to start seeing some plants in the garden.

Apr 11, 2014

New Music: War on Drugs' Lost in the Dream

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

Happy Friday! This week I've been listening to the War on Drugs' latest album, Lost in the Dream. Once again, I heard of them through the Dinner Party Download podcast.

I've been listening to the album while doing my morning routine and hadn't really paid attention to the name of the album. But once I looked it up to start writing this post Lost in the Dream is the perfect title for this album. It has a dreamy quality to it. Perfect for a long cross-country road trip. I'm not familiar with the rest of their work, but I'm digging this laid back, causal album.

When to listen: road tripping, causal hanging out with friends, porch times with a beer

Apr 9, 2014

Gardening Class Notes

The Memphis Area Master Gardeners hosted an Organic Vegetable Gardening class two Saturday mornings recently. Multiple Master Gardeners spoke on various subjects regarding organic vegetable gardening. I don't necessarily stick to organic, but I try to be green where I can. Mostly, though, I just really enjoy learning about things that interest me. And right now gardening is of a huge interest to me. So I signed up for both classes.

The first Saturday was unusually cold and windy so we met in the barn. But the second Saturday was beautiful, although still chilly and we were able to meet in the garden.

This garden the master gardeners tend and provide food for local shelters. They consider it their playground to play and try out different theories or tricks.

They switched to all cinder block gardens this year because the wooden raised beds installed in 2009 had rotted out. While not overly attractive, the cinder blocks also provide a little extra growing space for things like lettuce, herbs or strawberries. I'm now considering cinder blocks for my new garden bed along the fence line. Hmmm...

Seeing the garden in person was a great source of inspiration. I'm loving how they put the wire down the center of the bed for peas to grow up and other things on either side. This one I believe had radishes on one side and I forget what was on the right side.

For four hours of teaching I came away with a ton of information and also a ton of handouts to read in my spare time. I thought as I went through these and processed everything I learned I might as well write it here for the benefit of others. And lets face it, so I can remember this stuff when I look back over the years.

So here's my takeaways from the gardening classes:

  • When starting seeds inside, use an eggcrate (but pay attention to germination dates in putting different things in the same tray), mist with water, cover with a plastic bag to keep moist and speed up germination process. 
  • If you have some old seeds and aren't sure if they are still good, put them on a moist paper towel and wrap it up, check it in a few days and see if it's progressing at all. 
  • One master gardener makes his own seeding mixture: 1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite, 1 park peat moss. Add water and plant. To make your own potting mix you can can do the same mixture with 1-1-3 ratio. 
  • Earthworms are good! They indicate good soil. 
  • Lasagna gardening is lazy gardening. I would like to do this with the new bed, but think I'll wait until next fall/winter to add to the soil I put in this year. 
  • Mix things up! They found success keeping pests at bay by planting beans in between cucumbers. This is something I could do better at. 
  • When container gardening, you are better off spending money towards your soil over your container. (This is one where I'm guilty. I'd rather have a pretty pot than pay money for dirt.) 
  • Look for "bush" plants for containers. 
  • The healthier the soil, the healthier the plants. 
  • Cover crops - I have not really heard much about this, but will consider it for next winter. 
  • When looking at fertilizers look at NPK. 
    • Nitrogen promote green leaves
    • Phosphorus promotes root growth, flowers and fruit
    • Potassium (K) promotes water regulation, stress tolerance, and root growth
    • Be weary if the NPK numbers add up to more than 15, this is not organic
  • Vegetables need 1" water per week, they need an extra 1/2" for every 10 degrees over 60 degrees. 
    • You can measure by putting a rain gauge or cup near veggies. 
And that's it! One thing I am really going to focus on this year is fertilizers. I have not used them in the past and think it could really help. 

What have you learned about gardening recently?

Apr 8, 2014

TN Tuesdays: Stax Museum of American Soul Music

Did you know that on Tuesdays many of the Memphis museums are free to Tennessee residents? I had heard this was the case, but until recently didn't take advantage of this little perk.

Sadly, there are many local museums I have yet to visit. Terrible, Memphian! I have not been to Stax, Sun Studios, the Rock and Soul Museum, or the Fire Museum. Over the next few months I plan on hitting up as many as I can, depending on our schedules. While our schedules are pretty flexible, I still feel a little guilty spending an afternoon doing something just for us.

Last week we went to Stax. While a museum for the former soul label, it is also a museum devoted to soul music in general. The only soul museum in the whole country and probably the world.

Sometimes it felt like there was a lot of information and a lot to read, but you can easily make it what you want it to. I enjoyed seeing the church, outfits and the gold Cadillac. We spent an entire road trip to New Albany, MS a few days later listening to Stax music. Rufus Thomas is our new favorite.

Bryan really enjoyed it and said he would recommend it. It wouldn't be on my must-see Memphis list, but for music enthusiasts, yes, make an effort and go.

Apr 7, 2014

Shrubbery and Gardening

Friday I declared my garden day. I'd been itching to get back there all week. Monday and Tuesday we had some work to do and then rain was forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday. So Friday it was. Am I the only dork who plans and looking forward to this kind of thing? Maybe it's just a spring thing? The novelty of a nice day and working outside is still exciting and real. Ask me again in July and I'll probably punch you in the face.

The back right corner has been taunting me all winter. My desk is positioned in front of window that looks out on the backyard. So literally every single day I've looked back there and been depressed. Nothing but dirt and an empty tree. This past week the redbud tree has started blooming. Finally! Color! I had a plan though. I was finally able to implement it on Friday.

I went to the nursery (unescorted, otherwise Bryan would have never let me come home with so many!) and picked out a few azaleas, honeysuckles, and forsythia. While in pots I moved them around to where I wanted them.

Hello, greenery and color!

I tried digging a couple of holes, but quickly ran out of energy. So I waited a little while napped and waited for Bryan to finish up his work. He mowed down the weeds and started on the additional holes.  His parents and nieces came by and they helped as well.

Since Giselle wasn't much help with the holes she helped me with some gardening tasks.

We planted some more lettuce, onions, and chives. She was a big help watering everything.

Roux supervised the whole enterprise.

I forgot to take a picture of everything in the ground. And its too wet to go outside and take one now. I want to make garden updates a regular Monday thing. So here's what's going on inside.

Basil, oregano, and mint are in the egg cartons - in bad need of some water. Cucumbers and peppers are on the right hand side. Behind them are some Egyptian Walking Onions I got from my gardening class on Saturday that I need to plant. (Sarah's orchid and my meyer lemon are behind the dryer.)

Tomatoes, dill, and parsley are on top of the litter box.

So that's the latest. I still need to add some fresh dirt and mulch around the new shrubs. But it looks a lot better.