Wednesday, February 22, 2012

today i learned...

today i learned: that i shouldnt wear jeans with metal snaps or buttons on the back pockets to school. they do not go well with hard plastic chairs

Sunday, February 12, 2012

That good-for-your-soul kind of day...

I was up late last night studying for an exam. I set two alarms this morning to make sure I got up on time. I actually woke up early, and was able to celebrate that glorious I-still-have-an-hour-to-sleep feeling. When my alarm went off, I enjoyed the beautimous white light beaming through my new bedroom curtains. Got dressed with a quickness, let the dog out, and ran off to 711 to fuel my morning.

At first, I was going to thank 711 for saving my rushed morning with blueberry coffee and glazed donuts and loading me with a freebie chocolate bar. On further inspection, however, I realized I was totally hustled by the lady who runs that place. As soon as I set my coffee and donuts on the counter, she plucked a chocolate bar out of a box on the counter, and said "it goes with the coffee today" as she scanned it, then took $1 off. I figured, free chocolate? Heck yeah! But when I checked my receipt I realized the chocolate bar was $1.29, and, you guessed it - with $1 off that means I paid $0.29 that I didn't intend to on a chocolate bar I didn't (really) want. Smooth, 711 lady, smooth. I wonder how many people she did that to today? And how many of them didn't notice the difference? But, you can see how much I'm upset about it - I still have the chocolate bar. And I ate part of it, too.

Anyhow, I got to class with plenty of time to review my notes and I think I did really well on my exam, including the extra credit essay question. I got home about 12:30 and decided it was finally time to plant the peach tree I bought a couple of weeks ago. I put on my big lime green rubber boots and went to it. Which is the real point of this story: I spent all afternoon in the back yard getting my hands dirty and I loved every moment of it. I got to dig up plants, re-pot said plants, plant seeds, plant a tree, hang a planter, fill a planter,  save a spider (by accident), kill a spider (not by accident), mow the lawn, pick oranges, and smell the upcoming orange blossoms.
The little bugger that started this whole afternoon a la nature was Gusty, the ultra dwarf peach tree I bought from the big orange box two weeks ago. So I named my tree. So what.

So... the bottom of tree is wrapped up in a bag full of "stuff" and has been sitting on my back porch, not watered and not visited (except by the green spider I found on it today, the one I saved, by accident), for two weeks. I was getting a little worried that it wouldn't last much longer, but upon tearing it open and digging it out I found it was healthy as can be. An independent little bugger.

 The directions on the bag are meant for planting in the ground, even though this small tree is well suited to growing in a large pot, which is great cuz mama ain't diggin a hole in her backyard. So first and foremost I cut the bag open and dumped out the "packing material" that keeps the roots moist.
Its essentially pine chips, and really just made me miss my dearly departed hamster Harvey. Hamster Houdini Harvey, aka Dog TV. No kidding. The dog was obsessed with him and terrified of him at the same time. No matter where we put Harvey's cage, the dog would sit in front of it and stare, stare, stare, and shake like a Chihuahua, which she is not. Even when he was burried under his bedding asleep, not visible in any way, she would just stare at his empty cage waiting for him to move. Thus, we called it Dog TV. Her obsession did turn out to be a great skill, as each time Harvey escaped from his cage we sent the dog to find him. She was a super hamster sniffer. She sniffed him out in closets, behind furniture, inside the couch... but, I digress.
Back to Gusty. The instructions said to let the roots soak in a bucket of water while you dig your hole. Or in our case, pour soil into the pot. It had recently rained, and an empty pot was still full of rainwater, so I dunked ole Gusty in there for about 20 minutes or so while I filled the pot with soil.

A few weeks ago, I found a great deal on Miracle Grow Organic Choice potting soil - the giant bags were only $8! I bought as many as I could fit in the shopping cart and used only one for all of my gardening projects today. What a steal.

First, pour a few inches of soil into the bottom of the pot and pack in gently. Position the tree's root bunch in the center and make sure that the trunk of the tree is straight and centered as you pour soil in to fill in the pot, leaving a couple of inches at the top.

When the pot is full and the tree is firmly in place, you're supposed to prune all of the branches that come off of the center trunk to about six inches.

The thought of hacking away at my brand new tree terrified me. But I did it anyway. I mostly did it anyway. I left the branches about 8 inches, and then watered away. The pot is on my back patio in a place where it gets almost full sun. Its on the north side of the garage, so it's shaded really only in the morning. Fingers crossed that Gusty likes it here. Perhaps in a couple of years we can make a pie :)

This spot is actually only temporary. Once hubbs comes home and we can tear up our back yard, take out the awful cat-tails and bushy things that are back there and put in our raised beds, Gusty will get a permanent home somewhere near the orange tree.

It was a good afternoon, and now I get to eat pizza and watch a whole night of Criminal Minds. What a life, eh?