Thursday, April 7, 2011

Studio Slow-Down - Pause for Gardening...

Okay, maybe a little Studio-Update:

It is DONE - Freaking DONE structurally (Yay!). I'd started to prime it, but found the task mind-numbingly dull (Like, "Make-Me-Wanna-Gouge-My-Eyeballs-Out" Boring!), so I ended up calling the professional painter who did our house. Figured, if it's less than a couple hundred, it's worth it!

Bada-Bing! Bada-Boom! Done in less than 3 hours!

Now it's retina-searing white! The Plan is to paint a beach/ocean/sky scene on the back-wall - free-hand. And I found some stencils and faux painting techniques we can apply to the remaining walls.

This on the lower-half of the walls. Only the stripes will be vertical and I'll try to touch it up so it looks kinda like bamboo wainscoting.

This on the upper half. Way cool stencil!

Then, depending on how motivated I'm feeling, we'll either staple some reed fencing to the ceiling, or else I'll do the same faux-bamboo paint treatment up there. Or, if I totally screw-up the faux bamboo paint treatment, I may end up stapling reed fencing to the lower half of the walls! Anyway, you get the idea. Big Dreams! Let's see if I can pull it off ;-)

Garden Update:

Holy cow. It's Springtime already! Thankfully, Chris helped me re-locate my raised Garden Bed to a new, sunnier location. Annnnd he built me a new 4'x6'x1' raised bed frame. Also in a new sunny location (I've heard that sun helps veggie gardens!). In the process of relocating the old bed, we moved all of the old soil to the new spot; then harvested every last shred of usable compost, and we *still* didn't have enough dirt.

New, but Empty Beds!

Ramble-Ramble-Ramble... About a week earlier, P and I had gone to the San Francisco Garden Show and - weirdos that we are - found ourselves at Lyngso's booth, sniffing compost samples. Their Organic Vineyard Compost is simply to die for!!

Anyway, Chris and I saddled-up Willie (our Tundra) and - after calculating my soil and compost needs - drove up to Lyngso's in Redwood City. Their U-Sack-It option is pretty cost effective, but when I told 'em how big my new raised bed was, they talked me into buying a yard of garden soil. (The guy working the counter was a Total Soil Geek! His eyes totally lit-up when I told him how much I loved the smell of the Vineyard Compost. What a hoot! But he was also very, very knowledgeable!).

So we drove around the meandering path to the ginormous crane/front-end-loader/Tonka Truck and told the operator what we wanted. Vroom-vroom-rumble-rumble-CRASH!!! The back of my truck (a semi-lifted 4WD) suddenly dropped 6"! Holy sh*t!

Did I mention that it had been POURING RAIN just the day before?! Yeah, like a cubic yard of soil isn't heavy enough on it's own, right?! We checked out the wheel-wells and there was enough clearance between the fender and the tires to make the drive home!

We also picked up 3 U-Sack bags of compost (that's all we could fit in the truck!)

Oh... And when we got home... We had to EMPTY THE TRUCK!!!

All... My... Friends... Know the Low-Ridah!

Chris, bless-his-heart, did all the back-breaking work. Shovel-shovel-shovel, haul-haul-haul, dump-dump-dump, lather-rinse-repeat (about 400 jillion times!)

Dayum - That's a lotta dirt!

All Done!

Sucks getting old and finding oneself no-longer-able to do the heavy lifting. But there's something to be said for having "the means" to hire someone else to do the dirty-work (Besides, it's also nice to know I'm helping Chris out, 'cuz he could use the pocket change)! And, to be fair, I *did* help by shoveling the dirt from the front to the rear of the truck bed!

(Then, Added Bonus! - We got to *scrub* the truck-bed before hubbie returned from his business trip!)

Anyway... I now have two "normal" raised beds, in a full-sun location (well, one is partially shaded in one corner).

Newly filled and "refreshed" Raised Veggie Beds

Annnnnd... My Garden Experiment for this year is a Straw-Bale Veggie Garden Bed. This was spotted at the SF Garden Show, as well. Ah Sam had a very cool display of different types of "sustainable gardens" (including a hydroponic lettuce-growing rig made from drainage pipes - I took pictures but haven't spent any time contemplating it - yet!). Anyway, their big display had these veggie garden beds made from straw-bales and compost. Link for details here.

The general gist is this: You get your straw-bales (presumably you could recycle old ones from Halloween displays - or whatever). You sprinkle them with blood-meal and compost, and keep them moist for 10 days to start the decomposition process; Then you plant your veggies directly IN the straw-bales, and tend the veggies as you would any other garden. At the end of the season, you harvest and leave the whole mess to rot and turn into compost!

Brandy-New Straw-Bale Veggie Bed

That's the theory, anyway! Me? I'm always game for a new Garden Experiment (even though most fail miserably!). So - the site where my "old" raised bed was, now has 4 monstrous straw-bales, covered in blood-meal and compost - which Princess Annie seems to find delectable - Yuk! On the plus(?)-side, she has already started digging "planting holes" for me (Grrr!). Anyway, they got set-up about a week ago, and I am watering them gently to get the "cooking" process started. Haven't stuck a soil thermometer in 'em, yet, to see how it's going. Might have to do that tomorrow!
New straw-bale bed, covered in blood-meal and compost
(And *after* Princess Annie started "helping")

Anyway, there's a *bit* of an update! Not sure if I'll be able to squeeze pics into this post, or if I'd be smarter just doing a separate post for photos. We'll see...................

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