lady grey

Kathi's recent post reminded me to share our new combined laundry and watering system.

I know I'm desperately nerdy for admitting this, but I love a good grey water system.  You know, the kind that takes the outflow from your kitchen sink, say, and uses it to water your ornamental landscaping.  I've seen (or more likely, read about) some pretty awesome systems that send everything but the toilet water through an elaborate filtration system encompassing gravel beds, aeration fountains, and plants to purify the water enough to use it as irrigation for food crops.

Ours is not nearly so fancy, but it's still pretty keen.  Since our laundry outflow was previously uncoupled from the septic system even before we moved in, we were able to set up a simple system fairly quickly.  From the washer, water goes to two storage barrels that have free-flow irrigation hoses hooked to them.  The hoses go snaking along the property, through fences, under paths, around landscaping to drip on all of our ornamental borders.  Yes, we use eco-friendly soap.  No, we don't use the water for anything we're planning to eat.  With five people in the house, it's easy to do at least one load of laundry a day, more often two.  Which, coincidentally, is the exact proportion to fit on our newly-installed clothesline.  We'll just pretend we planned it all that way.


fair enough

Corn dog, soda, cotton candy, Fun House, Drop Zone, roller coaster, frozen lemonade, chocolate malt, carousel, Moto-Cross, Philly cheese steak, chili-cheese fries, goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, flower show, giant slide, Ferris wheel, Hurricane, Tilt-a-Whirl, funnel cake.

We had so much fun at the county fair yesterday!  Since the Small Person is actually quite tall for her age, she is thrillingly allowed to ride most of the big-kid attractions.  I stand by with mom accessories (sunscreen, hats, water bottle, snacks) and try to snap photos of high-speed shenanigans.

We endured the minor discomforts of fair attendance (blistered feet and slight indigestion), but happily avoided the grand ones (tantrums and sunburn), and returned our dusty and dehydrated selves home to bath and bed.  Can't wait to do it again next year!



The garden is coming along nicely. I’m wilting in the recent hot weather, but the plants are delighted. Squashes of various sorts are spreading leaves and tendrils in all directions, the corn gains inches behind our backs, and the tomatoes are exploding in blossoms.

This is my first real garden. As a kid, my participation in the various family gardens was limited to eating the produce. Well, I could occasionally be talked into toting rocks out of the beds, but only when my dad paid me for it. At ten cents per bucket, I think he got the better end of the deal.

Anyway, I am excited to be running the show myself this time around. Okay, not really “I.” That just means that I boss and let everyone else do the building and heavy lifting. But, really, I’m happy to be getting out there early in the morning to water and evict snails and give the daily pep talk to the cucumbers. I’m ambitiously awaiting the moment when this project moves from experiment to actual food-source. We specifically planted things that are both easy to grow and beloved by most of the household, so we don’t get burnt out in our first season.

I am amassing a master file of zucchini recipes, though, just in case.


red hot

I have only myself to blame.  I've been particularly careful with sunscreen application this summer. Weeks of habitual daily application and re-application before gardening or pool dips.  Staying shaded or indoors during the middle of the day.  The new sunglasses and super-dork gardening hat.  Responsibility, yay!

Today, however, we hit the park.  The Small Person was having so much fun (in the shade) and I was immersed in my book (in the sun).  Of course I didn't pay attention until I felt discomfort.  Of course by then it was too late.  Now I'm slathering on the aloe and holding my iced beverage against my shoulders.  Yeowch!

Oh, and the book? A history of the founding of the ACLU.  Riveting!


Battle of the Bulge

This is the birthday cake I made for the Young Fellow's WWII-obsessed dad.  He prefers the box cake, so that left the creativity for the outside.  We had great fun scoping out just the right hobby store supplies, laying out the battle scene, and coating the whole thing in powdered sugar snow.  He was appropriately wowed, but then: "hey, is that an AK-47?!"  Yeah, yeah, WWII-era little plastic dudes are hard to come by these days, so we had to settle for a more modern-warfare look.  Still, I think the amputee rounds it out nicely.