Monday, March 14, 2011

Yeah, I Built That

It is amazing how much fun it can be to build something. Take a bunch of materials, mix it all together in the right way and you get... well sometimes it is a mess.

Luckily this time I didn't make too much of a mess.

Here was my plan. Make three raised garden boxes, two for berries and one for vegetables. The berry boxes would be 3 ft by 8 ft by 16 inches. The vegetable box, 3ft by 3ft by 16 inches.

I used (8) 2"x6"x8', (3) 4"x4"x8', (4) 2"x6"x12' and 2lbs of 3 inch deck screws. Then all I needed to build the boxes were a saw horse, power drill and skill saw.

I used redwood because it is naturally more weather resistant and should last 20 years before needing to be replaced.

To make sure the ground was level I moved around all of the dirt in my garden area. Saturday as I was digging and digging like a mad man I thought for a moment, this has to be the first time in my life I am actually enjoying "yard work". It is fun to create, did I mention that already?

One corner of the garden area was lower and since it was up against the house I moved more dirt over there that way it creates a sort of slope away, taking most of the moisture away from the house and hopefully foundation.

Tonight (Monday) when I got home from work I put all the finished boxes in place.

It was dark, the boxes were heavy but I managed to do it by myself.

I can't wait to get the berries in! Too bad it will probably be next year before we get to pick any berries.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's Grill It!

Oh yeah!... Cooking food with FIRE! Get the gas going, turn the knob and click ignite the burners then BAM, you're ready to grill.

Carrie signed us up for Bountiful Baskets, we got a lot of produce that we wouldn't normally buy. Turnips? Let's grill it! Green beans (yeah people buy fresh green beans, we just aren't those people) Well, let's grill them too! Golden Pototatoes? Grill it.... Acorn Squash? Throw it on the barbe!

I was particularly proud of the Acorn Squash. Somehow I managed to take a vegetable that tastes horribly boring and spruce it up. The secret? Well it is obvious, "say cheese".

Just out of my wife's mouth "Thank you SO much for grilling! I am so converted!"

That was the first time I grilled any fish. Tilapia fillets, throw some lemon juice on them. Add some cajun seasoning. It was the best tasting thing of the bunch.. besides maybe the green beans. Yeah, I know. I just wrote that. The green beans, a vegetable, may have taken the grilling item trophy of the day. Red wine vinegar, a drizzle of vegetable oil, and my own seasoning to give it a BBQ flavor, wrap it up in tinfoil and put in a little water then throw it on the flames. Well, the grill over the flames at least.

I cooked up some pineapple yesterday. I love that glaze it gets over the edges so quickly.

Yeah, I think you can grill just about anything.

... Icecream cake? Let's grill it! I bet it tastes better that way!

Building a Raised Garden

I think I'm in love. Mix the whine of power tools, the raw smell of sawdust, and the shriek of a saw slicing through wood. Throw in a couple of hours worth of planning and work and you end up with something beautiful.

All my father-in-law and I really did was build a box without a bottom to it. But the wood has character. I was honestly expecting a finished product that was a little ugly even, just functional.
I'm proud of how it turned out. We're going to put the raised bed on the side of our house for a classy looking garden. I'm almost finished with another box (3 feet by 8 feet by 18 inches) and one more smaller one ( 3 ft by 3 ft by 18 inches).

We're putting raspberries in one of the larger boxes, blackberries in the other. Vegetables in the smaller one. Eventually I want to put mulch down along with stepping stones in the pathways it creates. Maybe I'll build a bench?
I'm just glas we got all of that work done before the rain came.

Now all I need to do is convice Carrie we need to buy more power tools so I can build more projects.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Real Story Telling Is About The People...

I wrote the story, Robert Maxwell voiced it but the families of the fallen warriors live it. We all cried when we did our part.

I pray that we never forget.

Writing Adventurer: I am an Executioner

I am an executioner.
At work everyday I kill stories. I have to. I'm in a business of seconds and sometimes you just can't squeeze in another 15 second story.
I don't even feel bad about it.
I give the stories life and then take it from them.
Now I've gone and done the same thing to MY story.
I didn't kill the entire thing, just one of my favorite parts. But the more that I thought about it the little adventure just didn't fit. I'm sure I'll find a way to work it in eventually but it may not be in this manuscript. I feel disappointed in a sense. My entire story is all plotted out and this was part of that plot. When I got into it, writing it, feeling the story, living it, I just couldn't do it.
One of the things that I love about writing is the chance to go to this new world of mine. The characters there are old friends, sometimes even enemies. Is it weird to say there are some characters who just don't make me feel comfortable? Then again I have my favorites. One of my favorites I created with the intention of kill. Horrible aren't I? I mean he is absolutely my favorite. My wife gets upset with me over it sometimes. But I'm an executioner. I kill stories so the show goes on. And eventually I will kill my creation so the story can go on.
Have you ever seen the Will Ferrel movie "Stranger than Fiction"? The character, my favorite, has to die. I've gone over and over it again and the character has to die.
So tell me, how do you react when one of your favorite characters is killed?