Sunday, October 24, 2010


In one of my more craziest moments I decided that I'd order a wormery or vermicomposter to compost our kitchen waste. This is how it gets put together!

Step 1
Clip all the parts together and line the collection tray with newspaper.

Step 2
Mix up the coir brick (basically tried coconut husks and soil) with water to hydrate it and add in paper scraps, so it is nice and moist. Add food scraps in one corner for food for the worms.

Step 3
Cover with damp shredded paper- very useful when you had a bag of pre-shredded office paper!

The worms were delivered next day all snug in their own compost in a cotton bag , padded well with shredded paper. The only thing they needed upon arrival was a little water spayed on them.

The box.

The worms mixed in their compost.

Added to the wormery.

It's ready!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Community Garden Part 3

I realized I haven't explained the logistics of the whole garden. The garden is completely fenced by a 6 ft high chain link fence. We have mains water and several places where we can attach the hoses. The hoses and other shared gardening equipment are stored in a shed on site.

Here are three of our beds together- all planted.

Close up of the raised bed after 10 days- one end...

and the other..

So, in case you are in interested, we have planted cabbages (red and white), broccoli (seeds and plants), brussell sprouts plants, onions (sweet, and red- both plants and seeds), lots of different lettuces (also plants and seeds), herbs (sage, parsley, basil), radishes, carrots, spinach and kale (all seeds), leeks (plants) and cauliflower (plants). Not sure how it will all go but this is an experiment!

Community Garden Part 2

The bed was full so it was time to start planting. I laid all the plants I had out in the place I thought I'd plant them and then put them in the ground, leaving space in between to plant some seeds too. Ironically I forgot to take a photo that day- this one is three days later and the radish seeds were already up!

Here's a few more lots that are now planted. Note the cover crop in the bottom of the picture. That will add lots of nutrients into the soil over the winter and then will be turned back into the soil.

There are still some empty beds, but one family has theirs as a science project!

The beds are 100,200, 250 and 300 square feet, and everyone just chose the size they wanted. As of today there are 30 beds occupied, and probably room for another 20 depending on the size chosen. Cindy, a new garden friend, chose a 200 sq ft bed and cleverly split it into four sections using paving stones. She's also planted some flowers so it looks great already!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Community Garden Part 1

Four weeks ago, I decided to sign up for a plot at our new community garden in Morgan Hill. This is a new project which involved using a city owned piece of property to build raised beds to grow our own flowers and vegetables.

With the wonderful help of lots of community donations, we first had to build the frames from the donated wood. This is the pile after we all raided it!

Then fill it with donated vermiculite soil and compost. The mix was very light and very dry.


As we only had enough soil to fill the bed half way, I also went to a local horse farm and got some partly composted horse manure.

We mixed it up really well and left it for a full week. Then I added some other soil and was ready to start planting. I'd already bought some baby plants and some seeds but we also had some other plants donated too.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dick's birthday trip

I had planned it.. a train trip down the coast as a surprise for Dick's 40th birthday. Then he started talking about how much he'd like a new mountain bike. So I gave him the choice- a trip or a mountain bike. Guess which he chose? :-) It meant that I inherited his older bike.

Part of the new mountain bike deal was a weekend to go and play on the bikes, and Dick decided that a big bike ride on the Marin county headlands (just north of San Francisco) was just the ticket.

We left the house by 8 AM- aiming to get through the San Francisco nice and early. So the bikes were loaded on the car...

I never get tired of going across the Golden Gate Bridge.

It was a stunningly beautiful day and after going to the visitors center to get yet more maps, we head off at about 11 am. The trails were much steeper than we had released, but the views were stunning.

We cycled 8 miles to the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach and had lunch.

Then a long 10 miles ride home.. we finally made it back to the car at 4 PM.

A short drive into Sausalito and a long soak in a bath tub with jets... followed by a glass of wine and a lovely meal over looking San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge. A very tiring but great day.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Colorado holiday- Part 5

Saturday was exhausting but a lot of fun! However it was really cold..

Dick and I went for another careful walk, booked dinner for us all and then headed back to the house to meet the others for some snow mobiling!

It was hard work but the scenery was amazing. I never thought I would go both down and up steep hills so fast!!

I had lots of layers on!

We went home after two hours and sat in the hot tub!

But we were not done for exercise that day as we'd signed up to do a local bonfire progressive dinner. It involved cross country skiing from a trail head to four different tents and bonfires to eat and drink. We started at 6:30 Pm, so it got cold and dark pretty quickly

We were very grateful for the bonfires at the end!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Colorado holiday- Part 4

Friday we woke up to falling snow! It was beautiful..

I went out early and walked the streets with my camera - carefully! It was so quiet...

There were lots of bicycles left out in the snow, and I took loads of photos of them. People ride bicycles in all types of weather in Crested Butte.

Later in the day the girls went out for some retail therapy..

Then we all sat down and watched 'Vertigo'- which was a project for Sean's homework!

Friday night we all took the bus up to the resort and went to a tapas restaurant called djangos. It was a lot of fun, and then after we sang all the way home on the bus!

Colorado holiday- Part 3

Thursday was another warm day and the snow seemed to be melting fast. In the morning the girls ended up dashing to the local supermarket to buy supplies to make chili and corn bread for the Round Up progressive dinner. Between Tracy, Sean and I we made four different chilis.

Whilst Tracy finished off and made the cornbread, Dick and I decided to go snow shoeing but we did not have a way of getting to a good trail, so we decided to do a little cross country skiing again. We even found a disc golf basket almost covered up with snow.

After the progressive dinner, the guys did their podcast in front of the whole Round Up. It was their 300th episode and a lot of fun to listen to and watch.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Colorado holiday- Part 2

Wednesday was an intense morning! To explain, part of the evening sessions at the Java Posse Round Up are five minute lightning talks by anyone who cares to sign up to talk about anything- literally anything from 'How to shave' (by Sean!) to 'How an engine works', and obviously lots of geeky ones too. So the boys signed the girls up to do one called 'What the girls do while the boys are podcasting'. However... We decided to do an alternate version. First we had to learn how to use Keynote, which is a program similar to Powerpoint on the Mac, then dig out lots of incriminating photos of the guys and put together the presentation. It took us several hours but we had a lot of fun doing it.

In the afternoon Dick carried on geeking and Tracy and up went up to the ski resort to watch the end of day skiing.

That evening we sat through several other lightning talks and nervously waited for ours. We wore our 'I love my geek' t-shirts and managed to make everyone laugh. We even kept it well under the 5 minutes.

Here's a few more pictures of our skiing fun:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Colorado holiday- Part 1

Every year Dick and his Java Posse friends (Carl, Joe and Tor) go to Crested Butte, CO to do a 'Un-conference'. This year, the girls (Me, Tracy and Jill) decided to go with them. Sean, Carl and Tracy's son also came with us.

On Sunday morning we got up at 3 AM, (which was actually 2 AM as the clocks had just moved forward) to catch a shuttle to take seven of us to San Jose airport. As predicted we got there way too early but were on our flight to Salt Lake City at 6 AM. The airport there was very busy for a Sunday morning. Another short flight took us to Gunnison, Colorado.

The boys had booked a slightly different house than normal, and it turned out to be really nice. First we went to lunch at the Ginger Cafe and had some cocktails :-)

Dick had a beer but ended up with a cocktail umbrella on his glass.

On Monday the boys went to geek for the entire day, so the girls decided to go and learn the basics of cross country skiing and after much laughing and falling over, we had a great time.

On Tuesday, the boys geeked in the morning while we explored a bit. In the afternoon, a large group of people from the conference went cross country skiing together. It was really warm, but the views were unbelievable..


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