About Me

My photo
Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday, quick-like

I'm super busy getting work stuff delegated, making final to-do wedding lists, and otherwise survivng on a stress diet of popcorn, coffee and jelly bellies; oh and red wine last night. So, quick like, here's what's on my mind right now: stalking weather.com and accuweather.com. Here's what accuweather.com says for the week before the wedding:

Remember that my bachelorette party is on Thursday! About 15 friends are coming together to enjoy a day on the dock and behind a boat pulled by Mikey, who will also be the bartender. Tubing, skiing, wakeboarding, and having fun, HELL YES 93 degrees!
And for the wedding? The day that we're dragging 150 people to BFE North Idaho to hang out at my parent's house?
Again, 93 degrees, hot and sunny! Reminders to self: drink water, lots of it. Sunscreen, and put some on DJ too. Drink more water. Stay in the shade where possible.

I'm super pumped, today, about the weather. Is three kegs enough for 8 hours of drinking for 150 people (including the Friday Pig Roast and Saturday Cocktail Hour and Reception) when it's 93 degrees out? Is this a math problem?

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25 Friday Farming

I keep promising Friday Farming posts, and then not following through. Sorry, I have a lot on my plate. But I'm doing them so that I have a record of what worked, what didn't, and what to do next year. To that end, I'll break this up by what's working, and what's not.

Front yard containers of tomatoes and companion starts.  So far, the gophers are ignoring them, and the potting soil is helping them grow well.

The tomatoes are starting to blossom.

And companion plants of chives, basil, cilantro and spinach are doing okay.

In the back garden, in the clay-soil, despite the gopher invasion, all of the squash plants still have their flowers.

The sweet corn, initially tasty to the gophers, seems to be holding it's own against them: 
And, despite having only one leaf, the pepper plant seems to be blossoming okay! I'm doubtful it will set fruit, and actually purchased a few more pepper plants to add to this container tonight.

The onions continue to be gopher-proof.

And, the asparagus is coming through. I need to fill the trench in a little bit this weekend.

In terms of flowers, as usual, the petunias in pots on the back deck are rocking, where they're not being munched on by the GDgophers.

The lilac bush that DJ's mom gave us last fall is juuuuusssttt starting to blossom. I cut a few branches of it and brought them inside for indoor flowers.

The hydrangea bush is doing okay. I finally figured out that the blossoms on the plant when we planted it aren't going to actually blossom out, but the plant is growing new branches and those branches will blossom. So, like the lilacs, I cut the old ones last night and brough them inside, in order to let these blossoms take off:

The iris bulbs mom gave me from the lake are surprising. Some of them, on the left side of the front porch, are growing well.

And I'd given the bulbs on the right side of the stoop up for dead. I thought they, like most of the other bulbs, were to waterlogged from before we had gutters last fall and hadn't made it through the winter. I actually pulled most of the other bulbs out and threw them away. I left these in because I thought I saw a single shoot coming up. A month later, I guess the bulbs did survive! Which means, there is probably a nice iris bulb patch starting somewhere in the landfill...

The first one to bloom will likely be the one along the east deck.

And, the raspberry sticks aren't totally dead! Well... at least two of the four seem to have made it, shooting new growth up from the bottom.

Now for what's not working:
Direct seeding into the ground. This is like the third round of chives, shallots, cilantro, and basil I've tried to plant into the ground. Big, fat FAIL. I'm uncertain as to if it's our clay-ey ground, or the GDgophers.
Also kind of a fail? Me for not understanding our drip sytstem as I planted the garden. The drip system runs east to west. I planted in north south rows, which means that watering is, um, not exactly hitting the mark. Brillant Courtney, brilliant.

The east facing bed along the driveway. I had big plans for this bed. a riod of colors. Climbing sweet peas. maybe a clematis. Instead, it's currently got the remnants of the muscari bulbs that need to be cleaned up, some zinnias that don't seem to be growing, and larkspur that is also, not really growing. The sweet peas I planted are being eaten by the gophers, and this bed is generally a big diassapointment. 

So what have I learned at this point? Well, clearly direct seeding into the ground isn't working for me. Starts are the way to go, which is why I've got one more round of sugar snap peas, zinnias and some groundcover going.

Clearly container gardening is a more successful endeavour for me. And, bulbs, shrubs and other perennials seem to be more gopher resistant that annual plants. I'm already thinking about changes I want to make this fall to the bulb beds; specifically, adding summer-blooming bulbs like irises, dahlias, and peonies to the east-facing and corner beds. Hopefully I can con more irises from my mom, or from other friends who need to divide theirs.

The learning curve is steep this summer!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pup-a-roony flowers

Pronounced "dog-a-roony", Harlow's most frequent nickname is in frequent use right now. She's getting so big, and trying to teach her manners is, well, trying our patience sometimes.

But, she's so darn cute. Especially when she gets the confused line down the middle of her forehead. She gives us this look like, "what in the wide wide world of sports is a'goin' on here!"*

One of the wedding questions we've gone rounds about is to have her around on the wedding day, or not. I've wanted to kennel her. DJ wanted to have her around, and we've found we can move her kennel up to the house his mom is renting. So, she'll be in Harrison, just maybe not staying at my parent's house.

But if she's going to be in town, it'd be fun to get her in some photos. Because how great is this:


I don't think I want her to actually attend the wedding; just be availalbe for while we do photos before the festivities get started. And if she's going to be in photos, pupa-roony needs a corsage!

Yes, it requires treats to get her to sit still like this.

*Blazing Saddles reference

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh it's lovely weather...

... I know, I shouldn't be stalking weather.com already. The 10 day forecast only goes through July 2 right now; we won't even arrive in CdA until July 3. But still, a girl can't help but get excited at this:

Mid 70's and NO chance of rain. I'll take that!

Crafting spree: hair flowers

I'll be taking my veil off for the reception in exchange for flowers in my hair. Of course, that required a little bit of crafting. A clear comb, some clear thread (so difficult to sew with!) and some silk hydrangea blooms, and this is what I came up with:

What do you say? Yea or Nay? Too big?

Dad's parents get married

My mom's parents were married in the fall of 1951. Sometime about a year later, Bob and Joyce threw a party at the little house they were renting in Colton.

A classmate of Bob's, Dan Kramer, called a girl he knew from school in Colton, and asked her to come with him to Bob and Joyce's party. Jan Reisenauer went with Dan Kramer to a party at the Heitstuman's, and married shortly thereafter.
Janet Reisenauer, 1952 graduation from Sacred Heart nursing school

All four of those people are my grandparents. See, small town. I told you.

Dan and Jan were married in October of 1954; in the same church in Colton that Bob and Joyce married in three years prior. I've never asked, but it's unlikely that Joyce Heitstuman attended, as by October 1954 she was nearly 9 months pregnant with my mom.

This is the first photo in their album. I'll share the rest over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ran Plan Sprinkle and Rain Plan Monsoon

I mentioned before that I currently have three plans for out wedding reception. Previous posts have gone over the beautiful weather day (that it will be, right? RIGHT?), but precipitation is a reality we really need to be concious of. Because 150 people will not fit in Mikey and Sandi's house.

Sidenote 1: I realized last week that neither DJ, my mom, my dad or my sister would believe what I had to say about reception layouts until they played around with the to-scale drawings too. So I printed them off, and cut everything out like you would a dress up doll. It helped DJ conceptualize the space we had to work with, and I'm sure my dad, mom and sister will benefit from the same thing when we get to the lake the week before the wedding.

Yes, I am obsessed. And yes, I'm usually right.

Sidenote 2: I just looked at the 10 day forecast... which currently includes July 1. 75 and sunny with 10% chance of rain :)

Anyway, back to rain plans. Lets start with Rain Plan Sprinkle. This is going to be the hardest one for me to put into play, because it accounts for the "maybe it's gonna rain, maybe in the morning, but maybe in the evening." I hate maybes when it comes to wedding logistics.

Rain Plan sprinkle seats a scant 96 guests under the tents. It assumes that at some point the weather gets better, and that we'll move tables and chairs into the living room of the shack and the house. It requires flexibiliy, calmness to make a decision, and someone to move the dancefloor under the tent the day of.

Yes, I just set up something that requires calmness and flexibility under stress. On my wedding day. With my family.

Oh shit.

Now onto Rain Plan Monsoon. This is the "oh shit, build an ark, the three day forecast says 80% chance of rain and we're all going to need lifejackets" plan. It requires us to check the five day forecast on Wednesday morning, and decide if we need to spring for a second tent to accomodate guests. Yes, it's gambling on the second tent, a 20' X 30' tent being available. We'd also order the necessary sidewalls with it. The extra tent would be set up in the driveway area:
I've already reserved the sidewalls required to enclose the 20'X 50' tent. Three 20' panels with windows, two 20' panels without windows. They would encase primarily the south and west sides of the tent, sinc ethe house and hill would be on the other two sides. Imagine that my grey arrows are sidewalls:
Once the sidewalls are set up, the tables from up on the deck and overflow in the upper terrace move into the 20'X30' tent. These tables will be set up on top of the dance floor in the driveway, and have to be broken down before dancing begins. This plan seats 138 people, and is, again, the worst case scenario.

Frankly, I'm hoping that we don't have to put Sprinkle into effect. Of all of the scenarios, Sprinkle has the most variables, the most "what-if's". So give me sunshine! or give me Monsoon!

What do you think, are we going to survive this wedding thing?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dance it out

DJ's not really a dancer. Check that; he's a dancer, but it's usually a goofy song to the dog, or about bowel movements. You know it's true DJ!

Although we are not having a "traditional" wedding, I did want to do first dances. We're in the process of still figuring out what songs to go with, but I wanted to share some of our ideas:

First Dance as a Married Couple (which, ahem, would imply that we dance as an un-married couple, because we don't): Van Morrison, Days Like This. I like that it's upbeat. I like that we can actually move to it; not just do the 7th grade sway.

Father/ Daughter Dance: Loudon Wainwright III, Daughter. The lyrics are great for my relationship with my dad, and I'm a swimmer. Same thing, a little more upbeat, albeit with a funky interchange (is that what it's called?) in the middle.

Mother/ Son Dance: DJ's still working on what to dance to with his mom, although the Beatles In My Life seems to be a leading contender.

Do me a favor, listen to the songs, and tell me what you think...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wedding decor (or lack thereof)

Let me begin this (relatively short) post by saying that I don't really care about wedding decorations. Really, It's not high on my agenda of things to do.

But, we did spring for (white) table linnens to go with the (blue) rental chairs. Simple, easy to coordinate. I plan on bringing along a needle and thread, in case it's windy. We can sew the tablecloths to each other under the tables, kind of like suspenders.

I've asked my good friend Joslyn to be an impromptu florist; and she'll create 15 centerpieces. And that, my friends, will be the extent of our table decorations.

The 250+ flowers we planted over Memorial Day weekend will have to suffice! The only other "decoration" I'm considering is sheer curtains for the shack deck. You've seen this picture again and again, but what do you notice about it?
 The photo is taken at 6:00 pm in the evening. Now pretend it's July 10. And 80 degrees out. And bright, and sunny, and HOT... guests will want to enjoy the view, but probably also not want to be baked by a late evening north and west mid-summer sun. So, I'm on the hunt for cheap sheer material to hang; either rod-pocket curtains or actual sheer material that I'll sew into a rod pocket. I think I have enough tension rods to suspend them between the posts. Or, hell, we'll just staple the "curtains" to the inside of the ceiling, and I'll tie them up with ribbon until they're unfurled like roman shades.

I mean, isn't this cool:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Light it up!

Where were we? Yes, lighting. So we've got the layout:

Remember, this is the "It's not gonna rain!" plan; I'll come back to rain plan "Sprinkle" and "Monsoon" in later posts.

Let's discuss lighting first, and then add decorations to the mix. We'll use a TON of white Christmas lights to fufill a number of functions. First, to provide ambient mood lighting. Second, to define the edges of the terraces in order to keep people from falling off of the edges of them. Third, between DJ and I, my mom and DJ's mom, we already probably have about 2,000 linear feet of white Christmas lights so they're free.

This is where having a scaled layout of your reception venue comes in handy. I can tell you how many linear feet of lights we'll need. No, I haven't been diagnosed with OCD, why do you ask?

Anyway, the lights will be on when our guests arrive at 5pm, but won't really be visible until 8 pm or so when dusk sets in. The sun will go down about 8:30 pm, and after that we'll rely only on Christmas lights for exterior lighting.

Start by edging the terraces; it's easiest. I'm thinking that we'll need a couple of fence stakes, and we'll string Christmas lights like a double strand barbed wire fence. One line at hip height, another at knee height. It'll go around the west and north sides of both the lower and upper terrace (can you see the yellow dashed line?):

We will, of course, have to create an arch of sorts with the lights over the stairs down to the second terrace so as to not block the staircase. Yes, I think of these things. I've been doing our Christmas lights now for over 10 years, and hate unsighly and unnecessary cords!

Since those lights will be at hip height, we'll add lights to the ceiling of the tent to give nice downlighting. We can't use candles or open flame in the tent; fire hazard.

It might look like this:

The next main space to light will be the shack porch. You remember that it looks like this:

Since there is a railing on the shack, outlining the railing in lights is a low priority. We'll line the ceiling edge with them, as well as down the outside hallway:

The upper deck will need lighting too. I'm trying to decide here; do we string them around the railing, or try to elevate them somehow?

For now, let's assume we keep them at railing height:

Lighting for the dance floor will be strung out from the deck to stumps (remember, Mike likes to cut trees). If we can squeeze them in the budget, I'd like to make this happen with the bigger bulb bistro lights. Target has a 100' section for $19.99. Check out these images for inspiration:

I'd also like to purchase some brightly colored paper lanterns, and pop them around up there too. I could purchase them online relatively cheaply, like these:

Hopefully, we'd get to something like this:

So maybe something like this:

That leaves us with the need to light the bar area under the deck, as well as near the shack. The bar area under the deck will be lit be more christmas lights, and maybe a few more paper lanterns. The bar area near the shack will be illuminated by the light given off from the lights wrapped around the trunk of a bull pine tree.

That does leave a couple of other lighting needs. We could put tea lights in jars on shack and deck tables. A good friend of mine suggested doing tealights hung with wire from branches, which might look something like this:

One area decidedly unlight is the porta-potty area. I can't decide if the blue room will need it, or  if I want to call additional attention to it?

One other "issue" might be the lights in the house. The dining room lights, kitchen lights, etc might cast big pools of light outside, and I don't want them to wreck the vibe. The lights in the living room are on dimmers, so that can be adjusted, but maybe I'll have to tape down the kitchen and dining room lights?

Do you think I missed anything?