Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ants, Aunts, and Dirt

Today Ehrlich was coming to attack our carpenter ant problem, so we had to be out of the house for most of the day. We'd made plans and were sort of chugging along in that direction when the Ehrlich guy showed up over an hour early. Ooops. So we tossed everything in the back of the truck and after running a bunch of errands around town, we drove out to Altoona to the race track.

The twins and I went to the local gas station to get everyone lunch (they make really good sandwiches there) and Chris and Max drove their cars around the track. I tried driving Chris' car, but I'm sorely lacking in hand-eye coordination and I kept crashing, driving backwards, and crashing again. The dogs were trying to take it all in stride but the fact is that there was precious little shade, the water bowl was too small, and it was the warmest day we've had so far in 2006. After a little over an hour, we took pity on everyone and got back in the truck for an air-conditioned ride home. Thor fell asleep in my lap on the way home. Cute.

Once home again Chris got to painting, but all I could think about was the empty garden frame out front and the fact that tomorrow we're supposed to get thunderstorms and Saturday rain . . . so I gave up and put the boys back in the truck and went to Lowe's to get the gravel, dirt, and peat moss and peat hummus I needed to finish the project. While we were there we picked up a few more tomato and pepper plants. Of the tomatoes that Max and I planted, all are doing smashingly except for the four Amish Paste tomatoes--the plants I was counting on to be my canning tomatoes. They just grow slowly and look weak. I haven't entirely given up on them, but I did buy two hearty looking roma tomato plants at Lowe's. Ben and Milo wanted to pick out some plants, too--so I let them. I can't remember what they got but we came home with some pepper plants, too.

I could probably fit a little more dirt in the box, but I don't want to pay for it and I think I have enough in there now to grow something. I lined the bottom with two inches of gravel and then added peat moss, dirt (14 x 40 lbs), and horse manure. Mixing all that was quite the job. When I was done I watered the mix well for no good reason--seemed like a good idea at the time. Tomorrow we'll plant some radish seeds and see if anything grows. Our seedlings have another week of hardening off before they're remotely ready for planting. I don't know whether to go ahead and plant the Lowe's plants or not. Our last day of hard frost is supposed to be April 28th (the average day that is), but no actual freezing is predicted for the next two weeks--it will get close though next Wednesday night. I'm not sure exactly what to do there--but tonight I don't need to do anything.

My hands are a wreck. I'm off to shower, slather my hands with whatever lotion I can find, locate my jammies, and work on baby Oliver's outfit until I pass out. The Aunts start arriving in a week and there's still so much to be done between now and then. I'm glad that the garden/yard is nearly off my list. Oh, that and the ants.

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