Monday, April 22, 2013

Green things are growing

It's surprising what a few weeks will do!

The fence has done wonders keeping the dogs out and my bulbs are doing fantastic. When I bought over 400 bulbs I was thinking that it would be way too much and I'd have to sell what wouldn't fit, but now I think it was the perfect amount.
The flowers in the back are a few weeks behind the flowers in the front yard. The don't get a lot of sun in the back yard so most are barely starting to open. Once all the tulips open it's going to be a mass of color!

I bought a daffodil mix from color blends that has at least 85 different varieties and I had no idea what any were when I was planting them. I'm loving see what blooms. Here are a few so far:
This is the first species to bloom, doing so a couple weeks ago. Of course it was behind a sprinkler!

This is just a little baby daffy, adrobs! (that means adorable in teen talk)

This one was hard to get a picture off because it's in the back of the garden, but I've never seen one like it before. It's center is very poky.

Oh how I love spring! It really makes living through the bitter cold of winter worth it!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

March's block of the month

Here's the block I taught for March's class. It's called Underground Railroad, but I did change the design a tiny bit for my own convenience.
Everyone blazed through it and they all looked fantastic. I think they all lied to me and are secret professional sewers.

I still haven't decided if I like the yellow or white better. I'm leaning more towards the white, but everyone in my class likes the yellow better.

Monday, April 8, 2013

More adventures in saltwater

We haven't been able to add fish to our tank again. We can't get our nitrates down to 0 and it was baffling us because there isn't anything in the tank "making" nitrates! We don't want to blow money on fish to just have them die, so we went to a new saltwater store that just opened up close to our house (finally!) and asked what we should do.
The guy said that live rock (rock with living organisms and bacteria on it) is a natural filtration and it's a good rule of thumb to have pound or pound and a half per gallon to help build the ecosystem. We have a 150 gallon tank with 150 pounds of live rock so we decided to add some more and see where that got us.

Live rock is $3.99 a pound and that really adds up so we decided to buy 15 pounds of live rock and 30 pounds of base rock (base rock is rock that has been dried out and has nothing living on it, it will become live over time if set next to live rock and at 89 cents a pound it's friendlier on the wallet). We didn't want to add all 45 pounds to the tank (also known as the display tank) so we put the 15 pounds of live rock in our sump.

There it is just chilling in the basket. Every time we do a water change we'll take out the basket and rinse the rock in clean water to get rid of any built up gunk.

We aquascaped (yes that is the technical term) our tank with the remaining base rock which took a few hours, but we're pretty pleased with how it turned out. Here's a before:

And an after:

We want to add another rock to the top left, but it felt like everything we put there looked very out of place and not natural. So we'll be on the hunt for the perfect rock in the next few weeks.

The tank will probably "cycle" through ammonia spikes, nitrites and nitrates again since we added live rock and stuff will die off of it so we have to wait another 4 to 6 weeks to see if we got our nitrates down to 0 before we add fish again. Experts tell me that the start of a saltwater tank is the hardest part and they weren't lying!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

**Update** Fences For Flowers

The dogs seem to think that the back garden was made just for them to romp and roll through and with green things now starting to grow this had to stop.
The fencing put up was from Lowe's is about 2 feet tall and comes in 10 foot sections for $13. We bought 7 sections and used about 6 and 1/4.

It's not ideal, I'd rather have nothing, but short of installing an electric invisible fence and having the dogs wear shock collars we weren't sure what to do.
"Leave it" only works if you're there to enforce it and with how fascinated the dogs are with the left corner, where the cats sit and tease, I needed something more restrictive.
The 400 bulbs I planted in the fall are coming up nicely. 

The fence has gaps in it that Enna could fit through if she really wanted, but I'm hoping she's not that smart. This big thing is to keep Winston out since he'll crush plants with his dinner plate sized feet. 

Since the fence is green and thin it blends in really well, you don't really even notice it when you're standing across the yard. I just hope that it's not too thin that Winston will plow through it, I guess only time will tell.

We had plans to fertilize the lawn, but the Saturday morning snow nipped that in the bud. Hopefully we can do it next weekend. I'll post more of the flowers when there's more to them.  

An hour after we put the fence up Winston had plowed through it to bark at a cat. Then when I was fixing the fence Makoa decided that he needed to be with me and tried to jump in, got caught on the fence and then went into panic mode. Since then the dogs have left it alone and my flowers have been safe.