Pirate Bunnies : Murder, Pillage, and Plunder

The Engineer and I planted a garden!  Most years I’ve just planted a few veggie plants in patio pots.  This year, we went all out with an actual dug in garden!  I had been meaning to get this done for a couple years, but I’m lazy and didn’t have a solid plan to deal with the sod once I dug it all up.  Cue…The Engineer’s truck!  He maybe drove around with a slightly soggy, boggy situation in the truck bed for a week…..but I offered to help him get rid of it and he wasn’t feeling my initial dump off location!

IMG_8467

The prime location!

IMG_8490

Day 1 progress…..The Engineer is good with a shovel, and I’m a good sod puller!

We got really ambitious after getting the HOA board’s approval.  It seemed like a nice early warm spring, so we got to work right away with visions of epic gardening in our heads.  Well….idk about his head, but in my brain I was going to have a big garden with lots of happy plants that would supply me with tasty snacks and food all summer long.

The sooner you start the sooner you get to eat yea!?

img_8507.jpg

There were a few days when I started to question garden placement…..things got a bit soupy.  Also….notice the mostly dead spirea that I eventually dug out.  Extreme gardening happening at Casa Miss Happenings! Slowly, the swamp dried out and we got everything tilled and planted.  It turns out that the soil in my yard is mostly clay, so I ended up adding several bags of top soil into the garden.  I didn’t buy great soil, actually….I bought the cheapest kind Menards has.  This was maybe a bad choice?!  I’m not sure, we will find out……live and learn I guess.

The years crop included  4 tomato plants, 3 varying pepper plants, two large rows of green beans, and some spaghetti squash.  I also planted a pot of kale and mixed lettuce, a pot of kohlrabis, and two pots of herbs which include two different types of basil, thyme, and oregano.    I also have two decorative pots of pansies and petunias.  I hate petunias….but they are what grows here so whatever I guess.  Everything seemed like it was coming together….and then disaster struck!

IMG_8549

IMG_8550

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember how I said we started early because things seemed warm and happy and springish?!  Well……I maybe got a bit over ambitious.  I ended up loosing my first batch of tomato plants because I forgot to bring them into the garage during one of our spring cold snaps.  So…..there was that!

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants

Tomato plants are cheap, so I quickly rebounded from that initial downfall.  Everything really seemed like it was coming together…..I had gotten the dead spirea dug up and thrown into the back of The Engineer’s truck.  One night we may or may not have driven out into the country and tossed the plant and the leftover small pieces of sod into a ditch.  The large chunks of sod went to a coworker’s new house while they await landscaping….her dog needed a pee patch!  Sometimes The Engineer and I like to do “dirt kid hood rat things”….actually, that might have been our first ‘delinquent’ move together. The couple the dumps sod together stays together?!

After we conquered the sod and dead tomato issues…..came the bunnies.  Fucking herds of spicy pepper loving bunnies.  The Engineer even talked to some guys who gardens at his work and they assured him that bunnies are no problem because they don’t like the spicy peppers.  Well……the bunnies in my yard ate my peppers from spiciest to mildest.  I’m not sure what they says about them……but I’m sure if you ate one they would be well spiced and delicious!

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants

To combat the herds of capsaicin loving furry woodland creatures, we had to build emergency fences around all the pepper plants.  All 3 of the initial plants survived, but the banana pepper took the hardest beating.  He’s trying really hard to recover and grow, but I’m afraid he won’t make it before winter comes.  The Engineer decreed that a flowering and fruiting banana pepper plant was a garden requirement, so we bought a new one and transplanted in where the abused plant sat.  We moved the little abused one into the corner and gave him a protective cage.  He’s starting to leaf out slightly, but when you’ve been eaten down to a 3 inch stump in the ground….you’ve got a lot of growing to catch up on in a short growing season!

winter-is-coming-winter-is-comingwait-not-its-not-omg-i-actually-think-its-comingnope-warm-again

Maybe if we have a winter like this…..my abused pepper plant could recover fully.

Everything seemed to be going along well for a couple weeks…..and then disaster struck again!  The bunnies attacked and murdered my pot of kohlrabi……just murdered them and threw their tattered and torn leaves all over the back yard.  Honestly, I’m not even sure why I even bothered to plant a pot of kohlrabi…..last year they didn’t grow at all!  Well….I mean they grew leaves…..but I didn’t end up with the desired, baseball shaped orb of deliciousness.  Round two seemed to be growing well this summer, so I thinned the plants to create more growing room.  Then……as if they sensed the vulnerability in smaller numbers….the bunnies made a night attack!  Ughs…….

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants
  • 5 Kohlrabi Sprouts

I watered the pot for a couple days, but none of the thinned out roots looked like they were going to take off again.  I ended up planting a few rows of kohlrabi seeds at the front of the garden, and I’ll just have to wait and see what comes of those.  Funny thing…..we actually bought a new pepper plant for the pot of soil because we thought that the bunnies had somehow gotten under the protective fence on my abused little banana pepper and finished him off.  We pouted around for a couple days thinking we had been out maneuvered by some bunnies…..only to discover that the little guy had gotten covered over by some dirt!

IMG_8656

We also replaced several plants around my property with boxwood plants.  We dug up 3 sad little day lilies and a decorative grass out of the front yard bed and replaced them all with tiny, little baby boxwoods.  We had to drive all over town one weekend to find four matching boxwoods….but I love them.  Boxwood just has a particular smell that reminds me of vacations to Virginia, they are always green, they are low maintenance, and look like something, and mostly they are just my jam.  Don’t know what to plant…..why not a boxwood?!  I also replaced the mostly dead spirea with a slightly larger boxwood….hahah cuz of course I did!

IMG_8657

2017 Plant Deaths — A Running List

  • 3 Cherry Tomato Plants
  • 1.5 (approximation based on remaining growing time) Pepper Plants
  • 5 Kohlrabi Sprouts
  • Various Flowers, Lettuce, and Kale Leaves

Last night we had a pretty major storm, and I was pretty nervous about the survival of all of my veggies.  I’m happy to report that everything survived the wind, hail, and rain.  Now, if I can just keep the bunnies away from the beans and my lettuce we will be all good in the hood!

IMG_8658

Squash and two happy little bean rows…..who’s getting excited for veggies?!?!?

Quick Costco Enchiladas

A couple weeks ago, The Engineer and I bought some Good Foods jalapeño artichoke dip from Costco.  By some, I of course mean a Costco sized amount……33 oz.  It wasn’t really the best for just eating….flavor wise, but it got me thinking that it might work to make some enchiladas.  Yesterday we made a trip to Costco to gather up the rest of the necessary supplies.  It was our first actual “shopping” trip to Costco.  We had been before, but yesterday involved a cart and an actual list!  We looked like actual adults who know what they are doing in life…..it was amazeballs.

I made them today and they were good….and easy….which was ideal because I spent most of the day being a bit on the hungover side of life.  Apparently last nights concert was just a bit too much for me.  Since I’d never made them before, and we were trying to use up some dip we didn’t like I wasn’t sure they would turn out.  I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but honestly it’s easy enough you don’t need much in the way of instructions.

THE THINGS YOU’LL NEED

  • 1 Rotisserie Chicken
  • Jalapeño Artichoke Dip
  • Half an Onion
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Tortillas (about 10)
  • 2 4oz cans of diced green chilies
  • 2 cans of red enchilada sauce
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chile Powder
  • Salt and Pepper

First things first, you’ll need to shred the chicken.  I removed the skin and then just ripped the meat into bite sized pieces, but there’s no need to be too specific about anything.  Place all the chicken into a large bowl so that the other ingredients can be added to it and mixed well.  After you have the chicken shredded up, add approximately half of the jalapeño artichoke dip.  I didn’t measure as I added, but it was 4 large dollops……enough to sort of moisten everything and get it to combine.  It ended up being about half of the container of dip.  Dice half of an onion and throw that in the mix as well as the two drained cans of diced chilies.  At this point, you can season to taste…..I ended up adding maybe 1.5 teaspoons of garlic, cayenne, and paprika, maybe 1.5 tablespoons of chili powder, and a good amount of salt and pepper.  The Engineer thought they were a bit hot, I thought they were good….so just season to your own taste.  He also decided that he wanted to add some shredded cheese into the mix as well….so we stirred in maybe half a cup.

This can be prepped ahead of time.  I just threw the bowl in the fridge and let everything sit and combine together for most of the day while we napped, watched Netflix, and attempted to recover.

To assemble, spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.  Scoop a generous amount of the chicken and cheese mixture into the center of a tortilla.  Roll and place into the baking dish.  We fit 9 tortillas into the baking dish, but it was a bit of a squishy fit.  This left one tortilla and one tortilla worth of chicken mixture.  We rolled it up with a small splash of enchilada sauce and tossed it into the freezer.  It will make a good, quick lunch for one of us eventually.  Honestly, you could probably just roll and freeze them all into chicken queso burritos if you wanted something that could just be thrown in the microwave fast for on the go lunches.

Cover with the two cans of enchilada sauce and a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 mins until everything is hot, melted together, and delicious.  Let cool a few minutes before serving to let them firm up a bit.  The Engineer had his with sour cream and a little extra cheese, I just had mine plain out of the pan.

Learning to Love Yourself

You wouldn’t know it by the weather this week, but summer time and bikini season is looming.  Usually, I’m always amped to throw on a swimmy suit and hit the beach or the pool, but this year, something is different…..

I think I’ve given myself unrealistic body goals.

I believe the root cause is in the fact that I sort of inadvertently lost so much weight last summer.  While struggling with and trying to get my anxiety and panic attacks under control last summer, I basically quit eating.  It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be eating, I’m not one of those girls who doesn’t eat…..food is always my jam!  I was just way too worked up all the time.  Eating just a couple bites of anything would just make me feel sick and nauseous.  I remember distinctly sitting at work trying to eat a cliff bar…..it took me 4 days to get through the whole bar!!  During this period I was also working out a ton, because ya know….that’s what they tell you to do when you’re stressed.  Run a bunch, lift all the heavy things and put them down, and get those happy endorphin feelings flowing!  I’m not sure how exactly I managed to function, but apparently anxiety gives you super powers….just not the sort of super powers anyone really wants or should have.

IMG_6543IMG_6515

It turns out that loosing 15 pounds in two weeks has a dramatic effect on your muffin top.  It also has a dramatic effect on your psyche…

I know that I only achieved my slimmed down self because I was unhappy, and that unhappiness and stress changed my body in ways that I normally cannot and would not do.  The worst part though….is that I felt so accomplished.  Maybe it was just the sense of control I had over things.  Nothing felt good, but I had finally achieved the look I had been craving since high school but never had.  It was the one little thing that seemed to be going in my favor.  I finally had reached a point where I didn’t have to squat stretch out my freshly washed jeans, I could throw on anything in my closet and there wasn’t a lump or bump to be found, and I think it just gave me this inflated and superficial sense of self-esteem…..which when you talk about it sounds super awful and unhealthy……BECAUSE IT WAS!

My body is obviously not meant to existing in a muffin top free state….I’m honestly not sure that even the strictest diet would have kept me looking that way.  Once I started feeling better the muffin top slowly but surely started making a come back.  I’m naturally curvy and just tend to carry and collect all my weight generally on my love handles and around my belly button…..a spot I’ve nicknamed “The Doughnut of Awful”.  I’m right around 5’10” so I’m overall very proportional and quite a healthy weight for my height.  I’ve never been told that I need to loose weight by any of my doctors, and even in high school at my most active, swimming and dancing for several hours everyday, I still was no where near as slim and lean as I was last summer.

jeans

…..this photo stresses me out…..as much as I hate to say that and I want to rise above it all…..it still does.  I know that it’s only 12ish pounds and some summer time tan, but I’m not sure that this picture makes me feel as happy as the other one, which is my continual struggle.  There’s some muffin top and tummy squish, and my ribs and hips aren’t poking out of my body.  Idk….it’s not bad, I can rationalize that, but at the same time I don’t exactly feel good about it either.

Lately, I’ve been trying very hard to convince myself that a slightly squishy Miss Happenings is a happier Miss Happenings.

  • I try and remind myself that I’m in a happy relationship, and if I eat out a bit more or drink a bit more now than before it’s because I’m with someone who wants to spend time doing things and having fun with me.
  • I should be happy that my brain finally realizes that skipping a workout to have lunch with friends IS NOT AN ANNOYANCE OR AN INCONVENIENCE!!!  That’s just how my anxiety made me feel about it all the time.  It’s a rare chance to spend quality time with some of my favorite people.
  • I should realize that I rarely hang out in bikinis alone, so even if I’m looking slightly squishy in a bikini I’m still surrounded by people who love and care about me regardless of my muffin top.

I do honestly remind myself of all these things and more when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see.  I suppose that I probably will always occasionally struggle with my weight and how I look.  I always have from time to time, so it doesn’t make sense that it would mystically go away anytime soon.  The most annoying and hardest part is the small little diva voice in the back of my mind that sometimes quietly whispers that if I just stopped eating for a couple weeks I would slim right down again.  Ugh….go away crazy diva voice…..I have burgers and shit to eat, new beers to try, and things to do that have nothing to do with you!

alice

Going forward, the best I can do is continue to work out, maybe reign in the diet and kick up the cardio a bit, and just generally live the best and healthiest life I can live!  You only get one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.  I refuse to believe that anyone looks back on their life and regrets the fancy desserts they ate, or the summer time patio drinks with friends they drank.  That simply can’t be reality…..and if it is, I don’t want it to be my reality.  If I had continued on the stressed out path I was on, I know looking back that I would have regrets.  I already regret the things I did or didn’t do because my anxiety controlled my life.

I lived that life once, and I refuse to go back there.

side

This summer, in the same jeans as last summer.  A little bit squishier than last summer, but I’m happy!  Ignore the sass face, The Engineer was mocking my photo skills….but he’s just jealous of my shooting skillz!

Happy is healthy….and that’s all there is to it!

 

Roadtrips, Runza, and Mules

Before we get into the bulk of this week’s blog, I’d like to brag about where I’m writing this from.  I’m currently plunked out on my patio, having coffee and brunch with my Scout-a-Roo, and writing.  Thank goodness warmer weather seems like it’s here to stay.  Spring on the prairie can be a roller coaster ride of 80 degree days followed by mini blizzards…..waking up each day is like opening Forest Gump’s box of chocolates…..you never know what you’re going to get!

At least for this weekend anyway, spring seems to have finally sprung, and that means I can have a lazy weekend breakfast with my little one before we pack up and head to Momma’s for chores and Mother’s Day things!  Brunch this morning consists of coffee….obviously, some watermelon that’s on its last few good days, and a mini potato, cheddar, and chirzo quiche that I picked up yesterday from the fancy bakery downtown.  Seriously, things are looking fancy as fuck around here this morning….minus that fact that I’m in a hoodie and sweatpants.  It’s early enough that the sun hasn’t quite reached my patio…..so at least for the moment, warmer clothes are required.

IMG_8554.JPG

Now that you’re all…..I’m sure….jealous of my super posh lifestyle, let’s move on to the main event.

Last weekend The Engineer took me home to meet the family!!

It’s been a long time since anyone I’ve dated has taken me to meet their family, and apparently it had been several years since he has taken anyone home.  I had apparently been the topic of some Facebook creeping before we arrived….which is totally fine.  That’s the age we live in, you generally have a good idea about people, at least how they look, before you even meet them.  I was sort of amused however because they thought I would be shorter in person.  This is really only amusing because if you were to dig through most of my Facebook pictures,…..I’m the tallest one in every picture!  Maybe they just assumed that girls from SoDak are extra short?!

I should back up a little bit and start the weekend at the beginning I suppose.  It may or may not have been discussed on the blog, but I was a dancer growing up.  I danced until I graduated and moved off to college.  Technically I was on my college dance team, but that’s not really the same sort of thing, at least at my college.  Momma still works the front desk at the studio I grew up attending, so we usually attend performances.  Last Friday happened to be the start of their annual recital weekend……so I made The Engineer go!  “Made” really isn’t the right word, he did sort of offer to come with.  I know that recitals can drag on a bit, especially if you don’t know any of the dancers, but there were enough tiny puff tutus on tiny ballerinas to keep us amused and entertained for the couple hours a performance takes.

Saturday morning we got up and headed down into Nebraska.  Now, maybe it’s just something that’s engrained in us “born on the river, SoDak kids,” but Nebraska isn’t really a place we like.  No one from there can drive, they make fun of our none existent accents, and they come to our drive throughs and attempt to place no less than 18 individual orders over the rumbling of their mud coated diesel dually trucks.  We get it….you’re from the country……ughs!  It’s important to note that the rumblings that people like me produce are lessened ten fold if you take us into Nebraska the sneaky way….like down the interstate and over into Omaha to shop for example.  However, if you cross us directly over the river…….the grumbling begins.  I don’t care that you put an extra “r” in Norfolk so that unlike the apparently civilized people of Virginia who have Nor-Fuck…..I have to suffer through Nor-Fork.  Don’t make fun of my accent when you’re just adding in letters willy nilly!  Also!!!!….Did you know that apparently in Nebraska they are taught that the capital of SoDak, Pierre, is Pee-Air?!!?  What?!  No….it’s Pier….like where you put a boat.  Seriously Nebraska….get it together down there!

IMG_8527

When you take a SoDak girl across The River weird things happen!

As much as I like to hate on Nebraska, they do have a couple things of note.  Husker football….if you’re into that sort of thing, Trader Joe’s, Lush, and Runza.  Runza is a preferred snack/meal of mine….mostly because I get it on such a limited basis.  Now, for those who are unaware, runzas are basically a bread tube stuffed with beef, cabbage, and spices.  There are variations, such as a mushroom and swiss runza, but in it’s purest form thats what it is.

Runza_OriginalCREME.jpg

They might actually be the state dish of Nebraska.  I know plenty of families that make them homestyle style in their own kitchens.  Clearly, it’s a thing……

I had actually never had a runza, because initially I was confused and overwhelmed in the drive through with the varieties one could purchase.  I had no idea options were going to be available to me, and I got a little freaked out.  Not wanting to be one of those people who holds up the drive through line, I panicked and ordered chicken strips….which are amazeballs….and that’s been my standard order every time I got to a Runza.  Life doesn’t get much better than actual chicken made into deliciously huge stripes, thick and potatoey crinkle fries, and honey mustard.  Honestly, Runza honey mustard might be the best thing that Nebraska has ever created, and is the standard by how I judge all other honey mustards……here’s looking at you Sonic and Arby’s with your crappy honey mustard!

Shaq-wiggling-gif.gif

That good honey mustard feeling!!!

Anyway, The Engineer has learned that the best and fastest way to turn my mood is with a snack.  Like, I’m not saying he got his Costco membership just to get me guacamole…..but that’s mostly what it’s been used for so far! 🙂

After nearly an hour of listening to me bemoan the horrors of dually trucks in drive throughs and debating the proper pronunciation of Norfolk, we stopped and got Runza.  It was decided that I’d get chicken, he’d get a runza, and we would just share.  Now, I’d been informed by several people that I would like runza.  After all, I like all the things that go into a runza, so it seemed logical that I would like it.  However, logic apparently doesn’t always apply.  Dislike isn’t really the word I would use, I mean I’d eat one and be sorta happy about it.  They have a flavor that vaguely reminds of me when Dad used to be in charge of dinner if Momma was gone for something.  These dinners occasionally would be canned Dinty Moore beef stew on a couple slices of bread.  It’s not a bad flavor, but certainly not one I’d want all the time.

Realistically, I don’t see myself changing my standard order anytime soon.  Why would I get a runza when I know how glorious the chicken stripes are?!  Also, I’m not much of a fan of their onion rings…..#BurgerKingRingsforLife…..however, should you be unable to decide between rings and fries, Runza has revolutionized the food scene by allowing you to get Frings……half fry, half ring.  If you were say….in the business of trying to hunt a Nebraskan, I’m fairly sure that a trap baited with an order of Frings and a Busch Light would get the job done every time!

IMG_8528

The snackies make me happy!!  Yes, I take these embarrassing SnapChat pics….I feel no shame!

We spent a nice weekend with his family doing mostly lazy outdoor things like sunning and drinking.  I’m generally totally on board with lazy summertime drinking so this worked out just fine for me.  His brother in law eventually made a whole series of super yummy thin crust pizzas….honestly I couldn’t even tell you the flavors.  Cheesy, saucy, deliciousness that was most definitely needed after a day of drinking and attempting to discover the glory that is the moscow mule.  They are apparently, a “mulie” family.  I had never really had one before, maybe just the occasional sip off of The Engineer’s.  Even he doesn’t drink them often when he’s with me.  Usually around the house we are beer people, margaritas if we are feeling extra fancy!  Apparently, the vodka makes the mule….and I have to say that Svedka Blue Raspberry makes a fairly delicious drink.  Personally…..I’d probably be more onboard with Jalapeño Grapefruit….but that’s just cuz i’m zesty like that!

Decisions, Decisions!

All in all, it was a good weekend in “The Good Life” country.  I left sunburned and happy having had my honey mustard fix.  I even survived a brief escapade into the small town, downtown bar scene.  I call his home town small…..it’s actually twice the size of my hometown……but that’s irrelevant!

KitchenAid Struggles….and Other News!

I really like my KitchenAid mixer although I use it only on rare occasions.  Generally, these occasions revolve around making mashed potatoes or occasionally banana bread!  In case you’d like to know a (Mis)Happening’s fun fact…..mashed potatoes are one of my most favorite foods!  However, during my last mashed potato making session, my KitchenAid attacked me.  And…..there was a witness to the event even!

 

7773992cv11d

I love this color….Imperial Grey….nice texturized finish and it goes with everything.  Color, my friends, is over rated!

My KitchenAid doesn’t occupy a permanent countertop position for a couple reasons.  1…I don’t have that much countertop to go around, and 2…..you can only eat mashed potatoes so often.  It just doesn’t need to be out all the time.  This effort to clean up and put stuff away is really the cause of my most recent incident.  Frankly, this isn’t the first time that attempting to clean up and organize my life has come back to bite me in the boo-tay.  Often times, I wonder why I even try and adult, because it just doesn’t seem like it ever works out for me.  Case in point….I maybe got too ambitious/excited about planting some veggies for summer, and I probably now have a couple dead tomato plants because spring in South Dakota is currently involving a winter weather advisory!

The KitchenAid’s home is on the bottom of my pantry cupboard.  It only barely fits on the shelf, and some focus and maneuvering is required to get it put back away.  I’m not even sure what exactly the mixer got caught on while I was trying to put it away the other night.  I do know that the squishy part of my knee, right above my knee cap, ran smack into the pointy front edge of my mixer.  Now, I get hurt a lot, a couple weeks ago a candle attacked me in a similar fashion while I was getting in the truck, but this was, I think, the worst owwy I’ve received while at home.  I was left with the sort of feeling you get when you bang your funny bone…only in my knee, and a large bump and bruise.  To make matters a bit worse, the bruise is right at Scout’s head height, so she has a tendency to whack it while trying to show off her hedgehog or alligator retrieving and murdering skills.

To makes matters worse, I WAS ATTEMPTING TO MAKE DINNER FOR THE NEW BOY!

So there’s The Engineer….sitting across the island from me….looking slightly concerned and a little bit confused as I’m like half laughing and being mostly in pain.  I’ve warned him several times that life with me is just a constant ride on the struggle bus, but either he doesn’t believe me, or he doesn’t seem to mind.  It’s not even like I had to pull out all the cooking stops to impress him.  He’s been to several of the house parties, so he’s always known that I’m perfectly capable of whipping up some dinner.

He had his own fair share of fails this weekend though too!  It just hasn’t been the most successful weekend at Casa (Mis)Happenings.  I finally decided to upgrade my old college coffee pot.  I’ve been wanting new one for quite some time, but I had originally planned on waiting for the old one to die before upgrading.  However, I got tired of waiting….and frankly that wasn’t the best plan because it would involve being without a coffee pot for a day or two.  So…..I ordered myself a Ninja!  It’s got a timer, I don’t have to move it out from under the cabinets every morning to fill the water tank, and it will brew different sizes and strengths of coffee depending on what I’m after.  I’m excited to use the Iced Coffee setting this summer so I don’t have to drink stale, old, brewed coffee over ice, and The Engineer is excited to make his new favorite coffee drink…..the frappucino….in combo with my Ninja blender!

IMG_8497

He set things up, and I got a beer…..it was super ideal! 🙂

Anyway, he decided that he was going to make the inaugural pot of coffee on the new Ninja.  Someone….maybe over estimated how strong he likes his coffee….and brewed up a pot of mud.  I thought it was fairly drinkable….with the addition of some coconut milk.  He used the included milk frother thingy to whip up some milk to try and fix his…..it didn’t work out.  It was only after he had given up on drinking the mud that I remembered that I have some actual coffee creamer in the fridge that BFB left behind a couple weeks ago….whoopsy!  Despite the bad coffee, we did have a nice rainy morning Harry Potter mini marathon!  I’m not sure what else you’re supposed to do when the temperature drops near to freezing and it rains all day.  Movies and snacks seem like the only logical answer!

IMG_8502

Time to Get my Booty in Gear

I’m generally not one for recording goals.  I think everyone has goals that they mull over in their minds, but it’s often said that the most productive people write down their goals so that they can actually see them.  I’ve sometimes debated creating journals and lists for myself, but I know myself well enough to know that I’d probably do it for a week or two….but my commitment to these things never lasts very long.  Really, my commitment to most things only lasts until I forget to do it once and then it’s just all over.  Taking vitamins…..solid for a week or two at a time until I space it off one night and get out of the habit.  Honestly, this blog is one of the longest things I’ve ever committed to……and even on this I’ve missed a couple posts here and there…..like last week for instance!

I’m not interested in books like 50 Shades of Grey okay?!  I’m interested in the life changing magic of tidying up.  That’s right, how to declutter my home to achieve inner peace, and my optimum level of success!  That’s what your 30’s are about.  How can I turn this shit around?!  I’m a horrible person, I’m not happy with where I am.  How can I turn this shit around?!  Help me Tony Robbins, help me! — Ali Wong

So, in an effort to try and motivate my nearly 30 something life towards my maximum level of success….I present THE TO DO LIST!

  • Work to double my number of followers on social media — I have little to no idea how I’m actually going to accomplish this, but I’m hoping that people will just start to realize the amazeballsness that is me and decide to come along for the ride?!
  • Upgrade my blog account to look more professional — I’m thinking I’ve reached a place where I should take the plunge and fork over the cash money to buy my URL outright.  I’ve stuck with this long enough that I think it’s officially a thing.
  • Prepare, practice, and study to perform a successful turkey hunt this fall — Okay, so there’s nothing saying that every hunting trip is successful, that’s why it’s called hunting and not shooting.  However, I have good feelings about trying to get ready for a hunt.  I didn’t buy the bow with the intention of hunting,  but turkey tags are relatively inexpensive, I’m in charge of Thanksgiving so I obviously need a turkey, and I feel like this plan will help keep me motivated to hit the ranges.
  • Recommit myself to my fitness, specifically cardio — I say that like this isn’t Easter weekend and I’m not just lounging around munching and snacking.  However, I have recommitted myself to sculpt and rowing classes at the gym.  Also, summer time is coming and that means bike time on the trails with Pimp Money and his wife, so maybe I’ve sorta got this in check?!
  • Finally motivate to do the yard updates I’ve wanted since I moved in —  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be allowed to make these updates.  Mostly this sits in the hands of the HOA board.  However, if they approve my plans I’ll have to put them into action.  I took the first steps tonight by finally emailing the board with my requests, so now we just have to wait.  Approval will mean some digging and serious time in the yard ripping out and replacing plants, and digging up grass for a garden!

I’m not sure what kind of optimum levels my success will reach, but sometimes I think it’s important to take steps to over ride your inner lazy girl.

Prune at Your Own Risk

Granted, this isn’t about my townhouse, but it’s still home maintenance so I’m throwing it into the home section.

Learn from my mistakes people!!!!

Spring Clean-Up Week is still a thing in my hometown.  Everyone collects all the random junk that’s been floating around the house, and tosses it out on the curb for strangers….or the city….to collect.  This is a small town thing, and it’s sorta a sight to behold.  Just piles of stuff on curbs as you drive around town.  At our house this is always prime yard clearing time.  Everything gets pruned, raked, and dug into submission.  This year I came home to help do the basic yearly stuff, as well as take down two trees that were dead.  We got the big flower bed that runs the width of our backyard all cleaned up, and I even got a bunch of old tree stumps dug up and thrown out into the junk pile.  Once the back was all done it was time to move onto the trees.  Tree removal came with the promise of a chainsaw, however that plan didn’t really end up working out all that well…

IMG_8395

Needless to say….we were off to a great start…..

To start with, I know little to nothing about plants.  They are pretty much either alive or dead.  Anything that needs any appreciable amount of maintenance is not at all the plant for me.  Things like woody shrubs, boxwoods, yews and the like are easy.  You basically leave them alone, and prune them up a bit if they start to get a little out of control…..but that’s achievable for me.  Flowers, privets….which apparently grow a million miles a year….., and apparently trees which need constant pruning off the roof are not for me.  I was however, looking forward to using some high powered cutting force and putting it to work.  Usually, trimming and cutting down trees at Momma’s is a sawzall level activity….and it kinda sucks, in a brain rattling sorta way.  Yesterday though, I got a brain rattling that I wasn’t prepared for.

Like almost everything that we’ve inherited from Grandpa’s house in the course of my life, the chainsaw had seen better days.  Now, I’m not anything close to a chain saw expert, but I think the chain was too long, and possibly installed backwards on the saw.  At the very least, it was incredibly dull.  The saw only got through one branch, mostly by burning instead of cutting, before a massive intervention was required.

To our credit, we did really try and get it fixed, unfortunately, the Ace here in town doesn’t sell the proper chain for it, and the techs who do the sharpening of old chains are all off until Monday.  Skirting around the fact that it seems strange to have your machine techs all off during the weekend….ya know when most people have time to be wielding their chain saws around….Momma and I were still left with the slight issue of the two dead trees.  The clear solution was to obviously tear them down by hand.  Clean up week only lasts so long, and loading up the branches and then paying to toss them at the dump just seems dumb when you have the option of not having to deal with them past piling them up on your lawn!

Since they were mostly dead, I discovered that any of the branches I could reach I could mostly pull down by hand.  This worked fine until I had to start jumping to reach some of the higher branches, this again worked out just fine…but we started on the smaller of the two trees.  Eventually we got to the central, more vertical, thicker, trunky type branch.  This required some sawing…..the battery for our sawzall is basically shot, so we were left with the hand saw.  I now understand why people used to just crawl into caves, live in tepees and tents, and why the sod house had such an appeal…

CUTTING DOWN TREES BY HAND SUCKS MAJOR ASSBUTT!!!

These guys are badasses, and my hat’s off to them….but I’m apparently a weakling and I’d rather live in a tent than have to saw down trees and make lumber to build myself a cabin.  Anyway, that’s sorta besides the point, but we had to put in a fair amount of work to get these two, realistically small trees down.  The last branch of the smaller tree eventually gave way after one warning crack and sorta whipped Momma across the mouth on it’s way down.  We weren’t really prepared for it, but she was fine, and so we just sorta carried on.  Once we got that tree piled up on the end of the driveway, we turned our attention on the second, larger tree.

The obvious solution was to try and see what was dead and could just easily be pulled down.  So, I picked out a fairly small branch, although all of these branches required jumping to reach…..this will become important.  So I sorta hop up there and grab onto this little branch…..and then there was a crack…..then I was suddenly falling to the ground….and I landed, and took a rather large section of tree to the top of the head.  Apparently, the smaller branch I had been after didn’t feel like breaking, but the whole side of the tree felt like giving way.  So….there I am…..laying on the ground…..eyes watering….and somewhat trapped under a tree.  Momma sorta wanders over and pulls the branch off me, and I promptly declare that my arborist services for the day are done.  Fuck this tree and this whole situation….it can sit here until it falls down naturally.  10-20 years outta do it I think and that’s frankly fine with me at the this point…..

 

IMG_8396

The offending section of tree…I was attempting to break off that piece up the trunk and to the right……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8397

For scale…..in case you think it’s more of a twig…..that’s my size 11….big enough to make even some men quake in their child-sized boots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, my parents didn’t raise me to be a quitter….so I was forced to rally and show that stupid dead tree who was boss.  While Momma did some pruning of the branches I pulled down….apparently the city has strict length requirements on their pick ups…..I proceeded to saw and pull down the rest of the branches.  I began utilizing a sort of “half cut,” jump, pull, and move technique.  I was unwilling to spend anymore time than necessary using the stupid hand saw to try and get anything done.  So I’d saw just until I thought I could jump and use my body to pull them down.  It worked fairly well until I once again was down to the largest, central branch.  This involved having to scamper into the tree, sit on a couple of the broken off branch stumps….cuz that seems safe, and sawing most of the way through.  This was mostly unpleasant because I ended up down wind and at eye level….less than ideal honestly.

Eventually though I did get everything down, and we got everything piled up on the curb.  Hopefully, once the chain for the saw is sharpened, Momma will be able to get the branches cut into smaller pieces for pickup.  A working chainsaw should be able to make simple work of whacking the branches into chunks.  Eventually, we will have to cut the trunks off closer to the ground and then into pieces, but again….hopefully a working chainsaw will make easy work of that!  Momma has plans of turning the larger trunk pictured below into a sort of plant stand holder which I think should work well.

IMG_8398

A days worth of worth of hard work I suppose!