Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's up Wednesday: 4 things I learned this week

This is the first post in a series of posts called What's Up Wednesday. WUW will be exactly what it sounds like. What's up with me, my writing, the world if there's something particularly interesting going on.

For this week's What's Up Wednesday my topic is 4 things I learned this week.

1. How do I shut off water to my house?

We've been growing a garden. It's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun. BUT, there are tons of things that just keep popping up for us to deal with in the yard work department. Lowes has quickly grown to be one of my favorite stores, all they need is a grocery department and we'd be all set.

Anyways, we've had a problem with the hose spigot, it leaks everywhere! We can fill up a 10 gallon bucket of leaked water just in the 10 minutes it takes us to water our garden! We've (and be we, I mean mostly Eric), have spent the last three weeks trying to fix it. It was leaking through the handle and we needed to remove the handle to see what was wrong...but you can't remove the handle without dousing yourself with cold water. So obviously we need to figure out how to shut water off to the house.

Okay, let's call the handy man in our lives, Eric's brother, Mickey. Apparently most houses are set up with a main shut-off valve in the house in like a basement or closet or something. Lucky us, we're special and the elusive valve is nowhere in sight. Hm...okay, plan b is to Google it. Google says that in cold environments the valve should be inside, but in warm climates, it is typically outside. The picture showed a meter sticking out of the ground, so we scaled the house and determined that the only meters outside by the house were for gas.

Time to ask a local. I asked a coworker and he said I should have one right by the street in the front of my house, it will be a small metal lid that I could lift to see the meter in the ground. He was also very curious as to how I'd never noticed this before. Well...just leave me alone, okay?

At the end of the day, it all worked swimmingly, it worked, we were able to shut off all the water to the house, remove the spigot, replace the washer and pad around it with graphite packer. No leaks, we are happy campers.

2. What do you mean you can't kill that spider?! You're Orkin. That's your job!

In last week's blog post, I told you that I found a giant wolf spider in my yard. Well, the stars aligned, and Orkin called me the very next day to tell me they'd be by the next day to spray my house. So, it's Monday, I'm feeling pretty good that I'm getting the spider removed and Orkin totally ruined my week. First of all, my yard is infested with mosquitos, and Orkin did not have the right chemicals to treat it this week...STRIKE ONE

Second of all, I have a slug problem, slugs just jeep showing up and I don't know how to keep them out, this is something I would think Orkin could handle very easily. Nope. They told us to just use salt. STRIKE TWO. There was also a grown roach in my garage (not happy about that, but relieved it wasn't in the house, which Orkin thanked me for keeping clean. Apparently they see really bad houses with roaches falling from the ceilings on them all the time, so I remove strike two, because he was polite and made me feel good about my housekeeping).

Third of all, Orkin apparently can't kill the wolf spider! It's a hunting spider (which sounds terrifying, right?), not a web spider, so the poisons they use won't work on it. SO now I'm nervous that the wolf spider overheard me planning its demise, and now the hunting spider is going to get me. However, I guess it eats all the really bad spiders (black widows, brown recluses, etc.) and they keep other harmful insects away. I may just leave it there. It's very predictable, I'll give him his space, maybe we can work up a schedule of who gets the yard and when... we'll see. I can be civilized too, Wolfie.

3. You can't just throw grass seed down and expect it to grow.

Half of my yard is dirt. It could've been caused by the drought last year, or the trees overly shading the yard, or the fact that I didn't rake or water at all for a whole year...who knows, let's not get all finger-pointy. But the fact remains, my yard looks like shit. Eric gave grass growing a try and sprinkled the seed throughout the lawn. Then it rained and all the seed moved to one spot. That 1' X 1' spot looks gooooood. But the rest of my yard still looks like the junkyard from "The Sandlot."

We bought more grass seed and this time I read the directions and tried to follow them exactly. We hoed and raked up the section we wanted to test, loosening the soil and evening it out. Then we scattered seed (this part I could have done better, I just sprinkled it with my hand. A seeder would have been better, but I'm not a millionaire, okay?), and then we RAKED IT. This was the missing piece, we weren't sowing the seeds before and they kept running away. We watered it every day for a week and they all started showing up this week, I think it will look good when they grow a little more

4. How to make cucumber's climb

We're growing cucumbers and when I was watering them the other day, I noticed that they were sort of toppled over, just sprawled out on the ground. That's fine if you have a lot of space and can afford to lose a few, but this is our first garden and we want everything to do well, so we looked up ways to get the cucumbers off the ground. We went to Lowes and bought a trellis and it ended up being really easy to teach the cucumbers to climb! They have little spiral vine things that will wrap around anything they touch (they were actually wrapped all around each other and I ended up breaking a lot of the tendrils trying to separate them, but I don't think I did too much damage. Once I got them off the ground, they stood about a foot tall and cleared up a lot of space. And now when they actually start growing cucumbers, they won't lie on the ground, getting soggy or rotting!

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