Friday, February 24, 2012

This Shall be the Spring of Fruit.

I'm sorry, blog. I've neglected you because of how insane school and the bike business make me.

But no matter how many papers I have to write, I still have to do a few crafty things once in awhile to de-stress. Lately, it's been planning and ordering a few things for the future of the mini-farm thing we've got going on here.

Last year, our garden was pretty dang successful. We had a ton of kale, pumpkins, zucchini, banana peppers, and spaghetti squash. My bush green beans didn't do so hot, I didn't replant peas when I should have, and tomatoes were OK. But it was a pretty good effort overall. Newspapers under weedblock was an awesome setup that didn't require much weeding.

So this year, I branched out, hardcore, in my planning.

I've purchased two dwarf apple trees that are more like tiny bushes, that grow to only 3-4 feet tall, but produce full-size apples. It'll take 3 years at least for those to bear fruit, but it'll be interesting once they do.

The above tree in the front is one of the trees we ordered. Small, and cute! They will go on the side of our house where there isn't anything right now.

I've bought a 3-pack of cherry bushes and a raspberry bush that will give us some fruit next year or the year after, along with two patio blueberry plants - potted, so they can be on our second floor deck where squirrels can't tear them to shreds.

Also, I bought a dwarf Meyer lemon plant, which will be in a big pot on our deck and be taken inside during the winter months and placed in front of a sunny window. Our sliding deck door in our bedroom has a wonderful southern exposure all day long, so we need to be milking that for all its worth.

I'm also going to try my hand at watermelons and broccoli this year, neither of which I've attempted before. I'll be repeating the pumpkins, zucchini, and other squashes, as well as green beans, kale, spinach, tomatoes, and peppers. This is going to require a bit more space for the garden, but not much.

I've done OK with vegetables. I hope I can make fruits grow.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I could just be an astronaut or the president or a cupcake alligator.

I don't know what I'm going to do when I grow up. I've already grown up, right? Still, no clue.

I'm at a crossroads where I could either try to turn our bike business into either:

A. a regular business like this year, try to make a profit, or:

B. a nonprofit, drawing a small salary for each of us, providing cheap bikes to the community, cheap rentals, cheap repairs, and stuff like subsidized bike lighting so that people in this city don't ride around in the dark. The lighting thing came to me when I was walking to the store in the dark - I looked behind me and saw a person at the top of my street, then he whizzed by me ten seconds later. I stopped and talked to him at an intersection and mentioned he should get a light, that I hadn't seen him. He didn't speak wonderful English, but the next time I saw him, he had a light. I'm hoping maybe that will help him either not get hit by a car, or not accidentally hit a pedestrian (nothing here is very well lit). Maybe people would donate to us, maybe we could get a few grants if we formed a committee to promote biking, maybe people will just give us their used bikes as a tax writeoff and we can turn those into covering operating costs.

Or, we could continue the bike business as a part time side thing, and I could get a full time job outside the home and we could make more money and buy more things.

I'm not really sure what to do. I like the bike stuff. But it's not a huge moneymaker. This is my time to use my fresh degree, and all of the business school's resources and job fairs and job banks, to get a job that can lead to a career. In two or three years, I'm not really going to have that.

But I am not really a fan of money, either. We've got what we need, we could always use more, we're not far from broke since we've had to pay so many medical bills, but we won't be homeless - if Mike loses his DJ gigs that can all change in an instant, but for now we are surviving because we buy used EVERYTHING. When I was working 45 hours a week, I spent so much money on commuting and food at work and my car... it's almost a question of being worth it.

Even if I don't get a job, my degree has already helped immensely, it's made us able to start the business and be confident we're not making huge financial mistakes. It's made it possible for me to handle basic accounting without needing to pay an outside bookkeeper.

Either way, I can't imagine NOT getting a job after both kids go to school, because I am not the kind of person who can just sit idle for very long. Unless it's during a nap. I guess I'll have to just see what I can get on the job market, and make sure it's enough to cover daycare and leave me with enough to pay bills.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

To School!

The busy season is winding down, thankfully, although my semester is nearly over so I have many projects to finish, most involving statistics and math. Statistics I get, math, meh.

But! Nathan and Evan are now both in school. Evan goes to the Gloucester High School's daycare on Tuesday and Thursday, my school days. He seems to be having a fun time, there's some other cute babies there, and it's a small little group of babies with a good ratio of caretakers to kids. One day I picked him up at the end of the day and he was wailing because he was tired and his nose was running and WIPING HIS NOSE IS AKIN TO TORTURE AND THIS STRANGE LADY DID IT - so I'm pretty sure I just lowered the future Gloucester teen birth rate by a good amount. DOIN' MY PART.

Nathan is going to Head Start preschool in the mornings. Nothin' like bein' so poor you qualify for free preschool, but honestly it's wonderful. His first day was Thursday, I totally forgot to mention to his teacher that he was wearing underpants and not a diaper (most kids are diapered still) and...

He peed on the slide. Kid's first day, and he peed on the playground slide. I'm a terrible mom.

He seemed no worse for the wear, as 2 year olds don't really yet understand the social non-acceptance of peeing one's pants, and his next day of school he had pizza and a field trip and he was so excited to be back. He's warming up just fine, and I love getting to the classroom to pick him up and seeing him mouth "that's my mommy!" when he sees me through the window.

Speaking of cutest goddamn thing EVER, Nathan started skating - the Cape Ann Skating Club takes kids starting at 2.5, and Mike had previously found toddler skates at Savers for $6.99. He LOVES IT. His first lesson he just fell all over the place, but now he's actually able to move his little feet across the ice and even reach down and pick up items off the ice by himself.

Future Hockey Star

I missed today's lesson because I am super sick, but he was a huge fan of the Zamboni and kept asking to see Zambonis at home. We told him he had to wait until tonight when the Bruins game is on. He also has a tiny hot wheels Zamboni he spent the afternoon cleaning the coffee table with.

And that's why we don't eat our young. Because yes, he's two and terrible and whines about everything and NEEDS CANDY NOW MOM and pushes his brother but holy crap, he's just so CUTE and he learns something every day and he's so earnest and so helpful and sweet. I couldn't be more proud of the kid, honestly.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This is why I'm not around much anymore!

Mike and I started our own company selling bikes at the Cape Ann Farmer's Market. We called it Big Mike's Bikes, and we're focusing on selling accessories and bikes at the farmer's market, as well as on-site tuneups and service and such. Last week was our first at the Farmer's Market. It was a blast!

So since that takes up most of my time, I probably won't be around much (not like I post regularly anyway).

I do promise to update about the bumblebee-colored playroom I'm making out of our old master bedroom that was functioning as electronics storage. When it's done, of course.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This is a Rooster Playing Soccer.

My mom and I took both kids to Stage Fort Park yesterday and a little girl was running around with the tamest, tiniest rooster I've ever seen. Oh, and it played soccer.


Kinda awesome, Gloucester!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The City of Brotherly Food

Last week we took a trip down to Bethesda, MD to go visit my cousin Jillian, who was having a baby shower for her impending firstborn. We all drove in our Mazda5, with my mom added, which was the cheapest option. Apparently, you can fit three adults and two kids in those things for a 10 hour stretch! Who knew. We also did not kill each other, which was an added bonus.

My mom took the Amtrak back home so she could get to work at 7AM Monday, and we had nowhere in particular to be until a class I had Tuesday, so we took an extra day to check out Philadelphia. We didn't have too much time, just enough to realize the cheesesteaks aren't particularly special (but that cheese wiz is pretty damn good on it).

One of the coolest things in Philadelphia if you like ingesting food-like substances is the Reading Terminal Market.


It reminded me of the Lonsdale Quay in Vancouver, but with a bigger selection, and more of a focus on deli stuff, as well as a noticeable lack of maple sugar beaver tales (HUMPH.)


It wasn't lacking for desserts, however. Shortly after this picture was taken I had to wipe the drool off Nathan. And myself.


Nathan's favorite, however, was the spice shop full of assorted bags of colored sugars and sprinkles.

We also tried raw milk for the first time ever. It was good, and the lack of homogenization meant you could lick the cap because it was all butter stuck to it, which was tasty. However, it's nothing I would go miles to seek out at home.

The only other notable thing in Philadelphia was that people were staring at my Bruins tattoo, apparently (Mike noticed, I didn't). However, we have a Stanley cup this year, and they don't, so they can kiss my ass.

Saturday, July 9, 2011



He was hangin' out, bein' a bird, eatin' from our feeder. We usually get small finches and the like, but usually nothing as cool as this guy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Toddler Hijinks

Yesterday morning, Nathan stuck his Self-Propelled James the Red Engine into my hair, and his whirring little wheels immediately caught a large chunk of it. I was not even awake yet, so this was most unwelcome. I ended up having to pull out a small chunk of hair.

As I was pulling out that hair, he managed to grab the baby shampoo from the side of the tub and dump it on the hardwood floors in the hallway, then slipped and fell in it.

This morning I went to make myself a cup of coffee and came back in to find he was banging the crank arm of a bicycle against our flat screen TV. While completely naked.

He's also had a hilaaarious habit lately of tossing any toilet paper left in the vicinity of the toilet (I mean, why would it be there?)INTO said toilet. I've become adept at measuring how much toilet paper can be flushed in one flush in each bathroom and how to keep the rest stuck to the side of the bowl with a stick until the toilet refills. Kids HATE THE ENVIRONMENT apparently.


So destructive. YET SO ADORABLE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Early Harvest


We got to eat the earliest of our garden's harvest this week. Sugar snap peas, and kale. Gardening Year 3 should be the most successful so far (year 2 was a complete disaster, year 1 was pretty good for a beginner).


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

20 miles!

I accidentally biked all the way to Beverly yesterday! Backstory: Mike fixed me up an awesome little road bike.


Orange and blue!

I kinda just got on my bike and went. Mike took both boys to the Wenham Museum so I could nap, because I'd had a long sleepless night with a sick kid. But I couldn't sleep, so off I went, figuring I'd turn around after a few miles.

I made it to Manchester-By-The-Sea, and was ecstatic! I asked Mike to drive up 127 and meet me when he got out of the museum, so I just figured I'd keep going until I was really too tired and I'd wait for him. The great part was that 127 ends in Beverly, so the mile markers counted down, and when I got to Manchester it was at 5 miles left, and then I kept going and all of a sudden I saw this:

I biked here!

I was at Pride's Crossing, and Beverly Farms, and then in Beverly, and he happened to be waiting at a light right where 127 ends.

I won't lie, I stopped like 5 times, and walked up a few short but excruciating hills. And I know 15 miles is pretty much a cakewalk for most people, but I'm terribly out of shape, damnit!

Then, later, I took another bike ride around Wenham Lake with Mike, a shorter 5 1/2 mile ride. So, like, 20 miles! Woo!