Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Started here (actually here)Now they look like this

This American Beauty Bush will be planted nearby as soon as the night temps are consistently above freezing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Although the day started out a bit chilly we ended up in the upper 70s and found our long-sleeved shirts almost too much while we played on the playground this afternoon.

We also took a trip to my fav local garden place The Natural Gardener where I got myself a nifty new sun hat and a ton of poppy seeds. Oh, poppies. There's something magical about you even in your legal form. I bought Icelandic poppies, California poppies, giant orange poppies and the gorgeous red poppies that Natural Gardner sells from their own seed.

I'm going to dig a bed for them along the east gate of the backyard leading down to the driveway. By March they will be a 3' sea of red, orange and white.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Late Fall Garden

Sugar snap peas from the garden. I'll plant these again next season. They are crisp, sweet and easy to grow. The girls even eat them sometimes. Zoe also thinks they are great for creating letters.

We've been doing a lot of planting during this lovely fall weather. We've added 4 or 5 red yuccas, 3 trailing rosemary plants, a couple of Mexican feather grasses, the succulent below whose name I have forgotten with the insanely bright pink flower...

We also have quite a few plants still in pots: 2 American Beauty Bushes that will be planted in the backyard, a trumpet vine for the back fence, a Pride of Barbados, 2 yuccas, and a white trailing Lantana.

Oh, and I planted asparagus in the backyard! They are mostly roots but just wait until next year. They are going to be beauties. I've got more plans for this area of the backyard. I'll post "after" pics soon.

This ground is incredibly difficult to dig. I hit limestone almost as soon as I start.

We've had a few nights with freezing temperatures. I lost the soybeans, but other than that everything seems to be doing just fine. The row cover makes me think of Halloween.

The stick that Paige and Zoe fought over while I was creating the new bed in the backyard... Because it's the only stick worth playing with, right?

Thursday Morning

I had a great morning with my girls. We went to the newly renovated playground that's right down the street.

After checking out all of the new playground equipment we went exploring on the walking trails. We were firefighters and found a fire berry bush and went in search of a fire to extinguish.

We heard and saw a flock for crows! CA!

Afterwards while on our way to Chuy's for lunch we saw a REAL car fire.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snap Shot of Headlines on

'Bad bacteria' eating Titanic

Will, Kate and the souvenir debate

Steve Harvey: 'I don't have female friends'

Squirrel in toilet scares granny

News quiz: Take the CNN Challenge

Expert: Assange file can't be cracked

Taliban: Life among U.S. enemies

Camel falls into crowd

Your year in 10 sentences

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our health care system is based on the premise that health care is a commodity like VCRs or computers and that it should be distributed according to the ability to pay in the same way that consumer goods are. That's not what health care should be. Health care is a need; it's not a commodity, and it should be distributed according to need. If you're very sick, you should have a lot of it. If you're not sick, you shouldn't have a lot of it. But this should be seen as a personal, individual need, not as a commodity to be distributed like other marketplace commodities. That is a fundamental mistake in the way this country, and only this country, looks at health care. And that market ideology is what has made the health care system so dreadful, so bad at what it does.

-- Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Garden

The second round of carrots are planted. Kale and Rainbow chard seeds are also in the ground.

The snap peas are about 1/2 tall and the teeny tiny little carrot leaves from the first planting have popped up.

And the one crazy, unexpected veggie - spinach! I planted spinach in May and it never grew because they didn't get enough direct sun due to the 2 trees nearby. Well, the trees dropped almost all of their leaves last month due to the heat. I stopped watering, but our cat Miro has been lending a hand and using my garden box as her litter box. Not sure I'm going to be eating any.

I'm too tired to take pictures.

More updates later....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Insomnia + Teething =

I've got bad insomnia. Paige is cutting 4 molars and each has one tip that has broken through.

5 nights insomnia + 4 new molars = NIKKI ZOMBIE

MUST SLEEP or I'LL BE AFTER YOUR BRAIN because I can't find mine.

Friday, September 17, 2010


The day started out good enough. Zoe, Paige and I went to Mayfield Park for a playdate with one of Zoe's old school friends. Paige was completely taken with the peacocks and Zoe found a giant peacock feather.

After lunch I feel asleep while putting Paige down for a nap. "Falling asleep" is the wrong way to describe it. It was more like cognitive leaping from sleep to dream to consciousness and the back around the loop again, all the while serenaded by brain playing "Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants. It was one of those dreaming-with-eyes-open sleep. I "slept" for 3 hours. I can't remember the last time that happened.

When I got up it looked like rain so I hurriedly prepped the soil with fertilizer and minerals and planted the carrots and peas in the garden box that Zoe and I worked on earlier this week.

We grabbed some dinner. Put the girls to bed. Skip isn't feeling well and went to bed early. I'm the only one awake in the house right now, well actually our cat Sophie is up exploring. This is a rare moment.

That's when I realize that it's Yom Kippur. Since New Year in my space moments between changing diapers, cooking, working, cleaning, I've been going over the events of the past year, thinking about things I said or things that I didn't say. In all honesty, I owe almost everyone I know (save casual acquaintances and the like) an apology for something. I definitely owe every one of my family members an apology. I've been thinking about this a lot and yet I haven't apologized to anyone. My mistakes are abundant. I'm wondering why.

From my shortsightedness of the situation I'm in the place because I'm too wrapped up in my own shit (i.e. trying to keep the depression and anxiety at bay, trying desperately to figuring out how to manage life with 2 little ones, a house, a job, one car .....) Very recently I've gained some insight about my own issues and what it boils down to is that I'm not so good at taking care of my own needs and that makes it nearly impossible for me to be at my best. Before I had kids it wasn't a big deal. I had lots of free time to take care of myself by reading books, hanging out with friends, planning meals, getting enough sleep (sometimes), drinking enough water, organizing my space (without a small person throwing everything on the floor immediately after), mediating, practicing yoga... the list goes on. Now I have non-stop, unrelenting competition for my time and energy. I'm still learning the balancing act, but things are starting to get levelish, and I've learned so much for becoming a parent that I think things will spiral up and I'll be in a better place then where I started.

I've also been disconnected from Judaism since the girls were born. I went back to Judaism in 2001 for a couple of reasons, namely to be part of a community and to feel connected to ancient rituals. In part of me not taking care of myself like I should I've also not put energy into religion.

But none of that explains why I haven't apologized. So here it is, a little late.

If I've hurt you I'm sorry. It was done without malice or intent to cause suffering. I've made many mistakes and if you're one of the people who took some of fallout I'm lucky to have you in my life as a learning partner. I ask your forgiveness.

If it seems impersonal it is, and it doesn't completely sit right with me. But I figure it's better to get it out there in some way in the unlikely event that it brings comfort to someone where it would do nothing rambling around in my head.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A word is a leaky vessel that fails to contain it's meaning over time, which is why we must repeatedly use it. For this reason fields of philosophy based on words - i.e. linguistics and many forms of logic - are at best intellectual games.

I can't stand reading Wittgenstein. Seriously makes me what to tear my hair out more with each sentence. Noam Chomsky, on the other hand, I could read and talk about all day.

If I had time to read and think, like before there were munchkins running around, I'm sure I could figure out what is triggering my hatred of one and love of the other.

That's all for now. There's more to this post but I'm too tired to get it out of my head.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

"When a child hits a child, we call it aggression. When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility. When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault. When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline."
- Haim Ginott

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Veggie Garden Round 2

I bought the seeds for the fall garden today. I'm going to try my luck with rainbow chard, "little finger" carrots which I hear are very sweet, scallions, giant snow peas, kale, snap bush beans, soybeans and broccoli. I also have some cabbage seeds left over from last year so I'll give them a chance to see if anything grows. I'm getting some veggies out of the ground this year!

I had wanted to start building the new raised boxes today but it wasn't in the cards. My drill isn't holding a charge and the girls were going nuts.

I'm working on big plans for the rest of the yard. I've got enough projects lined up for the next 5 years at least. The first up are creating walking paths from the driveway to the front door and the back gate.

Depending on the cost I'm going to fence the front yard with a small 3' or 4' high wood framed wire mesh fence to keep the girls from running out into the road. There will be a gate with Asian style arbor at the top of the stairs to prevent the kiddos from falling down the stairs that lead to the mailbox and the street.

For the spring I'm going to build some raised beds for a cut flower garden. I'll also be working on the planter beds in the front and the back, adding river rock to create a dry creek bed under the eaves of the roof.

The chinaberry trees have got to go. Not only are they invasive, but are the berries poisonous, and the fallen leaves and berries toxify (is that a word?) the ground so other plants can't grow. So at some point, to the unhappiness of Skip and Zoe, the chinaberry trees are coming down along with the holly bushes in the front.

I've also got plans for adding some bird- and butterfly-loving plants in the backyard, a seating area with fire pit, and more, more, more.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Austin: Home of Intellectual Livestock

I didn't realize that cattle were that philosophical, generous, and well organized too.

Monday, August 09, 2010

OK. I officially choose the WRONG spot for the garden. Duly noted. The veggies that haven't died aren't getting any bigger or producing.

Moving on... I'll be building some boxes in the side yard for the fall garden. Live and learn.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Garden Update

I've been so busy lately with my new job that it seems that I never find time to update the blog :(

Here's what's been happening with the garden:
- The squash vine borers killed all the pumpkins save 2 vines. I planted more seeds and kept them under row cover. Last week we got a ton for rain and the vines got mildew. I removed the row cover a couple of days ago and the squash vine borers are back. Basters! They've hit all the vines except for 1. I want pumpkins for Halloween! This vine better make it.

- My one pepper was picked and eaten by a raccoon. A new bud pooped up a couple of days ago.

- I harvested my soybeans - all 5 of them.

- The spinach is healthy but not growing. They are still all about 3" tall.

- The watermelon seem to be doing well. They vines are about 2 feet and have gown through a few flower cycles.

I've decided that there's not enough direct sunlight on the veggies and that's why the spinach isn't growing, the soybeans stopped producing and the peppers are producing slowly. There are 2 chinaberry trees close to the garden boxes that are blocking the afternoon sun. I'm going to chop them down. All I need is a chainsaw. Anyone want to help? Sounds fun, yeah?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blast and Bugger

Something has been cutting down my pumpkin vines! I'm glad that I over planted.

I took one of my damaged vines to Natural Gardener and they identified the pest - squash vine borers.

The larvae eat the inside of the stem. Little buggers! I've covered what's left of the pumpkin vines (about 3 made it) and planted some more pumpkin seeds which should be ready to harvest mid-October just in time for Halloween. Zoe found the seeds that grow the biggest pumpkins, up to 100lbs each according to the package. We'll see if we can get a couple of 50 pounders.

There has been an unusually high amount of rain this year in Austin. We had thunderstorms come through last week. The veggie garden needed it. The pepper plant also lost most of it's lower leaves from the heat. Got to love 95 degrees with 99% humidity. ULK!

The first pepper has appeared.

This weekend we'll be installing a new playscape in the backyard. I'll be busy leveling the ground for the next few days. I'm a bit worried about space. I just found out that a playground needs a 6' "safe area" around all sides. Zoe and Paige just might be sliding down into the watermelon vines. Tomorrow I'm going to measure and stake out the area, so we'll see.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

There has been an unusually high amount of rain this year in Austin. We had thunderstorms come through last night and last most of the day. The veggie garden needed it.

Yesterday I lost 2 of the pumpkins but luckily I hadn't thinned them out so we'll still have lots! The pepper plant also lost most of it's lower leaves from the heat. Got to love 95 degrees with 99% humidity. ULK! This morning I did see the very tiny beginning of a pepper.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Zoe's Quote of the Day

I said to Zoe as she was wrapped up in a warm blanket "You sure are toasty."

Zoe replied, "Well, I have been eating a lot of toast lately."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Good News, the Veggies are growing

I'm always amazed when things grow. I mean REALLY! How do they know what to do? I set the movement going providing the right environment (soil, food, water, placement with access to light), but the seeds have done all the work.

These before pictures were taken on May 20th and I took the after pictures this morning - 8 days later.

Soybeans - Last week

Soybeans - This morning

The soybeans are growing faster than the sunflowers (in the middle) which were suppose to act as their trellis. I'm not sure if the sunflowers are going to make it because the beans are blocking their light.

Watermelon - Last Week

Watermelons - This morning
The watermelons are lost their flowers and are starting to resemble a vine.

Pumpkins - Last week

Pumpkins - This morning
We are going to have an amazing pumpkin patch by fall.

I had an extra spot in the square so I bought this pepper plant. It's grown a couple of inches already.

The spinach is just starting to sprout.

Just liked this shot

Monday, May 17, 2010

Some pics of the garden and...

Thu Buddha Garden in the back yard

Veggie Garden

Century Cactus


Pink Skullcap

Couple of red yuccas

Yellow primrose

My cutie who has decided that it's time to start potty training. She's in the "flower bathroom" so I thought it was fitting to include in this post :)

Friday, May 14, 2010


At last, the seeds are in the ground! The rain gods are pleased and have provided a steady sprinkle most of today and there's a chance for more this weekend.

The two starter plants are watermelons. The spinach is planted in the middle two rows, and the pumpkins are on the side by Godzilla, who I think is going to make a great scarecrow, but we shall see...

I also planted soybeans and sunflowers in the round bed but somehow those pictures were deleted from the camera. I'll take more tomorrow.

The sunflowers will be the support for the beans. Can't wait to see how that turns out.