Beautifying the Front Yard

Our front yard has been looking a bit ragged around the edges lately, so mom and I decided to replace the edging and freshen it up a bit. The old edging was just some plastic stuff we bought probably a hundred years ago, and not only were many of the pieces sunk down in the ground to the point of being totally buried and overgrown with grass, many of them were broken and faded and just plain nasty! So, I enlisted the help of my professional basketball player cousin (and his truck) to pick up seventeen concrete edgers, some black plastic edging, a couple bags of bark and a couple bags of gravel. 


This morning, mom and I headed out to what we thought was going to be a long, tough day of digging and sod cutting. We prepared by slathering on the sunscreen, chilling bottles of Vitamin Water, and donning garden hats and gloves. 


As it turned out, however, the whole process went smoother than we expected. The old, plastic edging pulled out of the ground super easy, and the new concrete edgers fit perfectly in the dug-out space. After just an hour and a half, we added the fresh bark and called it a day.



Oh, there's still more to do, but we're in no hurry, and also it's pretty hot out, so we'll take care of the other little project another time. Like, maybe next weekend. 

In the meantime, here's some pretty pictures:




Oh, and Happy Earth Day! It was two years ago today that we had half of our backyard landscaped and had our little Madrone tree planted. Here's what it looked like April 22, 2010:


And here's what he looks like today:


Everything looks really good; we only lost a couple plants, and we're not really heartbroken over them, so it's no big. We tested the drip system, and it's working perfectly! We just need to do a little trimming and we'll be set for the summer! Then we can spend our free time day tripping to SLO, the beach, or just chillin' in our own backyard:



Earth Day Gardening

Last year, because we had our backyard landscaped, mom and I didn't set up our EarthBox garden. However, we really missed having the fresh tomatoes and peppers and squash right at hand, so today we headed up to the local home improvement store and picked up some veggie plants and set up our garden!

We bought two hybrid tomato plants: the Early Girl - 50 Day, and Bush Goliath: 


Then we got two bell pepper plants: the Red Bell Sweet Pepper and Big Bertha Bell Pepper:


And, finally, a couple squash: Zucchini Squash (Black Beauty) and Straightneck Squash:


Hopefully our little plants will grow and produce lots of delicious veggies for us to enjoy all summer long!

Garden april 23 2011 

We also picked up some marigolds to add some colour to our back patio:

Everything looks fantastic (so far!) and I'm excited to watch the garden grow this summer!


Happy Earth Day

So, wow, the very first Earth Day was April 22, 1970?!? Really? How come I don't remember ever doing anything to celebrate Earth Day in grade school, high school or college? In fact, don't remember even hearing the phrase "Earth Day" until the late 90s. Maybe. Maybe it was 2002, I don't know. Maybe it wasn't a big deal where I was living or going to school, so maybe we weren't out planting trees and holding "Save the Earth" rallys and all that stuff. Maybe it just wasn't as cool to "go green" then as it is now. Or maybe (and most likely) I just wasn't paying attention and/or didn't care to participate. Whatever the reason, Earth Day is in its 39th year and all of a sudden it seems like a Big Fat Deal and I'm left wondering: where the hell have I been? The answer: late to the party, as usual.

So, okay, people have been celebrating Mother Earth for almost 40 years, right? Then I have to ask: if this "save the environment" movement has been about this long, then why is the planet still being polluted, poisoned, razed and overpopulated? Why haven't we been building smaller electric or solar cars instead of ginormous pickup trucks and Hummers that spew filth into the air and keep us dependant on foreign oil? My grandfather waited decades for an electric car but had to settle for a hybrid, which is really cool, yeah, but still. How hard is it to come up with an electric car?  Toyota had the all-electric Rav-4 SUV, but wouldn’t let the general public buy it – only companies could temporarily lease them - then when the “experiment” was concluded, they destroyed the vehicles rather than put them for sale. Why are we still clear-cutting the forests that will take hundreds of years to be renewed to build huge estate homes that the majority of Americans could never afford to buy? Why does it still cost an arm and a leg to install solar panels on our homes? And why aren't solar panels just automatically built into new houses? Shouldn't all these things have become the norm decades ago? WTF, people?

And also, where have I been? Have I really lost a good majority of my brain cells, or was I really NOT PAYING ATTENTION to the fact that there's been a dang EARTH DAY for most of my freakin' life?!?

Then again, now that I think about it (with what's left of my muttled grey matter), my family have pretty earth friendly as long as I can remember. My maternal grandparents have been organic gardening since the 60s. My parents were zero populationists, which is why I'm an only child (and I suppose I could be considered a negative-zero populationist since I'm not having any children at all!). I remember my dad would holler at me if I left the light on in a room I'd just left or forgot to close the back door when we were running the AC. We recycled our aluminum cans back when you had to take them to the recycling center rather than having them - and paper and plastic and corregated cardboard, etc., etc., -  all picked up in one bin like we do now (at least here in California). I commute to work on the bus rather than driving my car every day. So, I guess, in a way, I've been doing the Earth Day thing my whole life without even realizing it.


But I need to do more. We all do. Happy Earth Day!

National Poetry Month & Earth Day


We Got

We got filthy air and air is all.
We got rotten rivers and water is air.
We got strangled streets and beer can highways,
crowded rooms and fume-filled flyways.
We got crap on our minds.

We got commercial this and billboard that,
neon thin and neon fat.
Yeah, we got beauty but it’s all in books,
or on some screen or where no one looks,
because it’s too far out of town.

Now, what are we gonna do?
The sky is blue but you have to look
straight up to see it.
And air is all,
all we got.

August 1969

This poem was written by one of my all-time favourite actors, Pete Duel. As well as a great actor (and poet), Pete was also an environmentalist who was deeply concerned about the planet and what was happening to it. I sometimes wonder how much he could have accomplished if he had lived. How much farther along would we be in our conservation efforts, our development and use of alternative fuel/energy sources or even our general awareness of our daily activities and choices on the planet? I guess we'll never know.

P.S. The photo is mine. I snapped it on the way into work this morning. Happy Earth Day!