Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fruit Trees

I am having a theoretical issue with paying to water trees that don't produce anything.

Don't get me wrong - I love my trees. In fact, when we first moved in to the house we spent a lot of money on planting trees and trying to provide shade to the backyard. Now these trees have matured and for the first year ever, my Ash tree is actually shading the play structure for the boys...and part of my vegtable garden.

However, the Ash is infested with whiteflys. I have tried many things trying to get rid of them over the past few years with nothing working. Finally this past year, I actually purchased and used a chemical pesticide which still didn't work. We drastically pruned the tree this winter to help, but I have already seen a few fluffy things flying around the yard...

I'm considering taking down the tree. This is a hard decision for me because I have waited for 6 years to get good shade and the boys now have a shaded playstructure (which they honestly don't use that much anymore). But if I take it down, I can replace it with to least 2 fruit trees. For some reason planting fruit trees seems like a huge comitment. It means that I will be in this house for a while...maybe I have other issues...

Any suggestions for small fruit trees?

These are my ideas, please vote and if you have any other suggestions - let me know!



I have added to new sidebars - my 2009 garden so far and my harvest tally. I'm hoping that this will allow ya'll to follow along. And I am terrible at records so I thought this will force me to make some sort of record of my garden.

Here's the garden last week as I was getting ready to plant. Now that most things are in the ground, it's really hard to see the plants!

Does anyone have any experience with asparagus? I planted an asparagus patch this year, but it is just sitting there...not growing...did I kill it?

Dr. Pepper

My name is Jenn, and I am addicted to Dr. Pepper...
This may sound a little extreme, but if you knew me - you would understand. I don't drink coffee, I really don't like water, and I don't care for many other sodas. So, I start my day with a Dr. Pepper and have many throughout the day (sometimes up to 7 or 8 if it's a really bad day). So, why is this a problem?
Well, besides the fact that I drink around 1,000 empty calories a day, it's full of corn syrup and other chemicals and I spend at least $50 a month on soda. This is ridiculous! It's also unhealthy. I have been drinking Dr. Pepper since I was 13, when vending machines were everywhere on my high school campus. I have attempted to quit several times - once in college which lasted about a month, once in my mid twenties for the candida diet which lasted about 2 months, and once when I went to Europe for a month where it just wasn't available but there was plenty of wine. When I came home from India last year, my mother met me at the airport and had a Dr. Pepper and a glass of ice waiting for me in the car. I was so thankful!!
This is something that I really enjoy. When I have a had a hard day all I want to do is go home and pour myself a cold Dr. Pepper over ice. I know that the chemicals are unhealthy and it doesn't really fit my greener lifestyle but I want it! My sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer and I am looking more critically at the few chemicals that I do put in my body.
So here's my question - Is Dr. Pepper really that bad?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Photos of the Day

Photos from Max's Birthday party where the kids where encased in bubbles...

Monday, March 23, 2009


The first day of Spring has come and gone. Living in the Central Valley of California, it’s difficult not to plant my seedlings. Last week the average daytime temp was 77 degrees. However, it almost froze on Sunday night. It is beautiful outside and I want to start growing things! My garlic, onions and lettuce are up and growing nicely. But I want tomatoes and peppers and cucumbers! But more than that, I really missed the spring growing season for many vegetables. I am new at the large vegetable garden and I am trying to learn as much as possible about succession planting, permaculture, and trying to live off the fruits of my own labor. I am used to doing everything big and well the first time around - my vegetable garden is teaching me new levels of humility. It doesn’t help that trying to finish my master’s degree is more than a fulltime job.

I did make a few trellises for the cucumbers to climb if my seedlings make it to planting time. (I think I started my seeds too early and now they are languishing, needing to be in the ground.)

I also installed bird netting over half of the chicken coop so the quickly growing chicks could have more space. They were in the dog crate on the patio, which the cat enjoys sleeping on top of, and they were making a mess of the patio scratching the shavings out. 

They are much happier, and have started spreading their wings and running, scratching, and flying. The older chickens seem to be mad that there are intruders in their coop and their coop has been segregated.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Greening my family

In my previous post I explained the new family that will living in my house. Let me first start out by saying that I am the green tree hugger of the family. When I announced in January that I would not be buying anything except veggies from the farmer's market they all asked if I needed money. This is very sweet of them and I love them for looking out for me, however, they don't always get what I am about.
In fact, I recently took my parents to the local farmer's market (where I bought the veggies for the week), and as we were leaving my dad said, "I just don't get it. Why would you pay more money to get things here instead of just going to the grocery store?"
I replied with all the reasons such as locally grown, supporting local farmers, less fossil fuels, it tastes better...
"I still don't get it." he said.
My father is a wonderful man who usually humors me with all sorts of passions, however food is just not his thing. And after all, money is money.
I have also had the heater off for the past two months. Living in the central valley of California is not as bad say as Minnesota. It does freeze at night, but for the most part the daytime temps are in the 50s-60s. This past week has been amazingly beautiful - 60-70 degrees, sunny and makes me want to dig in the dirt. Coming in from digging in the dirt the other day, I was hit by a heat blast and I could hear the heater running. My mom casually said, "did you know your heater was off? It was 58 degrees in here!"
"Yes, I know." was my reply. I was very proud of myself for not starting a fight that would have just hurt her feelings. She is trying to take care of me and my kids. I did however turn down the thermostat as I walked by...
Does anyone have any tips for handling sticky family situations that involve trying to green your life?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I haven't posted in a while because my life sort of exploded over the past few weeks! Not only am I going crazy finishing my masters, presenting my thesis, trying to get my garden ready to plant and the baby chicks living in my laundry room, but there have been some health concerns in my family.
I personally went through a breast cancer scare several weeks ago. Let me tell ya' - biopsies are no fun! My tumor turned out to be benign. However, my sister also decided to get tested and her results came back malignant and it has metastasized. Obviously, this means that she will having radical surgery and chemo. She is also a single mother and we have decided that the best thing overall will be for her and her kids to move in with me and my kids. (My house isn't very large.) Additionally, my mother has decided that for the foreseeable future, she will coming and staying with us Monday-Thursday to help with kids, cleaning, laundry...
If anybody has any suggestions on how to stay sane through this trying time, please feel free to let me know! As a side note, I am finishing my masters for my therapy degree - in other words I am a Family therapist. This doesn't help much when the painful family dynamics are happening in your own family!


My baby turned 5 years old this week. I guess at this point I should no longer refer to him as my baby. However, he is. When I held him 5 years ago, I didn't think he would be my last child and maybe he's not (although time doesn't seem to be working that way!). Happy Birthday Max!