Tag Archives: Yard Work

So My Students are Struggling with the Passive Voice

From their test scores, they are also struggling with comparatives, superlatives and reading directions, but ever forward!

At least for this group, tomorrow will be consumed by going over the test from today and stepping back from what I taught them Monday.

For Thursday, I will have together an activity involving the SmartBoard and I Am Legend to explore the passive voice.

From today’s class, I know that I need to teach my lower level students about function words for reading like although, until and yet.  No video can help with that.

My last class decided today that class was over when I brought a successful activity to an end at 20 til.  I pointed out that they were confused about when class ended (having just taught them time in English).  The couple who had left returned and the rest who had collect their bags sat back down, and we completed class, finishing another exercise.

The Brisket Experiment

Tomorrow, while watering the new lawn and the different garden beds in the back yard, I will attempt to BBQ a brisket I bought last fall.  I’ve had it in the freezer since then.  I put it down in the fridge last night.

I crushed some white pepper seeds and mixed that with some kosher salt.  I brushed the 2.5 lb. brisket with mustard and then sprinkled the pepper and salt mixture evenly on both sides.  It’s in the fridge marinating.

I’ll get up early in the morning and start the water and then build a fire.  I’ve only ever used pecan.  I’ve got a big tree in the back and let a sapling grow long enough to get some 2 inch chunks when I cut it down.

I start my fire with some twigs, leaves and newspaper.  Once the fire is started, I add increasingly larger bits of pecan.  As the larger branches start to burn out, I add the thicker chunks from the sapling.  I should have a good smoldering grill in less than 30 minutes.

The brisket needs to grill for about 3 and a half to four hours.  I’m terrible about taking the lid off the grill to take a peak, but I will try my best to start a fire that will keep me from doing that tomorrow.

While the brisket is going, I will work in the back yard, in the hope that I will see Junebug.  She wasn’t around at all today and Harry and I are worried.  Perhaps if I work in the back she will show up.

I’ve got to build trellises for the new cucumbers to grow on and then plant them.  I’ve got to build another bed and plant squash.  I’ve got to plant the sweet peas in the first beds, and I’ve got to plant the sunflowers in pots.  Cleaning the garage and planting a few more sunflowers will round everything out.

And that’s just the morning :)

Right now, with the exception of not seeing Junebug, I really do like my world.  That’s a big exception though.

Long Day, but Worth It

Today we had the front yard sodded.  It’s about the size of a postage stamp, but the pups love it, so when I saw a Google ad for one pallet installed for $169, I couldn’t resist.  The company is Heights Hauling and Landscape.  (Note, that’s NOT the company advertising on Michale Berry’s show, timmeh.)

It all worked out just like the owner Jeremy said it would when I spoke with him on Monday.  We aimed for today, and R and I cleaned the yard up this morning — which also took about and hour and a half — as I had predicted.  As I told R, “I know my crew!”  Jeremy arrived with one pallet and pieces around 5:00 p.m. and they got to work scraping off the weeds and grading the ground, adding organic gypsum  (for the pup pee).  They worked around the beds and left space around the orchid tree for me to mulch (which I will do tomorrow).

It cost about $400 and it was worth it.  Sure, we could have made a hundred trips to Houston Garden Center, hoping to get enough sod to fill both cars if they had it, and then worked hard to grade the ground  (I wouldn’t have thought of the organic gypsum) and it would have taken us weeks if not months.  This way it is done, and all I have to do is water and take care of it.

And speaking of watering.  I started that first — before I let the poor barking barking barking pups out.  Little Junebug the Outside Kitten was very interested in this “watering” thing.  She settled in just on the edge of the sprinkler’s reach.

I let Dora out first.  Bird dog that she is, she had to do quite a bit of smelling.  She peed and pooped and I used a poop bag to scoop it up right behind her.   Then it was the two “we no like change” pups’ turn to go out, and true to form, Tammy said, “Nothankyou.”  Murphy had a “Buddy” pee on one of the posts from the old deck.  (A Buddy pee is when he goes for so long his leg gets tired and starts to droop.)  I cleaned after him, too.  I’ve got to get into the habit!

I put Murph in the house and went out to move the sprinkler.  When I later tried again and got Tam and Murph to go out, Junebug had moved to the new sprinkler edge.  What a funny girl!  Neighbor loaned me one of those wave sprinklers and I thanked him profusely.  After letting the water go for a bit longer and laughing at the pooped pups (all three), I went out and set up the neighbor’s sprinkler on the other side of the yard.  Checking on it out the front window about 30 minutes later, I see Junebug just inside the front yard, just on the edge of the sprinkler’s reach once again.  In another 30 minutes, I saw her snooping around the orchid tree, and in 30 minutes more, she was back watching the sprinkler.  Often when I come home from work, she hops over the fence from the front yard.  I think she does it 1)to make Dora crazy and 2)because she can.  It’s one of the many reasons I love her so much (and why she worries R :)

I’ve got to water it heavily for the next three days, and then twice a day for the following three weeks.  I’ve also got to keep the pups off of it as much as possible, which means walkies!!!!!!

I wasn’t planning on doing this for vacation, but happy accidents sometimes work out.  YaY!

(Pictures tomorrow)

Plan for Tomorrow

While I have at least a couple of posts in my head, I can’t quite get beyond my plans for tomorrow.  Saturday is supposed to be rainy, so that’s the day I will clean house, grade papers and write blog posts.  For now, my mind is on just how much I can get done in the yard.

I did some research on bean and pea trellises.  I will do a mix of cedar pickets, jute and sticks.  First though, I’ve got to prepare the bed.  The stinky fertilizer goes in, and that will aerate the bed.  Then I’ll build the trellis.  The peas will go in one bed and the beans in the other.  The radish sprouts will go with the peas and onion and mesclun will go in the second (larger) bed.  To finish those beds off, I’ll cut and install some plastic fencing — just to deter the outside kittens from pooping or peeing in the bed.

Next, I will make space for another bed.  I’ve got enough cedar planks to make one, but no organic soil upgrade.  I think it will be ok because I will screen enough of the existing yard soil to fill the new bed and then mix in the organic fertilizer.  This bed will be for the squash seedlings.  If I’m still able to move around, I will plant the herbs in the beds with the lemon tree and the blackberries.

Since the new Burpee stuff I ordered hasn’t come in, I will just plant more in the little pots I have with the remaining organic potting soil I have.  At this point, I’m thinking peppers.  I didn’t buy any pepper seeds, but I saved some from jalapenos I bought.  It’s worth a try.

The tomatoes, sunflowers and moon plants won’t go outside for another week or more.  The tomatoes will go into both the contraption I got for Christmas and in pots in the backyard.  I want to put the flower in the front.

Speaking of which — I got a rain barrel today.  It’s something that I have wanted for a year.  It will catch it’s first rain on Saturday.  I think I may get one more.

Perhaps people like me write about doing this sort of thing a lot when we do it for the first time and then it just becomes a routine and not worth writing about anymore.  That’s what I get from poking around the interwebs.  It’s a little different for me, since I know it will take more than one year to get this together, and it is part of an ongoing upgrade to both the house and hopefully the well being of the pups and outside kittens.

Yard Work

Since I have come up with an all encompassing plan for both the back and front yards, the work has been steadily progressing.  In the back yard, I finally ran into the problem I knew was there — poison ivy.  I bought some very powerful herbicide to kill it.  The only problem is that it has wrapped itself around a very desirable tree.  I think I will go and buy some long pants and a long sleeve shirt from a second hand shop and also some heavy gloves.  Then I can tackle it and throw the clothes away.

I cleaned up the pup poop in the front yard in anticipation of having the two unruly crepe mytles cut down.  Fortunately I caught my neighbor to tell her what I was planning.  She was happy and wanted to complain about them, but I have as many or more problems with those two trees as she does.  I called one company that has a two tree discount.  I will call others.  Perhaps I can get it done this week.

I bought some flowers to plant between the fence and the sidewalk.  The San Augustine grass just won’t grow.  I still blame it on the fire from a few years ago.  I’ll put up some pictures tomorrow.