Angry Man Farm 22 – the deep freeze

March 31, 2022

Of course, of course, as soon as I felt cocky and thought “hmmmm….I can plant some cold weather crops like garlic and lettuce outside!” on Sunday we plunged back into temperature lows in 20s and snow squalls. Of course. will I ever learn? WILL I?

Bitmoji of Kim with the words "How about NO"
My Bitmoji.

So on Sunday we scrambled to cover up the lettuce and garlic with a bed of leaves and a plastic cover that we kept down with branches from the yard. Not doing yard work all winter paid off!

plastic and leaves covering part of the garden bed
Primitive, but functional.

It’s not going down past freezing for at least the next week so yesterday we pulled up the protective covering and it worked!

The lettuce

tiny lettuce sprouts
Tiny lettuce sprouts, still alive!

and the garlic

garlic starts

are still alive!

Here is the state of the rest of the seedlings, snug in their garage hideaway and being nurtured with artificial lighting and heating pads.

seedlings in the garage, underneath plant lights and on top of heat pads.

This is why I was desperate to clean up that garden table. This morning I moved the tomatoes in the yogurt containers out into the greenhouse for a few days to take advantage of the mild weather.

tomatoes in the greenhouse

ST = SuperTasty hybrid, and BOD = Bodacious variety. Eating yogurt pays off. Just drill some holes in the bottom of the pots first before you plant in them.

This weekend I think I’m going to put the rest of the tomatoes into the larger pots and start flowers inside.

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Life, Work

Friday 5: Twenty-four months

March 25, 2022

Hello and happy Friday. Wanna know what I did yesterday? I WENT TO THE OFFICE for the first time since my laptop was acting up in October! I took the train and sat in the mostly empty office and had a frigging blast away from construction noises and lawnmowers and barking dog and delivery drivers and my monotonous, depressing, and isolating work from home life. We’re still wearing masks at work, but at this point you could tie a smelly gym sock around my face and I’d still goofily grin at getting away from this adorable little workspace that I once loved but now despise and work from home ‘breaks’ that are really just opportunities for me to clean something.

empty office

I am not in commuting shape. There are many staircases associated with a public transit commute to work. I used to fly through the stations and streets. Not yesterday. I’m making strides to be better though. I’m walking almost every day again and doing exercises meant for sedentary people who don’t move. If the slipper fits…

On Wednesday, Mom & I went to dinner at the place we ate at right before everything shut down. It was a nice little homecoming.

This week’s Friday 5 theme is Twenty-four months, which roughly refers to when this worldwide pandemic started. I was pretty angry in last year’s Twelve months post. A year later, I’m sad.

Pandemically, my life is so much better than it was this time last year. Everyone I care about is fully vaxxed and boosted. The mask mandate here in NJ was lifted months ago and my county is at a low community level of infection. (according to measurements that may have been jiggered to lull us all into feeling more comfortable). I’m going out to restaurants again, going to the beach, went to WDW, going into stores. Taking the mask off where I feel comfortable and putting it back on where I’m not or where I’m told to wear it. I’m giving blood again. I’m going to conferences again. Planning travel.

So why don’t I feel proportionally happier? I don’t know.

  1. In what way have these past two years made you better?
    You know how people can take a quick nap? I have mastered the quick and quiet cry session. I can still wail for days if I want, but I can also stifle my sobs and eyedrop my way back to normalcy in minutes. Not the positive answer people were likely looking for but here we are.
  2. In what way have these past two years made you worse?
    I am a much sadder, angrier version of me and after all this time of people continuously gaining clout and power by showing their asses, I don’t think I can ever go back to believing the best of people ever again. I believe everybody deserves to be safe, loved, and warm but some of these anti-science, anti-compassion troglodytes are seriously testing that belief.

    I’m afraid, really afraid, that this all happened at a pivotal age for me, where I was at the crossroads of either being a happy older person or a sad and angry older person who ends up turning water hoses on children and swerving to hit squirrels. I’m afraid that the last 24 months of pestilence, famine, and now war shoved me down the path I didn’t want and that it’s too late for me to go back. (I have not yet doused a child or skooshed a squirrel.)
  3. In the first six months of the pandemic, what was your most effective form of escapism?
    Watching Instagram reels of happy people rollerskating. Videos of vacations. Stardew Valley, where I sat my little farmer at the town’s bar every Friday night and people watched until every happy little person went home.
  4. What remains part of your life from those first six months?
    Working from home, sadly. Yeah, I’m the person who wants to go back. I’m the one roundly being made fun of for not having friends outside of work or wanting to be the office Karen or forcing people to celebrate coworkers’ birthdays. Fun fact: I am (was?) part of the committee that set up events for our coworkers to have fun at. But my real life friends are geographically or situationally far away so, yes, I did get a daily dose of social satisfaction from going to work every day. I really enjoyed the company of many of the people I worked with, and now we’re a bunch of bored faces with pained smiles in Zoom video call squares.

    Our return to work date is TBA, but it will never be the same. If you want to work from home forever, I hope you get to do just that. But the flip side of that is maybe we can stop mocking people who want to go back in some capacity. Our reasons are sometimes pretty good.

    On a better note, we’re still doing movie night on Fridays. I don’t hit every week anymore (sad & tired sometimes) but I try to show as often as I can.
  5. What do you envision for yourself in the next year, and how are you feeling about it?
    Faking a smile with my coffee to go.

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Return of the Murph

March 23, 2022

Young Murphy suffered an ACL injury around the time that Ollie died last summer. (August 2021 was something.) The veterinarian decided that since it was only partially torn, if we kept him calm (ha!) for a few months (what?) and kept him low activity until spring (um?) it would fully recover.

murphy and his upstairs bed
‘u finally awake? I’m bored.’

And you know what? It did. He limped until he didn’t. His knee cracked all of the time until it stopped cracking. And now it’s March and he is back to full zoom potential.

murphy keeping me company while I assemble a raised bed
‘this is boring’

He and I have been taking daily walks again mostly for the benefit of my own sedentary behind. He’s excited for the first 5 minutes of the walk, and the last 5 minutes of the walk, but other than that he’s content with zooming around the yard. He’s definitely the only dog I’ve had who’s apathetic about walks.

murphy. walking
‘this is boring too’

We have him on a hip and joint supplement as well to make sure he stays in working order. It has glucosamine, condroitin, turmeric, and fish oil and I hope this will help stave off the arthritis that might occur because of the injury.

But he’s a great dog, loud as an airhorn and soft as a Gund. Not the Best Boy, but the Goodest Boy.

Murphy immodestly on his back
‘draw me like one of ur french girls’

And I love him.

Post title inspired by Return of the Mack.

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Gardening, Home and Family, I live in New Jersey

The weekend that was a balm to my soul

March 21, 2022

It was gorgeous here in NJ this weekend. On Saturday the temp went up to the low 70s, and Sunday it was in the high 50s. SPRING HAS SPRUNG! Know that I jinx us all by typing this, because it tends to snow here at the end of March/beginning of April.

In no particular order, this weekend I:

  • changed the turn signal lightbulb in the black Jeep – thanks to YouTube for showing me how to do it on a Wrangler. Jeeps and their lightbulbs, let me tell you….
  • mounted the birdhouse I received for Christmas
  • cleaned the leaves against the fence one side of the house — it’s a chainlink fence and it’s a giant sieve for leaves
  • put on the new greenhouse cover because the old one was more packing tape patches than original plastic.
birdhouse on my tree
My first-EVER birdhouse. I can’t wait to see what moves in!
  • moved the onions to the greenhouse
  • assembled a new raised bed
  • trimmed back the giant pots of perennial herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, mint)
  • planted more garlic and some carrots
  • bought some more soil for the existing raised beds

UGH I love the beginning of spring so much. I love doing all of that mucky garden work.

And midday Saturday I said ‘eff it,’ picked up Mom, and went to Ocean City (NJ) for a few hours.

panoramic shot of the beach from the edge of ocean city, nj's music pier
From the Ocean City Music Pier. Panoramic shots are so weird and intriguing.

Salt water air makes me feel better about everything. And, I had my first slice of Manco & Manco pizza. We’re usually Prep’s pizza people but it was closed (it’s only March) so we checked out Manco & Manco and it was really good. Nice, tangy sauce and perfect crust. Even Mom’s gluten free pizza was fantastic.

We walked the boardwalk for a little bit and came home rejuvenated! This week there’s not much on the calendar except Murphy’s grooming appointment on Tuesday and … and … AND… a trip to the office on Thursday! We’re not officially going back, but I’m itchy to take a trip into the city and I’ll get to have lunch with one of my favorite coworkers.

It was a good weekend. I hope everyone else’s was great too! <3

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Gardening, Life

Friday 5: Take me to the old playground

March 18, 2022

Happy Friday! It’s GORGEOUS here today. The weather inched into the low 70s. I took Murphy for a walk at lunchtime, and after work I planted garlic and lettuce outside! Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain. And Sunday we’re vernal equinoxing! Welcome spring, you gorgeous gorgeous girl.

giant boxes on a pallet. not pictured: Kim's simmering doubt that this will fit in the proper room and her sinking feeling that her craft room will be completely overtaken.
This is the quilt machine and I swear I have no idea how it’s supposed to fit where it’s supposed to fit.

This week’s Friday 5 theme is Take me to the old playground, which for me is right down the street from where I live. I never really made it far from the nest.

  1. When did you most recently swing on a swing?
    Mmmm…can we count amusement park giant swings? Because that would have been August of last year.
  2. On what issue have you teeter-tottered?
    Gosh, all of them? Right now I go back and forth on police funding. I believe we need a police force. I do not believe they should be outfitted with military-style equipment. I believe some of the money we spend outfitting police with military-style equipment could better be spent on social services that may get people to a better point where they don’t *have* to steal baby formula. I’m not so much “defund” as “rethink.”
  3. How close is your residence to a park, and when did you last visit?
    There is a little playground up the street and although I drive by it every day I haven’t been there in over 2 years.
  4. How capable are you with a charcoal grill?
    Not capable at all with charcoal. Barely capable with a gas grill. Every year I tell you all I’m going to grill more this season, every year I am afraid to light the gas grill.
  5. With what are you playing hide-and-seek?
    I had four chapsticks kept in very logical places. Purse, desk, nightstand, living room end table. I tossed the living room one after I was sick last week. Since then, I have been moving them around (brought the desk one to the living room, the purse one to the desk, the bedroom one to the purse, the living room upstairs etc etc) and now by some law of physics, there is never one where I am sitting. The solution is to buy a new chapstick this weekend.

The weekend! Back in November my MIL ordered a quilt machine. I am not a quilter so I’m not exactly sure what it does, but it seems to be a computerized sewing machine on rails mounted to a large table. It arrived in nine (!) boxes on Tuesday, and tomorrow two people are coming to assemble it in her room. They’re arriving between 8 and 9 so I have to make sure I’m up earlier than usual so I’m not padding around in my jammies while these folks are here. I am going to build my new raised garden bed this weekend, and also buy some more potting soil and fertilizer.

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