Monthly Archives: June 2008

Another reason I love to live in Charleston, WV

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were out of town this weekend so we agreed to let their dog out during the day.  Of course, it rained off and on all weekend and we had to let the dog in and out according to the storm schedule.  The nice thing is, we live 1 minute from them. 

Last night we played cards with Emily’s mom and dad while the kids messed around and watched movies, etc.  A storm popped up so I ran over to put the dog back in.  The dog was 1 minute from Emily’s folks’ place too.  Things are just closer here.  We used to live near Nashville, TN and nothing was close…or even if it was close, there was too much traffic to “get there” in a reasonable amount of time.  We could see the grocery store from our first apartment in TN but it sometimes took us 1/2 hour to get there.  In Charleston, life is just easier.  We have most of the same things as any other city but it’s easier to “get there” from here.  But more importantly than being close to stuff, is being close to people…we’re closer to family and friends here.


My parents acquired some raspberries when I was pretty young and I remember eating them as a kid. My parents’ patch grew like crazy with no care whatsoever. I am hoping for the same out of our new patch. I got some red and black raspberries from a catalog and a bunch more red plants from a friend. All of the plants have taken off and seem to be doing well.

I think the red ones are better but we’ll see. We planted strawberries and blueberries this year also but they are a little slower to get going. I surely hope to be overrun with food in our yard though! We do have some deer that visit quite often so I may have a fight on my hands!?

Rain Barrels

This was the first rain barrel we installed. I went to a seminar put on by DNR and the city. They discussed the need, the benefits, etc and subsidized the cost. The best part about it was that it started out white. No need to paint it! I don’t like the bottom drain so much but it surely works.

My parents got some blue barrels that were originally full of vinegar. I painted them (is it that obvious?!) and hooked them up. Both drain to the location the down spouts originally fed.

Don’t forget to install a drain! I didn’t have drains at first thinking that it wouldn’t flood too bad…well, I got a lesson in how much rain runs off of a roof in a downpour. Drains are critical unless you don’t mind the water running down your foundation.

I hooked two barrels together on the side of the house where the gutter drains the largest amount of roof. I could probably use 10 barrels on that area but it wouldn’t look too hot. Anyhow, I also saw some other folks who had a contraption built to allow the first several gallons to pour out rather than go into the barrels. Basically, on mine the water goes down into the big pvc pipe which holds a small plastic ball. As it fills, the ball floats up to the neck between the big and small pipes. When it reaches the top, it seals the large vertical pipe and redirects water into the ‘y’ and down into the barrel. There is a small leak in the big pipe so it drains ‘automagically’ between downpours. The two barrels are joined together by the hose that connects the two via their spigots. I just leave both spigots open most of the time (but I can close the individually when I want to use some water). Water will level itself between the two barrels without my intervention.

I could probably use some lessons in spray painting but it blends with the house from a distance…unless you ask Emily.

First harvest from the garden

Emily worked in the garden at her grandparents’ house yesterday and picked the first garlic and broccoli of the season. Emily’s grandparents, Gene and Ruth have kept a garden at their place for 50 years or so. We have recently started helping them keep it going. We had the broccoli last night for supper and it was the most tender I’ve had in awhile. We are drying

the garlic now but I cut up some of the scapes and cooked them in some eggs

this morning. My breath is sure to keep away vampires and my co-workers…and that suits me fine! Anyhow, Emily took some excellent pictures of the garden too.

We planted 3 types of garlic last fall. We’ve never tried garlic before but it is simple to grow and tastes awesome!

We leave a little space between rows to run a narrow tiller between the rows. I guess we lose a little real estate for planting but we save a ton of time in

weeding. Broccoli came up great and tastes delicious. I never liked it as a kid but it’s one

of my favorites now. In the family tradition, the kids don’t like it now either.  Roma tomatoes seem to peel better when we make salsa. We love salsa and need to make more this year! We are already at dangerously low levels in our pantry.

We’ve had a few great rains that have really made this thing pop. We’ll be able to start eating pretty regularly from the garden from now on I think

The never ending bathroom project

Our house was built in 1939 and has a few sags and droops as anything that old would. We tore up our top-floor bathroom around Christmas time in 2007.

We’ve tried praying, cussing, crying and finally decided we’d have to go ahead and just work through the non-square corners, the rolling floors and the old plumbing. So, tonight we made some genuine progress in the last stages of the place. Please note that the toilet is no longer installed in the bathtub! We are going to put marble caps on the wood shelves on either end of the tub. We still need some trim around the windows and some other spots to be complete.