Monday, June 23, 2008

One Third - moved!

We had approximately 2/3rds of the stuff we owned in long term storage from our move across the country. We are currently renting a small 2 bedroom apartment, so most of what we owned went into storage and only the basics are in the apartment. Our plan is to be out of the storage by the end of June. As I mentioned in my last post, we rented a 17' truck on Friday to get this started. H and I managed to move better than 1/2 of what was in storage, into our new home (about 1/3 of our total stuff). This included the washer and dryer, tons and tons of boxes, an armoire, some patio furniture, a couch, a few misc pieces of furniture, tons of garage stuff, etc. H ordered a thing called a 'forearm forklift' from some internet site. It's basically two long orange straps with padded loops at each end. I looked at it and highly doubted that it would do anything for us. HOLY Amazing, Batman!! Seriously. This thing really worked. It made it possible for me to lift equally with H - and for us to get all this stuff into the house (which means up 3 steps no matter what door we enter) with relative ease. It was exhasting, but it worked! Here is a picture of it in use (no, this is not us):

We did try it on the 400lb piano without much luck. Upon reading the instructions later that evening, I think we are going to try again. We were too bent over trying to lift it, so we may still be able to do this. Can you imagine, two regular sized people (one of them female) lifting a 400lb piano? That'll be something, won't it? We'll see.

On Saturday, we helped some friends move. We took the straps with us, and they were just as amazed. It not only makes things lighter, it makes them much easier to maneuver around corners and up and down steps. Anyway, I would highly recommend them. When I searched for the above photo, I discovered that these things are at Linens & Things for only $19.99. Totally a worthwhile investment!! Anyway, the same friends will be helping us move the remaining items out of storage next weekend (including that piano). Then we'll be 2/3rds moved! The final third won't happen until July sometime - maybe even in August. We have the apartment until Sept 9th - so there is no real rush outside of our desire to get this process done and over with...

So on Sunday, we finally made it to the house with a whole day in order to do some work. We managed to finish building all of our garden boxes, got all the soil mixed (minus one little calculation error on my part) and got the plant starts we'd bought into the soil. We also got three of the 6 trellises built and up so that the tomato plants had something to hang on to... We are going back tonight to get the seeds planted and finish the trellises. I'll take pictures then and post them tomorrow.

We are using the square foot gardening method. In a nutshell, this means we are using 6 inch deep boxes (we did one that was 12 inches deep for carrots, parsnips and maybe potatoes), filled with "Mel's Mix" soil and divided them into 1 sq foot sections. Some of our boxes have trellis netting on one side (the north side) for climbing plants. We did 8 boxes (3 4x4, 4 2x4, 1 2x4 12" deep) out near the tilled garden and 3 smaller boxes on the deck (3x1) for herbs. So far, we have 6 tomato plants (different varieties), 5 pepper plants, 1 cuke, and 1 eggplant. The rest we'll grow from seeds. I'm keeping good record so that we can see how things do (including yields when the time comes). The Mel's Mix is 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 mixed compost. In order to get mixed compost (since we don't have our own ready yet), we bought 5 different kinds at various stores and mixed them all up on a tarp. Then we divided that into 4ths and mixed in the same amount of peat moss and vermiculite. We'd finished mixing half of it when we took a water break. While relaxing, I pulled out the SFG book to review how to water the mix. When I did, I realized that I'd figured out the peat moss incorrectly. I was using the compressed volume, not the expanded volume. This meant that the mix we made had approximately twice as much peat moss as necessary. Oops. We'd already dumped it into the boxes too...and since they were bottomless (essentially - weed cloth only), there was no way to dump them out and remix. We had to wing it, mixing in more vermiculite/compost by hand until we got a good ratio. What a pain (and what back-breaking work!). Eventually, we got it right. While I planted and tied up the trellis netting, H started changing locks on the house.

Tonight we'll be heading back and our plans are to:

  • get the seeds sown
  • change the locks
  • get two rooms prepped for painting (switch plates off walls, trim taped, tarp down, etc).
  • I also need to finish painting the deck boxes, get them filled and get the herbs planted.

I think we can get this done tonight! Ultimately, we want to get the guest room, living room, basement office, kitchen and laundry room painted before this weekend. That'll leave the two bathrooms, the dinning room and the master bedroom still to paint prior to moving everything from the apartment. And, the exertior will be the first big project after we move in. We'll need to replace some siding to do that, we are waiting until we are living there before starting.

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