My Small, Happy Garden

sidewalk garden

Sorry, folks! I know I’ve been neglecting things here. Life has gotten away from me a little bit.

We’re still in our current place through late in the year. While it’s certainly not permanent, I’ve felt in a “nesting” mood, so decided to start a little garden. But, of course, there are limitations. I can’t go tearing up the yard or doing anything permanent, so I’ve decided to start my garden in pots. When you start reading some about gardening, it’s amazing how much you can grow in a small space.

I’ve started conservatively with eight pots. I don’t want to go crazy, and I’m not trying to make a HUGE project for myself right now, so I though eight sounded like a nice, round number to start with. Eight pots let me grow a variety of things and learn along the way while (hopefully) giving us some lovely fresh veggies.

I’ve started out with a handful of herbs. I wanted mint for mojitos and mint chocolate chip ice cream and because it smells like heaven. Mint also supposedly grows like wildfire, so I thought it would be difficult for me to mess up. I’m also growing basil—again, because it smells good, and because I think it tastes like summer. Some oregano and lavender (it attracts bees) rounds out my oh-so-fabulous herb collection.

Then come the veggies. I love the idea of heirloom vegetables, but it’s hard to know where to start. I also waited until late in the season to decide to start my little garden, so my options were more limited. I wanted to try our cherry tomatoes because I thought they would be well-suited to pots, but the garden center didn’t have any left. Instead, I went with Roma tomatoes (should go well with the basil and some nice mozzarella) and a much larger kind called Mortgage Lifter. I’ve never tried Mortgage Lifter before, and I don’t know how a larger tomato will do growing in a pot, so this is an experiment.

In addition to my tomatoes, I’m trying to grow cucumbers and pole beans. I didn’t realize how big cucumber vines would grow. These things really sprawl! They also attract a certain kind of bug that likes to eat them. It presents a challenge, but I’m hoping to get a few viable cucumbers out of it. The beans are an interesting plant, too. They grow upward, so they don’t require that much room at the base. It’s fun to watch them grow so far, but I might need to plant more if I really want to get enough to make real dishes from them.

It’s a small garden, but I really do love it. It’s nice to have a reason to go outside and enjoy the weather and fresh air. At the same time, it’s not so large that it takes up all my time and energy. I’m looking forward to seeing how things go.

Vacuums, Lawnmowers, and Toasters, Oh My!

stand mixer in kitchen

We’ve finally made a decision. No, we haven’t quite decided whether to rent or buy, but we have decided we’re done with apartment living. Now, where we live depends on what we can find. Our lease is up this year, and if we can’t find a house we’d love to buy, we’ll at least find a house we can rent. I’m excited about the idea of having more space, and I’m already planning my shopping list.

Things for our new space

Soon I’ll be a dog mom, and dogs come with hair. And I have allergies. So, my plan is to research the best HEPA vacuum we can find in hopes of keeping the floors clean and the air free from dander. I’ve had a lot of issues with dirt and allergens in the past, so I’m hopeful that this kind of HEPA vacuum will do the trick for us. It should be bagless, have great suction, and trap almost everything. I’m weirdly excited.

Whether we rent or buy a house, a lawn is in our immediate future. That means that we’ll need a lawnmower quite soon. I can’t say that I’m thrilled about this aspect of being in a house, but it’s kind of a necessary evil. I hope that we can find a postage stamp yard that will give us a little room to have a table and chairs outside but not a place so big that we have to spend hours every weekend dealing with yardwork.

Espresso machine
I love coffee. I’ve always made do with a drip coffee machine supplemented by the occasional Starbucks, but it’s my dream to have a real espresso machine. The one I want is nearly twice the size of my regular coffee maker, so I need to wait until we have more counter space. I’m counting the days on this purchase! Vanilla lattes, here I come!

Stand Mixer
A lot of people feel like stand mixers are the registry holy grail. They’re expensive as can be an take up a lot of room. Honestly, I don’t know where I’ll find a ton of time to bake (what other things do you mix?), but I feel like I owe it to myself to see what all the hype is about.

Good toaster oven
I often find myself with leftovers when I come home from restaurants or simply with too much food from a home cooking project (cooking for one isn’t always easy). And there are many things that don’t reheat well in microwaves—namely pieces of meat or dishes that have a lot of bread. Those just tend to get hard and gross, even if you’re careful with the microwaving time. Toaster ovens work so much better for this kind of thing. However, as with espresso machines, they take up a lot of room. Can’t wait for my bigger kitchen!

To Rent or Buy a Home? That is the Question

moving box and key

Lately, we have been wrestling with a big question—now that we’re getting married (and getting more stuff), will we continue rеnting оr is it finally time to buy a house? Whісh is a bеttеr сhоісе financially and for hаvіng a dесеnt ѕhеltеr, соmе rain оr ѕhіnе? There is so much conflicting information. In ѕеаrсh fоr аnѕwеrѕ, we’ve соmе асrоѕѕ dіffеrеnt statistics аnd studies ѕhоwіng оff реrѕресtіvеѕ bаѕеd оn thе nаtіоnаl есоnоmу. And while that’s all well and good, ultimately it’s a personal decision. These are just a few of the questions we’ve been asking ourselves.

How stable are we?
Bасkеd bу ѕеvеrаl ѕurvеуѕ, rеntіng оr buying a hоuѕе іѕ ѕресіfісаllу аnсhоrеd оn реrѕоnаl lіfеѕtуlе. Thеrе аrе реорlе whо lіkе tо move аrоund, trаvеl to рlасеѕ, аnd get tо knоw mоrе реорlе tо еxреrіеnсе аdvеnturе аnd tо аdd dіvеrѕіtу tо thеіr lіvеѕ. Thеrе аrе реорlе who on thе bаѕіѕ of еѕtаblіѕhіng fаmіlу lіfе, аrе mоrе іnсlіnеd to put down roots somewhere. Thus, renting оr buying dереndѕ оn whеthеr you’re a frеԛuеnt mоvеr оr a ѕtеаdу dwеllеr. We love travel and new experiences, but we’re also leaning towards roots, so we’re a bit conflicted.

How much can we really afford?
Rental prices in the area where we want to be are pretty high. Interestingly, that may mean that we could actually save money buying a house. If we can find a deal where our mortage payment is roughly comparable to our rent, once you take into account the mortgage tax credit we may come out ahead. Plus that would mean we’re no longer “throwing away” money.

house for sale

How interested are we in more projects?
Many homes near us are on the older side. So far, much of what we’ve found hasn’t really been renovated. That means, if we do buy, we’re likely to have a lot of work in front of us. That is definitely one point that makes buying not very appealing.

Whеrе are our lives headed?
No big deal. Just a small question. No readily available answers on this one.

Whеthеr we end up renting оr buуіng, I think it’s time to consult a rеаl еѕtаtе аgеnt. At least that way we’ll get some good advice on рrісеs, location, and the work we would have to put in to have a home that we want.