Tag Archive: gardening

My new job is going really really well. I’ve been there for almost exactly a month. Maybe a month and two days if I remember correctly. I’m very overqualified so I have a lot of time on my hands. I’m treating this position like the character Andy Sachs in The Devil Wears Prada. My boss is slightly similar to Miranda Priestly, in that she gives you very little time to get a project done, and she has very high expectations but doesn’t give you much in the way of instructions. My shift supervisor struggles with that a lot and she and my manager often bump heads because of it. So far I’ve handled everything thats been thrown at me pretty much flawlessly, and I’ve also done a few smaller projects that my manager doesn’t know about. I just recently finished compiling all of the files for a store manual, since our store was the only one that had a copy of it and it was extremely outdated. It was handed off to my manager for review yesterday so we’ll see what she has to say!

in other news, we almost put Sam down last week. His health has seriously declined over the last two years and he’s had this awful tumor growing on the back of his neck. He regularly scratched at it to the point that it would start bleeding profusely. I came home at least 5 different times to a small pool of blood on the floor, with drips of it throughout the house. My mom has been refusing to take him into the vet on the grounds that she can’t afford to take care of him, which has infuriated me to no end. Finally I told her I was taking him in with or without her, with the intention of putting him down. She came with and the vet said he was actually just in a lot of pain from arthritis and his tumor was infected. They told us years ago that it was benign and we didn’t need to worry about it, so we never had it removed.

We took home a weeks worth of pain meds and antibiotics to try out, and if we didn’t see his health or mood improving we would put him down. He recovered very quickly and the vet advised I give him a bath. I did but it irritated his infection and he scratched it open more than he’s ever done before. So I decided enough was enough and I took him in to have it removed myself, since my mom refused to do anything about it. He had the operation done yesterday and has a very large cut on the back of his neck to show for it. Believe it or not it actually looks better than the tumor. He’s been very subdued because of the pain meds he’s on, but he’s definitely getting his personality back and I expect he’ll be much happier once he’s healed up. We have to keep a T shirt on him until the wound has healed so he doesn’t scratch it open, and so far he hasn’t touched it. He hasn’t eaten today but he did drink some water this morning.

All of our dogs were actually due for checkups, so I took all four in at once the day before Sam’s surgery. Everyone needed their shots updated and we also got flea meds and some chew sticks to help fight plaque. It’s been an unbelievably expensive couple of days, but everyone will be happier and healthier, so it was worth it.

And since I’ve been so responsible with all of the dogs I felt I deserved a treat, so I went out and bought 72 stepping stones to make a pathway from our patio to the staircase in the garden. I’m still about 15 bricks short, but I have to wait until I deposit my paycheck until I go buy those. Even though its not finished it has made a dramatic improvement to the yard. It cuts the lawn almost completely in half and covers the most damaged part of it, so it makes the lawn look healthier than it is. We’ve been talking about putting in a pathway for years but my mom has never “had the funding for it”. She regularly uses that as an excuse to not do things, since so far this project has only cost me $87.51, and we spend twice that on eating out every month. Once all the bricks are down I think the total cost will be right around $120.

My mom and I have continued to grow more and more distant over the last year. I have a really hard time talking with her because she says no to almost every idea I have. I think of her more as a roommate than as a mom at this point. I don’t trust her to make good decisions so I don’t go to her for advice on anything, and I haven’t talked to her about how I feel about anything since I was probably a child. I’m really mad at her for how she’s handled Sam’s health. Every time my sister and I brought it up my mom automatically made it about her and how she didn’t want us to deal with her in her old age the way we were trying to deal with Sam.

This whole Sam thing has been very stressful for me though, and she hasn’t really seemed to realize that. I would rather have put him down than have had him suffer through like he was doing before we took him to the vet. He will be on the equivalent of ibuprofen for the rest of his life to combat his arthritis, but I suppose that’s fine. He does seem happier, and I had forgotten what he was like when he was playful.

I’ve grown really close to two of my coworkers from Starbucks, but I still feel very isolated and alone. I’m at this really annoying stage where I make enough money that I don’t need anything from my mom, but I don’t make enough money to move out and be entirely independent. I’m hoping a newer, better position comes up in the company I’m working for and that I can hire into it quickly. I’m technically supposed to stay there for a year but if something better comes up then I’m not sticking around.

Anyway, I really have to get going. I start work in an hour and I have to run to the bank. Thanks for reading!

For whatever reason over the last few weeks my neighbors have become increasingly rude to me and my family. It started with issues surrounding the replacement of their lawn, and has gotten worse. A week or so ago they decided that having a few mushrooms and a bump or two in their lawn was too much, so they sprayed the entire thing with herbicide to kill it. Before they did this I asked them not to and explained that it was a terrible idea for many reasons. In the hopes that they would decide not to kill it I asked if I could have their lawn before it was sprayed. I hate lawns, but it was a perfectly healthy one and there was no reason to get rid of it. I was rudely told no and they sprayed their lawn anyway. They are going to rip it up and throw it out, and they will be bringing in lots of compost to level the ground and make it easier for grass to grow. I have no problem with the compost bit, I just don’t understand why it has to be ripped up. Anyway, that’s just where things start going south.

A few days ago I was out shoveling wood chips. I have gotten a lot of them moved in the last few weeks and have been working extremely hard to make this garden look great. Over the course of this year we had probably more than 12 yards of them delivered, and I’ve moved probably 10 of them out of the driveway. So, I was moving wood chips a few days ago, when my neighbors husband comes out and sees what I’m doing. He immediately asks if I have a special type of broom, which I don’t because I have no need for one. He then goes down to his garage and comes back to sweep my driveway, while I’m working. He doesn’t want any wood chips in his driveway and they all run down the street when it rains into his driveway and the driveway of the person who lives at the bottom of the hill. And by hill I mean maybe 50 feet of minimal incline. When all of these wood chips wash out they get in that persons driveway, and then they wash up into his garage, and he has to sweep his garage when that happens. First of all, I know that there are no wood chips that have gotten down that far because if you look down the street its completely clean. Second of all, this house at the bottom of the hill has problems every year because the water and leaves and everything run into his driveway. He came up to talk to me once to tell me that all of the water I was using to wash my car was getting in his driveway. And I wasn’t even washing my car, lol. It was the people two houses up. If your driveway floods that much, then you need to take it up with the city, not me. Anyway, because of this “major” issue my neighbor felt the need to clean up my driveway while I was making it messy.

And last but not least, the bumblebee issue. Several days ago my neighbors realized that bumblebees had moved into their birdhouse. They decided this was a very serious problem because the birdhouse is next to their clothing line, and they didn’t want the bed bothering them while they were hanging up the clothing. Even though they knew the bees wouldn’t sting them, and there had been no issue with the bees so far. They decided that killing them was the best option. They texted me first to ask if I wanted them, but said that if I couldn’t move them then they were going to spray them. I was beyond furious. Bumblebees are right at the brink of being on the endangered species list, and populations have been declining for years. These bees were by no means in the way, and they weren’t causing any harm. Be a decent human being and leave them alone. They won’t be there again come next year. As soon as I got home I quickly researched how to move a bumblebee nest. It seemed fairly simple, and come dusk I moved them into my garden while my neighbors were gone.

During this whole bumblebee thing my mom was becoming more and more agitated with me. She acted as though all of the problems with the neighbors were somehow my fault. As the evening progressed she became more agitated and decided that the only way to fix things was to get all of the wood chips out of the driveway. While I was moving the bumblebees she moved wood chips to the back yard and demanded that I help move them once I was done. This made me more annoyed because I worked a 7 hour day yesterday and I was sore and tired. I had no desire to do any kind of yard work, and was only doing the bumblebee thing because if I didn’t they would’ve been killed. My mom eventually asked me to haul wood chips up to the top of the stairs, and at that point I refused to do any more work. Hauling wood chips is really hard work, and hauling them up the equivalent of two flights of stairs is even harder. I told her that if she wanted the wood chips up there she was more than welcome to do it herself. This naturally meant that we were done hauling wood chips because I refused to do any heavy lifting. I think it was outrageous of my mom to ask me to do that after I had just worked the longest shift of my week. I appreciate that she works longer than I do, but she is sitting for 95% of that time, whereas I’m on my feet and mobile all day. I was sore and tired and my back hurt and I wanted to do nothing more than sit. Heavy lifting was the exact opposite of my plans for the evening.

In conclusion, my neighbors have decided to become excessively rude and per usual everything is my fault. It’s always so bizarre to me that this is the case, because I saved my mom literally more than $250 by getting these wood chips. Never mind the fact that the garden looks the best its ever looked. Never mind the fact that I have done 95% of the work to get it to look this way. Never mind the fact that I have come home from work and gone straight into the back yard to get it all done. I “could just be doing a little more”. Apparently having two jobs, an internship, and spending most of my free time gardening isn’t doing enough. She’s driving me crazy. I want to just build a big fence around my whole yard and put up a “do not disturb” sign on the gate. 

I’m a little overwhelmed with work. I hate not knowing how to do things that are required of me, and I’m really frustrated that its taking me so long to learn. There are so many drinks to remember and I get really flustered at work because I feel like I’m drowning in all of the information. I go into a kind of ‘absorb mode’, so if anyone asks me anything I sound completely stupid because I can’t remember it. I can tell you how to make a latte when I’m at home, but ask me at work and you can forget it. I’ve only been told once how many pumps of syrup go into each drink. And of course there are difference rules for macchiatos (i think?), which just completely throws me off. I wish I could take everything home with me so I could practice/learn in an environment where there isn’t a time crunch and a long line at all times. 

And I haaaaate how wasteful it all is. On Friday I got to help close, and on fridays the display cases are emptied because letting the food sit out over the weekend to get old is somehow bad? Virtually nothing can be given away because it all has the starbucks logo on it (?) so all of the food just gets thrown out. But because my manager is more relaxed than most she lets the employees take things home if they want. I took home everything that no one else wanted. Two garbage bags full. It was probably 40lbs of food. And it was all completely edible because its all wrapped individually. So I gave some away to my neighbors, to my sisters friends, and we’ve been eating through it over the weekend. I tried all the vegetarian options so that I can finally recommend things to people when they ask. All of the pastries were thrown into my worm bin today because there were just too many of them for us, and I’ve been slowly putting the sandwiches into the yard waste bin. I have a friend who works at a different store and she said there’s a goal of 7% pastry waste. This baffles me to no end. There’s actually a company wide goal to waste 7% of the products????? How does this make sense to annnnyyyyyone????? UGH.

Today I slept for 12 hours and finally had the energy to work outside. It was a decent temp out and wasn’t raining, so I didn’t want to waste the opportunity by staying inside. I took all of the worms out of my worm bin and placed them in a small plastic tub. I couldn’t believe how many worms there were. All of the uneaten food in the bin was moved to the back corner, and then I shoveled out as much dirt as I could. There’s a tree growing a few feet in front of the bin, as well as a very large rhododendron growing behind it and next to it. As a result there were a great deal of roots in the bottom of the bin where all the finished compost is. I had to use the shovel to chop through them, and then I shook them out and threw them on top of the food pile so the worms could eat them once I put them back. I filled a wheelbarrow and a half with all the finished compost I took out. It got spread out on one of the raised beds I made last year. The one that isn’t finished and has nothing growing in it because the fava beans I planted last year died over the winter. Once that was done I threw all of the pastries from work into the bin and then put the worms on top of those. The pastries shouldn’t take long to break down. I kind of feel like I’m gonna need to start eating more vegetables to feed all these worms. I can’t believe how many there are.

I went back inside once I finished that task, and it started raining again not long after. It rained nonstop for a few days, and there’s definitely a lot of flooding going on. My mom is really worried about sinkholes around the house. I can’t see that happening anywhere because we have so many plants next to the house that the roots should keep us safe from that. I’d really like to put in a rain garden somewhere, but the only place we really could put it would be right in the middle of the lawn. And that wouldn’t be ok with my mom I don’t think. We definitely need a greener garden though! We get more flowers every year but I still don’t feel like its enough. I don’t think I’ll be happy until the entire lawn is gone and the whole yard is completely packed with plants. And that won’t happen any time soon. The good news is that I did go plant shopping today! We got some mixed greens and kale for the garden, as well as a few random herbs that we’ll probably never use but will make the garden smell nicer and help distract pests. We also bought a bunch of different seeds but because its raining so much its too wet to plant them.

Ok i’m going to sign off now so I can finish my application to Evergreen and be on track to get a degree in environmental sciences. Making coffee for the rest of my life is absolutely not an option, and (I can’t believe I’m actually about to say this) I miss school.

Job Update

I got the job at starbucks! I got a call on monday asking about a second interview on tuesday. The interview was really boring, and the person I interviewed with was exceedingly dull. His face never changed and he didn’t seem interested in anything I had to say. Towards the end of the interview he asked me something along the lines of “what makes a good shopping experience a great one?” and I responded that a smile and some charisma make a big difference. He didn’t give any indication that he recognized I was teasing him. I got a call on wednesday from the first manager I interviewed with first to say that the second manager thought I was “awesome” and that they (the first manager) would love to hire me. So I’ll be starting on march 3rd. I’ll be there going over paperwork and training from 10-3. I’m not very excited to be working at starbucks, but I am excited to have a job. I need the money and with an extra income we can finally start investing in our garden properly. Spring and early summer are great because the garden is lush and full of flowers, but come mid summer the garden turns brown and stays a dust bowl until the rains come again. I’m hoping the wood chips make a difference and that that we keep the flowers around a bit longer. I would like to get some more trailing plants to cover up some of the rockery in an effort to cool the garden down. I planted a native mock orange start from my internship last year, and I think it may have taken. If it has then it will definitely cool a few square feet of space and provide some food for the birds and bees. I think its a really pretty plant.



I woke up this morning feeling a little worried about my math final. I had meant to get up early and study a little bit, but that didn’t really happen. When I did wake up, I found this wonderful message on my phone.


I haven’t spoken to him in… 9 months now? I don’t know why he felt the need to text me this. It really didn’t bother me at all, but I did ask my mom if she had any idea where this was coming from, which took up a bit of my morning. I ended up not having any time to study at home, but got to class a little early a reviewed my notes. I just checked my final grades online and I got a B for my Math class, so I think I did ok on the final!

Once I got out of class I checked my phone, and I had a message from my aunt H, who really isn’t all that affectionate to anyone ever even though she’s a total mom. She said “Hey. I hope you know you’re a good kid. There are people out there in the world who love and believe in you. Keep it going’!” Things like this don’t happen in my family at all, and certainly not to me or from her, so it really hit me kind of hard. I ended up crying in my car for a good 15 minutes before I could drive home, haha. I’ve been feeling really crumby again, in kind of a new way, in that I’m not completely suicidal, but I still think about suicide often and really hate myself. I’m a little bit more upbeat now or something though…?? I don’t know how to explain it. Anyway, it meant a lot to get that message from my aunt. Its something I don’t feel like I’ve ever really gotten to experience before; having family members make an effort to reach out and help you, even if its something as simple as a text like this. I don’t really have anyone in my family I can talk to about things because we’re all so different. And I’m the most different from everyone haha, so relating isn’t always easy.

As for my dad’s text, I’m more upset by the fact that this genuinely made me laugh and didn’t make me upset at all. Like, this is a really hurtful text and instead of being offended by it I think it’s funny. That’s how messed up my life has been, because of him even, that this vicious attack towards me did nothing more than tickle me. I walked around my house for a while just kind of laughing to myself because I thought this text was so ridiculous. I wasn’t sad at all, and that made me sad, until my aunt said anything to me, lol. And even then, I was crying because she had been nice to me, not because my dad had been horrible.

Anyway, school’s done and once Monday roles around I can have a day to myself to just sit and think. My Botany final was on Wednesday. It was beyond ridiculous. We had to spend three hours in a lab looking at samples of  100 plants in test tubes and beakers. We had to list the Family, Genus, Species, and Common name for each, for a total of 400 points. It was a bit intense, haha. My brain was fried for the rest of the day. Thankfully my internship that day consisted of a walk through Issaquah and hearing about the history of the town. I love its location, but from what I heard about its start-up and the population stats I looked at online, it sounds a bit close-minded to me. Which is a shame, because I love my internship and Issaquah is probably my favorite city in Washington. It’s so pretty, and is surrounded by lush evergreen hills that form a valley which ends with a view of Mt Rainier.

Let’s see… oh! My mom had friends over for dinner on Saturday. They got drunk and relived the glory days of their drug filled youths. It was rather dull. Somehow they got on the discussion of rabies though, and I quoted a fact about how squirrels (for the most part) don’t actually get rabies themselves, they just carry it. At this point my mother proceeded to say I was autistic, and she wasn’t drunk at all. It was great fun. I went to bed at midnight because I had been interning from 8-4 that day. I spent most of it talking about beekeeping. I bring in a couple of empty hive boxes and my suit and tools, and set up a little table and talk about bees to whoever seems interested. I also bring the package the bees came in this year, and pieces of wax with eggs in them and a couple queen cells from last years hive. One woman came back especially to hear about my bees, since her husband sprays everything in their yard and she’s trying to teach her kids why that’s bad. I told her to bring him to the garden, which she didn’t sound too confident about, lol. After interning I went with the rest of the garden “staff” to a hindu (????) temple where we had installed a ‘food digester’. This time we got to go in and have some fresh rice pudding, and go upstairs to the… worship hall? Alter? I don’t know anything about religion. It was the prayer room and had 7 statues of the deities of the temple, as well as a guru who brought their specific beliefs over from India in the 60’s. It was really elaborate a beautiful. And very calming.

Who knows what I’ll do tomorrow. We’re supposed to spend most of the day handing out tote bags to promote Issaquah’s new ban on plastic bags. It should be fun!

A Big Day At The Barn

Yesterday was the busiest day at my internship so far. We had 65 volunteers and an unknown number of people coming through the garden for the farmers market on the other side of the barn. It was a lot of fun. I was there from 8:20 to 2:40. We had a watering station for the kids, as well as a bean planting station and a small gardening area, with lemon balm for them to play with. Eventually we ran out of things for the adults to do and sent them all to the willow/woodland area behind the barn. The three of us who were in charge, (my supervisor, and the other intern and I) all told the group how to weed, and what to weed, but people ended up just mowing through the place like goats. They filled an entire bin with just the leaves of buttercups. We’re not really sure how else to tell people to weed, because the three of us have all tried our own different methods of explaining it and none of them have worked. Oh well.

Thankfully it was only in the upper 70s. I can’t believe how hot its been this year. I think the hottest day so far was 86. Thats end of July weather normally. The grass is already turning brown! We’re expecting rain for the next week, which we really need. I threatened to take the hose out today because even though it rained a little last night, things are still painfully dry.

Let’s see. I have a camping trip to go to for my plant ID course next saturday. I refuse to go. A, the girl from my Bite Me 2.0 course, will more than likely be getting drunk and doing drugs. Actually, a fair percentage of the class will be doing that. Most everyone will be drinking for sure, including the teacher. I have no interest in any of that, so I’m going to stay home and go to my internship. Which I actually have to do anyway, because we’re going to have a group of 20+ coming in. But even if I didn’t have my internship, I wouldn’t go! lol.