Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to syphon water from the tub to water plants with a hose

1) Put the end of the hose in the tub and turn on the hose for a minute, keeping the end under water.
2) Turn off the hose, still keeping the end under water.
3) Raise up the middle of the hose over a door or something high, window sill, etc.
4) Unscrew the end of the hose where it screws into the faucet.
5) Check at this point to see if there's suction on the end of the hose that's in the tub, always keeping it under water.
6) Once you have suction, the water should drain from the tub onto your plants! Don't let the end of the hose that's in the tub come out or you'll lose suction and you'll have to start all over.

There you have it, recycled water!

ps You can't raise the hose up high to water planters etc, you'll lose suction.
pps Must use environmentally friendly soaps, etc.

the back garden grows!

Finally the perimeter is filled with beautiful bamboo that will soon block out the view of the houses behind us. It's starting to feel so lush and private. I can lay in bed and watch the bamboo waving in the wind.

Since we remodeled our house, we have a beautiful new bathtub. I use it every day but was plagued with guilt about how much water I was wasting until my Dad clued me into the fact that I can syphon the water using our garden house and use it to water the plants!

Sophie loves playing in her playhouse, cooking up pots of flowers on her stove.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I was feeling so excited about our new back garden and then suddenly, I got stuck. Really stuck.

Our cement backyard is a real quagmire. Mark tried breaking holes in it with a sledge hammer to plant the bamboo--no dice, way too hard to even make a chip in it.

So we rented a cement saw from Home Depot. We worked on it together for a few hours, very slow going. There was definitely something we weren't doing right.

Our friend Stacy recommended a neighbor who does all kinds of handyman type jobs and he came over to help. He sawed throw the perimeter of our little cement jungle in about 2 hours. It probably would have taken us days. His name was Jesus and he indeed saved the day.

Yet, one minute Jesus was there and one minute he virtually vanished into thin air. He promised to return the following week with his sledge hammer and remove the cement but days passed, then weeks, then months, no word from Jesus.

All we had to show was a line carved in the cement but still a backyard filled with cement.

I tried to find someone else to jack hammer the cement, a recommendation from another friend. We spoke about the job, he was reluctantly interested. Maybe jack hammering is the worst job of all time and no one wants to do it? He too, disappeared and never returned my phone call again.

Then, I ran into another friend and he recommended someone else and finally our cement jungle has been liberated!

He came and jack hammered out a beautiful border that's now almost filled with plants. What a difference!

Friday, June 11, 2010

gentleman's boutonnière

Sophie and I made tiny bouquets for our friends Michael and Jimmy for their birthday party. We used the nasturtiums that sprout up every spring in our garden. We also decorated the double chocolate cake we make with flowers as well.

Our favorite Venice gentlemen wore the bouquets in their front pockets the whole party. Sophie was soooo proud!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

stripey playhouse

Mark painted these stripes on the shack in the back a few years back. Now the shack is transitioning from Mark's hangout to Sophie's playhouse AND Mark's hangout.

I decided to continue the stripes around to the other side. I also painted the flower boxes and planted them with a trailing succulent that is impossible to kill (which is great for me!)

I was a tad concerned that it was all a bit too colorful but I just kept remembering the Caribbean and how it seems that in the Carib regions there can never be too much color. It is, after all, Sophie's playhouse.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

the wall becomes a canvas

Mark mentioned that he thought I should do some sort of mural on the wall. I felt this might be a bit of overkill, as Sophie's playhouse floor already has a mural of sorts on it.

Anthropology had a beautiful painted split leaf philodendren on their window but before I could snap a pic they put up something else. I googled philodendren and found a picture to work from and painted a big one, plus a palm tree both in a lighter green. I'm really happy with it, it looks very simple and graphic and looks great peaking through the Buddha's belly bamboo I bought at home depot today.

Now I just need to get Mark to sledge hammer some holes in the cement patio. (He made the mistake of telling me the sledge hammering was easy!) The bamboo will be all around the perimeter of the back yard and will totally transform it into a tropical garden in no time!

thank god for non-toxic paint

We raised the wall! One cinderblock makes a huge difference, even Mark can't see over it now. I started painting it a sort of medium grass green. When I posted this picture, I realized it's almost the exact color of the background of my blog!

It looks soooo much better. I really want to finish BUT Sophie wakes up from her nap.

"Sophie if Mommy paints, can you not touch the wet green parts?"

Sophie- "Only the red parts, Momma"

Yeah, right. Yes, clearly I am more than a bit deluded about my daughter's ability to stay away from wet paint. We are two of a kind sometimes.

She turns to me, covered in green paint, "Momma, I am so happy!"

Me, too.