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Slow page loads

For anyone else who has noticed that the site is suddenly taking an extra long time — a good 30 seconds or so — to load, I thought I would mention that I aware of it and am researching the cause. It seems to be more noticable in Firefox than in IE, for whatever reason. I recently added a Petfinder ‘Featured Pet’ block to the sidebar and thought that might be the cause, but when I remove it, it doesn’t load any faster.

Anyway, I *am* aware of it and looking into the cause. When I get a chance I am going to upgrade WordPress from 2.1 to 2.2 and see if that helps, but first I have to back everything up and make sure all my plugins are compatible with 2.2.

Things just kinda got out of hand

This year, we decided that it would be nice to have a small garden… a few herbs, and maybe a tomato plant or two? We had an ugly empty spot in front of the porch that we’d been meaning to dig the gravel out of and fill in with dirt, and it seemed like the perfect place to put our garden. That was all well and good until we actually tried it, and discovered that the top layer of loose gravel covered a densely packed layer of gravel of indeterminate depth. We hacked at it with hoes and spades for about an hour before realizing it was time for a ‘plan B’.

Plan B was to box in the garden. We took measurements and headed off to Lowe’s (the first of many trips) and bought some 10″ wide boards. The garden is 5′ x 10′ held together with screws. We figured we could use dirt from last years compost pile and the old pond area but after hauling about ten wheelbarrows’ worth we ran out of steam — and dirt. Back to Lowe’s it was a few days later, and it took ten bags of garden soil, an entire bale of peat moss, and five big bags of mulch to fill and cover the space. We already had our rosemary plant that had moved several times with us as well as a pepper plant and a few chives from Joy’s mom. I somehow came back from a trip to the grocery store with a giant hanging basket of flowers, and another trip to Lowe’s for supplies yielded a tomato plant, some dill, spearmint, and some cinnamon basil.


We also filled the old stump in our front yard with soil and planted some caladium and coleus in it. We hoed along the outer fenceline and sowed zinnia and wildflower seeds. We transplanted a wild rose and a forsythia bush from the pond area to our fenceline (this was after the adjacent property was to be sold and we were worried they would just get bulldozed) and transplanted some sort of ornamental grass in the crevice along the outside of the box garden.


There was an herb fair at the Farmer’s Market and we came back from there with sweet basil, oregano, catnip, lemon thyme, two different kinds of lavender, cilantro, and four each of jalapeno and habanero pepper plants. With the plants that separated out from the hanging basket (several each of four different kinds) the box garden was now filled to capacity. We were done… or so we thought.

… and then Joy’s mom brought us a tray brimming with baby tomato plants and other stuff. And after that one of my bosses offered me a four-pack tray of tomato plants (there was actually a fifth hiding in there) and I figured “what the heck, I’ll already be planting more anyway.” The front yard was full so we decided to start in on the back yard. We used the foundation from the shed we tore down as kind of a framework, hoeing up the red clay dirt between the boards and adding garden soil and peat moss to it. Then the planting began and I got a good look at just how many tomatoes we had. We now have a total of 26 of them, counting the one up front. Plus more parsley, cilantro, dill, and some sort of mystery seedlings that are still too small to identify. And somehow I came home from the grocery store with purple basil… like I said, things just kinda got out of hand.


We don’t get real good sun in the backyard so it remains to be seen how well the tomatoes will do there. The basil is already thriving. As luck would have it, it’s been a terribly dry spring so I forsee a lot of water-hauling in our future. But we’re already enjoying the fresh herbs in our cooking and if things go well there will be lots of salsa, homemade spaghetti sauce, and pesto to look forward to.