Wednesday, March 31, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week 5

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I kind of skipped Week 4 on the flash. What can I say, it was my birthday week and the week where I returned to work and I just didn't find myself with much free time. Plus I really don't use the flash unless I have to or if someone else is using my camera to take a picture. Otherwise it stays off half the time. I even made it through the last few days of my DC trip when I "dropped" my camera and the flash broke. It could have been a ghost hanging out in the church or the hotel that we were looking at though. It really did just fly out of my hands.

Week 5 is all about composition. The lesson offers up these 6 tips:

Tip#1 -- Keep it Simple by eliminating the distractions in your photos.
Tip#2 -- Apply the Rule of Thirds - Our eyes are naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds of the way up (or over) on a photo. Compose your photo so that your subject(s) or action is located at one of the intersecting points rather than in the middle, or dead center, of the image.
Tip#3 -- Keep an Eye on the Horizon - Place the horizon about 2/3 of the way up on the photo to keep the focus on what is below it(such as land or water) or position the horizon about 1/3 of the way up on the photo if you want the focus to be on what is above it (the sky.)
Tip#4 -- Frame your subject by using elements in the foreground of your photo to frame the center of interest.
Tip#5 -- Fill the Frame - Allow your subject to dominate the picture. This can also be done by editing later on.
Tip#6 -- Try a New Perspective by shooting vertically rather than horizontally or getting down on pets or kids level when you're shooting them.

Like Meredith did and because I'm also tight on time this week (why I'm posting late on Wednesday night) I went through some of my old pictures to look for examples of composition.

I like this one of Brandi. She's definitely the focus, but the Capitol building makes for a great backdrop. I actually think I shot this in Auto so I'm not sure how I achieved the whole low aperture type shot, but I did.

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I came back with a million pictures of the Washington Monument, all set up like this

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but on the day of our visit I actually laid down (Hey look! It's a tourist!) for a change in perspective.

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With a little editing I filled the frame with my mischievous nephew.

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Composition isn't something I think a lot about. Most my pictures are of outings and get togethers. When I have the opportunity to do it though (travel, special events) I do try a little harder.

Next week we'll be halfway through the project and will work on shooting indoors.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

John's Ten on Tuesday


1. What television character do you identify with?
Jack Bauer. Because he is awesome, he loves his family, and people always tell me that I resemble him. (I honestly get this like once a week, for better or worse)

2. Describe your morning routine.
Alarm at 6:45. Snooze to 7. Let the dogs out. Pee, then start coffee. Get dressed for work, then eat some breakfast. Feed the dogs and let them in. Use the bathroom one last time, kiss the wife and out the door by 7:45.

3. How do you do lunch? Bring from home or dine out? Same thing every day or mix it up?
I usually eat fast food unless I am working near home. I try to mix it up everyday, but I find that I eat a lot of hamburgers. There are a ton of great burger joints in the areas that I work, and I never seem to get tired of eating them.

4. What is one moment that, although seemingly trivial at the time, changed your life?
Getting Reese (our first dog) from the Humane Society. She really helped to cement the bond between Faith and I and although it was a bit of a spontaneous decision, Reese is my best friend now.

5. Name your top three beauty products.
Soap, Shampoo, ummmm..... toothpaste. Oh, I also use hair junk. I think it is Tea Tree styling something-or-other.

6. What do you do when you’re alone in the car?
Sing, Dance, and play all the instruments that I am hearing. (aka, air Drums, air Guitar, air Bass, air Keyboards) Although to be totally honest, I do this in the car if I am alone or have passengers.

7. What is the ideal city for you to live in? If you can, take this survey.
I think San Antonio it a pretty good spot for me. The weather is a little hot for my taste, but we are pretty well sheltered from anything too harsh, as well as most natural disasters. There is really good food here, but I do sometimes wish that I could see the ocean more. I LOVE living near the beach.

8. Are you waiting for something?

4:45pm. That is usually when my workday is over and my real life begins.

9. What was the last shocking news you heard?
Nothing really shocks me anymore. I guess I have become desensitized to celebrity scandal, and there is no end to evil in the world, so nothing really takes me by surprise.

10. What are three things you wouldn’t do for a million dollars?

Kill someone I love.
Spend my life in prison/ kill myself. (what use is all that money then?)
Become a republican. (Zing!)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fiesta and Baby Bake

I cracked up at Alyssa's comment about her thinking the title of my last post was my way of saying we were pregnant. Which by the way we're not.

Since I talk about Oyster Bake, Baby Bake, Fiesta, NIOSA and even King William on here I guess I should take a second to explain it and brag about how fun living in San Antonio can be this time of year.

Fiesta started in the late 1800s with the Battle of the Flowers parade. The parade honors the heroes from the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. It's now the second largest parade in the US behind the Rose Bowl parade.

Additional parades were added in later years to include the Flambeau parade and the Cavaliers River parade. There are also various Kings and Queens for different Fiesta events. The Order of the Alamo Queens have these amazing dresses. You can see some of them here.

Night in Old San Antonio is probably the Fiesta event that lasts the longest. It's put on by the San Antonio Historical Society and honors all the different nationalities that settled in San Antonio. There's a ton of different foods and music.

Fiesta is now a 10 day event held every April. Different communities (like King William, Taste of the Northside, etc) put on events to raise money for different things. That's where Oyster Bake started. I went to St. Mary's University which is where Oyster Bake is held. It started off as a gathering of alumni and grew into an official Fiesta event in 1974. Over 100,000 people visit the tiny campus and the money goes towards scholarships for students. For homecoming we hold a Homecoming Oyster Bake otherwise known as Baby Bake. John and I do make jokes about roasting babies and usually ask how we want our baby cooked, things like that. It's all a bunch of food on a stick, oysters and beer. No babies are harmed during the event.

So that's Fiesta. Oyster Bake is on the 17th. Not sure what other events we're going to this year. I'd like to go to Cornynation, but I've heard the tickets are already sold out. It's a drag show that makes fun of various Fiesta events.

Baby Bake

Baby Bake was this weekend. I love Baby Bake because I get to see old friends, but it also means that Fiesta is right around the corner!

John and I hit up the chicken on a stick stand

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and the roasted corn.

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John also had sausage on a stick. This year Blue Moon was on the beer menu, but it's just not the same without an orange slice. I wonder if that's what we'll serve this year over Linenkugel. Guess we'll see in a few weeks at Oyster Bake!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Birthday Celebration

My birthday started off great. I slept in until about 11:30 and woke up to find a sweet card from John

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and then later there was a knock on the door and I got flowers from Virginia.

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That night we headed to Houlihan's for happy hour. They have fantastic deals and all night happy hour drink prices so if you haven't gone there - go!

Here's the group. Thank you all for coming out to celebrate with me!

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My drink of choice for the evening. I love this wine, but cannot find it ANYHERE in stores.

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Kate was really mean and bought Erin and I birthday shots :)

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Deanna also has a March birthday

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She also got me the cutest gift bag ever

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I got a bottle of wine and the cutest wine charms ever and a gift card.

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Here's me, Lauren and Julie

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and me and the hubs

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The cake was a flourless cake so Deanna could have some (no wheat for her). It was my first attempt at one and it turned out ok. The cake is just REALLY rich.

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We left the dogs outside when we left and it kind of rained a bit. We knew there'd be some muddy paws, but Rufus? Rufus looked like this

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Not the worse that we've ever seen, but the mud on the face? How did he get mud on his face?

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So despite the muddy dog that required a full bath, it was a great birthday!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me


28 whole years today.
A happy birthday goes out to a couple other bloggers today as well. Happy Birthday Kristal and Kari!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday


1. When you were a senior in high school, what career did you think you’d choose? Did you? Why or why not?
I thought I'd be a vet. I can't handle blood and guts though and when you add that to dying animals there was just no way.

2. What one thing about the “real world” did you find most surprising once you were on your own?
That what I learned in school in NO WAY prepared me for the real world or a real job.

3. Name 3 things you think your closest friends DON’T like about you.
Hmmm.....that's a tough one. They're probably too scared to tell me.....Kidding. Maybe. The one thing that does comes to mind is that I tell it as it is. Sometimes people hate that and sometimes it's what they need to hear. Sometimes I'm the last to know something because of this. I can also be a bit bossy. It's the control freak in me. That could be a third thing. Of course I see none of those things as bad things. That could also be a 4th thing....

4. In order to sleep, do you need background noise or absolute quiet?
I can sleep through whatever. As long as the noise isn't something totally annoying I'm good.

5. Why do you choose to reside in your current city? Yes, you have a choice
Well I came here for school and just stayed. I really like San Antonio. It has great weather, it's small yet large enough. Centrally located and close yet far enough from all my family. Plus people love to visit here.

6. Are you close to your parents?
I've become closer to them each year. Same with my brothers.

7. What is your favorite fiction book? Poem? Blog?
Hmmm....I don't have a favorite. This drives John crazy because I can't name a favorite of anything. I have a lot of stuff that I REALLY like, but I don't name favorites. I do really enjoy chick lit and historical fiction. I don't like poetry and the blogs I enjoy are over on my sidebar.

8. Do you enjoy cooking or is it a chore?
Love cooking. Sometimes it can be a chore though. We need to get better about meal planning around here so it becomes less of a chore.

9. Be honest. What one thing would (the majority of) your blog readers be shocked to find out about you?
Hmmm.....another hard one. John says the fact that I've never eaten a Big Mac is pretty shocking, but I told you all that a few weeks ago. I don't think I lost any readers over that one.

10. If you were given your own national holiday, what would you require people to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Day of You? Would there be a parade? Greeting cards?
Umm....my birthday is a national holiday didn't you know? At least in my book it is. There would be no greeting cards. Blah. There are already too many card holidays. You would not have to work on my holiday and it would always fall on a Friday so that you had a 3 day weekend. It would be a day of relaxation and enjoyment. You wouldn't have to make a special meal and you wouldn't have to spend it visiting your 80 million relatives unless it's something you'd want to do. Do whatever makes you happy and enjoy the three days off!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Birthdays

Saturday started off with James' 1st birthday party. It was a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme.

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While he played in the frosting he wouldn't actually eat any of the cake until Kate gave him a fork.

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Then it was time for mine and Erin's dual birthday celebration. While it wasn't raining anymore it was FREEZING downtown. La Tuna was flooded so we headed to Mr. Tim's Country Kitchen for dinner. I love the rolls here and it's stick to your ribs type of food. Everyone pretty much got the Chicken Fried Steak, but Kandis and I opted for the vegetable plate.

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Yum. The sides are as good as everything else so it's not like you're missing out when you order it.

John labeled his food "Faith Poison" so I wouldn't eat it.

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Erin is heading to Italy in a few weeks and Becky and Stephanie both got her the same travel guide. Of all the 80 million Italy travel guides out there they both ended up buying her the same.

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I got her my new favorite wine toy. It vacuum seals the bottle, you know, just in case something interrupts your wine drinking and you don't empty the bottle.

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I got some Amazon gift cards - awesome!

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We then headed over to Bar America. After a bit we finally had room for cupcakes. It took 4 of people to light our cupcakes.

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John had my camera and I'm not sure what I'm doing here, I just like this picture. "Do I want to blow out those candles or not?"

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Guess I will.

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I was really bad at getting pictures of the group, but here's me, Julie and Becky

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and Kandis and Stephanie.

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After Bar America Kandis, Julie and I headed to Hills and Dales to end the night. So far, the birthday celebrations have been great. More to come on my ACTUAL birthday on Wednesday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Stuff

I got my haircut today and have full on bangs. Here's a picture fresh from the salon because you know what? My hair won't look like this until I got for another haircut in three months.

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I got the store job. I actually got a promotion before my 2nd interview even started. It's a better position than the one I applied for and may actually be good enough to put on my resume so that's a big plus! The hours are also a little more regular so that's good. The store is only open until 8 during the week and 6 on the weekend so I'll be able to spend my evenings with John, except for the nights I may wait tables. I go in to talk to my manager friend about the restaurant job on Tuesday.

I did not get the job that I thought I had a 2nd interview for. The manager I interviewed with asked about my availability for the 2nd and then I didn't hear anything. I called the recruiter (I found the position through a temp firm) this week and she told me the manager really liked me, but was on spring break this week. Well I got an email from the recruiter today saying the company went with someone else. Total bummer. I did apply for a position today that is something I'd really like to do and that I think would be quite fulfilling. We'll have to see what happens with it. Hopefully they'll give me a call!

Tomorrow is supposed to be the beginning of my birthday celebration, but the weather is supposed to be crappy! BOO! Totally ruining the first part of my plans. The weather has been beautiful lately, mid 70s and a little breezy. Tomorrow the high is supposed to be in the 50s! It freaking sucks! The rain is supposed to be over by the evening so hopefully my plans will still work out. I'm just glad I didn't buy the cute sleeveless top I saw the other day!

I have a problem

Did you know I have memberships to two different discount clubs? Did you know I can almost never get out of either one of them for less than $100? This is why I send John to buy the dog food. Otherwise I come home with things like this:

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I freaking love red licorice. Not the crappy Twizzlers kind though. It's hard to find and so when I saw this giant container for ONLY $7.50 I had to have it.

John...John hates licorice. So yeah, I'm going to have to eat all 330 pieces by myself....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Not a whole lot of words this time, just pictures.

Me and the hubs

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John and Julie being John and Julie

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St. Patty's Day is Karl's favorite holiday

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Me and Steph

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Becky and David

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We had a pretty low key night (well I did, I didn't go out with the others later) at the Saucer. Usually we also celebrate Erin's birthday, but she was playing it even more low key than I was. We're celebrating birthdays this weekend though. Did you know next Wednesday is my birthday? It is! Be prepared for lots of birthday related posts!

The most excitment of the night for me was when John went home with my car keys and had to come back to get me.

Just Over a Month Out

It's been a month and two days since I left my job. I still don't have a job, and once this month is over will not have another paycheck coming. I still haven't regretted leaving one bit. I'm still extremely happy with my decision. I was in a bad situation and needed to get out of it. I walked away and haven't look back and I feel great about it.

So what's going on now? Well, I've had at least 1-2 interviews a week since I left. 3 have even turned into second interviews. That's pretty freaking amazing and says a lot about the economy here. I've also had plenty of jobs to apply for every day. Craigslist has honestly been my best friend in finding jobs. I don't know when it happened, but our board has finally become really legit. Yeah, there are some questionable looking postings, but you can easily catch which are real and those that aren't. I usually apply to 5-10 a day which is another great thing. They're jobs that I want and not just general things to apply for either.

As for how we're going to get money now that it's about to run out? Well when I originally left I knew the minimum I would have to make for us to make ends meet. It's a shockingly low number compared to what I was making, but if it means happiness, I'm ok with that. I've applied at a local warehouse store that pays more than that minimum amount I need to make. It's a guaranteed 25 hours a week, but it doesn't sound like it will be a full 40 which would be ideal. I have my second interview today to see if I get it or not. I've also called the GM at a restaurant I used to work at. He and I have worked together on and off for several years and we stay in touch. He's happy to have me back so I'll probably take the job at the store and then wait tables a few times a week to supplement my income. I also took the exam today to be a Census taker. It's part-time with flexible hours and great pay. John was a little concerned that if I got the door to door job they'd put me in a bad neighborhood. They actually have you work in your own area so that's great. I have no problem knocking on doors in my own neighborhood. I took my exam today, did absolutely fantastic on it, and the man administering the test said we would hear something in around 3 weeks.

So at the moment it seems I have several options. I like that the store job is part-time and combined with waiting tables I'd still have the flexibility to interview during the day. John doesn't especially like the situation though. He things that since I have a Master's this is going backwards. I disagree. Granted I probably won't put the store or the restaurant on my resume, but for me it's just a means to an end - one that leads me to getting a job that I love.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photography - Week 3

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This week's lesson was about lighting and setting your white balance. I admit. I pretty much shoot in Auto all the time. (Hopefully this will stop soon now that I'm learning to use my camera). The most I'll ever change is the ISO setting. I will change to an indoor setting every now and then though. White balance? I've never even messed with the feature until today.

You know when you take pictures inside and they sometimes have a yellow hue to them. That's from your white balance. Changing the white balance helps to get rid of the yellow.

Rufus reluctantly volunteered as my subject for this lesson. The first picture is using Auto White Balance and the second is using the Tungsten setting.

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Not a ton of difference. Rufus is a little pinker in the second, but that's about it.

Here he is again with the Custom white balance setting. He's actually white in this one and not pink.

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See the difference between auto and custom. You actually get a more realistic picture with the custom.

Next week we'll learn about using the flash.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

John's Ten on Tuesday



This Ten on Tuesday is being answered by John. These are totally his type of questions. In fact, these questions are along the line of the totally random things he asks me almost every day. I think he even asked me about zombies recently. For the record, I like the slow stupid zombies from Shaun of the Dead, not the crazy strong zombies like in Resident Evil. I would totally play stupid like they did in the movie to move along the zombies and would probably hide out in a bar as well. Although John's answer on where to go is pretty awesome as well and they have beer there so it works for me. Enjoy!

1. Quick! Zombies are coming!! What do you do?
Step 1. Get armed and dangerous. (Blunt force weapons are good, guns are better)
Step 2. Know your surroundings. Get to an easily defensible location.
Step 3. Get informed. Watch the news, call your friends and family. Find info on cures and/or safe havens.

2. Whew, that was a close one. …I think your phone is ringing. Oh, it’s your best friend! She thinks she’s been bitten by a zombie. What advice do you give her?
Make sure she has actually been bitten, if she has, don't give her advice; wait for her to change to a zombie and then blast her head off... its what she would want.

3. You realize it’s time to leave your current location because it’s clearly not safe anymore. Are you going to move at night or day? Defend your reasoning.
Day. I can see better and generally zombies attack at night.(see: I Am Legend)

4. During your relocation, you come across a weapon superstore. My, that’s convenient. What kind of weaponry do you choose?
Something that has lots of ammo. Generally zombies aren't super powerful, there just happen to be a lot of them, so you don't need lots of firepower, just lots and lots of ammo - preferably something that reloads quickly too. I would carry 6 handguns with laser sights, 1 sawed-off shotguns, 1 sub-machine gun; a long range rifle + scope, and just for good measure, a Hatori Hanso katana. I would also carry a large knife in my boot, a flak jacket, a duffel bag full of ammo and explosives, and a handful of granola bars and water.

5. As you leave, an old lady on the side of the street begs you to help her. Do you? Why or why not?
Of course I would. I am still human after all, but if she showed any signs of changing, I would blast her to pieces.

6. Good choice, you’re clearly a good person to have around in a zombie apocalypse. Oh hey, there’s a wifi signal here! You can’t stay long but this is your chance to gather some intel on the current situation. What’s the first website you check?
Probably yahoo.com because that is my homepage, but after that I would probably check one of the major news sites. (ie. CNN or something like that.)

7. SHH! What was that noise?!
Its the sound of me reloading my guns and starting up the Humvee. If you heard some zombies we are getting the hell out of here right now with guns blazing. DON'T wait for them to discover you(inevitable) and DONT split up(unless you have a death wish) and above all DONT let down your guard for a second.

8. I think it’s time to get out of here. I hope you have a plan. Where are you going now?
WalMart. After hours and hours of consideration and debate, this is where to go. They have food and guns and entertainment. There are only 2 ways in and out which can be barricaded pretty easily. If the zombies do breach your defenses, have an escape plan ready to go on the roof (helicopter, or ultralite, or even a slide down to your Humvee) and then make your getaway, leaving a WalMart full of zombies, which you have boobie trapped.

9. Wait a minute, that looks like a bite mark on your arm… You may be infected too! Will you tell other people?
Sure. I am not susceptible to zombie infection. I am the small percentage of the population that is immune, and in fact, my blood will be used to formulate a cure/antidote. Zombie viruses only make me angry, and you won't like me when I'm angry.

10. How does this story end?
I don't want to ruin it, but let's just say I will be sword fighting a gigantic beast from a helicopter and will kill it with a perfectly aimed rocket to the eye. My blood will be used to cure humanity, so of course I will be Knighted (Sir Hinchmanator sounds awesome) and I will humbly accept all sorts of awards and accolades and huge sums of money.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden

The garden is coming along.

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I have a bunch of tomato and pepper seedlings that I've transferred into larger containers. In fact everything grew in the seed starter kits so I have way too many! I have 6 extra tomato and 4 extra pepper plants that I can't bring myself to kill. Hopefully I'll be able to pawn them off of some people that want a plant or two.

About a month ago I planted onion sets. They're taking off already, but they take the longest to finally harvest. I have three squares of onions.

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Two weeks ago I planted all my seeds - squash, zucchini, spinach, 2 types of lettuce, marigolds, nasturtium, cucumbers, and radish. I took these pictures midweek, so we're only a week and a half after planting. These are my radishes:

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I have two squares of these. I planted some near the spinach since they're supposed to help keep leaf miners away. Here are two squares of spinach followed by one of radishes

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I did buy two jalapeno plants rather than start them from seed.

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You can barely tell, but here are some lettuce plants. (They're much more noticeable this week)

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I was outside this weekend and one of my squash plants has sprouted. The week after I planted the garden I put out grass seed. Not a good idea. It was really hard to get the grass seed spread out without getting it in the garden bed. I've only seen 1 blade of grass sprout so far though.
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