Friday, May 28, 2010

If you give an engineer a garden...

It will probably look something like this!

Well, perhaps not always. But if that engineer happens to be my husband, then that's what you get. Before Greg and I take all of the credit for this masterpiece, I must direct you to Mel Bartholomew's books on square foot gardening. Mel is a civil engineer who developed this efficient method of gardening in grids rather than rows. You are supposedly able to grow lots of food while conserving space, water, and labor. We'll have to see how things turn out, but so far it sure looks pretty.

The basic idea is that you build 4-foot by 4-foot raised beds (we have 6 of them) and then divide each bed into 16 square feet. Then you plant an appropriate number of plants in each square foot, depending on the spacing needs of each plant. In this photo you can see some broccoli with one plant in each square, some green beans with 4 plants in each square, and some carrots with 16 plants in each square.

Want more details? Go here.

We've harvested some spinach and radishes so far. The rest of our plants seem to be making progress as well. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Hello friends! I'm back. First I must confess. I actually thought I was exaggerating a bit when I said I may not be posting again until May. Well, it's late May already and I have no idea where the time has gone.

Last year I made the decision to pursue a Master's degree while staying on at my full-time job. A Master's degree has been an inevitable step in my career path for a while, and I finally decided to get it over with. All of my colleagues have one, and I assured my boss that it was part of my plan when I hired on 3 years ago.

So I took one class last fall, and started my way down the road toward a Master's of Engineering in Geotechnics. I'll admit that I've been trudging down that road and not exactly enjoying the journey. Sure, I've celebrated some accomplishments, and learned some new (questionably useful) things in my chosen field. When it's done I know that I'll have an even bigger sense of accomplishment. And I'll have earned a great deal of respect from the people I work with. Those things make me feel like a bit of sacrifice now will pay off later. Someday I'll look back and laugh at how reluctant I was to do something good for myself.

I spent the past semester devoting a ton of time to making it through two classes toward my Master's degree. It was a struggle, but now I'm finished for the summer. I wound up with good grades in both classes. By burdening myself with two classes at once, I shaved a full six months off of my expected graduation date. All in all, I think it was worth it.

In fact, I'm currently signed up to take two classes again in the fall, even though I've said that I would never do it again. I'll probably complain about the workload, again. My husband will remind me that it was my choice to do this, again. I probably won't have much time for blogging, again. But when December rolls around, I'll probably feel like it was all worth it, again. Because at that point I'll be 15 credits into my Master's program. Halfway there! And the road will be downhill the rest of the way.