Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My first post in over a year will be on gardening.  I know it's past the end of the summer gardening season, but I've had lots of family and friends ask how we made our garden.  
Here is a before and after photo: 

The process was a relatively long one, taking up several weekends. Some of the steps were done simultaneously and not necessarily in the order below (i.e. we built boxes and dug up sprinklers pretty much simultaneously, since digging up old sprinkler systems and putting in a new one was rather labor intensive). 

First, we mapped out what we had. When we started following where each of the old sprinkler pipes went and we ended up with this: 

After pulling out all the old pipes, we put in new pipes and system, which looks like this: 

In the pictures above, you can see that we did an "H" formation for our sprinkler pipes.  One main pipe going in between the 4 boxes with an outlet at each box.  We also added two outlets on the outside of two of the boxes, to allow watering of the ground outside the boxes, where we would eventually plant squash, melons, and corn. 

Simultaneous with digging up sprinklers, my handy hubby built the boxes. 
All the wood lined up, ready to be assembled. In short, we used this tutorial, with some minimal tweaking. 
We used redwood deck planks, costing about 60 cents per linear foot. 
 Assembly line of all the planks.  The longer ones are 8 feet.  The shorter edges are 4 feet. The planks are 6 inches tall (to make boxes that are 8x4x1).
My feet, stabilizing the post for my handy hubby to drill each plank into. 

This box is upside down.

The 4 boxes, lined up and in position.  The posts go into the ground about 12". This may be a bit excessive as the position of the boxes is pretty set once you have soil in them.  

The boxes are 4' x 8'. They are approximately 30" apart from each other. 

Things to keep in mind: 
  • Level the boxes before putting soil in them. 
  • Make sure that your boxes are equidistant from each other.  You don't want a wonky grid of boxes. 
  • Make sure you have enough room on each side of the boxes to navigate wheelbarrows, tools, lawn mower, etc.  We mapped out the locations of each of the boxes on a paper sketch before deciding how many boxes and the final layout. 
Next step is then to fill the boxes w/ soil. We chose to get planting soil delivered to us (which meant dropped on our driveway). The other pile is mulch, to surround the boxes. 
This step took a full day of wheelbarrow-ing. Be prepared and plan your delivery date accordingly. 

Lastly, you pick your vegetables and plant away! 
 Picture of some small plants in the boxes. In this picture, automatic drip system has not been hooked up yet.
This picture shows the box containing peppers (bottom right in the picture above), after a few weeks and with the watering system attached.  We used a drip system with an emitter at each plant. Tomatoes and peppers got more water (higher flow emitters) and other plants were lower. We also used 360 degree emitters on spikes for our lettuce bed. 

After a few months, watch how they grow. 

 Then, be ready to harvest.  We were so successful, we had to give away a lot of stuff.
Among the things we planted our first year (2013):

  • Tomatoes (6 plants)
  • Snow peas
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Eggplant
  • Bell peppers
  • Habanero peppers
  • Variety of herbs (about 8 types of Vietnamese herbs + traditional herbs of basil, oregano, thyme, sage)
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce (3-4 varieties)
  • Strawberries (unsuccessfully - they don't like the extreme heat of Sacramento)
  • Zucchini
Things we planted our second year (in addition to above)
  • Corn (3 varieties - unsuccessfully) 
  • Thai chiles
  • Delicata squash

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Long time, no see

It's been almost 3 years since I have updated this blog. To put it briefly, lots has happened. Here's a quick rundown of interim events:
  • I finished residency!

    I am now an attending - oh wait, no I'm not. Since residency was so much fun, I decided to do a fellowship. I'm now a maternal fetal medicine fellow at UC___. Another 3 years of fun!  It's definitely not as bad as residency, but definitely tons of work too. Overall, a good experience. 
  • I got engaged!

    Yes, I found The One. And he's awesome. We are getting married in exactly one month. Let me tell ya, I am very excited for the wedding and to be married. However, the road to a wedding is a tough one and I don't ever want to plan another event. 
  • We bought a house! Wow, I feel like a grown up now. The best thing about the house is transforming our backyard from a plot of dirt to a wonderful garden full of herbs, tomatoes, beans, watermelon, strawberries, peppers, squash, and many more things to come. Maybe I'll write a post later on our DIY adventure in that, but til then, here are before/after pics.
  • I became an aunt! She's adorable, though at times a little monster. But it's hard to hold a grudge.
All in all, a good 3 years. Here's to more greatness to come. And to hoping that I keep up this blog... if anyone is still reading it. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Love and hate

As many of you may (or may not) know, I have been on a series of first
dates in the last two years. Lots of them. Good and bad
(unfortunately more that have been spectacularly bad rather than good).
Today, I was talking to a friend of mine, talking about dating and how
I don't know how I feel about someone I went out with. She asks, "Do
you like him or do you just not hate him?". And to tell you the truth,
I couldn't answer the question.
Looking back on some people I have dated or gone out on dates with,
perhaps I actually didn't like the person (in the sense that I get
thoroughly excited at the prospect of them calling), but rather I
didn't hate them. That just sounds terrible, I know.
What is the reason I sometimes cannot tell how I feel about someone?
Is this normal? Do I sell myslf short by just going out with people I
don't hate instead of waiting and finding someone I genuinely like?
These are questions that I ask myself a lot (I think to myself a lot).
Just thought I would put it out there as food for thought because I
have genuis friends who can cut through niceties and ask though
provoking questions like that at 11 pm when I am post call and throw
me in a tizzy.

Just overheard

Boy: "When I went to India..."
Girl: "I have always wanted to go to India. Did you go to the hotel in

Someone needs to a good world map.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Drug-food interactions

Is it bad to wash down some Aleve with a swig of beer?  It just seems wrong.  Oh well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Somewhere out there

For those of you who know me and my habits, you'll know that I love This American Life. Now, this is an old episode, but I was thinking about it a lot in the last few months.  I actually heard this episode last year, but it struck a cord this year, mostly because one of my friends from med school said to me, "Yen, you should listen to last week's episode of This American Life.  I think you'd relate to it."  Now, this is a med school friend that I called to say congratulations on getting engaged and finding that someone out there for you. 

So, alas, I listen to the episode and then start feeling really depressed. 

Basically, here's how it (the first story) goes.  A group of PhD students in Boston, who are girlfriend-less, start thinking about their odds of finding the one.  They start out with the population of Boston and start whittling down the possibilities.  Has to be female.  Has to be between __ and __ years old.  Has a college degree.  And it goes on.  End they end up with very sad odds of finding a girlfriend.  That's not even taking into consideration looks, chemistry, whether they like to wear high heels or sneakers.  But that's not the sad part.  The sad part is when they do the same exercise for one of their professors, a single woman with a PhD... and her odds are nil. 

Seriously, I'm starting to feel like that. That's why I have given up, for the time being.  Don't worry, faithful reader(s).  That doesn't mean I won't have stories (I have a few from the last few months that I've been itching to share). 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring has sprung

And the bunches of ranunculus that I bought at the farmer's market make me happier just by being there. 

I am back.  My prolonged absence can be blamed on the hell that is known as second year of residency (I was forewarned by a former chief).  Lots to talk about and hopefully I will be able to post more regularly soon.

Tiny updates:
  • Gardening again.  My lemon tree has little lemons, which taste like lemons dipped in sugar.  Yum.  I planted seeds for cilantro, thyme, basil, chives, oregano, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and zinnia.  The herbs are slow going, but the peas are going like gangbusters. The zinnia, I'm especially excited about to have cut flowers during the summer.
  • Still dating, but about to give it up and become a nun.  I think I might have better luck finding God than finding a good man. 
  • I'm still a resident, for better or for worse.  Almost halfway done.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that tunnel sure is long and dark and that light is really dim.
  • Made a few new crafts and tried my hand at making a mobile, which turned out really well. 
  • Took a trip to Hawaii and planning another one to DC.
  • Healthcare reform passed. Impressive on one hand, not so much on the other hand. 
That's it for now, I suppose.  More later.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I love PBS

Since I depend on an antenna for my television channels (I know, I know, I live in the Stone Age), I have come to love PBS.  I love the Saturday morning cooking shows for hours on end.  I love the Saturday night cinema with classic movies.  I love that I'm watching a documentary on cuttlefish on NOVA and am completely fascinated.  Enthralled. 

No, I'm not sitting at home on a Saturday night just watching public television.... I'm not that sad (yet).  I'm just waiting until the "appropriately late" time to arrive at a bar to get drinks with a friend.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wanted: recipe

I had brunch at Elite Cafe in San Francisco's Fillmore district over the weekend and I nearly died and went to heaven after tasting the meetinghouse biscuits.

Now, I must have that recipe.  I need it. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

best quote ever

Over a pre-Thanksgiving dinner:

Joey, do you know what cousin Yen does for her job?  She delivers babies.

Joey (9 years old)
[looks a little puzzled, cocks his head to the side]
In a box?

[looks a little puzzled, cocks her head to the side, and bursts out laughing]
Yeah, just like the mailman.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!