Killing The Lawn: Phase 1

It began innocently enough with laying out an outline of what might be nice and a promise I’d think about it for a while. Two weeks later, phase 1 is complete.

My goal was to create an excellent soil base to replace what is now pretty much cement hard clay. The previous owners used a chemical lawn service for at least a decade, that left the soil depleted and hard as a rock. Over the past four years, I’ve been amending it with compost, manure and aeration. A record drought this summer proved that none of those measures were enough to reinvigorate the lawn and the soil was still like granite.

I had several choices: use chemicals to kill (just no), or a bobcat to scrape, the grass and bring in a large amount of good soil and replant the grass, or add sod, or xeriscape. I was definitely leaning towards creating an area of low-water native plantings. But the cost of scraping a lawn and bringing in yards and yards of compost/soil was cost-prohibitive.

Then a bit of research led me to the Sheeting Method. Better soil would be achieved by killing the grass and weeds with a sealed layer of cardboard and mulch. Leaving an excellent base for native plants and bushes to replace the grass.

The next step was a hunt for cardboard.

Thanks to neighborhood apps, I was able to relieve multiple neighbors of their cardboard just before recycling day, so it was already flattened. They didn’t have to drive it to the recycling center, and I got several carloads of boxes.

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Full Dinner Menu: Washday Beans and Rice

Photo from JeffreyW

I’ve been watching a home show about buying and selling big mansions in New Orleans. I’m enjoying touring these big old mansions.  Since I was in a Louisiana mood, time for one of my favorite dinners.

On the board tonight:

  1. Washday Beans & Rice
  2. Sliced Steamed Zucchini
  3. Corn Bread
  4. Blueberries & Raspberries w/whip cream

Washday Beans & Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 14oz can red kidney bean
  • 4 links Italian or Andouille sausage (sweet or spicy) – slice each link into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun Creole Seasoning (start with teaspoon and work your way up to taste)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato diced (or 14 oz can)

2-quart saucepan and skillet Continue reading

Killing The Lawn

My goal for a while has been to get rid of the lawn in the front yard. It’s large, the soil is almost dead (previous owner, years of chemicals), and four years of trying to bring it back has been futile. The severe drought this summer made that evident.  All the water in the world cannot help soil depleted of nutrients.

The biggest stumbling block was removing the grass. It’s often ineffective, with roots remaining and grass invading the new plantings. It would also mean bringing in new soil to level out the yard.  Then I found a method that seems perfect for what we’ll be doing with the landscaping going forward. Continue reading

Grilling Dinner Menu: Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken

I get gifts! One I got this year was a box of assorted large bottles of spice mixes. I’ve enjoyed each unique blend, especially the Peruvian one, since it’s been a while since we have been able to frequent our favorite Peruvian restaurant here.

Tonight’s menu features the Cantanzaro spice mix. Cantanzaro is a city in Italy.  So there are a lot of herbs this Italian girl recognizes: marjoram, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. And garlic, lots of garlic. But the kicker is the lemon and lemon peel.

It’s all very fresh for summer and great for grilling.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Cantanzaro Herbed Chicken Breasts
  2. Grilled peppers and onions (toss sliced onions and favorite mix of peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and grill in a grilling pan)
  3. Cucumber-Tomato Salad (recipe here)
  4. Gelato (recipes here)

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My Life Is Weird

Had an interesting weekend.

You know…the ducks were one thing…but reptiles are a bridge too far.

Respite Open Thread: My Life Is Weird

I found this guy while gardening. He/she crawled right into my hand. Luckily I have a 13-yr old niece who is wild about reptiles (and has a bearded dragon). I texted her a photo, she told me it was a chameleon. Clearly well taken care of and very, very lost. Continue reading

Book ‘Em, Daffy

I TOLD you ducks were shady.

So, of course, this came across my FB feed yesterday:

Respite Open Thread: You Do The Crime

This guy is my new hero:

Mark Luther: For everyone inquiring, these two fellas, now named Denzil and Beau, were owner surrenders that were being rehomed to Oinking Acres Farm Sanctuary here in Indiana by a couple that recognized they were not equipped to care for them properly! With the owner unable to self-transport, I volunteered to go and pick them up! However, they were Jumbo Pekins (size of a Goose), and they wouldn’t fit in any carrier! So we got crafty and made a box seat for to keep them contained for the drive!

Seems he does this tranport a LOT:

Respite Open Thread: You Do The Crime 1

Oinking Acres Farm Rescue doing their best to rescue and educate:

More ducks!!! I got a call today about 3 ducks in need of rescue. We quickly arranged transportation, huge thanks to my friend Mark! He is becoming quite the expert in duck wrangling 🤩 We definitely need more kind hearted, selfless people like Mark in the world.

These big babies were rescued off a neighborhood pond. Domestic ducks CANNOT fly. They are NOT a wild animal. They cannot survive on their own. Please please please stop dumping your ducks!! These guys were lucky enough to have been rescued before they were mauled or eaten by a wild animal.

Another big thank you to my friend Mark who has been transporting ducks for the third night in a row 😂😂🌟🦆

Book ’em, Daffy!

(x-posted at

This One Is Hot, Hot, Hot

Somehow,  I made an extremely spicy Green Chile. The peppers were marked as hot, so I should have suspected because normally they just assume you know green chiles are on the hot side. These were on the super-hot side.

Someone sent me this recipe when I was asking for recommendations. It’s simple and turned out great. The only substitution I made was beef for pork. I’m not a big pork fan. Bacon, sausage and pepperoni are about it.

I used a boneless blade steak, which worked perfectly. I kinda wished I would have popped it on the grill when I roasted the chiles.

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