Me and my fabulous son, Max

Me and my  fabulous son, Max
Powerscourt, Ireland

Thursday, August 28, 2014


From the Marti Lindsey--Garden Lady

Back in June, we planted potatoes in some regular 2 gallon pots at the preschool.  These weren't seed potatoes, just potatoes from my pantry that had started to grow eyes.  Although it is not recommended to use regular potatoes from the grocery store, my philosophy has always been that if they were growing in my pantry, that they would certainly grow in the garden!

Washing the potatoes

First we placed the pots on a small table so my tiny friends could see what they were doing.  We then dug until we found potatoes.  Because they were grown in fairly small pots, most of the potatoes were fairly small.  After the potatoes were dug out of the pots, they went to the orange washing station to be cleaned.

Tuesday's Harvest!
Out of 4 pots, we harvested 28 potatoes!!  The students had planted other vegetables throughout the summer and there were also several tomatoes and beans ready to pick.


We got the potatoes inside and gave them an additional wash.  The larger ones were cut into bit sized pieces and the smaller ones were left whole.  We steamed them with some season salt and pepper and served them with lunch.  The kids loved them!!  We will most definitely be growing potatoes again.

Marti--The Garden Lady

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Old Friends & New

Today I started a new adventure as a Garden Coach at a local preschool.  I made lots of tiny friends today, thanks to an old friend, Jeana.  Jeana used to work with me many, many moons ago when I was a District Manager at Kindercare.  Jeana's new school has a preschool program along with an LA Up Program, both with amazing, dedicated teachers, but not much time for gardening.  Enter Marti Lindsey--The Garden Lady.

All of the kids were excited and eager to help!  What kid doesn't love to play in the dirt, right?  

We started off by removing some of the compacted soil in the existing garden boxes.  The kids filled a 20 gallon tub, one shovel full at a time!

We added Kellogg's Organic Soil to amend the old soil in the beds.  Then the kids started planting!  Today we started an elevated raised bed with herbs and three regular raised beds.  One bed is all strawberries, which was very exciting for the kids.  The other beds will house a variety of vegetables including beans, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

I am excited to make new friends and share my love of growing with the kids!  Here's what's growing at our place right now:
Radishes, Carrots, Turnips & Golden Beets

Peas & Purple Cauliflower

I'm so excited to go back next week and do more work with the kids!  Until then, keep on growing!

Marti Lindsey--The Garden Lady

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


So much has been happening at our new house that I've been remiss about blogging.  Back in June we came closer than I'd like to losing everything to the Powerhouse Fire.  Living in Southern California, you hear about brush fires from Summer through Fall.  Smoke in the air is not uncommon.  Living in California for over 30 years, this is the first time I've been personally affected by a fire.

Fire from Kitchen early Sat., June 1, 2013
The fire began the end of May in the remote area of the Angeles National Forrest, South of us.  We were not overly concerned because there are several lakes, a large reservoir and the California Aqueduct between us and where the fire originated.  We began to see the fire on Saturday.

We soon discovered that the Los Angeles media sources were about 8-12 hours behind on news and not a reliable source of what was happening real time.  Through our friend Kimberly Thorpe, we discovered the facebook page of AV Fire News, which was invaluable in tracking the fire and giving us up to the minute information. Below are updates over several hours and illustrate how fast and accurate the info was. 

Update: ‪#‎PowerhouseFire‬: New Road Closure - Ave D (Hwy 138) closed in both directions between 110th St W. & 190th St. W due to smoke making driving conditions unsafe.

Update: ‪#‎PowerhouseFire‬: 2 fires burning on the north side of the aqueduct. One is 3 acres and holding. The second is an unknown size and moving north. LASD evacuated an approx. 5 mile radius northwest and south of 160th St west and Ave H to Hwy 138.

Update: ‪#‎PowerhouseFire‬: Lancaster Road is closed between Munz Ranch Road and 170th St West.

Update: ‪#‎PowerhouseFire‬: The fire has crossed Lancaster Road and is well established in the Poppy Reserves.

Update: ‪#‎PowerhouseFire‬: Fire is now 25,000+ acres.  New Evacuations: LASD evacuated everything from 170th St West to 185th St West, from Lancaster Road to Ave D (Hwy 138).

Evacuations expanded: LASD evacuating everything from 170th St West to 190th St West, from Lancaster Road to Ave D (Hwy 138). Fire is just east of 190th St West at this time.  This is exactly where we live!!

Traffic Control requested for Ave D. Avoid Ave D (Hwy 138)

Saturday, June 1

This picture was taken from our back porch looking South on Saturday night.  We watched for hours as the fire planes and helicopters knocked the approaching fire back to the other side of the ridge, about 5 miles from our house.  The firefighters are truly amazing!

Sunday, June 2

This picture was taken looking South from our back porch on Sunday morning.  The fire did not appear to be a threat at this point as the winds were blowing from the West.

Sunday, June 2

We began to worry when we started to see flames again mid-day on Sunday.  We were reassured because the fire was on the other side of Lakes Hughes & Elizabeth, the Fairmont Reservoir and the California Aquaduct.

Sunday, June 2
 On Sunday afternoon, the wind shifted and began to come from the South, where the fire was burning.  Although we hadn't heard anything about evacuating, there was an eerie quality that could not be ignored.  When the power went out, we decided to get ready to evacuate.

Sunday Afternoon, June 2
Smoke blowing towards our house on Sunday afternoon shortly before we evacuated.

Under the green lid in box

Kittens, fish & Max ready to roll...along with Super Grover.

Evacuation is a strange thing.  Your mind is super clear and frazzled that the same time.  I brought our passports & other important documents.  Larry packed up the computers and some work documents.  I then packed a bag with some flashlights, binoculars and a change of clothes for Max.  After we left, I asked myself, why not take more stuff with us?  There are plenty of things we could have used.  Snacks?  Drinks?  Clothing and such?

The answer is clear.  We look what was most important...Max (our kid), Bubba-Wubba, Dixie & Trixie (the kittens), Dottie (the fish), Larry (husband) and me.  Everything else seemed inconsequential.

Driving away from the house felt wrong but we knew it was the right thing to do.  On the way out, we saw our neighbors, who are still building and have not moved in yet.  Since we are all on well systems, they were pumping their two 5000 gallon water tanks to make sure the firefighters had access to the water if needed.  They had seen the Sheriffs on their way in and let us know that it was only a matter of time before we would be asked to evacuate. 

I had heard somewhere to leave your house unlocked, so we did.

So the weird thing is...what now?  You've left your house, so now where do you go?  We were thinking positively.  We were hoping the wind would shift back to it's usual direction (from the West) and that the fire would be diverted and we could return home.  So with a kid, 3 kittens, and a fish, we headed to the closest McDonalds, about 25 miles West, in Gorman.

Hwy 138 at 210th Street, Sunday, June 2
So we went to McDonalds in Gorman and decided to head back towards our house to see what was going on.  We got a bad feeling when we saw the smoke blowing towards us as we drove down Hwy 138.  Our house is well beyond where the smoke was.

Our house is still standing, center of picture
We stopped at the Wee Vill Market on Hwy 138, about a mile North of our house.  What a relief to actually see that our house was still there!  We went inside and found a gathering of several neighbors.  We introduced ourselves, figured out where everyone lived and compared notes about the fire and evacuation.  We should have come here right away!

Max's first day of riding--Mr. Dave, white shirt in background

In a "what a small world" moment, we met Dave, Max's soon to be Horseback Riding Instructor.  Max went in and sat down at our usual spot.  However, there was already a guy sitting there eating.  I asked Max to move and the gentleman said Max was fine.  We introduced ourselves and began chatting.  Dave then asked if Max likes horses.  I told him yes, actually we were starting lessons on Tuesday.  It turns out that Dave was going to be leading Max's group at Saddle Up, a theraputic riding school for kids with special needs.

So after speaking to one of the Sheriffs at the Wee Vill, we decided that we needed a more long term plan.  My brother and his amazing wife, Kim offered us a place to stay, so it was off to Hermosa Beach with our fish & three kittens in tow!  I have to say that once we got there and had some pizza, I slept like a rock.  

On Monday, we watched the TV news and got no information whatsoever!  We monitored the AV Fire news site.  At around noon, I decided to give the Wee Vill market a call.  I'm so glad I did.  They let me know that the area was reopened to residents with ID.  So we packed up our pets and headed back home!

So for about 4-5 days after we returned, we had to show ID to get in and out of the area.  Ironically, when we returned from being evacuated on Monday, there was a UPS package waiting for us on the steps!

South at Top-North at Bottom of Map, our house located bottom center

Picture taken from AV Fire Site--Carmine's Horses
These two pictures were borrowed form our favorite AV Fire News site.  The top is a map showing the progress of the fire.  Our house is located between the fingers of the fire on the bottom center of the photo.

The second picture is of our neighbor, Carmine's horses around Lancaster Rd. & 190th Street.  I spoke with Carmine after the fire and he said that he had come to get the horses, but the firefighters had already cut the fences.  He wasn't mad.  He knew they were trying to do the right thing.  His entire horse facility was burned to the ground.  He put things into perspective when he told me that he was grateful that the firefighters had saved his trees.  He has a 10 acre peach orchard on the other side of Lancaster Road, directly across the street from his horse facility that was lost.

Here are some images I took of the Powerhouse fire the day after we returned:

Looking South down 180th Street at Avenue E (our Street)  Notice the burned hills.

Same view but closer, 180th street at Lancaster Road.  Notice the burned areas.
Looking from Lancaster Road at 180th North towards our house.
Fire burned right up to our mailbox farm on Lancaster Road and 190th Street

Phone lines still down on Lancaster Road near our mailbox

Here is a facebook post after we returned to our home.  I think it sums things up well!
Feeling so grateful! Thanks to the firefighters who stopped the fire less than a mile from our house. Thanks to the site AV Fire News for the invaluable information. Thanks to the random strangers rescuing pets and horses. Thanks to SCE for getting our power back on in the middle of an active fire. Thanks to the sheriffs for making sure we're safe and no unsavory characters enter our the area. Thanks to our local gathering place, the Weeville Market for providing the best info and a spot for neighbors to come together. Thanks to my family for putting up with us (kid, fish, 3 new kittens) while evacuated. This has really made me realize how fortunate I am!

Thanks for reading.  I hope none of you ever have to go through this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Construction Zone

Well, we've been here for a few weeks and are sort of settled in.  Because we are making some improvements, our house is basically a construction zone.  We are living in our master bedroom like a hotel!  Luckily our master is a good size, 16 x 20, so there's plenty of room to live, even though there are still boxes everywhere.  Because of all the construction dust, we're even eating our meals on the card table in our room.

Master from East to West
Master from West to East (we moved the TV)

We had such a solid plan for renovations and moving into the house, but plans do not always work the way you plan them.  We closed on the house the end of January and planned to have renovations completed BEFORE we moved in March 1st.

This has been in our living room since we moved in

Tile removed from Kitchen and
 Kitchen Dining area
Laminate removed from Dining room

Bare subfloor

We removed and sold the carpet in most of the house, but we still had to deal with the tile in the kitchen and kitchen dining area, shown in picture titled underlayment and the laminate in the dining room.  We salvaged as much of the material as we could and sold it on craigslist.  Yes, as unbelieveable as it may seem craigslist even works out here in the middle of nowhere!

Larry chatting with the Bagster guy from WM
Since there is so much construction debris, we thought we needed a dumpster.  If you've ever priced dumpster rental, you know that it is super expensive. In our area, it costs about $800!!  Luckily, we found out about a service offered by Waste Management called BAGSTER that offered quite a savings.  You only pay for the debris you remove.  Basically, you buy the large bags at Home Depot or Lowes for about $30 each.  We needed two of them. Once they're full, you call Waste Management and they come pick up the bags.  It was $129 for the first bag and $109 for each additional bag.  With the $5 off coupon we found, it was $233...much better than $800!!

WM picks up the giant bag with their crane
Then the bag is placed  into the truck
Lid is opened and closed over the truck
to avoid flying debris

 We were quite amazed at how quick and easy the Bagster service was. I highly recommend it to anyone that has a landscaping or home improvement project.  If you under estimate the amount of debris you have (which is quite easy!) you can always go pick up an extra bag.

Max enjoying the glorious weather
Meanwhile, Max is settling in quite nicely.  He really likes his new school, and after 7 days, is on a well deserved 2 week spring vacation!

Stay tuned for further updates.  Once the kitchen and floors are complete, I'll do a comprehensive before and after post on the transformation.  So far, I must say, we are thrilled with the progress.

Cheers for now~

Monday, March 11, 2013

Boy, Do We Have A Lot of Stuff

So, if you've just joined us from my San Diego blog, you saw this photo of our little trailer driving off into the sunset!  When you've lived someplace for over 8 years, you accumulate a lot of stuff!  No matter how much planning and pre-packing you do, you cannot truely be preparred for the horror that is moving all of your stuff!

Headed out of San Diego with Max's Playstructure in Tow

We moved last week and it took a crew of 4 men with 2 trucks from 7:30am to 3:30am to move our belongings from San Diego to our new place in the West Antelope Valley.  That's not 8 hours...that's 20 hours!  If you ever need a mover in the San Diego or Orange County area, I highly recommend All Star Move!  The owner, Daniel is knowledgable, professional and most importantly available to speak to you.  His movers were careful, courtesouy and respectful of our belongings. 

Laundry-Utility Room

Since we clearly under estimated the amount of time renovations take, we still are living in a state of chaos.  We have floors in the bedrooms, but our flooring is still being installed ijn the main living areas of the house.  Our kitchen is also under construction.  Therefore, we have boxes stacked in several areas...and a complete disaster in the garage.

On the positive side...we LOVE our house.  It has such a zen feeling.  It's a happy place to be. The views are amazing and the spaces are wide open.  Stay tuned for more detailed info on our renovations.

For now....Cheers!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We Bought a House...Now What?

Max does the honors...we got the keys!

Well, now that the house is actually ours, the real work begins!  Although we absolutely LOVE~LOVE~LOVE this house, there are dozens of cosmetic changes we need to make!

Miles of Carpet...
The first order of business is the flooring.  Although the bank had installed all new carpeting and pads, it just wasn't for us.  Through the miracle of social networking, we found someone who was thrilled to take it off our hands and pay us a little money to boot!  I love the win-win of getting rid of something and transferring it to someone that is generally thrilled to have it!  Next step is getting hardwood floors and finding someone to install them!

Max exploring the kitchen cabinets
The kitchen has a great layout, but is in need of some updating.  Not loving the black grout and tiles accented with a duck hunting motif.  The cabinets will get a nice coat of paint/stain and we'll search for a contractor to install new counters and backsplash.

Dining Room
The light fixtures in the dining room as well as the eat in kitchen area are in need of some love.  I think I'll take on the project of taking them from outdated to fabulous...or at least outdated to unobtrusive...ha ha!  The dining room is unusual, so not exactly sure what we're going to do to make it our own, but we'll start with the brass lighting.

Master Bedroom..more miles of carpet here
Another area that needs attention is the master bedroom.  Buying a bank owned property is an unusual experience.  The previous owners took a lot of the finishings and fixtures with them.  There was some sort of mantle or surround around the fireplace, that was removed.  Although the bank added a fresh coat of paint to the entire house, you can tell there's just something missing here.  We've removed the brick hearth as the bricks were all loose anyway.  We'll be adding a new hearth with some sort of tile surround and mantle.  I think I'll also paint the ceiling fan white so it doesn't stand out so much.

These are the initial changes we're planning to tackle.  Stay tuned for further adventures!