1. Set your alarm for 8 a.m. on Saturday to attend a gardening class at The Natural Gardener.
As mentioned in an earlier post, one of our New Year’s resolutions is to start a garden. And not just any garden, mind you. But a fruitful one. We’re not talking tiny sprouts and sad tomatoes, but our own produce section that can sustain the entire household. So for that, we hit up South Austin’s organic gardening headquarters for tips on when to plant, what to plant and how to plant it.
We got some solid advice like how to keep your plants warm in the winter and cool in the summer, what combination of soil, fertilizer and compost creates the best environment for plants, and how to handle disease. The only downside to the event? Our fellow classmates.
The event was packed with well over 100 people in attendance (though bear in mind that Heath and I were by far the youngest in the crowd). But as is typical of the 50 plus-year-old person in a classroom setting, there was a hefty amount of one-upping. Audience members attempted to talk over one another in order to make their completely mediocre and uninspiring gardening tip heard to the instructor.
“I use clear plastic to cover my garden in the winter, is that Ok?”
“Well I use black plastic and it is just tops.”
“You say we can use cinder blocks to be the garden border, but what about Cedar?”
Sheesh. What could have been a half-hour class was easily stretched to more than an hour. But as mentioned, we did take home some good info and were inspired by some of the nursery’s gardens.
[This is a square-foot garden similar to what Heath is hoping to create.]
2. Finish your tour of the garden early to make it to lunch around 11 a.m., just as your restaurant of choice is opening.
Another of our resolutions was to eat at new restaurants. So we picked Home Slice Pizza on South Congress. I have been a fan of New York-style pizza since I worked at Slices and Ices in college. Everyone knows what goes into pizza, so I’ll refrain from blogging much about the deliciousness of grease combined with cheese combined with bread. Suffice it to say that this place is weirdly Austin, and wonderfully tasty.
3. Pinch your pennies by attending the City Wide Garage Sale.
Roughly one weekend each month, Austin hosts a collection of knick-knack vendors under one roof in an event known as the City Wide Garage Sale. Not one to turn down a bargain vintage find, Heath and I decided to hit it up.
There was plenty to see and appreciate, but the problems with the sale are 3-fold.
1) It’s $5 to get in and $7 to park, so we spent $17 before we walked in the door.
2) There were tons of great items, but none that seemed to be remarkably affordable. Can I find things I can’t find most other places? Yes, is it cheaper than if I hit up Craigslist? No.
3) You have to haggle for prices and I hate haggling. Sure it’s normal at these sorts of things, but I’m still no fan.
But I still walked out with a $12 chenille bedspread and some vintage scarves (notice how my old lady-like purchases are in keeping with this week’s blog theme), so I suppose it may have been worth it in the end.
4. Realize you’re not an old couple and start acting like a kid again.
Feeling the urge to live up to our actual ages, we upped the ante for the remainder of the day. We met up with friends at Frank for dinner, which features gourmet hot dogs and bacon that comes on everything, including desserts and bloody Marys.
The food was more bizarre than it was tasty, but living in Austin is all about experiences, so why not? From there we went to Mohawk to hear Mother Falcon, a local instrument-heavy band who puts on a great show. Even when rain drenched the outdoor venue, the massive crowd stayed to hear their hypnotically dramatic indie pop sounds.
So the day was long, but filled with adventure, which is what living in Austin is all about. That—and being weird. Where else can you start the morning learning about organic gardening and end it with a Lone Star in the rain at a bar named after a Native American with a crazy haircut?