Weekend of planting, and other stuff

All griping about being pigeonholed aside, I had a pretty typical weekend—which, here at JHN, means home improvement.

Friday night was the hardest working part. I came home early to investigate an apparent washing machine meltdown. Sure enough, the machine is leaking lubricant out from under the drum and reliably leaving oil spots on part of just about every load. Given that it’s old (i.e. came with the house) and cheap, I think we could probably get a new one for not much more than it would take to repair it. Sigh. Guess we’re off to do some shopping this week.

Anyway, after our washing machine diagnosis, we spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in the garden, digging up the last three garden boxes and planting herbs (three kinds of thyme, savory, marjoram, rosemary, dill, oregano (in its own pot in the garden box), mint (in its own pot on the patio, far away from everything else), and camomile. Basil will wait in our indoor greenhouse until warmer weather comes; ditto parsley and cilantro. Our sage plant survived the winter, and the existing rosemary is positively thriving), Walla Walla onions (which appear to be the Pacific Northwest’s answer to Vidalias), and rhubarb. In the other beds, we have spinach, peas, and fava beans emerging. Our tomato seedlings continue to worry us inside, but with something like 30 seedlings we will probably have a few hardy volunteers to plant before too long.

Saturday, we tore up the turf inside the new bed under the cherry tree, trying not to tear up the cherry’s roots at the same time. We’ll start ground cover in the bed soon, and probably fill in the rest with pea gravel so we don’t have to worry about decaying bark mulch turning the soil too acidic or providing a haven for weeds. We also assembled landscaping ties in our front bed: two ties high to keep dogs from wandering onto the bed and defecating (sadly, a repeat occurrence). Two ties high means we had to fasten them together. I wanted to use steel bracing plates, but the gentleman at Home Depot suggested long landscape tie screws. “Sounds good,” I said. Heh. —Two stripped sockets (5/16″ and 10 mm), one nearly stripped box wrench, and a new drill later, I finally got all but one of them in. I managed to get the last one worked in halfway, but so tightly that I can’t loosen or tighten it any more. I think I’m going to just get a bolt cutter or a file and lop off the part still showing above the wood.

Thus endeth your Houseblog update for today.

What’s in it for me?

Scott Knowles name-checks me in Corporate Blogs Make Personal Connection, talking about how corporations could improve their customer communication by connecting to related blogs:

A hypothetical example: Take Lowe’s, the home improvement store. Why not create an entire section of their website dedicated to stories their customers tell about home improvement? Mom at Home, Creating Home Decor, Jarrett House North and other blogs discussing home improvement projects could be integrated into the Lowe’s site. Not only would Lowe’s engage their customers but will help build their own network of blogs. It’s not a closed system, but capitalizing on an existing one and helping to build upon it. Of course Lowe’s should hop in the game with a couple blogs of their own from their experts.

The advantage to Lowe’s: They not only become associated with their customers, but they become highly entrenched with them. The more they are honestly engaged, the better their brand equity… or brand value.

Huh. So what’s the advantage to me? I’m not sure I’m ready to shill for a home warehouse. And, after all, in addition to being a homeblogger, I’m also a peaceblogger. Wouldn’t Lowe’s think twice about pointing to me?

Maybe I’m just grumpy about being hypothetically co-opted by a home improvement store’s marketing plans. But I think that there are real risks to any corporation that would reach out to include their customers’ words and thoughts in this way. Are they prepared for potential backlash if a customer Googles me and discovers that I’m a slightly left of center liberal who doesn’t think the administration is doing the right thing? Or even that I can’t lay bricks?