Sow: picture this

I’m in Atlanta and can’t sleep so I figure I’ll share some photos I took this morning (well, yesterday morning):


You may remember my winter lettuce experiment with a washtub on wheels (a good one if you want lettuce in winter in North Texas). Salad greens are not supposed to grow in North Texas in summer. Those are arugula and mâché seedlings. Looks like they’re growing so far–I planted them last Thursday.


The Malabar spinach is also doing its thing as promised. I’m helping it along by guiding the tendrils towards the trellises. Looks pretty so far and apparently it could cover the trellises if I let it.


The orange bell peppers are finally ready. The first two were picked this morning and there are more to come. They looked delicious. I had already packed our lunches but they would have been lovely in today’s salad.


Apparently the Urban Farm is a very romantic place these days. Anyone know what these amorous insects are?


Somehow I missed picking this okra pod and now look at it. Those are full sized garden scissors. I fear it will not be very tasty but I’m going to see if stewing will work.


Check out my new gardening shirt from my coworker pal Deb (thanks, Deb!) She and her husband have the best BBQ restaurant in Myrtle Beach, SC. No joke! Its URL is!


My pals Christy and Brad (and fellow urban farmers) got me this cool rack for my birthday–Bruce put it up during the break. (Thank you, C & B!)


Of course, what would a post be without a gratuitous dog photo?

And with that, I bid you all a good night.


So: stay-cation day 10

Thanks to Cheryl Richardson for the image

This quote sums up Stay-cation 2013 quite nicely. I don’t think I’ve been this relaxed, rested and recharged since we went back to St. Lucia for our 10th anniversary.

Don’t get me wrong. There was a lot of physical work this week. But as hard as I worked and as tired as I was, I didn’t feel as exhausted as I did on a typical Friday at 5:30. A good thing to identify and understand.

On Thursday I planted some arugula and mache seeds as a little patio planter experiment. Look how far they’ve come:

I’m impressed.

Gs are ready for us to go back to work:


Poor animals are exhausted. I’m sure it has nothing to do with two of their lab-ish pals coming to visit yesterday and staying overnight. And it had nothing to do with them following us around for 10 days solid.

We’ve gotten a lot done and gained momentum on a number of projects. The office alas is not done. We had a couple of issues that delayed completion but we figure we can get the rest done this week and have it all set up by Saturday.

The moral of this story, however, is that you don’t need to leave town or go anywhere to have a real vacation. Sometimes what you really need is to stay home and spend time together.

So: stay-cation day 7


Happy 4th of July! It’s America’s Birthday and the Gs started it out with a photo op. And a nice walk, although the normal Texas temperatures are creeping back up.

Poor Gs. They are so exhausted. It’s hard work having humans around 24-7. Guinness only likes it because walks are longer on week days. Godiva is enjoying more outside time — sleeping in the sun is one of her favorite things. And then there’s George.


July 4 is the reason we have George. The theory of the rescue group that saved him is fireworks or gunshots (yes, people shoot off guns on July 4 in Texas) caused him to get spooked and try to jump a chain link fence. He caught his leg on it and opened it knee to groin. And so he has been dubbed a fireworks dog.

He is passed out on the cold tile by our front door. George has had a big day of chasing Godiva around the yard, destroying stuffed toys (thanks Tracy!), following his humans around, and snuggling with Guinness. And me apparently, although I don’t recall this photo being taken:


The tv is on, we’re watching Independence Day celebrations from Philadelphia (good music), and none of us can hear fireworks, gunshots or other loud noises like several neighbors’ parties. Replacement windows are great for 1960s houses and not just for energy consumption!

The humans in the house had a good day of organization and getting stuff done. We decided that we’d do a major reorg of our kitchen during this break so we finally tackled it. Looks good and now that we have the cabinets in the dining room, we could put lots of stuff away in a better way.

While I tackled some financial organization, Bruce continued work on the office. We have wifi again (yay!) and the desk area is done:


Tomorrow we’ll be doing the full gray wall paint job in the office including texturing the walls where the wainscoting once was. Wish us luck!

So: stay-cation day 6

This may be one of our best vacations yet. Another beautiful and cool morning. Perfect for planting and mulching fall tomatoes/peppers. I got that all done before 10 am. Hard to believe that we need to think about fall now (see the end of this post for gratuitous garden photos).

It was a day of getting stuff done:
-bar fridge/cabinet final leveling and stocking
-adding another board to tv cabinet feature wall
-patio clean up
-garage clean up
-habitat restore to donate some stuff
-post office to mail three packages

Don’t worry: we took a break. We had a taste of Italy for lunch. Jimmy’s Food Store is an Italian market downtown and we picked up some sausage, pizza dough, and lunch — they have great sandwiches. It was a fun (and delicious) break.

It was a little hotter than yesterday so I’m glad we got the outdoor stuff done early.

But right when we were thinking that we were done for the day, around 4:30 we got a call from Lowes and found out a blind we ordered was in (early by 5 days) so we went to pick it up:




We got it installed in about 5 minutes, no joke. It’s already made a big difference–our neighbors’ annoying 24-7 security light has finally been blocked!

And so we called it a day. Big painting fun tomorrow!

Here’s a collection of photos from today (I am having posting issues since we don’t have wifi until the office is reassembled so unfortunately I couldn’t weave them throughout the post as I planned):










Until tomorrow!

So: stay-cation day 5

I’m tired. But instead of being mentally fatigued, my body is tired. And I love it.

We were up fairly early for day 5 of Stay-cation 2013 and we’re greeted with amazing weather. It was like cottage country weather at the end of a dock or Southern California beach before breakfast weather. But we needed to have a fairly fast dog walk since David the Electrician was coming by 8.

Actually 7:30. David’s a great electrician just somewhat unpredictable. So we enjoyed coffee and breakfast outside with the Gs. The Gs were outside all morning long:


As you can see, Guinness loves to be outside.

I love to be outside and used the time wisely. I picked the last of the lettuce, harvested today’s veggies, and prepared the urban farm for tomorrow’s fall tomato and pepper planting.




And Bruce found a new friend:


David installed pot lights over the new dining room cabinets, put in a plug in the no longer wet bar, fixed an outside plug, and fixed the attic light. He likes that he’s part of the process of altering the Mortroski Mid-century.

After he left, we headed over to North Haven Gardens to pick up tomatoes and peppers to plant tomorrow.

But the majority of the work today was in the office/tv room.





Godiva stays safely out of renovation’s way. Not Guinness:



Another great and super productive day was had by all. It’s going to be another in bed by 9:30 night. No one can say we’re not going to bed tired every night of this Stay-cation.

So: stay-cation day 4


Happy Canada Day, y’all! Bruce and I celebrated Canada’s birthday by continuing to make progress on our home projects.

This morning after another extra long dog walk in the much cooler weather, Godiva and I tackled the front yard weeding. They are all native, low water plants and until they spread out more, weeds will invade.


It wasn’t as bad as the last time, though I may have gotten some sun even with the 30 SPF sunscreen


The countertop guy came by to confirm Bruce’s measurements. We have a bit more work to do in the no-longer-wet bar, but it’s adding some supports.

David the electrician is coming tomorrow to add some pot lights, move a plug, fix the attic light, and fix an outdoor plug.

We will be painting since we gutted the office once more and did a bunch of pre-painting work. Sanding mostly. Some filling.


As you can see, the supervisor is asleep on the job.

We flew the Canadian flag in front of our house and didn’t get it stolen or get a nasty note so I feel pretty good about our little celebration.


Because we’re working on the office, we have no wifi and 4G isn’t so good in the house. It’s a lovely night but the mosquitos are coming out to play. Until tomorrow!