Sow: friendly harvest

Today’s weather has been very ominous, but no rain at the office during work today. Hopefully at home, we got some free plant water this afternoon—there was a 30% chance, but that’s turning to 70% later tonight. In any case, tonight (or tomorrow morning if it rains before I get home) I’m going to do something that I absolutely love to do: pick stuff for my friends.

 

Filling a grocery bag with gallon Ziploc bags of freshly harvested stuff from the Urban Farm and knowing that other families will enjoy it makes me really happy. It’s a great gift that I’d love to receive (hint to all of you local readers with gardens and/or chickens). Hopefully soon I’ll be able to better predict what will be available so that I can give people a heads up of what’s coming. This week, they’ll get lots of leafy green stuff: red romaine, red velvet lettuce, green leaf lettuce, beet greens, rainbow chard.

Sometimes I accompany the produce with recipes. Here’s one of my favorites to give when I share kale and/or chard since many people aren’t too sure if they’re going to like those hardcore green leaves: kale and rainbow chard salad with peaches, blackberries & pine nuts.

kale and fruit salad

Photo from Napa Farmhouse 1885 blog. It’s a great source for ideas of what to do with a bounty of produce.

I’ve made it in the winter with pears and apples instead of peaches and no blackberries. The other day, I ran out of pine nuts so I used sunflower seeds (quite good). Experiment with the fruit and seeds/nuts you have and I’ll bet you come up with a great combo—let me know what you do and any fruit/nut combos that work especially well. I bet pomegranate seeds would be a good addition or different dried fruit. I like to make it before work on weeknights when we have dinner guests—it’s a big time saver since it’s supposed to marinade all day. Delicious with things from the grill or even by itself. Yum!

Since we’re eating so many salads, I’ve started making a salad for dinner when I make our work lunches. Wash and cut once, eat twice! Another huge timesaver when throwing together dinner on a weeknight. Tonight’s salad will be 85% from our garden. Only the goat cheese, sunflower seeds and vinaigrette are not from the land in our backyard. That gives me lot of happiness (although I’d love to have goats, but that’s a story for another day). And since it’s already done, there’s no post-work thinking involved.

Can you tell that I need a little break? Yes, me too. It’s definitely time for a mini-vacation. While the long weekend was fabulous, this weekend’s wedding in Niagara-on-the-Lake will be more of a getaway and bigger break from day-to-day reality. And the plane time will give me some uninterrupted reading time. I’ve been hording magazines and downloading books. I hope to cruise through lots of words. And not be online very much. So, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, please don’t worry. I may not have wifi and I’m not paying for international data roaming.

But if you have a moment, let me know your favorite green leafy salad recipe. As I mentioned we have a lot of green leaves to eat and George is the only four-legged family member who helps.

George: the newest member of the 3G Network

George: mouth full of tennis balls, not salad

 

Advertisement

Sow: move along mosquitos

Mosquitos love me to the point of leaving huge welts that last a long, long time. Big red marks that fade very, very slowly. They look ugly for a long time too.

It’s been a problem for me my whole life whenever I lived in a buggy place. When I was a little girl living in Indiana, our day camp had a sleep over for the and the next morning they had to call my mom to have her pick me up. Not only was I covered with bites, I also had a fever. The mosquitos had made me sick! And yes, like every other kid in the camp, I was doused with OFF before retiring to my sleeping bag. Didn’t work. Unfortunate, because I loved camping.

For whatever reason the mosquitos have always loved me. Maybe my blood is just tastier? Sweeter? Redder? Or maybe my skin is thinner and easier to bite?

Now that I live in the West Nile Virus capital of Texas (not really but you’d never know it from listening to the news about the West Nile epidemic we’re experiencing), I’ve taken matters into my own hands. The city threatens to aerial spray unless everyone does their part. So I do mine.

Remember, the Mortroski Midcentury Urban Farm is all organic so I can’t Napalm the backyard with any old chemicals. And the 3G Network spends a fair amount of time back there too. But I need it to work so I can enjoy digging in the dirt and sitting on the patio on a warm breezeless evening.

Here’s my answer:

cedarcide

 

Using a hand-held fertilizer spreader, I covered the entire backyard with CedarCide this morning before work as George chased Godiva around the yard, stopping only to shred a toy. It was the perfect day to do it since it was a bit breezy and that helps with the spreading (and keeps the little bastards from biting me since they can’t fly if there’s wind).

Last year I had terrific luck with CedarCide after learning about it at North Haven Gardens. It lasts quite a while, smells pretty nice, and it doesn’t bother the Gs (or their humans) one bit. After this application, I’ll probably need to apply again in a month or so depending upon how much rain and wind we get.

Standing water is a no-no if you are trying to prevent the mozzies so the birdbaths get dumped and refilled daily. All four rain barrels also get dosed with Mosquito Dunks once a month. Don’t they look like little donuts?

Unknown

 

Yes, they are chemicals, but apparently the more natural ways of treating the water do not work nearly as well.

As for the Gs, they get monthly heartworm prevention medicine. Guinness was heartworm positive when we found him and had to go through treatment twice to get rid of the disgusting, murderous heartworms. It was bad enough that it was super expensive, but it was horrible for him to fight through. No walks for months. Poor Godiva didn’t enjoy having her big pal so sick for so long.

Just thinking about mosquitos makes me feel itchy and I’m inside! They are definitely one part of outdoor life in North Texas that I could do without.

Do you have mosquitos or other nasty bugs where you live? What do you do about them?

So: a break + photos

So, you haven’t heard from me for a few days. Unfortunately life has a funny way of filling up all of my writing spaces when I skip a day. Or maybe subconsciously I wanted a May 2-4 weekend (aka Victoria Day weekend) last weekend instead of Memorial Day this coming weekend. Not sure, but all I know is sentences did not get strung together and very few photos got taken. But maybe this post will make up for it!

Friday night we went to the BARC (Build A Rescue Clinic) Gala for Mazie’s Mission, the awesome rescue organization that saved George. Since it was a 1970s party, Bruce and I put on our vintage best:

IMG_2967

100% authentic 1970s polyester, baby!

IMG_2968

many guys with real hairdos like Bruce’s chose to accessorize with big hair

The outfits were even more amazing than last year. Lots of tie-dye and polyester but also:

great shoes

great shoes (don’t worry, fishy isn’t real)

fun spinning disco ball centerpieces

fun spinning disco ball centerpieces

Mazie’s Mission needs $3 million to build their clinic. As I mentioned in last post, Mazie’s Mission was founded by veterinarian Dr. Erin Shults to bring a self-sustaining, focused approach to animal welfare with the purpose of eliminating unnecessary euthanasia. They provide medical care, expert forensic evidence and adoption assistance to shelters, rescue groups, first responders and other non-profit animal welfare groups. The ultimate goal of Mazie’s Mission will be to establish a world class hospital and lifetime sanctuary for the care of those animals that cannot find a home.

My photos aren’t great (lighting wasn’t ideal to shoot these photos), but they’ll give you an idea. And if you’re interested in learning more or making a donation, visit their website. Or ask me. I might be able to answer your question too.

IMG_2972

aerial view of the clinic grounds

IMG_2970

another view of the clinic buildings

IMG_2971

architect’s rendering of the buildings

It’s a great cause and one I’m definitely proud to support since George was a beneficiary of Mazie’s Mission and Dr. Schults’ skill as a veterinary surgeon. She is an amazing person and it would be fantastic to help her bring her vision into reality.

Speaking of George, he was a bit of a mess yesterday:

IMG_2980

poor Georgie hurt his toe! he’s wearing a human’s sock (mine) to keep from licking it.

Notice his “bandaged” right foot. We woke up to George licking his foot. Sometime between his final let out of the night and his first let out of the am, George was most likely bit by a bug. He licked his swollen toe until it was nice and red. Since it was Sunday, our vet clinic wasn’t open but luckily we have a good friend (hi Christine!) who is a vet tech. She helped us to figure out what we should do to make him more comfortable and also if we needed to go to the emergency clinic (no, thank goodness). Because we had a bunch of medications on hand (a benefit of having Guinness), we were able to get him somewhat fixed up and feeling better fast.

First, I soaked his foot in Epsom salts for 15 minutes. Then I applied some Tritop antibiotic cream, fed him a delicious Benedryl and Rimadyl (anti-inflamatory) wedge of Laughing Cow Lite cheese (the best pill hider for the Gs), and “bandaged” his foot with a sock (mine) and some paper painters’ tape (to keep sock on and prevent sock from getting wet from licks). There was no morning walk for poor George and he woefully waited at the big bay window for Godiva and Guinness to return. Even though he had no mobility issues, we thought it would be better for him to rest and relax (and he’s good at snoozing).

His foot got soaked 3 times yesterday (plus ointment application and a clean sock) and once so far today. His toe seems much less swollen and it is definitely not as red. I saw a bump that looks like an ant bite (itchy!) so maybe that was what happened. If it’s not better by tomorrow morning, our vet tech friend wants me to take him to the vet. They are planning the Mortroski Wing at the vet clinic, so why not, right? Seriously, he’ll be going if it’s not better tonight.

Other weekend highlights included braving the crowds at Costco on a Saturday (not recommended unless you pack your patience), cleaning the very dusty and dirty Mortroski Midcentury, continuing to put away the stuff relocated because of the flooring and trim installation, the usual assortment of household chores, and finally some cabinet installation that hit a speed bump (it has since been figured out so we can hopefully work on it more tonight):

getting the new dark wood cabinets in place -- they will have drawers so being light colored on the inside will help us see what's in there

getting the new cabinets in place

No time for harvesting except for the peas (tons of snow peas and a cupful of sweet English peas for Bruce) for Saturday night supper, a bit of spinach for Sunday morning’s omelette, some lettuce for Sunday lunch’s salmon burgers (nice to have a produce stand in the backyard), so I squeezed some in before work today. Other than a plethora of weeds, today’s haul was tons of rainbow chard, red romaine, lots of mixed lettuce of all types, baby carrots (the real ones not the shaved down large ones), radishes, and chioggia and Detroit red beets.

Check out my biggest chioggia beet to date:

beetzilla!

beetzilla!

Yes, I’ll be roasting beets when I get home tonight.

The tomato forrest was bird netted this morning. I was especially worried about the succulent little sweet 100s — they look like they’re potential bird candy. Found a bit of blossom rot on the Burpee Big Boys, but after some research they could be too wet or not have enough calcium to support themselves. I will pick up some calcium for them later this week and watch their water supply.

Other than that, it’s back to work. We moved floors on Friday so it’s been a bit chaotic in the office for the past few days and rather noisy today with drills, saws, etc. Kind of reminds me of home!

So: excuses excuses

Yesterday, I was traveling and I was supposed to arrive back in Dallas at 8:30 pm. Plenty of time to write my post. Or so I thought.

Our flight was delayed over an hour due to weather (storms in the midwest). It was turbulent. My fellow passengers were cranky and inconsiderate to each other. I finally arrived at home around 10:45 pm, much too tired to write anything coherent.

That’s why yesterday I broke my “rule” about writing every day. I could give you all of my excuses: I was traveling with a colleague (my boss) and wanted to talk with her so I couldn’t write in the airport when we were delayed (like I usually do), the plane was too small to have wifi, my laptop battery was dead, I was tired. All of those things were true. And pretty weak excuses.

In the past, none of that would have stopped me. I would have found a way somehow…or stayed up a bit later to write. I would have pushed myself just to do what I was supposed to do. But I just didn’t have it in me. There was nothing to push through, no energy reserves. And unlike some of my blogging pals, I don’t have a stockpile of awesomely entertaining posts waiting in the wings ready to go. (Perhaps now I’ve learned and I’ll create some to keep handy.)

My point of writing this blog was to be daily. I wanted it to be like hearing from a friend, catching up, checking in. Conversational. Last night, I wouldn’t have been a friend you’d want to hear from. Trust me, if you saw my number light up your cell phone last night, you should have hit “ignore”.

I was exhausted. Spent. Tapped out. I dozed off on the plane for a while and I never am able to sleep on the plane. Turbulence woke me up. Hopefully I didn’t snore as I usually do when I’m worn out. Or grind my teeth. I was almost too tired to drive myself home from the airport. I barely managed 30 minutes of niceties with Bruce while petting each of those needy Gs and making sure everyone felt enough love so that they were not jealous that someone else got a belly rub when they only got a ear scratch.

I was out cold as soon as I hit the pillow.

It was hard to wake up and motivate. Even today, I’m not exactly a sparkling conversationalist. And certainly not filled with writing prowess or creativity (a slight problem given my line of work). I’ve been dragging all day and I don’t know when I’ve been this tired after a business trip. It wasn’t even the usual cram-packed meeting-a-rama marathon I usually have. And although it’s Friday afternoon, I’m not thinking about our exciting weekend full of projects, the Urban Farm’s weekend harvesting, going for a walk with the Gs, sitting on the patio relaxing, errands, friends I might see, my to-do list, what’s for dinner. None of that.

I’m thinking about pajamas, a pillow and a solid 8 hours of glorious shut eye.

And so, I’ll conclude this excuse-ridden post with a gratuitous dog photo of the Mortroski Midcentury’s favorite patient:

photo

Guinness is feeling much better.            Apparently he chewed on a bone last night.

Hope you have a relaxing weekend. I’m going to do my best to start it well-rested.

So: down time

It’s been a tiring week. But tomorrow is the bamboo install and we’re ready.

We’ve still got a few bits of furniture to move in the am but for now, we’re calling it a night and relaxing. A little wine is in order. Then, in bed by 10 is the goal.

We’ve got to be up early because the bamboo dudes will be here by 9:30. Bruce and I are both looking forward to having the floors covered again. Going out to the garage for socks and underwear is getting old. Wearing shoes in the house even flip flops isn’t my preference. The Gs don’t seem to mind the bare cement and brick.

They’ll enjoy their day outside tomorrow. So will I.

20130503-205904.jpg

Sow: Welcome to Mayvember

I’m amazed that I can actually type after this evening’s smooth edge and trim removal. Bang bang bang with the hammer on the crowbar. For a couple of hours. My wrists are still vibrating. The good news is that there is officially no more trim or smooth edge to be removed. Tomorrow morning when it’s light, I’ll re-vacuum the floor with the shop vac and then the regular vacuum in that back bedroom to get up any remaining 47-year old dust and grime.

Tomorrow night will be about moving furniture out of the lounge and our mattress on the floor will relocate to the living room. We just need to make sure everything is ready for the bamboo dudes. Saturday everyone—Bruce, the Gs, me—will be outside. Except for the bamboo dudes.

I’ll be weeding the award-winning front yard because I’m a little embarrassed by the quantity and quality of extra plants in the beds. Maybe there will also be time to lie in the sun and take a nap or read a couple of magazines. It would be nice to relax a little bit and enjoy the patio.

That is, IF IT GETS WARM EVER AGAIN. Our crazy North Texas weather has sent the temperatures plummeting. Right now it’s 43°F (that’s 6°C), there’s a 40% chance of rain, big gusts of wind, and the temperature will drop to 40*F.

photo

Welcome to Mayvember                    (Image courtesy of WeatherBug)

The local news has dubbed this storm Mayvember (get it: May + November) because it is just like our late fall weather tonight. I’m a little worried about the Urban Farm, mostly because I saw three good sized baby tomatoes that weren’t there yesterday along with the bounty of blossoms. The plants are almost as tall as the tomatoes cages. They are beautiful and look like the harvest could be awesome.

We’ve also got snow peas now. It’s like everything is suddenly happening. And that’s why I’m stressed.

So Bruce and I covered everything with frost cloth. Those frost cloths are certainly getting a lot of use, unfortunately. We’ll just have to hope for the best (and no freeze) and for warmer days ahead.

PS: Guinness seems a lot better. The swelling on his mouth is down and he actually let me have a peek at the tooth. The antibiotics are working. I may need some of his giant anti-inflamatories tomorrow!

Sow: nice surprise

Last night’s demo/floor prep was mostly as expected, dusty, dirty, noisy, and without event, except when all my clothes fell on the floor during the closet “organizer” demo that took place in my closet. Then it became filled with swearing and scrambling to put together a fix — yeah, Bruce! No big whoop, just have some dusty stuff to wear (I’m sure 47 years of dust and grime will brush off and not stick) and clothes lying on the lounge sectional, in a guest room closet and in piles throughout the house. That’s ok, Guinness likes soft things to sleep on, everyone is ok, everything’s fine. I’ll probably put it all back tonight or at least put the stuff that can hang high enough to stay out of the floor dudes’ way on Saturday.

While I was making dinner last night and Bruce was getting the tools and stuff ready for last night’s demo fun, the door bell rang twice. Since no one usually just drops by, even the neighbors text us first, we figured someone was selling something, which meant they were ignoring our No Soliciting sign. The Gs went insane and threw themselves against the front window when the person didn’t leave so Bruce had to investigate.

It turns out it was actually a woman from the neighborhood association (kind of like a homeowner’s association, but without the annoying rules and restrictions and set up mostly for social reasons to foster community in the neighborhood). She came by to tell us that….drum roll please….we won the Yard of the Month for May! What an amazingly nice surprise, especially since the inside of the house looks so terrible at the moment!

428623_10201323840322113_477794494_n

The Mortroski Midcentury has the Yard of the Month for May and the sign to prove it — thank you NPNA and Calloway’s!

She’ll be back to take photos for our neighborhood e-newsletter today (light was not good for photos at 6:45 pm last night — too bright), but Bruce took a few this morning.

Here’s what it used to look like before we moved in (image is approximately 2.5 years ago, massively Photoshopped photo courtesy of the listing agent):

front of 10950 rosser road

Before (photo credit: seller’s real estate agent)

945184_10201326109338837_1333287093_n

After (photo credit: Bruce)

You can see we replaced the mailbox, front door (added side lights and windows, painted it red), added a new porch light, new windows, new water-restriction friendly landscaping, removed a bunch of grass, pulled out the crumbling brick “planters” and the hollies. A lot has happened since we moved in!

Unfortunately for our neighbors, all of the exterior changes were done over a period of about 6 months, maybe longer even longer (I’ll wait for Bruce to correct me and then update this post), so the front of the house really looked bad for a lot of that time. When it looked really bad, we joked that we would definitely win for the Worst Yard of the Month — I even thought about making a parody sign to acknowledge our eyesore sweet eyesore.

But now the house has become a landmark of sorts for the neighborhood. We’re “that house with the red pot in front” or “the house with the red door and the red chairs on the porch.” It’s great for delivery people and people visiting for the first time. Can’t miss us now!

In case you’re curious, here are a few photos of the plants:

264313_10201326113298936_1790888590_n

The landscaping is all native Texas perennials so stuff happens all year ’round. If you look carefully you’ll see a doggie in the window next to the flag (it’s George).

248095_10201326114698971_2015471438_n

Other side, more Texas perennials and that’s a striped agave in the red pot. A nod to the Great White North with the Muskoka chairs (aka Adirondack chairs) on the porch.

Bruce and I pulled down the crumbling brick “planters” (really not wide enough nor deep enough for mature holly bushes with trunks 10 inches in diameter so they were busting out through the sides) one hot spring day (my main job was hauling the brick to the backyard using my garden cart where eventually we loaded into a dumpster some months later—Guinness and Godiva liked the odds of furry creatures living in the brick ruins and were sad that the bricks went away). But first we had to cut down the hollies (not as easy or as fun as you might think) the summer before getting the windows installed. They grew back despite being cut to the ground. So we had to chop them up again before the planter demo. And heavy equipment eventually had to be used to pull them out (though not by us).

Once we realized that we were completely over our heads with figuring out the landscaping plan ourselves, we attended a session at North Haven Gardens on landscaping and meeting Berrit from Roundtree Landscaping last summer. We had planned to get a plan, then install everything by ourselves. Berrit listened to our desires to have a lower impact, native landscape while minimizing the amount of grass we had to water during the hot Texas summers and drew up a plan that’s a lot like what ended up being planted. She also gently suggested that we should leave the sprinkler moving and planting to the professionals (she was right). She was fantastic to work with and we’re so glad that we worked with her.

You can’t see it but in the enlarged planting beds, the Roundtree crew changed the sprinklers to drip irrigation and the sprinklers for the front grass to NP rotors, a type of sprinkler that gets more water into the ground verses spraying in the air. They planted small plants since they will just get bigger and spread as the years progress. Everything was planted in late August 2012, except for a bunch of daffodils which were planted in February 2013.

The trees are a lot happier too. They’re getting watered deeper and better so we hope they’ll stay out of our plumbing (a big problem down here) from now on.

It’s so nice to be recognized for the changes in the yard, but truthfully, we didn’t do it to get recognized, but to make our house look more inviting and more our style. Like everything we’ve done to the Mortroski Midcentury (with the exception of the big plumbing mess), we did it because we wanted to. We’re trying to bring back some style to the place. So far so good.

PS: Guinness and I are going to the vet at 4 pm as planned. He’s still not ok and I’ve been giving him rimadyl (anti-inflammatory that he has been prescribed for his back and neck issues caused by wrestling with George and chasing Godiva) for the pain. He’s eating and drinking, wagging his tail, etc., but tried to bite Bruce when Bruce was poking around in his mouth. There’s something that hurts and it needs to get looked at. Update tomorrow.

So: weeknight workout

No, silly, we’re not going back to the gym…yet. Tonight will be another exciting evening of brute strength and blunt force. And dual shop vac/Monster vacuuming action. Oh yes, more of the same fun we had yesterday pulling up smooth edge, tearing out trim, destroying ill-conceived “closet organizers” and “shoe holders” so that the flooring install can go swiftly and smoothly (and so the nice men are not installing the new floor on top of 47 years of dust and dirt).

Bruce and I went to Home Depot at lunch to get some supplies that we will probably need tomorrow night (I may put the bird net up over the tomatoes tonight, just as a fun break and chance to play in the garden for a few minutes). Or maybe if we’re ambitious we’ll get to the next step on our destruction tour de force tonight. Nothing like planning ahead and reducing the chance of excuses for why we can’t do something.

I also need to figure out where to put a bunch of my clothes since the dresser is in the garage at the moment. Nothing like piles of clean laundry on the sofa. Doesn’t it scream “adult homeowner”? Maybe I can scavenge some cinder block and a few boards and make a college style bookshelf. Or perhaps some nice trash bags could be pressed into action. Sigh. It will all be over on Sunday, May 5.

Surprisingly I am not all that sore from the weekend’s shenanigans. Bruce is but as he says, he’s been sore for weeks now. It may be a slight exaggeration but I doubt it. Last night while we were sitting on the patio enjoying a glass of wine after yesterday’s labor, Bruce said something that shocked me: “You know, I think after we get all of the projects that are currently underway done, we should probably take a break.” I almost fell over, but that might have been exhaustion or wine fumes getting the best of me. Maybe I can get back to sewing this summer!

IMG_2199

break from DIY talk: gratuitous George de-fluffing a toy photo since empty rooms are not that photogenic

Speaking of dogs, one of the Gs is visiting the vet tomorrow afternoon. Guinness seems to be having a mouth problem of some type. He’s eating and drinking pretty normally, but he is pawing at the right side of his mouth. His lower lip looks like he may have bit it (or perhaps someone else may have during a roughhousing session or fly catching expedition).

the patient

the patient prior to the mouth situation

Since we don’t know how old he is or his medical history before he moved in with us, we’re thinking that maybe he’s got a toothache. He’s not really letting us check it out much. Don’t worry, he’s always good at the vet and will be sweet to the vet and the vet tech(s) because he knows they’re going to help him. He’s no stranger to clinics after all. And since of course, I’ve done a bit of web research I’m going to take his temperature and see if he’s running a fever (could be an infection then). His vet is pretty awesome but she was only available tomorrow afternoon since Mondays are the busiest vet days (they close at noon on Saturday until Monday morning). Poor big boy. Maybe we’ll just give him wet food tonight and give his mouth a break. I’ll let you know what the vet says.

Must get to work. If you hear loud sounds in our neighborhood after 7 pm, just close your windows.

 

sow: obscene harvest

obscene! yes, that is our kitchen table groaning under the weight of the bounty

obscene! yes, that is our kitchen table groaning under the weight of the bounty

Don’t worry, friends. That craziness will feed 3 other families this week in addition to Bruce and me. It was a productive two weeks for spinach, chard, mixed salad greens, cilantro, mint, parsley, oregano, red velvet lettuce, candy cane beets (the very first ones!) and bok choi. And it felt awesome to pick everything, feel the sun on my back (hello, farmers’ tan!) and do a little weeding this morning. It’s an exciting time on the Urban Farm — English peas are podding, snow peas are flowering, okra plants are sprouting, salad greens are weed-like, tomato plants are getting huge, peppers are starting to flower, beets/carrots/radishes are all forming, herbs are going insane. So much is going on. The Urban Farm is looking very pretty and there’s lots of deliciousness about to happen. Ah, the relaxation.

As you surmised from yesterday, it’s not been a restful or relaxing weekend around here. Dumps, IKEA, moving furniture, getting rid of stuff, etc, etc, etc. And there will be no rest this week. Destroy! Rip out! Sort! Give away! Donate! Put away! Spring cleaning on steroids. Or as I like to think of it an extended Date Night. At least there’s wine every night as a reward for so much physical labor.

Officially, today we became carpet-free home. All of the beige big box store lowest possible grade carpet is gone. It was an excellent magnet for black lab and yellow lab/golden retriever hair and dander. My allergies (nose and eyes) are going insane with the amount of 47 years of dirt, dust, dog hair and dander that I sucked up with the shop vac and the Dyson Monster. But after a shower and a little down time, I’m feeling better. Still I’m having Zyrtec with a Benedryl chaser tonight before bed. That and all the carrying, hammering, prying, cursing, and working will ensure a sound night’s sleep.

The trim around doors and floors in some of the rooms and hall is also gone. It is a bit unattractive around here and most of our furniture is either in the garage, the living/dining room, or back in the office (office furniture only). We still have a lot of work to do on the office, but we need somewhere clean where we can sit and rest after all of our work. In our bedroom, we put down blankets before we dropped our mattress on the bare floor. And we put some blankets under the dog beds too. We are wearing flip flops inside the house at the moment, despite the double vacuuming efforts. The Gs don’t seem to mind the bare concrete.

However, the Gs are a little unsure of what’s going on. George is slowly but surely getting over his phobia of loud sounds, power tools, the shop vac, and swearing. Godiva and Guinness are happy that we’re leaving all of the back doors open and they can come and go out for a squirrel hunt/bark/pee as they please.  There was lots of snoozing in the sun by those lazy hounds punctuated by squirrel chasing and a little visiting with our friend Camille. Despite the inside the house chaos, the Gs had an awesome weekend outside. Good thing since they’ll have another next weekend.

No sense of getting ahead of ourselves: this week will be busy. We have several rooms and closets yet to prep (aka things to destroy and remove) for Saturday’s bamboo-ing. We need to pour a bit of concrete in the lounge to level the floors where the wet bar and the tv cabinet used to be. We need to assemble the new cabinets on the tv side and get them in place for the bamboo dudes. And there’s a trip to IKEA in order on Thursday night.

We’re going to need our pal Jim the Master Plumber to come and remove/cap the wet bar sink and our other pal David the Master Electrician to move the plug. We’re not keeping the bar wet since in the nearly two years we’ve lived here we’ve never used the sink. But we’ll be adding a beverage fridge eventually so we need to make sure the electrical is ok. David loves what we’re doing with the place—he enjoys being part of the process and likes seeing the progress. Maybe that’s because he’s our age and wishes he had the energy and stamina to make his wife happy with the kind of improvements we’re doing. Seventy-one year old Jim is amused by our renos—the Urban Farm allowed him to share his dating exploits with Bruce (never with me, he’s too Southern). Apparently in East Texas if you are a single man of a certain age, the garden clubs are the best places to meet oil money widows. Rush out there everyone!

Well, George is snoring (loudly) and it’s time for bed. Hope you all had as excellent of a weekend as we did. (Yes. I know we’re crazy.)

 

 

So: today’s DIY adventure

We had an adventure today. Not only did we par down the possessions, we also ripped out more carpet and got to visit our local dump. All of us. Yes, the 3G Network went with us in the truck to experience the transfer station with us. If you want to imagine the experience, imagine the worst smell you can remember. Then imagine contractors and homeowners making a pile of stuff in a giant building scented with the worst smell you can remember. That’s the dump. Ick, but on our way to the dump we saw 1) a pretty cool looking biker bar, 2) a trail around a lake that looks like a great dog walk, 3) plenty of unique and strange import stores.

We did a ton of work today, but there’s still lots to do: pull up the smooth edge in the two guest bedrooms and then vacuum up all of the bits left behind; break down the furniture in our bedroom and move it to the garage and porch; rip out the bedroom carpet (then all of it will finally be out); pull out the smooth edge in our room; remove all of the trim in three bedrooms.

ikea-logo

And we went to IKEA. If you’ve ever visited an Ikea store, you know that it is a place to be avoided at all costs, especially on the weekend. But unfortunately, the cabinets they offer are part of our design for this stage of the reno. And it is open until 9 pm  on Saturdays and there is a big sale on for cabinets (ends tomorrow). We went and arrived around 5 pm. Thanks for Kyle H. we got most of the pieces we need to make our new dining room built-in buffet (perfect for dinner parties) and for our new lounge cabinet. He was amazingly helpful and maximized the spaces we have. Bravo, Kyle H.! You are a cabinet planning genius! Thank you.

We’ll worry about the countertop later (quartz is what we are thinking), but for now, we’ve got lounge cabinets to get in place by Saturday when the flooring magicians show up. Those poor dudes have to get the whole rest of the house paved, I mean, bamboo-zled, by Saturday night. I will be outside, weeding the front plants and tinkering around with the Urban Farm while I entertain the Gs (I can’t wait).

The house is pretty bare at the moment. so please don’t drop by unless you want to sit outside. The patio is looking just fine as is the front porch, but rooms really do look bigger with furniture in them just like the real estate agents say. Our real estate agent would be horrified to see what we’ve done with the place. But don’t worry, we’re not inviting her over until we’re done.

Speaking of furniture, Guinness is THRILLED that the office/tv watching space has furniture again (we moved everything back since this will be our only space where we can chill next week and next weekend until the new floor is all in). He is much happier now that his favorite nap sofa is available to him. The office still needs work, but we’ll get it done once we can put all of the other furniture (now in the garage and dining room) back where it goes. It needs paint. It needs another row of our custom panelling. It needs a cool ceiling fan. It needs stain. It needs organization and throw pillows. And a three large-ish dogs to nap in it.

Tonight we’re all chilling. Godiva is exhausted from playing ball (we had a little happy hour on the patio and chucked the ball to her for the whole hour). Guinness and George are exhausted from their latest attempts at squirrel hunting (I pity the fat rats with better PR because their days are numbered. Ick.) Bruce is exhausted from carrying huge rolls of gnarly carpet, flats from IKEA, and chucking stuff into piles at the dump. I’m just happy to remain vertical at the moment and have the strength to type. It’s been a very physical day.

So we must head to bed and rest up for another physical day. The good thing is we can rest on Monday.