So: mostly photos

I’m on another business trip and I’m kind of wound up, although I really should be sleeping. Rather than toss and turn, I’m going to post a photos until I start to feel tired.

Gidget the foster pup has been making herself right at home. She’s got the 3Gs twisted around her paw, especially George who is going to lose his extra 10 pounds (he likes to eat the other Gs food when no one’s looking)  pretty quick. Gidget’s got him enrolled in puppy boot camp and giving him quite a work out with toys, wrestling, and lots of chasing around the house and yard. He’s quite smitten.

Gidget also shares George’s love of dirt and also thinks that the raised beds are great places to lie in. This weekend, the twine visual deterrents are going back in since I’m planting bok choi, carrots, radishes and other seeds. Hopefully it works as well on Gidget as it did on George in the spring.

Gidget likes the garden a little too much

Gidget likes the garden a little too much (notice how tall the okra has gotten—it’s a crazy plant)

The bush beans are sprouting, that is, unless Gidget and George have flattened them all while I’ve been gone:

bush bean seedling

bush bean seedling

The fall tomatoes are progressing nicely too:

fall indigo rose tomato plant is already growing tomatoes

fall indigo rose tomato plant is already growing tomatoes. Time to fertilize.

And then there are more gratuitous dog photos for your visual enjoyment

Guinness looking handsome

Guinness looking handsome (photo by Bruce)


Godiva and Gidget napping (photo by Bruce)

Gidget looking cute

Gidget looking cute (photo by Bruce). Doesn’t she look like Petey, the dog in Our Gang/Little Rascals? Love her black and white face.

Say aw and I’ll say ‘night, y’all!


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:



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?



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?

Sow: cotton field

Tonight the Gs had a playdate and we learned about our neighborhood.

We were all outside sitting on the patio, enjoying a glass of wine when the Gs all ran inside, barking.

Before I knew it, Bruce had our neighbor Fred and his dog named Sue (a male Vizla, named after the Johnny Cash song) out back to hang out with us.

While Sue’s about a year old and we’ve watched him grow up from a tiny, lanky pup, Fred’s lived here since 1966. He bought his lot in 1965 when it was part of the Cox farm and getting developed. We even now know where the homestead was (unfortunately it’s been torn down and replaced by three mini-mansions).

Tonight Fred told us that our house and his (just down the street) were built on cotton fields! We had no idea that cotton was being grown so close to the center of Dallas as late as the mid-1960s. That means our trees are not as old as we thought.

Fred also shared with us that he was an International Harvester farm equipment dealer. He admired the urban farm and asked where we got the stock tanks. He was happy to hear that we make the trip to Tractor Supply Company for some of our needs instead of buying stuff at the garden center.

He’s a great neighbor and wealth of information about the neighborhood since he’s been here since the beginning. And he welcomed us newcomers with open arms.

We invited Fred and Sue to our annual Boxing Day party. We have never met Mrs. Fred, although tonight he mentioned her and his son too. Fred had an awesome time, but he said that Sue was not “ready for prime time” so he didn’t come along to the party, much to the disappointment of the other 11 dogs attending.

Tonight, Fred told us about where many of our neighborhood live oaks came from: him. You see around the time they built DFW airport, there was a tree farm that was shutting down. Live oaks were ten cents on the dollar, so Fred filled one of his dealership’s 18-wheelers with young trees, grabbed his back hoe, and planted trees on his street in 1966. His street is cool and green all summer.

Fred’s the reason this neighborhood was so appealing to us. Mature trees made a difference. They reminded us if Canada. And we told him so. He was rather tickled, I think.

But the star of tonight’s show was Sue. At first he was a bit shy, but he and Godiva are already pals since Fred and Bruce had them meet when Sue was a pup. The boys were a bit brutish with him, but within minutes they were all running around and wrestling in the dog park part of the urban farm.

The Gs and Sue will all sleep well tonight!

Because the dogs all had so much fun, Fred and Sue will be back soon, hopefully next Friday night. Maybe Fred will sit for longer and tell us stories. I want to learn more about the neighborhood–I hope Fred will let me interview him so I can document the history.

And Fred’s yard is on our neighborhood garden tour which is happening in a few weeks. Of course, I’d love to see it.

Sow: photo essay

Not writing much today because the urban farm looked so pretty this morning. So I captured it for you.

Enjoy the views:

dePierre spinach (heirloom variety)

Purple pole bean seedlings


Arugula flowers

Mixed lettuce

Ladybug on chard


Snow peas


French breakfast radish

Gratuitous 3G photo (thanks Bruce)