Sow: turbo harvest

Whew! Is it bad that I’d like another day to add to my long weekend? Or at least to today?

thank you to those who have served, are serving, and will serve

We got closer to final on two large-ish DIY projects:

Cabinets in the dining room in progress

Cabinets in dining room finished! Just need a countertop

Cabinets installed in lounge. Temporary countertop from previous cabinet in place for now.

After all that, Bruce quickly cut the grass (with all the rain it grew 4 inches this week) and I headed to the urban farm to do a little grocery shopping.

Rainbow chard

mixed greens

red romaine


chili peppers


One special thing for today besides feeding the composter tons of rain wrecked lettuce: purple beans

not sure why one was green

they turn green when you cook them (blanched them with a few peas)

see how green they got?

just a few peas tonight

I also planted basil, pulled up the last of the spinach, found some rouge basil that must have seeded itself from fall’s crop, and staked one of the pepper plants.

Sure was nice to spend a little time digging in the dirt. See why I’d like another day?


Sow: purple bean dreams

It’s only Thursday. I’ve wanted it to be Friday for three days now. Is that bad?

First of all, I’m not discontented, just really tired. Our lovely stormy weather, lots of physical labor, moving at work, moving stuff at home, dinner guests on Tuesday night, and a variety of other things have made me feel drained. Wiped. Exhausted. More so than I’ve been in a long time. Weird thing is many of my local friends are feeling the same way. Maybe it’s allergies too?

So last night, I went to bed at 9:15. I was done. And I knew bed was the only place I should be. I was asleep pretty much instantly and probably could have slept until 9:15 am or longer this morning. (Hence no post: too tired to form sentences.)

However, my eye’s on a prize that’s keeping me energized: the three day Memorial Day weekend, a three day work week next week, and a four day traveling weekend after that.

I’m giddy about the Memorial Day weekend for more than sleeping. While we have a number of house DIY projects that need to be worked on, three days off from work should give me plenty of time to play in the dirt and enjoy the bounty of the Urban Farm.

Tuesday evening, I saw these babies starting to form:

Purple beans!

Purple beans!

Aren’t they pretty? I love growing stuff I’ve never seen before. They look positively Dr. Seussian. Their flowers are also purple. And yes, the baby beans are very easy to find amongst the green leaves. Like the packet says, they seemed to be easy to grow.

Don’t worry, they turn green when you cook them—but wouldn’t purple beans be a cool thing to eat? Or a mixture of green ones with the purple? Maybe throw in some yellow tomatoes for fun. Or red peppers. You could have a purple veggie plate with eggplant, purple peppers, purple kale, purple cauliflower, purple potatoes, purple carrots, purple beans, and purple tomatoes, garnished with some purple basil. Who wants to come over for that dinner?

So much good stuff is happening — tons to harvest, tons to check. Heck, maybe I’ll even do a little bit tonight. After I ripped out the cilantro that was on its last legs, I picked up some beautiful basil that due to the crazy weather has not yet been planted. The basil I planted with the tomatoes has been dwarfed by the tomato-zillas and now with the bird net up, it’s also harder to get to for a handful. If this new basil grows like the stuff I planted last summer, it’s going to be amazing.

It’s been a scary weather week, but the plants appear to like the extremes. Everything that’s supposed to be green is vibrant. The young veggies seem to double in size every day. And the sun plus the humidity seems to make everything thrive (except for people, who complain about getting soaked when they go outside). It’s a hopeful time and it gives me a boost just thinking about what’s going on.

I leave you another beautiful thought:

Saw this beautiful image on Pinterest.  It is a typeface called Fruitcake designed by Jacqueline Wong

Saw this beautiful image on Pinterest.
It is a typeface called Fruitcake designed by Jacqueline Wong

So: moving x2

Today was a very bad day to wear heels. Or wear business attire. Our department at work is moving this Friday. Several of us were told that we were moving on Wednesday.

Unless I am mistaken, it’s not Hump Day. Yesterday was Sunday. I know that because I spent the day sweaty and covered in sawdust. That’s not what happens on Tuesday, a day usually associated with 8 hours of back-to-back meetings.

Still, I moved. My new office is sunny and bright with a view of a busy street and with lots of planes landing over at DFW.

Street does not look busy, but it is

I moved everything in my office, minus two chairs, myself. Now I could have waited until Friday and my boxes would have been brought to me by the movers. But since I’m so experienced these days at moving boxes, furniture and stuff, I figured I’d use my lunchtime to git ‘er done.

I borrowed a cart. I put a couple of boxes on my office chair. In no time at all I was unpacked and it was business as usual. I think I’m going to love the new space.

Tonight it was business as usual at home too. Bruce caulked the trim in the back bedroom while I made dinner. After dinner we moved the furniture into the bedrooms. I should say I moved it.

Bruce was busy assembling it since we broke everything down as much as we could. So I was the brawn to his brain. No need for the gym today.

After that we moved the mattresses and put all the furniture back in place. I made the beds. The nicknacks and art will be put out later. But right now, we are ready for guests once again.

Slowly but surely things are getting back to normal. It’s going to be lovely working and living in these new/improved spaces.

So: three fingers

How do you know it was a successful DIY weekend? Injuries! I have three injured fingers (drilled my left thumb, sliced my right index, rubbed a bunch of skin off my third right finger), a bruise on my right bicep, and plenty of scratches everywhere. And my eyes are puffy and my nose is runny from all the dust. Achoo!

George seems to be doing much better with the power tool sounds. He enjoyed an afternoon in the laundry room (his choice) as the washer and dryer drowned out the sounds of construction. It was also very cozy laying on piles of dirty clothes (we are very behind on domestic chores) and warm.

George in repose after an exhausting day

We spent the day installing trim and cleaning up:

Guest room 1

Guest room 2

When you’re working all day, it’s possible to make a mistake:


We noticed this one after dinner. How we didn’t notice as we vacuumed twice, mopped, and admired our handy work, I’m not sure. I guess looking up is important.

Everyone is tired after this productive weekend:



There’s still a lot to do before furniture can go back in place in the bedrooms: caulking, painting trim. Good thing we have time after work!

Sow: huge harvest

It was a good day at the Mortroski Midcentury. George got braver. Bruce installed more trim. We all have a very packed fridge.

George is very afraid of sounds of the air compressor and the chop saw. That’s why we decided that I’d spend time outside with the Gs (Godiva and Guinness could care less about tool sounds) while Bruce installed trim.

Of course I spent the time on the urban farm. Here’s the harvest:

1/2 lb snow peas

English peas

First carrots plus a second crop radish

First real harvest of chioggia beets

Spinach, I ended up harvesting another container the same size as these two

And here are some harvesting shots:

Picking chard

Lots of chard

The urban farm today

The fridge is packed with gallon size bags of spinach, chard, mixed greens, beet greens. It looks like I barely made a dent!

So: beast

I noticed that I had 666 comments as of today. And today was exactly the kind of day where all of the best laid plans get cast to the wind. All efforts are futile. Obstacles abound. The devil’s in the details.



(It’s just Monday.)

The weekend’s not to blame, although it was one of ups and downs. Ups since the bamboo floors have gone in and we can start installing trim and putting things back where they go. Weeds are gone. Lots of veggies need to be harvested. Magazines got read, though not enough to make a dent in the pile saved up. Downs because everyone was a bit crabby yesterday since trim work takes time and we really wanted to be done and move on to errands. George is very scared of the air compressor and other loud sounds so he needed lots of attention.

I had very strange dreams last night and woke up a lot. Sleeping was uncomfortable since my hands, wrists and back were sore. And I woke up very grouchy and still tired. But I chugged some caffeine, pushed through, and before work, I did a bunch of laundry, moved more stuff back to where it goes, took care of a bill, washed dishes, harvested some veggies for our lunches, folded the pile of laundry, emptied the dishwasher, tried to get back a feeling of normalcy.

our sweet Daisy looking like some kind of alien-beast (photo by James Scott)

Our bulldog Daisy playing ball, but looking like some kind of alien-beast in this action shot (photo by James Scott)

It didn’t work.

We’re moving at work too so everywhere things are not where they should be. I’ve been trying to make peace with the chaos—and the irritation of not being able to find something quickly in either place where I spend most of my time. That is, if even know where it is.

While many things went right at work today, one did not. I’m still sitting at my desk, waiting for something that was very simple and straightforward to be completed and shipped out. (just trying to be productive while I sit here an drive everyone crazy with my “are we done yet?” comments). So unfortunately, the DIY plans for tonight turned into Bruce taking care of it himself and hauling more heavy stuff by his lonesome. The Urban Farm will also have to wait until tomorrow morning unless I get the headlamp out, but I think I’ll have other inside stuff to do.

Tomorrow is also Guinness’ tooth extraction. Not sure how George is going to take Guinness’ absence, but we know from past experience that Godiva is a bit of a wreck when Guinness disappears for an extended period of time. Bruce has tried to help her by taking each dog somewhere by themselves quite frequently (they are all big fans of the dry cleaner, Home Depot, and Lowes). But she knows when something’s up. Even George has been wondering why the big boy gets special cheese treats twice a day.

I could use some quality dog snuggling time. Some ball throwing. Even if they end up eating half of my dinner.

So I’m ready for this day to be done. I’m ready to put my head on the pillow and wake up with a clean slate. I’ll go back to being sweet tomorrow, I promise.

Daisy (photo by Mike Nowland)

Sweet Daisy (photo by Mike Nowland)

So: tired

Let me post some befores and afters:

Lounge before

Lounge after with Guinness photo bomb

Hall before

Hall after, trim to come later this week

Just a taste of what’s happened this weekend. Here’s another, this one as I tidy up after the installers:


Bruce and I are exhausted and sore. George hates the sounds of the tools we use to install the trim so we have to take it slow and reassure him that everything’s ok. Poor July 4 dog!*

So much more needs to be done. But we can do more tomorrow evening.

*We rescued George last August. He injured himself on a chain link fence the rescue group guesses, probably as a result of fireworks. He’s physically fine, just scared of loud sounds.

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.


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.


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!

So: Guinness update + concrete pouring

First the important stuff: the Guinness update. The big boy/world’s most expensive free dog has an abscess and a fractured tooth. The tooth is apparently the most common lab tooth to mess up and the way it’s messed up is called a slab fracture. Google it if you want to see some pretty icky photos.

He’ll be on antibiotics until next Tuesday and then he’s getting the tooth extracted on Tuesday. And we’re not sure what happened. The tooth could have been fractured for years. Dr. Hudson will clean all of his teeth and make sure there’s nothing worse happening. She’s a great vet and has always been great with Guinness (she has an interest in dogs with neurological issues) so I know he’ll be in great hands.

After talking with a coworker who has two lab-ish dogs (one who has had this same issue), Guinness may perk up again. He’s been a little moody lately which we may have wrongly attributed to the aging process (we don’t know how old he is and he’s gotten grayer in the last few months). My coworker explained that when her black lab Precious had her tooth extracted, it was like her whole attitude changed. And she ate better too.

The antibiotics and pain meds (novox) have worked well for Guinness so far–it seems like they’re working for him since he’s perkier. Fingers crossed!

Tonight’s DIY fun was mixing and pouring concrete. Check out the photo of the demolished wet bar:


There is a big gap between the brick floor and the wall. So we mixed two bags of Quikcrete and put the cement in place:


Ta da!

We are taking out the sink (don’t use it) and replacing the old cabinet with a beverage fridge and a cabinet. This is a future plan (need the plumber and electrician to come back and help us make that happen) but we need to floor to be level. And this is important for the floor install on Saturday.

Bruce says we need to add concrete pouring to our LinkedIn profiles!

In urban farm notes, we’ve got snow peas forming! Tomatoes are outgrowing their cages. Everything is doing great.

The only challenge is going to be Thursday night’s super cold weather. It could be the lowest May temperature ever. No joke. Bring out the frost cloth!