• 01Jul




    This is gonna grow twelve miles long. I just know it. I’ll post how-to details and before/afters when I tackle each one. Click the tabs above for different categories. Garden planning is separate.

    • cutlery drawer dividers
    • shelved side table for living room
    • small stand/table next to pantry for main phone (or buy)
    • cat window perch on wheels (lol lol lol) cat tree for garage from online plans
    • cat grass planter with mesh top
    • onion/potato storage cabinet
    • shelves in north end of office closet
    • reorganize cutlery, utensil drawers
    • organize bathroom vanity and drawers
    • finish organizing linen closet
    • Organize workshop & tools, pegboard
    • Organize garage
    • Assemble new desk, organize office
    • Paint office
    • Paint office furniture pieces (hutch, bookcase, printer stand? desk?)
    • Other painting: sewing cabinet, nightstands, dresser
    • Crafty stuff: sunburst mirror, succulent wall hanging
    • Make some hypertufa stuff, incl. possibly a hanging herb garden for kitchen window
    • Redo floor lamp to put in office Chucked it
    • Make duvet cover
    • Curtains for bedroom, office
    • Rehab pantry: paint white or use beadboard, add doors to top
    • Ceiling fan for office
    • New light in dining room

    • Recover cat tower Buy new one; it’s time
    • Build cat play area in office
    • Office painting: walls & furniture
    • Organize garage, build cat tower at window so Jas will stop screaming
    • It’s all about the Kim Kardashian of cats: Miss Jasmine
      Little jobs left to do…
    • hooks on inside kitchen cabinets for measuring cups/spoons and strainers FAIL
    • organize kitchen counters

    This is to remind me that I’ve accomplished things so I don’t feel overwhelmed. :)

    • Kitchen cabinets organized
    • 1 billion boxes in office: EMPTIED as of July 1. молодец! (Russian for well done, or attagirl! Yay me.)
    • Musical CDs emptied and organized! Alphabetical AND in beautiful boxes from my beloved aunt
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  • 28May

    Since the wife (previous owners) was an interior designer, the rooms are all freshly painted and in very tasteful, pleasing colors. Not crazy bright colors, but very pleasant.

    I basically got over “bold colors” at the last house, when I painted the living room “Iced Tea.” I saw the iced tea color on one of the design shows. It looked bright and cheerful at first. But over time, it began to read orange. Live and learn.

    Here, all of the rooms are calm. The living room in particular is the EXACT shade of a sage-ish green I would have chosen myself. The master bedroom is a nice darker beige, or light brown. It has a tad of olive green in it, which I only see in the afternoon when the sun is bright. The other main rooms, the kitchen, dining and bath: a lovely shade of light blue.

    I’ll eventually get tired of the colors and paint, but perhaps in three years or something like that. I thought I would tire of the corn husk green I painted my old kitchen, but I never did. I still love that color, and eventually I’ll paint the kitchen corn husk green again. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 03Sep

    My ongoing list. Read the rest of this entry »

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  • 02Sep

    This year hasn’t been the best for my vegetables. I’m afraid that the tree I love and hate has grown, and is perhaps casting a bit too much shade over the vegetable garden. So I’m going to put some raised beds in a sunnier location for next spring. Originally, I knew the sun was better in that spot, but the ground was lower and I worried about drainage issues. Raised beds will take care of that.

    Since leaves are never in short supply, I’m going to start the beds this fall, do the lasagna method, and by spring, I should have some nice, crumbly worm-filled soil. There are a number of ways to do the lasagna method and you can Google for more info.

    What I like about it most is that you don’t have to til the soil. We don’t have a tiller, so I end up renting one from a rental store. There are advantages to tilling, and the biggest one is it exposes bad bug eggs and they die. But in virgin soil with grass on top, I think the only pest is Japanese beetle eggs and grubs. The *second* year is when the cucumber beetles and other pests lay eggs. I might be wrong, but that’s what I think based on years of gardening and my own common sense.

    The disadvantages of tilling: you expose weed seeds and assist weed growth; and you chop up the earthworms. You also destroy long strands of fungi that benefit plant roots and the soil.

    I do lasagna with the things I have on hand, but it’s usually about the same:

    1. A good layer of newspapers and/or cardboard. It’s a good time to clear out those Amazon boxes I’ve piled in a corner of the basement. That smothers the grass and makes a good base. Some people use weed killer (either chemical or vinegar-based), but I think that’s a waste. The papers/cardboard will do it just fine.

    2. Then I begin layers of chopped up leaves (I suck, chop and save using my wonderful Leaf Hog from Black and Decker plus trash can attachment) and grass clippings. If I have no grass clippings, just any kind of green material. Sometimes I buy a big bag of alfalfa meal or alfalfa pellets from the feed store. It’s great stuff: use it to make alfalfa tea (nitrogen fertilizer) and add to the compost pile if I’m low on green materials to get the pile cooking.

    3. The instructions usually say add layers of peat moss. I prefer not to use peat moss because this is not a renewable resource and peat bogs will eventually run out. So I use coir, a by-product of coconut shells. It’s fabulous stuff, and I also use it as potting soil (helps prevent mold, too!). Most of the time I leave this out because I have to drive about thirty minutes to get to an organic store and I don’t think it’s a requirement.

    I’ve also been known to just do newspapers, leaves and sprinkle blood meal on top. I like to buy blood meal in fall when places like Wal Mart put it on clearance.

    Or, you can save up some urine and pour that on. Sounds nasty, but it’s a perfect source of high-nitrogen to start breaking those leaves and paper down into nice humus. The great thing about urine is that you’ve got an unlimited source, it’s free, and unless you have a bladder infection, it’s sterile.

    Another source of course is manure if you have access to that. A neighbor with pet rabbits is the best thing in the world if you garden! They’ll love you forever for taking care of the rabbit poo, and you’ve got a source of good manure.

    That’s it. Lasagna method is easy to do, a lot less work, and the bonus is you’ve got a good base in spring. Plus worms and other goodies.

    Oh, and keep it watered as best you can if it doesn’t rain or snow.

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  • 30Jun

    Plant that catnip plant I bought before the cats destroy it. They’ve already killed one, which they enjoyed.

    Stake all the dahlias, goldenrod and giant tansy.

    Build my teepees for the cucurbits and install.

    Build my fence from the bamboo I harvested. I have 80+ canes. That was a helluva grove.

    Fix a spot on the lattice where it came undone from the screw.

    Perhaps plant that last tomato plant at the end of the veg garden where the bamboo was. Either that or put it in the compost pile. It’s on its last legs.

    Plant the rest of those torch sunflower seeds, plus more ice radishes for cuke beetle control.

    Dose of compost tea: did that today, plus added some more guano. I’m really liking that Garrett Juice, from the Dirt Doctor. You can make your own, but this is so much easier. I’m burning through it quickly, though, and will have to order more or make my own. I’m down to about a quart of compost.

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  • 09Jun

    I can’t believe I didn’t even think of this. I’m growing extra tomato plants to entice the squirrels away from my main garden – a kind of trap planting. But I’ve been saying they can’t eat (or take bites of and toss on the ground, the little devils) all the extras I’ve planted. And I can only can so many tomatoes.

    So here’s my pledge, and I hope other gardeners will do the same: those extra tomatoes will go to local food pantries. In fact, I’ve got some extra room with nothing growing, so I’m going to head to the nursery tomorrow and pick up extra tomato plants.

    I’m going to grow as many tomatoes as I can, and donate all my surplus produce to the pantries. Let’s hope for a bountiful year and spread healthy, organic produce to as many people as we can, shall we?


  • 12May

    I have a bunch of photos from last year that I never added to the gallery. I may do that later this week. Always something to do.

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  • 24Feb

    –Cut back any unwanted bamboo; move (never got to that – argh) grove to side and against house (space between lattice end and house) …should I move some to side yard???

    –Corn gluten meal on lawn, sidewalk spaces and driveway places where weeds grow

    –Corn meal on gardens, compost added

    –Build new compost bin (woo hoo);

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  • 10Sep

    I love fall so much, but there’s a lot to do gardening and yard-wise. I think people don’t realize how much should be done in preparation for next spring’s gardening.

    I’ve been canning: so far tomatoes and bread/butter pickles and right now I’ve got cucumber spears soaking for pickle stickles. Those are a kind of lime green pickle my mom and aunt made when we were kids. It wasn’t a family recipe, but something mom had gotten from a lady at church. It’s three days worth of work, and I’m on day two. First day, soak in lime water overnight. Day two, wash them, soak in water three hours then make the syrup and soak in that overnight. Day three you cook and can them.

    Next up, if I’m still in the mood to can and can find the old recipe: zucchini relish. I don’t like squash very much, other than stuffed squash (recipe from the Arabs I knew), but this relish beats any regular sweet relish.

    Here’s a good article on planting hairy vetch in the fall, which I plan to do this week.

    I have several chores to try and squeeze in:

    • put down some lasagne layers in the back large garden (flowers, but next year, I’m going to intermingle more vegetables out there…right now, mostly dahlias and my butterfly garden)
    • pull up the vegetables that are no longer producing: most of the eggplants (they didn’t produce as well as usual this summer), all curcurbits except the gourd and maybe a stray cucumber and melon that have babies still and the pumpkin out back (two babies…don’t know if they’ll mature or not, but I was just growing them for the compost pile anyway)
    • plant hairy vetch everywhere there’s nothing planted, plus around the things I don’t yank (tomatoes and peppers)

    I saw two hummingbirds really going at the lantana bush earlier. They come one after another to the feeder at the front window. The usual ones with the white banding on their tails, but now I’m seeing a number of red throated birds. The banded tail birds like to dance for my cat, and she loves that. I’ve really got to try and get a movie of it. It’s a beautiful dance at the window and the birds seem to understand she can’t get through the glass and eat them.

    I’ve got a small load of compost that has cooked nicely over summer. My summer load is always lots smaller because I depend on the mass of fall leaves that I suck and chop (leaf vacs rule) and that’s a fall thing. Then I spend all winter adding crap to it and enjoying the steam in winter. It’s a lovely sight. Composting is FUN. My uncle says I just like to make piles. I do want to build a tidier one out of pallets, but that’s not so high on the to-do list. That list is miles long.

    We wanted to add on to the deck this summer, but didn’t get it done. Still might try and at least lay some poles. I dunno.

    I’m trying to add flax seed to our diet because it’s a good source of omega 3. I saw my holistic doctor today and he was overjoyed when I said that. He added a valerian root supplement to my diet for now, to help with stress. I’m really stressed out at times.

    I haven’t had the courage to tell my regular doctors that I’m seeing this guy. My GP is a complete vegan and probably would be okay with it. I know she would like the flax seed. (DH thinks that’s plain nutty, but given that heart disease runs in his Italian family, he’s going with the program. Says it’s better than eating a lot of fish, which neither of us likes much.)

    It has to be crushed, though, to release the oil. I was surprised to find that, plus my organic wheat berries, at the local supermarket. Nice surprise. Saves me a tedious trip to the health food store. I’d like to support the health food store, but his hours are terrible. Two days a week, early morning, and I am so not a morning person.

    Wheat berries are the full grain from the stalk of the wheat, before it’s lost all its goodness from processing. They’re actually very delicious, but take a lot of prep. That’s my downfall…hate the prep. I hate to cook.

  • 30Aug

    This is the start of a to do list:

    • Put the curcurbits out in the back garden, make teepees or lean extra lattice pieces against back building; all-day sun

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