Monday, February 08, 2016

Monday Garden Update

There's a feeling of spring in the air!  One of the Lucases (Maria, I think) has resumed laying. Judging by her behavior, I think we're going to be getting eggs from Isabella any day. 

Every February, we have a delightfully warm week before winter recommences. As I always do, I'm worrying about our fruit trees. Will we get a freeze, and lose all the blossoms?  Will the bees be flying at all?

Because of my hectic schedule at work, which eats up so much of what should be my personal time, I missed the scion exchange this year. 

However, the grafted plums from previous seasons seem to be doing quite well. 

Our first-year asparagus is looking pretty stressed. I've never started asparagus, so I'm not sure what's typical for young plants. I anticipated tiny shoots.  But I was surprised that they all bolted so quickly after emerging from the ground. 

I expect this kind of feathery growth at the end of the growing season, not the very beginning. 

I also wonder if I need to heap up soil on the roots/crowns of these plants. So many questions. 

Our kale is as un-kill-able as ever. It grows huge woody stems, much like brussel sprouts. Despite the hardness of the stems, the leaves remain tender. 

I recently read that kale was passé. I find this hilarious.  Kale is delicious, and grows dependably all winter long. I shan't be casting it aside any time soon.

If you're curious about what other folks are doing in their gardens, check out the weekly blog-party.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Of Smoke and Smog

I think panoramic photography was invented as a way of making cats even more amusing than they already are. Smog was certainly obliging. 

Robb has been re-pointing our chimney. He and I have (pretty much) given up on the idea that we can have a functional fireplace. The firebox (I think that's the right word) is just too small. It would cost a fortune to install a decent-looking wood stove that would fit our house. 

Besides, it's only a matter of time before California outlaws wood fires, because they pollute the air. We figure that it's not worth spending money we don't have on something that we won't be allowed to use. 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Emergency Chicken Pedicure


I was drinking coffee this morning, when Robb came in and told that he needed my help with one of our hens. Anne Elliott was covered with blood. 

There was blood on her foot, blood on her head, and blood all over our pavement. 

We grabbed her and brought her in to our bathroom. Her middle left claw was broken, and still dripping blood. I washed her off, and inspected her head. I clipped off the dangling bit of toenail. I didn't want it to catch on anything else.  

Her head seemed fine, and we concluded that she probably bloodied herself by scratching with her injured foot. (It really did look awful.  "Covered in gore" would not be an inaccurate description.)

We don't have anything that will serve as a chicken bandage (poultry poultice?) so we're just going to monitor her foot. I'm a bit concerned, because the back yard is pretty muddy, and our hens like nothing better than scratching in the dirt. 

If any chicken experts are reading this blog, I'd like to hear what you have to say. 

And yes, there really is nothing angrier-looking than a wet hen. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cat on the Tiles


Cardigan wants to know when I'm going to finish working on the bathroom. 

"WHYYYYYYY aren't you done, Human?"

I managed to paint the tile under the sink and behind the toilet. I got half of the tile in the corner by the bathtub done. And yes, I did quite a bit of this work laying on my back with my head wedged under the tub. 

I had taken off the tank of our new 1947 toilet, so I could paint the wall behind it. Together, Robb and I reinstalled the toilet tank. It mostly works. We have a bit of fine-tuning to do. But it's remarkable how easily the whole operation went. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pink Friday


I know a lot of people get a huge thrill out of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, but honestly, I'd rather spend the day with my head under the sink. 

I'm painting each restored plaster "tile" to look like vintage ceramic. 

It may sound like a foolish project. More than one person has asked me why I'm going to all this trouble. And my answer comes down to three things. 

First, Robb and I are interested in restoring our little old home. We're not interested in ripping out vintage details, and replacing them with modern equivalents. We want to maintain as much of the historic character of this house as we possibly can. 

Second, we both feel that restoring an old home is much more ecologically gentle than embarking on new construction. If we can use what already exists, we're happy. We don't want to fill the landfill with the carcass of a gutted home. 

And thirdly, we're not made out of money. We could never afford to pay someone to do the work we're doing. Contractors have to get a job done as quickly and cheaply as possible, if they want to make a profit. Robb and I can do a lot of the work on our house ourselves, and we can spend the time to do things as perfectly as possible. 

There are plenty of jobs we're not qualified to do (repairing our crumbling driveway, upgrading our antique furnace, and dealing with our failing linoleum).  And we're saving money to pay for those future jobs by doing a lot of other work ourselves. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gobble Gobble


Happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends.  

We won't be eating (or riding) turkey, but we will be enjoying a day of coziness and home cooking. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Out With The Old, And In With The Loo!


I've been laid up with a stomach bug, feeling all sorts of nauseous. But work has to get done, and Robb wanted to test-fit our "new" vintage toilet. 

Obviously, I haven't finished the work on the plaster tile. I can't face the smell of the paint at the moment. 

Yay!  New antique toilet!  With almost all the original copper and brass tank hardware!  Yay! Having a plumbing project work on the first try!  Yay!  Having the kind of relationship where home plumbing projects don't lead to squabbling, even if one party is horribly queasy. 


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