Thursday, January 29, 2015

Last Bedroom Done

Since I posted about our remodeling of the upstairs extra bedroom and our remodeling of the downstairs extra bedroom, I thought I should share our remodeling of the master bedroom.

This took us a while to complete.  Since starting the project over a year ago, my mother had heart surgery and an aunt broke a leg and had two months of recuperation.  Seemed we spent a lot of time at hospitals.  Plus, we moved the aunt and the uncle to an assisted living center with a lot of things to take care of at their house.  We also spent all our free time last summer training for our hike across the Grand Canyon which was worth it!  We just lived in the downstairs extra bedroom with piles of furniture and boxes in the family room and slowly kept working toward our goal.  Now, it is done!!!  We are going to move our furniture back in this coming Saturday.

This project included removing a chimney that went through the room from a fireplace in the family room below--it will be removed completely when we do that room; removing makeshift closets someone put around the chimney; patching the ceiling, floor and walls in that area after removing everything; re-configuring a closet that is over a stairway (meaning it had a sloped floor) so that we have shelves behind the doors and a cabinet behind the closet with access from the side; replacing the hanging rod and shelves in the main closet, installing crown moulding; having new doors installed; sanding everything so it could be painted or stained as was appropriate and making access to the attic larger again like it was before someone stuck a chimney over part of the opening.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  Anyway, it is done!!!

Here are before and after photos.

Main closet.

The wall of closets.  There was a chimney in between the two left closets.  The right closet was very deep and you had to step up and then crawl into it to do anything in there.  It is over a stairway.

This is the tiny access to the attic in the back of a closet beside the chimney.

Chimney, and two closets gone.  Larger attic access under the quilt hanging rod.  Cabinet in the corner behind the closet.  Mirror on the door to hallway.

The many shelves in the redesigned closet.

If you think the color looks familiar, it is because we have painted all the bedrooms the same color.  It is just us in the house and this way linens should be interchangeable!

Next post will be about gardening again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Roots and Sprouts

The hyacinth bulbs are putting down good roots and sprouting.
The front bulb on the right has a small sprout but it has good roots in those glass pebbles.  I'm expecting it to still do well.  An improvement from the day I took them out of the refrigerator.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sharp Stuff

I was gifted with a warm afternoon.
It was perfect to spend some time outside sharpening garden tools for the coming growing season.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Seeds Ordered

I spent some time with the seed catalogs today and made out my orders this evening.

I knew there would be changes to the edibles list for 2015.  Some varieties were switched and I found two new things!

A more compact variety of basil that does well in containers was selected.  Last year, after I froze all the basil I wanted for winter, I just let the plants flower and feed the pollinators.  With a more compact variety, I may just plant some containers with basil to be decorative this year reserving the option to snag a leaf now and then.

I dropped red salad bowl lettuce from the ordering list. Only one of the catalogs carried it and I kept my ordering to two catalogs to save on shipping.  I might find it locally at the garden center and still plant some.

A specialty melon named tigger got my attention.  It looks interesting and the single serving size of white flesh intrigues me.  I have not eaten it.  I'm just going to try it.

The parsley change was just an availability issue.

The different pumpkin variety claims to ripen faster.  With our temperamental autumn temperatures, I thought faster was better.

The new radish is a purple one.  I like purple!


leaf: red salad bowl


parsley *
flat leaf
giant of italy

large: jack-o-lantern
medium:  magic lantern


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Seed Stash

I dug out the vegetable seeds box Friday evening to see what I had on hand.  One post back, I have the list of what I will likely plant.  The varieties don't change much from year to year as I've gardened enough years now to know what usually works for us, and I don't have a huge space to try a lot of different things.  Not all of that list will go in the garden.  I will edit as the season unfolds;  but, there is bound to be something new I'll want to try also.  I have my collection of seed catalogs ready for some serious perusing.  I did manage to narrow it down to three that I may order from.

This post is property of

Edibles 2015

basil *
**only got one little plant, needed to be where it got more sun, didn't harvest any

snap: contender  (buff valentine) (bush)
!!did great

scarlet nantes
!!did great (planted some for fall)

slicers: marketmore 76
!!did great

garlic *
hard neck
!! did great

kohlrabi *
early white vienna
purple vienna
!!all did great

leaf: salad bowl
leaf: red salad bowl
leaf: black seeded simpson
romaine: forellenschluss “speckled trout”
romaine: red
soft head (butterhead) : buttercrunch
!!all did great (planted some for fall)

**melons were very small, taste was kind of bland, need to try again

melon, muskmelon
hales best jumbo
!!did great

melon, watermelon
round, striped: crimson sweet
**never made a melon

onion sets
**were OK

parsley *
giant of italy
**it sprouted and then died in the heat.

shelling types: little marvel (dwarf)
snow peas: melting sugar
**a rabbitt ate most of the pea plants.

bell: golden bell:  starter plant
bell: lilac:  starter plant
**small fruits
bell: red beauty:  starter plant
jalapeno: mucho nacho: starter plant
!!did great

magic lantern pumpkin
**up and died in July

multi-colored: french breakfast
multi-colored: sparkler
multi-colored: scarlet turnip white tip
red: cherry belle
!!all did great (planted some for fall)

squash, summer
early prolific straightneck
**the plant is contorted and the first fruit looks odd, stopped watering it
black beauty (zucchini)
**never made any zucchini
early white bush scallop
!!did great
**the lemon summer squash had a hard time getting started and then gave up.

squash, winter
table queen acorn
candy roaster
**the winter squash had a hard time getting started and then gave up.

grape/cherry type: red cherry: starter plant
!!did great
grape/cherry type: sweet 100: starter plant
!!did great
plum/roma type: roma plum
!!did great
standard slicers: early girl: starter plant
**first fruit was icky and then the plant stayed small, but got some pretty fruits

----- Perennials -----

asparagus *
jersey knight
!!did great

chives *
!!did great

mint *
!!did great

strawberry *
**first year, no harvest

----- Do Not Purchase -----

red cored chantenay

slicers: white wonder

* not on vegetable planting/harvesting calendar

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hyacinth Bulbs Freed From The Refrigerator

In early November, I put six hyacinth bulbs into a brown paper bag and put the bag into the refrigerator.  Hyacinth bulbs need a chilling period to bloom.  I labeled the bag clearly so no one would eat the bulbs.  :-)

Today, I pulled the bag out of the refrigerator and inspected the bulbs.  Each has a sprout starting to show.

I gathered two hyacinth bulb vases, a couple of other vases that will work because they have 'necks' and a couple of bud vases which I filled with glass pebbles.  Each vase is filled with water to just below the hyacinth bulb.

Now, to put them in a sunny room (but not in the sun) and wait for growth, roots and blooms.

This post is property of

Monday, January 5, 2015

During Moments of Winter, Roast Something

Last Saturday, I posted the January tour photos.  I took those that morning.

We then enjoyed the day with temperatures getting above freezing and much of the snow melting.  However, there was a winter weather advisory posted for our area for that night.

Around 4 pm, this arrived.

It got much worse before it let up.
The state highway department closed the major roads in our area because visibility was near zero as it got dark.

I had the perfect project ready.

Last summer, my candy roaster squash plants were quite productive.  After sharing several with friends, I still had a stockpile of them on our coffee table in the family room.

Candy roaster squash stores very well.  You can just roast one as you need it, but I decided to try roasting the seeds this year too.  So, I wanted to do all of them at once.

Each was cut open, seeds removed, wrapped loosely in foil and roasted for about an hour at 350 degrees.

 That was just long enough to soften them so a spoon would easily scoop out the squash.

Into freezer bags to be reheated later with different additions like brown sugar or olive oil with garlic salt.

Then, I roasted the seeds using my roasted pumpkin seed recipe.
I did save some of the seeds for planting in the spring.

The candy roaster squash seeds have a nuttier test.
My wonderful husband approved them for future roastings. 

Now, I have space on my coffee table, roasted seeds to snack on and squash in the freezer for suppers.

We spent an hour on Sunday digging out of a 2.5" snowfall that put drifts in the most inconvenient places:  the driveway and the patio.  At least the wind stopped sometime Saturday night.

Saturday, January 3, 2015