Buying Seeds

I saw this post over the weekend, and pretty much had to link over to it since it’s just about the time to start planting seeds and seedlings.

IF YOU ARE THE KIND OF GARDENER who buys vegetable seeds or seedlings (including tomato plants) from a local garden center, as I sometimes do, beware the varieties you select. Otherwise, you could very well be putting money into the hands of the wretched Monsanto Corporation. Forewarned is forearmed, right? Here is the list of Seminis/Monsanto home-garden vegetable varieties, and yes, it even includes zucchini:

I do buy varieties from a couple local nurseries, and while I try to go to the small ones first, sometimes they are out of what I want, so Lowe’s it is. The list over at AGardenForTheHouse blog will go right into my wallet so I can double check before I buy.

(please note: the list is not implying all those varieties are genetically modified. However, I don’t want to give Monsanto a penny if I can help it, so that’s why this list is important. You’ll probably notice there are some heirloom varieties on this list. Don’t panic. Some varieties can be from multiple sources, so if it’s an heirloom and it’s on this list, just ask your seller where they buy from)

Axes and Hammers and Crowbars, oh my!

The Lady L was gracious enough to give up part of her friday evening to help me conquer the drop ceiling in my to-be aerial room. It was very cathartic.

Next up, removing the faux “rafters” and repairing the original plaster ceiling.


I’d like to say I’d get that done this weekend, but I don’t think I have the money in my budget for a few weeks to finish all of it. I’ll probably have to put up cardboard in the meantime since there are some actual holes from where the old roof leaked. Also, we discovered that the 12 foot original ceiling was for a room with a different footprint than the current room. At some point, a hallway was carved out and so the 12 foot ceiling extends across the hall, and the wall for the room does not go all the way up. I think that I’m going to lay a floor across the rafters over the hall and use it as storage. I can put cabinet doors on it from the room side, instead of rebuilding the wall higher. I’ve lived places with this sort of storage before, and it’s drastically more convenient than having to get all the way into the attic. We also unearthed the remnants of another fireplace, but sadly they disassembled the lower part and build a closet where the mantle would have been.
Sometimes the decisions people make while “renovating” old houses make me very sad.

I’ll be building some sort of support from the attic side to hold the rigging points, but that is also a project for a day when I have help.

In other news, part of the reason it’s been quiet here this week is because I was also up north, helping my mom with her house. She lucked out when ripping up the carpet, and the hardwoods underneath can get by with only some minor work (well, there are a couple spots that need new boards, but that will wait for a while, they are in a closet and mostly hidden) We did some minor repairs and refreshed the finish, and it looks so good! I’m also getting a chance to brush up on my electrician skills with a couple of tiny projects – replacing light fixtures and hunting down a new exhaust fan motor for her kitchen.
It so satisfying to see immediate improvements. Flipping the switch and the new chandelier works? Simple, but a nice payoff. Small projects tide me over while the big ones are waiting on more funding.
I really do love working on houses.

law vs order

I’ve been noticing something lately. When my husband and I go out somewhere which involves spending many hours in an establishment where smoking is allowed, I wake up the next day feeling flu-ish, or am incredibly hung over despite not drinking much. The smell of the smoke lingering in my hair, or on my clothes is enough to make me gag.

I have spent a good chunk of my life in smoky bars and clubs, and never used to feel this way. It’s frustrating, because sometimes now I really weigh how smoky some place is going to be when I’m deciding if I want to go to an event. I’ve been trying to figure out what changed, and I think it all comes down to when our city decided to implement a smoking ban on any place that allowed the under-18 crowd. It used to be that most places tried to accommodate smokers AND non-smokers. Smokers themselves were more polite about not lighting up and blowing it right in your face. There were areas non smokers could sit or stand and have a little breathing room. People didn’t take lit cigarettes onto the dance floor. (ok, some morons did, but they usually got kicked in the shins)

Seems like the whole argument about banning smoking, and the implementation of these laws here, and the never ending threat of it being banned outright has turned those places I used to love into smoker’s free-for-alls, where each cigarette is held up like a giant middle finger. The law says I can smoke here, so screw you if you don’t like it.

I’ve always been a proponent of personal responsibility and not legislating everything, and the way this process is going isn’t making me any more a fan of the laws. However, after spending all day yesterday wanting to die, I fully admit I wish cigarettes would simply vanish off the face of this earth.

problem kitchen

The kitchen in the Yellow house is driving me insane. Something must be done, but since the whole house will get gutted in a couple of years, the “fix” needs to be cheap and relatively easy. Paint will go a long, long way, as one of the things I hate most is the horrible faux finish the last owner applied.
My problem is what color.

(taken at nite, sorry, it’s a little off, but you get the idea)
The cabinets are a pale oak-ish color, and are too nice to rip out. Painting them would also be a headache I’m not quite ready to tackle, although that may happen within the year (and they would go white, at least the uppers). The floor is a beige-ish ceramic tile which would actually be passable except for the horrible brown grout. Apparently changing the grout would also be a PITA, so that’s out. The countertops are black/brown speckled formica. (changeable, but why bother for 2 years when they’re in good shape?)

Here’s the other side. The island used to be twice this size, but I ripped half of it out and put up the beadboard, which also needs painting. The top is temporary, will probably get an Ikea butcher block top for it, since that would be re-useable. You can also see where I started painting the back wall, it is now a giant chalkboard.

Most of the photos of kitchens that I see online with this combo of floor/cabinet/countertop are painted some variation on beige, which seems incredibly boring. The room gets a ton of light, has 10 foot celings and french doors onto the deck. It also only opens onto a hall, so coordinating with other rooms is not an issue.

Examples of kitchens I love are here, but as you can see, they are pretty far from what I have to work with. (and I know… I’m complaining about beige being boring and most of these are white. I know. )

Here’s the side wall, just for good measure. The drop-leaf table is going to my mom’s, so pretend it’s not there.

Contemplating an apple green, or maybe turquoise. Or not. Anyone got any good ideas they want to share? Bonus points for pictures!

File under: Things I never thought I’d say

So last night was our monthly meeting for the community association. Despite the poor timing, I’m a board member, so I have to go. Also, there was at least one hot-button issue that I wanted to have some input on, not that it really did any good.

Those of you who’ve been reading for any amount of time know that our neighborhood (the city in general, actually) has had some problems with criminal activity. Since we’re on a main road, and one which leads to some nearby hotspots, we sometimes see a little more of that activity than we’d care to. One of the problems is certain area convenience stores which sell single units of beer/wine and have “video poker” inside the store. The machines aren’t supposed to pay out real money, but then customers aren’t supposed to sit inside at them with their 40s in their paper bags like it’s some shady Vegas casino either. In other words, both things happen.

One newer store which opened about a year and a half ago got it’s license because, frankly, the type of store was somewhat misrepresented. Over the year-ish it’s been open, it’s proven to be a problem. It’s supposed to be a small grocery which takes EBT (family food stamps) and is only supposed to sell around 5% alcohol because it backs up to private homes and a church.
If they show they aren’t holding to the restrictions under which they got the license, it’s supposed to be not-renewed.
Unless they change “owner”, and then there’s a clean slate with the booze board. WHich is what they’re doing. They can keep changing “owner” every year and flaunt the community and city rules, and it’s very hard for anyone to do anything about it.
Lovely, right?

I don’t really care about alcohol sales, or care if someone stops in and only wants one beer. Sometimes you just only want one beer. But this “store” doesn’t sell much in the way of real food. Last time I was in there, no milk, no bread, no diet coke even. Sure was a lot of booze tho.
Thing is, the store could be selling all the same things, but not allowing loitering or gambling (did I mention they’re next door to a “we buy gold!” place? Yeah…. that’s going to go well for local residents. Oh look! need money for gambling? why don’t you go around the corner and break a window, you can sell what you grab right next door before your beer gets cold! ) and it would be fine in my eyes. I don’t care so much about the law as whether or not you’re a good neighbor. It astounds me how few people seem to understand “don’t shit where you eat”.

It’s just so frustrating to be trying to make your neighborhood better when it seems like the City’s own ordinances and supposed neighborhood advocates are getting in the way of the very things they’re supposed to be helping with.

But at least they have truth in advertising:

Brr!

Ok, so it didn’t really snow this weekend, but with lows in the teens, this is certainly what it felt like! Add wind gusts of 35+ mph and this weekend was all the worst of winter, packed into 72 short hours. On the plus side, maybe that will alleviate some of the bug problems I was afraid we were going to have this summer, due to the unseasonably warm winter.

Unfortunately, I didn’t go check my hoop house saturday night and so didn’t notice the wind blew it to bits. Anyone want a lot of frozen kale? lol.

lost package?

Dear Internet, I need your help.
A package wound up in my mailbox, or rather what was left of a package. It was something I mailed in early November (single digit date, but it’s blurry so I’m not sure if it’s 2,3 or 8), but it is torn open and the “to” address label was ripped off. The tape also took off the last 4 digits of the delivery confirmation form. Obviously, the package is empty.

I can’t believe someone who ordered something from me over 3 months ago wouldn’t have contacted me about not getting it, but short of someone finding the envelope and putting it in my box as a joke, I don’t have another explanation. Maybe it was a gift, and the sender doesn’t know it never got there?

From the size of the padded envelope, my guess is it was a sweater, or pj pants, or maybe a couple of scarves.

Anyone?