Lettuce Grow Produce

Developing Cherry Tomatoes

So, aside from my tropical plants and myriad of perennials, we’re also growing edibles: strawberries, peaches, blueberries, Italian grapes, Simpson and butter crunch lettuce, arugula, three kinds of peppers, carrots, spring onions, cukes, basil, cilantro, lemon balm, eggplant, stevia (that’s an experiment for iced tea’s sake), cantaloupe, heirloom tomatoes (and cherry and Roma).   Get this nonsense:  all of it is growing in our tiny front yard along with a host of butterfly, bee, and bird enticing perennials and annuals and of course our aforementioned gargantuan banana tree.  I think that the urban garden is making a huge resurgence Continue reading

Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Geyser In the Yard Presents Challenges

When Plumbing Pipes Explode

When we were at the lake house two weekends ago and the water pressure was less than stellar, I thought that something was afoot.  Then, I ventured down into the basement to discover that at weekend’s end, my newly filled chemical tank (to get the Ph up to a neutral 7 in order to hit the iron filter—lake living ain’t always easy) was empty.  That was oddly suspect.  Still I didn’t suspect a plumbing leak, because everything was dry as a bone within the house.  So I strolled down to the dock to put up our lounge chairs and on the way back up, I heard the dancing of a babbling brook.  That sound is distinctly different than the gentle lapping Continue reading

Posted in plumbing repairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Just for Salads: Vinegar Does Wonders for Wood Floors

Beauty of Wood Floors

If you mix pets, children, entertaining and simple day-to-day life with your beautiful wood floors, you know that what you get is floors that are less than pristine.  I am speaking from experience as my 100 year old pine floors bear the brunt of the feet of many sub-contractors, my daughter’s garden experiences, dog dirt dragged in from the backyard.  Not to mention the occasional hairball hacked up by one of our Maine Coon mix kitties. Continue reading

Posted in Old House Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Urban Gardening: Why Dad Had ’Nam Flashbacks in my Front Yard

 

Banana in Early Spring

My banana tree has far exceeded my expectations of its growth.  On year two of its planting, it hit 20-some feet and produced three massive bunches of green bananas, inedible since our Atlanta growing season is shorter than Costa Rica’s.  And then there are the canna lilies that shot up past the eight foot mark.    My parents arrived for a visit and my tiny mom got out of the car, took a look at my “maximized” front yard and burst into gales of laughter in the middle of the street.  Dad wandered into center and then commented that he was having some Vietnam flashbacks.  Hilarious—they should take it on the road. Continue reading

Posted in gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clawfoot Tubs, Bad Hygiene, and the Sears Catalog for T.P.

Clawfoot Tub Olde School

I am enamored with my clawfoot tub, which is original to our restored 1911 Craftsman bungalow.  It’s is a deep wellspring of contentment.  I love soaking, with a glass of red vino, on a chilly winter day.  And since I’m sharing, I prefer the water extra hot with an ample sprinkling of lavender-scented Epsom salt to loosen the muscles.  But I digress.  Continue reading

Posted in salvaged house parts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Silence of the Lambs Basement of Old Junque

I get a huge kick out of amassing great quantities of old junk.  Not just junk really, but “junque.”  That’s French and that makes it valuable.  I kid, sorta. Continue reading

Posted in salvaged house parts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Little Bug Bodies Give Trim that Warm Historic Look

The Lac Bug

My favorite old house finish is made from the scraped bits of bug secretions.  And when first harvested, the finish is a tempting amalgam of scraped bark, bug appendages, and sticky-lac resin.  The female lac bug is the one responsible for this resin and she lives in the trees of India and Thailand.  When cooked down, the bark bit and bug pieces Continue reading

Posted in restoration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment