7/11/11

Edible Garden

I have an addiction. I can't stop buying plants! I just bought two more hostas, a blackberry vine and some little grassy thing with pink flowers over the weekend. Only the blackberry vine has been planted, the others are still waiting patiently to be cared for. Oh, I also bought a monkey plant from the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery last weekend. At the rate of my plant purchasing, I am never going to catch up with the planting. Ugh! I need to take a break from buying plants every weekend. Photos of aforementioned plants to come in a later post.

My tomato and zucchini plants are doing fabulously! The two strawberries, artichoke and a new basil plant are thriving as well. I can't wait to eat some home grown veggies in the near future. I still have to send back the soil sample to test for lead in my garden. Alameda county offers a free kit to test the garden soil for lead. They also do in-home consultations which I opted not to bother with. I got my test kit a while back but haven't taken soil samples yet. I need to get it done today!

Please ignore my weedy yard and look at the happy strawberry and basil. The one with two long leaves is an artichoke.

This squash plant has gotten so big and has at least six or seven flowers in bloom. 

The tomato plant on the right is a lot bigger than the other one even though they started out about the same size. Yesterday we saw couple of green tomatoes on there, so exciting!

I transformed this dark and dirty corner of our house couple of weekends ago. I planted the two ferns from Berkeley Hort and some really bright and pretty ground covers. I added some compost to the clay soil and laid downweed blocker and a layer of mulch. The plan is to wait for the fern in the corner to grow bigger (it can get about 4 feet tall) and somewhat block the ugly gas meters. 

Notice how the fern on the left has some droopy leaves? After couple of weeks in the ground it's looking even worse. But I am still holding onto a sliver of hope that it will survive my black thumb. I found out the cats that use our yard as their litter box have discovered my mulch. There were several piles of their "business" the next day in my fresh mulch. How annoying!

7/7/11

Projects Around The House

You know how I've complaint there's an endless list of little projects around the house that I've been procrastinating on? Well, the best motivator to get things done is by planning to invite some friends over for a barbeque! So now I am in high gear to finish some half way done projects. I also unpacked some boxes, almost a year after we've been living in this house. Put together couple of bags of cloths and house items heading for donation. I've put together a bag of baby stuff I no longer need for an expecting friend who's coming for the soiree.

A while ago (4 months?), I bought a big tub of Peel Away® paint remover to work on the mouldings around one of the bedroom doors. Most of the other original mouldings were ripped out during the renovation, but this one stayed intact. We saved the pieces but they are in pretty bad shape and would take too much work to refinish and reuse them. We actually found a place in San Francisco called Victoriana that carries the exact moulding, so we can get it from there when we need to. Anyway, the moulding on this door was covered in a thick layer of old, chipped paint, most likely containing lead. After I stripped one side of the doorway, I was hesitant to sand the remaining paint off. So it stayed that way looking awful and mocking me for the last however many months. The owner of the painting company we used saw what I was trying to do and offered to have one of his guys to finish up the paint removal and cleaning. All we had to do was pay the guy in cash at the end of the work day. We were happy to pay someone to finish the job, it was totally worth the hundred and forty bones.

This was the Peel Away stuff was gooey and hard to clean off. I put it on thick then cover it up with plastic wrap and wait around 24 hours to let the stuff soak in. 

The Peel Away turns brown and bubbles up after a while.

This is the result after I spent hours scraping the paint off. 

The paint removal guy sealed up the work area to keep the dust from getting into the house. 

After the paint stripping. The guy did a wonderful job and it took him almost 7 hours to do one door way. 

One coat of primer and one coat of paint later. I got up early the day of the bbq and only had time to put on one coat of paint over the primer. There was lots of other things around the house that needed tidying up before the guests arrive. There's some yellow spots bleeding through the paint, I wonder if I should've primed it twice. Oh well, it looks a lot better than before. 

These are the holes that we cut out to let the wall dry from the leak problem we had with improperly installed gutters. 

I recently patched up the holes after about three months of staring at two gapping holes on our wall.

I mudded the seems and have it's going to stay like this until I figure out how to sand without creating a huge dusty mess around the living room/kitchen.