January 31, 2012 - Hello, Sunshine!

In just a week, we went from this.....

....to this. When we left for Arizona in mid-October, all the flowers were still in bloom. I couldn't bear ripping them out, so now I have the job of pulling out all the dead ugliness of winter. Temperatures in the mid 50s and sunshine were all the motivation I needed to begin the cleanup.

That's better! The dead zinnias are gone, the leaves raked and put into the raised bed by the shed (they'll get removed, chopped and returned to the garden when I find the lawnmower), and the last section of fencing mended where the weight of flowers and snow pulled it down. There's still a lot to do, but at least I got something started.

January 30, 2012 - End of the Kitchen Redo (almost)

With the exception of a few minor things, like new cupboard and drawer pulls and maybe a coat of fresh polyurethane on the cupboards, the kitchen is done. It looks so shiny and clean and so un-Harvest Gold! I must say, the beiges, browns and almond are much more restful to the eye.

I went for an old fashioned ceramic tiled back splash, 'cause I'm an old fashioned type of gal.

Remember how unhappy Mr. Granny was that I spent over $300 for a new sink, and he didn't think there was anything wrong with the old one? Now the sink is his favorite update in the kitchen! He didn't think he'd like the odd shaped tiles on the back splash, but now he likes those too. I have found I must dry off the counter after wiping it off, or it streaks. Each evening, when I clean up after dinner, I spray it (and the stove top) with an ammonia free glass cleaner and dry it with a micro fiber cloth, which leaves the surfaces sparkling clean.

I love the floor! If I had it to do over again, I'd pick one without knotholes, but I can live with it. It's so easy to keep clean. I wrap a terry cloth towel around the broom and sweep once a day, which does a much better job than the broom alone. Once a week I damp mop with white vinegar and warm water, squeezing the mop out really well.

I painted the six doors in the hallway white. It's so much brighter than those dark walnut stained doors! I still have to paint one hallway wall, where I removed and then replaced some door trim while John was installing the floor. Once that's done, I can start painting Mr. Granny's man-cave. I think son John and I will tackle installing new carpet in there once the painting is done. I have to hurry and get my inside chores done, as it will be time to garden before I know it.

January 27, 2012 - I Thought Christmas Was Last Month

Thank you to all of you who left birthday wishes for me! You really made my day!

I thought Christmas was last month, but evidently not because Santa Claus came yesterday! Oh, I know he says his name is Ed, the gardener from Tales From the Mountainside, but I know his true identity.....he's Santa, alright. Just look what he left in my mailbox!

That's an entire garden, people! Oh, Mrs. Pickles, I think I will be Mrs. Lettuce again this year, don't you?

I sure was happy to receive the Mini Gold tomato seeds. I didn't save any from the plant I grew in 2011, thinking I had more seeds in the packet....but I can't find the packet! I'm definitely going to start a pot for the new grow shelf, and see if I can actually manage to mature a few tomatoes in the house. It's such a prolific little variety, if anything can make it inside, it will be Mini Gold.

Mr. Granny is already pacing. He says he's afraid I'm going to make my garden larger this year. Maybe not larger, but I'll bet I have more pots and buckets scattered throughout the existing space.

The new shelving unit is rather large, isn't it? I'm glad it's only going to live in my bedroom until (probably) April. I can't find my S-hooks for hanging the lights (I found the chains!), I think I used them all to attach the plastic fencing to the garden shed. Somewhere I have a new package of black cable ties to fasten down the rope lights....can't find those, either. I wonder where I put the power strip. Why am I so organized through the gardening season, and so completely unorganized at the start?

Daughter Amy brought cupcakes yesterday. She saw a cupcake container....I saw a seed starting container! Perfect for starting tomatoes in the small plastic Dixie cups!

Two of the Mini Gold tomato seeds (from Ed),that I want to grow inside to mature ripe fruits, were planted in the only two cups I could find. When I locate the rest of my stash, they will be joined by parsley and Johnny Jump Ups. That's about all I can start this early, since I don't grow my own onions from seed.

Son John stopped by with a pretty potted miniature rose bush and card for my birthday.

January 26, 2012 - It's a Done Deal

Well, crap....I don't look 73, I look 93!

We watched Justin Bieber's Never Say Never. I heart the Biebs! Good heavens, his parents look like they're about 18 years old!

I got the plant shelf I wanted. I usually get what I want ;-)

We'll go out for dinner tomorrow. I already have spaghetti sauce simmering for tonight's dinner, with home made tomato sauce of course. I'll want to spend this evening putting that new shelving unit together!

January 26, 2012 - Today's Birthday's

Today's Birthdays

Suleman octuplets - 3
Kherington Payne - 22
Kirk Franklin - 42
Wayne Gretzky - 51
Anita Baker - 54
Ellen DeGeneres - 54
Eddie Van Halen - 57
Lucinda Williams - 59
Gene Siskel - 66
Angela Davis - 68
Scott Glenn - 70
Bob Uecker - 77
Jules Feiffer - 83
Paul Newman - 87
Anne Jeffreys - 89
Douglas MacArthur - 132
Annie's Granny - 73

Mr. Granny wanted to take me out for a birthday dinner tonight, but granddaughter Alicyn wants to come over today and bring "10 movies" for us to watch. I hope that, in her 3-year-old world, that means no more than two movies! I know I'm in for Harry and the Hendersons and Justin Bieber's Never say Never. Two of my favorites....nothing is too deep for Granny's tastes, LOL!

I put a photo up on the computer last night, and showed Mr. Granny to what I really want for my birthday.

I know none of you would be surprised or shocked to know I would find this very attractive in my bedroom, in front of the window, with four shop lights hanging from the wire shelves and seedlings snuggled warmly beneath them. It's really the only place I'd have room for such a wide unit. In past years, I've always had my seedlings in the mini greenhouse in the shed or garage, but it's awfully cold out there, so I have to keep heat under the flats 24 hours a day. If I have them in the house, that eliminates the need for heat. It's only temporary decor, of course. By April everything could go back out in the shed.

January 24, 2012 - The Season Begins!

The first garden seeds of 2012 were planted last night.

A hot glue gun, minus the glue stick, makes short work of making drainage holes in the bottoms of some plastic yogurt cups.

The yogurt cups and a bakery container were used for the first seeds of the season.

The yogurt cups were filled with potting mix and watered well with warm water. Four celery seeds (Tall Utah #527OR, Improved) were planted in each cup, and covered with a thin layer of dry vermiculite. I used the same potting mix to make the soil blocks. The bakery container held nine blocks, and these were planted with some Red Sails lettuce seeds that were left over from last year's seeds. I put two seeds in each block, as I'm not sure how good the germination will be with these older seeds. The flat containing the seeds was placed on a rope light for extra warmth.

The seeds were covered with a plastic dome to maintain the humidity. They will remain under the dome, on my bathroom counter, until the tiny seedlings emerge. They will then be moved to the laundry room window and placed under a grow light.

This is my first try at growing celery. Keep your fingers crossed!

January 23, 2012 - Where There's a Will

There's a way.

I really needed some seed starting supplies from the garden shed, but the snow is still about 8" deep between here and there.

I've seen some of those cute boots a few of you wear, as well as some that are not so cute, but I've spent the last dozen or so winters in Arizona. We don't do cute boots down there! At least I didn't. What to do, what to do? Well, where there's a will, there's a way. Nothing is going to keep old Granny from that garden shed today!

Hmmmm. It's not snow any more, it's an ice skating rink. That freezing rain the other night, as well as a couple of days in the 40s and nights in the 20s have formed a crust on the snow that's thick enough to hold my weight. Getting to the shed is now a matter of just staying on my feet rather than wading through snow.

Aha! Once I reach the sunshine, I break through the crust. I still don't go deep enough to warrant wearing these fancy "boots"!

Proof as to where I've been.

This is all I could manage to carry while skating across the yard, but it's a start. The 2012 gardening season can now begin!

January 22, 2012 - Me Too! Me Too!

OK, it seems as though just about everyone is posting plans for their 2012 gardens, so I need to get in gear and do some planning of my own! I pretty much know what will be planted in the North Garden.

North Bed #1 (hoop & bird netting, 3' x 4' raised bed)

30 Mixed lettuces

North Bed #2 (2011 compost pile)

One hill of 3 Waltham Butternut Squash plants, to be planted in a compost pile. Vines will eventually cover about a 10' x 10' area of the garden.

North Bed #3 (4' x 8' raised bed)

12 Sweet Peppers
*3 Corno Di Toro
*3 Quadrato Giallo D’Asti
*3 Quadrato Rosso D'Asti
*3 Red Marconi

24 Walla Walla sweet onions (for salad onions)

North Bed #4 (hoop & netting for leaf miner protection, 4' x 8' raised bed)

32 Tyee Spinach
8 Tall Utah #527OR, Improved celery
32 Walla Walla sweet onions
32 mixed varieties beets

North Bed #5 (4' x 8' raised bed)

Established Canby Raspberry bed

North Bed #6 (4' x 8' raised bed)

Established Tristar strawberry bed

North Fence (vertical growing)

Fortex Pole Beans
Green Arrow Peas
Grandpa Ott Morning Glories

I haven't yet planned out the Kennel Garden or the East Garden, but they will contain, among other things, potatoes, carrots, parsnips (maybe), garlic, snap peas, bush beans, cabbages and whatever else I can crowd in there. Tomatoes will go in the west garden and along side the house on the west side, as well as by the patio. There's lots more planning to do!

January 18, 2012 - Winter is Here

We woke up to the first snowfall of the season. Having spent all of their winters in Arizona, Annie and Otto have never seen snow before. Otto was scared of it, and refused to go off the patio. Annie studied it for a few seconds, then tentatively stepped into the cold, wet mess. Of course, Annie's belly drags on bare ground, so you can imagine how deeply it was immersed into the snow! She wasn't impressed, and immediately returned to the patio and back inside through the pet door. Mr. Granny had to take both dogs out front under the pine trees, so they could pee on bare ground!

January 16, 2012 - I Wish I Had Married Norm Abrams

Of course, I love Mr. Granny, but what woman in her right mind doesn't wish she'd married Norm Abrams? I mean any of us do-it-yourself women. The ones who are too cheap frugal to hire our work done for us. Thank heavens I have son John, but even with him helping I find myself hyperventilating from the time we start a project until we've finished. One thing about hiring someone to do your work is that if they make a mistake, they have to fix it on their own dollar. When we make a mistake, we (I) have to pay for it. That's why I hyperventilate. So far, so good.....knock on wood!

Last night I told Mr. Granny I wanted to replace the garbage disposal while we were putting in the new sink. Being Mr. Granny, he had to go on and on with the same old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" routine. I, on the other hand, knew the days were limited on the old one, and it would be only a matter of time before a replacement would be absolutely necessary. Why reinstall the old one, then a month or a year down the road have to take it back out and replace it? Well, I won the argument. When John pulled out the old disposal this morning, we discovered it had a hole in it and has been leaking. Chalk up a win for Granny, I have my new disposal installed.

Today's Projects

The new sink and garbage disposal are installed, the stove top is back in place and wired in, and we're finished for the night. Tomorrow we'll change out the plugins and switches, texture the walls where the old back splash was removed, paint the walls and do some small touch ups (filing) on the edges of the Formica. Maybe I'll find time to shop for tiles for the new back splash.


January 15, 2012 - Counter Tops Part 2

Formica was installed on the first counter top today. Of course, the tile back splash is still missing. In fact, I haven't even looked for the tiles yet. I'm thinking a light brown shade. John is going to retexture the wall first, as 4" tiles won't quite cover the area where the old back splash was removed. We're also going to replace all the plugins, switches and cover plates while we're at it, so they'll better match the paint color.

Mr. Granny is not impressed with the granite look. He says it looks like someone threw up on it. The man is hopeless.

January 14, 2012 - The Next Project Begins

With the floor finished, it's on to the next project.....new Formica counter tops. Son John came over after dinner, armed with a bunch of new tools from Harbor Freight. The new heat gun made quick work of removing the back splash and edge of the old Formica. If I never see Harvest Gold again, it will be too soon. Oh yes.....unfortunately, it's still present in the bathrooms :-(

Then the top piece of Formica was removed, and the back splash area given a coat of primer. Some of the old contact cement was scraped off, but John decided he was going to get something that dissolves it for easier removal, so called it quits for the night.

Leaving me with this mess! I swear, my kitchen was clean when he got here. Hmmm, I think I bought John a new router to go with his new heat gun. I'm easy.

Semi-cleaned up, I'll be living with tools in the kitchen and small appliances in odd places for the next few days.

The new counter will look similar to this (my daughter Amy's kitchen). It's called Butterum. Hers is the preformed counter top with round edges, where mine will have routed edges. I'll probably be using 4" ceramic tiles for my back splash.

January 13, 2012 - Talk About Customer Service!

After we got the new flooring in, the old kitchen bookcase looked pretty ratty. I decided I'd replace it with a new solid oak bookcase, so I went shopping. Nowhere could I find a long, low bookcase. They were all 36" high or more, which made them way too tall for my TV. Last night I searched for one on line, and still couldn't find one wide enough and short enough for my needs. I decided to look at the "fake" oak ones, the kind you have to put together. I found one at Office Depot that fit my needs perfectly, both in size and in color. What's more, it was normally half the price of the smallest oak bookcase, and it was on sale for another $30 off! OK, I figured the shipping would be outrageous. I had seen some that were relatively inexpensive, but charged as much as $125 for shipping and handling. I decided to see just what it would cost, and was pleasantly surprised to find shipping was free in my area! Even with sales tax, it was actually just under $100 total. I ordered it last night, and got a notification this morning that it had already shipped. The estimated delivery date was next Tuesday. Imagine my surprise when the truck pulled into the driveway around noon today. Free delivery, and about 18 hours to get here....you can't beat that kind of customer service!

Now the hard part begins. I used to be real good at this, but I kept putting this one together with the parts upside down or backwards! We goofed it up more than once, but didn't quite get to the point of filing for a divorce.

I am very happy with the finished product. It is really sturdy, and the Carolina Oak is quite close to the color of the living room furniture. It was 2" higher than the old bookcase, so I had to raise the picture a bit. It is also 8" longer, which is a good thing.

It blends in nicely with the kitchen cabinets, and I like the contrast of the darker color next to the flooring.

Now my computer desk looks a bit ratty next to the new bookcase and the new flooring. NO! I'm not going to replace it! Well....at least not right away ;-)

Hmmm, I wonder what time Office Depot opens in the morning.