Sunday, October 13, 2013

What's Happening at The Farm

In Houston, we treasure every precious fallish day like the gem that it truly is. These are the days that make you think, "Hmm... why would anyone ever live anywhere else?" Those days work to counter-balance those days in August when we think, "Tell me again why I live in this fetid swamp?"

I cope by treating summer the way people treat winter in northern climes. I don't worry about  the fact that I'm staying indoors watching movies and reading books. I know that in December I'll be able to have outdoor fun while my friends back home are huddled up with their cocoa.

Now that fall is here, though, I've started puttering around the farm again, working on improvements.

I'm in my third season of attempting a small garden in a raised bed. I'm someone who learns by doing, which means this gardening process has been a lot of trial and error. My friend Sara from Feeding the Soil is the opposite: she's just planning to have a garden and has already started researching which books to read and asking for advice. Sometimes I wish I was more like that! However, each person has to learn in her own way.

So I'm on my third gardening attempt. I've been most successful growing herbs. I had three basil plants that did well this summer - I was proud because the one that did the best was the one that I started from seed, rather than a transplant. 

The basil just started bolting (or flowering, which takes energy from the leaves, making them less tasty if you allow it to keep growing), so I harvested the basil, washed it, chopped it up, and froze it for use this fall.

This rosemary plant is the
garden's longest-term resident.
The back steps are where I do all my transplanting.
I started  summer squash and cucumber seeds this September.

These are the squash seedlings in the ground.

Around the yard:
We've been having lots of rain -
this toadstool grew this size

I just like this picture of the door to the chicken
coop - no chickens yet. I'm waiting until
I get my gardening skillz solid before I take
on another outside hobby.

Inside the House

My friend Melanie is great at thinking through how to decorate your home. She's been helping me out with my decor by creating Pinterest boards and pinning lots of inspirations. I think I'm a constant source of disappointment to her because I'm always going on and on about money and priorities when she suggests ideas (someday, Melanie, I will get a new couch!)

Right now the priority is the blinds in my house. Like most rentals, my house is decked with the cheap mini-blinds that a small animal - let's say, a curious cat - can destroy by constantly brushing past them to look out the window. Wily pulled down one set of blinds and that window is currently covered by pinned up shelf paper. I definitely need to do something, but I don't necessarily want more blinds but I HATE curtains, especially because said window-sitting cat sheds all over them. 

Melanie pinned some cool tutorials on my board to make DIY Roman shades out of your mini-blinds.  I'm thinking I might go that route. I couldn't do anything, however, until I figured out how the blinds had been installed - the owners used some metal brackets  that I just could not figure out how to release. This morning I got creative on Google and I figured it out. Now I'm ready to rock.

I have added one piece of furniture to the living room - this IKEA Strandmon wing chair. It's now become the living room chair of choice for all of the house's residents.

Even when I'm sitting here, Wily likes to sit on the ottoman at my feet. 

He's learning that this is NOT a piece of furniture that he can sharpen his claws on. I realize that this post is making him seem like a destructive little guy, but he's always just doing cat stuff. Cat stuff just happens to sometimes be incompatible with human stuff. It's because he's a descendant of jungle cats!

I also got some new sheets.  These are organic cotton and came from Target. Traditional cotton production is bad for the environment, but it also makes a stiffer fabric. I find that with organic cotton you get soft sheets with a lower thread count. 

Wily decided to try them out as I was making the bed for the first time.

So things are slowly coming together around here. While sometimes I shake my head at how much more work it is to live in a house (especially a house on a half-acre!) than in an apartment, it has also made life easier in many ways - having a full-sized kitchen in itself makes this home-gourmet much happier. I think Wily (obviously) is much happier too, with all of the windows looking out on the squirrels and birds. If only he would become better at bug-catching, he'd really pay his way around here.

No comments: