Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hello out there in TV land~

We have been on a bit of a hiatus here at Ideas on Living.  There have been 5 night a week Summer school classes at the Community College and parental trips to the hospital that have taken up alot of our time, not to mention that it's gardening time and you can only divide a person up into so many functioning pieces.

I do have some news tho'.  The other day after a lovely morning on a gardening tour I came home to find my side of the street flooded with water.  It was gushing along the curb.  I drove past my house just to make sure it wasn't coming from my yard.  It wasn't.  Yeah! 

There was a pipe at the corner of my block going under ground and water was apparently being pumped like crazy out of there. 

As I drove around the block to get back to my house I had an idea.  First, I needed to check out this water, so I grabbed a bucket and collected some.  It was clear as a bell, but understanding that water filled with cholera can also be clear as a bell, that wasn't enough to convince me.  What did convince me was that this bucket of water smelled like I just dipped it into a swimming over chlorinated pool at that. 

I had no intention of drinking this water, BUT, chlorine kills germs and evaporates as all you people out there with swimming pools know.  We have had very little rain this spring and early summer.  The city seemed to be giving away this water.  It was just popping out of the ground at one end of my short block and then going back down into the sewer on the other end.  What a waste!  Soooo!  I started bailing.  I bialed 8 thirty gallon plastic trash cans full of water into my now filled water reclamation system.  Yes, there is ventilation, so the chlorine can off gas into the atmosphere. 

Shear good luck and timing I might say, if the water still hadn't been running down the street 3 hours later after my heat induced nap had occurred.  I have no idea what was going on, but cheap water is cheap water and I am all about the cheap!  :o)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let's Review...

Hi Jules!

Before my review, yes I am stalling, I just want to say that I too love wood floors.  Okay, yeh, I painted mine, but still the feel of wood with 2 or 3 coats of paint and finish is just yummy on my bare feet!  I know that you have more for us and I can't wait to see it!

So for my review~ Ugh!

In my first post I mentioned my water reclamation project.  Well, I still have a bigger project in mind, but my shed is still supplying plenty of water to the two 30 gal plastic trash cans that the gutter flows into, or into which the gutter flows (for the grammerians out there :o). 

I have 6 more plastic trash cans that are not yet integrated into the system, but hey that doesn't mean they don't collect any water.  I have placed these individual containers in strategic spots around the house.  These spots are just below valleys in the roof line and when it starts to rain I go out and pull off all the tops to catch the rain.  Not the greatest use of equipment I grant you, but hey, but it works until I get the will to improve things further.

Oh, no, finishing the dining room floor.  Augh!  I have completely finished that one square that was so messed up, but the rest of the floor...well, not so much.  I can go into a whine about having so much to do all the time, but then I use that complaint for everything, so I am sure that you have it memorized.  Just add another verse and maybe, just maybe this will be completed someday. 

Now the painting of the stripes around the ceiling; that is actually coming along.  Why you ask is that going better than the floor?  Maybe because it is a smaller project, maybe because it involves color and not just shades of gray or maybe because I get to stand up while I work rather than getting  down on the floor.  Who knows, but here is a picture of the progress.

The cornice over the window.  Done!  Let me say that again, 'cuz this is the only item that I can say this about~~ DONE!  Of course I am not completely satisfied with how the window looks now, but you couldn't pay me enough to mention what additions I am considering.  I can only handle stating so many incomplete goals at one time without permanent damage to my self esteem.

Slip covers for the furniture....yeh....don't hold your breath on this one. 

Washing the windows.  This may actually get done. Small and accomplishable.  (Small meaning just the dining room window-no guarantees on the other windows)

May Garage Clean Out.  This weekend, I mean it, this weekend more will be accomplished on the goal....really....I mean it...........really.



Friday, May 14, 2010

Love Wood Floors!

Let’s talk about one of my many ‘favorite’ things in interior design – wood floors. There are so many advantages to them it’s hard to know where to start. First the look is completely unbeatable. They are beautiful to the eye, easy on the feet and legs, and have a natural warmth to them. I love the depth of color and texture in the wood because they are made from a ‘living’ substance. All in all, wood floors make a very comfortable, livable and visually pleasing space to live and work.

The variety of floors we have available to us is really quite remarkable. In our area of the country we predominately use a red oak sand and finish floor. It is installed with raw wood, one plank at a time, and then stained and finished. If the house is being built or is having major remodeling, we put down a “nail down” floor. If however, you are living in the house and decide you want wood floors, we now have the option of a “glue down” red oak wood that can be sanded and finished and looks just like the nail down. (Putting in a nail down floor after the house is completed would require changing the height of the baseboards because the nail down floor has a plywood sub-floor first. Most people do not want to go to that hassle. In addition, the process for a nail down floor takes much longer than a glue down floor and most people tire of the disruption before the process is complete.) Both the nail down and the glue down boards come in multiple widths. In the ‘old days’ most every floor plank was 2 ¼” wide. Today we have the options of 2 1/4” 3” , 4”, 5”, 6” wide planks. I have just finished 2,000 square feet of a scraped 6” floor that is simply breathtaking (see above and left).

Both the glue down and the nail down wood can be sanded smooth or scraped, with or against the grain. How you scrape a floor makes a significant difference in the feel of the room. If you scrape against the grain it will be more rustic and ‘lodge’ looking. You will see darker spots in the floor as the stain sinks into the roughness of the exposed grain. Scraping them with the grain can give you the best of both worlds. It still gives the durability of scraping and yet is more elegant, has a comfortable, upscale feel. Sanding floors smooth is timeless and I love it, (see below) AND you have to be mentally prepared for the floors to show more wear and tear. If you have dogs or small children, I usually don’t recommend sanding the floors smooth. Every time the dog skids across the floor with its nails gripping the wood, you have the chance of seeing those skids marks, though slight, in the polyurethane coating on the floor. Over time, those marks really add up.

The variety in wood is extensive and begs for another post, check back in a couple of days. But for today, red oak scraped with the grain and red oak sanded smooth. Wood floors beautify any space, add value to the home and are extremely livable. I would recommend them to anyone. They are more expensive than carpet and you must figure in area rugs when you’re considering the budget on wood floors, but they are well worth the minimal life disruption during installation and the cost, if your budget allows. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stop the Presses. . .


 You just have to check out this blog about eating on only $1.00 a day - .  I am so inspired by this amazing use of purchasing power I just have to share it.  Not only is it amazing frugality, but the local food bank is making out like a bandit as well.  I will have to work very hard to be as good as this with my couponing, but hey, goals are what keeps us moving forward, right?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today's progress in the Great May Garage Cleaning



Still much more to do!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Great May Garage Clean Out

Okay, Jules!

Your idea "The Great May Garage Clean Out!"  I'm in.  Here is what we have to start with. 

Ugh! But hey, I'm in.  I am all for the getting rid of  stuff!  I am all for the organizing of what I already have!

But then again I am all in favor of naps and brownies too!  :o|

Oh, and by the way, I think your garage is many times cleaner than my garage already, so I think I should get some handicap points.  :o)

I will take  a picture on Sunday and once a week throughout the month of May, so that you can watch the progress. 

Now I have to go have a brownie and take a nap~


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Double Duty

Jules ~  This is an article I wrote for the Dallas Organic Garden Club's Newsletter. The picture illustrates why vegetables are good, but not the only good thing about having a garden. 
Hope you enjoy!


How to Improve Your Garden Using Your Computer

No, this is not an article about planting keyboard keys and growing Macintoshs from them, but wouldn't that be great!

I learn from the speakers that we have each month, but many of the little gems that I have learned over the last 10 years are from the internet. I am sure that many of you have had this experience as well. The internet will allow folks to seek out new inventive ways of doing things that are just perfect for their own situations or scan through completely unique and not necessarily associated topics and find ideas to adapt to their situations.

So I am going to share some things that I have found with their links and I hope that some of these will help or inspire you. Obviously if you come across links that you think would be good for others in our community then please share them in one or both of the DOGC's communication tools: Our web forums or our facebook site.

So here are a few of my favorite discoveries:

Rotary Compost Sifter
I found this idea while reading a blog. For those of you who aren't familiar with blogs. They are online musings posted by anyone on anything. Marie Tedei has one, I have one, Chi Yeh has one. If any of you have one that you would like to share then you know where to share that info (see communication tools above :o). I found this on Henbogle, who saw it on Gardenweb, that got it from Instructables. All of which I recommend.

Instuctables gives specific instructions on how to make a compost sifter that rolls on wheels similar to a dryer's action. Reducing the work required and increasing the speed with which the sifting gets done.

Vegetable Variety Resource

Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners, this site is provided by Cornell University. You can join in or just use it as a resource. Launched in 2004, this site includes over 5,600 vegetable variety descriptions with seed sources, more than 3,400 reviews from more than 2,300 registered users, and online tools are available to help you find the best varieties for your garden. All of the vegetable growers in our club should be a part of this community.

Urban Orcharding

I found this amazing video about urban orcharding on this blog. If you ever wanted lots of fruit trees, but thought you didn't have enough room then check out this site and specifically the video Starting Your Urban Orchard -Your Guide to Green - Greg's Blog. Greg's method of growing fruit from normal sized fruit trees that have been sort of bonzai'd is terrific. I am trying it on a peach tree in my backyard and if it is successful you can beleive there will be more fruit trees in my future.

Craig's List

My final recommendation is to check out Craig's List for two things: First, as recommended by Laura Sims, check out the "Free" pages. I believe Laura found a treasure trove that way. And secondly, check out any edible offerings. Eating local may be easier than you think if a neighbor, that you just haven't met yet, has an over abundance from their garden that they would like to sale or share.

Technology has turned out to be a great thing for those of us that like to spend time in the garden even if Macintosh's don't grow on trees....oh wait... :o)