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Inside Out this summer

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It has been a crazy summer again. The inside is getting a long overdue updating. We had all our top flooring torn out and replaced by an eco-friendly product which hopefully will be the last time this flooring will have to be done. We waited for 17  yrs to replace these 40 + year old floors. If our flooring were wood, it would have made life easier. We would have torn up the old carpet and refinished the floors. This house was built in 1968, and they had some interesting ideas as to what colors looked good.  We found some different flooring underneath the one we took out. A “bubble” tile pattern that I can’t even imagine anyone would want in their home. As they tore out the dining room, they also found some funky avocado green LONG shag between two walls which meant the office and dining room was actually one large room back in the sixties. I love the color green but not long shag!

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This summer project was a horrible mess. The garden was again neglected part of the summer, and I am playing catch-up here in August as our summer is moving towards fall. June and July we painted our entire first floor, stained our woodwork and moved all our furniture to the garage. I found out I am not so young anymore after moving all that to our garage.It took a week for them to get our flooring laid but a month for us to move our furniture back. It was exhausting, but once it was completed, it felt like a new home.

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Back in 1999, we moved in our home with these old floors; 3 kids, five dogs, three cats and all kinds of other caged critters. I loved having a house filled with children and animals all those years running in and out, I just looked the other way and tried my best to make it look presentable. It never was fancy or in style, but we had fun.I am glad I waited until this last year to start looking for new flooring since technology is more advanced now to create these new family-animal-garden friendly floors. It is a recycled flooring from an environmental friendly Belgium company that has A+ air quality ratings, 50 percent recycled materials and can tolerate dogs, kids, and abuse. It has a residential lifetime guarantee. They just built a factory in the USA. It finally is affordable for people, and as a gardener, I am so glad I put this floor into our home. I just use a swifter to clean up all the dirt, dust and dander. I had no idea that our old cat Simon created so much fur. I  just never saw it on the carpet! YUCK, it was there just hiding!!!!.

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Now that the inside flooring is taken care of, I can focus on harvesting food, collecting seed and grow some of my fall crops.  We have enjoyed a fantastic summer this year. Our weather has been neither too hot, wet, or cold. It has been perfect. We have not even had to use the air conditioner much this summer. I sure hope we are not spoiled and our winter will be an extreme.

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My raspberries are all coming in now, and I snack on them every day fresh from the garden. They do have some damage from the Japanese beetles, but not enough to stop the fruit coming. Why don’t we grow more fruit trees and bushes in the city? I have never understood why since it is one of the easiest things to do and provides so much enjoyment. It is the ultimate in healthy eating, too.

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These are my peppers from saved seed a year ago. It is interesting to see what Lipstick and Jimmy Nardello produce. Not quite sure how to describe them for they don’t really look like either of these peppers.  I will save seed another season to see what I get next year. They have an excellent flavor and are very sweet. I was determined to find a red pepper to grow for in our grocery store they run almost 5 dollars a pound. That is just too expensive. I hope the characteristics from these two peppers combine to make a great new pepper from our urban potager.

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I have learned over the years to start my Kale in the spring. I always fence it until the rest of our garden fills in late summer. One of the nice things of mixing flowers with vegetables is that as the weather turns cold and flowers go to seed, the kale will fill in this entire area and provide winter eating.

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Next, to the Kale bed, I have spring planted lettuce going to seed. I have found a beautiful lettuce that seems to take to our zone 5, humid and hot weather. It provided lettuce until a month ago. It did not start bolting till we had consecutive weeks of hot, humid weather.  This lettuce is a keeper, so I let it go to seed and have been collecting seed this week. I will fill you in on this FANTASTIC lettuce for small gardens next week when I post a story about my favorite summer lettuce. I promise I will share its name, it is an amazing lettuce!

IMG_1575-fall-salads-august-2017-radicchio,-muir-lettuce.jpgNext few weeks our inside is going to be neglected as I get my fall greens out in the garden. You have heard me say this MANY times, growing food is not something you do when you feel like it. Timing is crucial. Once you start growing food on your city lot, your microclimate will let you know when it is time to fill in and start a new season crop.  Sometimes the animals let you know that you need to pay attention! I had to finally fence my radicchio for the bunnies were nibbling it to the ground. UGH!!!The growing never ends, and sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get food and live peacefully with your resident critters.

18 replies »

  1. Lovely to have a catch up from you Robbie. My daughter recently had their old flooring replaced throughout their house – they went the bamboo route – and it was a massive job. Both working long hours in their careers, packing everything up, moving it from room to room as the process got underway and finally unpacking again – it took them four months and they still haven’t quite finished. Floors are the one thing you should have done before you move in 🙂 Or move out altogether. ….. Your garden looks remarkable despite being neglected. ❤

    • Good Morning from American Pauline!!! I totally agree. We still have a few things to move back into the house but I am thinking about giving them away. I have more time for the garden now that that project is done. You are so right, do floors before or buy something that has them done!

  2. I am sure my heart skips a beat whenever I see another post from you in my RSS Feed Reader Robbie ❤ and you didn't let me down. We did a little bit of renovating (I now have a craft room 🙂 ) but I feel your pain with the flooring and the moving around of furniture. I slept like a baby for the couple of days that we were moving things around. I am about to start planting out seed so that I can actually attempt to grow all of my seedlings for the veggie garden this year. I need to top up the wicking beds with compost, and I have stashed away a tonne of mulch of all kinds to feed and fill out Sanctuary. My figs were chewed by critters (who must have been desperate as have you ever tasted fig juice?!) so I am hoping that they come back. Your garden is a true inspiration Robbie. I love it to bits and one day I will get my head around this gardening thang and your inspiration is my goal 🙂

    • LOL, I always look for your posts + they inspire me each time. Fran, you are too funny and you always make me laugh!!! The way you see life. You are like Peter Pan, ” I will never grow up!” I wish you were my neighbor. I have no doubt I would be laughing more often + what a blast we would have sharing geeky plant talk over the fence:-) I still don’t have all the furniture back in the house. Congrats on a craft room!!! My next project this winter-ugh-I just need to get motivated. I have started doing watercolor and ink in the garden. It was always my dream to paint the flowers I grow while sitting in the garden. That “floor” project put us over the top. I am such a cranky “fixer-upper” gal. I grumbled through most of it and it exhausted me. How do those people do it for a living? They must love it like we love growing food.
      We will be entering fall next month, I am very excited to see what you are doing in your garden. While the snow flies here, I get to live your garden!!!! You live in such a beautiful place:-)

      • It’s time I posted again. I have ideas up my sleeve and I have no excuses and plenty to share, including links to our documentaries that we made earlier in the year. We are currently working on our short drama’s in film class so I should have enough to pepper a post with some interesting things. Keep your eye out, I feel a blog post coming. I might even do it today 🙂 It would be lovely to have you as a neighbour Robbie and we could unite against the “boring city gardenscapes” of your neighbourhood. We could spread dissent among the pigeons and start a real garden revolution or maybe we could be sneaky and throw seed bombs into the neighbours gardens and suddenly there would be food everywhere 😉 That’s excellent about the painting by the way. I would love to be artistic in that way and it would be especially helpful to me at the moment as I have to create a storyboard for my drama and I can’t draw for nuts. I can’t even draw a consistent stick figure! I fear the end results will be both terrifying and hilarious and entirely unworthy of being viewed by anyone, let alone my entire filming crew! 😉

      • I have been keeping my eye out and MISS your posts. You always make me “belly” laugh. You have such a great outlook on life and your insight is a delight( LOL that rhymes!) every time I stop by to read your blog.
        I love the new look, I can’t wait to see your short drama.
        You and I would get the message out , heck I bet we would join our yards and invite everyone over to make our seed bombs to clean up our city!!
        Well, I may be able to draw but I can’t knit, crochet, sew or cook like you!! Actually, you can do so much more than the average folk:-)
        You are a multi talented lady, I am heading over to see if you posted, my fingers are crossed. I am excited to read your new adventures and I better grab a cup of tea as I sit and read your post for it always is a perfect break in my day!!!!!!

      • I didn’t post yet as I have had a sinus headache for a few days and I got sidetracked by a new French vegan blog that I found and raided for all of their awesome vegan recipes. I think today is the day to post (Friday) so look out for a post up very soon and I am going to say that its down to you that I posted 🙂

  3. You garden is looking amazing – you would never think you have been working so hard indoors Robbie:)

  4. What a cool flooring material! We’re in the middle of a big house project, too, that will appear on my blog in January. But how exciting to throw out all that old stuff and make the house look the way you want it. :o)

    • lol..yep, throw it out! Each year it gets easier. I just wish my kids liked all our old furniture as much as we do. I can’t part with the “heirloom” pieces that no one else will want but they tell a story in our family. I can’t throw those out. I am so grateful to finally not be tripping over rugs over rugs to hide stains from years of abuse. My youngest came home to visit and he said, ” It looks like a new house”…yep, it does and I am grateful we could afford to do it because I don’t want to do it again! LOL

  5. Good to see an update from you in my inbox, Robbie! Sounds like a monumental undertaking this summer, but I expect you are enjoying the ‘fruits of your labor.’ Fall is just around the corner – can’t believe how the summer has flown!

    • Yes it has flown and what a beautiful summer it has been this year! We had a few weeks of hot, humid weather but most of the time our air conditioner has been off. I LOVE IT!!! I will pop over and see what you have been doing???? A lot I have no doubt!!!

  6. Yum! Robbie, we ripped out all the carpet in our upstairs one year … and the rug pad underneath … and the plywood underneath … some old linoleum underneath that. Carpet grosses me out now. We gained about 3 inches more of ceiling height LOL! Our house is old (1876) and we had wide plank pine boards that we painted because they were pretty beat up. I can’t wait to rip out the carpet downstairs – we have wood flooring but also in terrible shape. In Florida, we put in all bamboo flooring and I love it! I don’t think I would even use used carpet as a base for a pond liner – it grosses me out that much. I bet your new house looks fantastic!!! Our summer has been extremely rainy. It is a banner year for mosquitos and slugs. Snails eat my poor greens before they can even get started. I have basil and cilantro starts indoors under lights but I managed to squeak out some kale and chard, broccoli rabe (which we already ate all of), the tomatoes (still quite green except the cherries), garlic, some sad looking beans, lettuce and arugula (which I haven’t grown for awhile due to flea beetles). I just put out jalapeños and eggplants from the greenhouse and now it’s like freezing, of course. My garden is still neglected even with all my time because I’ve come to realize I have made it too large for myself and those three years of neglect set me back way more than I anticipated. Plus, weekends I have come to rely on escaping to the lake for sanity. I have been focusing on the Potager, though, because fresh food! Blueberries did really, really well this year and my raspberries were delicious but they are done. Can’t wait for you to reveal the lettuce!

    • OMYgoodness!!!!!!! I was reading your post on your site and looked back to see if I took care of all my comments and found that I never posted my comment to you!Well, you can say I am very neglectful with my blog reading and feedback as well as my garden. As always you make me feel better about my situation. We hear an echo now in our house. Isn’t that funny? You gained height we gained sound. Sometimes it is not pleasant when my dog starts barking inside. Our ceilings are high in one room, so it feels like an echo chamber! I”m just glad the entire thing is done. I am an awful DIY home remodeler. I stink at it!! I am too impatient:-(
      To be honest, my garden is not what it has been in years past. In the past few weeks, there has not been any rain. It is starting to dry up, and all I water is now the food in the garden. I can’t afford to water the entire thing.
      I would say if you get away to the lake that is all good. Your garden at home was for a purpose, and now you have a new space to develop that has new requirements. I look forward to seeing what your new adventure brings:-)

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