Thursday, July 27, 2017

Finally Gone!

Well folks, I did it! The avocado green shag is officially history! I'm "otterly" thrilled!


So... here's my living room before:


And after:


I must say, I can't really believe the difference. It feels like a whole new house. Sooo much cleaner, and the whole room feels bigger.

Here's the other half of the room - with a brand spankin' new area rug which I love, love, love!


But the green shag wasn't just in the main room, it was also in the attached room - which was originally a bedroom, but at some point the house was remodeled - I think they used it as a dining room, but I use it as my office.



And it was also in the hall:


Whew!!


Of course, the work is not yet done as there are still a few issues to address. When the house was remodeled a wall was removed, and where the wall was there isn't any flooring.

That funny looking leopard fur cigar thing is Smoky's favorite toy...

I still haven't quite decided what to do about it yet. I found a few pieces of pre-finished hardwood at the Habitat Store that are a pretty good color match, so I might use them... the other option would be to just get a big hunk of oak and stain it to match as closely as possible.

There's a similar issue in the doorway to the hall - I guess they decided the door wasn't wide enough, so there's a small area there that will also need to be patched.

But all that can be dealt with later. At the moment I'm just thrilled that the floor is in such good shape and that I finally got it done!!!

I did uncover a few nests of carpet beetle larvae in the process of yanking, so hopefully I've finally got them all. Haven't seen a beetle in a week or so... keeping my fingers crossed!

I'll probably get a few more area rugs, and I have to paint the molding... actually I should probably paint everything... well, one thing at a time.

Anyhow, Jasper was a little freaked out by the wood floor at first, but as you can see, he's decided it's OK.



So that's what's been keeping me busy! Hope you're all doin' well!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Melancholy



I've been feeling blue of late, and this song won't leave my head. Nothing's wrong particularly, I just can't shake this sense of deep sadness. Maybe I take things too much to heart, but honestly, it just seems like everywhere I look, I see people being horrible to each other.

I suppose largely it's political. It just seems like our polarized politics have given people license to hate and blame each - and I seem to see humanity eroding everywhere I look. Discussions on NextDoor.com over stupid things like fireworks or graffiti have turned into virtual shouting matches, and don't EVEN get me started about healthcare, or Syria, or...

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I just need to have a thicker skin, or learn to ignore it all, I dunno, but it really feels like something fundamental is broken, and people are taking it out on each other. Well, at least I don't feel angry or scared anymore, just sad.

Anyhow, in other news, the carpet beetles have been trying to make a comeback, so I've finally begun the project of tearing out my hideous avocado green shag carpeting. It's rather slow, mostly because I have to cut it up into chunks to haul it outside. And ripping out those horrible carpet strips along the edges is the worst part. But the oak floors underneath are in remarkably good condition. Can't wait to get it all out of here!



And the front yard is looking much better. The volunteer marigolds are coming along wonderfully, and a few have started to bloom. Can't wait until they all do.


I also stuck a few other plants in there. This dianthus is doing quite well.


I'm slowly working on digging out the other half of the yard. It's too hot to plant anything now, but if I can get most of the weeds and remaining turf out by fall, my stepmom has a bunch of low water plants that she's going to separate and give me, so maybe by this time next year my xeriscape will finally be done!

CatMan and I have been riding up a storm. On one of our last rides, we ended up at Riverside Cemetery.


Riverside is Denver's oldest cemetery, and I must say, it really does put things into perspective. I think I'm already older than most of the people buried there.

The ones that always get me are the little babies. There are just sooo many who died before they even reached one year.



Well, that's about all the news from the funny farm. Here's wishing you all the same level of peace that Jasper seems to have achieved in this photo.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Darwinian Gardening Takes an Interesting Turn

Soooo... for about 20 years now, I've been slowly working on converting my front yard from grass (which is notoriously difficult to grow in this arid region) to xeriscape - AKA low water plants.

I'm slow and not terribly deliberate in this process, and my approach is decidedly "Darwinian" in nature. By that I mean that I don't put a lot of effort into it, and I figure that whatever can survive with a fair degree of neglect gets to stay, and if a plant dies out, it means it's not intended to be here in the first place! I'll admit it's a process fraught with fits and starts, but I have had some success.


My general plan has been to put plants around the edges, and leave a small patch of grass in the center part of the yard...


However, as you can see from the above photo, it would appear that mother nature has other plans! Apparently the neighborhood has been invaded with some sort of lawn fungus, and the majority of the grass in my front yard is dead.

Slightly out of focus, but you get the idea
Basically it was just dead brown grass with LOTS of bindweed poking through.

Soooo... I decided that since the grass was already dead, there wasn't much to lose by digging out the bindweed roots. Holy Kazoli folks! I didn't take any pictures, but there was a rather incredible network of roots about as big around as my little finger running horizontally under all that dead grass, with tap roots going straight down every few feet.

I'm under no illusions that I've gotten it all, but it's gotta make a dent, doesn't it?

Anyhow, my initial thought was that I'd just dig out the bindweed, and in the process I'd aerate the grass, and perhaps it would come back to life. And after a week or so I started to see all sorts of green sprouts in the parts that I had dug, so I thought perhaps it was working.


But on closer inspection I realized that the little green sprouts were not, in fact, grass - but rather... wait for it....


Yes! Those are marigold sprouts!


This presents a rather interesting situation. And after thinking about it for a few days, I've decided that in keeping with my Darwinian tradition, I'm going to "go with it" and just let the whole area be taken over by flowers!

There will be plenty of grass to dig out, especially since I didn't remove the grass when I first started digging out the bindweed - but that's OK.

And... I decided that this might be a good opportunity to see if any of the dozen or so packages of flower seeds that have been languishing in the land of good intentions out in the garage for the past 10 years or so have any growing potential left in them.


Sooo... I've been digging out the remaining dead grass and what feels like miles and miles of bindweed roots, and sprinkling a variety of flower seeds in the area. I've also got a bunch of wildflower seeds that I gathered along the bike path last fall, so I added those to the mix.

I bought some more soaker hoses - although at the moment things are pretty wet out there as it's been snowing (seriously) and raining for the past 48 hours or so.

I'm sure lots of the seeds won't take, but that's OK - the yard can't possibly look worse than it does now, and at least I won't have to haul around the sprinkler and mow the darned thing! Plus, I've got a bunch of plants that need to be separated, so I can fill in any blank areas with plants.

Any way you slice it, I think it's gonna be an interesting experiment!


So, does anybody else out there have any experience with Darwinian Gardening? I'd love to hear what has and hasn't worked for you!