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I placed my veggie seed order the other day. The tally so far is:

  • four tomatoes
    • Brandywine – It’s so often referenced, I wanted something common to calibrate my standards with.
    • Green Zebra – something interesting. Was also considering Hillbilly here, but thought the giant beefsteak type was a little too close to Brandywine for now.
    • Black Cherry – gotta have some cherry tomatoes. These looked more interesting than most, and I’m not a huge fan of typical cherry tomato flavor.
    • Siberia – something early. In case it all goes to pot, hopefully I’ll at least have a few tomatoes from this one. I almost did a hybrid resistant type here for my ‘sure bet’ (and maybe I’ll regret that eventually) but the site that had the other varieties I wanted doesn’t stock hybrid tomatoes.
  •  Peas – Aldermann -a.k.a.- Tall Telephone. I saw a really good review of these here, and really wanted to try them. Particularly since peas are probably our favorite vegetable. That and we can use the young pods for stir-frys.
  • Lettuce – green salad bowl and lollo rosso.  No reall good reason on these. I also have some mesculn type seeds left over from last year’s container lettuce experiment (a failure btw). Must remember to start earlier this time.
  • Finally, serrano peppers. M dreams of making salsa from our garden, and these looked like a good blend of decently spicy, but will actually ripen in our summers.

I also have herb seeds from last year – plus I plan to fill in a few gaps there from local sources. Online selection didn’t look much better than what I remember locally as far as herbs went. Mostly I want to get some sage for roasting chicken. And a better oregano variety.

I’m a little unsure how I’m going to lay things out so I have trellises for the tomatoes and the peas without them shading one another or taking up a ton of space. But I figure I’ll work it out when the time comes.

I was *this* close to ordering fruit too, but realized the website wasn’t overly secure. So I requested a catalog instead. Hopefully that will clarify some of the shipping options that were vague on the website as well. I have a personal recommendation for the company, as well as seeing good online reviews, so hopefully they just aren’t tech savvy. In any case, the plan is:

  • 2x Yellow Transparent apple trees –  Another thing that’s very important to M. Apparently they used to grow at his grandmothers’, and they have a very important applesauce recipe that requires them. A very old variety, they can’t be purchased, so you have to have a tree to get the applesauce.
  • 1 Pollinator apple tree. I think I decided on a Braeburn.
  •  6x Caroline Raspberries – Raspberries are my favorite food ever. At all. And I like them nice and tart and strong flavored – not too sweet. Which this variety was reputed to be from what I could find. And decent disease resistance too. Double score.

Am I in over my head? This doesn’t even touch on flowers.


So, we think we’ve finally finished ‘tearing things up’ phase and are embarking on the ‘putting them back together’ part. Even though we’re not really making any better progress, it feels like a big step. It was getting really discouraging going home every day and realizing the house was one step worse than it was when we got it.

In any case, the time feel ripe for a bit of a retrospective.

We peeled at least eight (with opinions as to whether there were nine or ten)  layers of wallpaper off the bedroom. Steamers are wonderful and your bestest friends. Particularly on the old brittle, not too sticky paper. It still took forever, just because there was so much of it, but it was pretty much easy work. Having the plaster underneath was so rewarding – just how smooth it still was under all those layers of mess. We ended up ripping out two and a half of those walls anyway (for varied reasons) but, um, yeah.

We also have  a bit better idea of the age of the house now. We found the original 100-acre allotment including the house on a map from 1877, with the owner listed as George LongGrake. (not sure on that capital G in the middle – it was handwritten over the road, but that’s sure my best guess). We also have an unofficial opinion from my grandfather that the woodwork in the front room is civil war /1850’s era style. It surprises me a bit, I would have pegged it more 1920’s. But my grandfather is definetly a more qualified judge, having a fair amount of experience with old houses and antiques.

It amazes me how once we bought this house, people in both our families started coming out of the woodwork with stories of rennovation work they’d done in the past. While I’d known some of them used to live in older houses, I never assumed they’d done the work themselves. It never came up at all before.

So, all that’s left is to repair the plaster, paint, and get someone in for the floors. Can we make it by the wedding aniversary?

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