Horticultural Haven

Apparently, it’s well known that I like to have plants in my immediate vicinity. A coworker started a Slack channel to share our plants, because they miss the plants I used to have at my desk (which are now moved to the part of the office farthest from any natural light). But, the coworker was right. I do better with some plants around me. It’s one reason I found working in nothing but basements so hard. Only plastic plants thrive there.

The Pope Residence office does have one window that lets in natural light (yes, the Plant Lady managed to pick the office with the fewest views of the outdoors). That’s where most of my little collection lives.

Motley plant collection in weird lighting.

I’m sure the peace lily is fine in its corner, as long as I water it to death.

Peace lily crawling with scarecrows.

And I do try to supplement the ridiculous amount of fake roses with some real flowers. This tiny vase is perfect for things I find on my walk.

Oxblood lilies, Mexican hats, salvia and come Carolina snailseed.

Today I added what I hope will be a nice addition to the plant collection. I got a kit (yet another buy off The Grommet website, which has way too many Suna-esque products) to grow herbs in wine bottles. The seeds and stuff even came in a box so pretty I can’t throw it away!

The idea is they will grow in the potting medium that appears to be topped with spaghum moss or something, then the roots go down into the water.

Hmm, fascinating.

After planting the seeds, I put the little stickers they provided on the mouth of the bottle, to create a moist environment for germination. We’ll see what happens.

The germination sticker in extreme close-up.

I may not have enough light in this window, since it’s pretty shady in the mornings to mid afternoon. But, it should be a fun project to watch. I’m just happy to have any plants at all.

I have stuff for a third bottle, but I brought a clear one, then saw the instructions called for a dark bottle. I have a whole bunch at home, so that won’t be an issue.

Maybe when there is glass in my internal window rather than the rustic wood covering, I can put something low light on the hypothetical shelves that will be there.

The lamp, fake candles and real candle still don’t make it very bright over there.

Do you have plants in your environment, or would you prefer them outside? I’d like something outside my work window, too, but there’s not much space. At least I see a nice cedar tree!

Arts and Crafts Update

Quick update. My friend Pamela dropped off my finished soap dishes yesterday. I was happy to see how shiny they were, but not overly thrilled with my glaze, as usual. Still, Pamela’s designs are pretty, and they will liven up my bathrooms.

The gold one

The gold one is very bright. The dark parts are what I wanted, but the second gold color looks weird.

Here it is with soap, doing its job.

I’d put my lemon soap in there, but I like the lavender.

I also got a surprise! Pamela makes these little dishes as gifts to our Master Naturalist speakers. I’m glad to have one for all the talking I do at meetings.

I love the swirls on this one.

This one came out more pink than red, because the red was pinkish. Again, I don’t like my accent color. It’s a bit purply. But, I think it will look great in my work bathroom. Too bad I left the dish at home. I remembered the soap, sigh.

And this stuff smells GOOD.

More craft excitement is coming up. I’m gonna do something fun with these three bottles.

Maybe I’ll just clutter up my office more.

Fancy Ranch with Water

It’s been fun to see how our new water lines are going in. Chris sure can drive heavy machinery.

Don’t fill in our dirt!

I’m happy to see a new water spigot for the chickens’ water. The water trough got moved and cleaned, too. Where it is now, the chickens in both pens can drink from it, so I won’t have to maintain separate bowls when I’ve got young or sick ones, like now.

Yep, a faucet. Now it is attached to the water trough, and I’ll get a picture tomorrow.

There’s a faucet for horse washing and other such deeds, then there’s an outlet where a big water trough will be.

Where the trough will be.

Eventually there will be another outlet for separate horse watering. There will be happy animals out here!

The other faucet.

Chris has been out all night trying to finish the job. He’s gonna be tired tomorrow! I sure appreciate the huge improvements!

I’m keeping an eye on him, says the big porch toad.

It turns out he wanted to get the trench covered back up before the rain we expect tomorrow. Smart thinking, but exhausting.

I Competently Ranched

Actually, my neighbor, Sara, competently ranched and I assisted, but it felt darn good to achieve a series of competent duties.

As you may recall from yesterday, Apache reached over the fence and chomped into the tenants’ round bales, nearly ingesting some of the netting. We wanted to nip that habit in the bud.

It doesn’t take a detective to see the evidence of this crime!

So, we planned to put an electric strand along that stretch of fence. Hmm, there was already wire. It’s as if some large spotted horse had done it before.

So, this evening, I went to get the solar unit that was over by our shipping container. Smart me. I first checked for wasps. There was a Yellowjacket nest. When Lee came to help me, I got spray and removed that menace. Sara was relieved I’d thought of it.

Then, after dinner, I headed over to the horses, and we set up the whole system. It was teamwork! I identified which wire was which. She figured out how to open the screwdriver part of the Leatherman tool to pry it open to change the battery.

Competence! Note Big Red at back left, supervising.

We got it all hooked up, and in another stroke of ranch competency, Sara inspected the connection to see if Apache had re-damaged the wire since last night. He had! But I was there to turn off the power so she could fix it.

Sara is inspecting the fence. Apache has already figured out the power is on.

Ralph came by to see if we needed help, long after we triumphantly fed our animals. He was duly impressed! We did it.

Now, hooking up an electric fence may not seem like a big deal. But for someone who had never even been on a ranch property (other than caring for turkeys at the farm for sad children that Declan went to one summer), doing something without asking for help is a big thing. It makes me feel like I sort of know what I’m doing here! No more ranch imposter syndrome for me!

I’m just innocently eating this delicious, expensive hay. After this, it’s back to the old stuff, thanks to that darned wire.

Also, once again, we had fun. I’m just racking up the fun quotient for each day. Take that, stress.

My Brain-o-meter Is Reading FULL

Usually, I enjoy taking a blogging break each day, because it gives me a chance to stop thinking about work and stuff, and instead focus on fun or fascinating (to me) things. This week, my mind has been so full of other things that there’s just no room for fun. Well, maybe there’s a LITTLE room…

I’m still working on decorating the office, just figuring out what works and what doesn’t. While I’m waiting for my plant stand to arrive, I’m enjoying my plant corner a lot using the old table that’s been hanging around for years.

They’re all getting plenty of light, even with the window down here. I sort of like it this way.

The big change for today is that Chris put up a piece of plywood in my window that looks out into the hall, to dampen the sounds of me in my office, and I assume also to keep noise from coming IN, as well. It’s just temporary, I think, until the actual piece of glass comes. I’m sure the gaudy vase of flowers makes the plywood practically blend in with the surroundings. Sure, Suna.

You can also see my Mercury glass candle holders and a vase I got to go on the glass shelves, when they arrive.

I had a bunch of candles that were just sitting on the shelves, so I got some inexpensive candle holders for them, such as the shiny silver ones above and these extra pink ones for the mantel. They aren’t fancy heirlooms, but they are cheery, and will look good lit up (too bad I still haven’t managed to sneak into an uncrowded store and buy more AA batteries).

They set off the garlic teapot nicely, so I say.

Apparently, shiny things and lights help keep my mood up, and right now, I’ll take all I can get! If they distract me from work challenges, political grumblings, and natural disasters, they’re worth the time, effort and expense. I feel lucky to be able to make myself a haven here at the Pope Residence, and I’ll work really hard not to interfere with the work everyone else is doing, in return.

The other great improvement of the day is my keyboard and mouse tray. Typing is a joy, and I’m glad Chris figured out a good way to attach it to the desk!

When stress is high and change is swirling all around, little things can really bug us, am I right? The little thing that bugged me was that the inexpensive toilet paper holder I’d gotten for my bathroom had turned out to not hold those giant rolls of Charmin that I love. The horror! It was also so lightweight that it tried to fall over every time I touched it. That just would NOT do.

Sturdy and thematic.
Shiny, shiny!

This new one is made of iron pipe and has nothing to restrict the size of the spare roll. Rustic romantic, fits the theme! My bathroom is complete. Hooray. I’ll donate the other one to the thrift shop next time I go over there.

So it’s time to go think about hard stuff again. I’ll be keeping a part of my mind on everyone in the path of hurricanes and tropical storms today. I do hope we can get enough rain to have an effect on the grass from it. The little bit that showed up last night didn’t help much at all!

May you all find something shiny to smile about, and that there’s a little extra space in YOUR brain-o-meter for fun.

Lee’s Got an Office, Too

Yesterday, my spousal unit, also got a lot of his office furniture moved in. He has a massive and beautiful desk and credenza that we’re quite the doozy to get over here. Thank goodness Chris was able to help with the desk. They had to rest afterwards!

It’s a good thing Lee got one of the larger offices, because that desk takes up quite a bit of real estate! I love how the green leather on it picks up the green in the shiplap wall. It makes it all look on purpose!

The carving on the desk is really nice. He got the set used. I guess some company decided dark wood was not modern.

Lee plans to get seating in the room that’s comfy for his Hermits’ Rest Enterprises visitors, who will be able to enter through his private door and not interfere with operations at Hearts Homes and Hands.

These chairs will do for now! (The blinds make it hard to get the lighting right.)

He also decided that his old desk lamp won’t work in this office, so he has ordered a stained glass one. It will be nice to have a touch of color, I think.

He’s still bringing in art and such, but it’s just about ready to function.

It’s a crazy time for all of us, but now we have non-dungeon offices to work in. I know that’s made my morning good. Off to face the afternoon, with hopes that all of you readers have something to look forward to, as well.

I’m in My Office!

The good news came this morning that our renovation of the first floor of the Pope Residence has passed inspection. I hear the sturdiness of the stairs impressed the inspectors, as it should have. I stayed the heck out of the way, as befits the role of the silent partner: you have to stay silent!

That’s the inspector truck on the side of the road. Hey, maybe we can take the permit out of the window!

I’m very proud of the work everyone has done on the project, especially Chris, whose patience I tested (and continue to test) frequently.

Desk with computer and red lamp. I’m in business!

Today I brought the rest of the stuff over that makes an office work as an office. And as I set the desk up, Chris did a few more things for me. He hung up the amber hanging lamp, and it really livens up that corner, I think.

The cozy corner now has its mood lamp.

The stained glass windows I brought from the ranch house also got hung, and they really look cool in the window, and will bring a little privacy while letting in light from the stairway area.

Eduardo and the spider plant got their hangers today, so the window looks rather jungly. That area isn’t quite done, because my sister gave me a stained glass window similar to the other ones, which we’re going to put at the top of the outside window as soon as we get another hook.

The jungle.

The other to-do item is the glass for the interior window. Chris is going to put plywood up there until the real glass is ordered and arrives. Glass is the last big item on the list for this place. My window and shelving will let this office have a more spacious look, since the glassware collection won’t be on all the surfaces anymore!

Back to work. I’m sure glad my phone works as a hotspot, because we can’t figure out the WiFi password!

Finishing Touches in My Office

Actually, more like goofing off on a Sunday. This is one of those posts that has to be only interesting to me as a record of my projects. But, you can read it, of course.

Last week, Chris asked me what kind of reading light I was going to use for the reading nook/guest area to the right of the “fireplace.” I realized I’d forgotten all about what I had planned for that. So many plans to keep track of (fun plans, hoorah).

For the left side, I have this beautiful hanging lamp that I bought from my friend Jean. While it’s old, it’s actually never been used, and still has the tag on it! It was made in Tyler, Texas. There was even hanging hardware with it, so all I need to do is clear the space and ask Chris to hang if up. Isn’t it cool?

I also put more “shit,” as Chris calls it, in the office. These are some pretty pottery by my friend Pamela, which I got yesterday when I was prowling around her studio. I am especially fond of the pencil holder which is really a vase. It really sets off my fancy pencils. The little candle holder (or whatever) I got because it goes so well with the color scheme.

And What about the Other Nook?

Back to the right side reading nook. I happened to have a floor lamp in my old office that I think came with this building. It was fake gold metal. I’d replaced the lampshade, but the body of the lamp was sad and rusty. I will spare you a “before” photo, because I forgot to take one.

Here’s my begonia re-potted. Hoping it grows!

This afternoon, after re-potting my new plants, I drug the lamp outside and got out my official Suna Colors of Spray Paint (red and orange paint that were laying around) and I turned the lamp into a festival or orange and red spatters. I painted it all orange, then added light spotty layers of red and orange to build depth (or because it was fun, pick your rationale).

It’s actually sorta what I wanted!

I didn’t make a mess or anything, since I assume the color will come out of the weeds once they grow and get mowed (assuming we get some rain from the converging hurricanes of 2020).

Yes, I painted everything except where the bulb goes.

You’ll be proud of my restraint, since I briefly toyed with the idea of winding one of my colorful flower garlands up the stem of the lamp, but decided I have enough gaudy fake flowers in there. That place is not for the faint of heart!

Ta da!

That’s all I have for today. I’m working on something for tomorrow, so stay tuned for something sweet.

You can see the red better here.

PS about the Calves

Since one person mentioned it, I assume others thought it. So, no we are not going to keep the young calves in the small pen (which did get made bigger when the two others arrived). This is a big ranch, even just the parts we own! They will have plenty of room to roam, and to rotate sensibly, and all that.

It looks cozy to me. Curated clutter.

Self Care and Pottery

I had nothing on my agenda today, so rather than lounge around the house, I decided to do whatever I wanted to.

I went over and visited the calves, and got to feed Rip while the new guys were worked on. Then I just sat and watched the chickens. Why not? It’s fun. I got a few more portraits. Because it’s fun.

After that excitement, I drove off and daringly went to the local nursery all by myself. I wanted a few more little plants for the office. Instead I got two small plants and a monster. Meet Eduardo!

He’s a basket plant, I think. He will be spectacular in the window with the spider plant.

A tiny angel wing begonia and uh, a succulent rounded out the plant fun.

I’ll repot them tomorrow.

Look to the right of those plants and you’ll see I brought my stained glass windows over, too. I cleaned them all up so maybe Chris can hang them next week, if there’s time. I also brought down the hanging lamp to put up in the reading nook. It’s all clean and ready to go up, too!

I didn’t take pictures of those, so here’s the pothos I put in Tubby Jr. with some wandering Jew I found on the ground at the nursery. The guy laughed when I asked what it cost.

As if that wasn’t enough fun, I next went to my friend Pamela’s studio and had fun with clay. It’s hard to concentrate, though, because she has such cool stuff.

Ceramics and found objects combined.

Anyway, she’d made some soap dishes large enough to hold those huge Posh bars I have. She asked what colors I wanted, then suggested I come select my glazes. That sounded fun.

Little did I know that she was also going to let me glaze them myself! It’s been so long since I got to do that. So, I made one orange and gold and one red and pink. I did a bunch of layers, so we will see if they show up or not.

This is orange and gold, believe it or not.

In the past, I have failed as many times as I succeeded in my glazing, but I always do it that way, anyway. Besides, the soap dishes Pamela made are so pretty that my glaze won’t mess them up.

This is two shades of pink with red under it. Hope it comes out!

Well that’s self care. I got to see someone but not too close! The studio is open to the air, too. Fun times. Good for the soul.

Delays Are Minor Disappointments – Still Having Fun

Because I think I annoyed my family by reacting with a sad-face emoji to the news that the inspection of the new office building won’t be until Monday, let me say that I am ever-so-cheerful about how things are going, and am enjoying doing the things I can do. I also extra appreciative of how hard everyone is working and how helpful we’ve all been to each other.

That said, I’m still in the dungeon working away at the ole Agile Transformation and such. On lunch break, though, I went over to the shiny new office (which sure has a lot of spider webs to get rid of), and got to watch Chris put my desk together, so it’s all one piece now.

We still need to add the glass cover (very important to protect the delicate crackle job) and the keyboard drawer, for my typing pleasure. But, that can be done this weekend or Monday. I’ll use the small piece of glass on my current desk until the custom piece is made.

Look, it’s art.

And while he had the drill in hand, Chris was kind enough to hang my art on the walls. That really helps the place look more finished! I have the cool glass hanging lamp I want installed, but it needs more chain, then all that’s left is the stained glass and shelves. These things take time! I’m honestly not trying to get it all done at once. I can work now, once we get the approval, and that’s what dounts.

I seem to have put most of the stuff in this one corner. Hmm.

It’s just nice to have something that makes me happy to focus on, if you know what I mean!

I’m glad my painting of Carlton climbing the fence fit in above the coat rack. I won’t have the view of Lee’s door, once the glass goes in the “window” there.

There’s lots to look forward to the rest of today. Trixie’s coming, so my hope is that Apache gets a clean bill of health, as well as Fiona. Hee haw!