Archive for May, 2011

May 31, 2011

ten random things about ollie…

  1. we brought ollie home from a pet rescue in prague oklahoma.  on the way there, we got lost and asked for directions.  my husband asked the lady at the gas station if she knew the way to prahhhhhg.  she had no idea what we were talking about.  we were ready to leave when i suggested he try asking for praaayg.  that did the trick.

2 .having been mistreated and abandoned in a locked garage.  ollie came to us with several issues. he didn’t like loud noises.  he couldn’t walk on a leash without panicking.  he liked to crawl into small spaces and stay there for a bit.  he liked drapey things on his head.  most of these he worked through.  he still however, likes to have drapey things on his head.

3. ollie has an outie belly button.  no joke.

4. when ollie wants attention or to be scratched he grunts like a pig.

5.ollie from time to time will suck on the ears of willoughby, his older brother.  i have no idea why he does this.  willoughby doesn’t either.

6.ollie likes to sit on the bed, but he can’t get down.  once ollie decided to crawl under the bed, but he is so chubby he got stuck.  it took us a while to find him, and by then he was in a panic.  he does not crawl under the bed anymore.

7.occasionally ollie will bark at his food.  but only at night.

8.for a long time we thought ollie was a shih tzu and couldn’t figure out why his nose wasn’t as compact as willoughby’s.  then we saw a havanese on a dog show on television.  it looked just like ollie.  after doing some research on the breed, we decided ollie is probably more than likely a havanese.

9.how an expensive breed like that came to be locked in a garage and then ended up in a place like prague (prounounced praaayg) i don’t know.

10.when ollie is told it is time for bed, he goes to get a loooooong drink of water.  we used to allow this until one night, he wet the bed. (his, not ours)

11. #9 was not a random fact so here is the final one: ollie can climb upstairs, but he can’t climb down.  recently however, we learned he has a bad back and has been permanently banned from climbing the stairs.  for a lazy, chubby little guy like ollie, this is no problem.

Advertisements
May 30, 2011

happy memorial day

 

May 26, 2011

thursday’s agenda

  1. have blood taken to determine egg reserve and length of time before i hit menopause
  2. go out for breakfast with husby
  3. put away the laundry
  4. put ice cream dasher into the freezer
  5. plan memorial day
  6. make out grocery list
  7. weed vegetable bed
  8. make a trip to the farmer’s market

yes the blood test was at the top of my to-do list this morning.  yes, it is just an everyday sort of a thing, like putting away the laundry.  isn’t it?  i mean it is no big hairy deal.  right?  at least that is how i am trying to approach it.  it is just something that needs to be done today.  just like putting away the laundry.  get it done, then cross it off the list. deep down inside i’m hoping the mundane-every-day-this-is-nothing-approach will help offset the seriousness of what it really means to us and what it actually signifies: the beginning of the end of our attempts at having a child.  yes, the end of this six year ordeal is finally in sight.  we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  we’re coming to a pivotal moment in our situation and  within the next few months we will reach the end.  we’ll then be able to deal with whatever is on the other side of it and hopefully, move on.  i’m digging in my heels and hanging on tight because  to put it bluntly, the chances right now of us bringing home a little bundle are pretty slim.  i am not trying to be pessimistic, i’m just trying to grasp the reality of the situation.  30% chance.  now 30 is greater than 0, or even 10 or 20; but when the weatherman predicts a 30% chance of rain, do you leave the house with your umbrella?

honestly, it never really occurred to me that we might reach the end and find an empty nursery.  i really believed that somehow, somewhere, some way, we’d become parents.  the fact that it would be this difficult a task was unfathomable.  a few months ago however, it just all began to really sink in: we’re almost out of options, and the odds are not in our favor.  i grieved.  i’m still grieving.  i told my husband several times that i felt someone very dear and very close to us was critically ill; we were coming to the crossroads to discover whether or not they would live or die.  it is an odd sort of grief though.  there is nothing tangible about it, it isn’t the kind of thing anyone understands.  i can’t talk about it.  i can’t grieve publicly in the way one could were there *really* someone passing away. life has to go on,  i have to carry on and keep up appearances as if nothing is happening.  when asked at a luncheon last week about my plans for the summer i wanted to say “i’m going to make one final valiant attempt at having a baby!!!!!!!”  when told later on at the table that i was sooo quiet, i wanted to explain “i’m coming to terms with the fact that i may never reach my lifelong goal and desire of being a mother.”  i doubt anyone would have said much more than “uhhhhhm. anyone like more lemonade?”

there is a place in society for couples who make the conscious choice not to have a child, but for what we could likely become: cnbc’s (childless not by choice) – there are no special sunday school classes or social mixers for that sort of group.  it isn’t a popular choice.  it isn’t necessarily an acceptable one.  i suppose many people would share the opinion that was tactlessly hurled at another cnbc: unless you have exhausted all your resources and died trying, you don’t really have the right to quit and grieve your losses.  i think there was a time when i thought we’d never quit until we had tried every. single. option available to us.  but the truth of the matter is: i’m tired.  we’ve nearly spent our entire marriage battling infertility.  i want to move on.  it would hurt deeply never to have a child, but it also hurts every time another door closes; and it is getting harder and harder to bounce back every time.  i believe that at some point we have to just accept that we tried and it wasn’t meant to be.  (and please let me say here very gently, that we aren’t open to any suggestions or alternatives anyone might think we have not considered)

so for the next couple of months i have gone into what i call hunker-down-and-hang-in-there-by-my-fingernails mode.  i have withdrawn from everything that isn’t absolutely necessary.  we’re still hoping and praying for the best; but we’re also talking about a plan b.  i’ve decided to put away the beatrix potter wallpaper for right now.  it can always be retrieved from the cedar chest if we beat the odds and need to use it.  meanwhile i’m making alternative plans for the nursery to become an office and trying to decide which shade of red for the walls would look the best.

May 23, 2011

the fat lard

i’m thinking it was maybe a year ago that we fully jumped onto the real food bandwagon.  considering my upbringing, however, it wasn’t much of a stretch.  i was taught to cook from a very early age, and taught that cooking meant “from scratch”.  i was very young the first time i was given the enjoyable task of planning a meal, making a grocery list, buying the ingredients, and then cooking the meal under the supervision of my mom.  i remember the entree: cube steaks with hashbrown “haystacks” piled on top.  the recipe called for the frozen kind, but my  mother showed me instead how to peel and grate the potatoes to make our own hashbrowns.  she also passed on to me her fabulous one bowl from scratch brownie recipe and i was horrified when someone, after sampling them, asked me what sort of mix i had used.

when i got married and began to establish my own home, much of my time was and still is spent in the kitchen crafting three meals a day from scratch.  it is time i enjoy and look forward to.  cooking is my therapy. it is a way for me to unwind and enjoy myself.   three years ago we started a kitchen garden and have worked every growing season to get it to produce more efficiently in hopes of being able to raise the majority of our produce. and, last year about this time we were introduced to the book nourishing traditions.  that encouraged us to kick things up just a notch:  we began purchasing raw milk and cream in order to make our own butter, we toyed with the idea of raising chickens (which we have currently vetoed), we experimented with chicken livers (which went into the trash whereupon we promptly ordered a pizza).   we also learned about the cautions of using vegetable oil and began to consider using lard instead.  a brief internet search confirmed that the best way to get lard made from organic pig fat was to render it ourselves.

fortunately i had already established a relationship with the local co-op that provides the majority of our (locally produced) meat and some of our (locally grown) produce.  i asked if they had a source for fat and a few weeks later, i was provided with two eight pound bags of what appeared to my uneducated eye to be pig belly fat.  initially, i was a bit overwhelmed: most of the methods and tutorials that i had researched recommended using 1-2 ½ # and here i had about sixteen pounds total that were already frozen and couldn’t really be divided.   i also do not at this time have a deep freeze so all of this was going into my tiny freezer on top of my fridge.  i took it anyway, rearranged my snug little freezer to accommodate, and circled may 19 on the calendar as lard day.

i wasn’t sure what to expect and i kept reminding myself that this was a new skill and that i shouldn’t expect perfection on the first try; thereby losing patience and giving up too soon (one of my worst faults).  having thawed out one bag of the fat the night before, the first task was to cut out any blood spots, any extra meat, and cut it into ½” pieces.

this was where i began to feel a bit squeamish, sort of like my potential food was giving me way too much information; we were just too up close and personal.  it reminded me of the time i harvested my first batch of lettuce from the yard, bringing it in to the sink roots and all, then having to confront  the dirt in the basin afterward.  it was too much like the mud stew i used to make while playing outside as a kid.  not as pristine as selecting it from the grocery aisle at the store.

fat cubed, it was then transferred to the stock pot with about ½ cup of water.

i was sooo glad that i had done enough research to learn that the water is not added in proportion to the amount of fat: it is simply there to keep the fat from burning while the pot heats. two cups of water to eight pounds of fat would have been a royal mess.   also, at this time i contemplated working in smaller amounts so that i could experiment as i went.  at the last minute however, i changed my mind and plunked all eight pounds, chopped and cubed, into my stock pot.  i mean, how long can it take for this to melt down?  i figured i’d be pouring it into jars mid-afternoon, then i’d make us some cracklin cornbread and beet greens.

um,that much fat takes a long time to render.

a very, very long time.

we’re talking all day folks, as in: we ordered pizza for dinner.  we’re talking: 11pm and i was nearly in a fetal position crying in the corner of my kitchen. i had created a frankenstein. i wanted very much to go to bed and i still had chunks happily floating around on top.  we hadn’t even come to the bit yet about the craklins coming to the top and then sinking to the bottom.  the lesson learned here was to either work in small batches, or grind the fat (instead of cubing) as another tutorial suggested, and/or render it in the crock pot.   rather than letting it continue to cook while we either stayed with it all night, or took turns to get up and stir it we decided to pour off what we had and see what happened.

it worked.  while i didn’t get any craklins i did get 2 ½ quarts of lard (1/2 quart not pictured because it didn’t look tidy for the pictures).  it didn’t cool to a snowy white like crisco and for that i am disappointed.

i don’t know if that is due to the kind of fat used, the quality of the fat, or if i allowed it to get too hot.  it also has a bit of a “pork chop” taste; very faint, but it is there.  another disappointment as i had hoped to be able to use this for baking pies like my grandma did.  this may work for a meat pie, but i’m not sure it will fly for raspberry or lemon meringue.  again, this may be my technique.    fortunately, i will have plenty of opportunities to work on technique as there are another eight pounds still in the freezer when i feel i am emotionally ready for a second try.

May 20, 2011

progress report on my vegetable garden

this hasn’t been a very easy spring.  one weekend it was up to 90 degrees or thereabouts and the next weekend it was back down in the 50’s.  i have actually lost a few potted pentas, for which i take the blame: i should have known better than to put them out when the weather was that cool.  i’ve also noticed a lot of thrip damage and have had to start spraying for them.  other than that, things are coming along as well as can be.


here is a view of the long bed. this is the spring version.  in june, the peas and lettuce will be replaced with zucchini and boxwood basil, currently coming along just fine under the grow lights; and also some scarlet runner beans which will be sown directly in the bed.   now, please bear in mind that this is all an unfinished work in progress.  we still plan to put stones around the perimeter; and that circular bed in back with a utility flag and grass growing up around will be cleared out to make way for a two tiered rock garden.  but not by next week.  we’re talking long term here…so bear with  me.

here is a close up of the black seeded simpson lettuce, i believe…..or is it salad bowl?  this is why one should always label their crops.  back in the corner is a cherokee purple tomato flanked by red zinnias and some sunflowers.  this year i decided to experiment by growing cutting  flowers for the table in with my vegetables.  in the row, along the side is some overgrown arugula; overgrown, but still quite tasty.

and here we have salad bowl…or is it black seeded simpson and forellenschluss flanked by rows of the overgrown arugula and red leaf lettuce.  also overgrown.  in the back are more cherokee purple tomatoes and some blue batcheor’s buttons.

and here are the peas which the thrips (or something quite like a thrip) seem to think we have planted just for them.

here is a close-up of my amish deer tongue lettuce.  it still has a little bit of growing to do but i love the way the triangular shaped leaves grow in a spiral fashion.  i had really hoped more of these would come up.  not quite sure why they weren’t as prolific as the arugula…

and here is a patch of forellenschluss that is coming along quite nicely.  also another tomato plant, a red zinnia (the other one didn’t survive the fluctuations in the weather) and a struggling sunflower sprout (again, the weather).

i leave you with my tomato patches.  here are the pepper plant and plum tomatoes; also with the red zinnias and bachelor’s buttons.

and, a birthday gift from my sister: more cherokee purples and some celebrities.   and of course, the red zinnias and blue bachelor’s buttons.

not pictured: my struggling beets, some leftover chard, a very young asparagus bed, and my apothecary’s rose.  they weren’t pretty enough to be photographed.

so whaddya think?  think it will work?

May 18, 2011

new shoes

i like to run.

i like that it affords me the luxury of being able to eat just about anything i want.

i have practiced running as a form of exercise off and on since i was ten years old.  mind you, i haven’t always enjoyed it.  for years, as soon as i would get started i wondered why on earth i was doing this thing and how long before i could stop.  i actually quit for several years before deciding to take it back up again.

my running reprisal happened about three years ago.  i decided that i would commit to running for at least five minutes, three days a week.  after that i added on five more minutes, then five more – after a few months i had worked up the distance and was able to complete my first 5k.  now i run about a 5 mile route, twice a week (walking on the off days) with a long slow run on the weekend.  slow being the key word here.  i don’t run fast, but as you can see i can run far if i set my mind to it.  i also do not have the willowy build of a runner.  this is very hard for me sometimes to accept when along my route i encounter some tiny wisp of a thing lookin’ great in a pair of blue shorts.  it is all i can do not to mutter under my breath “i may be wearing an extra large t-shirt sweetheart but i’ve been out here twice as long as you have i bet…”

i have learned the hard way that one cannot skimp when buying a pair of running shoes.  my first pair were bought on clearance and were not actually “running” shoes.  i figured a pair of teva walking shoes was close enough. hahahahahahaaaaaahaha.  ahem.  the shin splints i developed were so bad i had to take a month off.  then i bought a pair of real running shoes.  i just recently wore those out and replaced them with these:

aren’t they pretty?  i love the hot pink trim.

when i was little i thought that new shoes would make me run faster.  i mentioned this to an uncle who immediately put me and my new shoes to the challenge – we ran a foot race in the backyard.  i lost.  i thought all grown-ups were supposed to let little children win.  i still do not think very much of this uncle.

i think there is some truth though to having a new pair of shoes.  maybe it was just the pink stripes, but after weeks of running in a broken down pair, i could swear i made much better time the first time i took these out last saturday.

May 16, 2011

THE long awaited kitchen tour…for reals this time. before and after photos included

walls painted tea room yellow? check.

woodwork and trim painted saffron ivory? check.

pantry shelves completed? check.

ceiling painted? light fixtures mounted? sink and counter installed? check. check. check.

in the early evening of december 31, with enough completed to make for a functional kitchen, we wheeled in the stove and refrigerator, and replaced the table and chairs.  we cooked a mean beef stroganoff and toasted to 2011 in our brand new kitchen.  it had taken all of four months.  looking at that length of time in print, it doesn’t seem that long.  but four months for a foodie to be eating cold cereal while living in a pile of rubble is an eternity.

it took just another two weeks to add some final touches: the painting of the pantry,  cabinet catches, a pull out cutting board, and then of course the moving back in.   there are still a few things yet that need to be taken care of: the vintage red phone is purchased but needs to be hung.  i also have some artwork to go up but i am waiting until the newness of my painted walls wears off and i am brave enough to pound holes in them.

am i glad we did it?  ::big sigh:: yes. as soon as i hung my yellow floral curtains, and took it all in with the ivory and yellow color scheme i was thrilled.  the kitchen has become one of our favorite rooms in the house.  i look forward to coming in here every morning to start the day.

would i do it again?  wayalllll…….i..dunno.  lets just say that our master bath is in need of a major redo.  before the kitchen i was all gung ho on getting it done asap.  now, i’m starting to think it really isn’t so bad the way it  is.

i leave you with the before and after photos (please remember i am not a photographer); as well as a few other details.

"before" shot of the breakfast nook

breakfast nook, after

"before" shot of refrigerator and adjacent cabinet

...and after. note the rolling kitchen island was replaced with a built in base cabinet

additional wall cabinets added above

stove area before

...and after

sink and countertop area before

...and after

laundry room

the pantry with additional shelving added (difficult to see, but narrow shelves were added on the wall opposite the door when it is closed)

i still do not have a terrible amount of cupboard and counterspace. what i do have needs to be used efficiently. my mom got me these great canisters. flour and sugar are stored on the counter leaving more room in the cupboard. i still have enough prep space.

the cabinets reach all the way to the celing. so while there aren't many, they do provide a lot of storage. this is my baking station.

pull out cutting board also provides additional work surface. this is another prep station.

my built in corner cabinets store serving pieces

kitchen guy wanted me to get rid of the curlicues but i stood my ground.

just showing off the under cabinet lighting and my darling lamp above the sink

and here is our vintage door; sanded down and repainted. the knob is original and was cleaned up, buffed, and polished

thanks for stopping by!  🙂

May 13, 2011

what i have learned about tomatoes

what i have learned first and foremost: i am not a tomato expert.

that might not be all my fault.  i live in a part of the country that is not very conducive to growing healthy tomatoes.  in fact last week, i heard another master gardener remark  that oklahoma is the  best place to grow tomato pests and tomato diseases. not necessarily tomatoes.  i say all that to say, this is not a tutorial.  just imagine we are strolling through my garden (or yours)  having a casual conversation about tomatoes and exchanging ideas and tips on what worked and what didn’t.  mostly what didn’t.

  1. tomatoes like to be warm.  here, our last final frost date is around tax day.  technically that means that all warm weather vegetables can be set out after that date.  however, tomatoes like a soil temp of about 60 degrees and usually the soil by that time is still pretty cool.  this can be a hard concept to grasp because most nurseries and hardware stores are already selling tomato transplants, giving you the urge to get out and start digging in the dirt.  i have found that it is best to wait a few weeks after the planting date.  not that i have always done that mind you.  you can cheat a bit if you want by using the wall-o-water tubes or warming up the ground with black plastic.  i’ve used the wall-o-water gadgets once and they worked fine.  the drawback is that they are not pretty and if you are like me and want everything in your garden to be beautiful you won’t like them.  that is why they are currently sitting in my garage and i haven’t used them since.
  2. the soil around tomato plants should never be allowed to dry out.  i learned this the hard way.  last summer when i was growing grape tomatoes, i was not being consistent about checking the soil every day.  as a result the soil got very dry and the plants started to wilt so i immediately flooded them with water.  a few weeks later the plants began to drop leaves.  they survived and produced but not as much as they might have otherwise.  now i use a lot of mulch to conserve moisture, sometimes even laying several layers of newspaper down first to keep the soil nice and moist.  as long as they get one inch of water per week, i don’t need to do a lot of extra watering.
  3. eggshells help prevent blossom end rot.  eggshells provide the calcium needed to prevent this common disease.  whenever i plant my tomatoes, i place a small handfull of crushed eggshells in the bottom of the hole.  so far i’ve not lost any plants to blossom end rot.  i have, however lost quite a few to spider mites………
  4. spider mites like tomatoes as much as i do.  so far, for the past three years i have lost my plants mid-summer to spider mites.  i have tried spraying with pyola, an organic insecticide, starting regularly around june.  this only helps a little bit.  i have also completely quit planting marigolds, which i love.   although they deter nemetodes and therefore are thought to be a great companion plant,  marigolds attract spider mites.  in spite of all my efforts i still struggle with mites.  this year i am going to try pruning my tomatoes, making them easier to manage and i am planning to put in a fall crop around july 4.  should we lose some plants, then, hopefully a successive planting will at least give us some harvest until fall.
  5. tomatoes like basil.  planting them together also makes me feel like an italian.  i’m married to one, i need to live up to it.  tomatoes also like carrots, so i’ve been told.  but carrots do not like oklahoma soil so i’ve never been able to try this practice.
  6. ollie likes tomatoes.  last year i caught him tugging at a few green ones before ripping them off the vine and chowing down.  this is the reason for all the little chicken wire “fences” around my vegetable beds.
  7. tomatoes should never be planted in the same place twice.  rotating the crops will help prevent nemetodes, those unpleasant little underground beings that tie your roots in knots.  i’ve read conflicting information about how much time to allow between plantings.  some sources say one  year, some say two or even four.  i rotate every year.  my small garden won’t allow for much more than that.

our favorite variety are the heirloom cherokee purples.  i also love to grow romas which i have found to produce well, take up minimal space, do not need to be staked, and seem to be more resistant to pests and disease.  this year i am also putting in two celebrity tomato plants.  i will have ten plants total which should be more than enough provided we have good luck with them.

*cute tomato graphic credit

May 11, 2011

journal

i received this nifty journal as a gift last year for my birthday.

being a collector of all things bird related i couldn’t help but admire the color of the cover in robin’s egg blue (i realize some people may call this “teal”.  it is not.  it is robin’s egg blue).   this is a five year journal, with each page featuring one day over the course of five years.

as of this week, every single space from may of 2010 to may of 2011 is filled in.  i feel very accomplished.  this is not to say that i recorded the day’s events every single night before going to bed.  there were some evenings that i was lax and later had to go back and catch up.  this does mean though that every single day of my life over the past year has been accounted for.  i didn’t write anything very grand –  nothing very detailed or particularly moving.  there isn’t a lot of space to wax introspective.  much of what i recorded were very simple things: the weather, what was blooming in the garden, something special i fixed for dinner, a visit i had with a friend or a family member.  in my opinion however, it is these simple things, these single threads, that make up the fabric of a life.  these little details are what i will enjoy reflecting on as i continue to fill in the spaces of the next four years.

do you keep a journal or a diary?

Tags:
May 8, 2011

THE long awaited kitchen tour…well almost

part the seventh

during kitchen guy’s “sick leave” marco and i pow-wowed.  we decided that the difficult stuff   we really didn’t have the skills to handle were completed and  out of the way.  the counter was being ordered through home depot and would be installed, along with the sink a few days after christmas.  with the pantry close to being finished, all that remained was the painting, and a few simple, final details.  we could handle that.  if we both worked furiously together, we could conceivably paint, move the appliances back in, and cook a rip-roaring new year’s eve dinner.

after four months on a job that could have been done in two, we decided to give kitchen guy his walking papers.  when he returned the following monday,   we informed him that come the end of the week,  we’d be taking it from here on out thankyouverymuch.  i was surprised at how little he resisted.   in spite of his skill and talent he seemed to have lost interest in the project and was all too happy to walk away from it.  marco let him down so gently, i wasn’t even sure he realized he’d been fired.  i was  convinced of this fact when,  several weeks later he appeared at our front door with a new client wanting to come in and show off his work as a real-live portfolio.  hmmmm….

kitchen guy no longer there to hold us back,  marco began to paint the ceiling.  we soon learned why it had been sprayed with a popcorn finish: the surface was a bit uneven.  we wrestled with it for hours, primping, and touching it up here and there before we finally decided to leave it alone.  it was after all, an older home with its charm  and imperfections.  :shrug:  we wanted someone to walk in and say “wow you found this place with the kitchen still intact!” not “so when did you redo the kitchen?” if i had any misgivings about my bumpy ceiling they completely evaporated when we installed the light fixtures. these lovelies are my pride and joy.  ordered from rejuvenation at the start of our lengthy project, we were thrilled to finally be able to hang them up.

next was the painting.  for the next several days we feverishly painted the walls, cabinets, and pantry.  coat after coat of primer inside and out.  then coat after coat of saffron ivory inside and out.  we enlisted the help of my brothers.  we listened to endless hours of jazz to break up the monotony. we paused briefly to have christmas with my family.  then we painted some more, stopping only to inhale very bad take out chicken, tubs of store-bought potato salad and little debbies oatmeal pies.  while one worked on the walls, the other would work on the cabinets and trim.  i honestly thought it would never end.

then the counter arrived.  we had spent hours deliberating over this  surface. linoleum? tile? granite? corian? laminate?    had i wanted to be truly authentic, i’d have gone with linoleum, but that just didn’t jive.  it was too weird, and it made me feel ick to have the same surface on the counter that i would have on the floor.   another authentic choice we really liked was tile.  but i wanted a completely smooth surface for rolling out pie crust and cookie dough.  granite was too modern looking and the color schemes didn’t seem to work.  in the end we decided on silestone as it offered durability in a range of colors.  but which color?  we struggled to agree.    yellow? pale yellow?  red?  dark or light? solid or variegated?  if ever you want to test the negotiating skills in your marriage: remodel your kitchen.  we finally agreed on white, as it fit our monochromatic color scheme.  well….. we thought it was white, but while it was being unloaded from the truck it looked like a putty gray.   i panicked. i spent the morning posting minute by minute updates on facebook enlisting the emotional support of my friends and fighting the urge to pour myself a pomegranate martini.

then, if that wasn’t enough the installation guy decided that my sink wasn’t going to fit.  for some reason, years ago, when the kitchen was modernized with a garbage disposal the switch was put on the apron front of the sink.  he couldn’t drop in the sink for the box.   he was being very disagreeable about it and was just going to walk away, leaving me with a hole in the counter and a  special order sink i couldn’t really take back.  marco intervened and graciously asked him to stay long enough while he removed the switch box giving just enough room to drop in the sink.  he agreed and eventually we replaced the switch under the cabinet.  a bit of an odd location for a switch, but it works.

this special order sink was another item we had deliberated over.  many of the vintage ads we referred to for inspiration showed a free standing farmhouse sink with a drainboard.

i absolutely loved these but there was no room in my tiny kitchen for a monstrous piece of porcelain that big.  even if there was, we weren’t sure how we’d get it through the front door.  we thought perhaps an apron front porcelain sink would be a good alternative after cutting down the cabinet doors to accommodate for the depth.  however, by the time we made our decision the cabinet doors were finished and paid for (the one time kitchen guy’s lackadaisical approach might have worked to our advantage) .  in the end i went with a kohler 9″ white cast iron basin.  i had no idea what a difference 1″ would make in the depth.  i love that i can fill it up with dirty dishes that remain concealed at the bottom.  no one coming into the kitchen has any idea that i had no time to load the dishwasher.  a brass faucet with white porcelain keys completed the look.  i knew we had gotten it right when my grandma saw it and said it looked just like the faucet from her childhood home; and in the end, when all was said and done, the countertop color worked just fine.

up next….the FINAL installment of our saga (anyone still reading??) with the before and after pics.