Images (finally) fixed

Just wanted to drop a quick note to say that I finally went back and fixed our images.  What went wrong?  When we moved back to wordpress.com, the import script did a few unexpected things.

  1. it dropped all file attachment relationships
  2. it converted all image filenames to lowercase, and put a 1 just before the file extension
  3. it did not update image references in posts to reflect the differences between wp.org and wp.com

So, if we had an image at

https://1500sqft.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/IMG_1010.JPG

it would now be located at

https://1500sqft.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/img_10101.jpg

But none of our posts reflected that change.  I knew this was fixable, but I was quite irritated and we had other things going on at the time.  So what was my solution?

  1. Did a new export from our wp.com site
  2. Deleted all posts and comments, from the site, but left images
  3. Did a global search/replace in the export file using a regular expression
    1. Since I was on windows, I used notepad++
  4. Re-imported the fixed up file
  5. Profit!

For the techno-curious, this was my regex.  It took me about an hour to get right

Search

(['"])(https://(1500sqft\.com|i\d\.wp\.com/1500sqft\.com)/wp-content/uploads/)(\d{4}/\d{2}/)([^"'\]]+)(\.[Aa-Zz]{3})([^"']*)(["'])

Replace

$1https://1500sqft.files.wordpress.com/\L${4}${5}1${6}${7}${8}

Note that this also took care of any remaining photon references from the Jetpack plugin that ended up in the post code.  If you’d like to know what the devil this all means, you can learn all about regular expressions at regular-expressions.info.

 

Problematic Pictures

Just a quick note – Jason moved the blog back to free WordPress hosting and in the process all of our old picture links ended up broken.  We’re working on it – just wanted you to know that we know that very few pictures in old posts are showing up.

In other news:

  • Beets, garlic, lettuce, and spinach are in the ground for fall.
  • Oregano, sage, parsley, lemon verbena, and lavender are dried and stored for the winter.
  • I have various painting projects lined up for the next few weeks assuming the temperature and humidity cooperate.

Happy fall!

 

Garden updates

It’s been an action packed few weeks.  We took a trip to beautiful Colorado.  I started not one but two part time jobs (each about 10 hours per week).  And we’ve been plotting actually getting back to work on our fixer-upper.  On the agenda?  The stuff we didn’t do this summer:  paint the living room and dining room (we already have the paint!), get new window treatments up, start work on the back bedroom, and paint the damn trim on the outside of the house.  As usual, we’ll probably only get one of those done in a timely fashion. 

Anyway, a few garden updates:

We picked up the guy below at a yard sale a few weeks ago.  My beloved Handy Hauler garden cart that my parents brought me from the farm had a, um, problem that now prevents it from hauling much of anything.  Old rusty things sometimes break.  Our solution?  Replace the first old rusty garden cart with yet another old rusty garden cart.  Makes total sense to me. 

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Look at those horrendous weeds growing out of our patio.  I pulled one bunch but then gave up.  That patio isn’t going to stay there forever anyway (we’re going to tear it up and use the pieces to help build parking tracks off of our alley) so I’m not going to stress about it this summer.  It’s gotten too hot to sit out there anyway. 

My greatest joy in the garden this year has been my herb garden.  I waxed poetic about it a while back.  Here’s what it looks like these days:

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I’ve been making bruschetta with our fresh basil and homegrown tomatoes.  I also really love having fresh chives around to sprinkle on a baked potato or in a salad.  I haven’t made as much use of some of the other herbs yet but that’s because I was mostly growing them to dry them.  I want to make various herb tea concoctions as well as have my own parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme for cooking this winter. 

Today I set up a little herb drying factory in our empty back bedroom.  Fingers crossed that it all dries up and doesn’t mold in the humidity. 

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I stapled some fiberglass window screening into an old picture frame to make this little drying frame.  I actually got the roll of screen for 50 cents at a tag sale and I already owned this garage sale frame so this was a cheap, cheap, cheap project.  This is lemon verbena laid out to dry. 

The rest of the garden has been a really mixed bag.  I finally just pulled up some of the tomatoes that were not flowering or setting fruit.  All of the lettuce bolted long ago so I pulled it out as well.  We love eating the swiss chard that has survived.  I learned a lot about where the sun shines the most in this part of the yard so I’ll be able to make smarter choices about where to plant tall things next year.

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I planted a cucumber plant on a whim and it has taken over the world and is drowning us in cucumbers. 

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I planted 1 million onions but they didn’t really thrive.  However, they are edible, so I went ahead and harvested them anyway.  Here’s the second batch laying out to dry in the sun.

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It’s time to work some compost into the dirt, weed, and plant some things for fall.  I’m planning beets, lettuce, chard, and kale. 

Angry Gardener

I really, really shouldn’t be angry at the Oklahoma weather.  We haven’t had weeks upon weeks of consecutive days over 100 degrees.  We aren’t in a drought anymore (at least most of my county isn’t…much of Oklahoma still is.)  We’ve had cooler than average temperatures and we’ve had nearly a year’s worth of rain in the first 7 months of the year.  I should be thrilled. 

State Drought Monitor - Google Chrome 7192013 75504 AM.bmp

The problem is I planted a good ol’ fashioned Oklahoma garden.  I used the Oklahoma State factsheets and read up on what varieties of plants to buy for heat, sun, and my USDA hardiness zone.  In a normal year, we don’t plant things that take a ton of water, we only plant things that can live in extreme amounts of sun, and we pray the hoppers don’t get it all.  How’d that work out?

Well, sun and hoppers haven’t been a problem for me this year.  Instead, most of my garden seems to be rotting in the ground:

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Fungi everywhere

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It has been suggested to me that my tomatoes look this way due to some deficiency in the soil but I’m tempted to blame the rain. 

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My poor dill seems to have rotted. 

Ugh.  It’s silly but after the last few years of dryer-than-the-dustbowl conditions, I was prepared not to be able to afford to water this garden all summer.  I was ready to watch it shrivel and die in the heat.  I wasn’t ready for the dirt to wash away from my onions because it has rained so much.

Hrmpf!  (That’s like a grumble.  Only more exasperated sounding.) 

It’s fine.  It’s not like I’d send the rain away.  We needed it.  The cool weather has been a huge relief after a few summers that were so hot and dry that I wondered why humans dared live in this part of the country ever.  At all.  Seriously, I was cursing the pioneers.

It’s just that I’m a planner.  I thought if I worked hard enough to engineer a garden plan that I could somehow win the weather vs. plants war.  Silly, foolish girl.  It’s an important lesson that I can’t believe I’m relearning after 29 years of life in Oklahoma – the weather will do whatever it damn well pleases.  I’m the girl who stood waiting for the bus at the end of her driveway, ponytail tangled viciously by the wind, refusing to wear a coat because even though it was 45 degrees right at that moment, it would be 70 degrees by the afternoon bus ride.  I’m sure it’s much better to have a “take it as it comes” attitude.  I’m just not very good at that.  Guess I’m getting some practice.

All is not lost.  We have peppers!

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And the transplanted asparagus is doing well.  I’ve harvest several cucumbers.  I had grand plans for some low-sodium refrigerator pickles but they turned out to be horrible.  Now, since I don’t really care for cucumbers much as non-pickles, I may be overwhelmed.  I wish I had planted more lettuce.  This was the year for cooler crops.  Who knew? 

I’ve learned a lot as a basically-first-time gardener.  And even though I’ve been somewhat frustrated lately, I’m not giving up.  In fact, I had a burst of enthusiasm for next year’s garden when I went to Atwoods to buy a few seeds for my forthcoming fall garden and discovered that all of the seed packets were 10¢ each.  I bought 39 packets.  Here’s what 39 seed packets looks like.

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I know.  It’s a little crazy.  But I want to try a cutting garden for flowers next year.  I also know that most kinds of seeds can stay curled up in a jar in the fridge for several years.  10¢ seemed like a small price to pay for a whole new set of garden adventures next year. 

Coming up this fall:  beets, squash, possibly cabbage, and some onions (I may have to order sets online.)  Wish me just enough moisture (but not too much) and temperatures within the bell curve. 

There are only so many words in the day

We started this blog in 2011 when we closed on our little house.  I wanted a way to share our progress with friends, family, and the wider world.  I’m so pleased that we have at least a few readers who are not related to me. 

A lot happened in 2 years.  After we moved, I commuted to work, I got tired of commuting, and I quit my job.  I spent a blissful year at home, cooking, working on the house, and starting my first garden.

When I was really stressed out at work, blogging was a fantastic release.  I always felt better after I sat down and tapped out a post about what was going on in our house.  Was it ever going to be the best blog ever?  Probably not.  I don’t know where to use commas and I switch tenses like they are lanes on the highway, but I always figured this is America – land of the (grammar) free – and if I didn’t want to stress about it, I didn’t have to. 

I think the best house blogs have a fresh angle.  We aren’t doing anything that radical.  We’re just renovating an old house on a small budget.  People do it ever day.  We wish more people would do it more often.  I’m probably most proud of posts we’ve done that share resources (guess it’s the librarian in me!) like the “Researching an old home” series.   

Though it seems like I’d have more time than ever to blog, I find that it’s often the thing that falls off of the back of the wagon.  For a long time I tried to post almost daily, then several times a week.  Now, I’m releasing myself from a schedule.  Expect to see some new content here but don’t set your clock by it. 

I actually hate when this happens to a blog.  It makes me sad.  Jason and I sat down and made a list of our priorities for our time and this didn’t make the cut.  That’s life.  I have a half-written romance novel sitting around patiently waiting for some attention.  I’m starting to sniff around for some part time work to help make our household less, well, poor.  I have really fallen in love with this gardening thing and want to devote my cool early mornings and shady evenings to it (those were often my best blogging times.) 

So, please don’t forget that 1500sqft exists, but do expect to see posts more sporadically.  I secretly hope to still post once a week but I can’t and won’t make that promise. 

Thanks, readers, for…well…reading!

~ Kate (and Jason) 

Pineapple Sage

I briefly mentioned my impulse purchase of a pineapple sage plant earlier this year in this post.  I plopped it in the herb garden where it slowly began taking over.  Seriously, this thing got big.  Quickly. 

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Luckily for me and the sage, I recently scored some giant, free planters from Big Trash Day. 

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Seemed like a match made in heaven.  My only concern?  Dirt.  If you fill a container that size full of dirt, a) it’s expensive and b) it’ll be so heavy you’ll never move it again.  Last time I filled a big(ish) pot, I flipped another smaller pot upside down in there and then put dirt on top.  This time, a friend suggested I try filling about half of the pot with plastic bottles.  It was a fantastic plan except that we don’t really keep soda around, so I didn’t have a ready-made supply of bottles.  Luckily, Oklahoma’s Nationally Ranked Public Liberal Arts College (aka USAO) is just down the street and they recycle.  I snagged a few bags of plastic bottles from their recycle bin and I was ready.

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It was so simple I forgot to take a photo of the process.  Dump bottles in, dump dirt in, plop a plant in.  I filled the pot about half-way with bottles. 

Note:  if you’re antsy about plastic, maybe don’t use this method if you’re growing an edible.  Though this sage is technically edible, I’m really going to use it more as an ornamental (apparently it blooms with pretty red flowers.) 

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I plopped this on the patio for now.  I gave it a good layer of mulch and have watered it extra carefully and it seems to like it’s new home.  The patio is a work in progress (I mean, what isn’t around here?) so we’ll talk more about it’s mini-transformation soon! 

Oklahoma Gardening

About a month ago, a gaggle of Shaklees (and a few of Shermans) gathered in Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA to visit the Oklahoma Gardening tv show studio garden.  Oklahoma Gardening is an Oklahoma State University production and airs on the local PBS station.  It features segments about trees, food gardens, ornamental plants, and cooking.  I grew up whining about my mom watching Oklahoma Gardening on Saturday afternoons (ugh – is there anything more boring to a kid?  Answer:  The Mclaughlin Group was on after it, so yes, there was) but now I totally DVR it.  I also used to gripe about listening to NPR in the car – now I’m totally an NPR junkie.  We really do turn into our mothers.  Speaking of her, here’s my mom at the garden entrance. 

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We went right at the beginning of May, hoping that we’d beat the OK summer heat.  It was a good theory but since we were having one of the wettest May’s on record, it was just swampy and muggy and horrible.  We managed to have a bit of fun before we melted though.  I didn’t really take many pictures of the garden but I did shoot pictures of plants that I liked and tried to get their labels into the shots.  So most of my pictures look like this:

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It was a pretty cool place but had way fewer edibles than I had imagined.  Most of it was pretty, ornamental stuff.  At the end of our tour, we visited the little greenhouse where they have extra plants you can pick up for a small donation.  Mom and I each picked a plant out.  (Of note:  this was apparently the day I picked up a smudge on my lens – which “ruined” all of the tornado destruction photos I took a few weeks later…if you can ruin destruction photos…) 

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Isn’t that a pretty little plant?  Well, lest any of you think I’m some kind of gardening wizard (I mean, my garden has really been looking pretty good and I bet you guys think I’m hustling you and that I’ve been gardening for years or something…) here’s that same little pink plant today, June 13. 

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Oops.  It never got planted because I couldn’t decide where it should live (oh, and because things got crazy around here for a while.)  I did finally remember to water it this morning, so maybe it will perk up. 

I highly recommend finding a public garden near you – there’s a handy search tool on the National Gardening Association’s website – and visiting it this summer.  The garden at OSU was free, some charge admission, but either way it’s worth it!