mellymell: (Default)
Chris and I have been rocking out the outdoor projects for the past couple of months. We built a short fence out of cedar (which smells just like pencil shavings) around our A/C units with a gate so we could access the water faucet back there but also dampen some of the noise from the machines. It seems to work on both counts and gives us a little hidden storage and a nice clean look there. It also makes our patio seem a little more enclosed and private and so we've been contemplating not building a deck on top of it but rather tiling over the concrete (because I've seen it done and it looks super easy) and maybe later installing French doors in place of the dining room windows and building a covered deck over there. Regardless, we have got to rebuild our back steps ASAP. They're rotting and falling apart and they were a hazard even when they were brand new because of the odd angle at which they were built, so that needs to be fixed.

In building that little fence (by the way, we feel like total experts on fence construction now), we had to move the ornamental grasses that were there in front of the A/C units before and after much contemplation and consideration, I decided to create a new garden there that would envelope the little Japanese maple we had planted out from there before. I rearranged the grasses so they curved around creating a backdrop for the maple and I really like how it turned out. It needs more plants, but for now, it looks great! We finished it off with some mulch this past weekend while Chris' parents were here to keep Jonah entertained. I have a strong desire to plant some hardy ornamental banana trees there.

Also, on Saturday, we mulched and weeded the garden that's under the dining room windows and now borders the new A/C fence and this new garden. I need to get some summer annuals in there pronto, but it looks good for now, as the gladioli and cannas have risen and are thriving in all this rain (as is everything else). Just before dusk, we managed to get two flats of veggies and herbs planted into our now six 4'x4' plots for such. We went to Flowers Nursery out Briley this time (they've supplied All Seasons with their heirloom tomato plants in years past). They sell all their stuff in 4 packs of plants, so we wound up with 8 types of tomatoes, 8 types of peppers (though we missed a habanero and will need to remedy that), 2 types of eggplant, 1 each of zucchini, straight neck yellow squash and cucumbers. We planted the 4 packs little clusters that we'll sort of grow as one plant. I've never tried anything like this before, so we'll see how they do. It sure was much cheaper!

We picked up basil, tarragon and dill to put in our herb bed along side the peppermint, chocolate mint, thyme, oregano, parsley and sage we had there last year. Last year's basil plants turned into a huge shrub that crowded out our blueberry bushes. We'll see if these do as well.

Apart from all that, about a month ago I planted seeds in rows for 4 types of lettuces (a romaine, a bibb, and two types of leaf lettuce), a mix of 3 types of baby cabbages (red, green and savoy), a baby bok choy, cilantro (yes, a whole row of it) and green onions. I'm going to try to do successive plantings of those until it gets too hot for them to thrive.

We didn't get around to moving our raspberries, so I'm just going to have to be vigilant about keeping them contained. They really need their own space. They triple in size every year. I'd also like to start an asparagus bed.

Also, have I mentioned how much I absolutely love our garden shed!? We picked it up the weekend Chris bought his truck and got it all set up and stocked and I just totally love having it there. Again, it's really provided great storage in a tidy package, just like the fence around the A/C units. I sure hope I have before pictures of our yard when we bought this house somewhere. There was seriously no landscaping done when we first bought the place. We now have 7 gardens and we've planted 6 trees, 6 crepe myrtles and 15 shrubs, not counting the ones we've lost or the blueberries and raspberries.

I absolutely love this time of year. All the leaves are in, the growth is exponential with each rain and everything is still lush and new before the summer heat and drought comes.
mellymell: (Default)
Thursday morning when I returned from taking Jonah to school, I started, at first just pulling up the dead stalks that used to be asters in the front garden. I have four groups of lovely little asters that were starting to sprout this year's foliage, so I thought it was time last year's depart to compost. But I couldn't stop there. I opened the garage and got clippers to trim up the dead ends of various Dutch and German irises that had risen from the ground prematurely, only to be yellowed or browned by various freezes over winter. I still couldn't stop. Not while my pansies were springing back to life with vigor and colorful new buds practically begged me for a dose of fertilizer. So, I sprinkled out some "Colorburst" granules and also some slug/snail bait on the asters, since I saw a few munching on the baby leaves there. At that point, I stood back approvingly then inspected the liriope for any new growth. Still no new blades peaking up, so I've got time to cut them back without having to worry about cutting off the tops of this season's growth.

I grabbed another cup of coffee, then headed to the back yard to clean up the veggie bed and the bed of annuals in front of the dining room window. Chris had started the dining room garden a few weeks ago while we were out in the backyard doing nothing in particular (or maybe daydreaming about a deck). Then, I decided while I was at it, I would go ahead and prune the trees back there. I dragged the rake and a trashcan around to pick up behind my work. Then noticed an increase in the mist that was coming down. I opted to save the grasses for another day (I've got five plants of two kinds of miscanthus in the back around the HVAC units which need to be cut down like the liriope in front, to make way for this year's growth). I also chopped down the raspberry brambles and clipped a couple of the taller branches off of the blueberry plants to hopefully encourage bushing. I noticed one of the river birch trunks is starting to get its trademark peeling. Quite lovely and I'm looking forward to watching that clump grow.

So, spring has sprung in the yard, though I'm sure we've got some wintry weather still in the forecast for even the next month, perhaps. I managed to get everything prepped for spring growth before lunch on Thursday and felt really accomplished. I have, however, resigned to not doing too much new in the yard this year. We might build a deck. We've got a section of overgrowth (privet and Virginia creeper mostly, with some trumpet vine and pokeweed for good measure) to clear now that we've torn down that side of the fence and we'll replace what's there with a row of crepe myrtles, I think and maybe intersperse with lower growing shrubs like azaleas and/or nandina or something.

Other than that, I'm not messing with seeds, other than direct sow this year (can't go without my lime green zinnias). But I'm not cutting any new beds, apart from digging up this overgrown section to replant it. I want to spend a week at most in April planting summer annuals, herbs and veggies and mulching. I've got too much else going on this year for this to be a huge focus consuming all my free time for a month. But, I certainly don't want to do nothing out there either. Also, I know the fruit/herb bed is going to require some battling of nut grass this summer as it comes back and I'm sure I'm going to have to battle this overgrowth we're about to yank out for a while as well. Also, also, my indoor plants could REALLY use some TLC.

But, in the realm of table saws and nail guns, we finished the fence yesterday with the exception of cutting the tops off the boards and posts. I hope the dogs appreciate it. It's only taken us 1.5+ years to finish that project (three installments, starting July 2008 the other two more sensibly in March 2009 and 2010).

Now I'm hoping to turn my focus to getting this house cleaned and organized and perhaps take up some crafty stuff again. At least until Chris decides to start building a deck or install hardwood floors downstairs. (plz help)
mellymell: (Default)
Before and after comparison of what's been done. )


Also, the foyer urinal, err, fountain. )
mellymell: (Default)
While I'm trying to rally the energy to clean up the kitchen and figure out what's for dinner, I just thought I'd pop in to say...

IT'S FINISHED! THE BATHROOM IS FINISHED!

Ok, so, actually, it's not completely finished. I still want to get new tub/shower faucets, a wall cabinet for over the toilet, a recessed light for over the tub and a threshold. But, since I don't have any of those things, that means I've basically run out of work to do. Also, it really needs a good cleaning now. But I'm hesitant to do that until I get everything else installed for the inevitable drywall dust and whatever else I may stir up in the process. Pics later.

*falls over ded*

I think tomorrow will be spent getting this house back in some semblance of order.
mellymell: (me at arches 2005)
Yesterday, I:
1. Cleaned up our construction site a bit.
2. Finished prepping for paint (I swear, white plaster on white walls with basically spot lighting, I kept finding spots I missed while sanding).
3. Painted (2 coats back-to-back, looks fantastic, very warm and dramatic, something about the color of coffee with cream).
4. Cleaned up from painting (removing tape and what not).
5. Put a coat of sealant on the floor and vanity top.
6. Inhaled more than my fair share of noxious fumes. If I had tried to smoke a cigar at that point, I might have combusted.

During all of that, which admittedly started much later in the day than I wished for it to, I was drinking coffee, finishing my final cup around 7pm.

I am an idiot.

So, I awoke to, faintly bouncing 'round the room, the echo of whomever spoke. )

Also, writing advice from Kerouac )
mellymell: (rainbow at island in the sky)
I'm feeling really accomplished already today and it's only 10am.

Something of note, I picked up an application at the greenhouse right next to the neighborhood this morning on my way back from dropping Jonah off and running a couple of errands to the post office and Staples. If I get hired, it would only be for 2-3 days a week, but it would be a tiny bit of extra income and more importantly, I think I'd really enjoy it. She said they'd be doing interviews toward the end of the month. Another plus, if I got hired, I could walk (or run) to work. It's less than a mile away and kind of positioned between Jonah's school and our neighborhood.

Now to go pick up a bit before the contractor gets here for me to pick out our new roof. Oh yeah, we're getting a new roof. All it's costing us is our insurance deductible (which is still $1000, but much better than paying nearly $6000 for it).

I'm not sure what's gotten into me, but since about 3pm yesterday, I've been incredibly full of energy and motivation. Going to use it up while it lasts. Maybe it's from laying low the past couple of weeks with sickness. Making up for lost time or something.

ETA: Goodness continues as I've set a PR on my first mile today (10:38). I didn't quite hit the 2 mile mark and now looking at the map of my route, I'm a little sick at myself that I didn't just keep going. I ran 1.9 miles. SERIOUSLY! Granted that last .1 mile is up a hill, but still, I should have just done it. My second .9 miles was 9:27. If I had kept up that pace and finished the last .1 mile, I might have beaten the PR I did on the first mile. It's been an awesome day! Now to go shower and pick up Jonah.

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mellymell

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