Archive for the 'Yard Work' Category

Landscaping and Halloween Space
 

So a lot has been done with the house since my last update. Almost all the windows save for the attic window have been trimmed, and they are getting fancy copper accents on the top. Rain, rain and more rain kept delaying work and the finishing of the back porch/wall area. There is a photo of it below with some of the blue stone caps on top. These have to be finished, and will also be the same material for the patio area there. We are still waiting on our lights for the pillars, of course there was an issue with the ones we ordered. The company can’t find them in the warehouse and wants to sell us similar ones, for a lot more money. Um, I don’t think so!

Out front I got suckered into helping with landscaping the past few days. Today I finally said “Oh no, I’ve done enough shoveling, carrying large rocks and carting wheelbarrows of dirt!” It was a great workout, but I need a break. Fortunately they finished the last of it today . . . after all the heavy rock carrying had been done by yours truly. Most of the rocks you see in the photos below I carted from an old pile 100 feet or so away. Next to the side of the house, where the brick wall is now in the photos, was an old rock wall. They took it out, piled the rocks out back and the brick wall and a drain to keep water out of our basement. We reused those rocks out front. You can actually see the pile in the photo in the previous post I made.

There are still a few touch-ups to be done. The rock wall out front near the sidewalk and small shrubs isn’t yet finished, and the sidewalk area by the front steps is going to be expanded/widened out. Also a lot of grass or sod has to be put down in areas in the back, and some new grass out front as well.

While I’m thrilled that our house doesn’t look like white-trash anymore, I’ve lost so much prime real estate space for Halloween decorations, and the spooky atmosphere of the “woods” next to the house is totally gone! Where the two southern magnolia trees are now is where I used to have the cemetery gate and spooks hidden back among the trees. Two of the trees had to be taken down because they were rotting, one actually fell on it’s own in a big storm. We also had all the saplings that had been growing ripped out, and sums fugly bush thing. As you can see in one of the photos from the back, there is now a natural break between two mulched areas. There was always a path through there, it just got over grown, and another tree was in the way. I’m thinking the gate will go there, with some stuff placed behind it. I’m hoping it will, if lit right, cast some nice shadows on the side of the house. The front yard though . . . that’s gunna take spatial planning. At least I should have a usable porch again this year. John’s already ordered my birthday gift/s and said I’m going to be so shocked by them. Can’t wait! It’s months away though . . .

My Garden Is Growing!
 

So I finally got my garden in. I didn’t get it totally done until the end of May thanks to all the yard work going on, the cooler than normal temperatures and way too much rain. A photo of it is below, and yes it looks ghetto. It is even more ghetto than normal given all the work debris in the yard. Believe it or not, this was the nicest angle I could take it from. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll notice the fence around the area is completely gone. It opens our backyard up so much. Now if the rain would end so the patio could get completed and some of the junk hauled off.

Thanks to critters, (chipmunks, rabbits and groundhogs), I have to put my plants up as high as I can to keep them out. The cinder blocks really add that white trash look we’re trying to get rid of, and I didn’t think until too late to use segments of an old tree we had removed. A few pots are on those, and they at least look nice. By time I was getting ready to place and space things out, most of the tree had been hauled off.

A lot of the places critters been living here are now gone, so I’m hopeful this year won’t be as bad. I do know Mr. Groundhog and Miss Rabbit are still around, I think they relocated to the neighbors barn. I have tried all kind of critter ridders and sound machines to keep them out, but eventually they end up getting me! However there isn’t much I can do right now as once the porch area is done, and the final window touches are put on the house, the contractor has to tackle repairing and fixing up our garage. This is next to my garden area, so I couldn’t put too much down that would get in his way. What I’m hoping to do next year is put in a raised bed system and a small fence around just the garden. We we see though. Every year when my garden finally gets attacked I swear I’ll never garden again.

This year I am growing some new things. The list of everything I’m attempting to grow is below. I believe I’ve grown all the tomatoes at one point or another. The second list is all new. While I’ve done green peppers and Japanese eggplant, I’ve ever done any of these varieties. It should be interesting to see how they work out.

  • Classic heirloom tomatoes
  • Beefsteak tomatoes
  • Rutgers tomatoes
  • Super roma tomatoes
  • Better boy tomatoes
  • Super fantastic tomatoes
  • Orange bell “sweet” peppers
  • Mini bell pepper mix.
  • Sweet banana peppers
  • Mini Gretel eggplants.

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Spring Has Sprung!
 

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So I know I know, it’s been forever since I’ve blogged. The past few weeks have been chaotic, I’ve just been drowning in work. This is the first weekend I’ve had to actually breath and relax a little for a long time.

I think winter has finally ended for us, even though we once again got jack squat in terms of snow. We had a few days in the 80s recently, but now we are back to more springlike temps in the high 50s. Hopefully we will stay with nice weather. I’m sick of cloudy rainy skies, which we’ve had way too much of as of late.

Now that spring is here I’m already thinking about my yard and garden, which of course is a mess as I let it get out of control in the fall. I’ve already sprayed weed killer, and mowed today. My entire garden area will have to be weed-whacked when everything dies out. I think I’m also going to lay mulch down in it this year to keep weeds from growing there this and next year.

The grass I so desperately tried to plant last year was a partial success. It did keep in the backyard, but in the front yard the summer heat just killed it last year. I’m going to have to start seeding now so it’s strong enough by time summer hits this year.

Perhaps this year I’ll finally get a nice looking front and backyard? That would be nice. Then one day I’ll also get those guest rooms in my house finally cleaned out and arranged too . . . Actually that should be a major priority this summer as the dresser I use is collapsing and it’s time to get new ones and throw it out. Unfortunately I have more than just clothes in it. It and the closet in that room have a lot that just need to be junked . . . I predict a lot of trips to the town dump this summer.

Summer Solstice: It
 

Summer is officially here, and it has brought the first heat wave for our area. Something tells me this is going to be another scorcher of a summer, especially since we had no winter at all.

With the heat on, I’m pretty much over yard work at this point. I got my side gardens started and some flowers finally growing. Now I just have to hope they don’t become food for critters as they usually do. I also got grass growing where there was nothing but a few patches of crab grass. Take that John! He didn’t think I’d get it to grow in the shady areas, but I did. It just took a raking up several inches of rotting leaves and branches, and a lot of seeding and re-seeding. There are still a few bare patches, but I’m hoping they will fill in eventually.



The only thing I didn’t get to was the side of the house where I have a million saplings to cut down. I’ll wait till a nice cool day to do that. Plus I’ll need to put on pants, socks over the pants cuff, and deep woods myself to keep ticks away . . . then scrub myself with poison ivy scrub afterwards to be safe. Not something I’m itching to do right now.

Oh . . . my first tomatoes are growing too! I am also trying peppers this year in the garden as well. So far that plant doesn’t seem to be growing very much.

Now it’s time to finally move onto some house work I’ve had on my list for the past three years: the two downstairs guest rooms. At this point I think the only thing I’ll get done is packing up stuff, moving it to the basement, and throwing out or donating a lot of other stuff. If I can get that done, then I know what John’s project for his time off in the winter can be . . . helping me actually make those two rooms into real rooms. They both need a repaint, and he just loves picking out paints for rooms. Plus we’ll need to probably go furniture shopping at some point for some more book shelves, a desk and a new dresser.

Strawberry Season!
 

So it’s strawberry season here at the farm. I have to say, I’ve never been a real strawberry fan. I can eat them if they are in something, like cake. On their own however, I don’t just crave eating a strawberry. I did go out with friends this weekend to the fields and pick some. I plan on making a strawberry cheesecake with the giant tub I picked. I posted a few of my Lytro photos of the berries and field below.

In other garden news, I finally got 3 tomato plants started in the “Topsy Turveys.” I’m waiting on some tomato halos that I ordered to arrive to try the a few more in the big ground pots. I’m hoping these and the ladders I bought will keep my garden from becoming the insane tomato jungle it did last year. I might also give green or red peppers a try this year. Last year I ended up with more tomatoes than I could possibly eat. I was giving them away. I was making sauces every week. It was nuts.

The yard is slowly coming together. I’ve raked up leaves and pine needles from many places were they piled up over several years. I have the garden areas by the side of the house cleaned up. I attempted planting some things there . . . but nothing is happening. I’m going to have to just buy well established plants to put in there. I actually have some grass growing in the bare spots of the yard too. John keeps asking why I wanna grow grass because then I just have to cut it. I told him because I want it to look like respectable people live in our house, not trash!

My nemesis, the ground hog, apparently got knocked up over the winter. We have three groundhog babies running around the yard now. Noooooo! I am certain the groundhog is what ate all the flowers I tried to grow last summer. I’ve also fallen into their holes a few times. At some point I’m going to break my ankle I’m sure. The groundhog family has unfortunately got to go.



It
 

So I finally went out and tilled the land in my garden area. Last year I planted tomato plants in above ground pots and in a topsy turvey planter (which finally dry rotted and needs to be trashed). This year I might try a few in the actually ground and see how they fair. I have a few new topsy turvys to use as well. I killed all the weeds a few weeks ago, and finally removed them the other day. I think this weekend should be safe to plant!

I am also trying to “repair” parts of our yard. Over the years weeds took over, and grass died out. I really just want to call a landscaper up, but I’m not working thing summer (by choice), so that’s not another bill I need right now. Plus the satisfaction of doing it myself is something I’d also like. I can do other things than just kill plants . . . . John! There are however piles of crap/branches and trees John sawed down this winter than do need to be carted off, and those will require hiring someone.

This past winter we finally got my old bed out of one of the spare rooms and down to my mom who wanted it for her guest room. That has cleared up a lot of space in that room. John also went through some of his crap piled up in there, and cleaned many parts of the basement out over his break. So one of the other tasks to do this summer (which was in fact on the list for LAST summer) is to get both rooms downstairs cleaned out and organized! One will be a guest room, the other is going to be a study for me to do work and store my books, DVDs, video games, etc . . . . I however need to buy a new dresser for my clothes (the one in there is falling apart), pack up a ton of stuff and move into the basement, and of course throw a ton more of stuff out . . . oh and paint one of the rooms.

Hmmm, something tells me a lot of this still won’t be done till next summer! I will try my best. As I said, with the rooms opened up, it’s a lot easier. Also ONE of the people storing stuff in our basement has actually expressed an interest in coming to collect it finally. That’s progress. John told me “See, aren’t you glad you didn’t throw it out?” Actually no, because I could have told the person “Oh I thought you forgot about it, it’s been years!”

I have other things to blog about. But since I have so few to blog about these days, I’ll save it for later. That and I don’t want to jinx things!

Okay Spring Can Come Now!
 

Okay as much as I love me some snow, I’m over this cold. I have moved on, and I want to get outside and start yard work and gardening again! The weeds have not yet returned, but that’s because it’s still cold. I need to make sure they don’t come back. I’ve started spraying weed killer because that warm spell we had a week or so ago caused things to begin turning up.

The winter knocked a bunch of branches down all over the place, which need to be picked up. Actually some are so large they need to be cut up first. I don’t know where I’ll put these things. My compost pile from last year did decompose some over the winter, but not enough. It’s probably going to get built up as big as it was before! Oh and it would seem something is living in it too . . . .

I never did get to the back side of our house last summer, so it’s still covered in ivy and all sorts of tree saplings are growing where they aren’t wanted. That will probably be this summers challenge.

I am totally going to grow topsy turvey tomatoes again, and I think I’ll add in peppers this year. I was not in love with the eggplant last year. I don’t like it THAT much and I still have some in my freezer (which I guess I should toss).

I think I’m going to plant a bunch of sunflowers in the garden area this year, they were pretty last year. As for out front, I’m being easy . . . I’m just going to get some pre-planted hanging baskets to put up!

Oh and another reason I’m ready for spring . . . grilling! I am ready to BBQ again and try some new recipes out on my grill. I also just bought a small smoker as well, so that should be fun.

SPRING! Get here NOW!

Lawn Ornament
 

I can’t take much more excitement or my heart might give out. I was just about to watch a movie when I heard the most horrific sound. Ran to look, an a car was parked on the corner of the lawn feet away from our porch, narrowly missing a giant tree.

1) Nobody is dead
2) I no longer have to cut those bushes and saplings growing there down
3) I was moments ago right there with the dogs – scary!

Jason or something scary would be fun to set up here haha! I actually now have to motivate enough to cut everything else down, cause this looks pretty bad from the road.

We Have A Patio, A Crippled Fountain And A Grill!
 

I finished sweeping and clearing off the patio this morning. Tried to power spray the dirt away and really clean it, but it’s not working too well. Ending up having to just shovel the mud film left after I sprayed. I set up the fountain again. Poor Pan got knocked off long ago and the fountain filled with dirt and crud. I’m amazed it still works, but Pan has suffered a serious leg injury . . . . poor guy.

As you can see I have my grill out to grill this weekend. Happy Fourth everyone! I’m actually grilling tonight. Unfortunately here it’s going to be 97 degrees on the fourth and 99 on Monday and Tuesday. Not sure how many people will actually brave that to go to Philly to see fireworks. We’re not! I’m hoping John gets off work early enough tomorrow and he’s not too tired that we can go out to eat and see the fireworks from the parking lot after. That’s what we did last year if I recall.

Oh and to show that once upon a time, our yard did actually look really nice . . . . a photo from six years ago. Princess playing in the flowers. I think this is actually the day I brought her home, or very shortly after.


Progressing Slowely . . . .
 

So here was the front areas of the house before . . . .

And here is what they look like now! I got all the ivy off the steps, the porch and the pillars. That was a bitch to do! I also trimmed the hedges as best as I could, till John’s ancient hedge trimmer crapped out on me. It still works, somewhat. The house also needs to be repainted badly, as the ivy took the paint down with it. Yeah I know, the snowflakes are still up. John will have to take them down, I’m not climbing that high!


There is still a lot to do though. I really want to get all the weeds from under this area cut/pulled and then just put down a nice layer of mulch to keep them away! Oh and I put up a new “flag,” but you might not be able to tell in these photos.

The back of the house is coming along too. I massacred the whole area outside the kitchen window and next to it. I still have a lot to pull out from there, then more mulch. I need a ladder to take down the remaining weeds over the window too. That is tomorrows task.

I also found our back porch under all the ivy! I’m gunna try and clean it up tomorrow some more so I can BBQ out there. I bought a cheapo 30 buck grill that works great. Gunna BBQ for the 4th and some friends are coming over. I made a cheesecake for dessert too! I just have to hope John doesn’t eat it all before they can try some of it.