Sunday, May 18, 2014

Randoms from the weekend

My 3 boys. E and G are talking about what shapes they see in the clouds.
Our nesting pair of hawks. They were flying quite low on Saturday.
No, really. I'm not zoomed in here. They were low.
The Curly Duo chilling in the front yard
C discovers grass
He's a very serious baby.

The rest of the yard

So, we still had a ton of mulch this morning. And we got off to kind of a slow start. While G crashed hard and slept till 8:30, C decided he was going to be up most of the night with...well, who cares? Either way he was up, and so were we.

So at 9am I ran to our favorite local coffee shop and picked up coffee for E and myself. Then I strapped C in the Ergo and continued attacking the mulch pile. I discovered quickly that E and H had only weeded the sand part of the sandbox. So I mulched what I could there and then moved on to the fireplace bed.

And then onward to the front beds. I got about half of the way thru one by the time it was lunch. We also needed to make a trip to the hardware store, so off we went.

Two hours later, C was down for another nap, so we went back to it. E worked on fixing the lawnmower while I continued mulching. Eventually, I finished mulching the entire front.

So that just leaves the rest of the swing set, between the garden beds, and the garage bed.

But, uhm...
I may have over estimated. A bit.

Landscaping the West Fence - Part 3

So, after we removed the sod and transplanted the dogwood, all that was left to do was order some mulch, plant the new plants, and then mulch the bed. Oh, and fill in the transplant hole and re-sod it.

But, you know, this is me. I refuse to make things that simple.

Because, really, all of our beds could use mulching.

Which means they all would need to be weeded.

But that's incidental, right?

So I estimated the size of all our beds and ordered 16 yards of mulch. They said they'd deliver 7am on Saturday. And so they did.

They showed up in a dump truck. Which TOTALLY made G's day. A dump truck. In his driveway. It was like all holidays rolled into one.

Did you know 16 yards is a LOT of mulch? I did, in theory. In practice I had no idea.

Still. So, we set about to work. We had borrowed 3 of my 4 nephews - T, A, and I, plus T's fiance, H. E and H started weeding, and T, A and I, plus G, started working on filling in the hole from the transplanted dogwood. I started planting plants in the new bed while C hung out in his exersaucer in the shade (or, later, slept in the Ergo while I continued working).

Eventually T, A, and I started working on mulching the bed where I had finished. And suddenly, we had a planting bed.

E and H finished weeding the bean bed, the sand box, the fireplace bed. and the front beds. We also mulched the bean bed.

But it was nearing dinner time, so mulching the rest of the beds would have to wait.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Landscaping the West Fence - Part 2

Last night I came home with the kids to find H in the back yard, digging up the dogwood. This is kinda how he operates - he'll be focused on something, like making dinner, and then go "Oh, I'll just do this 3 hour task real quick."

It's like my dad's version of a "half hour job".

So he and G stayed out there (WELL past G's bedtime) to finish digging it up and transplanting it. In his rush, he snapped off the taproot, so we'll see if it survives. He did get a nice large rootball otherwise.

Still, the results can't be argued with. She nicely fits in between our neighbors two shrubs - a lilac and another red-twig dogwood - to create some lovely screening.

Now I just need to get the other plants put in the ground and mulch the bed.

Which reminds me, I need to order a mulch delivery.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Landscaping the west fence - Part 1

FINALLY!  We've only been sitting on these garden plans for 2 years now.

Saturday we rented a sod remover and H went thru and cut it all out. G alternated between helping me roll up the strips of sod and playing in his water table while C hung out in his exersaucer. By the end of the day all of the sod was removed. The bed is 70 feet long. At the widest two points 10 feet wide and no narrower than 5 feet.

The Curly Duo were very curious what was happening to their running path. They're the reason we're doing this - they race along the fence with the neighbor's dog, so we're putting in a lot of screening bushes and plants. Just look at how compacted the soil is from them!

Of course, he didn't follow the landscaping plan or how I had staked it out. So now we're looking at much more garden bed than I had purchased plants for

Today we rototilled the bed, which removed the rest of the grass from the fence line. Then I spaced the plants out but didn't have time to plant them.  The dogwood you see in the top photo is going to be transplanted along the fence in the first large curve. The other plants are: 12 Karl Foester Feather Reed Grass, 3 rose bushes, 6 gailliarda, 10 daylilly, 10 shasta daisy. I am still looking for a supplier for the variety of spirea japonica that I want.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Baby birds

We have a nest of baby birds on our deck's pergola.
G is especially excited about this. He can just see the babies popping their heads up from his room, so we watch the adult robins feeding them each morning and evening.

Friday, January 31, 2014

More organizing - bathroom edition

So, my husband has this disorder. He is constantly buying multiples of items we have because he cannot seem to actually check if we have it before going to the store. So this is how we end up with 3 bottles of garlic powder, 5 canisters of hair product, and 12 bars of soap.

In my attempt to make this house more streamlined, especially once I go back to work, I needed to fix at least one of these areas. So I focused on the bathroom closet.

See the thing is I was storing all our "extras" in the tupperware bin on the top shelf. But my husband is apparently incapable of looking there to see if he has anything.  Additionally we have lots of large bottles that don't quite fit into a neat container. Rubbing alcohol, mouthwash, that sort of thing.

So I've moved it to the door.

The rest of the closet could use a good cleaning out and reorganization. I'm not sure exactly what's in that black bag there, for example, and there has to be a better way to store my hair dryer and curling iron. Still, this is an improvement. And hopefully will reduce the number of bottles of hair mousse.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pantry organization

There's nothing truly magical about organizing a pantry. Not really. It just takes some thought to figure out what you use, how you use it and then having the right organizing accessories on hand.

Take, for example, our pantry.
This is before I really evaluated it. You can see some past attempts at organizing with the canvas baskets but, really, nothing major was done. Now, granted, we don't keep an overstocked pantry, but we do use it for bulk storage of paper goods, dog food and some cooking supplies that don't fit in other cupboards. It also was home to our picnic backpack and wine tote, which was kept on the top shelf.

So, upon evaluation, I made two major changes. One: the picnic backpack and wine tote went into basement storage with the rest of our outdoor summer gear. Two: I reorganized the bulk storage by placing things we use infrequently (like plastic silverware) on the very bottom. Then I just picked up some additional organizing supplies from The Container Store - an extendable can shelf so we have clear view of what canned goods we have, two white buckets for storing snack foods, bags of specialty rice, etc. and voila.

Nothing magical about the execution but there is something magical about the result.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Laundry Room

The downside of a garden blog when you live in a northern clime is that you spend 6 months out of the year unable to garden. So, with the winter months heavy on us, we switch our focus to indoors.

When we first moved into this house, we were more than satisfied with the second floor laundry storage situation. We had two spare bedroom closets of storage on the same floor and the two shelves were more than adequate for holding detergent and such.

So H and his mother just added a fresh coat of paint and put in the ironing board holder on the side. A few months ago I added the screw on the wall to hold the dryer's drying rack.

But then we had G, so that removed that entire closet - no problem. We had the second bedroom. Then C arrived this past November and suddenly we were short storage. We also needed a better solution for air drying clothes. So I decided to get rid of the rinky-dink shelves and maximize the space in that closet.

7 weeks post-partum. With an infant not fond of napping. Small hitch.

I started by removing the old shelves, obviously. Turned out when H and his mom painted they didn't do the same, so the paint had sealed the uprights to the wall. A few knocks with a hammer and they came out. But obviously that has to be painted.

Next I went to install the top tracks and realized I'd picked up the wrong hardware, so I needed to install into studs. And the screws in the hardware kit I had picked up did not want to screw in the whole way. Fortunately I had the wood screws from C's Elfa install and those worked fine.

I'd gotten all that done and one track up during C's surprising naps. But he wasn't having it after that. So...

With C settled in the Ergo, I finished drilling in the second track, put in the uprights, installed the shelves and:

Not bad! This adds an entire 3000+ square inches of storage space, plus 20" of hanging. I did discover, putting items back on the shelves that they are serious when they say you need uprights 2' apart. So I have to go back and get one more to put in that 3' gap. And then patch/paint.

Next up will be trying to clean out the basement work area. It's a disaster.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy Birthday to me

A garden hod! Just what I wanted!
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