Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend - Saturday

Picked out 2 new trees. Weeded the front and pruned the viburnum. Edged and weeded the fence bed. Rototilled the veggie beds and the northwest corner bed for the new Musclewood.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

New perennials

Put in nearly $200 of new perennials today. All natives or hybrids.

Monarda and Coreopsis in the sunny part of the bean bed to provide some different color and bloom times. Then large pots of wild ginger under the linden to start to provide ground cover.

Then Tradescantia and Hyssop in the west fence bed.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Garage Shelving, part 2

If you remember, last September we put in a large stretch of Elfa shelving in our garage and re-arranged a few other things. We decided to put that in place first and live with it for a few months before going on and putting up more storage.

This turned out to be a good thing, because it let us figure out some things we knew we wanted, like adding in space for muddy boots, snow pants, etc. It also let me realize that it was inconvenient as hell to have the garden supplies to the side of the door I couldn't just reach from inside the house.

So the second phase resulted in me heading to The Container Store to make several modifications to the original plan. The section we were primarily concerned with is this one:
Prior to heading to The Container Store, I made an inventory of the garage, and then categorized items. This would help with figuring out how much space and shelving we really needed.

Once at the store I showed the space planner my list and we pulled up my original plans. We made several modifications - added a basket shelf, two utility panels for hanging coats, grocery bags, etc.. Another thing I wanted to accomplish was to get rid of the "storage" space over the garage window where we were putting things like hoses, chicken wire, tarp, etc. because the support for that storage was interfering with my plan to put pegboard above the workbench. Therefore one of the biggest change on this section was to make the top shelf 20" deep instead of 16" like the rest of them.

Order placed and shelves acquired, I took them back home. Once C and G woke up from their naps, it took me about an hour to have everything done.


After the shelves were up, I made a sketch of the full wall and started categorizing where things would go.

Plan in hand, I then started to organize equipment. As you can see, the hoses and tarp and other infrequently used materials fit just fine up top. Garden gloves, hats, sunscreen, etc. are currently in the shelf basket. 
The large "Pile o' Strollers" will be reduced to just one as soon as I can sell the other two, but we'll want that floor space for the wagon and bikes. Note the convenient hook for our grocery bags, reachable from inside the house and quickly grabbed on the way to the car. The currently empty panel will have hooks to hang garden tools from, so we're no longer playing the game of "Where is the goddamned hand weeder?"

I'm not 100% convinced everything will stay where it is. My initial thinking, planned in the depth of winter, may need adjustment to accommodate real life. But the important thing is this grants us more flexibility.

Looking at the back wall of the garage now, the small shelf becomes "bagged goods". A basket was relocated to store dirty rags and the like.

We decided we might keep the over the window storage, but if we do, we're going to move the support pillar so that it's next to the window. Then that nasty set of shelves will go away (or be reduced/replaced) and pegboard can be installed on that wall, so we're no longer playing the game of "Where's the goddamned hammer?"

The final corner lets us more easily store all of the bulky stuff like the lawn mower, wheel barrow, etc.

This section and the east wall will be the final part we take on. We need more efficient/better defined large tool storage. But that's another project for another day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter garden

Here in WI, our gardens tend to become things we dream about - remembering the year past and planning for the new year to come. When it is light for only 9 hours - all of which are spent at work - it makes enjoying a winter garden somewhat difficult.

But once in a while we are offered a chance to escape into the present. On a warmer day over the past weekend, I was able to get out into the garden.

Some leaves remain on the linden, along with seeds and berries for the birds.

I leave the plants in pace in the winter to provide food and shelter

Snow on Sedum

Frost glazes a bit of Russian Sage

Coneflower

Some bright color, courtesy of rose hips.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

End of the year

Another growing season has passed. Most of the trees in the woods out back have dropped their leaves. The veggie garden is all pulled up. The maple is blazing

Spent a few minutes scattering seed heads to hopefully propagate next year and pulling up a handful of weeds. The dogwood is a beautiful reddish-purpleish with hints of gold and the shrub roses are confused by the damp and cold with random warmer days.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Fall decorating

Nothing like growing your own fall decor.
The stalks are from the sweet corn that was harvested a month ago. These ones had dried enough and I'd pulled all the pole beans off them. And my two pumpkins have been bright orange since mid-August. So out front they go.

The wreath is from Pier 1. Pretty fall wreath for under $20? Yes please!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

New garage shelving

There is nothing I love better than a good purging and organization. And when you have a hoarder husband and 2 small kids, this is a thing that has to happen on the regular.

We've generally had enough shelving in the garage. But as the kids have grown, they've introduced more and more large wheeled items that require a lot more floor space, making the standing shelves a huge space hog.

Additionally, we had all this empty wall space going to waste along the wall next to the door. Here's what it looked like after I tidied last spring.


Which, wonderful! But you know it doesn't always look like that. And they added 2 bikes to the mix in the interim, plus a wagon, plus a bike trailer/stroller....

So! Off to the Container Store website to put in the garage measurements for a space solution. I ended up having to call and talk to a human being, though. He took all the info, designed the space. I ended up calling back to make a few adjustments for better flow, since a lot of what he'd put in place didn't really make sense from a functional standpoint.

When reviewing it, we decided to install it a section at a time, starting with the most immediate need - the massive row of shelves to the right of the kitchen door. I went to the store on Saturday, made a few more adjustments there, ordered it and went back to pick up on Monday.

However, I missed when reviewing the design that the person had put in the wrong measurements. So when I got home on Monday afternoon with the material I realized that the track was WAAAAAAAAAY too long. By, like, a foot and a half.

So I had to haul the track back on Tuesday afternoon to be re-cut and re-design the space, which resulted in some returns (swap three 4' shelves for 3' shelves, return a vertical support). Then pick it up Wednesday afternoon/evening. Which was annoying, because I had taken half days Monday and Tuesday to get this installed. But c'est la vie. Wednesday I got the longest track up and the smaller track marked. And then I spent Thursday afternoon putting up the final top track, installing all the uprights and putting in the shelving.

The result:
Yesssssssssss my precious. The best thing is this leaves the floor space for the 3 scooters, the tricycle, the batting tees, etc. without sacrificing shelving space. The lowest shelves and floor space are now all kid toys. Other toys go on the shelves in various buckets. I ended up using a lot of the bins we already had on hand, rather than buying new ones. The one blue recycle bin on the shelf is all balls. The one on the floor is larger items like bats, tennis rackets, etc. We've talked about adding some of the Elfa utility panels to the space where you can see the vertical supports extend down to hang things like the tennis rackets, maybe garden tools, etc. but we'll see.

The first long series of shelves is gardening supplies and (for now) seasonal items like our hammock, the sled, etc. The second shelf from the top is all hazardous items like wasp killer, fertilizers, automotive supplies. Stuff that needs to stay out of little hands.

The very top will be for items we technically need to keep but rarely ever use, like lawn mower bags, sump pump emergency venting hose, chicken wire, etc.

The second best thing is that I could move all of the items that had been on the large wire shelving unit off it to the new Wall O' Shelves. That completely free this space up for more child vehicle parking. Wagons and bikes are currently here. Eventually we'll mount the bikes on the opposite wall, but this will serve for now. The wire shelving was moved into the basement for more storage down there.
Finally, it frees up some space over here as well. It doesn't look it at the moment because bikes, stroller, wheelbarrow, tupperware bin of soccer gear the husband needs to donate....  The plan is to move the items on the plywood panel over the workbench and window to the top shelves along the wall. The bikes will be mounted for seasonal storage on folding racks along the left wall. There's no point in buying them now, though, since it's September and they'll go up on the ceiling hooks for overwinter storage. The kids are going to grow out of that bike trailer in a year or so. 
But it's a vast improvement. We'll live with this for the next 6 months and see how it functions. We have the full plan done but I think we'll probably want to make a few changes just based on discussions yesterday, like instead of more shelving to the left of the door adding an outdoor mudroom for snow pants and boots (so small children don't go traipsing thru my kitchen with their wet, snowy, muddy gear).

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cherokee Trail of Tears beans

Yesterday I harvested about a third of the beans. Some I just didn't get to, some aren't ready. But what a lovely sight, all those glossy black beans. My chili is going to be awesome this fall.

Monday, August 8, 2016

West Fence Bed and Randoms

It's amazing what a few years growth can do



A closeup of some phlox with coneflower and brown-eyed susans in the background.
Rosehips! I have 9 bushes equally laden.
From the veggie garden, we have homegrown cukes and dill.
Which, of course, means pickles! Plus some beans that I flash-steamed for freezing.
Orange and purple carrots similarly steamed. I'm in love with these Purple Haze carrots.
Remember a few weeks ago when I made my first batch of dilly beans? We cracked open our first jar and they were PERFECT! I'm so happy! We finished the jar within two days. The liquid was so pretty I ended up saving it for the next time I make brined chicken.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Garden photos

Black-eyed Susans and native coneflower. 
Shasta daisies, daylilies, roses and dogwood
More daisies, daylilies, roses and grasses
The galliarda are finally blooming.
Behind the chicken wire, protected from the dogs, the switchgrass is finally taking hold.
Purple coneflower
The transplanted phlox is really taking off 
New fireplace bed is looking good.
Veggie garden is really productive this year.
Cherokee Trail of Tears beans on my trellis
Lots of purple things blooming. Russian Sage, Liatris.

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