Archive for ‘Projects’

January 5, 2016

Updates – House Edition

Projects have been happening inside the house as well as outside, especially since cold weather set in. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a semi-stay-at-home mom now, and over the summer I was taking all online courses, which meant I had quite a bit of flexibility during the day to putter around. I didn’t do anything major, just a few little things here and there, like framing some of our photos and hanging them, shuffling furniture around, putting up a shelf…you know, typical housewife stuff, ha.

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I even finished slipcovering the large couch. Finally! Slipcovers are essential when you have pets. And babies. Actually, they’re essential when humans are inhabiting your house in general.

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Although I feel I have less large blocks of free time now, I do have more little bursts of it, and I’m actually in the house more often to tackle small projects. For example, I turned the entryway of our kitchen into a disco club:

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See, there’s no overhead light in the entry, and the lighting in the kitchen itself is garish. I finally decided I’d had enough oppression, so I fixed it. I quite like the result. Mr. Smith found it entertaining.

Speaking of the kitchen, our small dining table got a bum leg back in June, so we swapped it out with a folding table we’ve been using for hangouts in the backyard. The idea was that Jason would fix the little table, but we all decided we liked the big white table so much that I gave it a fresh coat of paint and called it even.

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I was hesitant to leave it at first; we don’t have a large kitchen, and I didn’t like the idea of taking up more floor space than necessary. However, six months later, I don’t regret making the swap in the least. It’s another surface to use when cooking, it looks awesome, and we can easily accommodate friends at a meal. The only downside of having a white table is that it begins to look “distressed” pretty quickly. Kid life, you know?

We’ve also been playing move the baby’s room for a few months. Finn started out sleeping in our bedroom. When she was about seven months old, we moved her into the nursery. It wasn’t a fun decision, but she was keeping us awake, and we were keeping her awake, and moving her into her own room actually helped everyone sleep better. Her nursery is the room that we were using as a sort of dining room/laundry room/game room/room to put random crap in. I never really liked it until it became hers. We got her a rug, and it was an incredibly cozy, fun space.

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And then we moved her out of it.

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Mr. Smith has been wanting to knock out the wall between the living room and her room for some time, and replace it with a two-sided bookcase. The rooms will still be separate, but the wall will become a built in. He started the whole process in December, beginning with moving Finn out while construction is underway. We did some shuffling with the office/art room, so now she’s tucked away under the eaves upstairs. My sewing supplies are still residing up there, as well as the guest bed (which comes in handy when your baby won’t go back to sleep at four in the morning and you just need to lie down). Mr.’s desk and all office-related furnishings are hanging out in the corner of what was her room downstairs, because the desk doesn’t need naps, and therefore isn’t affected by the wall being knocked out.

While I prefer her being downstairs, her little nook upstairs isn’t bad at all. It’s a pain trudging up and down the steps with a heavy baby, but she seems to enjoy where she’s at.

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Also, we’re getting a bookcase! Do you know that we have about twenty boxes of books in storage? He’s building it out of maple, and designing it from scratch without a pre-printed plan. And no, Mr. Smith is not a professional woodworker. He’s learning as he goes along. He’s probably the only person I know who possesses just the right balance of meticulousness and raw bravery to accomplish such a feat, ha. I’m excited. I know he’ll do well, and I really can’t wait to unpack our books at last! To me, that will be the final stage of moving in.

January 2, 2016

Updates – Yard Edition

And, here we are again! I am sincerely sorry about the lack of updates. Being a mother and being a student is like working a full-time job and then punching in at a part-time job in the evenings. But, it’s winter break right now, and I finally feel like I’ve caught my breath again.

So, here are some things that happened since my last write. I have quite a few updates, so I’m planning on breaking them up into several different posts. Stay tuned, my dumplings.

Harvest totals

My harvest totals were a bit low this year. This being my fourth growing season, I’ve learned a few things about the general environment of my garden; what grows well, what doesn’t grow well, and why. In terms of what does well, tomatillos are an easy, prolific plant. I’ve grown them now for two years in a row, and I’m to the point where I find tomatillo salsa (salsa verde) preferable to tomato salsa. I use this recipe. The only downside of it is that it’s not acidic enough to can without a pressure canner. My dad also made a batch this summer and adapted it for water-bath canning, so I’ll have to give that a try next year. A word of caution with tomatillos: they take up a lot of space. They’re a floppy, leggy plant, and they often send up volunteers the next summer that don’t produce nearly as well. Now that I’m aware of this, I’ll be more diligent about pulling up the volunteers. Some of them nearly took over the potato patch this year. Other plants that did well were greens (kale, chard, and spinach), and root crops (beets and carrots). This is two years in a row that those particular crops have performed well, which tells me my soil health and texture is improving.

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My garlic harvest was wonderful. My dad gave me some bulbs from a grower local to his area, and they produced the most beautiful, uniform offspring. It’s like stock-photo garlic. I don’t know the variety, but the gentlemen he bought it from is an Irishman by the name of Flaherty, so for the time being, Flaherty garlic is now my staple garlic. I seeded just a small row of some of the other heirloom varieties in the fall. We use garlic in basically every meal we eat, and although it’s fairly inexpensive to purchase at the grocery store, there really is no comparison between the two in terms of flavor and fragrance. I’m glad to have a big bag of it down in the basement.

I also grew pumpkins again this summer, after taking a break last year. I know they’re more ornamental than practical, but I like growing them. There’s something absurd about a giant orange pumpkin just hanging out in the vines. I grow ‘Cinderalla’ pumpkins, which are a French heirloom. This year, I had three large squash set, and three smaller ones. They decorated the front porch. If I had been a bit more diligent, I could have boiled some of them down for pumpkin mash, but, well, babies. Next year I’m growing another variety in addition to ‘Cinderalla’, so perhaps I’ll set some aside for boiling down.

The final thing that performed well was a new addition: broomcorn. I’ve had an old packet of seeds sitting around for a few years, and finally got around to planting them when the weather started staying warm. Corn is a tough thing for me to grow (more on that later), but broomcorn really did great. Now, granted, it’s another purely ornamental thing, but I enjoyed the bright brooms that it produced.

Not everything grew well, though. It was a bad summer for rabbit damage. They mowed down my corn, edamame, and beans. I tried to be diligent about spraying my pepper spray, but it was hard to keep up with it, mostly because I didn’t want to be handling it when I was out in the yard with Finn. I suppose it’s nothing a good fence won’t solve, though. I’ve tried growing popcorn for three years now, and I’m determined to make it happen someday.

After an amazing onion harvest last year, this year was awful. I’m almost certain it had to do with soil texture. I rotate my crops, and the particular triangle I planted them in this year really needed some amendments. The ground was hard, and didn’t hold water evenly. Next summer, I’ll put the onions in one of the areas I’ve been amending with green manure and compost. I really, really enjoyed having onions in storage all winter, and I would like to make that a regular thing. I’ve always had trouble with tomatoes, though. I have several theories on this. The first is that my timing is off in terms of seeding dates. I’ve been starting them around the first weekend in May, because I don’t want them to get leggy under the grown lights before its warm enough to put them outside. However, they’re never quite big enough around planting time, and so I’ve been transplanting them mid-June. This year, I’ll try earlier seed dates. My other theory (one I’m hoping is NOT true) has to do with the giant black walnut tree in our neighbor’s yard. Its crown just barely reaches the far southeastern edge of my garden. Black Walnuts have allopathic properties; that is, they secret a chemical called juglione which is toxic to plants in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers). If any of the fruit, leaves, or roots come into contact with these particular plants, it can either kill them entirely or inhibit their health. Obviously, I can’t do anything about my neighbor’s tree, so I’m crossing my fingers that this isn’t the case. I will say that I have better success with cherry/grape tomatoes than large fruits, and I also have no issues growing potatoes, so that gives me a bit of hope.

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My overall consensus is that my soil still has a long way to go. I may have to pay for another load of compost/topsoil this spring, or look into spreading some gypsum. I think my nutrient balance is fine, but the heavy clay is difficult to work with.

Maintenance stuff

I did another ladybug release this summer. This is my third year in a row. I always have good success with them, and they keep the aphids at bay. We had an unusually warm fall, and curiously, I saw a good many ladybugs clustering along the south side of the house and garage. I don’t know if this means that they’re establishing themselves in our yard, or if it was weather-related.

I also did a weird, mad-scientist-type-experiment. I ordered some beneficial nematodes and sprayed the garden/yard with them. Basically, I got this sponge full of faint, grey powder, which I had to immerse in water. The powder turned into a sort of thin sludge. Those are the nematodes. They’re invisible to the naked eye. Once rehydrated, you distribute them via garden sprayer in the soil at the base of your plants. They burrow down, where they start feasting on the larvae of pest bugs. It’s really weird. But I do have to admit, I had very few pest problems this summer. Also, the little monsters are good for keeping flea populations down in your yard. We had a horrific flea outbreak last fall, just before Finn was born, and so I’m all for doing anything to keep that under control. In a neighborhood where dogs and squirrels run amok, fighting fleas in the yard is difficult. However, both the dog and the cat haven’t had a single flea on them for months. I don’t know if the nematodes have anything to do with this, but it certainly didn’t hurt anything to send them out into the gardens.

We had an excellent compost yield this fall. Enough to put a thick layer on one of the large triangles, and a thin layer over another. Compost is so beautiful. So loamy, and fragrant, and dark.

Finally, I continued on my quest of planting for pollinators. One of the easiest ways to do this is by bordering your gardens with marigolds and nasturtiums. These plants do double-duty; the bees love the bright red flowers, and they help repel pests. Guys, I had monarch butterflies in my garden this summer. I can’t remember the last time I saw a monarch butterfly. We had honeybees, bumblebees, and hummingbirds, too. The presence of so many pollinator is a sure sign that our yard’s environment is really improving.

Fence it in

Jason dug all the posts for my fence. Gah. I love that man. I love that he loves digging holes, and making fence plans. What a guy. The posts are untreated cedar. It’s quite pricey, but it lasts a long time without needing to be treated for weatherization. And it smells like the Garden of Eden. Hopefully this summer we’ll begin to set the actual fencing in place.

Ornamental gardens

Having been inspired by my first semester in hort school, I decided that our front yard needed some help. I dug up the mailbox garden and put in two quarter-circle plots on either side of the front walk, where it connects to the sidewalk. There’s some flowering bulbs out there, waiting for spring, as well as some hollyhocks and some vining plants.

I also re-dug the front foundation gardens and set the borders on a curve, lining them with some landscaping rocks I found on a vacant lot (which may or may not have been up for grabs. I’m still not sure). After re-doing the borders, I added some ornamental grasses, native perennials, and some flowering herbs. I did most of the work in the fall, so I’ll be interested to see what makes it through the winter. If all goes well, our front yard will look much better in the future.

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Finally, I attacked the south garden. It was time. The rosebushes were getting leggy and sickly, the bishop weed was completely out of control, and what healthy perennials were managing to survive just weren’t worth it. I pulled almost everything up, leaving the healthy parts of the rosebushes, the clematis, and the honeysuckle vine. In place of the old plants, I transplanted my two lavender bushes, and purchased some ‘Elijah Blue’ grass, as well as some creeping thyme for the border. Further down, away from the concrete, I put in an ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea. It was a sad, tiny thing, on fall clearance, so we’ll see if it even survives the winter. The bishop weed is very difficult to eradicate. Since the initial clean-up, I’ve gone through four or five times already and dug up more rhizomes. I know it will be probably a good year or two before its completely gone, but I think it’s worth the effort. Bishop weed is invasive, not to mention unattractive. If everything survives, the south garden will be much more orderly and well-maintained.

Overall, it’s been the year of major design changes in the yard. We’ve lived here for enough growing seasons that I know what looks good and what is just ugly, easy-to-grow filler plant material. Next summer, I’m going to continue establishing perennials in the front gardens, keeping the south garden clear, and potentially starting a rain garden in the gully between our house and the next property to the north. As usual, there’s never a dull moment in our yard.

April 30, 2014

Goodbye, Beige

You would think that with our never-ending winter, we would have started work on painting the hallways of our house sooner…but no, we waited until the past month to finally get around to it. Well, better late than never.

Because nothing makes me happier than covering up dingy neutrals with BRIGHT white.

The downstairs hallways by our bathroom, the stairway, and the upstairs hallway that connects our sewing room and our guest room was painted in a nice, neutral beige. I really didn’t mind the color that much, except that it clashed with the more “primary” look of the rest of the house and it was starting to get stained and gross.

We attacked the downstairs hallway first and had a minor battle with each other over the color of the doors. Jason wanted all brown, I wanted all blue. This was our compromise:

We finally made time to paint our downstairs hallway. I can't believe how much better it looks. Also, my husband is the trim whisperer. Seriously, he never ever uses tape and the lines come out perfect every time.

Once we saw how good it looked, we resolved to do the rest. It took us a few weekends to finally finish – I just put the upstairs hallway back together Thursday night. There was quite a bit of crappy wood trim up there that needed to be sanded and primed before we could paint it.

Finally painting the upstairs hallway. That blue door blows my mind.

The next big hold-up was trying to track down one of those special ladders that would allow us to reach the high ceilings of our stairway. Jason finally rigged up a contraption with our wooden folding ladder, his steel extension ladder, and some four-by-four posts. Needless to say, I let him do all of the painting that involved standing on the posts ;).

Getting there...

Now, I love me some bright white, but once we got in on all of the walls we both felt that it was a little overwhelming. We decided to continue with the green from our living room on the right wall of the stairway, and I’m so glad that we did! I love how clean and crisp it looks with the white.

GREEN in our stairway! I love it.

Then, it was just adding the last few coats to the upstairs hallway. We continued with the brown and blue trim, and did the half-wall in green chalkboard paint. Once I have some spare daylight hours I’ll take pictures of the finished product.

Getting there...just a couple more coats on the baseboards and a coat of chalkboard paint on the green half wall.

Even though painting is quite a bit of work, I’m always amazed at what a difference it makes. We’ve painted almost every room in our house, with the exception of the basement, bathroom, and kitchen. The bathroom and kitchen we might remodel at some point, so we’re leaving those two alone for now. The basement would be fun to paint, but it’s really not a priority at the time. Maybe someday. I’m a fan of warm reds in basements, so maybe we’ll go that route when we get around to it.

 

April 28, 2014

A little dirt

While I’d love to be able to say that spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin…the best I can do right now is say that the snow finally melted ;). And, if we’re lucky and the sun is out, Boo and I can manage to emerge from our back door and get some yard work done. Because, you know. Summer will come, someday. I’d like to have some seeds in the ground for when it actually does arrive!

Sitting on the porch swing waiting for my dirt to arrive!

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This year, I’ve made the choice to cut back on a few extra spring activities – I will not be assisting with managing the community garden, and I’ll be working less weekends at the flower nursery. I decided to do this because I really wanted to focus on getting our edible garden dug, laid out, and amended. If you recall, last year we started breaking sod for the ultimate garden plan. Winter came up so quickly that we only got a little over halfway before the ground froze.

All winter, I re-evaluated the success of my first full gardening year. I had decent harvests in some areas, mediocre in others, and downright terrible in the rest. I knew that with so much new garden, the soil would be lacking the texture and nutrients that it needed. Milwaukee soil is notoriously heavy and depleted – growing a carrot in newly broken garden is pretty much impossible.

So, I decided that the best plan would be to bite the bullet and pay to have some good soil hauled in. I shopped around, had a hard time finding a place that would deliver, and finally was able to track down 4 yards of topsoil/compost blend for a reasonable price. I wanted to get it on the garden before I started planting, and I wanted to start planting, so we had to hurry up! I scheduled the delivery for Saturday.

Friday night, Jason went out to till under the winter cover crops, only to find out that the throttle on my little monster wouldn’t engage. Bummer. He took it in right away the next morning to a local repair shop, and they think that the gear box is worn out. Even though the engine is still in great condition, replacing the gear box would cost more money than the tiller is worth. I guess that’s the risk when you buy used. We ended up renting a newer model for a couple of hours so we could get the dirt worked up. Jason had some indoor projects to take care of and so I put on my rubber boots and tore it up.

Happiness is a freshly tilled garden #spring #littlehomeinthebigcity

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Dirt warrior.

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I finished just before the topsoil was scheduled to arrive. While on the phone with the delivery company, we got our second tough piece of news for the day: they weren’t comfortable driving across the lawn because of the risk of getting stuck. They would have to dump all of the soil in the driveway and then it would be up to Jason and I to haul it in wheelbarrow loads back to the garden. Well, it’s a good thing we’re both young and healthy….

When I started hauling the first, I realized that it would make more sense to actually section off the shape of the gardens, including the center feature for my strawberry patch. That way, I wouldn’t be putting down my precious topsoil on areas that would be pathways.

Progress on the ultimate garden plan. Middle section will be y strawberry patch! #littlehomeinthebigcity

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Jason had mapped out the dimensions of the gardens last fall, based off of the design I had in mind. Using his blueprints, I scrounged up whatever stones I could find around our property and framed in the center bed. Then, I started filling in the other sections with topsoil. Long term, we’ll edge them with pavers bricks or field stone. We don’t have much in the way of spare rocks in our area, other than the little ones that get dug up when we break sod, so we’ll have to keep our eyes open for discarded stone piles when we’re driving.

You guuuuys. My dream garden is really happening!

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Jason came out and helped me after I finished the first big triangle and the center garden. Things went much, much faster after that – he can fill the wheelbarrow with twice as much dirt as I can! I also moved the cabbage frame, for the time being. I was having problems with it being against the neighbor’s fence because the weeds would grow up in between her fence and the frame, and I could never get at them. Obviously, once we build a real fence around the whole garden, I won’t need the frame at all.

It’s still very “half-finished”, but I’m already in love with it. It’s so amazing to see my dream garden actually coming to life. We still have about a yard and a half of topsoil under the tarp in our driveway, and we’re hoping that it will be enough to fill in the rest of the sections once we get the sod lifted.

Before the sun set, I planted my potatoes. I didn’t add the amendments to the raised bed – the soil in there is actually looking really good this year. I filled the whole thing with potatoes – six pounds total. It’s a mix of red and whites, all of them ready for harvest at different stages. I intend to feed us potatoes all of next winter.

The next day, once the rain stopped, I put on a few layers and ran outside to seed some of my early crops – peas, carrots, beets, chard, arugula, spinach, and radishes. I’ve hard a hard time with most of these varieties due to our heavy, lean soil, but I’m hoping that this year will be different. I would really enjoy a skillet of sauteed beets or a huge salad with fresh peas and radishes. Now, if only it would warm up in Wisconsin…they’re predicting highs in the mid-forties all of next week. Welcome to May!

P.S. Sorry about my weird Instagram embedding. I’m having a hard time getting my photos to link from my Flickr account, which is how I normally embed them. They keep showing up too small.

October 24, 2013

I’m digging, I’m searching right through that luggage…

I for sure just referenced a rap song in my title.

Anyway, gosh, where have we been? In Milwaukee, mostly. Playing disk golf and enjoying piling our friends into our cozy house on the weekends. Watching a couple from our house church get married and then getting our groove on at the reception. Because the church that dances together stays together, right?

I’ve also been feeling pretty inspired to write. Obviously, not blog posts. But I’ve parked myself on the couch or at Colecterra* pretty much any chance that I have some free time because, well, I’m writing a novel. That feels weird to say. I don’t really have any intent of submitting it for publishing, but for me to even undertake such a huge project is kind of empowering. I’ve written 12 chapters. And honestly, I could write 12 more. It’s gotten to be that engaging for me.

We have another HUGE project that’s taking up all of our free daylight hours:

That’s right, the vegetable garden is growing! Boo mapped out the dimensions of it and helped me create a final design. I’ll scan it and post it here at some point, but to give you some idea of what it will look like, we’re going to create a large rectangle at the ground level. It will expand from the eastern edge of the existing raised bed to the compost bin and have a circular feature in the center. I’d like it to be a multi-level thing, with strawberries on the bottom tier, pollinator-attracting flowers in the middle, and some sort of trellis or spire on the top. Or maybe a blueberry bush. For right now, I’m just going to work on cultivating the strawberries along the border of the circular garden, leaving the middle open for future building up. The remaining garden will have pathways laid out diagonally. Essentially, I’ll have four large triangles for vegetables.

I’m still debating about it, but I may use the existing raised bed exclusively as an herb garden. Again, I’d like it to have a few different levels and look like more than just a big box. Also, some herbs can spread too easily and will need to be contained in their own separate boxes anyway. We’ll see!

Eventually, we’re going to fence the whole thing in to keep out the hungry bunnies. This will also allow us to build in some garden benches and trellises.

In the meantime, we are quite busy DIGGING! It’s hard work! Boo’s been doing most of the sod-breaking because he wants to dig down deeper and move the sod to some bare spots we have near the house. We joke that he’s working at Jason’s Sod Farm. Anyway, digging that deep requires lifting heavier shovelfuls and I’m just too scrawny!

So, I’ve been keeping busy by cleaning out the old plants and then going through the whole thing with my trusty rototiller. After everything is cleared out, I’m going to seed most of the garden in winter cover crops.

It’s  big chore, and we very well don’t get everything done before the ground freezes. We still have to rake/mulch leaves, clean the gutters, and wash the windows before it gets too cold, and we only have so many hours of daylight. But I’m already so amazed at how big the garden has become. I can’t wait to see the whole thing in action!

*Our local coffee chain, Alterra, recently changed their name to Colectivo. While I respect their reasons for doing it, I’m not personally a big fan of the new name. So, to rebel a little bit, I often refer to it as Colecterra or Altivo.

June 15, 2013

Here comes the compost!

Those of you who guessed “compost bin” in this post were correct! Originally, we were going to make a three-bin system but to make things simpler we’ve decided to just try having a large screened in area with three separate piles in the rotation. The screens Jason is using were in our garage – apparently, you can swap out some of the windows on the poly house with screens in the summer. We don’t really use that space as a “living area” per say, so I was fine sacrificing a few screens for the cause.

I’m so excited to start composting – for a few reasons. We eat a lot of fresh produce and I honestly think that 70% of our waste could (and will be!) composted. Plus, I come across so many cardboard boxes at my job, which will serve us really well for the carbon portion of composting. Not to mention all of awesome final product we’ll end up with! I’ve been needing a good source of fertilizer/soil amendment for my garden that I can acquire cheaply and often.

We’ll also need to build a compost screening system at some point, but it will be some time before we’ve “cooked” enough compost so we have a couple of months.

Do you compost? What method do you use?

June 9, 2013

What’s he building?

Boo’s been hard at work on a building project in the backyard. Anyone care to take a guess what it will be?

The answer will be revealed (hopefully!) sometime this week!

May 10, 2013

Tree Garden Re-do

Remember this bed that I made last summer?

Well, for some reason, the squirrels seemed to LOVE knocking the logs all over the place and digging around under them. It was a losing battle to constantly be putting the border back together. I eventually gave up and let them do what they wanted.

Well, this year, I decided that I wasn’t going to bother with logs anymore – something sturdier was in order.

I used a collection of bricks that we have lying around – there’s not really enough of them to make a bigger garden border or any sort of path, but they worked well for this project.

During my first weekend at the Berry Patch, I picked up some hardy pansy flowers. I noticed the bumblebees enjoying the yellow ones, so I mostly planted those.

I added a Twister Grass plant for some depth. They are hardy to Zone 5, and we’re in Zone 5b, so maybe it will make it more than one year!

Later on, I may add some Alyssum and Lobelia. I’ll also be replanting Morning Glories on the trellis.

I also think this garden would be a fun place to put in a fairy garden. I’ve been intrigued by them for awhile, and I think it would be a fun feature in our yard.

May 8, 2013

So Sweet

One thing I really, really enjoy doing is making garden art from natural materials. We have quite a few large branches that broke off over the winter, and I’ve been using them to create some structures. My peas will be climbing up a teepee constructed from birch branches.

I also made a trellis to put in one of the front gardens. I didn’t realize how crooked it was until I put it in the ground, but that’s OK. I kind of like it like that. We’ll say that I was going for a more whimsical look ;).

What will be growing on this trellis? Sweet Pea vines, that’s what. I’ve never grown them before. They’re an early bloomer, and they supposedly smell wonderful. I put them right under the dining room window so that we can hopefully enjoy their scent. I think that any type of vining/climbing flower is a favorite of mine – I have five or six other varieties that I’ll be planting when the nights stop getting below freezing. Time to make more trellises and teepees!

May 7, 2013

Spray Paint Madness

Awhile ago, I blogged about our re-do of the front garden, along with the process of refinishing our garden swing. Progress on the swing was fairly slow – the weather was too cold for me to continue priming and painting it.

Well, we finally got some warm weather two weekends ago. I was able to finish priming the metal frame and apply two coats of the actual color, Paprika.

Jason had the bright idea to hang the pieces from the garage rafters so that I could get at all sides at once.

Please disregard our messy garage. Cleaning it is on our to-do list for this year…

It all worked out well, except that this method seemed much more conducive to me getting spray paint everywhere – on the floor, on my arm, in my hair, on the garden tools, even on my face. Most of it washed off ;).

The following Tuesday, we had temperatures in the high 70’s well into the evening. Wanting to take advantage of the weather, Jason and I sat out in the driveway and reassembled the bench. It took us awhile, but we were able to haul it to it’s final resting place and have a nice long “porch sit” as the sun went down in front of us and the world entered into dusk.

And here is the finished product. I took this photo the next morning. I’m really, really happy with how it turned out! I also love that we can sit in the front yard now. Unfortunately, these next couple of weeks are going to be so busy that I may not have many moments to enjoy a good sit. Hopefully when we head into summer we’ll be able to do that more.

For reference, here is an idea of what it looked like before. Sorry I don’t have a more “complete” photo of it. I think you’ll agree, the new colors and boards are a big improvement!