Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You've Come A Long Way, Baby: Shed edition

I don't think I ever posted this picture on the blog. For good reason. It's ancient, as these things go: from our 2010 anniversary camping trip to Gilbertsville, before I'd breathed Word One of our grand plan. We stopped by the house we knew would be Our House, someday, and with no car in the driveway we walked around taking pictures, true befores.

It's dizzying to think of how far we've come, when I really step back and think of everything that's been done. I've sung that tune a hundred times before, I know, but it still hits me.

This is what we had to work with, inside the shed. Squirrel-hole-riddled homasote stuffed with gnawed hickory shells, rafters stuffed with swim noodles. The shed had no foundation. It was too close to the house, acting as a barrier between it and the rest of the backyard. So, we moved it, and now we've done some sprucing, with far more yet to come.

The quaint little potting shed in my mind is beginning to take shape. I slapped together some little shelves between the studs, to hold pots, and in between them I put two long pieces of 2x4 across two ledger boards, and set atop them a piece of project wood that was just waiting for its day in the sun.

(You know what it really is? Look here. Go all the way down to the bottom where I start talking about archaeology. It's the old stairwell trap door.)

I love the view from here. Window needs a-washin, but that can wait. For now I just want to put my chin on my hands and look at that purty garden view.

We replaced the almost-completely-rotted-away sills with nice new 4x4s, and replaced the bottom course of siding with new pieces. We primed them on both sides, to keep away rot, and ants. They look silly painted the dark tinted-primer color, and sillier still is the fact that we probably won't get around to painting this shed until after the whole house is done. 

Sigh. 2022, do we have a date?

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Bridal shower


... and a great shower was had by all!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garden tour

Next year, I need taller pea fence. I need to suck it up and pull more volunteer cilantro, for come June it shades the bean rows. Next year, the lettuces need more space, as do the broccolies, and the chives need dividing.

But some things are perfect: the California poppy seeds I scattered down my potatoes, which only took about 45 days from seed to blossom. The shocking blue borage opening its bashful woolly heads among a forest of volunteer dill. My tomato plants, for whatever reason, are kicking butt and taking names. I gave them more space than last year-- maybe that makes all the difference? I planted cilantro in amongst my broccoli, on the theory that its flowers might attract enough beneficial bugs that the cabbage loopers wouldn't show. And I'm pleased to report that once the cilantro got tall enough to rise above the broccoli, the loopers disappeared. I will keep you posted, but so far this seems like a pretty smart deal. Last night we ate Sesame baked tofu with peas, and the night before that we ate a mountain of broccoli braised in garlic with white beans and pasta, and tonight we'll eat a mountain of lettuce. 

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Open House

*Instagram pics by Thomas Stuart Hall.

This is fast becoming one of my most-looked-forward-to days of the year. 

We were blessed with sunny skies, and fair breezes, and friends lugging totes of macaroni salad. What more can you ask for, really? The chicks were the life of the party; all kids in attendance spent a good balance of time sprawled on the quilt next to their pen. Garden tours were conducted. Marshmallows were roasted. Our backyard, now devoid of shed, was pronounced an improvement. 

As with last year, Gilbertsvillians outnumbered all others three to one. We are lucky to have settled in a town full of people who like lawn chairs and white wine on summer afternoons. We're still newbies here (so many families are in their second or third... or seventh... generation)-- but the Gville circle is ever-ready to accept and embrace those new faces like ours. And we are lucky, and thankful, for that.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Garden update

It's that time of year where things move and change and grow so quickly, it's hard to believe. Surely, those peas were not mere seedlings two weeks ago. Surely, they've always been there, a friendly frondy forest of white flowers and swelling pods. I need to get out there and take some up-close pictures, so you can really see what's happening, but let me tell you, instead: my tomatoes are flowering, my potatoes are flowering. The California poppies I scattered in between the potatoes are flowering. I'm trying to stay on top of picking lettuce, and spinach, and arugula, and broccoli. My usual line to Patrick, when we walk in the garden, is, "Man, it's going to be a good year.

Tomorrow, we host our annual open house party for friends and family far and near. Last year, it poured all day and all night and into the next day. This year, it is going to be gorgeous and 80 degrees, because we are seriously owed some perfect weather, dude. We earned our rain karma last year. Looking forward to the day. What's in your plans for this weekend, friends?

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Something crafty, finally

Lately I've been a pitchfork-and-shovel girl. And don't get me wrong, I love a good pitchfork-and-shovel session, but there was a rainy day last week I spent getting down with my (sorely neglected, abused, surely-growing-moss-by now) crafty side, and it felt terrific. 

My sister-in-law is getting married, and when the other bridesmaids and I commenced to email pow-wowing about her shower, I quickly piped up and volunteered to do favors. (Though mossy, the crafty side knows when to speak up and be heard.)

It was a blast. Meghann loves shoes, and since I knew I couldn't afford a pair of Manolos for each guest, I decided to do something foot-related. I mixed together sugar, ground oatmeal, peppermint oil, rosemary, and baby oil to make foot scrub. The labels I lifted from I played around with the text I wanted to use until everything just fit. Integral to the project: the quote, "If you can't do it in high heels, it isn't worth doing." I think Meghann said that to me once when we were ribbing each other about our divergent philosophies on physical activity. Possibly, I'd just gotten back from a hike.

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Monday, June 11, 2012


Hi there, you look quite tasty, says Pete.

Maybe if I just act real natural...

or climb up here...

You look like you might want to play with me...

in my... mouth. Please? 

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Flower garden

The thing about landscaping is, it takes a long time. The "after" photos aren't exactly stunning-- stunningness, with landscapes, is something that builds momentum slowly over years and years. In five years, I expect, I will stand on the sidewalk and look up at our house (which will be beautifully perfectly painted and repaired) and see a thriving flower garden in front.

Patience, child.

Oh, it is hard to have patience.

Focusing on one small corner, one little perfect leaf or dewdrop or blossom at a time...

The pitch-perfect snakeroot with the blue hostas and lime-green snowball bush... and the Pete cat stalking along the cranesbills...

Someday, it will be stunning, but for now I'll have to settle for bedraggled, and give the tiny scraps of flower time to fluff and fill out. Starting from scratch is like that.

Happy Friday, friends! Deadlines are beginning to build like thunderheads (thunderheads that rain money) just west of my horizon, but I'm going to try to keep present here, too.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Empty and full

Finally, finally managed to get this thing painted and filled. The downside, I suppose, of having so many things going at once is that things languish. I was trying to work on painting this when it was raining, but then, I try to write when it's raining, and there isn't a late spring/early summer rainy enough to give me enough time at writing and painting both.

After a bit of consternation, I decided to paint the shelves white (other possibilities were gray, cream, or the wall color) and the backs teal, for contrast. I have to admit, I was slightly inspired by Young House Love in my paint color choice, though I didn't go near as dark as they did.

The fun part was filling.

I haven't logged much time antiquing lately-- see above note about late spring/early summer and unfinished projects-- though the green glass planter on the right side shelf is fairly new. Everything so far has come from cupboards, china closets, and various other spots where I had stowed awesome stuff waiting for its day in the sun. 

Oh, and, of course, from our particle board Kmart bookshelf, which we can finally retire after ten years of hard service.

Our open house is a week and a half away, and, other than cleaning, the inside of our house is ready! That's a good feeling.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Progress in the details

(New sills on the shed.)
 Sorry for my blog-delinquency last week. I was busy. Busy watching my peas flower and busy building raised beds and busy filling them and busy planting anniversary flowers.

(Our wedding anniversary is Thursday, [FOUR YEARS!] and I requested a small anniversary nursery flower shopping trip instead of a bouquet. I think this should be its own holiday: Anninursery. Or maybe Nursiversary. Hmn.)

Our front flower bed was solid weeds when we bought this place, and slowly, slowly, I'm digging out wedges of weed-cake and replacing it with pretty things. Foxgloves, dwarf lady's mantle, golden creeping jenny and Cimicifuga, this year.


 Bit by bit, I am digging away the sod and dirt over where my greenhouse is going to live, and carting said sod and dirt to the raised beds I am building in the garden, and filling them in. The greenhouse will have a floor of gravel, 6 inches deep, for drainage and to serve as a heat sink. (I have no idea what I am doing.)

The gravel will be ringed with cinderblocks, on which I will lay the first layer of frame-lumber. (I have no idea what I am doing.)

Right now I have like seven or eight BIG, unfinished projects I'm in various stages of acquiring materials or time or money for, and it's making me a wee bit batty. Greenhouse, shed repairs, raised beds, and those fireplace-flanking shelves I'm still in the process of painting. Someday, maybe, I'll have the luxury of doing one thing at a time. Not today.

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