Dirt! The Project

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You know how when you clean a room, I mean, really clean it, organize it, etc, and it seems to get worse before it can get better?  Doing a big yard project is like that, but worse, because there’s dirt everywhere.

And so continues our outdoor projects.  I was a little disappointed on Saturday because Zach and his dad spent most of the day doing this:

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Stump removal.  It looks like a bomb went off in the corner of our yard right now.  And it took a lot longer than we all expected, and it was a lot harder than expected.  But, at least it got removed, mostly.  Zach was happy his dad was there to help, and I was happy I didn’t have to be there with the noisy chainsaw.  Apparently, the dogs didn’t mind though.  The Wii terrifies Penny, but not a chainsaw, so I have no idea what goes on in her head.

So by the time they finished that, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to work on moving the garden dirt.  Plus, Sunday, we were going to have to bathe the dogs and take them to get their nails clipped, so I was a little stressed, initially, that we weren’t able to do more.

To top it off, we woke up Sunday to a super windy day.  Moving dirt in the wind is not fun.  Not only that, but all the cardboard I had laid the evening before had blown all over the place.  And trying to lay newspaper down in high winds, even when you wet it, is one of the most irritating things ever.

All that said, Sunday was amazing.  Our awesome friends showed up to help move dirt, and that made all the difference.  We got more done than I had even planned!

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We were able to even cover most of the area we are using for a front flower garden.  Totally unexpected, but very welcomed.  My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of the dirt, but we were so busy, I barely had my phone on me all day, so I forgot to take any pictures.  Most of these were taken by Zach.

We are almost ready to plant.  We are building removeable panels this week so we have something to keep the dogs and rabbits out of the garden, but are easy for me to remove when I tend to the garden.  I guess a lot of people will get short chicken wire and then bend over it to weed and harvest, but my back is way too bad/I’m too short for that.  We need something nicer and easier.

I already planted wheatgrass in a planter box because I was impatient, and it’s coming in already.  I need extra green for my smoothies!

Until next time.

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One Man’s Garbage…

Oh hi, allergy season.

I’m sitting here writing with a box of tissues next to me and blowing my nose outside.  We’ve been leaving the windows open lately because it’s been so nice, but now my allergies are going insane, and my current medication is doing nothing for me, except preventing me from taking something else (damn you, 24 hour Allegra).

Spring is weird.  It’s just the sight, sound, and smell of nature getting it on.  And I’m allergic to all of its sexy wonder.

But on the plus side, today I’ll be mixing in some new soil into my planters, because my Russian sage and echinacea are already sprouting.  Thankfully these are hardy plants, because we have snow coming in a couple of days.

Our projects are coming along nicely, and one of my personal ones is dealing with certain “garbage” left at our house by the previous owner.  The back yard was truly a mess.  There were 3 car batteries, a dangerous shed, car tires, rusty garden hangers and a scary looking dog kennel…

While we’ve managed to sell off or properly dispose of most of it, there are a few things we decided to keep and use.  The rusty hangers were one of them.

IMG_4955I mean, we’re going to have a lot of gardens, so why not keep these hangers?  I bought some red spray paint and used a sandpaper block to clean off the rust and any chipped paint that was left (although, there was hardly any paint left, mostly rust).  I wiped them clean and then started spraying.

IMG_4957I did two coats each side, and it took about a day to dry.  I picked the red color because of my desperate and constant hope that it’ll draw back the hummingbirds.

IMG_5003No more rusty hangers!

I’m glad I didn’t throw these away, because initially, I tried to get them into the big dumpster we rented last year, but we ended up keeping them.

Now, to turn the tires into something usable and pretty:

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Although Penny seems fine with their current dumpster quality.

Until next time.

Yard Work Begins

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Finally a new post!  The past two weeks have been insane for me.  It’s all been a blur.  One week leading up to my trip to Arizona, and then a week there.  I’m drained, to say the least, and have never been so happy to do yard work.  I love road trips, but two days where we spend 16 hours each in the car can get rough.  I’m all off on my eating schedule, and my sleeping schedule.

So for the next several weeks, I’m going to share my progress with the back yard (and a little with the front).  It’s pretty exciting, really.  We are doing a complete overhaul.  Last night, Zach dug up one of the sprinkler lines (which was not something he planned on doing) because it ran through where we want to put the raised beds.  But while he dug it up, we discovered they didn’t bury it deep enough (it was buried around 2″ deep, when it needs to be 6″).  In fact, there was sprinkler line running in a lot of random places in the yard, with seemingly no reason.  There aren’t a lot of heads, but damn, they zig-zagged the hose everywhere in the yard.  What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when they had that conversation on the best way to install a sprinkler system.

So, basically, after the yard is tilled, we will lay down a new system.  One that is up to code, works, and will actually carry water to the grass…

One of my “demands” after we bought the house, was I wanted every area in the yard to be groomed and safe.  I know this might seem like a weird demand, but I grew up in a “wilder” setting, as in the outdoor space blended into the woods.  There were always spots in the yard that were scary, and probably contained a trillion black widow spiders.  Even parts of the yard we don’t see/use often, I wanted to look nice, and I wanted to be able to access them without issues (like spiders, of course, but also overgrowth and weeds).  When we bought the house, the outdoor space hadn’t been taken care of in years.  It’s totally wild.  That’s why we’re doing work now, so it’s all done before summer comes and we have no chance of winning the fight against overgrowth.

The first thing we had to do was move the pea gravel out of what used to be a dog run area.  We are putting a raised bed there, and the area needed to be cleared and leveled.

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We also have an insane weed problem there.  They survive so well in that gravel.  I pulled weeds there every week last year and they just got worse.  Nothing worked.  I used both natural and chemical weed killer, to no avail.  When the gravel was moved though, they all died.

Since there was a billion pounds of gravel, we decided to reuse most of it for one side of the house.  On the east side, we have our A/C unit, and that area was used as a dog kennel and they let it get out of control (there used to be a crazy bush back there, but it was removed last year.

The ground also did not fall away from the house, which might cause water damage down the line.  Zach dug at the ground to even it out and make sure it set against the house correctly.

Then came the cardboard.

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Why cardboard?  There were so many weeds on the ground.  Too many to pull, and too many for me to be comfortable slamming it with chemicals.  The cardboard is to kill the weeds, and act as a buffer for the weed block so it didn’t get punctured.

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And finally!

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It was a ton of gravel.  We spent a lot of the time cleaning it up, taking out weeds and worms, but it paid off!  Now it’s cleaned up, and when we eventually go back there to clean the A/C we won’t have to bring a machete to bush wack.

It’s such a tiny space, but at least that part is done.  We reused the dog run gate and have this area gated off, mainly because I worry about the dogs so close to the A/C unit.  And they can’t be trusted.  We will most likely do the same thing to the west side of the house.

Speaking of which!  Next week, I’ll blog about finishing the west side of the house, repurposing bigger rock from other parts of the yard (this house doesn’t lack in the rock department), and I’ll also talk about actually building the raised bed.  It’ll be a picture heavy blog for awhile.

This week, I’ll continue to show our progress with prep work.

Until next time.

Oops, I Did it Again

I’ve failed at the daily posts!

Last week, I was under the weather and really didn’t have any motivation to post anything.  Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much, and I’ll update you on the happenings that you did.  I’m still not feeling great, but I’ll try my best to keep up with daily posts.

First and foremost, I do regret not doing a Friday Film Review.  To make up for that, I’ll be doing a double feature this week.  In the meantime, I did watch quite a few scary flicks last week:

Insidious and Insidious 2
Netflix does not stream the first one, but you can get it on DVD.  And you must watch the first before the second, because honestly, the first is a little scarier, and the second literally starts the second the first ends.  We think they might have been filmed at the same time.  You can look that up if you’re curious, because I’m like, eh.  Anyway, I actually liked these movies, directed by the same dude who did Saw and The Conjuring.  They are a little weird, not too scary, and pretty creative.

The Awakening
This is streaming on Netflix.  It’s OK.  The protagonist reminded me of a female Sherlock, so that was awesome.  She even had the jacket and popped collar.  The acting was really great, and I realized I had never seen a British horror film before this one, done by BBC films.  It’s not that scary, so if you want more of a drama and a light creep, this one might work for you.  Also had some creative moments, and a nice twist ending that’ll leave you scratching your heads.

The Addams Family
A nice family film.  No horror and it’s still fun.

Sadako
I believe this is the 3rd in the Ringu series.  It’s a 3D film.  I don’t have a 3D TV.  So… yeah… crap.  It’s not scary, the plot is confusing, and we were very close to turning it off halfway through because it was just so awful.  I like the American adaption of Ringu the best, to be honest.  They’re just not the best Japanese horror out there.  Too much camp.

That’s about it on the movie front.  I also made a wreath:

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The final product
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First, I sprayed the wreath ($5 at Michael’s) with ultra matte black paint.
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I bought rubber snakes, painted them black, and re-painted their eyes and tongues.

 

I also got some costumes for the dogs.  I don’t have Layla’s up as a picture, but here’s a preview of Penny’s:

We need to add wire to the wings to make them more... Devilish...
We need to add wire to the wings to make them more… Devilish…

 

And that was my week.  Not a whole lot.  Didn’t have a ton of energy, and I’m running behind on many things.  BUT – I may do some cookies and bread this week, so we’ll see how things go.

Until next time.