Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cut the grass finally

After some unexpected but much needed rain interrupted grass cutting plans other days, today I finally got the back yard cut. The grass in the areas I am trying to reseed seems to be slowing sprouting, but I think I may end up needed to seed it in again to get it to look like much. I still need to get the string trimmer out for the edges, but on the whole the back yard looks better. Now I'll just have to try to cut the front yard later this week. The forcast is calling for rain tomorrow morning, which will interrupt any yard work plans if it is true.

Yesterday on my lunch hour I found a neglected 'Oregon Pride' hydrangea at Lowes and was able to get it for 1/2 price. I made several visits outside to water it for the rest of my work day and by the end up the day it had perked up quite a bit. Last night we had rain and cooler temps, which helped a lot. I did trim a few branches where the leaves were already looking crunchy back to healthy looking leaves. Might as well get the soon to be dead parts off so the plant can expend its energy on the healthy limbs.

Below is a before and after picture of the hydrangea. Top photo is about 20 minutes after purchase and below is 4 hours later.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Trying to pick this back up again

I'm going to try to start doing the blog again... I think sometimes I try to document everything, then it becomes work, not fun. I have to remind myself that not everything needs a photo, etc. Other times there hasn't been anything worth writing about going on at the house.

Since I last wrote a few major things have happened:

- In June 2009 I had the falling down shack in the back burned down. The workers never came back to finish carting away the debris like they were supposed to, so this left me with a bunch of cinder blocks stacked where the shack used to be and a fire ring. We have used the fire ring several times since to burn limbs. Handy, but not attractive. This area of the yard remains essentially unimproved.

- In Novmeber 2009 I hired two workers from Craigslist to do some of the unfinished projects. I finally got an outside outlet and was able to put up real outdoor lights, but no animatronic deer this year. We also finally got the new light fixtures hung in my mom's room, my room and on the porch. The old porch fixture could not really be removed, so we took off the shade part and disconnected it. We then had to make a new hole in the ceiling of the porch and put the fixture up slightly away from where the old fixture was.

- The county came and dug the ditch in front of the house MUCH deeper, making the front yard look not so great. Amazingly, they didn't get all my daylilies or daffodils. Then, the county came back to redo water pipes and dug up another part of my front yard and installed a big ugly concrete circle in my front yard. Now the front yard really looks bad.

- We had a much colder winter (2009-10)than we usually do with several snowstorms and low temps in the teens for over a week. I lost a lot of my herbs and almost all my terra cotta pots over the winter. I am now (spring 2010) trying to rebuild my herb garden.

- Over the winter my external hard drive crashed so I lost almost all the original photos of my house and my yard. No, I didn't back them up in unreduced form. Yes, that was stupid. I am very upset about this and have IT guys working on my hard drive. I get depressed just thinking about it.

- Spring 2010 came fast with a very early last frost, in March. The weeds came even faster and my whole back yard was covered. I had to resort to using a chemical weed killer on the "grass" part but that didn't even kill all the weeds. I had pulled at least 40 30 gallon bags of weeds out of my yard this spring. I am once again attempting to grow more grass.

- I finally broke down and bought a lawn mower so I can mow my own grass.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

a little work around the house

I have't writtne much lately as not much has been going on other than constant watering trying to keep the yard alive. We got a few brief rain storms over the past few weeks, but not enough to really help the plants. I did get the water bill that included the day when the hose was left on all day and broke. It is maybe at most $10 higher than this time last year and I don't even think it is that much bigger, so that is a relief.

We bought two new lights, one for the porch and one for mom's room. I figured the light in mom's room would be easy to put up, until I got down the old fixture and found that there is no box up there. The strap had just been attached to the ceiling and now the drywall is flaking away at the edges, so attaching a new strap that way was out of the question. I've got a call in to Neil to come out and put in a box. The porch light is even worse. The base of the current fixture is underneath the vinyl. I cut it away a little bit and from what I can see, it looks like the base may be further covered with a piece of wood. So, changing that fixture will require removing at least one piece of vinyl and possibly some wood, then undoing the fixture and replacing it. This is beyond me, so I'm waiting for Neil on that as well. I bought 4 new light boxes the other day with the idea that when Neil does come I'll have him add a box to my mom's room, the porch if needed and while he is at it, maybe my room (guessing there is no box up there) and see if he will have the time to do anything about working on getting a light in the laundry room.

We were at Lowes yesterday looking at lights. I want to replace the bathroom light as when I was last changing the lightbulb, the fixture just seemed old and like it had been overheated at one point. I know it is just a cheap little fixture and I was hoping to find something else to just toss up there. So far, I haven't really found anything that is just what I want, so the old fixture stays up for now. While I was at Lowes, I did find an inexpensive oil rubbed bronze door knob that is perfect for the closet door in the dining room. It went on with no problems and looks much nicer. I also found ceramic lightswitch and outlet covers marked way down and bought those for the bathroom. They look nice as well. I looked briefly at knobs for the kitchen cabinets, but the cheapest thing I could find would cost me about $60 to change them out and I'd be left with a few extras, so that won't be done any time soon.

Today on my way home from yoga, I stopped at Home Depot to get some lighter paint for my mom's ceiling. She painted it the same color as two of the walls and I've always felt it just looked too dark. I ate lunch and was changing into painting clothes when I totally threw out my back. I currently can barely stand up and spent most of the afternoon asleep after taking a muscle relaxant. Painting the ceiling is on hold and I'm glad I got the doorknob switched out this AM as I can't do anything now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

new living room floor lamp

The lighting redo is continuing... We got a new floor lamp at Target today, which we put in the living room. This allowed us to move the one mica style floor lamp in the living room into the dining room. We then moved the halogen light in the dining room into my mom's room to replace the halogen lamp that she had that got broken. I think it all looks very nice, but now of course I want to get a second of the new living room lamps, a Tiffany style mission design lamp, to put at the other end of the couch.

I'm still looking around for lights for the bedrooms and I can't find anything that I really like for my room at all, so that is on hold as usual. I found a light long time ago that I liked for my mom's room and I'm currently bidding on it on ebay. I have also been very dissatisfied with the kitchen light for a while. The fixture itself is fine, but the glass was broken when we moved in and we replaced it with a really awful, cheap glass shade. I had wanted to get a new fixture until I found a really great glass shade on Rejuvenation. I think it will be perfect and the fixture they show it on looks a lot like our kitchen light. I am going to see if I can find anything similiar to it locally, as I'm not too excited about having a big glass shade shipped cross country.

I still did not get the kitchen floor cleaned, but I did finally get the front door cleaned. The steel door was new when we moved in and there was a sticker still attached to the door. I was able to peel most of it off, but never could get the residue off. I wanted to try some Goo Gone on it, but every time I thought about it, I couldn't find the Goo Gone and I only saw the Goo Gone when I was doing other things. So, finally got the residue off, I hope, and have the Goo Gone whree I can find it. The door was looking pretty dirty, so after reading on the internet, I cleaned it with Formula 409, which did a pretty good job. There are still a few dirty parts and I'm going to try a Mr Clean Magic Eraser on them and see if that helps.

It was way too hot to do anything out in the yard today other than give everything a good watering and hope for the best.

big roma harvest

I had my biggest ever roma harvest today, 3 1/2 pounds! I had planned to make a roasted vegetable tomato sauce tomorrow, but with the additional tomatoes, I went ahead and used my older romas to make a basic tomato sauce and will work on the roasted sauce tomorrow. I have also harvested 3 lemon cucumbers so far, gave one to Bobbie and the other two I have kept for my mom. There is a chance I may have a pretty good harvest of them and if so, I might try to pickle a few if I can find a recipe that will work with a small amount.

I have gotten nothing done around the house despite the fact that it is way too hot to work outside. We haven't had rain in 10 days now. The grass/weeds are still green but the plants are really suffering and I think I need to up the watering on the camellias. I had some really wilty plants I watered this evening. Tomorrow will be my big watering day and I'm going to try to really soak everything. I got eaten alive by the mosquitos this evening doing the watering and finally broke down and sprayed the yard with the Bug Free Backyard stuff, but only in the shady areas. I hate doing this as I have a really good population of bees this year, which I think is helping the cukes and all the other plants. I've also seen a few ladybugs. I don't want to hurt them, but the mosquito situation just gets worse and worse. Tonight there were CLOUDS of them around me when I bent down to water some of the shrubs. I'm hoping that this evening's spraying will help with the mosquitos and not hurt the bees.

I was playing around on the internet this evening looking at ourdoor lights, as I really want to replace our light. Bellacor was having a big sale and I got a light that looked great online at about 1/3 of its retail price. I hope it is as nice in person. I'm a tad worried about trying to install it, as the current light seems to come through the vinyl on the underside of the porch roof. I'm hoping there is a box under that, so we can easily hook in the new fixture. I do think it would look better if its base was on top of, not under, the vinyl.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

more rain last night

I heard thunder all night while I was at work last night, but we never actually saw it rain, though our cars were wet when we went outside. All the way home, the road was damp, so my hopes were up when I got home. I was truly shocked to see 1" in my rain gauge! I didn't water yesterday morning because everything still felt damp. Obviously I didn't need to water this AM and this PM it seems like things are still okay. I'm hearing thunder again tonight, so I'm hoping we may still have a shot at more rain. The grass is actually starting to green up just a bit, or may it is just the weeds!

I'm not feeling well today, but I was able to go outside this evening and make a green bean harvest. We are having them in a stir fry for dinner. I also saw my second baby cucumber on my cucumber plants, so they are hanging in there. I do believe that my squash are done for though. Due to the bug issue this year, which I think killed them, I don't know if I will give them a shot next year.

Monday, July 07, 2008

first pesto of the year

I havested about 2 cups of basil on Saturday and today I finally got around to making my first batch of pesto for the season. I used some of it to make pesto pizza, enough for dinner tonight and a lunch later this week. I did not water at all today due to the rain this weekend, but I will need to water at least the container plants tomorrow morning.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

second day of rain

Yesterday afternoon's rainstorm came to about 1/2", so it was about 1" overall for Saturday. This AM I woke up to the sound of a pounding rainstorm and had to sneak a peek at the tomatoes, who all seemed okay before curling back in bed. Today would have been my big watering day, but we got enough rain that I didn't need to. When I did get up, I checked the rain gauge and it showed about 3/4" from the overnight and AM rainstorms.

Again this evening we had a storm that hit just when we had gotten back from the store. This storm wasn't as long, and we got about 1/6". Still 1" yesterday and almost 1" today has been great. The weather report is still calling for rain for the next few days, so I really hope the storms keep coming.