Thursday, May 29, 2008

Did we ever tell you...?

Our blog was featured in a sidebar on Cottages & Bungalows magazine, in the April/May issue? Our copy came in the mail a week or two ago, and though I had intended to scan it & post a picture, I just didn't get it done. Luckily, Suburban Chaos has posted it as well, on their excellent bungalow blog. Check it out at:

The list of things to blog about is almost as long as the to-do list. Wait, that's not possible, scratch that.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dirt & poo

Landscaping has begun for sure. We spent a good bit of the weekend spreading & tilling in these 2 piles: one is loam, the other composted manure. Note: we had pretty nasty colds the whole time - thanks Daniel! So the going was fairly slow, but we got it done in time to return the tiller tomorrow.

It took an entire day to haul all the dirt around, and the piles kept looking like we hadn't made a dent. There was about 20 yards of material, so it was kind of a lot.

Without a tractor or a crew, we used the giant wheelbarrow to spread the big piles into teeny little piles all over the part of the yard that will become gardens & beds. After Ken had already tilled the whole yard up. The tiller was a little wild, with a tendency to try to run away, but he kept it in pretty good control. We had our soil tested too, so we had a bunch of amendments that needed to be added, since nobody had touched the soil in many, many years. It was pretty much a packed-down clay weed bed before this weekend.

Then we flattened out the piles and then Ken tilled all that stuff in a few times, leaving us with a lovely, flatter, compostier, more nutritious yard.

We also managed to cut in all the new perennial beds out front, where the evil yews were, and planted the snowberries, astilbe, and lady's mantle there, before the poor little plants expired in their pots. The landscaping plan is for an all green & white garden (except a few existing perennials and some annual beds, where we get to go crazy with color!), so we've got Snowdrift and Deutschland astilbes. We'll see how they work en masse. All the plants are pretty dinky, due to budget constraints, but they'll all grow (we hope), especially with their fab new dirt & poo.

At the end of the day, tired & beyond filthy, the vegetable garden went in - in its new spot, basically next to the dining room. I had to dig up the snap peas from the old garden, let them hang out in milk crates while we did all the tilling, and then replanted them tonight. They look pretty good - hopefully they survived the transplant!

We've got a couple days out of town this week to relax and recuperate before next weekend, when we'll hopefully excavate for the patio. Another pile or two (gravel & sand) will get delivered to the driveway this week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bye-bye Bushes!

Not these Bushes, though they are on their way out...

These bushes...

Today every single yew around our house is not gone, in preparation for Operation: Bungalow Landscaping. My Landscape Design teacher called these 'lollipop shrubs', because of the silly way they were pruned. I'll miss the big square one at the back corner a little bit - but only because it wiggled like a bowl of Jell-O when you touched any part of it.

That was cool, but cooler still will be our new patio, part of which will be right where Mr. Square Jell-O used to be. RIP, bushes. And don't worry, fellow tree-huggers - we'll be replacing them with lots more biomass, and lots of local plants.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's here, it's here!

The wheelbarrow came! Actually, the one we ordered was on backorder and since the truck with all the dirt showed up...

waiting was getting to be a little sketchy - so we just swapped for one they had in stock. It's gigantic, and will sure haul a lot of landscaping stuff. Ed got to try the maiden voyage, then me. Ken dumped me out of it too, and it worked great. Hint: don't sit indian-style when someone is dumping you out of a wheelbarrow. You're guaranteed to land in a very ungraceful way.

So, the landscaping has officially begun - we got almost all of our soil amendments, soil, and many plants - and we're ready to boogie. And so is the MOST AWESOME HUGEST WHEELBARROW EVER.

Thanks for the early birthday present, way cool bro & BT! You guys are da bomb!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Two knockers

Hee hee! Who can resist these silly blog titles? We're talking about door knockers, so get your minds out of the gutter.

We got a great vintage brass knocker for the front door (see below) from Portland Architectural Salvage where a friend works, and have been looking for a second, similar (but not match-y) one for the back door.

Ebay to the rescue.

I hadn't been on Ebay for quite a while, but a couple of weeks ago just randomly logged on and searched through the door knocker results. I happened upon this beauty, which miraculously did not say 'Eastlake' anywhere in the title or description. That little omission and the bare-bones description were enough to apparently keep it off some folks' radar screen, because I won it with the opening bid. I won't make you jealous by saying what that bid was, but it wasn't much more than, say, a quality 6-pack of microbrew. Unbelievable.

We confirmed that it's solid when it showed up (the ol' magnet trick), and it's really quite nice. It's got a lot of weight to it, and it even came with a nicely-worn clavo to knock against. I think it might be bronze, since it's a bit richer in color than most of our old brass.

So yesterday I broke out my secret jar of antique oval head slotted screws and installed it. Partway through, I realized it actually needed round head screws because the screw holes were not beveled. Fortunately there were two of those guys in the jar along with the oval heads. So I got that goin' for me. And that's nice.

The only bummer is that the weatherstripping makes it so that the knocker has to be just slightly off-center with respect to the knob & lock, but we'll fix that when I get the door off and re-done later this summer or fall. For now, we're OK with one lopsided knocker. Straight to the gutter again :)