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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

An Olive Branch.

After demo of second stairway, this patch remained.

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We finally got around to some planting in front of the house. Beside not having planted a thing outdoors in my life, there were a few unusual obstacles as one might expect around Two Cats by now.

The plot of land I chose to plant Reeve’s Mother’s Day rhododendron plants was once the site of the second entrance stairs. The ground was hard and needed tilling, so I began by removing as many rocks as possible, including, it turned out, some that formed the foundation of the house. I discovered this when I suddenly was able to see into the basement from the outside.

After replacing the field stones and patching them with hydraulic cement from both sides, I recommenced the planting. Unearthed artifacts included several dozen rusty nails, many shards of glass, a few marbles, a rusty spark plug, a broken thermometer (hope rhododendrons like mercury!), and many many non-foundation stones which I used to border the patch. A few cubic feet of Miracle Grow soil and a spritz from our new hose caddy et voila!

We achieved our goal, which was to announce to the neighborhood that we are more than just another trashy East End family. That, Typar and rusty mailbox aside, we care about aesthetics and are committed to being a cute house someday.

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We’re finally getting to the point where cleaning is actually just normal cleaning, not a retroactive major clean-up of leftover construction dust or months-neglected debris from the renovation. The house is really starting to feel sort of finished. There are lots of little projects left to do, like sanding, caulking and painting all the trim, but we’ve taken care of some of the major eyesores.

Nick cleared out the sleep loft–took all the boxes and bins we were storing up there down to the basement storage heap instead. Then he scraped up all the spray-foam insulation that was stuck to the plywood floor of the loft. We plan on laying down the ash wood we never used for Sadie’s room up here to give the loft a finished feel. Our house is so small that hosting guests without a dedicated guest space could be difficult, so we’re hoping guests won’t mind sleeping in the loft. Currently, it can only be reached by a rickety old painter’s ladder. We searched online for a ship’s ladder, which would be perfect, but discovered that they cost several hundred dollars, even when you buy used ones. So we asked our neighbor, carpenter Ben, if he could make us one, but he doesn’t have time since he and his wife started their catering business (helpful plug: Bazkari Catering). Nick’s dad is coming next week for a visit, and we’re going to give him the choice of climbing up to the loft and sleeping on a futon mattress or camping out in the library/sewing room/kids’ room on an air mattress.

The other little job involved finally putting up our bathroom shelves. Slowly but surely, we’re making progress. The latest on the bathroom tile is that contractor Ben won’t get a chance to work with the tile mason until sometime after May 5, when he gets back from visiting his fiance in India. So, we’re still roughing it to a degree, but more and more it’s feeling like home. I think the longer daylight hours definitely help. I can actually see when I get home from work, so I feel motivated to work on projects or clean things up instead of letting things pile up until the weekend.

And finally, our little spell of warm weather got me thinking about plants. My mom and I went to the garden show a couple of weekends ago, and then,  since I don’t know a hydrangea from a watering can, I went to the library to check out books on plants and gardening. I’d like to get a dozen plants for the deck to give it more the feel of a plein air room than a deck, so it’s a place we’ll wander in and out of like any other room in the house. In particular, we want to get a trellis with climbing vines of some sort to park right in front of the wall of the neighboring condo building so we aren’t looking at plain green siding all summer. Some flower boxes for the railings, a few pieces of outdoor furniture, and voila, we’ll have our little piece of the great outdoors. Unfortunately, we’re supposed to wake up to snow tomorrow morning, so I have no idea when any of the planting and landscaping is actually going to happen.

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We got a call while we were on vacation from our neighbor, who owns the rental building next door. Apparently, the Porta Potty the carpenter has been using was placed on the neighbor’s property, and he was none too pleased about it. I can’t say I blame him.

Ben moved the Porta Potty to the front of the house, on the miniscule piece of the sidewalk that we can claim as our “property.” It’s a beauty, no?

I’ll be so happy when all the detritus is gone from the front of our house. I’m commissioning my mom, who has an amazing green thumb, to figure out what to do with our tiny plots of “land,” i.e., the dirt between our house and the brick sidewalk.

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