Thursday, July 29, 2010

Yard Work

I've been tootling around in the yard a lot lately. I removed all the black widow hidey-hole cacti on the side of the house yesterday.
I recently found myself with $20, so off I went to Home Depot. Here's what I came up with today:
I set the last of my stones, then dug a shallow trench around them all. Next I poured decomposed granite in the trench. It has a nice golden sparkle to it. What's left of the mulch from last year is sun-bleached and sparse. A new layer of black mulch (in the skinny part of the yard) really jazzed it up a notch. Click here to see what it looked like last week.
The small space between the path and the corner river rocks was just screaming to be a flower bed. The front yard faces East and gets hours upon hours of direct sunlight. Plant requirements: low-lying, minimal-water, 6+ hours of sun. It was slim pickins. I bought stonecrop (perennial) and moss roses (annual.)
I used the rest of the mulch on the larger part of the yard- sort of made a flowerbed at the front around my rock rose sproutlings. I probably need three more bags to complete the yard. I'll need to get some edging to border the path so the granite doesn't wash away, and I need a few more river rocks to stop the erosion problem. All in all, it's really starting to come together.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy House-iversary!

We became home owners about a year ago! Woo Hoo!
My posts have been fewer and further between, but I guess that comes with the territory. There's less to report the longer you live somewhere.

I think today I'll just do some (overdue) updates:

Master Bathroom
They finally finished the shower. I bought new bath mats to celebrate: muted turquoisey colors- super soft. Someday I'll paint in there- it amazes me how much paint can change a room.

Eventually I want to get some shallow cabinets to set into the wall behind the door (given that there's not any plumbing/wiring issues in there.) I'd like to do a floor to ceiling built-in cabinet, and an additional "medicine cabinet" on the short part over the counter. Nothing fancy, no mirrors, just a simple wood cabinet. I'll probably paint it whatever color we do on the walls. It's a small room and I don't want it to feel crowded. The bathroom door really gets in the way- as does the closet door, which is in the hall just out of view- plus our bedroom door opens into the same area. We want to replace the bath and closet doors with pocket doors- the kind that slide into the wall. But we'll only do that if we end up staying here a long time, seeing as building the walls out to allow for door clearance will come with a hefty price tag.

In the months of negotiating our shower repair, they offered us a new faucet for the kitchen. We decided on this extra tall curvy one- the spray head pulls out of the spout so my 8 year old can conveniently fill the dog bowl... Went with a similar style in the built in soap pump- even though we don't use it.

Master Bedroom
We haven't purchased bedroom furniture yet. All our foldables are stored in laundry baskets. This works rather well, but tends to look unsightly when I'm showing off my house. This week I'd had enough of the clutter in there...

 I did some rearranging- now it feels more like a bedroom than an attic. I finally hung our painting, put away the excess music equipment, and did the best I could with the odds and ends.

Here's what the yard looked like a year ago.

We were having an issue with the rain- it puddles up big time where the front steps meet the walkway- made it difficult to get into the house during a storm. 
 My solution was to lay a stone path from the porch to the higher part of the walk, next to where I park. I got the stones for free from the mountains where my mother lives. Laying them was excruciating! I think I need some pea gravel to lay between them.

The puddle that forms on the sidewalk is often very muddy, due to the erosion of my yard. Elsewhere in the neighborhood there are river rocks to help divert water, so I set about laying some near our walkway. Appears to be helping, though we could use a few more.

Our entire yard could really use another round of mulch and some flowers to spruce it up, but other than that it looks pretty good. Animals seem to like it...
Here's some itty, bitty, little sparrow hatchlings. I snapped the pic in a rare momma-less moment. I was terrified she'd swoop in and destroy me any second. This is the little stick tree in the back by our driveway. There's also a sparrow family living under the one of the front eaves of the house. I found one of their babies in our yard last month, squawking for his mommy.

This is a HUGE cocoon in my rose bush.  Our front porch has been covered in chrysalises all month. We've also noticed the return of the hummingbirds.

As for unwelcome guests, we've got a rather large population of these guys:
Black Widows*.

Just thinking about it gives me the willies- but I was gardening last month and felt something on my arm. I looked over, and up near my shoulder there was a big black widow. She was promptly flung from my body and pulverized with a rock, but it started a fear in me I've never known. Thankfully, she did not bite me. I immediately set to researching them and have since found their creepy little nests in numerous locations around the exterior of the Winkler. They will all be sought out and destroyed. 

*No, this is not a photo I took. Anyone who takes the time to get out the camera rather than KILL KILL KILL is a lunatic. Though healthy adults rarely die due to the bite (usually just a lengthy illness,) for little kids and old folks it can be fatal. And there's a chance you might not even feel the bite. Scary!

Well, other than a few minor bumps in the road, it's been a great year (house-wise.) Our Warranty just ended- but thankfully I filed the last of our claims last month. Looks like we're on our own now, but I'm up for the challenge. Long live the Winkler!