Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekend upate

I am back from a wild weekend away by myself. This was only the second time I have ever left my family since becoming a mom almost 8 years ago. It was a much needed break. Two nights of reconnecting with lost friends. Some I haven't seen in 15 years. As much as I missed my family it was wonderful to be on my own for three days. No kids to watch, no butts to wipe, no one to feed but myself. I missed them madly but it was worth it. The trip also made me miss home a lot. A place I couldn't wait to get away from when I was younger, a place I now find myself wanting to be in again. My life seems to sometimes be one of always living in the past and future. Never the present.

This weekend was all about living in the moment, enjoying, reconnecting, remembering, wondering, reliving, and just plain being.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let there be lettuce


Let there be lettuce
Originally uploaded by subsixstudios
I harvested lettuce from my garden yesterday. I love lettuce. I wait all winter for fresh grown. There is nothing like it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

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Every summer I wait for the famous Claussen's All-You-Can-Carry Cart Load Sale. Basically it's $25 for all you can carry or $50 for a cartload. The carts are two levels and you are allowed to pile them as much as you can. I have been going to this sale for three years now and I have it down to a science. I was on a mission for tall grasses so I had to be ok with giving up a lot of space in order to fit the 8 pots of tall grasses I loaded on my cart. That's ok thought because I also managed to get about 10 pots of periwinkle, two large pots of impatients, and about 4 flats of various annuals I picked out. Overall I think I easily scored hundreds of dollars worth of plants for $50.

I wait all year for this sale. This year due to budget constraints I didn't spend a dime on gardening in the spring. I am lucky to have a May birthday and even luckier to usually get gift cards to Gardener Supply which allows me to get the early spring gardening needs that I have. This usually includes compost, mulch and seeds. Instead of buying all my spring flowers I grow them. I started seeds indoors this year. I planted sunflowers, zinnias, lavender, basil, oregano, chives, Italian parsley, and snap dragons. I love planting from seed because it allows me to start indoor gardening in March which really helps me get over the last of the winter weather. Planting and caring for the seeds starts in March and goes through the spring so it keeps me busy and eliminates my need to buy lots of expensive plants.

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some of my seedlings early spring.

So I wait and wait for the announcement of this sale and then I pounce. After so much garden thrifting this is my day to finally let loose and have fun shopping for plants. Now I have to just figure out where I am going to put all those grasses. I am wishing now I had grabbed more of them. Will my front yard get them as a fence of sorts or will they become a wall for the children's garden? I have some thinking to do.

Since buying my house 5 years ago I have been on a super tight budget. I have a long list of house projects I would love to do but no money to do any of them yet. Working in my yard has provided me an outlet to transform my surrounds but without spending a lot of money. Sure gardening can be expensive but it certainly doesn't have to be. Most of my projects include reusing plants and materials I already have.

My front yard has always been a problem. Super sandy dirt combined with a big ol' pine tree smack dab in the middle = not so good grass. I don't like chemicals or even using lime so I have just suffered with a nasty front yard so far. Last year I decided to rip up a small corner of the yard and turn it into a garden.

front yard last year after creating just a small corner garden
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This year I decided away with the lawn! I ripped out all the grass (what little there was) in a section which included the pine tree and mulched it all.

front yard before - ripping it all up

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This created a rather large empty garden space that I had no budget for so I decided to move as much as I could from my back yard to fill it in and put in a patch of flat stones I also moved from my back yard.


front yard after
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I also used some old stumps that have been in my driveway for years by ripping off the bark to show the beautiful wood grain underneath and moved them in.

One became a bid bath by using a stump and placing a large teracotta
planter dish I had in my shed to hold water. Take that you $80 bird
baths. This one was free!

bird bath stump
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The other holds another piece of a tree and a small bird house.
They look great and it was so much better than trying to haul them off
somewhere.

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It is a work in progress but I love it. The only cost to this project has been about $40 in mulch. I could probably use another layer. I could see spending another $20 to cover it the way I want. Ok wait I did buy one plant for this garden this year. But I bought it with a gift card I was given to Gardeners Supply (my favorite place on earth) so I still didn't actually pay for the plant. Other than that all the plants, stones, and garden accessories have been recycled from my back yard. It will take some time to fill it in but it will be well worth the wait.

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Every spring my in-laws come for a visit from Alaska. My father in-law is usually in need of a project to work on so for this visit we suggested helping us paint the lattice work that surround my back deck. We spent about an hour painting before deciding to just rip down all the lattice walls instead for a more open feel. We are always talking about how beat up our deck is and in desperate need for new boards. the kids can't even walk on them barefoot for fear of splinters. My father in-law (the true DIY master) suggested later that day that we give the deck a face lift by prying up the existing boards, flipping them over and reattaching them. Brilliant!

The boards were put in with old nasty nails in need of being removed anyway so our plan was to use deck screws this time to attach the boards. Our only cost in this project was about $30 - $40 in deck screws and the cost of a new crow bar to replace my neighbors which we broke.


Trellispainting
painting the lattice walls before deciding to rip them down.

Wallscomingdown
tearing down the lattice walls.

Takingupboards
ripping up the old boards. yes we actually pulled up each board, flipped it over and reattached them.

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Checkingoutthework
figuring out what boards to put where.

Finished

The boards were not perfect on the flipped side but they were in a lot
better condition than the side we had been using. A little bit of
stain and they look brand new. It was a lot of work but so worth it.
I love that the whole family worked on this together and that we saved
a lot of money and lumber.

a full set of pictures can be found here.