DIY not?

We have noticed that our front light fixtures were looking pretty worn and when both of the bulbs had burned out we figured it was time to just replace the fixtures while we were at it. Saturday it was THE NICEST outside so it was perfect timing.

Here’s what the old fixtures looked like:
Warm day project: install new light fixtures at Firefly Cottage

They were once painted white, but through weather and wear they were looking pretty silver/grey in a lot of places – the paint had just worn off over time. I also didn’t love the style of these fixtures. The long stem on the bottom is purely decorative and not that appealing to me, and the design was pretty annoying in that you had to unscrew the whole thing to replace the bulb.

Of course when you’re doing DIY on an older home, you never know what you’re going to find when you open things up. The wiring was, of course, super old but still in working condition. We may eventually have all the old wiring in the house replaced but at this point, if it works and is safe, it can wait.

Warm day project: install new light fixtures at Firefly Cottage

K is just the perfect height to work on these! I handed him stuff and held on to screws and such, mostly, while he did the bulk of the work. Much easier than me teetering on a ladder balanced on the front steps, though!

Warm day project: install new light fixtures at Firefly Cottage

There was some pretty major rust happening on the hardware behind one of the fixtures. With a couple trips to Home Depot for different size screws and some well-placed applications of WD-40, we were able to get the old one out and replace it with the new one that came with the new fixture.

Warm day project: install new light fixtures at Firefly Cottage

Here you can see one new fixture, on the right, and one old, on the left. The new ones are a bit small, but for now they will do. They work and the bulbs are easy to replace! I’d like to do some more research to find out what style of fixtures would have been used in 1940 when the house was built. We could see that whatever the original lights were, they left a square shape on the face of the brick, but aside from that, I’m not sure of any details.

Warm day project: install new light fixtures at Firefly Cottage

And here we are with both fixtures replaced. Hooray! The fact that it was between 50 and 60F outside made it really pleasant to work on these, despite the fact that the fixtures we chose are SUPER poorly designed for installation. The glass panels slot in and require you to hold all four of them in place with one hand inside the fixture, while lining that whole piece up to attach it to the top piece. It’s kind of dumb and we certainly wouldn’t buy these fixtures again, but we got them set and it’s done so they’re fine.

Now that mailbox is looking even less decent! I need to do some looking around for a cool mailbox with which to replace it. Seen any neat ones?


let it go

We continued to help the vines to let go of our house over the weekend. They are tough bastages!

Here’s where we started, more or less (actually more, as this is a photo from several years ago, courtesy of the real estate listing):
realtor 23

And then after we removed the bulk of the vines:
Vine removal day one

Although most of the vines came down pretty easily, there were some areas that were grown very thick with roots grabbing in all directions. These parts are super tough and reluctant to move! We cut through the base of these awhile ago, allowing them to dry out and not be connected to the roots anymore, but they were still pretty difficult to pry off.
vines climbing on house

K put his back into it and I helped as much as I could, and voila! After quite a lot of effort, we have a nook corner free of growth!
More vines removed

There are still some bits higher up that we want to pull down, but we are STILL WAITING for our tall ladder to come in at Home Depot. (It’s been over a month, Home Depot! What UP?) The roof replacement is going to happening late this month, hopefully, so we want to get as much down as we can before that happens so there’s as little stuff in the roofers’ way as possible. We are making progress!


Project Bathroom: De-80s-ification

I have finally given in and am going to do some cosmetic updates to the bathroom. I kept saying that we’d wait to do anything to it until something broke and/or we had the money saved up to redo it completely, but I’m just so sick of looking at it in its current 1980s glory. Peach and forest green, who would’ve thought that color combo wouldn’t age well?

Of course I can’t quite decide what’s the best way to kick these 80s to the curb, so I am asking for your input! Here, so you can get the idea, are some pictures of the room in its current state.

bathroom: before

As you can see, it’s not a large room. It’s 60″ wide from wall to wall, and about 80″ from the door to the tub. This is going to be a purely cosmetic redo – we’re not moving pipes, we’re not ripping out the shower insert (even though it hides a window. Thanks, stupid former owners!), and we’re not planning to do anything that could appear to be a quick fix but then turns into a major freaking deal. Which happens 150% of the time in bathroom and kitchen redos, right?

Also, I’m thinking that since this floor is peel-and-stick vinyl tile, we can just stick a new layer of peel-and-stick vinyl tile on top, right? Maybe sand it first? It doesn’t have a texture, really, so it should just stick on, right? (Someone please tell me this is as easy as it looks.)

To the left:

bathroom: before

You can’t really see it behind the towel, but there’s a Totally Awesome old laundry chute on this wall.And ofcourse the best shower head! I made fun of it when we first looked at the house but I have come to completely adore it. Everything falls into a laundry basket right near the washing machine. It’s perfect!

To the right:

bathroom: before

You can see the “vanity” here. I put that in quotes because in reality it is just a bunch of plywood assembled into a vanity-shaped object. But I fear that removing it will make chaos ensue, so we’re going to repaint it and call that good enough.

And here is Hideous Light Fixture #1. The 80s loved their theatre dressing room lights, didn’t they? We also have the “medicine cabinet”, which is really just a void in the wall and these two framed mirrors attached as doors. Removing the doors to paint and then putting them back up doesn’t seem like it would be too dangerous. Also it’s HUGE compared to most medicine cabinets and I really don’t want to decrease the amount of stuff we store there.

bathroom: before

From the back (in the shower):

bathroom: before

Bonus dog appearance!

And up above:

bathroom: before

And that is Hideous Light Fixture #2. Which, like a lot of things here, should probably be in quotes. It is a recessed area in the ceiling, framed with the plainest base trim molding available at Home Despot, with a basic fluorescent tube fixture mounted right in the middle. Yep, right where that aluminum slat rests to hold up the two pieces of plexi or whatever the hell that stuff is. I struggle to imagine what the person who installed this was thinking.

I put out a quick paint color poll on twitter/fb earlier this week and a lot of people recommended going with other shades of grey, since the fixtures are grey. I picked up a couple of paint chips at Home Despot and set them on the oh-so-lovely green faux marble countertop to see how they look.

bathroom: before

What do you think? Is there some other color that would tie together the green of the countertop and the grey of the fixtures? Or is introducing another color just pushing it? There do seem to be a fair number of greeny grey paints out there. As you can see above, the towels we have right now are either purple or a wheat sort of color (same as the bathmats.) (They went with the decor in the bathroom at our previous house.) And what can we do about these light fixtures? I’m ALL EARS, people!


caulk of the walk

We’ve been having pretty warm weather this week so I decided to finally replace the caulk around the back patio. It has been degrading steadily over the years (I’m sure it was last replaced at least a decade before we moved in) and there were some areas that were more gap than not.

patio caulk before replacement

You can see that there have been many reapplications over the years, and the prior handyfolks did not do a very good job with scraping out the old caulk prior to reapplying. Bad job, prior people! I expected better. (Well not really. We’ve lived in this house long enough to have discovered that you did not take a lot of pride in your DIY projects. Still. Annoying.)

patio caulk before replacement

I cannot imagine and don’t even want to think about how many roly-poly bugs have been crawling in and out of these gaps. *shudder*

I looked around online, took the advice of This Old House and other handy sites, and grabbed a putty knife for some serious scraping. Most of the caulk came up pretty well, without a ton of effort. Some of the older remnants of past applications, though, were impossible to even budge, so I decided that they could stay. I cleaned it all to the best of my ability and figured – if I can’t budge it with a putty knife, then it’s probably not going anywhere due to weather.

scraping out old caulk

In some of the areas, I was able to pull out large pieces in a very satisfying way. For people like me, this is like sanctioned scab-picking with no ill after effects!

pulled out old caulk

Just look at that yucky debris on the back of the caulk! And again, note the crummy installation job the last person did. It’s like they WANTED it to look gross. Sheesh.

At this point I got really into the task and neglected to take many pics – imagine me scootching around the perimeter of the patio with the putty knife, a dry paint brush, and a shop vac. It took a few hours, during which I listened to the dulcet tones of Mr. Stephen Fry (how is he not a SIR already?) narrating Harry Potter. (Yes, I have listened to these books so many times I know them practically by heart. So what.)

Then once the alarmingly-large-in-some-places gap was cleared of all debris and dirt, I inserted backing rod. Which, contrary to its name is not a rod at all but is just a tube of foam. I got the largest diameter available at our local Home Despot, 5/8″, and I still had to double and even triple up in some areas.

inserting backing rod

Here you can see the backing rod inserted and waiting for fresh caulk. The black layer is the Caulk That Shall Never Be Moved, at least by me.

inserting backing rod

And here we have new caulk atop the backing rod. Hooray! This stuff is a lot gloopier than I expected – it’s more liquidy than the caulk I’ve used in other applications, I assume because it’s specifically made for concrete and masonry and self-levels. Still, I managed not to make a big mess out of it. Mostly.

filled in with new caulk

It’s not as 100% neat and tidy as I’d like, but I think it came out decently. And should, at the very least, keep the roly-polys on their own turf.


Guest Room refresh underway

This weekend we spent almost all our time working on the guest room. DIY involves a lot more physical effort than my cushy desk job, so this was good preparation for me for the can’t-get-here-soon-enough gardening season. We started off, as you may remember, with a fairly plain room with pale pink paint on almost all surfaces.

Guest Room refresh in progress

Guest Room refresh in progress

Saturday we started by prepping, which included a fair amount of spackle, as well as K discovering that the vent cover that’s been in there since before we moved in isn’t actually the same size as the vent. The previous owners apparently figured that an inch or two of carpet space on all sides wouldn’t really matter.  So anyway, we used a vent cover from another room to make sure we knew what size it needed and got a replacement.

Karl discovered that the vent cover is really too small for the hole

Another part of the prep was removing The Hatch, or the access panel to the bath plumbing. I hope that we never need to use this, but I’m afraid to cover it permanently because that would sort of be like asking for a leak, right?

opening the hatch

We’ve noticed, when replacing outlets and light switches and whatnot, that the builders or somebody really didn’t care to use a sharp tool when cutting drywall. What do you think they used here? Butter knife? Spork? Elbow?

apparently they cut this hole with a spoon or their elbows or something

Former owners also did an extremely poor job of painting (this is true in all areas of the house). They subscribed to the glob-it-on school, and they LOVED to do something that has become my pet peeve: painting the wall and the trim all the same color all in one big, nasty, drippy paintbrush-full. The theoretically once-crisp edges of the hatch panel are definitely not anything akin to crisp anymore.

less-than-detail-oriented former owners really did a nice job on this

I also got a nice surprise when I removed the cold air return vent:

what's behind the cold air return vent

Got some extra bank statements? Just throw ’em in the vent. Builders pencil? Same thing. Hershey’s Kiss? Wait, WTF? That’s too big to fit in the vent – did a critter carry it here? It did not appear to have any teethmarks, so that seems unlikely.

Brodie was trying to simultaneously hang out with us and stay out of the way as I moved stepladders and paint cans every few minutes. He was less than amused that we weren’t really paying him that much attention.

Brodie is kind of bored by this whole thing

Want to know what happens when you glob paint on really thick on top of myriad layers of other paints that probably weren’t the same kind? Giant freaking peeling spots! Yuck.

shitty paint above the closet peeling off in big sheets

Finally, you can see some color! This is the blue that we did on three of the walls. K is so happy to be painting! (Not really.)

Karl is delighted to be painting all weekend

And here you can see the first coat of brown up, contrasting with the blue. I am so, so pleased with the colors we chose.

brown wall, first coat

Despite attempts by the previous owners to make it impossible (hardware installed UPSIDE-DOWN and INSIDE the ceiling so you can’t move it), Karl replaced the light fixture with this lovely one we got from the Despot. We had purchased a different one awhile ago, and then I decided it was too boring.

new light fixture - vast improvement

The hardwoods in this room are not too bad, but are definitely the most worn of any of the rooms we’ve exposed so far. Most of them will be covered by the area rug anyway, so for now, good enough.

hardwood floors unearthed

Now that the carpet is gone, I can open the closet doors without struggling! We haven’t painted these doors yet but will do so soon. I am debating between painting them blue to go with the wall or painting them the off-white (“Innocence”) I used on the trim. What would you do?


New heat vent cover! We discovered another issue – the actual ductwork under this vent was all warped and not meeting up with the sides of the hole in the floor, leaving all kinds of lovely space for heat to escape into the basement. Joy! K was super-handy as usual and fixed it.

new vent fits! (after much kludge-ing)

Here you can see the brown, the blue, and a tiny peek at the off-white of the window sill, as well as the area rug and the hardwoods. Oh, and Brodie’s butt. (Note: this was before the second coat of brown went on in the corner, so that looks a little sketchy.)

walls + carpet + Brodie's butt

And that’s it for now! Yesterday I painted the trim for around the door, closet, and hatch, and we still need to cut and paint the base molding. We’re almost there!

More pics at flickr.


Guest room palette

This weekend we made it to the Home Despot to pick out paint colors for the guest room. I took a few snaps of the area rug, curtains, and duvet (even though we may not keep the latter two) so we could make sure everything works together. We weren’t 100% certain about the area rug when we saw it online. Well, I was pretty certain but K was a little skeptical. It was $100 less than the runner-up, though, so he was willing to be skeptimistic.

Here’s a shot of the rug:

ingredients for refreshing the guest room

And here it is with the paint chips:

ingredients for refreshing the guest room

Most of the room will be the top blue (Dark Storm Cloud) and one wall will be the second brown from the bottom (Sweet Georgia Brown). We’ll use the off-white (Innocence) (seriously! these names are terrible) for the trim.

Here’s a close-up of just the colors we’ll be using:

ingredients for refreshing the guest room

While we were at the Despot we looked to see how much it would be to buy a replacement door for the room, since I’m not convinced that the current one is worth trying to fix. Turns out it’s reasonable affordable! We’d also like to replace the bi-fold doors on the closet, since they’re caked with many poorly-applied coats of paint and I don’t think it’s worth the time to try to make them look decent. For both doors, we could go with wood finish and stain it, or primed and then paint it one of the colors above. Any opinions from the peanut gallery about this? The hardwoods are light and I’m a little unsure about having multiple wood tones in such a small space. On the other hand, I don’t want things to be too matchy-matchy, either.


Guest Room before

We’re finally getting ready to refresh the guest bedroom. It’s one of those domino things – we hated the light fixture because the glass part was pink and it made everything in the room look weird. The room itself is also painted a pale pink, which doesn’t help. So then that led to thinking that we should repaint before putting up a new light fixture. But then, before we pick a paint color, we needed to pick out an area rug because after we paint we’ll pull up the carpet and expose the original hardwoods. So until we picked an area rug, we couldn’t proceed, and I’m a cheapskate so I was loathe to spend too much money on a rug that’s going to be primarily covered by a bed. But then several things happened at once: we got a generous xmas gift from K’s mom and grandma, and Home Depot was having a 20% off sale plus free shipping on all area rugs. Woot! I don’t have pics up of the rug yet, but here are some before pics of the room as it is now.

guest room (before)

In the one below here you can see that we got as far as buying a new light fixture, and that we only have one photo hanging on the wall in here so far.

guest room (before)

Big blank wall just waiting for some shelves/shadow boxes/what-have-you to display some of our many toys and gewgaws.

guest room (before)

We had new windows put in a few years ago and we never got around to painting the trim or repainting the window frames/sills. Yuck.

detail of window frame that needs help

Old light fixture:

we removed the crappy pink light fixture halfway

This is me giving a thumbs-down to the sickly salmon color on the closet trim and to the bleh pink on the walls and closet doors. These colors are so bland and pukey!

thumbs down! to the icky salmon trim and pink paint

This is the door, the part that faces the hallway. I don’t know what happened to it before we moved in, but clearly the previous owner thought painting over it would hide it. Fail.

don't know what happened to this door, but it wasn't good

And this is a detail shot of the edge of the door. The previous owner clearly subscribed to the school of thought that all rooms should be painted IN THEIR ENTIRETY – including the inside of the door, the inside of the closet, and so forth. She also really, really, really liked the color pink (just wait till we get to the master bedroom- even the ceiling is pink!). Anyway, you can see in this photo that the paint on the inside of the door is really globbed on, and varies in color from the front of the door just enough to clash. There’s also a little bit of some other, third color, but only in tiny bits here and there.

detail of crappy paint job on the door

guest room (before)

So, that’s that. Coming soon: rug, new paint, lack of wall-to-wall carpet.


seed starting started

Today was the start of seed starting at our house. We woke up at our usual time and after a delicious breks whipped up by K, we got right to business. We had cleared most of this area the other day, but we finished the last few things, including un-hooking that shelf thingie from the ceiling (it used to hold our router, but now that we have Uverse the router is included in an all-in-one unit that lives behind the TV) and re-homing the inflatable Ultraman who was living up there.

cleared basement space for seed starting

You can see here that we have a lot of stuff in the basement, including the patio furniture (draped in plastic), a ton of DVDs, CDs, and paperbacks, and some store shelving K brought home when his former place of work went out of business.

cleared basement space for seed starting

I was happy to have K’s help putting this shelf together – it was definitely much easier with two people than if I’d tried it by myself, and it was easy for him to lift the shelves up to the 72″ height of the poles as we assembled it (the shelves slide down the poles).

shelving unit and shop lights for seed starting

We ran into one snafu as we got started – the chains included with the shop lights were of course really short, which wouldn’t work for the very beginning stages when the lights need to be close to the pots. Not sure why it didn’t occur to me to check that before. So we ran to the Home Despot and got $10 worth of chain, and we were back in business. We used a level to make sure we had both lights on each shelf even with each other.

making sure the lights are level

seed starting setup - lights on!

Voila! The trays are still empty here, but you can see what the setup will look like when it’s in business. It was really pretty easy!

seed starting setup - lights on!

This is the power strip with timer that I bought. It wasn’t clear from the packaging that the timer only controls four of the eight outlets, though. Boo, hiss. So it will probably go back and I’ll replace it with something else, or perhaps get something in addition to this for the other two lights. As it is, I’m only using two of the shelves right now so it’s actually okay for the moment.

timer power strip

Now that it’s all set up, we turned it all off and went upstairs to watch DVR’d Fringe and make a bunch of newspaper pots. I looked at a bunch of YouTube videos and then did my own combination of the possible ways to do it.  First, I divided the newspaper into half-sheets.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Then, fold the half-sheet in half length-wise.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Then roll the newspaper up around a soup can. I found that it worked best when the top of the can was facing inside the newspaper.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Then turn the can up so that it’s right-side up inside the newspaper, and pinch the paper together where it flaps over.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Then fold down the paper, starting with the flappy bit.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Fold down all the paper at this end. For me, three folds worked well.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Then turn the can over, and squish down the end with the folds onto the table so it compresses.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Slide the pot off the can. Note: if you wrap it really, really tightly around the can, it will not want to come off. Don’t do that.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Hey, look! It’s a pot! Ignore the fact that it’s listing a bit – that will stop being an issue when you put the seed-starting mix in. The bonus here is that when you go to plant outside, you can just plant the entire newspaper pot – open up the bottom flaps and it’ll compost nicely in the ground as the roots grow.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

Important note: your hands may be ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING when you’re done folding over 100 newspaper pots.

how to make newspaper pots for seed-starting

After some lunch, I made a plan for what I want to plant where in the veg beds this year (more on that later), looked up what needed to be started by now, and headed downstairs to actually start some seeds. You’ll notice that I had to compromise – I could not find the necessary ingredients for making my own seed starting mix in my local stores, so I had to cave and buy pre-made commercial mix. Bah. Also, this gross pillow is an old dog pillow that happened to be nearby. Concrete floors are hard, yo!

getting started filling newspaper pots with soil and planting actual seeds

One episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour later, I had two and three-quarters seed trays filled! Hooray!

a few trays started!

I wrote on each pot the date and the name of the seed that is planted in it. Hopefully this, along with Folia, will help me keep track of what’s what and whether it’s germinating when it’s supposed to.

a few trays started!

seed starting setup aglow in the otherwise dark basement


seed starting

So I’ve been working on my seed-starting setup, and I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to get for equipment.

I can’t ever just buy anything – I am compelled to research each product and get the best price possible (not necessarily the cheapest item, but the best price for the best product) so it always takes me a little time before I’ve decided what I want.

I’ve been using information provided by some of my favorite garden bloggers to see what goes into a good setup. The most informative post I’ve seen so far is at You Grow Girl. I’ve also found a ton of information in the SeedChat archives and on Twitter.

First item: 18″x48″x72″ shelving unit. The best deal I’ve found is this one, which I can even pick up at my local store and not have to wait for.

Perfect Home Commercial Grade Decorative Wire 6-Shelf Chrome finish Shelving Storage Unit

Shelf: $100

Next we need lights. I’m planning for three shelves of plants and it looks like it’s best to use two lights per shelf, so that’s six lights. I could get some ubercheap ones for about half the price, but those only take T12 bulbs and T8 bulbs are better in a lot of ways (more efficient, better output), so I think it’s worth it to shell out extra bucks for these. I’ll end up saving money in energy and bulbs in the long run.

Lights: $20 x 6 = $120

Lithonia Lighting All Weather 4 Ft. 2 Light T8 Fluorescent Unit Shop light

The reviews say that the included hardware includes chains and hooks, so that should be set.

Then I’ll need the bulbs for those fixtures. The fixtures I picked use T8 bulbs which are pretty common and, for regular fluorescent, aren’t pricey. According to the bloggers, you can get away with regular bulbs for tiny seedlings, but then you need better bulbs when the seedlings get a little bigger. These sunshine bulbs are about the same price as regular bulbs, though, so I’m going to go with those to start with. I’ve seen a number of garden discussions online in which people say they’ve had good luck with those bulbs.

Bulbs: $7 x 6 = $42

To keep those lights going for the appropriate amount of time each day, a timer is handy. There are a ton of them available in-store at Lowe’s and Home Depot but the online information is incomplete (will it accept a 3-prong plug? is it rated for heavy duty use? etc.) so I’ll look at the store and see what I find. Should be able to do that for $20 or less. I already have a spare power strip to use for the lights.

Timer: $20

Next up: heat mats. I may or may not end up buying heat mats. I’m not convinced that I absolutely need them, and they’re not cheap (unless anyone out there has any you want to sell me at a discount!). For the moment I’m not planning to buy any, but we’ll see.

For vessels, I’m going to make my own from newspaper. I like the idea that the newspaper pots can just be transplanted right into the garden and then decompose on their own. I still have a bunch of old library newspapers left from when we smothered the front lawn, woot. I’ll buy some ingredients to make some starting medium – the compost pile is too frozen to use right now (next year I’ll plan ahead). I’ll also need some trays to hold those newspaper pots to make watering easy.

So we have:
Shelf:                       $100
Lights: $20 x 6 =  $120
Bulbs:  $7 x 6 =      $42
Timer:                      $20

TOTAL:                  $282 plus trays, medium, and incidentals

$300 seems like a pretty decent price to make this kind of seed-starting setup. I know that I’ll use it for years, so the equipment will pay for itself eventually. I can’t get seedlings of the sort that I want (organic, non-GMO, heirloom varieties) locally and this way I’ll have a head start from where I’ve been in years past with direct-sowing in the garden. The kits that include this type of equipment that I’ve seen online are at least as expensive, aren’t necessarily as energy-efficient, and have various other factors I don’t like that you can’t change because it comes as a bundle. So, here’s to DIY!

Of course, if any of you gardeners have done this before and have advice, please chime in! I’m off to hunt for in-person coupons for Home Depot and Lowe’s before I make any purchases.



Today has been, in the words of Lady Miss Kier, de-gorgeous! I started out this morning by freeing the tulip leaves in the driveway-side bed from the leaf mulch that was strangling them.

driveway-side bed

There are also iris coming up along the fence, and some daylilies sprouting. K also got out the Sawzall and cut down the stumps of the weed tree that we’ve been trying to kill behind the garage:

weed tree stump

weed tree stump cuttings

What an ugly mess! After doing that, we went to the Despot and picked up some lumber to create raised beds in the veg garden. We also bought some stump killer which we applied to this stump when we got home. I’m usually loathe to use chemicals of any kind on our property, but this tree is tenacious and I want it dead. It’s also in the best possible place to need to use chemicals – behind the garage and a distance from anything growing, and totally out of bounds for the dogs.

The raised beds were SO easy to build! I’d measured out how much space I wanted to cover, so we had the store cut the boards to length for us. The hinges I got for my bday last fall worked quite well! (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

raised beds!

raised beds!

raised beds!

K kindly pitchforked the compost piles and transported a whole bunch of lovely, delicious-smelling compost from the bottom of the piles to these beds. I need to figure out how much soil it’ll take to fill these in and arrange to have that delivered.

raised beds!

I also cleared out some more thick leaf piles from the garage-side bed where tons of daylilies and other things are coming up:

garage-side beds

As you can see I didn’t clear away nearly all the leaves, but I had mulched it so thickly that I needed to take some out to let these guys grow.

After that, we finally finished scooping poop and raking the back yard and K did the first mowing while I pruned back some perennials. The yard is definitely showing some signs of dogs living here:

back yard

We seeded a bunch of white clover in the far back right corner last summer and it took really nicely back there, so I’ll probably order some more seed this year. There are also a lot of weird bumpy patches and big areas of crab grass throughout the yard, so we might end up fencing off sections, digging up the turf and re-seeding with clover. Did you know that white dutch clover does not turn yellow when dogs pee on it? You can also mow it like grass.

The dogs, of course, were delighted with all the lovely smells that we stirred up by mowing and spent some quality time snuffling around.

Brodie and Logan


Logan looks so regal basking in the sun, doesn’t she?

When I was pruning, I noticed that I have asparagus coming up!


This is the third year for the asparagus (since I planted it from seed) and it looks like it will finally be big enough to eat this year. These shoots are about half the width of my pinky finger and only about four inches tall, so they’ve got some room to grow.