Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm apparently worse at math than I thought.

Filling the smaller, lower section of the vegetable bed took about two cubic yards of soil.

I assumed it would take about four yards to fill the larger, taller part.  I also wanted to build a hillock in a section of the yard, so I estimated about five yards of soil.

Oh man, that's a LOT of soil.  Like, a crazy amount of soil.

It's way way way too much soil.

I got the second part of the bed filled and had barely made a dent in the pile.  So I started digging out the grass from the area where I wanted the hillock.  My neighbors were concurrently using a sod cutter to do the exact same thing in their yard.  I felt like a sucker, doing it by hand, until they encountered problems five minutes in and spent half the day trying to get the machine to work.

I had it all cleared before they finally gave up on the machine.

Then I started piling soil where the yard sloped dramatically back toward the fence.  I decided to embrace this dip and just designate the dipping area as a mulch zone.  Trying to mow the lawn in this area caused the lawnmower to accelerate dramatically down the hill toward the fence.  It looked bad and it was frankly dangerous.  I'm accident prone and I was probably close to losing a toe.

I grabbed some extra ferns and bleeding hearts I had lying around and put them in, along with the flowering currant and ocean spray I bought for this spot.

I picked up a hosta and a Little Honey oakleaf hydrangea for this dry, shady area.  I think I'm going to move the hydrangea over to the right a bit and plant some foxglove, wild ginger, and maybe an akebia (a vining plant that smells like chocolate!) to twine up the fence. 

I need to get some color over here, yes?  And then I want to put in a bench so people can canoodle in this corner of the yard.  And then I think I'm going to replace the no-privacy fence.  Because I have the fever.  The fever for spending more time and money on my yard.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New bedroom light fixture

The weather has been awful here.  I'm starting to feel like those children in the Ray Bradbury story where they live on Venus and only see the sun for two hours every seven years.  I obsessively check the weather widget on my iPod and expend more emotional energy than is necessary fretting about rain.  A friend has taken to calling it Junuary.

You know who doesn't care about the rain?  Lupine.  Lupine is the big dumb hippie at the festival, high on mescaline, STOKED that it's raining again.  We're having a party!

My penstemon is also doing well.  I'd read that they don't usually bloom the first year after being transplanted but, lo and behold, the start I put in two months ago is blooming!  I think it's because I bought this plant from the Master Gardener sale.  


Heather, this has nothing to do with light fixtures, you're thinking.  I know!

Rain was forecast so I had written off yard work for the weekend.  I decided I should clean the house, which meant I ran around doing anything I could to avoid vacuuming.  I recently ran across a fixture I bought at Ikea last summer in the basement.  I have no idea where I was planning on putting it.  Why not put it in the bedroom?  Not that the existing fixture wasn't awesome:

The glass part that should hide the bulb was missing, so I had a bare bulb hanging from a very dirty ceiling fan that wasn't properly anchored so it heaved and chugged if you tried to use it.

That's just a little bit better, right?  WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS A MILLION YEARS AGO?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You'll never guess what happened.

I found more weird stuff buried in my yard.

Some sort of stainless steel shelf was buried about three inches deep and covered with rocks.  Again, I didn't find anything buried underneath it, which begs the question, "WHY?"  Why bury these things in the yard rather than putting them in the trash?  Or is this some bizarre attempt at weed control?

Can you imagine what I'd find if I actually rototilled the entire yard?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The deal with the post

The biggest thing that was stressing me out about the fence was the corner post.  We discovered while we were ripping the old fence down that it wasn't in the ground; it was just sitting on top of a rock.  A rock that was part of the retaining wall in the other neighbor's yard.  Hmmm.

I wasn't sure what we were going to do about it.  The post-digging kid started to try and dig out the rock, but it went really deep.  We decided it was better to leave it.  Luckily for me David is a genius.  He suggested putting in a stringer, like we did for the vertical board fence.  I bought braces and we cut a small section from an extra 4x4 and braced it to the retaining wall post.

Then we used small pieces of 1x4 to attach it to the side fence.

The view from neighbors' yard:

Not bad, right?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cue the Etta James

At last . . .

I have privacy!  I have a fence!  Two different kinds!  

Why?  It's sort of a long story.  

Basically, I never noticed that there's a dramatic elevation change as you move from the yard on the left to the yard on the right.  It drops about two feet along the length of my yard.  So when the ten foot posts went in, down in the neighbors yards, they were really sort of short on the right.  So short that if I put in the horizontal boards up like I planned, the fence would be under five feet at the right side.  So we put a vertical board fence on the right (it matches that neighbor's other fences) and a horizontal board fence on the left.  

My friend David, he of the arbor vitae removal, lent his expertise and helped me build this.  I have the most amazing friends.    

I can't tell you how heavily this project was weighing on my mind--there was an issue with the corner post that I'll write about later and it seemed like weird things kept coming up.  For an entire year I've had this stupid fence hovering over me and it's like a giant weight has lifted.  Did I stress about this fence more than was necessary?  Absolutely.  But, you know, this is me we're talking about.  Being tightly wound is my thing.

My friend T remarked that the vertical boards make the patio look cozy, like an outdoor room.  That's officially the new reason we did it this way!

I'm hoping to sweet talk my Twitter friend Lelo to help me pick out some shrubs to fill in the gaps around the perimeter of the yard so that someday I won't even see the fence.  Hooray for getting back to obsessive plant ogling!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fence posts are IN

Oh man, I can't tell you how much this fence has been stressing me out.  But the posts!  The posts are in!

There's a whole new issue because of the dramatic elevation change that takes place as you move toward the far neighbor's house but I'm not going to talk about that now.  I'm going to vacuum my basement and go to my happy place.  

What, you don't vacuum your basement when you need to clear your mind?  Weirdos.