Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Magic! Now in pink.

There have been magical things happening in the yard recently. The boy and I are were eating dinner on the deck and I interrupted a story he was telling by swearing and running toward the planter. I had caught a glimpse of hot pink from behind the tomatoes, where the coneflower is planted. I planted the coneflower last spring and it never did anything. I had no idea what color the blooms would be. So imagine my surprise when I saw this:


My "little honey" oakleaf hydrangea, planted last summer, bloomed for the first time.

I've planted rhubarb twice before and it failed to thrive; not so this time. It's huge! And it's just going to get bigger.

I am so in love with this heuchera. I believe it's Hollywood and it started blooming in early April. The blooms have stayed hot pink (and beautiful) for months and now they've pushed out a second round of flowers. The hummingbirds love them and the foliage is a gorgeous dusty purple. I have some other heuchera varieties in my yard and they're just kind of "enh." The best part of this lovely Hollywood? It was one scraggly plant I bought for $4 at a plant sale that I cut in five pieces and planted.

And dahlias! Hooray for dahlias!

Just one month ago I planted tomato plants.

And now they're doing this.

I don't even water my tomatoes! Magic.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My house is such a fame whore.

My friend Krissy has a friend who works on Portlandia, the IFC show that lovably pokes fun of Portland's more ridiculous residents. She sent out an email stating that they needed houses to shoot in. I emailed some photos of our house, not expecting to hear back any time soon.

A very nice guy came out and took some pictures last weekend and then things started to move quickly. On Monday they told us they wanted to shoot on Thursday, would that be cool? I just started a new job and I didn't know if they'd let me have a day off so soon. Luckily, both Greg and I were able to swing it.

The crew showed up at 9am and started gift wrapping our house. They moved everything that could possibly be bumped or knocked over or in any way harmed and moved it to the office. They covered the floors and the furniture and then crammed 40 people inside. Hair, makeup, sound guys, video guys, directors, producers, PAs, people who held fans, the director's girlfriend, baby, and nanny, actors, and people who had unknown tasks. They all looked and dressed like people they make fun of on the show. Lots of skinny jeans and ironic facial hair. They were all so nice.

One of the crew members told me she made an offer on my house! She went to an open house and she said it was insanity. Maybe the house got more bids than we suspected?

They set up the backyard with monitors and tables and there were cables running everywhere. I am surprised we didn't blow a fuse, they were drawing so much power from everywhere.

There was nowhere to escape to, as they filmed in our bedroom, kitchen, dining room, hallway, basement, laundry room, and front yard.The wardrobe woman was wearing a ridiculous poncho and had such pretty hair that I felt compelled to make uncharitable remarks about her all day. Stupid pretty girl with perfect skin.

Filming went really late. 

The crew was all very nice. The director was a tremendous douchebag (he's from LA, naturally). Even when they came out to look at the house, as everyone shook our hands and told us their names, he wouldn't look at us. 

On the day of shooting, as Fred Armisen came over and thanked us profusely for letting them use our house (which he said so many nice things about) this guy wouldn't even look at us. If he walked into a room where we were, his eyes would glaze over if they passed over us. We did not exist for him.

This got me so bent out of shape that my Type-A-ness reared its head and I got really frustrated about the fact that I had forty strangers in my house, that no one was telling us what the schedule was, and that this filthy hipster of a director was lounging on my bed. He bent over at one point and his blue skinny jeans revealed that the waistband of his stained BVDs had completely ripped. That guy was lounging on my white duvet, stroking his pornstar mustache.. I was beside myself. 

This was very obvious to all the crew, which led to a lot of, "This will all be over soon," and "Are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay?" which made me feel like an asshole. So yeah, note to self: you are too Type-A to have filming done in your house. Crew will step all over your kinnickinnick seedlings and rip your ferns with their gaffing equipment and they won't realize that those are your BABIES and that you too are a baby, who would like them to be done at a reasonable hour so you can get up at 6:30 and be functional at your new job (where you've only been for two weeks).

Aside from the tight nerves (and the fact that they were not filming with Kyle MacLachlan that day [Agent Dale Cooper, MARRY ME]), it was fun to see how a real show is filmed. My brush with reality TV involved two cameras and a crew of 5. This was a different story. It will be worth it to be part of something that Portland has embraced so wholeheartedly. And did I mention how nice Fred Armisen was? He likes my corks

I also love Craft Services. There is an adorable woman who will let you make a sandwich at any time and her school bus is full of candy.

So yeah, I'll unclench soon and enjoy the fact that my house will be Portland famous! Sort of!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I've been making craptastic movies again.

Oh, Windows Movie Maker. You make such terrible movies.

I wish I'd been better about taking photos this year.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's catching!

My neighbors just tore out their cement slab, too!

Their yard fared a lot better than ours, though. You can't even tell a bobcat came through their front yard. Lucky jerks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'll plant calla lillies someday to balance this out

When we moved the raised beds after tearing out the patio slab we found this weird deposit of cement. It was really hard to get out. I know this because I took pictures while Greg pried it out of the ground. It took him a long time.

It's been floating around the yard (as much as a hunk of cement can) since we removed it. I jokingly set it up by the entrance, at which point we decided it was so inappropriate that it had to stay.

Since this area is sort of pokey, it seems right to put it here.

I mean, come on, this plant is right behind it!

Want me to teach you how to use an upside-down calculator to write BOOBLESS? It's hysterical.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It finally happened

I started my new job and it's been exhausting. I came home tonight and decided to take it out on the pear tree.

I cut it down!

Then I dug a hole to put in the California wax myrtle I bought and holy-effing-shit, it finally happened.

I found a body. Or bones.


Friday, July 8, 2011

The list

In January I made a list of new years resolutions for the house. Let's take a look at how I'm doing.

1.  Sew new curtains for the bedroom.

Okay, I just bought some from Ikea. Path of least resistance. We're gonna call that a CHECK!

2.  Finally paint the living room.


3.  Replace the mortise box on the front door so we could actually use it. 

Greg and I actually tried to take the mortise box apart, only to find out that we're going to need to have someone pick the lock to even get the stupid thing removed.

4.  Replace the back porch steps.

That's gonna happen this summer.

5.  Replace the side fence.


6.  Paint the patio slab.

We're gonna call this a CHECK! We didn't paint it so much as eliminate it.

7.  Draw up a master plan for landscaping the front yard.

I'm working on this. Or I'm going to be working on this.

8.  Remove the rhododendrons and azalea from the front yard.

I removed one! Er . . . I chopped down one.

9.  Paint the exterior of the house.  Quit laughing.

Okay, so this isn't going to happen. I'm hoping to be able to afford to have it done professionally next summer.

10.  Put in baseboard and window trim in the basement.

This is a good fall/winter project, yes?

Taking housepainting off the list makes me feel like the rest of this is doable. Though we may end up building a deck in the backyard which makes me think I could remove something else from the list and still feel good about the year. And then my goal for 2012 will be to chill the hell out on home improvement so Greg doesn't move out in protest.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some random updates from the garden

I really want the entrance to the yard, as you go past the ferns and bleeding hearts, to envelop you in green.

Ultimately I want to put an arbor here with an evergreen vine on it but for now I decided to use my victory wine barrel planter to plant fennel. Fennel gets tall and bushy pretty fast, so it should fill in quickly. Fennel also gets thuggish, so I wanted to keep it confined to a container. Putting the barrel at the entrance to the yard will remind Greg, every single time, that I am stubborn. Because he wouldn't remember otherwise.

The fennel is small so I filled out the planter with astilbe and petunias. Go, old lady annuals, go!

I bought this stool at a thrift shop two summers ago and it sat in my garage, unused. I threw some Autumn Joy sedums in a pot (they will get way too big for it but I can transplant later) and it's nice to have some height in this area. I want to transplant my clematis to this area so it can climb the fence and not have to compete with the hops.

Sedum telephium

I planted a purple sedum that I'm in LOVE with, sedumBertram Anderson.' I think the purple is going to look awesome with the Oregon stonecrop (the seafoam colored one on the bottom).

SedumBertram Anderson

Bleeding heart is beginning to grow up through the hosta and I love it.

So once the fennel grows in and I get the rain garden in there should be a corridor of green that draws you into the yard.


So there will be fragrant mock orange and daphne on the left and fragrant sarcocca on the right (can you see its tiny form next to the wheelbarrow?) and a lush rain garden with grasses and sedges that draws you in and points you toward our awesome deck (which is coming soon).

We pretended to have dinner on the deck the other night (before I replaced the fence). It was lovely.

Summer in Oregon, I'm gonna marry you and have a million of your babies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crossing things off the list

I have some time off before I start my new job so I decided to finally tackle the dilapidated fence on the west side of the yard. I've also watched an inadvisable amount of Real Housewives of New York. That show makes me feel dirty.

The fence didn't provide a shred of privacy.

Also, the cedar (it's a cedar! not a hemlock!) was planted too close to the fence and, as it grew, it pushed the fence out.

So I had to build the fence around the tree. But first I made sure to NOT measure the existing posts (which I was reusing) before I went to buy wood. I just assumed they'd be six feet apart but, no, these posts were sunk by a drunk toddler, so some of the spans are 93 inches, some are 70, some are 82! It's fun because it requires custom cuts for every single stringer AND now the fence isn't up to code. But I digress.

Ignore the horizontal board, it was just to help me keep the board height level.

We still have some special cuts to do around the cedar but I figure I should let the enginerd help with that. This weekend I had a hot shirtless Greg mowing my lawn in my newly private yard that I love and I felt so, so lucky.