Monday, June 24, 2013

Backyard Play Structure

Our kid climbs. Everything. So Nate made her a structure. To climb. Oh, and she's obsessed with monkey bars. So he gave her some monkey bars, too.

Disclaimer: We are in no way suggesting that you build something like this for your child. We built it based on our child's interests and abilities. The rope swing is only available to her when we have a direct view to the structure, otherwise it is tied up out of her reach. There have been many splinters, yet not one tear. Please keep safety in mind and use common sense if you decide to DIY anything for a child.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Back is Sore

The major yard work is done. There's plenty of minor work to catch up on like weeding and maintenance, but those things are hardly blogworthy. So Saturday morning started out like any other morning when you've had 2 cubic yards of gravel delivered. You know, breakfast and coffee and a whole lot of "Whoa! That's a lot of gravel. Did we order too much?"
This is what was left on Sunday night (eventually this will be used to beef up the side yard path). Turns out we ordered exactly the right amount. Good call, Nate. I would have ordered only a yard for fear of having too much left over. I moved all that gravel. All. By. Myself. I suppose I prefer labor intensive work over a workout anyway.
The gravel was spread out as pathways around the yard. This side yard used to be all grass. It is now an enlarged flower/rose bed, a gravel path and a fruit and veggie garden. We were able to use up some of the broken concrete from the stair demo last year. Overall, I like the side yard. There's something not quite right with the transition from the gravel to the grass, but that can be reworked later.
We had leftover bricks that I couldn't just bury somewhere or throw in the trash, so I reused them for a small pathway within the shade garden. The shade garden is a big joke right now, it's next years project, folks. I was impatient at this point (2:30pm Sunday), and I wasn't smart about my posture while laying these bricks. My back is still paying the price on Tuesday. Learn from me - get on your knees to lay brick. Anyway, the transition from gravel to brick isn't perfect, but it's one of those things we'll get used to and forget that it was ever weird.
Here is the view of the back yard as you exit the back door. This expanse of gravel is bigger than I imagined. We are going to put some potted flowers here and there. A couple of large flat stones would be perfect, but only if they are free. Maybe I was holding the camera low? I feel like it doesn't look this awful in person.

So, now we wait...

...we wait for all the edibles to grow. The slugs are loving my delicata squash seedlings. Pennys don't seem to be thwarting them or their slime.

...we wait for flower seedlings to bloom. I've scattered California poppies everywhere, because they make me happy. Unfortunately, the sunflower seeds I bought seem to mostly be duds. Also, since when do hops bloom in June?

...and finally, we wait for the grass to turn brown, as it always does. Then I can snear passive-aggressively at it and say, "I thought you knew that this would happen."

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Bloom Day

Thank you to May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day each month.

There's not much variety of blooms in my garden. It seems I've mostly got edibles, annuals and roses right now. I couldn't resist including the raspberry, even though it's not technically in bloom. My favorites today are the cosmos.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shut the Front Door

One of the projects we hoped to work on and finish this year is updating the front door. The door is a decent quality, solid wood door that has been painted a few times over the years. We know it's not the original door for two reasons. First, it's not the right style for a house built in 1914. Second, the plaster and baseboard adjacent to the door have been messed up.

When we bought the house, the front door was a dark teal on the exterior and a different shade of turquoise on the interior. All the trim in the living room, dining room and bigger bedroom were also some shade of turquoise/teal - meaning different and not matching. It was weird and we just didn't like it.

Hopefully it's obvious that these are the "before" shots. We stopped using the mail slot years ago, because the dog would become a ferocious, slobbering mess every time the mail was delivered. The door knocker/peep hole was kind of interesting just ugly. The little door always blew open, so we taped it shut with good old fashioned packing tape (classy, right).

After removing the brass-like hardware, we filled in the holes with some rigid insulation we already had on hand. Then we test fitted the 1/8" plywood to make sure we liked the proportions. We decided to go with a single panel rather than being more detailed just to simplify things. This is a quick-fix after all.

Nate hand cut some tiny little trim to go around the edges of the plywood. I suppose this step wasn't necessary, but we think it adds a little je ne sais quoi. I don't know, I heard that somewhere. Anyway, the little trim just covers the unfinished edges of the plywood, and it's a different thickness so it adds some dimension to an otherwise flat door.

Can you believe these photos date from February? Yeah. The door went from "before" to "in progress" and then stayed like this until May. Our lady mailman actually asked me if someone had tried breaking in. Ugh. Oh! Can you guess which color we chose?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Productive Weekend

We've been getting stuff started around here. And someday we'll finish those things that we've started. Here's a sneak peak at a few projects that will eventually be shown in more detail.

1. Play structure built from scrap lumber.
2. Brick transition from driveway to gravel path in the backyard.
3. It's a baby bell pepper!
4. Sideyard lawn smothering project.
5. Pile-o-potatos? Nope. Rocks from digging in the front yard.
6. Another new front garden/lawn smothering project.

Why have we been so productive this year compared to last year? I think it all comes down to two things:

1. We have a three year old instead of a two year old. We just let the dog babysit her now. She's even allowed to pee in the back yard.

And 2. There really isn't a wrong way to do yard projects, so it's easy to make decisions and move forward. Last year we were working on the back hall, and we were very conscientious about not wanting to mess it up (imagine the word mess to start with the letter "f" and end with the last three letters of the word luck). We really, really didn't want to, ahem, mess it up.