Progress Report

Flagstone path laid down in bean – check!

Mulch removed from in front of porch – check!

Gorgeous new lighting installed to replace these el-cheepo we hated them so much solar lights – check!

die ugly light, die!

Giant boulder moved into bean (nearly crushing Peter’s wrist in the process) – check!

Sore back, headache and tons of dirty laundry – check, check and CHECK!

Still to come:

An even more gigantical boulder to be moved (why did we think it was a good idea to let Alethea pick a rock at the landscaping store?)

Finish putting down river rock where mulch used to be.

Fill in cracks of flagstone path and tidy up bean.

More laundry.

And of course…


…stay tuned…

Guess what We’re Doing this Weekend

I’ll give you a hint…

Alethea was super excited when we arrived home this afternoon to discover that the people from the “rock store” had been by and left something in our yard.

So, you’ve probably guessed it, but just in case, here’s another hint…

If anyone decides to spontaneously stop by this weekend, you may find yourself becoming a conscripted rock mover.  (However there might also be homemade blueberry ice cream in it for you too!)

So admit it, you want to come over now.  You know you do!

Color Your Summer

Snapfish is currently running their “Color Your Summer” photo contest where you upload a photo each week featuring that week’s color for a chance to win a new computer.  Now I don’t really need (or even particularly want) a new computer, but if you upload seven pictures, you automatically get a free photo book, so I figured I give it a whirl.

Here is my entry for “Blue”:

And of course, I had to go with this classic for “Green”:

I think I’ll submit this one for “Yellow” next week:

Like I said, I have no anticipation of winning anything, but it’s sort of fun to go back through my photo collection hunting for the colors.

The Bean: A Brief Pictoral History

Okay, I know it only got to around fifty degrees today, but a few days ago it was hot and humid enough that we had our air conditioning on for the first time, so summer has got to be just around the corner.  To prepare for its arrival, I’ve gotten all my new plants in the ground, and just for fun I took a picture to compare The Bean now to The Bean at this time last year:

‘The Bean’ – March 2010
(How it looked when we bought the house, minus the two trees we had removed)

‘The Bean’ – April 2010
(After a thorough weeding and a whole bunch of mulch)

‘The Bean’ – May 2011
(Some plants were added in 2010 and more this spring)

I’m still not crazy about how The Bean (or the lawn) looks, but it is nice to see that there has been improvement over the last 13 months.  And I’m sure everything will look better once the flowers are actually in bloom.

Come on Summer!

Snow on May 1st

The weather here has been so neurotic lately.  It actually snowed on May 1st.  Today it is bright and sunny and 60 something degrees outside with just a light breeze.  Ahhhh….

The girls and I went outside this morning to enjoy the delicious day.

Alethea was thrilled to explore the backyard and push Baby Doll in the swing.

Lydia was content to sit in her carrier and watch the tree branches swaying above her and Alethea running by periodically.

What did I do?  Well, besides being photographer, I also pulled on some thick rubber gloves and did some landscaping clean-up in our back planting bed.  After removing lots of thorny nettles, other weeds, a rather large and scary looking brown beetle and random debris, we went from this:

To this:

All that’s left is a pink Bleeding Heart and six Hostas that I discovered hiding underneath the nettles.  What to do with it next….  hmmm…

‘The Bean’ Landscaping 2011

Okay, so I know today is Lydia’s two month birthday, but you’re going to have to wait for her update until Monday, because that’s when she goes to the doctor to get weighed and measured, so I’ll finish her two month post then.

In the mean time let me bore you to death entertain you by showing off my just completed landscaping plan for spring/summer 2011.  As many of you will remember, we have a large raised bed in our front yard that we have lovingly nicknamed ‘The Bean’ because of it’s kidney shape.  After a lot of research and internal debate I have finally placed orders for the plants I am going to kill attempt to grow this year in an effort to make The Bean more attractive.

Because I am anal retentive like things to be planned carefully in advance, I made a scale drawing of The Bean, scanned it, and added plant photos to help me lay things out.

So without further ado, here is The Bean Plan 2011:

As you can see, I’m dreaming of a colorful garden mixed with trees, shrubs and perennials all accented by a lovely winding flagstone path, complete with a bench on which to sit and relax.  And while I’m dreaming, I’m going to imagine that not just my plants, but my children as well, are so perfectly behaved that I have plenty of time to just sit and admire God’s creation all around me.  Ahhhh… isn’t it a wonderful vision?

The reality is that I’m not sure how many of my plants from last year will have made it through the winter and from experience I can tell you that the ones coming in the mail for spring planting will be so small they’re almost invisible sweet little baby plants that may not flower during their first season.  Add that to the fact that we are not even sure if we will be tackling Operation Garden Path this year and the resulting picture is a Bean full of wood chips far less idyllic.

Oh well.  Peter and I are hoping to live in this house until we can’t make it up the front steps any longer, so I figure we should have a few more years to achieve the perfectly planned, but still slightly wild looking garden of my dreams.  In the mean time, I’ll just have to content myself with admiring my fabulous diagram.

The Grass is Always Greener

Our lawn was pretty shabby when we first moved in.  Since our house was as foreclosure, the yard went for a whole summer without any attention before we moved in.  This summer we’ve put quite a bit of work into getting the yard cleaned up and weeded and keeping the lawn watered and mowed and fertilized.

And we are making progress.  In fact, for a while this summer we were only the second worst lawn in the neighborhood.  Granted the worst lawn belonged to an unoccupied home, but it was still nice to not be the worst.  Tonight when we were out on our walk we noticed that the house is no longer vacant and the new owner was out spraying weeds… we may shortly be back to being the worst.

Even though having a patchy lawn isn’t entirely our fault, our neighbors don’t seem to appreciate looking at it.  A few weekends ago after we were up north sailing with Peter’s family, we arrived home to find that two different neighbors had planted shrubbery along our property line while we were away.  One neighbor plants stuff and you figure they just wanted to do some landscaping, two neighbors though… probably not a coincidence.

I guess we’ll just have to make it our goal for next year to make it out of the bottom two.

This Weekend’s Project

So this weekend we did a bean face-lift.  The weeds were starting to pop through the mulch and everything just looked a little tired, so we pulled the weeds and added 16 more bags of mulch (take that weeds!)…  Here’s how it turned out:

As you can see, we’ve added quite a few plants since the last time I posted bean photos.  Still, if you look at it and imagine a little flagstone path winding through, a nice cedar bench and a whole lot more plants, you’ll see what I try to imagine every time I look at it.  Baby steps, right?

I do love my flowers though.  This one is a Frans Hals daylily:

Several of the plants I bought this spring seem to be barely holding on (okay, okay, and a few of them are dead), but my Orchid Frost Dead Nettle ground cover plant is going like crazy.  I really like the leaves on this one:

And here is my favorite plant, my Endless Summer Hydrangea:

And if any of the neighborhood deer are reading this, please quit eating the shoots off the top of this plant.  My shrub is starting to look a little silly being so short and wide.

The Weekend Report


Peter and I went to our third and final Twins game of the week.  It was a fun game despite a certain unfortunate event that happened in the row in front of us.  I don’t want to go into too much detail, so let’s just say the boy sitting in front of us suddenly didn’t feel well and it’s a good thing the guy two rows up was wearing a rain jacket.  Ewwww…

Besides that though, the Twins played well, we sat next to some amusing people, and I got this cool picture of Peter:

And this cute picture of us:


This was our “All about yard work day”. We focused some time an energy on “The Bean” area in our front yard.  Here is the before pic (notice the distinct bean shape):

After raking, weeding, and covering it in mulch The Bean now looks like this:

The cutest moment of the day goes to Alethea (is anyone surprised?).  She watched me as I pulled weeds in The Bean and threw them into my big bucket.  Then she got down on her knees and started picking up leaves and twigs and putting them in her little pail.  I’ve never seen her imitate me that closely and it was very sweet to know that she wants to be like mommy.


The morning was church including a good sermon on the topic “hearing God’s voice when we feel outnumbered”.  We were challenged to consider the question “What is God asking me to do in my current situation to serve Him?” which is an especially challenging question to me since I feel like being a stay at home mom requires almost constant concentration just to keep Alethea fed and clean and clothed and out of trouble.  Sometimes I know all God gets is my sloppy seconds and a few minutes of my time when Alethea finally goes to bed at night.  So I guess I will have to give further thought to the question.

After church, the rest of the day was less remarkable, but not stressful, which is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Don’t you think?