Outdoors

Garden 2013: A Month Later

So, I previously posted about all the stuff we did the get the garden ready this year and what we’d planted up to that point. It looked like this:

Of course we didn’t stop there and have since added quite a bit more! First, there were the things we were planning on doing. We knew we still wanted Sweet Potatoes like we had last year, and those come out later than most of the other plants. We also wanted to add a few flowers around the house where we could.

So that’s about what half the garden was looking like in early May. If you saw the peppers, you may remember our “inside pepper” that we started from seed inside, this is him now! He’s our little inside pepper.

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He’s still hanging in there and is very VERY slowly getting bigger. I’ve got high hopes for him! Go I.P.!! You can do it!

The final work for that weekend was mostly some decor related things. First and foremost, I found the best thing that I’ve ever found in a Goodwill. Especially my Goodwill which can be especially sucky. Let me introduce you to my yellow planter.

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We planted a rhododendron and some little fuchsia plants by the front door and they are literally my favorite thing to look at. I just love the happy yellow color! The fuchsia will probably look a little better when they bloom but for now I am just so enamored with the yellow that I feel the flowers would only distract me.

Oh and speaking of flowers, I also made a wreath for the front door (I may or may not have been influenced by the yellow). Bright and Cheerful. Just how I like to describe my Spring!

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Here’s one final view of the garden as of Mid-May. I’ll update more once the garden gets bigger (which is is everyday thanks to all this rain).

 

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It’s Springtime Again!

This post was written on 4/28/13. 

I write, as we’re about to get another FROST (ugh, enough already, seriously weather).

So we’ve spent all but one weekend, from April 6th up to today, working on this garden. This god-foresaken, beautiful, now 2.5 times as large, garden. Let’s recap shall we?

So when we moved in, our flowerbed looked like this:

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In 2010, not a lot happened. I’m pretty sure we were still moving in (disregard the fact that it was 6 mos. after we moved in, that crap takes time!)

Then in 2011, we had the infamous failure known as the backyard bucket garden:

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Not a single tomato was eaten (because none grew). We wisened up in 2012 and tried out the garden in the decidedly less shady, front yard:

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Like I said, it was a successful year. Unfortunately, it was a little too successful and ended up looking a little something like this:

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Thusly, we decided if we’re going to attempt this gardening thing again, 2 things were certain, we would need more space, and to learn that tomatoes just don’t grow for us unless they’re cherry sized, so stop even trying!

Well, I’m happy to say that we listened to ourselves on one account and in about 6 weeks our garden went from 200 sq. ft.,  to almost 400 sq. ft!

For scale, here’s my almost 6′ self laying down in the garden area! Check out all that space!

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So, I thought it would be fun to show you a little picture show of how the garden progressed and is looking now that we’ve got it all ready for grow stuff, and growing stuff it is! Here’s the first video I’ve ever created, aka – Week 1 of our Garden Project!

We didn’t quite get to that whole “moving the stones” part because damn, we were pooped. But, we toughed it out, and finished it kind of piecemeal over a couple of days. And we took that large pile of stones into a respectable little flower bed. Or should I call it an azalea bed, since that’s all that’s in there?

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Disregard how finished the garden looks in this picture. I’m not good at taking pictures in order. Sorry.

Anyway… After moving all the azaleas and laying out the structure of the garden, we moved onto Week 2.

The other “first” we had this year was to start from seed (as you may have seen in that first video). We’d started from the aerogarden before, but this year we decided to try it the more traditional way… key words being “to try” because it was kind of an epic fail, but we’re still hoping for a better result. While we ultimately decided to buy plants, and plant some seeds directly into the ground (the peas, cucumbers and green beans) which has been working just fine. We hope we haven’t completely failed at that whole “start inside from seed” plans. The herbs are still in the little pods in hopes that they’ll grow stronger and be able to be planted, but we aren’t holding our breath!

This picture below was our first attempt with our grown from seed plants. Except those healthy looking plants in the front. Those are eggplants that we bought. Everything else was basically the size of a small weed.

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This was the day after we planted them and you can tell they were just wilting completely and entirely too small… it was really bad. So after a few days we admitted failure (well, not complete failure, but a definite non-success). So we went out and got some new guys (but we kept a lone pepper plant that seemed to be doing ookaaay so we decided to just leave it and see what happens) and planted them. This is a week later with the daffodils out and all the new plants in.

I’ll bring in a more current update soon 🙂

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Ravens Super Bowl Parade

Since I work in/for Baltimore City, it was pretty easy to have an amazing view for the celebratory parade for the Ravens after they WON THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL!

I took a bunch of pictures and thought I’d share them with you folks, in case you’re not facebook friends with me and got to see them as it was happening 🙂

Oh, and here are some videos I took (it was really loud and I was being somewhat pushed so sorry for the video quality. What can I say, I’m no Liquid Squid Productions (my friends are super talented!)

This first video is the start of the parade with the Ravens Marching Band and cheerleaders

The next video is Baltimore’s sacred son (next to Cal Ripken, Jr. of course), Ray Lewis

And here are the pictures from before and during the parade…

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Outdoor Update

We started our garden a few months ago. It was a labor of lovethat I worried was destined for failure. Luckily, I was wrong 🙂

For the last week or so we’ve actually kind of had a harvest of sorts!

In a few weeks times, we’ve gone from this –

To this –

Is that madness or what? It’s a massive attack of the tomatoes. And other veggies too.

Even Mr. and Mrs. Deer are getting crowded out

Anyway, here’s a little collage of all the growth!

It’s so great that we have all this wonderful greenery! We were such garden failures last year that it’s nice to actually have stuff to show off! That being said, we’ve also seen a bunny hanging around our parts. Hopefully he doesn’t get greedy with our vegetables! We’ve already been able to eat a green pepper and a few handfuls of tomatoes, and we can’t eat the herbs fast enough! That being said, I can’t wait to break into some cucumbers and eggplants! It’s going to be awesome!  

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Outside work, Part III

In the third of my outside work posts, I’m pointing out the project that was solely mine! And what fun it was. Let’s start with some background. When the previous owners sold their home to us, they left behind some interesting little creatures.

In the front yard are my favorites. Mr. and Mrs. Deer and Mr. Turtle are minding the garden

Mr. and Mrs. Deer

Mr. Turtle

And then there’s Mr. and Mrs. Frog. They take care of the side yard garden

Mr. and Mrs. Frog

I’ll admit, Mr. and Mrs. Frog are a touch creepy which is why they are in the side yard, but I like how they look like little love birds and I had a soft spot for them when we moved in, so we kept them. Also, they aren’t nearly as creepy as those relegated to the back yard.

Let me introduce you to this little corner of the backyard

The area was a bit of a hot mess. To say the least. We didn’t even realize there was that little semi-circle of an area until months after we moved in because it was covered in leaf debris, and then snow, for the first 6 months we lived there. When it was discovered we thought we should do something there. We tried planting some wildflowers but they just looked like weeds. We’re still technically up in the air with what we can do there but there were a few aspects we knew we could take care of. First we (and by we I mean Zack) cut down all the ivy in our backyard. Then we mulched. And then, we took care of those animal. Let me introduce you to the island of lost garden ornaments.

Least of the creepy, we have another Mr. Turtle, attached to a rock.

Then there’s the mischievous/slightly creep Mr.Chipmunk

Finally, the uber creepy white squirrel.

Just try to tell me that last guy isn’t a soul-eating rodent? Something needed to be done with these guys and I had the perfect solution and thy name is spray paint! After analyzing all the color options at home depot I went with an oil-rubbed bronze. It seems to be a favorite among the blogs I read and they’re craft savvy so who am I to disagree? (…travel the world and the seven seas, everybody’s looking for something… sorry… tangent)

Anyway… after an afternoon of spray-painting and two coats of paint, we now have decidedly less creepy garden animals.

Snazzy Mr. Terrapin (he’s been upgraded from turtle, and we already have a Mr. Turtle)

Dapper Mr. Chipmunk

Still slightly terrifying Bronze Squirrel

I still have nightmares that the white squirrel who torments my dreams will come back and eat away his spray painted self until he’s all white and creepy again but I’ll enjoy his bronze self until then. If you look beyond the terrifying squirrel, you can also see one of the bushes we transplanted from the front yard into the back to have more room for the garden.

Anyway, now the whole area looks decidedly more attractive!

And you barely notice the soul-eating squirrel. Now all we need is some grass where the ivy was (along with 500 other things). We’re thinking about putting a hydrangea bush in that mulched area but someone has decided he’s a fan of that little mulch patch made just for him, and isn’t he prettier than a couple of hydrangea bushes?

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Outside Work, Part II

As promised, I’m back this week to talk about the backyard. I thought the front yard would be where all the hard work was, but that’s only because I didn’t think we’d live to seriously tackle the backyard. And really, I almost didn’t, if you count what I think was a wicked spider bite as a near death experience.

Anyway, I tried to find some before pictures since my husband did a lot of this while I was out, but I couldn’t really find anything too extensive. Here’s a picture of my husband from when we first moved into our house (circa 2009).

What’s important to take away from this photo is that large patch of ivy to the right (that goes all the way down the hill and takes up a good half of the yard) and the forsythia behind his head. You may also notice if you’ve been to our house since 3 months after we lived there, there’s also no fence. That was our first big house purchase. That’s how hard it is to find a picture of this yard! I do have some fence documentation though!

Back to the backyard though. Apparently I hate the forsythia because I had no pictures of it at all while it’s blooming, or really just of it with leaves on it for that matter. Oh well. I did find a few pictures so you could all get the gist. Here’s our porch area in the winter time:

This was during snowpocalypse. See all those sticks? That’s the forsythia. Now, see this train wreck:

Fall is kind of ridiculous when you live on a wooded lot. The leaves are just crazy. See that big crowded mess on the left? That’s the forsythia bushes. Seven of them to be exact. This was the best picture I had of the forsythia filled out. If you are unsure of what they look like in bloom, just check them out here.

We had never really thought of moving the forsythia. Zack always liked the yellow flowers and it offered to make the area below our porch into a little forsythia lined room. The problem occurred when we were looking for a place to put a wedding gift we’d received. My husbands Uncle Rudy made us a beautiful porch swing that we’ve been jonsing to hang up for years and never really knew where to do it. We have a front porch:

It’s not very big though and we don’t really want to hang out in the front yard. We also didn’t know how strong the material was that the roof of the porch is made out of. Then we thought about the backyard and how it would look great underneath the porch out back, if that darned forsythia wasn’t there. So, we decided in the true fashion of most of our yardwork, lets transplant those suckers! And that’s what we did. Well, one is still looking for a home but the rest have successfully been moved! So now it looks a little something like this (Molly would like to help introduce you to Mr. Swing):

And now lets pan out for a more panoramic view

We figured if we were going to move the middle four forsythia bushes, and plant some flowers. We bought petunias, some hosta, a weird spidery plant (maybe to commemorate my ominous bite?) and some lilies which I am officially in love with. Are they not beautiful?

Here are some other shots too, just to show I’m not totally bias towards the lilies. I do also love the scarlet begonias, mostly so I can sing to them.

Our eldest dog, Scrapple, is a big fan of the garden

I’m a big fan of another feature in this little area and thy name is rain barrel. We’d considered making one after I read this blog from YoungHouseLove, but as it would turn out, our county sells them once a year in a big “Compost/Rain Barrel” sale! So we actually bought 3. Yup! One for us, one for my husbands mother and one for her neighbor! It was that good of a deal!

What’s so great about the rain barrel is that we have it hooked up to a soaker hose, so it makes watering our lovely little garden that much easier and if you can dummy-proof watering, I’ll take it! I am a notorious plant killer! And this picture is just another illustration of the forsythia! Those guys are actually still there to hide said rain barrel.

But lets get a view from the porch swing because that’s what this entire thing was for!

Oh how I love it so. It’s so nice to swing and relax with a glass of wine (or PBR if you’re my husband) after a hard day of yard work. We’ve sat in it a few times already and it’s been up less than a week. Less than 4 days for that matter! It’s the best. It only took us almost 3 years to the day (my anniversary is tomorrow) to get it hung up, but I’ll take it! It’s a wonderful free little anniversary gift from the hubs to have it hanging finally. Hopefully we’ll be able to admire an even more cleaned up yard soon enough! Or in the fall with some cocoa? The possibilities are endless really.

I’ll be back with one or two more outdoor posts soon but then we’re taking a little (much deserved) yard-work break!

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Outside Work, Part 1

We’ve been taking full advantage of the lovely weekend weather we’ve been having around here (wow, that’s a lot of W’s). We used most of our May weekends and a few of our June weekends to really put the pedal to the metal. Or grass, as it were. I thought I’d take a few of my future blog posts to just show the work we’ve been doing around the yard. This post, I’m going to talk about our garden.

Last year we were garden failures. We planted a lot, mostly on a whim and all we ended up with was a lot of jalapenos and lettuce we couldn’t eat fast enough. Let me explain.

Our house doesn’t get a lot of light. We live on what most would call a pretty wooded lot. We have nice flowerbeds out front so we thought our only option for a garden would be potted, on our back patio. We ended up with something a little like this… 

Like I said though, it was pretty much an epic fail. We got entirely too much rain last year, and the buckets were constantly flooded. We knew we needed a better system. Then we realized that maybe we were approaching this the wrong way. We thought to ourselves that we needed to bring the garden to where the light was and thus, a proverbial seed was planted.

We moved the garden out front. We took the flowerbed right in front of our house, transplanted some bushes to the back (the first of many transplantations we’ve been doing over the past few weeks) and got to planting! Now, we’ve got a nice little set up, with more than we had last year both in diversity and well, just more because things are actually growing. It  looks a little something like this:

We also got this really neat little bin of sorts. It’s a little more high tech than our 5-gallon buckets of last year. This one has a draining system, some kind of trash bag cover and a hole for watering. I’m pretty sure I could’ve made this but we decided to just buy the pre-made set up (and ended up buying a second one a week later). This is our first one filled with 2 pepper plants and 2 eggplant plants

What’s bananas is, that in just 3 short weeks we’ve gone from that, to THIS!

The eggplant is seriously out of control! And our tomato plants are already showing early signs of actually producing tomatoes! We never got a tomato last year. The mint is also taking off like a weed, but it smells way better than a weed!

You can also see our now second bucket. It’s got some basil, jalapenos, and 2 cherry tomato plants. Those are new so they’re still small, but they are certainly on their way. I swear the basil has doubled in size in just the week it’s been out there. We’re already planning a batch of spaghetti sauce using the fresh oregano (hiding behind the massive eggplant bin) and basil! Tomatoes too I suppose once they actually come in 🙂

One of the small little weird garden blessings we also got this year? Well, while watering the largest of the tomato plants a few weeks ago my husband broke off a chunk of one so he just kind of stuck it in the dirt and hoped for the best… well believe it or not that sucker is taking off too. It looked like death for a week or so but it’s actually starting to grow now. It’s a spring of miracles to say the least!

The last thing we have left to do, at least garden related is to find a home for this guy and his brother:

That thing in the bucket is our apple tree. We actually have 2 but we can’t decide where to plant them. Someday soon we’ll hopefully think of something but methinks it will involve a bit more transplanting of bushes. That’s an old hat for us now though so we’re ready for anything!

We still have lots going on! I’ll post about the backyard later. I think this is enough for one post. Here’s a hint though:

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Memorial Kayak

Kayaking is something my husband and I have been doing since we first started dating. He started long before me but he took me on our first kayaking adventure and we’ve been going ever since. His first Christmas present to me was actually a kayak! He got one for himself too so that I’d have someone to paddle with. He’s so thoughtful 🙂 With how expensive it is to rent kayaks, it’s really quite affordable to just buy one. They pay for themselves after around 8 trips, give or take.

So anyway, for the last few years (not consecutively but close), we’ve gone kayaking with our friends Joshica. They’re our kayaking partners in crime. This year, we went on a brand new adventure! Judging by the amount of other kayakers on the creek/river, it’s not an often traveled course but as always, we had a blast.

We got rain last night so the water was a decent height, and there were a minimal amount of times we had to portage (for non-boaters that means get up and carry your kayak over shallow water/trees/giant rocks that you can’t get passed). It’s something you always have to take into consideration when testing new waters. We usually have to do it at least once or twice on the rivers that aren’t travelled as much. There were also a few minor rapids to go through but they were fun, not scary. And I’m a wimp so if they weren’t scary for me, they won’t be scary for the novice, either. This was just enough to still be a lot of fun!

Here are the details if you’re a kayaker around Maryland, in case we care to give it a shot!

And don’t forget to get your permit!

Our Route

I’m not entirely sure the distance but with 4 people and a few little stops, it took us around 3 hours from start to finish (plus another 30 minutes for preparing the kayaks/shuttling the cars).

The bridge we started at (there’s parking here)

Here’s a view of the starting point from the water

The finish (more parking here)

And that was our trip. It was so much fun. If you like to kayak and/or you like an adventure, I highly recommend this paddle!

Can anyone name this thoroughly creepy looking spider?

Another great part about this trip, honeysuckle!

It wouldn’t be a trip without a picture of the ‘yota

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