The lilacs grew! Slowly at first, and I was optimistic in thinking that I would smell my first luscious lilacs in 2013 — this spring (2015) is the first time they’ve bloomed. Totally worth the wait, especially knowing that they will hopefully bloom every year if I don’t screw up the pruning. I love that. I had two white lilacs about 2 seasons older, and they bloomed, but the blue variety did not. The bushes are all taller than me now (5’8″).
April 6, 2012
It would probably be lots easier to write a “things I don’t need to” do list, but I may as well get this down on paper…
Tomorrow (my day off):
Buy more mulch: Cocoa Bean Hulls for front walkway and beds; cedar mulch for backyard
Buy one more can of glossy Chinese red spray paint and finish painting the ugly white rusty metal 1950s freestanding cabinet from my basement
Buy compost and soil
Choose paint color for exterior trim to match storm door color (Pella “Poplar White”)
Plant Clematis vine to cover ugly cyclone fence of neighbor
Creeping Charlie lawn
De-thatch small side of front yard with rake; seed bare spots with Pennington sun or shade mix
Call around to find someone to de-thatch my back yard
Get hair appointment!
Order checks and new debit card!!!!!!!!!!
I think I now understand people who rock their entire yards or that thing where it’s green-painted concrete…
April 1, 2012
Yesterday, I did basically nothing, except nap, read, watch Anne Lamott interviews online, and a little raking. Today, my last day off for 4 days, I had to make up for it. I sucked it up and decided to cut the awful-est part of the hedge down to about 3 feet. . I have to say that is a task I believe I would pay someone to do for me; that’s how just plain nasty it was — and I’m someone who is seriously considering re-roofing my own house. It was awful. And I’m not even talking about how horrendous it now looks, as you can see here..
My arms are scratched to the shoulder and I have a glove tan. I filled up 17 waste bags and 3 recycling bins with the cuts! The worst part is that It’s almost impossible to STOP CUTTING. You think, just that one dead-ish branch that makes it look shitty…then I’m done……..and before you know it you’ve got another huge pile of cuttings behind you because there’s no way that the whole thing doesn’t look shitty at this point, and finally you just have to stop cutting. I then cleaned seemingly thousands more leaves from under the newly chopped section, spread some compost and about 13 buckets of a weak solution of Miracle Gro, and called it quits. On site for most of the afternoon was frickin’ Public Enemy #1:
Along the way, I emptied some shredded cedar mulch on the bed paralell to my driveway…I always underestimate how much mulch I’ll need….and decided that I really love tulips…I’d forgotten how long they stay around, and it’s awesome to have them to brighten up the place when nothing much else is happening, like above, in front of the house, and here, in a planting strip between my driveway and my neighbor’s nice new fence — you can see where I ran out of mulch…
Finally, I dug a big hole in the very rear of my yard for a Clematis vine which I bought at a rummage sale last summer, didn’t get around to planting, and which miraculously not only survived winter in Illinois in a plastic container on my deck, there are lots of new shoots! This is a key planting, due to the cyclone fence my neighbors behind me erected when they built an above ground pool
which they never use. Remember on Scrubs when for years, characters would occasionally refer to something that happened at “Laverne’s above-ground pool party”? God that show was great! So perhaps next Friday, my next day off, I will plant the Clematis. I have never had one before. All I know is that it is pink, because the lady whose cutting it was told me so when I bought it for $2.00. Hoping it will spread quickly and widely, because I seriously dislike cyclone fences.
Oh yeah, and I went over and sniffed the now-blooming “Bridal Promises” white lilac I planted last year about 100 times. It’s just a baby, but I love lilacs — no lilacs in California because it doesn’t get cold enough — can’t wait until it’s big. I also have three baby lilacs lining the driveway which my neighbors gave me, but they’re too young to bloom yet.
- Lilac “Bridal Memories” — lovely chicken wire is because — you guessed it. Bastards!
March 31, 2012
So I have to be honest and admit that contrary to the common advice to “renovate one room at a time,” I’ve torn apart several rooms/areas in my house.Let’s just say I’ve been brushing my teeth in the kitchen sink for many
weeks months,, because last fall summer in a spurt of demolition craziness, I tore my bathroom down to studs, ripped out the bathtub and vanity. While ripping away at the wallpaper hell that is the kitchen. While working on the yard every sunny day because nothing makes me happier than working in my yard on a sunny day. Anyway,while I was focusing on the bathroom, I bought a lovely and beautifully solid Kohler Villager cast iron bathtub and had it installed by a guy I found on ServiceMagic (mistake! mistake!), and had some minor electrical work done…outlets moved, holes cut for recessed lights over the shower. Then I started thinking how I wanted to carve a cabinet into the bathroom wall where it abuts the hall linen cupboard but got stuck on that project b/c I have no clue how to do that, and then did a 180 and became obsessed with getting a new storm door for my front entry, which I did, and I must say it has made me very, very, very happy. The old storm door was really awful. [If anyone were ever insane enough to ask me for advice on where to spend money on renovation if you’re on a tight budget, I would definitely recommend a lovely new storm door, because it makes you happy every time you come home. And you can totally rationalize the expense as a curb appeal investment.] Anyway, I know that you are supposed to do one room at a time, but I just accept that I am not going to do that. My energies, interests, and cash flow fluctuate way too much for that. But I really have to finish my bathroom, people.
Here’s a pic of my entry “hall,” “tiny sun porch” I don’t know what you’d call it, which is my sort of work/staging area for indoor dirty/messy work, for the simple reason that when I ripped out the carpeting (which I seriously think may have been the site of a murder, because honestly, there were huuge stains on it that just really looked exactly like blood stains — really), the whole house had beautiful and mint hardwood floors except the entryway, which had plywood subflooring. So I don’t have to worry about ruining anything.It also has wonderful light, thanks to the big windows….which I love. So I’m not sure what I’ll take on tomorrow, because I tend to decide these things after I’ve had my coffee.
March 29, 2012
Considering that I lived in the SF Bay area for 26 years, and never once saw a rabbit — one of the first things that struck me when I moved back to the midwest was… Jesus! the rabbit population is like, biblical. Have you ever seen the movie Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum? Yeah, it’s like that! I mean seriously, people, why is that? Still, I only thought it was vaguely adorable….until I got a rude introduction to the damage rabbits can do to landscapes. It kills me how I manage to block out so much information because it isn’t germane to MY life…I’m sure 97 percent of people alreadly knew rabbits were pests, but yeah, not me. Deer are the rabbits of California, and I was lucky enough to have no deer problems, for the most part. Anyway. So a year ago, I was doing spring garden cleanup, and when I got around to raking underneath the mature, 7 foot tall Privet hedge, I noticed something odd –systematically stripped bark areas on the base of the shrubs. Soon, I noticed an odd correlation of dead branches with stripped bark areas…. I still had no clue, despite the fact that, for months, I had noticed packs of bunnies rustling out of the hedge every time I drove up the driveway. My thoughts at the time were “aw, how cool that rabbits like my yard…” There may have been vague notions of
naming befriending the yard bunnies. Around that same time, my neighbor mentioned that her pussy willow had been decimated by rabbits over the winter, and as she gestured to the bush, I glanced over….and saw that the entire circumference of the PW base was.. systematically stripped of bark….Goddamn RABBITS ruined my hedge!
So my best friend trimmed it severely last summer, but I couldn’t bear to cut it to the ground. I spread blood meal liberally around the base of the 17 foot hedge, and while there were still a few stripped areas when I checked it out last week, it wasn’t nearly as bad as last year. And from the serious trimming and dead branch removal last summer, there are scads of new basal branches, but there are sadly many bare crappy looking areas. So I am debating whether or not to just cut to the ground and start over….you can see part of the hedge below…it looks fine from a distance, but god, it’s ugly close up. Think I am going to compromise and just cut the really damaged end of the hedge down to the ground.
Furthermore, henceforth all rabbits in my yard will be known as “Ann Coulter.”