Sunday, June 30, 2013

no longer a real estate mogul!

I CLOSED ON THE OLD HOUSE TUESDAY!!!!  wooooohooooo!  it feels soo good to have that officially over with!!  no more double mortgage payments, no more having to go over to take care of the yard and clean out the garage and wonder if someone was going to leave crap in the alley or break in!  No more having to swing by after work to pick up junk mail so that it didn't fall out of the mailbox.  Ugh, it's just a huge weight off my mind!  Up to the day of closing, i didn't let myself get too excited - i knew things could still fall through or get pushed back, but surprisingly, we closed on the day we were supposed to - repairs and appraisals all went fine - everything worked out!

So to celebrate, we didn't go out to dinner - we went out and bought a chainsaw!  and a tree!  We sprung for a red oak that's about 11 feet tall - not giant, but bigger than anything we've bought so far (because we've been trying to add trees on the cheap!)  Meadow View nursery is just up the street from us and they were having a big sale on perennials and trees and shrubs so we got a bunch of perennials and also a smoke bush, which i've been wanting forever!  Billy went out this morning and cut up a bunch of limbs that have been piling up.  success!

the red oak:
 the smoke bush:

Oh, and I made the rain barrel last weekend.  we now have two rain barrels - one on either side of the shed!  yay!  all my life I've wanted a rain barrel - now i have two!  they're nothing fancy, but it's 110 gallons of water and it makes it super easy to water the tomatoes every day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

officially summer

Today it got up to 86, but it sure felt hotter than that because it was so muggy!  For the first time this season we turned on the air conditioning - I'm not sure why, but we always feel good about not turning it on!  it's nice to have the windows open, I think.  It's one of those things we just didn't do as much in the city, and something we love about this house - big windows that we can throw open and not feel like the whole world is looking in, and no hearing every person or car on the street like back in the city!  it's cool!  Even when it's hot out, we spend so much time outside now - it's so different!

It seems like everyone I know with a garden is pretty happy so far this season, so I can't really gloat much, but my tiny garden with 8 tomato plants is really looking great!  (Helen, you can show Fred this picture and tell him he may have me this year, but next year, I'm expanding the garden, and it'll be ON! haha! )

Even the cherry tomatoes seem huge!

I didn't plant a lot this year because frankly, i felt like I didn't put my all into the garden in the past couple years and I didn't want to assume that I just magically change my ways.  However, I honestly think that a lot of my lack of excitement had to do with where we were - and feeling like I just had no privacy and therefore not really loving being outside.  It always felt like a chore.  Here it doesn't!  So next year I'll let myself expand (assuming my spirits aren't dashed by deer eating everything when it gets really dry!)

We have 2 apple trees - I don't know the variety - but they're putting on little apples.  We didn't spray them for pests this spring so I don't know if we'll get anything that isn't all eaten up or not.  It sure would be cool to make apple sauce, and apple pies, and spiced apples....
Our neighbor has a big orchard on his property and another up the road on some other land he owns - we watch him spray and treat his trees, so we'll have to pick his brain on what we ought to do.

We also have about 26 black walnut trees and they're getting walnuts!  I'm a little unsure how I'm going to deal with walnuts from 26 trees!  We'll see how it goes.  The neighbor's dad, who recently died, was super into nuts (he was a nut nut) and they have more walnut trees than we do.  Another thing to pick his brain about!

Here's the walnut grove:

My new favorite kind of tree is a chestnut.  We have one in the front yard and it's just the coolest looking tree - a neat shape, cool leaves, and really interesting catkins that then form the spikey coverings for the nuts.  I guess they aren't very "nut-like" nuts - I've never had a chestnut, but I'm already looking up what to do with them.  I feel like I'm going to be spending a lot of time wearing gloves and dealing with nuts this fall!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I just planted 92,200 seeds

Yes.  I did.  well, "planted" may be a little strong - i spread them.  We've been experimenting with some no-mow zones in the back 40 to do something a little more interesting than just a field of lawn with trees on the edges.  Grass grows a lot taller than I thought it would when it's allowed to be natural!  I know a lot of that is the height of the seed - not the grass itself, but still... it's up to my waist or higher! I bought a bunch of wildflower type seeds on Amazon in bulk and mixed them with sand to help disperse the tiny little bits, then used one of those little monkey-grinder kind of spreaders to spray them over the area.  I know it's not entirely the right way to do it, but I only spent like $30 on all of those seeds so we'll see how it goes.  Technically to establish a prairie area, you're supposed to remove all sod and grass, use herbicide to kill it all, then seed, etc.  I have a hard time believing that the way plants naturally seed themselves won't result in a few plants surviving this approximation of that!  It's hard to see in the picture - I'll have to take better pictures.  We have several curvy tall growing areas - one of which has a "nature trail" mowed through it, which makes it cool to walk though.

I spent hours in the garage of the old house trying to get it all cleared out today.  i made a lot of progress and kicked up a lot of dust and mouse poo.  bleah.  i also dug up some lambs ears and ajuga to plant at the new house.  I finally freed a pot of rue - the stuff actually jumped from a bed INTO that pot, then totally took over and actually rooted itself down through the bottom of the pot and into the ground!  it had always gotten so big that i chopped it way back each year to keep it in check - i wanted to bring it to the new place where it could reach its full potential, but I couldn't get it to budge from the ground until I brought some tools to pry it up today.  it was crazy!!  I bought this thing in a little 3" pot with some herbs.  it's quite a grower.  i think it's meant to be a shrub.  I haven't even looked that up yet.