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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Gettin' Rid of the Ugly

A couple weeks back, it was Memorial Day.  The day that we remember those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.  And how do many of us celebrate it?  By spending time in our yards, beautifying the American Dreams that those American heroes allow us the freedom to own. 

So, I guess, in the spirit of that, Michael and I found ourselves feeling the urge to do just that. I have talked a little bit about the sad state of our landscaping - the fact that there really is none.  And when I say that, I usually follow it up with the fact that we don't plan to do any hardcore landscaping anytime soon.  The main reason is that we plan to build a porch on the front of our house, Lord willing, next spring.  So what would be the purpose of spending time, energy, and money planting hostas, crab apples, and boxwoods?  None, no purpose whatsoever.

So our task? Get rid of the ugly for just a little bit of money.

We had already replaced the original wrought iron railings and painted them white, but that is about where it ends for the frontal upgrades.  Things were looking pretty drab around here (other than our pretty siding! We love you, never change.)

(Eek) So we finally got to the point where we felt that something, even if its temporary, needed to be done. 

But what?

I wasn't really sure, so I called the experts for some advice.

These people, they know how to landscape, but more importantly, they know how to grow stuff... successfully... for a living.  I don't know two people more qualified to give us newbies some advice.

Their recommendation? Because everything we are planting is for this year only:  Keep it simple.  Easy.  And inexpensive.

I love that kind of advice!!

So the first thing we decided to do was dig out the existing grass and weeds.

With some shovels and some muscle, we got it done.  And the only picture throughout that process that I got was of me and a little baby turtle that I found.  Cute little guy.

Me?...Not so cute.

Then we laid out the flower bed design with medium-sized fieldstone that we have been collecting and that my dad has been collecting for us from the field across the creek. Thanks Dad!

We had removed an inch or so of top soil in the areas we planned to plant flowers so that we could add some fertilized planting soil.  We spread that around and mixed it in with the existing dirt.  We also spread Preen around to ward off any weeds from growing back.
 We added some small river rocks in the middle area and then laid out our plants. 
We got our plants from a cute little local place just around the corner - Kercher's Orchard.  Do you know it?-good people, great quality, and fantastic prices ;-) (also wonderful family).  We got red geraniums and white allysums - going for a simple red, white, and blue (house) theme.

 Rocks and mulch were from Menards (the mulch was out of stock but they let us place an order at the Memorial Day sale price).  I really like the set up they have there.  They have a display so you can see exactly what you are ordering and compare them, side-by-side, to other products.

Now, the only problem was, what was going to go in the large empty middle area?

 I had been looking on Craigslist for an outdoor bench.  We had just missed out on a L.L.Bean teak bench for $80 and I was a bit bummed (not necessarily a steal of a deal but certainly a better price than something we would find brand new).  So when we were at Menards, we looked around at their outdoor furniture area - hoping to find an inexpensive option.

That's when a little yellow Adirondack chair caught my eye, the price? $40.  Well how cute would that be?! So I plopped myself right down, making myself quite comfortable, and started to imagine how cute two of these would  look once we got them in the truck and in front of our home.  I looked up at Michael, already decided in my heart they were coming home with us, and said "Look! What do you think?!"

"Yeah, those would work...    -pause-    well...."

Heart sinking... great here it comes.

"Actually, I think my mom has some Adirondack chairs in her garage that she has had stored in there for years and doesn't want."

"Let's call her right now." I responded without missing a beat. 

And next thing I know we are headed over there to pick them up!

You know how the saying goes, "When God closes a Craigslist transaction, he opens a garage door with lots of stuff your mother-in-law doesn't want." Or something like that.

So we set the chairs in place.

Now it is two weeks later and it wouldn't be a plant/landscaping job of mine if something didn't die.  Yes, we've already had some casualties (just a couple allysums that got a little too dry, apparently).

 And bless my mother's heart, she tried to tell me it was the weather.  But I know the truth - God thought it would be a funny joke to give a black-thumbed daughter to a farmer and his wife.  He's got a weird sense of humor that way.  Stinker.

Anyway, I will press on, despite my disability.

I added some planters to do a little more sprucing (again from Kercher's Orchard).
 And Michael hung the flag in front of our home. 
Funny story about the flag.  I was planting the plants by the front walk while Michael was working on hanging the flag.  Then all of a sudden I hear the Star Spangled Banner playing.  I look up and Michael is getting ready to place the flag in the bracket and, like a true boy scout, I guess he thought he should honor the raising of the flag with the appropriate ceremonial tunes.

Its fun to be married to somebody well as patriotic. :-)

And now, we get to enjoy our newly spruced up space. 

Who wouldn't want to sit there sipping on some strawberry iced lemonade, perusing a good book, and enjoying the wonderful view?

So for a little over $100 bucks, I'd say we got ourselves a pretty sweet upgrade!

Now, for those of you faithful ones,who made it to the end of this post, I have a task for you..

Actually, its more of a favor.  The Adirondack chairs are untreated wood and need to be either stained or painted in order to be able to resist the elements.  But which one?  I truly cannot decide.  So I thought it would be fun to get your opinion on this one. Should they be  Stained Wood, Red, or yellow? You can place your votes in the comments section.

Thanks for your help friends! You're just the gosh darn best!

That DIY Party link party at
A Harvest of Blessing
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