Friday, August 8, 2008

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary. How does your garden grow?


Head on over to Mercedes' World for a chance to win a vintage apron!

A blank entry box is daunting. I can't tell you the number of times I've clicked on "New Post", got skiddish about the empty white box, and fled.

Here are a couple of "Did you know?" facts to get your attention:

Did you know that the average American walks 4 miles during a lifetime just making the bed?

Did you know that the almond is a member of the peach family?

This "Did you know?" tidbit courtesy of my Snapple lids.

My husband bought a motorcycle. More on that later. It's a long story complete with pictures of my 6'2" husband riding a small 1970s scooter to riding a larger, newer (1980s!) "motorcycle" to now owning a slightly used BMW sport touring motorcycle. Stay tuned...

I thought I'd dedicate this post to my backyard. "The Jungle".


Here's the story... the man who lived in our house before us was the original owner and has been around longer than anyone in our neighborhood. He had our house built the way it was and lived there for 20-something years. He pored thousands of dollars into landscaping the property. That meant planting several types of fruits and herbs and who knows how many species of flowers. I'm sure that in its hey day it was a beautiful, serene place. Here's the problem: our house was initially overpriced. Way overpriced. No one wanted to touch it for that reason, so by the time we came along and fell in love with our home it had been sitting on the market for 4 months. Imagine a fully landscaped home sitting on the market for 4 months in the summertime with the sprinkler system running on its regular, timed schedule. Now do you understand why I call it "the jungle"? We couldn't see the ground when we first toured the backyard. Everything was overgrown, and I mean everything. Being the young, naiive home buyers that we were, we thought "This is beautiful, we can fix this up!" But, don't worry, we weren't naiive enough to pay what the seller was asking for it! I won't get into how we figured out that we were, in fact, extremely naiive, but we did and now David spends countless hours out there pulling weeds only to find the stupid things sprouting back up the next week. I realize it still looks like a jungle, but you'd be surprised to see how far it's come.

(left) D had just powerwashed the deck so he could paint it which is why it looks ghetto in this picture. That's our hot tub. The previous owner boasted that they once fit 23 high school students into it. It's 720 gallons of expensive water to fill so we haven't filled it this year. Last year we used it quite a bit.

(right) Isn't this great? It's our fig tree! I'd never seen a real life fig tree before until we moved into our house. Even then, I didn't even know we had it until D told me. I plan to harvest the figs when they're ready and make fig preserves for my Dad. He remembers his grandma making fig preserves for him when he was a kid and I'd love to recreate that memory.

Just like any 1980s house, there are things about this home that I'd love to fix that are just out of our budget range. Every house in our neighborhood has vinyl windows. I never understood why people didn't just replace their windows! Then we got a quote. Yeah, it would be roughly the equivalent of taking on another car payment. Over $10,000. No, thanks. We'll keep our crusy old vinyl windows for now. And our crusty old kitchen. Someday we'll redo both of those things - I will bask in the day, I promise you. Let me show you why I went into that spiel. In this picture you can see our windows and, if you look in the garden window on the top deck, you will see a flourescent light fixture. Lovely. D is going to replace that with canister lighting but it seems that every home improvement project hinges on another project being completed which hinges on finding room in the budget.

See all of my daisies? I actually didn't just let most of them die this year. I picked several and gave them in bouquets or put them in a vase on our dining room table. They were beautiful and I can't wait until they come back again next year.

This is our kiwi vine(s). Yes, an arbor with a bad hair day. This thing just grows out of control for months and when it's dormant, D cuts it back til there's no tomorrow. I think it makes it ten times healthier and more robust in the spring. Maybe this winter he should just leave it alone and see what happens. I'm excited to harvest the kiwi this year, though. Last year we did nothing with it because we weren't sure what in the world to do with it and when to harvest. I've been reading up on it, though, and I think I will be able to get it at its best time this year. Anyone want kiwi? We're going to have so much of it. Another note: Our bbq and chairs aren't usually here. D moved them so he could pressure wash the deck. I'd love to get a fire pit and roast s'mores right there, though.

We have...

Japanese Pears

I'm not going to show you pictures of all of it for the sake of your sanity, but I'll show you the part of our backyard that drives me the most crazy. A couple of things about this photo. First, you can't really tell but our backyard has a super steep hill that just drops down to the fence in the back. Apparently, the previous owner didn't want to level it off because he didn't want to mow it. I think the mowing thing is another reason why that green stuff you see in the picture that looks like grass is not actually grass. It's a type of moss which, as you can probably guess, flourishes in Seattle. I love grass. I would love to rip up all of these plants, level out our backyard, plant grass, and then replant the vegetation around the perimeter. Ask me how much I think that would cost. Go ahead. THOUSANDS. It makes me sad to think that the previous owner said he paid over $20,000 to make it look the way it does now. There's really not useable space here. I can't imagine letting toddlers play around in the backyard. It's a huge hazard right now. Oh well! It is beautiful and even though I speak of its untameness (is that a word?) in negative tones, I just love it. I do. It's quiet and peaceful and I love that our home backs up to a green belt.

I have electric blue hydrangea next to our front porch right now. I love them. I have a short little vase that I have been putting them in to sit on our table. Flowers add so much to a space.

Does anyone want to come help me decorate the inside of my house? I never know what to do with it. I'd show you pictures (I have them because my aunt wanted to see them when we went to Lincoln City a couple of weekends ago - she's never been to our house), but it is the internet, you know. Maybe later, but I'm just not ready to show my lack of decorating abilities. Too embarassing. My mom is a decorating genius but she lives 3 hours away.

I'm done rambling. Wow, I really get away with myself.

I think I've talked D into taking me to an antiques mall tomorrow. Yipee! I'll report back next Thursday 8/14 (Vintage Thingies Thursday!) with my find(s).

"Cecilia" by Simon & Garfunkel keeps playing on my iPod. Such a happy, peppy tune for such sad lyrics! ("Happy & peppy" makes me want to watch That Thing You Do)

9 comments commented:

Micah said...

Love the new look! (and your backyard =).

Glamorous Life of a House Wife said...

Oh, I love your layout! Did you decide how to make it how you wanted it? I just messed with mine for a LONG time and actually made it in powerpoint and uploaded it as a picture. It was pretty easy, but I am loving yours! Did you do it yourself?

Debbie said...

Oh how I love your gorgeous gardens! And that fruit in your backyard makes my eyes bug out! WOW!!!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a lush yard you have! I'm so envious over all that fruit! Kiwis! I've never seen them grow before. South Carolina must not be a kiwi state.
You were so sweet to give me such great ideas for my sweet Sarah. Thank you so much! I will write a letter--and get the boys and dad in my house to write one too. That's a fantastic idea.
Give yourself a hug for me!
And now I'll go, with Simon &G's Cecilia playing in my head. I love that song!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your landscaping, I'm so envious! It's kind of funny that your husband just bought a BMW touring bike, mine just sold his and got another Harley LOL!

Glamorous Life of a House Wife said...

Hm.. sounds like we have more in common than we think! My (6'4") husband just sold his way-too-small-for-him motorcycle and is currently saving for a new (bigger) one. :)

The Pink Potpourri said...

hi! thanks for commenting on my blog! I love your blog! and great post today. i enjoyed looking at all the pictures!!! love your house :)

yes, you should get a bike with a basket...your dog would love it!

Liz said...

What a beautiful home and yard! Our house was built in 52, but it was a rent house for ten years before we bought it. I'm sure at one point the yard was gorgeous, but everything died and got ripped out by renters. Sniff Sniff. So, even though the neighborhood is almost 65 years old, we've had to start gardening from scratch. It's a slow slow process! You guys are super lucky!

lisa said...

Beautiful place. What a greenly surroundings you have. Very nice in the eyes.

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