Sunday, July 6, 2014

Crossed Off Items

Here New England had a long cold winter. I was still wearing a wool coat in late April. Everybody was anxious to have a warm weather. And, after the long winter, the spring was sort of squeezed out. It was super short. All flowers bloomed at the same time while a blink. It's already summer on calendar, but it's been pretty mild so far. I'm not sure if we are still in spring or already in summer.

It's been quite busy to cross off items on my to-do list. It's a great feeling even though two more things are added to the list right after(LOL).

1. Paint the Ceiling

I painted the hallway ceiling. For some reasons, I picked the hottest days of the years to paint for last couple of years, but not this year. Once it got warm enough to open the windows, the paint can was open, too.

Before...

The colors on the ceiling look same in the pictures, but they are not.

After...

The ceiling was white. Once the walls were painted to mustardy yellow, the white looked off. But, I didn't want any colors close to the walls which would be overkill. So, I picked a little shaded cream color. A little yellow made a difference. It's a very subtle change, but the ceiling looks much brighter especially at night, and the walls and the ceiling finally came together. Probably nobody notices the difference, but I do.

2. Finishing Touch

I finished framing some postcards I got in Kyoto. They are now on the walls. I have a couple of more framing projects. I haven't found right frames for the objects yet.

3. Give Up for Good

Marilyn and I gave up a canine cancer walk this year. She got arthritis on her hind legs. She still loves a walk, but her legs cannot keep up with a long walk. What can I say... the 14 years old got a 14 years old body. We'll figure out other ways to give back.

She stays to be a neighborhood greeter. She says hi to everybody (people) she meets at a walk, and cracks their smiles. Her gray face always does a trick.

Oh, she also enjoys to be called "puppy."

4. Housing Development

I started some seeds indoor in late March. Once the Mother's Day approached, a pressure was on. I'd got to make their home.

Raised beds have been popular, and I checked out some. Usually, their material is wood. It's easy to set up, but I was not a big fan of their prices. Plus, how long do they last? So, I decided to make my own with pavestones. Ideally, I prefer to stick to field stones, but they cost more. The decision was easy.

Based on my calculation, it needed about 180 stones. Chad helped me digging. Some areas were quite tough. Once the edges are marked, it didn't take long to start taking a shape. I got a tough supervisor, too. She was checking things very closely.

After a couple of trips to HomeDepot, my bed is complete. I changed the size a little bit from my original plan. It used about 210 stones. Two rows of stones helped keeping the line straight.

Luckily, the compost from the yard waste was ready. I didn't need to buy much garden soil. It was mixed up with some cow manure, parlite, vermiculite, peat moss and garden soil. Total cost is about $150. I got a sizable bed for vegetables. It was a good weekend project.

Also, I caught my supervisor was not doing her job.

Four kinds of tomatoes and sweet peppers moved into their new home. I sowed two kinds of spinaches and bok choy to the rest of the space.

5. Balancing Act

Two years ago, I made two gardens, one big and one small, to give wild birds a spot to hide from their predators and get water when they come to the feeders. My original plan was to make another small one at the opposite side of the small one over the big one..., and my energy ran out. When I told Chad that I would make a bed for vegetables in the area, he made a condition to make the small one. It was a time to add the missing fellow. Two years was a long enough to recharge the energy.

It is a little bit tricky to set the location for the new one since the strawberry on the border of the big garden has been overgrown inward and outward. It's better described to use the word, invading. This is something I need to take care of in fall. I don't even want to think about it right now :-( Anyway, after measuring, remeasuring and remeasuring, the location was set.

Removing grass and lining landscaping fabric to avoid grass to come into the garden, it's ready to put the edging. Once it reaches this step, the rest was done so quickly.

To kill weed and grass, the top of the garden is covered with cardboard and mulch. Hopefully, the card board will kill all roots and seeds of weeds and be broken down by next spring. No flowers this year, but the fountain can still entertain us.

I tried to make the garden the same size as the other one. It looks much bigger. Oh well, it's a character. The fountains are totally different from each other. I don't like to make everything matchy-matchy. This works for me. At least, the birds, squirrels and chipmunks approved. They hang out on both fountains all the time.

6. Border Patrol

The clematis is finally established. I'm so happy how they came out this year. They are one of my favorite flowers. Then, I noticed the raspberry is invading the area. It's time to set a border straight.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find the same trellis. It was a sort of disappointment to see the new ones. Their construction is not as good as I saw on their site. I wonder how long they last.

The raspberry is not welcome to visit the clematis anymore. From now on, I just need to keep up with pruning and training.

My wild, social baby is doing well. This year, it got a tons of berries. Some of them are almost ready for harvest. I'm thinking to infuse some in brandy or vodka. It comes in handy for baking and mix drinks.

7. Kill Two Birds with One Stone

It's fun to watch plants grow, but not fun to water and weed. It takes at least a half one hour to water all gardens in the evening everyday. That's tough to me in weekdays. I still prepare dinner after that. I don't get home until 6:30.

I got some soaker hoses. They are installed to most of the gardens. The mulch covers the hoses and the surfaces of the garden. The faucet got a timer. Now, watering is set and forget. Woo hoo!!! The mulch prevents weeds to grow at some level.

At least, the tomatoes look happy. They got some baby tomatoes. Oh, I'm very happy.


There are a couple more things I have done. They will be in another post. Finally, I got a little time to sit back. When the weather is nice, it's better to enjoy. Right?

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