Saturday, July 25, 2015

After the Landscaping

So, what have I been doing since the landscaping is done?  I've been taking classes!  And not quilt classes!  I took a beginner's class on digital photography.  I have a Nikon point and shoot that I use, and it does a great job - if you know how to take photographs - which I don't!  So I took this class and ended up buying myself a DSL Nikon on sale.  The class was lots of fun, and I learned a lot (well, I have a lot of information inside my head, but still trying to sort it all out.)  The upshot of the class is practice, practice, practice!  But I love my new camera too!
The class lasted 3 weeks - one night a week and finished last Tuesday.  So, then I signed up for the Photoshop Elements class which started last night and also lasts for 3 weeks.  Now that was a fun class - I love learning how to do things on the computer.  Used to be when you bought a new program, you'd get a 1000 page handbook on how to use it, but nowadays you get maybe a quick video of the basics.  So, the class is showing us how to edit our photos, take out spots, straighten, lighten, darken, etc. and also has an organizing element to it so that you can actually organize all your photos.  I like this part of it - I have tons of photos on discs and on the computer - many of which just need to be deleted! LOL, but now I can go back and actually put them into some type of organization, and at the same time, I can have some printed.  I never take the time to have photos printed anymore, so I'm going to pick a few and have them printed also.  
So, until next time....blessings.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Last of the Landscaping!

Okay -last of the landscaping pictures, I promise!
Back corner below the kitchen window at the sink. 
After, with the 3 french lilacs.
Hosta bed that was there before.
After, they dug out around it, replaced the edging with a cut edge and filled in with mulch.  Also transplanted a few of the hostas that were in the corner bed, right on the edge.
Nasty spot in the corner of the drive.  The guys saved all the dianthus plants and added them around the house.
After, there is a mugo pine, which won't get any bigger than it is, and a few catmint and the rest are red/wine colored daylilies, which are at this time blooming!.  Eventually, they will fill the space.
And the final picture:  The guys are planting 3 flowering crab between my 6 evergreens across the back of the lot.  They will block the view from the house behind me, and be pretty to look at in the spring.  The birds are already very happy with the trees in the yard!

Until next time....blessings.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Backtracking

So, missed a couple of days blogging.  Friday would have been our 34th anniversary, and even though it's been 5 years since I lost Bill, it was a bad day for me.  Sometimes grief just comes around the corner and smacks you in the face when you least expect it. So, I pretty much did nothing all day!
Saturday was #2 grandson's birthday party.  He turned 8 on Thursday!  And of course, the kids were planning on swimming (they have an above ground pool), and of course, a 2 hour thunderstorm came through!  They finally did get to swim, but I left right after the storm was done! 

More before and after landscaping pics.  This is the back of the house and the north corner of the house.  I did just plant those pink tulips last year, so hope they come up again, after they saved them.
 Also had the guys remove that post that holds the hanging baskets and I replaced it with a double shepherd's hook that hopefully looks a little better.  The peony was there already, so they just added some shrubs, black eyed susans, salvia, and catmint.



 This is the north corner of the house, it had a huge hosta that was just getting ready to bloom, but they had to take it out.  There was lots of gravel around the air conditioner, too.  Also had a vinca vine and lily of the valley in that corner - but they had to take all of it out of there.
In place of the ground cover, there are 3 French lilacs and shrubs and perennials.  The window that is open above them is above the kitchen sink, so when the lilacs bloom, their scent should fill the kitchen!

Just a couple more pics of the landscaping to go....in case you're getting bored!

Until next time.....blessings.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More Landscaping

A few more pics of the landscaping redux.  We got more rain this morning and are expecting another thunderstorm this afternoon.  My sump pump kicked in last night, so the ground is pretty much saturated.  But, after two very long winters in a row, I am not going to complain about the other seasons!  I hate winter; it seems I spend way too much time inside with cabin fever, and it's very depressing.  So, even though we haven't had too much sun - I'm enjoying every minute of the spring/summer.  And the bonus is that after I spent a fortune having this landscaping done, I have city water, so my bills have not gone up since God is sending plenty of free stuff for me!

Anyway, this is another shot of the gravel pit on the south side of the house.

 And this is the after shot - 7 Pink Diamond Hydrangeas, mulched and a curving plot of sod.
 This is the before shot going around the corner to the back of the house.  Besides gravel, one lonely patch of peach colored iris.
 And the after going around the house, 3 spreading yews and the back plot is filled with 4 pink peonies, 3 Black Eyed Susans, a Purple Siberian Iris, more Catmint, and Purple Salvia.
 And a shot of the deck along the back of the house - before.  I stained the deck myself last August -- it was originally just the grayed original wood.  I think the former owner only applied Thompson's Water Seal on it and after all these years, it wasn't looking good.  So I went to my trusty Home Depot (I'm on a first-name basis with them!), bought the proper stain for both spindles and deck floor (two different items); power washed the deck and used deck wash on the floor, let it dry good, did some sanding of the spindles and top rail, and then put two coats on both the spindles and the deck floor.  It has held up well for the first year at least!  And I can tell you it was a lot of work, but I feel pretty proud of myself for doing it by myself!
 And after, including a better shot of the back of the house.  This section along the deck also contains some of the Autumn Joy Sedum they saved, more Catmint and Salvia.
 And this is a Burning Bush that was already here.  The mowers manage to weed whack around it, and I don't like the fact that it was trimmed to look like a tree, when it is supposed to be a bush.
 So, I had the landscapers remove the sod and add mulch and eventually we think it will come back from the bottom to fill in as a bush -- in theory!  It's easier for the mowers to go around it anyway.
I'll try to come back tomorrow for more pics!
Until next time....blessings.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15

Summer is just flying by -- I want to reach out and grab it and slow its progression!
I'm in the part of the country that has received a ton of rain this spring/summer. For awhile I didn't think it was ever going to end. 
I finally decided that I hated the outside of my house (landscaping), so contracted with a wonderful firm:  Sierra Outdoor Design, Inc. (if you're in the northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin area!).  Art, the owner, had plans drawn up for a redo of the entire lot.  I have a few before and after pics I'll post as I'm sorting them out!  The first three are of the front of the house and the south side of the house.  The previous owner had put gravel in the flower beds thinking he wouldn't ever have to mulch again, I guess.  All it accomplished was making the ground so hard it was impossible to pull weeds or even keep up with them.  So, the landscapers had to first get rid of all the rock before they could even begin to plant. 
 The front, before picture (and before the weeds got so high you couldn't see the windows!
 The after picture of the front -- they specifically made a spot for the garden bench my son had given me.
 The right side of the front, showing lots of weeds and the fake stone wall that the previous owner had put there.  As you can see, I'm back in a subdivision, with small lots and houses fairly close together -- not my first choice, being a country living person, but more convenient for me at this stage in my life.  I needed something small to be able to take care of it myself.
 The same spot with a beautiful red-bud tree which I love and many shrubs and perennials. The sheet of paper was one of the landscapers' cheat sheets that I didn't notice til after I took the picture.  They were still here that day, working in the back.
 This is the south side of the house -- that whole length is gravel, with landscape timbers holding up the area, for whatever unknown reason, and only weeds and one Autumn Joy Sedum, which we saved!
The south side, after the landscapers dug everything out, used leftover sod from the other areas of the house they cut out, and planted 7 Pink Diamond Hydrangeas the length of the side.  The edging is now just a spade cut, which I think looks nicer, and the guys that do my mowing have no trouble mowing this section at all.

 There's a lot of yew shrubs, some warrior switch grass, which I believe turns red in the fall, although I could be wrong, also a blue spruce shrub, catmint, (the low green plants - they have delicate lavendar flowers), a Korean lilac that will stay the same size, groundcover sedum,  groundcover roses (which I call miniature roses) - they are blooming now with a pink/yellow/tangerine color.

The work had to wait because we kept getting rain, but when they finally came, they accomplished the entire transformation in 2-1/2 days!  I loved working with these guys -  they were friendly, worked hard and everything was to my satisfaction. And the really amazing thing, even after all the work I've done on the inside, is that now it feels like my house!  I'll try to post more tomorrow.
Until next time.....blessings.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Grandson

Our youngest grandson, Mikey, graduated from preschool tonight:
Isn't he just the cutest in his little tux!  Actually, it was his brother's tux for a wedding a few years ago, so he was a little overdressed for the occasion, but might as well wear it while he can!

Until next time, blessings...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday

We've had a couple of days of rain and a lot of wind, so not much has gotten done outside.  Today my lawn guys came and mowed, then I had a doctor's appt. and had to make a few stops on the way home.  One was a stop at the Farmer's Market -- picked up some home grown asparagus (boy do I miss my husband's asparagus plot -- we always had great asparagus in the spring and lots of it!).  Also picked up a good sized tomato plant -- called Crimson something or other -- produces normal sized tomatoes (as opposed to beefsteak which taste great but one is enough for a week's worth of salads or meals!).  So, stopped at Home Depot and picked up the pot and some dirt and now I have a patio tomato on the deck!

I had a hair appointment yesterday and my hairdresser is a treasure trove of information and business cards.  Most of her clients are long term and she's pretty good about remembering who recommended whom for certain jobs.  We were discussing the fact that I've emailed two companies to do some landscaping and neither of them have contacted me to date.  So, she gave me the name and website of someone one of her clients recommends!  I checked out his website yesterday afternoon, and emailed him and this morning I had an answer and an appointment for next week for him to come out and look at what I want.  Guess who's going to get my business (unless he's too expensive), but I will pick someone who actually answers me over someone who deems himself too busy to bother.

So, after my running around today, I decided to do some computer work.  Guess what else I need to do!  Clean off my beautiful desk -- the pile on the left is old mail and stuff that needs to be filed, and stuff that needs to be thrown out and/or recycled.  It's about 2 weeks worth and there is no excuse for it to have gone that long! Paper breeds when left too long -- that's why its imperative to take care of it right away!
So, I'm off to get busy!
Until next time....Blessings!