Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Saving for a Rainy Day...

As if getting the patio poured and garden fenced was not enough, the news of a new addition arriving in has lead us to thinking about accommodations. We have four bedrooms upstairs and currently have 6 people living in those rooms. After a bit of brainstorming we realized that the guest room was going to have to begin being permanently occupied. No, we are not getting a nanny, but we are planning on moving the girls in there. Since Jeremy's parents live so far away, we wanted to make sure we had a place for them to stay as well.
Store room

The new guest room
Our basement was not finished when we bought the house and Jeremy has always wanted to finish a basement, so why not kill two birds with one stone. With the help of his brother, Adam, the basement is now framed. We only have a couple of preliminary pictures, but we wanted to share those as well. We'll keep you updated as the process continues. While it probably won't progress very quickly over the warm summer months when there is lots to do outside, it will hopefully provide a lot of work on rainy days.

When all is said and done, there will be a store room, a bedroom, a bathroom, and a large TV/play area. We are still a long while from it all being complete, but getting started is half the battle. The framing is nearly complete and Jeremy hopes to finish that this week. Then on to wiring, plumbing, HVAC, and dry-walling. We originally were thinking we would aim for September completion, but we set a more reasonable goal of being done before Christmas. At any rate we don't need the room immediately, so it will be nice to take our time and get it done right.

Gardening 201

Those who follow our blog know that last year we were very proud of the garden beds we built. We thought they looked really great and we were excited to plant. We were also excited about the plants we started inside. The plants did well for the first month or two, but then we lost our entire crop of lettuce and spinach to a hungry deer. Bugs took out our squash, zucchini, and melons about mid-July. And the corn... well it didn't really establish solid roots.

Needless to say - with the exception of TONS of cherry tomatoes, the garden was kind of a bust. But we won't call it a loss, because we gained a lot of information. Jeremy learned about safe pesticides. We learned that our irrigation system needed LOTS of work. But most importantly, we learned that four feet of chicken wire is a laughable amount for deer. Thus begins gardening 201.

We begin this years gardening season by setting up a new fence. Though it isn't complete, it is going to be 6 feet tall. This won't completely prevent deer from getting in, but it is a lot tougher than chicken wire.

Spring is in the air... err... On the Calendar

Just like last year, the spring season has brought on a number of projects for our family. Just like clockwork, spring hit in March and projects begin taking up loads of time.

 Since we moved in, our backyard has been a mix of mud, weeds, and some crabgrass. Needless to say, it wasn't the best place for having friends and family over.

We had always wanted a patio in the back yard, so we had the good folks at CL Construction give us a hand. Once the rain let up long enough to frame and pour, we had a place to entertain and where the girls can ride their bikes.

Though these pictures don't really do it justice, we wanted to get some posted. As soon as the mud dries up a little more, we'll try to get some better shots.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Operation green thumb

Out garden is mostly planted. We still have a few small things to get (and a few repairs to be made to Jeremy's self watering setup), but we are close to seeing the fruits (err... vegetables?) of our labors.

Bed 2 contains a row of broccoli and a row cauliflower.
The middle row is half and half.

The pepper plants. We have them planted really thick right now
but they consist of 12 sweet bell peppers, 6 jalapenos, and 6 pepperocinis.

The other half of our peppers.

6 tomatoes

6 cherry tomatoes

4 hills of cucumbers. We will put up a trellis for them soon.

Our salad bar - lettuce, romaine, spinach, carrots, beans and peas.
At this time, we only have a few lettuce plants showing as we didn't
give the rest an early start.

We really wanted to get some watermelons and cantaloupe this year, so we have 6 hills of each...

This bed has 4 hills in it - 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash.

The girls favorite bed consists of 4 pumpkin plants that were started inside.
They are flowering already, so we will have to keep an eye on them.

This bed contains two hills of acorn squash and two of butternut.

We still need to plan our corn and sunflowers, but right now our garden is starting to come together.

Jeremy has all the beds set up to be self watering, but when he tried to start the water tonight, we discovered that the hoses do not stay on securely as advertised. He is going to pick up a few things tomorrow and see if he can get it working.

The Wall

Any psych major can tell you that putting up walls is a bad thing. However, Jeremy has a thing for building retaining walls. At the old house, he (along with some help from brothers and brothers-in-law) build a wall across our entire backyard. At our new house, he (with a lot of help from his dad) is putting in not one, not two, but three walls to turn a big slope next to our walkout basement into a terraced yard. With the help of a little tractor that we borrowed from Jeremy's Grandpa, we were able to get the first two tiers done. Unfortunately, we underestimated how big we would need to make it and thus ran out of blocks. Jeremy is hoping to complete it soon, but here is the current state.

This wall is the middle of the three tiers. It will be about 2' 8" tall.

This is the other half of that wall. We currently have gravel piled
to backfill the middle wall and the bottom wall (when it gets done).

This is the whole middle tier. If you look really hard you can see the top tier behind the air conditioner. There will be a small slope from the top to the middle and then from the middle to the bottom. This will allow for adequate drainage and for us to have grass in between.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nearing planting

With some help from a small tractor, we were able to get the beds installed and filled. In between you can see the mulch that we are using. We went with a hardwood mulch to help defray the costs as cedar can be expensive. However, we will soon add some cedar mulch around the beds to help with pest control and to give the garden a nice aroma.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Operation Green Thumb - Take 2

Getting ready for this dream garden, we planted a number of plants in early March so that they would be ready to transplant in mid-April. As soon as the garden is ready, we have lots of plants to move.

Cucumbers and pumpkins - probably should have waited a little while
 on these as they were ready to go out about  3 weeks ago.

From the top:
2 rows Cherry Tomatoes
2 rows Big and Beefy Tomatoes
1 row jalapeno peppers
1 row Bell peppers
1 row assorted (when thinning, we transplanted some)
1 row cantaloupe
2 rows blank (pumpkins and cucumbers have been moved)
2 rows broccoli

We also planted Strawberries, pear trees,
a couple types of flowers (for the girls),
Then we have 2 rows of watermelon,
a row of pepperocinis,
a row of sweet peppers,
and 2 rows of cauliflower

Our big planter.

Before we moved into our current house, we
used this table for our family meals. Now it holds
future meals so they get plenty of sun.

With the arrival of our newest family member, Gabriella, we haven't
made a lot of progress on the garden. Jeremy and the girls were able to
get the fabric down and half of the boxes. Another nice evening and we
might be able to fill them up.