June 11, 2013

Spring Cleaning and More

There's been a lot going on around the house recently, and I'm in the middle of two back to back weddings that I'm in, so it's been hectic. 

Annie's dad has been helping by painting the window trim on the porch, and Annie and I have been working on spring cleaning. At least, that's what we call it, even if it's June. Summer starts in ten days, so we're still technically correct. 

Anyway, I've taken a few photos of various things around the house, and so I'm just going to upload a bunch of them and leave little comments after each pic:

 I installed the air conditioners a few weeks ago, but we've yet to use either of them. 

 Besides the hops, the onions are growing the most in the garden. I think this is an older picture, they are taller now. 
 Annie's dad also helped us change the window that was broken on the porch. In this photo, I got a little bit of Leo in the foreground before I pushed the window out. 

 This is actually two pictures blended together. The only light is from by the couch. 

 Here's our Hackberry tree before being put into the Earth.

 I spent most of the cleaning day on the windows. Annie helped, but she also cleaned out both cars. 

 I got some tomato cages for the garden, along with pepper cages. They've got plenty of room to grow now!

I also swept helicopters off the roof and cleared really, really nasty stuff out of the gutters. At first it looked like it might make good compost, but then I smelled it, and I figured if I put it in the garden the onions would retch.

 Here I am by the hops. They're already about 8' tall!

Here's the onions again. 

I don't have a picture of the painted porch yet, because I took most of these yesterday and it was being finished today. However, I do have a few pics of when Maren and Own came to visit for the first time. Leo was confused but friendly with the odd curiosities, and I didn't see either of the babies sneezing, so maybe they're not allergic? Anyway, here are a few pictures:

 Maren's first sight of the kitty. She was thinking, Man, that cat is fat! 

 Leo was being funny and showed his butt to the camera. He's such a stinker. Either that, or he heard someone five blocks away opening a can of cat food. 

 Maren and Leo. Also, Dave makes an appearance. 

 Maren doing her model pose. 

 Leo's still confused about the babies, but he's trying to act normal. 

 Leo stuck his paw into this picture. I think he was envious of all the attention. 

 This is the closest we got to getting a picture of Leo, Maren, and Owen. As for getting them to look at the camera, Leo, by far, was the most unruly. 

 Leo's brushing up next to Owen, and it looks like he was laughing. At the rate everybody's growing, I'm not sure Owen will ever be heavier than Leo. 

Owen and Leo agreed to do silly faces for this last one. Leo's sticking his tongue out. 

Well, that's all for now,


May 23, 2013

One Year Anniversary and H20 Downstairs

It's the 23rd of May, so this anniversary post is a little belated!

We got the house May 18th, 2012, but I still thought it'd be nice to put up a shot from a year ago, so here it is . . .

(Annie. May 18th 2012)
For some reason, I don't have one of the two of us on the first day of owning the house. I think my mom does though. 

Of course, we didn't move in the first day we got the keys. Annie's dad did a lot painting and Annie and her mom did a lot of cleaning and I did some stuff like get food from Arby's and go to Menards. In fact, Leo was the first to spend the night in the new house. We set up a card table in the middle of the dinning room so no one would hit their head on the chandelier, and that was where Leo slept. I stopped after I got off work a few times to check on him and when I'd look in the window he would be on the card table staring back at me. A few days later we all moved in and the family was yet again together. 

So there's a random memory from a year ago. 

One thing we didn't have a year ago at this time (I think), ALL THIS RAIN! 
(Annie used a broom to sweep the water into the drain, and then we put the fan on the floor and all the water evaporated)

It really wasn't that bad, especially since this is the first time we've gotten water in the basement. Well, that's not quite true—we had water in the basement from our tub leaking, but that's not what I'm talking about. 

For a little bit, Annie was worried that the sump pump wasn't working. I could hear water draining into the hole where the pump is, but we couldn't hear the pump. But after the rain was done and  we went out to look at the way the evening sunlight was hitting the water drops on all the plants, we saw water gushing out of the sump pump's outlet pipe. 

(You can see the puddle of water. It came out of the pipe.)
Like I said, we got a lot of rain. Our rain gauge was around 4-5 inches, but I haven't emptied that out all spring, so I have no idea what we actually got. I do know that our potted plants got too much, as you can see . . .

(The middle one's basil. I think.)
To end the post, I'll put up some pictures from the short walk we took after the sun came out, as well as a few random ones . . . Enjoy! 

(Leo helping get rid of the water with his furry paws)

(The onions are winning as far as sprout height in the garden)

(Here are the hops and Annie. Most of the seeds haven't come up yet, but the snap peas and beans and onions have)

(Leo watching us dump water out of the container plants)

(All that rain makes for a jungle! I've since mowed.)

(Leo's creepy)

(A close up of some wet apple blossoms.)

(Some purple tulips near Highland Parkway.)

(One purple tulip near Highland Parkway.)

(I just thought this looked really green.)

(This one makes a good desktop background.)

May 15, 2013

The Garden and Some Other Stuff

It's May 15th and it feels pretty nice out. We broke the record high yesterday, something like 97 degrees. I know most people who see this are already aware of that, but this way, when I look back on this post a year from now, I can say, "Wow, it was 97 on May 14th?" And I should also note a week ago I was in Wisconsin for the fishing opener in Hayward, and this is what that looked like:

(May 5th!)

We got the garden up and running finally, and it was a bit of work. I still had a sizable pile of crap (leaves, sticks, other various detritus) from last fall. I was hoping it would naturally compost itself leaving beautiful black soil, but it didn't. It just became a heavy, wet pile of crap. 

(The garden after I moved the crap pile)

(Said crap pile, ready to be removed)
After clearing the space, I finished fencing in the garden, hoping to keep the critters at bay. (Of course, as I'm writing this, there's a squirrel in the garden, doing whatever the heck he wants. I wish I had a BB gun, do you think it'd be kosher to pop open the screen and shoot animals from inside the house?)

I got some dirt and manure and fertilizer and made some raised plots to plant some seeds. Now that I look at them, though, they look much more like graves. 

(Garden ready to be sowed)
  Our mini transplants weren't looking too healthy after the long winter, so we are mainly planting from seed. We also got some serrano peppers and roma tomatoes as transplants. 

(It's a prison for plants)
Despite all this work, I could see the garden not really working out. But one thing I know I can count on . . . the hops!

(Hops don't care about crappy weather or soil. They're like the Yang Yang's of the plant world (Referring, of course, to star badminton player Yang Yang).)
(Room to grow)
Last year was the first year for the hops (I guess that's obvious, being it was our first year in the house), and they still grew to the top of the shepherd's hook I was using. This year I got a ten foot pole of conduit and used an S-hook to tie the twine to (don't worry, it looks really close to the power lines in this photo, but that's just an optical illusion—I still have a good five or six fee). I zip-tied the pole to the fence, so that's kinda trashy. But it's been working well so far.

Finally, here are a few night shots I took yesterday. 
(View out the back door—notice the slight streak in the stars due to the Earth spinning)

(The front of the house. It was windy, if you're wondering why the tree looks weird.)
That's all for now, peace out, 


April 28, 2013

First Day of Yard Work

It's finally spring at the house, and even Leo's excited. We moved his cat tree back into the porch and there he spends most of his time, watching birds and squirrels, thinking about the meaning of life and how he might get more food. The nights are still a little too chilly for him though, so he usually stays out there until the early hours of the morning then comes into bed with us to warm up. 

Here are three photos of Leo enjoying the porch. One was taken at night with a thirty second exposure, during which he held ridiculously still (his lips were sticking out over the cat tree and they caught the light of the night light, if you're wondering why his lips are green).

(The creepy thing was it was too dark for me to see him, so it wasn't until I looked at the picture that I realized Leo was staring at me.)

(This one's a little blurry because Leo tried to punch me, and I had to jump back)

(I edited this one, if you're wondering why it's crisper)
Enough about Leo and back to the title of the blog post. It was the first day of yard work today (I don't count shoveling as yard work) and I worked on turning the garden into a plot of land capable of sustaining life. I put up a fence around most of it to keep squirrels and rabbits away, and will finish the back half once we take the giant pile of crap in this next picture to a rubbish site. 

(We're settlers!)
Of course, the moment I finished the fence, a robin landed in the middle of the garden just to piss me off. And so begins my war with nature. 

It was a really nice day today, and as time went on, it felt like more and more flowers were popping out of the earth. Here's a shot of the little purple flowers. 

(Don't know what these are called, but once the flowers go away we pluck them.)
The nicest thing about spring so far has been the reopening of our patio. Nicki came over and we celebrated the occasion with burgers on the grill along with grilled asparagus and grilled pineapple (that was first covered in brown sugar). Then I burned a bunch of crap. What a glorious day!

(Patio's open for business—just like Wisconsin.)
This post is getting kinda long, but I do want to add a photo of the hops. They've started doing their thang.

(Just twelve more feet to grow.)
That's all for now. Hopefully it doesn't snow now that I've put up a spring post.