Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summertime Garden

In late July and early August you will find my garden at its happiest.  Everything is starting to bloom and my garden hasn't been destroyed by lack of water, or the trampling of little feet. (Who am I kidding, my kids both have giant feet!)  It's pouring down rain here today, so I thought a little garden tour was in order.  

I'll start with one of my absolute favorite plants.  Meet Annabelle.  


Annabelle Hydrangeas are known for the big mopheads that they produce.  There are so many flowers on these plants that I am forced to cut more bouquets than I have places for in my house.  I know, it's a tough problem to have. 


Annabelles love lots of water, like all hydrangeas, but they are not fans of the pounding rain.  I'm dreading what today's rainstorm is doing to them right now.   I usually gently shake them off after it rains, but I'm sure I will have lots of broken branches.  The rain makes the mophead very heavy and pulls them to the ground.


I planted some basil up near the house this year, and it has been very happy there.  That corner bounces the heat around and it acts like a little mini green house.   Keeping the old watering can there reminds me to keep it watered.  I tried purple basil there again this year and it didn't last.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong with that variety.


My vegetable garden is very herb heavy this year.  I noticed that most of the "fun" fruits and veggies haven't worked very well, so I decided to plant what I know works well in this space, considering what we use the most.  


This year's garden is very basil and cilantro heavy.  I use those two herbs a few times a week.


We planted lots of lots of lettuce.  Some varieties are kind of wilty, but the Romaine lettuce is pretty crisp.  We eat a lot of chicken Caesar wraps this time of year.  


I finally have a few zucchini starting!  See that little baby right there?


My hubby's request this year was a couple of blueberry bushes.  I have two bushes that didn't make it through the winter, so I bought this one in early Spring.  The blueberries are ripening!  A few more weeks and we'll be ready for some blueberry cobbler a small handful of berries.


My dahlias make me happy.  (Thanks Carpooler Michelle!)  You are supposed to dig up dahlia tubers every year, store them indoors, then replant them in the spring.  I don't have that much patience, so I leave them in the ground and feel lucky when they don't rot and actually produce beautiful flowers.  Again, I'm not looking forward to seeing what today's rain has done to this pretty flower!


I have several varieties of hydrangeas around my yard.  This one is changing.  This is the only stem on this plant that produces this type of flower.  They rest are lacecaps.  I talked to someone at Wight's Nursery about why this is happening and she said it is not possible to have a plant change from a mophead to a lacecap.  I listened politely, but I have the proof right in my yard.  I have no idea why this plant (along with a few others) are mutating this way.  Weird.


This little area by my shed, along the fence, has been my most recent garden project.  The fence is really ugly, so I needed things to hide it.  It get very little sun, if any at all, and it's slightly sloped.  This is only year two for these plants, so I know they will fill in in another two years.  It's filled with hostas, and a few other shade perennials.


Last years I added three honeysuckles and I love them!  I just need to figure out how I'm going to attach them to the fence so they will cover some of the ugliness.


 My little wagon, in front of the shed looks like it needs a bit more fertilizer, but the flowers add a little color.

The front of the house is starting to bloom as well.


These are the plants we stole from the cemetery.  Ok, we didn't really steal them.  We bought them in the first place, and took them down to the graves of my step-dad, father in law, grandpa, and grandma.  After a week, the cemetery workers come around and collect everything to put in the dumpster, regardless of condition.  So, my mother in law runs down just before they are about to toss my pretty flowers and collects them for me.  Isn't that good thinking?  

*Funny side story - One year my mom, grandma, and I went down to the cemetery to pick up the plants before they were thrown away.  There were lots of people around, so when my mom and grandma went to get the plants I yelled from the car, "That one's pretty too!  Whey don't you grab it too!"  My mom was mortified and I was cracking up laughing.*


Here are a few more hydrangeas from the front of the house.  The top one was supposed to be a white mophead, and over the years this is what it has changed to.  I'm tellin' ya, it's weird!



I bought a little Blue Star Creeper a few years ago, and it has taken off.  I love that you can walk on it and it bounces back.  My house NEEDS plants that bounce back.  The front yard is home to the basketball hoop.  The Blue Star Creeper sees lots of action.

Finally, we have the hanging baskets and window boxes.  I try to get these planted a little before Memorial Day.  They are tiny little starts when I buy them, and fill out nicely by July.  I will plant these baskets as long as I live and I don't ever think I will change flowers.  I plant Bacopa, Geraniums, and Petunias every year.  I think they make my house happier.


I guess they make me happier too!


Happy gardening!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My New Barn Door


I have a door!  I HAVE A DOOR!  Do you hear angels singing?  I do! I've lived in this house for TEN YEARS WITH NO DOOR!  I don't know who designed this house, but why would you not put a door on a bathroom?  It doesn't even have a door to a separate toilet area - just NO door at all until NOW!  

Here's the before shot.  You can imagine how this must light up the room, when someone gets up in the middle of the night or gets up early for work.  It was an extra wide opening, so we had to special order a door that would fit.


Because of the shape, you couldn't really just add a door frame without cutting the wall and evening out those corners.  Even if you cut the corners and ordered a frame and door, it would still all need to be custom because of the size.  Custom = $$$.


I don't care anymore.  I have a door!  

We went up to The Door Store in Marysville with our measurements and my PInterest board filled with barn doors.  They said, "Oh, sure.  We can totally do that for you.  The door will be about $1,500 and the track is about $500."  Then I mentioned that I want the cheaper version.  They showed me the cheaper version but it still wasn't in out budget, so I forced them to get a little creative.  They said they could do a special order door, that wouldn't be a true barn door, but would at least have a couple of panels.  They found an unfinished door for me, so I could finish it myself and save a little more money.  The unfinished 4 panel door cost us $350, which was a much better price for this project.  It's solid and heavy, which is what I wanted.  



I was a little disappointed in the finish on the door.  We have been stripping, staining, and varathaning all of the doors, cabinets, and trim in the house.  It's been a long project and we are only about half way done.  When I was staining the doors (we bought a new door to the garage too) I ran out of Varathane.  I took a picture of what I wanted and sent my hubby to Lowe's to pick up a new can.  Well, either I took a picture of the wrong can or he bought the wrong thing.  (I'll go with me taking the wrong picture since he's always nice enough to run out and pick up anything I need for my hairbrained projects.)  Well, the lighting in the garage isn't very good and I didn't even notice how shiny the doors were turning out until I had them hung up.  They are shiny.  Really shiny.  I must have had my hubby buy semi-gloss instead of satin.  Grrrrr.  It really, really, really bothers me when I look at them, but I have no desire to take the doors back down and go through the whole process of refinishing.  So, the doors will stay.

The hardware was another area we had to get creative to cut costs.  The barndoor hardware I really wanted was about $450.  A bathroom door in my master bedroom, that no one will ever see (except my blog reading friends) is not the place I want to spend $450.  So, I asked my Door Store friends if they had any other bright ideas.  They sent us over to the economical version of a track for a sliding door.  This one was only $80.  Perfect!  My first thought was just to spray paint it black and call it done, but then I thought that a burlap valance might be a nice way to hide the track.  My neighbor also suggested a barnwood cornice.  I do have a few pieces of barnwood in my garage, so that may be an option.  For now, I will just be happy to have a door!  I have a door, friends!!



Yep, angels singing.  


I think I'll go down to my local Farm and Garden Feed Center to see if they have any barn door handles.  

It's a happy day!



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Behr Deckover Update - Over One Year Later


About twice a month I receive an email from someone about my deck makeover.  It's usually someone who has done a google search and wound up at my blog.  They read my post about painting our deck and then email to see if we are still happy with the product.  Let me start by saying that I have no connection with Home Depot or Behr products.  We simply needed to do something about our aging deck and I decided to blog about the process.  

So, are will still happy?

Absolutely!  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!  I love the chocolate brown color.  I think our color was called Coffee.  It is the perfect color to compliment our house and it has held up MUCH better than I expected.  It was starting to look a little dirty after the long Winter and Spring, so I decided to pressure wash it in May.  I really expected some chipping of paint, but it never happened once!  I was kind of impressed!
(Isn't this area just screaming for a cute outdoor rug?  If only I didn't live in the wet, wet, wet, Pacific Northwest!)

There were two boards that needed to be replaced before we painted the deck.  We replaced the boards and painted right over them.  I had read that the Deckover product doesn't take to new wood very well, and this little area shows that it is true.  There is a very small area that is starting to bubble a bit on the new boards. This section is so small that it doesn't bother me at all.


I'm still impressed with the product because, even though that one area is bubbling, our deck is huge and there is only one tiny area that is having any sort of problem.

Ok, this is where we need to talk about one more little deck problem.  Please note that the problem has nothing to do with the product.  Do you see those gray-ish marks on my deck?  Well, there are a few of those on my deck now.  I scrubbed it today, to see if the marks would come off, but I was out of luck.


Last week (in our 90 degree heat) my hubby and kids built this little grilling patio off of the deck.  It's a great little space that seems meant to have a grill (or two) ready for a BBQ.  Well, to set the pavers you need a special sand that will stick everything together like concrete when wet.  There was lots of sweeping, tapping, and watering going on, but we didn't really think about how the special sand would affect the deck.
Not only did we walk on the deck, but there are LOTS of paw prints all over.

(By the way, what sort of step would you put right there?  It needs one.)


This guy seems to be the culprit when it comes to paw prints all over my deck.  

"Sorry, Mom.  I'm really, really sorry.  I'll just stay right here on the grass.  And then maybe roll over for a tummy rub."

I hope that answers a few questions about how we are liking our deck!  Yes, I'd do it all over again!  I'd choose the same color too, except this time I would be more careful about paw prints with sand/concrete that won't wash off.  Oops!

Happy painting!



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Farm to Table Photography



Last week I got to put my learning from my food photography classes to work.  A couple of friends are opening a restaurant in Downtown Snohomish in a few days.  It's called Roger's River View Bistro and it has a local, farm to table, theme.  They are using local farms and shops to buy their meat, flowers, and produce.  It's just such a "down home" type feel and I can't wait to eat there.

We headed to four different farms and took a few pictures for the website that is being put together.  It was so much fun to meet the farmers and hear about their products.  I've decided that farm photography is my favorite.  I absolutely LOVE taking pictures on our Farm-cation every year, and this was like taking a mini-farm-cation while taking pictures of the farmers in action.

If you love farm to table photography as much as I do, feel free to scroll on through.  If you're not into the photos, just visit my friends Roger and Shannon down in Snohomish at the end of July.  I can't wait to have dinner on the deck!
















Happy farm-photography!


 

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