Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hedges? What Hedges?

Woo!  Last week, my MIL and I tackled the hedges on the west side of the house.  These hedges were very overgrown.  I don't think they'd seen a hedge clipper in years...if ever!  They were so tall, you couldn't see out the lower sash of any of the first floor windows on that side of the house.  We could never tell who was pulling into the driveway.  
Here are some before pictures of the hedges from inside and outside the house.

As you can see, they were even taller than me!

It took us all morning and afternoon, but we finally managed to cut them down to size.  Afterwards, I felt like I had trimmed the hedges of many a small village.  ^_^*
Of course, they are mere shadows of their former selves.  Most of the green growth was on the top (which we cut off), and most of the middle and back were just dead branches.
Anyways, this is the result of our hard work.

Yea, we can now see the driveway and our Narnia light!

Wow, we have a side door?! 

They are looking  a bit sad right now.  We may end up just tearing them all out and putting something else in their place.  Speaking of something sad, while we were trimming, we came across a robin nest with eggs.  We tried moving it to the lilac bush nearby, but the momma bird never returned.

Here is the nest with the pretty blue eggs.

We created a huge brush pile in the back yard with all the trimmings from the hedges.  It is huge!  The first pic doesn't give you good proportion, so I had Jim stand in front of it so you can see just how big it truly is.

Well, that is all the stuff I have for now.  Sorry it took me so long to post any updates.  I've been quite busy with planning Kristi's shower, but now that is over.  I will post some pics of it soon.  

Acorn Question!

I hope you're not tired of looking at flowers, because I've taken some more pics of them.  There seems to be quite a variety in the yard. 
First up are some pics of my tulips.

Next are my Bleeding Hearts, Burning Bush (not its real name), and violets.

Here is a better pic of my little yellow flowers as well as a chickadee at my feeder.

The first pic is my flower bed in full bloom in time for the bridal shower.  The second pic is the view of our house from the back yard.

I've finally managed to take some pics of the huge tree that we'd like to have removed.  Now that the leaves are out, I can more easily identify it; and I believe it is a Silver Maple.  All the research I've done advises not planting silver maples by buildings and septic systems since the branches are easily broken and the root system is shallow and can invade septic lines and foundations.  Great!  This tree is near our house and the septic.  All the more reason to have it removed.  As you can see from the pics, this tree is easily twice as tall as our 2 story house.

I think the base of the tree looks like it has a face.
Oh, speaking of trees, does anyone know what I should do about the abundance of acorns scattered on the ground around an oak tree in our yard?  I've raked them up and they have completely filled an 8 cu ft wheelbarrow.  But now what?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Runs like a Deere...shot in the head

Ok, so Jim and I have recently purchased a new John Deere riding lawn tractor.  We were originally going to buy a Troybilt Bronco, but just before heading to the store, I checked reviews online and they were horrible for that model.  We ended up paying the extra money for a quality John Deere...or so we thought.  The first problem was that our brand new mower arrived with rusty blades as you've seen from Jim's post.  We managed to get the rusty blades off and exchange them (no charge) for new ones.  The weather was pretty rainy since then, so our mower sat in the garage waiting for a sunny day.  That day finally came, and we were eager to get started on mowing our lawn.  Unfortunately, the darn thing wouldn't start!  We thought it might be the battery, so we went to have it checked, but it was fine.  Jim's Dad was over on Monday, and the 2 of them tinkered with it in the garage.  They managed to get it to start, but it was after 8pm, too late to mow.  When Jim got home from work, we tried to start it up again, but it wouldn't start.  I went outside to call Jim to dinner, and noticed that one of the headlights was burnt out as well.  Well, we had had enough!  This was a brand new mower (a John Deere at that), and we shouldn't be having all these problems.  We called up Lowe's and demanded a new mower.  They first tried to convince us we should just bring it in for service, but we stuck to our guns and insisted on a swap.  They finally agreed.  They have our model in stock, but none of them are assembled yet.  The certified John Deere guy is supposedly supposed to come in this week to assemble them.  Lowe's will give us a call when he comes, and we can make the switch at that time.  In the meantime, our lawn keeps growing.  I'll make apology cards to our neighbors either tonight or tomorrow and explain the situation so they don't think we are just ignoring our lawn and call the city on us or something.  

Here is a pic of Jim reattaching the new-new blades.

In other news, I've been fighting a losing battle against the squirrels.  I've been trying to prevent them from eating the birdseed from the feeder.  I don't mind if they eat the fallen seed on the ground, but these squirrels are little piggies and can eat a full feeder in just one day.  They also prevent the birds from eating at the feeder.  Well, so far the score is Squirrels-3/Amanda-0.  They do make for great guest entertainment as I found out from Kristi's bridal shower that I hosted.  There is also one squirrel in-particular that I have a soft spot for.  He seems to be a hybrid black squirrel.  We've named him/her Shadow.  (I know original, right?)  Anyways, I've taken a few pics of Shadow for you guys to see.  He seems to be smarter than the other squirrels.

Shadow the semi-black squirrel

I think he was posing for the camera.

And last but not least, I wanted to post some pics of the lovely farm across the street from us.  The pictures don't really do it justice though.  I also tried to zoom in on their 3 horses.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh Deere

Recently we ordered a lawn mower to cope with all our green grass. We spent some time researching and reviewing our options before deciding on a John Deere LA115 lawn tractor. While it is a more expensive option, it is a quality machine that should be able to do anything we ask of it. I am excited to spend a few hours on a pleasant day with our new tool. Although, I have lost my best excuse to dodge my lawn care responsibilities.
We were excited when our new tractor was delivered earlier this week. Although, after some inspection we discovered that both 'new' blades were heavily corroded. Yesterday we spent some time on the phone, mostly with customer service robots, then talked with a helpful clerk. He advised us to remove the blades and bring them back to the store for an exchange. It took about 45 minutes and several choice swear words to loosen the rotor nuts with my short crescent wrench.  We had no troubles at the store, and we picked up a long ratcheting combination wrench for reassembly. Once the new new blades are attached we will be able to move on to the next unexpected complication. Regardless, I'm looking forward to wearing a green cap with a yellow stag emblem.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Spring!

It feels so nice to have the windows open and feel the spring breeze blow in as I sit at my computer in my craft room.  I really like how the room turned out.  The blues and whites give this room a calm, serene feel.  I've started to move my craft stuff into the room; the only furniture I have in it so far though is my craft desk and my writing desk.
Jim and I will have to buy a riding lawn mower soon.  Dad recommends Troybilt, anyone else have an opinion?  We figured we would wait to buy a mower until we see our neighbors mowing their lawns...which could be any day now.  ^_^
I saw the neighbor on our right tending to her flower beds yesterday.  lol, I wonder what she thinks of mine.  I haven't done anything to them so far except take pictures.  I'm waiting for my MIL to visit so that she can give me advice and help sort out weeds from flowers.  Speaking of flower pics, I took a few more yesterday since I saw new ones blooming.  I'm not sure what any of them are except for the daffodils.  If you know, leave me a comment in this post.

Yellow and White Flowers
(It doesn't show up too well in the pics, but the first flowers have a peach color center and the second pic has more of a bright orange center.)

Purple and Pink Flowers

Plants and Shrubs

Well, I should be getting back to organizing my craft room.  The next room to get a makeover will be Jim's currently very pink and feminine office.  It will be quite a disaster area during the bridal shower later this month I'm sure.

*Edit: Uh Oh!  I hear a lawn mower!  I guess we'll be lawn mower shopping this weekend!*

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I called the weather's bluff.

Well, my windows are painted!  I didn't think I'd be able to get them painted so early in the year.  The weather was warm, but it was awfully windy and cloudy today.  It looked like it would rain, but I started painting anyways, and I lucked out; it never rained.  Jim caulked around the baseboards so they look even better now.
Here is a pic of Jim caulking and one of the freshly painted windows drying.

We also did some exploration of the attic.  Up to this point, we've only stuck our heads into the small access port, but today Jim actually went up there.  I stayed below to hand him up things, and for him to hand me down things he found.  It seems that if there had been anything cool up in the attic, the people we bought the house from removed it.  The only things we found were rolls of linoleum, old baby clothes from the 60's/70's, and scraps of the previous owner's school homework.  As you can see in the pics, the attic floor is covered with old paper insulation.  Jim had to wear goggles and a dust mask when he was up there.  On the plus side, Jim didn't find any animals (alive or dead) except for one lone spider.  Jim will have to venture back up there again once we are ready to update the electrics upstairs.

I think all we have left to do in my craft room is to touch up the paint on the walls near the windows,  and put up the door.  After that, I can start moving my craft stuff out of boxes in the library and into my craft room.  I'll figure out how I want to organize my closet after I get my stuff in the room.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!  Cadbury eggs = YUM!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sunny Days and Open Windows

The weather is finally nice enough for me to open the windows in order to paint them!  Yes!  I've spent most of my day cleaning and priming them.  Hopefully, the rain will stay away tomorrow so that I can actually paint them.  I had to wait for Jim to come home to prime one of the windows because I couldn't get the top sash to budge.  He was able to manhandle it, so it opens easily now...until I paint it
The molding is finally up after a few false starts.  Here are some pics of it.

I also took some pics of the flowers starting to bloom in the yard.  It will be interesting throughout the year to see what is actually growing in the yard.

The weather was so nice today that I ate both breakfast and lunch out on the deck and listened to the birds chirping.
Once I finish the windows, we can caulk around some of the gaps in the molding, and then I should hopefully be able to move my stuff into the room.  I say hopefully because it seems something always pops up to delay finishing the room.    I've decided to use the curtains that were originally in the mudroom for my craft least for now.  I should have my craft room in order by the time of Kristi's bridal shower later this month that I'm hosting at the house.  Kind of funny I'm hosting a bridal shower here before we have our house warming party, but we wanted to wait until the weather is warmer.  We'd like to have people be able to enjoy the deck and yard for the house warming.  We've decided on mid-June for the party.  I'm not going to start planning it though until after the bridal shower.  Hopefully no one will bring house warming presents to the shower.  ^_^*  If they want to give a gift, they can wait until the actual house warming...not that we're expecting gifts.  I just don't want to have the confusion of bridal shower and house warming gifts mixed together on the same day.
Jim wants to get a cat after our house warming.  I'm all for that.  When I ask him what kind of cat he wants, all he says is, "A green one."  Lol.  Maybe within a year or so, I can get a dog.  I have my heart set on a Samoyed.  ^_^