Monday, May 17, 2010

Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head

Rain!  Rain!  Rain!  It has been raining the majority of the past few days.  We did have some respite over the weekend, so we took the opportunity to do a few things in our yard.  The existing fire pit was basically the size of a small campfire, so Jim has started to expand it.  It won't be anything fancy, at least for now.  It will just look like a bigger campfire.  Maybe later on, we'll make it more of a substantial/permanent structure.  I was finally able to attack the too tall forsythia bush in the front yard.  It is located by the end of the drive, and it was making it slightly difficult to see traffic when pulling out.  I think I've reduced its size by at least a third.  I might have to cut it down more, but I'll wait and see.  The bush might eventually get replaced by something else.  I wasn't too impressed with it when it was in bloom.  Anyways, I took a pic of the bush before, during, and after its trim.  I think it came out better looking than our hedges.  ^_^

More trimming/hacking of a bush
lol.  All our bushes probably live in fear of me.
The previous owner would probably be horrified if she drove by the house.  I've hacked down her bushes and have given Jim permission to mow over some of the ill-placed flowers she so dearly loved.  She told me leaving all her flowers behind was the hardest part about moving away.  Jim wanted to mow over my irises, but I wouldn't let him.  I love irises.

Speaking of which, here is a pic of my iris and peony buds in the front yard.

So far, only one iris is blooming.  It is behind the garage by a junk heap.  I'm hoping the other irises will be prettier looking.  This one kind of looks tired to me.  It is also more of a dull pink/purple.  I like the more vibrant colored ones.  Maybe it is just sad about living near a junk pile.  : P

Here is a pic of some cotton candy colored azaleas and my tired iris.

Jim was also able to mow the lawn this past weekend.  It took him 3 hours to do the entire yard (front and back).  So everyone can stop wondering now how long it takes us to mow.  ^_^
While Jim was working on the fire pit, I was busy trying to excavate all the broken glass by the ruins of a shed/garage.  The shed no longer exists, but the cement floor and foundation is still there.  I didn't realize the amount of glass in the one corner.  There are layers and layers of it.  Different kinds as well.  The glass must have been there for quite a while, because the earth started growing over it.  I've already filled one garbage can of it, and there is still more to go.  I wanted to keep working on it today, but it has been raining nonstop since this morning.  I should have it cleaned up before the first housewarming in June.  It is almost as if they repeatedly dumped glass there and left it.  This confuses me because they had young grandchildren.  Weren't they worried the kids would cut themselves on it?
Ok, change of topic.  Before Jim started to mow, I saw this huge mushroom that I had to take a picture of for you to see.  I also have some more random flowers for you to see.
I know I don't have anything to show perspective, but you'll have to trust me when I say that the mushroom top was as big as my palm.

My raspberry bushes are also blooming.  Too bad they have thorns and are choking out my grape vine.  I also took a cool pic while standing under the snowball bush and looking up.

I know my Aunt Debbie likes daisies, so I took a pic of some of them for her.  They are just starting to bloom.  I was also photo-bombed by this bee.

Jim and I had an appt last week with a real estate attorney concerning the easement.  We are glad we went.  We had our questions answered, and we are just waiting to receive some documents from the recorder's office before we do anything else.
The oven repairman is coming tomorrow to fix the heating element.  I'm starting to get tired of pasta and other such food we've been making on the stove top.  I want to eat my meatloaf and chicken enchiladas!
I almost forgot to mention the super-gross thing that happened to me!  I was getting the wheelbarrow to load up the trimmings from the forsythia bush, when I saw it.  A huge orb spider crawling up the inside of the wheelbarrow towards me!  As many of you know, spiders freak me out.  Too many legs and eyes!  *Shudder*  Anyways, I grabbed the nearest thing I could use to squash the spider.  This happened to be one of Jim's flat handled screwdrivers.  As I was taking aim, the spider's spider senses must have been tingling because it suddenly stopped moving.  This worked out for the best for me because hitting a still target is a lot easier than a moving one.  I took aim, and managed to squash it on the first try.  This is where the gross part happened.  I've squashed many-a-spider in my time, but this was by far the grossest.  It was like popping a huge pus filled pimple!  Its thick, yellow bodily fluids forcefully gooshed out of it!  There was a streak of it at least an inch and a half long on the side of the wheelbarrow.  I let out a scream of surprise and then started laughing.  Oh, it was so gross!  I didn't know what to do with the screwdriver because it was drenched in the pus as well.  I tried scraping it off on the workbench and then left it there.  I told Jim about it later so that he wouldn't be surprised my a dried yellow film on the handle of his screwdriver.  Oh, it was so gross!
Well, now that I've left you with that pleasant image, I'm off to figure out what to make for dinner.
Jya ne!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

From Hiccups to Snowball Fights

I mentioned in a previous post that Jim has poison ivy and is currently on medication for it.  The prednisone is working but proved to have an annoying side effect...frequent and persistant hiccups.  It seems whenever Jim would eat, drink, or cough, the hiccups would start and be difficult to stop.  Fortunately, this only lasted for the first 3 days or so.  This did allow us to try different hiccup remedies.  Among the various remedies that we tried, we can attest that the following work:
1. Taking small sips of a full glass of water without breathing.
2. Sucking a lemon.
3. Placing a knife (handle up) in a glass of water.  While drinking the water, prop the knife handle on your forehead.
3. Drinking a shot of apple cider vinegar.
I think Jim's least favorite was the vinegar.  Unfortunately for Jim, we didn't realize that he filled a double shot glass to the top until after he drank it.  O.o  Oops!  On the bright-side, that was the last of his hiccups.  lol.

A couple days ago, Jim showed me a web-comic about nature.  One of the baby birds was named Bertrand. Jim thought the bird was female, but I said the name sounded more male.  We made a bet, and I won!  Bertrand is a boy's name.  Woot!  Since Jim lost, he was in charge of making dinner that night.  Jim's culinary skills are quite lacking, so we went out to dinner at a new restaurant.  We didn't realize until after we ordered that they only took cash or check.  Seems kind of odd that they don't take credit, but whatever.  Anyways, Jim neither had cash nor his checkbook.  This meant I had to pay for a dinner (so much for winning the bet).  Jim felt bad, so the next day he took me out again for dinner.  We went to this secluded, romantic restaurant called Arby's where we ordered Beef 'n Cheddar sandwiches.  I guess I shouldn't expect any romantic home-cooked meals in my future, unless I'm the one to make them.  : /

The other day, I was feeling silly so I decided to try to instigate a snowball fight.  Jim wasn't really into it though; I think he just played along to amuse me.  You are probably wondering, "Amanda, how the heck could you have a snowball fight in May?!"  Well, I'll tell you.  Over the weekend, we had a big storm blow through, and it broke off 2 large branches from my snowball bush.  I felt bad for the big puffy blossoms on the broken branches.  I decided to put them to use in a "snowball" fight.  One last hurrah for the snowball blossoms.  Come on, I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of that.  ^_^  I don't think of myself as crazy, just free-spirited. : P

Jim and I have finally physically started my craft room shelving.  First, we had to buy the lumber at Lowe's.  It is too expensive to just buy ready-made shelves, so Jim and I are going to make them ourselves using our dads' miter saw and router.  It was cheaper to buy 2 large planks of wood and have them cut them to size at the store.  After the cutting, we still had a decent sized plank of wood leftover, but we thought it would still fit into my Saturn.  We were wrong.  lol.  I laughed, but Jim was annoyed and embarrassed because he had to go back into the store and ask them to cut the plank smaller.  When he came back out, the plank fit, but just barely.  We played around with the router until we found a bit that I liked.  Jim has it all set up now.  We just need to do it.  Hopefully I'll have shelving on my walls by the end of the month.  

Jim practice-routing

Oven Update:  The repairman came this morning.  Apparently, our heating element is broken.  He didn't have one in stock, so it is on order.  He is supposed to come back out next Tues morning to install it.  The repairman was friendly and talkative.  It turns out that he was my age and lived in Litchfield too when he was younger.  This just proves to me that this is a small world afterall.  Not only might I have met the repairman when I was younger, but also our neighbors behind us.  The husband is a cop in the town I graduated high school from, and he used to chaperon the school dances and police the football games when I went there.  The wife was also a teacher at the middle school.  Funny how things turn out.  I don't remember any of them, but it just goes to show that you'll never know who will come back into your life.

And of course, here is a new blooming flower.  It seems like I find a new one everytime I go outside.

Our appointment with the real estate attorney is this afternoon.  We are on good terms with our neighbors regarding the easement, but we just want clarification of what rights we have, and what their rights are as well.  I'll try to blog about it tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


After finishing up my previous blogathon, I went outside and what happens?  I see more new flowers!  lol.
Anyhoo, here are some flowers for you to see.
Old Fashion Bachelor Buttons:  Although they look more like fireworks than buttons to me.
They have a somewhat interesting smell which I like.

Here are some mystery flowers.  I know I posted a pic of the purple one before, but I didn't realize I also had 2 other colors (pink, and pink and white combo)

Here is a pic of 2 of my lilac bushes.  The other 2 are scrawny compared to these guys.  They have lots of blossoms blooming at the moment.  Too bad lilacs don't last long.
*EDIT: I just now noticed a rainbow ending at our Narnia light*

This pink dogwood saddens me.  It is so pretty, but we have to chop it down.  The home inspector said it was too close to the foundation.  :(

These are some purple wildflowers on the back edge of our property.  They have a nice smell to them.

I had forgotten to mention in my previous posts that Jim managed to get himself poison ivy.  It is on both arms and on his neck.  Poor guy.  He went to the doctor yesterday to get a prescription for prednisone.  I haven't seen any poison ivy in the yard, and I've been out there more than Jim.  He seems to get poison ivy every year...even when we were at the apartment, so who knows where he got it this time.
I hope our neighbor's driveway is ok.  They just finished pouring the cement this afternoon, but we just had a deluge of rain this evening.  I guess I'll find out tomorrow.
Ok, that's all I have for today.  I promise. 
Toodles, Noodles!  

The Saga Continues

Well, now that our lawn mower issue has been resolved, others have cropped up.  Ahhh!  Home Ownership. :P
My oven has decided to go on strike.  The burners on top still work, thank goodness; however, the oven below does not.  I discovered this while waiting for the oven to preheat for my meatloaf.  Thankfully, the sellers had bought us a one year home warranty policy which covers appliances as part of our closing deal.  We just need to get on the ball and call the company.  
In other news, our neighbor in the back is paving his part of the shared driveway with concrete.  We don't really have a problem with this since that would mean no more rocks for me to pick up in the spring from gravel tossed into our yard by a snowblower.  However, this has brought up the issue of the easement.  Our property is 125ft wide, but the last 25ft on the west is reserved for the easement that our neighbor uses for his driveway.  Our question is, who has what rights concerning the easement?  For example, there are a few trees that are within the 25 ft of the easement.  Who has the right to those trees?  Fortunately, he is not knocking down any trees in "our" yard to pave the drive.  He is just paving over his pre-existing gravel drive.  In any case, Jim and I have an appt with a real estate attorney next week just to help us clarify the issue.

I was able to snag some of the pics from Jim's mom of the day we cut down the hedges.  Here is a better pic of our brush pile.  Also a pretty pic of our backyard with me carrying the brush that fell off our tarp while dragging it to the pile.

I laughed when I saw this and had to take a pic.  To me it looks like the remaining hedges are pushing against Jim's car to stop him from backing into the house.

And of course, it is time for more flower pics!  Yea!
First up, is my strawberries and snowballs.

Next is my mystery flower on the left.

I realized the other day that I don't have any pics of my most abundant flower.  Funny enough, they are the Forget Me Nots.  Oops!  I forgot them.  ^_^*  I also took a pic of this lone purple tulip with a beautiful blue color on the inside.  I wish the camera would have captured it better.

I loved how the lilacs and forget me nots complimented each other, so I had to share.  The other pic is of a mourning dove that I believe is nesting somewhere on our roof.  I wake up in the morning to them cooing.

Well, that is all for now.  Hope you enjoyed all the pics.

An Ode to Our First Mower

Deere John,
You are worthless to me.  All you do is sit around and refuse to do your job.  I'm tired of catering to your many complaints.  You dared to show up at my door with rusty blades, a headlight burnt out, your wash port cap missing, and the most aggravating thing of all...YOU WON'T START!!!  We've contacted Lowe's (where we bought you) and demanded a new mower.  They at first tried to convince me that they could change you, make you better.  But I didn't believe them.  I no longer trust you.  As soon as they "fixed" you, you'd probably come up with a different complaint.  Well, so long first mower!  I've found someone new.  Someone who actually pulls his weight around here and doesn't complain.  Consider yourself replaced!
Good bye and good riddance,

Lol.  That was fun.  So, as you've probably guessed, we have a new-new mower.  New mower; take 2.  New Mower the sequel.  Whatever you want to call it.  Lowe's came last Saturday morning and hauled away the useless mower and delivered us another.  

As you can see from the picture below, Jim was apprehensive about starting the second mower.
But it started right up!

Just the previous afternoon, Friday, one of our neighbors offered to mow our front yard for us.  We accepted because we had not heard from Lowe's like we were supposed to on Friday.  Jim had called earlier in the week to demand the new mower and they said that they had our model in stock; however, the John Deere guy needed to come assemble them.  They told us that they would give us a call by Friday to give us an update.  Well, they never called by Friday evening, so we called them.  Good thing too because they hadn't reserved one of them for us like they said they would.  We were not pleased.  We were able to arrange for them to deliver the new mower the next day.  We sent a thank you card to our wonderful neighbor.

Here is how bad our grass was.  If you can't read the ruler, the one on the right is taller than 10 in, the ruler on the left is 8.5 in.  That is some tall grass.  If you click on the pic, you can see a slightly larger image.

Along with using the mower for the first time, Jim also tried out our new trimmer that Dad had bought us as a house warming gift.  It worked great.  Jim's pants were green from the knees down afterwards.  ^_^

In other news, my lilacs are in full bloom now.  Purple lilacs are one of my most favorite flowers and I now have 4 bushes of them growing in the yard.  I love it!

Lilacs and Azaleas

Funny.  Last summer in my creative writing class, I had to write a poem about azaleas.  I had to google them then because I didn't really know what they were...and now I have some.  They are much brighter in real life than what this photo shows.  The opening line for my poem was:
"The regalia of the dahlia does not compare
To the salient, deviant, astounding azalea."
lol.  That was my least favorite poem I had to write that summer.

Bridal Shower

Kristi's bridal shower was our first official party that we hosted in our very own home.  I have a few pictures of it that I would like to share.  I purposefully left out pictures that showed other people since I don't know if they'd like me to post pics of them or not, and I'm too lazy to ask.  ^_^*

First off is a pic of the awesome cake and cookies.  I made the cookies, but not the cake.

Next is a pic of of the banner and lanterns.

I also had fresh flowers from my yard.  Very Country-Victorian, eh?

I found pretty glittery butterfly garlands and Jim was the bartender.  The drinks pictured are Blushing Bride and Golden Groom.  Thank you, Martha Stewart!

I also had "wedding" bells hanging in all the windows.  The other pic is of the food table after the cake cutting.

And last but not least, is the favor table.  Inside the boxes were Hershey's Hugs and Kisses.

I feel the shower was a success even with all the last minute cancellations and some people never RSVPing at all.  Oh well, they missed out!