Thursday, February 9, 2012

The calm after the storm


(originally written September 13, 2011)
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Between the wedding and the devastating flooding in our area, I haven’t been thinking about this blog too much.
We have managed to get some work done on our house during the down-time. Thankfully we didn’t sustain any damage from the flooding or the bachelor party.
The crazy wall-o-mirrors finally came down in the living room. Originally we thought that we could just patch up the holes and repaint. Not so much. The paint was peeling off of the wall and we decided that while it wouldn’t be the easiest task, it would look infinitely better if we scraped ALL of the paint off that wall, put an even layer of plaster on, put up some textured wallpaper (like a grass cloth or something in that vein) and make that wall the accent wall with a darker color blue.
Works for me.
I’m about halfway through scraping the paint off and I can say it’s not a fun task. At all. from about 2 ft up toward the ceiling it’s easy and peels off practicaly in sheets, however the bottom 2 ft I have to chip away at. Augh. Not fun. We’re hoping this project will be finished up by the end of the month.
Garry’s birthday is tomorrow and what does any good wife buy her husband? A chainsaw.
He was actually quite thrilled (I caved and gave it to him early) and now we can get to work on taking down some of the other trees/shrubs that eat up a lot of our yard so we can get a good idea of where we want our fence.
However, we’ve managed to clear quite a bit already:
     
Not the best photo of our house, but you get a good idea. That big brown patch? That was a 30 ft. deformed blue spruce. To the left of the house we pulled out a yew bush and another evergreen and another dying yew bush that was encroaching the walkway to the right of that conical evergreen.
At this point we’re planning on taking down that taller evergreen and leaving the hedge (it’s also dying). We’re not sure if we want to keep the existing shrubs and plant something (either a topiary, flowering bush or even more of the same for a uniform spread of shrub) on either side or if we want to rip everything out and start over. We’re also thinking of adding more shrubs like the one next to the driveway all along that edge and then trimming it so it is flat instead of rounded (just easier to shape that way). Either that, or we’ll tear that one out and just put down grass - it just looks really awkward sitting there by itself. 
On the edge of our brown patch (to the left of the house) we’re planting our other bloodgood japanese maple seedling that’s hiding in the backyard near the foundation so it can thrive like it’s older brother in our front yard. Both will get a good mound of black mulch and (eventually) some decorative stone around the mulch circle to keep the mulch in. Maybe some lilies might find their way in the mulch circle, we haven’t decided on that yet.
The stone planter (hiding behind the japanese maple) will turn into something special. Since we’re eventually planning on painting our house a slate blue color I’m planning on a perennial garden to contrast nicely with that. Imagine yellows, pinks and white. In the planter I’m planning on 4 white rose bushes and planting some pink carpet border lilies along the front edge. There will possibly be some tulips and daffodils as well. Aside from that I’m not sure what else will go in there, probably not much since it’s not a huge planter.
On the front porch we’re (eventually) going to replace the iron scrollwork with something a little more modern and add a more decorative bench.
It’s a lot of work. We’re planning on tackling little by little. At this point we need to just get the planter ready for spring (which involves digging up old roots, laying down more dirt and then landscape fabric) and figure out the shrub situation for infront of the house. We managed to score some mulch at Lowes for $10 for 4 bags which is enough for that little area and around our little tree. Once I weed that area infront of the house we can lay down the mulch and decide what to do.
Inside, we’re waiting to hear back from the grant folks about when they’re going to come and make the repairs they are planning on making. We have the funds (thanks to our incredibly generous family and friends) to replace our older-than-us furnace and the hotwater heater. However, since the flood folks have been REALLY tied up getting essential work done so we’re going to ride it out a little while longer until we know what’s going on with our grant and what procedure we should take to get the new furnace installed.
We also bought a new dishwasher, but since there is no existing dishwasher we have to rip out some cabinets and hire a plumber to install it. We’ll have to replace cabinet doors and a drawer as well since the dishwasher is a standard 24″ washer and the cabinet is 36″. We’ll end up with a 12″ cabinet (not the end of the world actually - they are useful!) but finding the style door we have in the correct finish is going to prove difficult (and frankly I wasn’t looking to refinish all of the cabinets). It might be a while before that happens…