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A new post, wherein seeds are sown

31 Mar

So spring might be here, but with the weather of the last few days, who really knows… We’ve had hail, thunder, lightning and of course, rain. My daffodils started making their appearance about a week ago just after I finished weeding the front flower bed (I think they were embarrased to bloom in such a mess…). Jimmy and I added some more creeping plants to the front bed last weekend (pictures to come).

Coming Soon...Vegetables!

Coming Soon...Vegetables!

My energy as of late has been sprouting my own seeds for our vegetable garden! I feel like such a little kid, just fascinated by watching them emerge from the earth and get a little taller every day (they are only about a week and a half old and some are already over 2 inches tall!). I’ve planted two kinds of peppers and two kinds of tomatoes, 2 kinds of summer squash, 2 kinds of winter squash, cucumbers and basil. I’ve been doing some reading and research and have already purchased the planters that they will be put in once they are big enough to be transplanted outside.

Sprouts a-sproutin'

Sprouts a-sproutin'

Anyhow, I’m working graveyard shifts this week, so I’m tired and starting to feel like I’m coming down with a cold (probably due to the lack of decent sleep I’ve had in the past 3 nights…) I promise more pictures next week when I am coherent during daylight hours.

Fall Leaves and Voting Time

24 Oct

It’s definitely Fall! Yeah! I LOVE the Fall – it’s my favorite season. I love the changing of the leaves and the crispness of the air – it’s just the best. That being said, as much as I love our huge, wonderful Maple

Our Beautiful Maple

Our Beautiful Maple

tree in the backyard, it sure does have a lot of leaves! I have raked 3 times already (which filled 1 and 1/2 of of our yard waste bins) and Jimmy and I raked again today. Is is possible that plants sometimes forget what season it is? One of my rhodies and the
Pink blooming clemantis

Pink blooming clemantis

clemantis in the side yard are both blooming – aren’t they like 6 months off?
Pink blooming rhododendron

Pink blooming rhododendron

We also got to use our push mower that my parents got for us today – I really like that it doesn’t use gas and for small lawns it is pretty useful. However, that being said, we need to mow the lawn more often if we are going to use the push mower – our grass got long and was hard to push through.
Jimmy mowing the lawn

Jimmy mowing the lawn

So after tai chi this morning I got a call from my friend Hannah who asked if I would come and stand on the corner with the supporters of Referendum 71 here in WA. Last year homosexual couples were given domestic partnership rights (not marriage, unfortunately) and now people are trying to take those basic rights away (such as being able to own property together, have children and being able to visit each other in hospital, etc.) So I went out and yelled, held a sign and commiserated with other supporters of equal rights. There were probably at most a dozen of us at any one time but there were probably 100 of anti’s there. A lot of them were kids and teenagers and Hannah said she thought that a bunch of them came on a bus together. I wish that those crazy mega churches that preach this kind of hate would all lose their tax exempt status. The thing that I thought was funny (but sad) was that all of their signs were SO misleading – they were trying to get people to support them by saying that the measure was about gay marriage. Their signs even said “Preserve families, Protect Children” which really doesn’t make any sense to me. I just can’t believe that there is still such homophobia in the world – it’s really sad. But being there made me feel better and it made me feel good to know that we have the moral high ground in supporting equality for all. So, I’ll get off my soap box now, but if you are in a state where there is an anti-gay marriage/domestic partnership bill/referendum, etc. please vote for fairness and equality.

The Woods and McMichaels Meet

11 Oct

So we have been bad about blogging as of late so I thought I would try to get everyone up to speed…

The whole gang, minus Judy who's taking the picture.

The whole gang, minus Judy who's taking the picture.

Although Jimmy and I have been together for 5 years now, our parents didn’t meet until late September. Everyone always thinks this is strange but when Jimmy’s parents live in Southern California, my parents live in Southern Oregon and we live in Western Washington it doesn’t seem that surprising that we were never all in the same place at the same time… From the 24th-27th of September my parents and Jimmy’s parents came up to do one big weekend of work on the house. We had a huge laundry list of things that needed to get done and luckily we got more done than I think any of us expected. It helps to have four extra people, all with their own talents, to help out.

Kat and Bernie tearing up the front yard

Kat and Bernie tearing up the front yard

My mom has the greeenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever met (I must not have inherited those genes…). I always say that she could just come breathe on my plants and they would come back to life. My mom helped me pot a bunch of plants and then completely gut and replant three flower beds at the house. We even ended up moving a Rhododendron bush, which was quite an ordeal as it did not want to be moved. It was amazing the difference in how those three beds looked after three days of working on them. My goal is to never let them deteriorate to that level again – digging and sifting through dirt to get rid of grass and weeds is a huge undertaking. I learned a lot about gardening, stuff that I probably could have learned long ago if I had cared to ask. I’m really excited to put all my new skills to use in the yard. I am really excited for next spring when I can start working on the back yard.

Built the whole fence, and still had time to do the gate. We're pretty sure he's part Amish.

Built the whole fence, and still had time to do the gate. We're pretty sure he's part Amish.

My dad spent most of the trip building our back fence. After he and I measured our plot we realized that we weren’t going to have to completely build a new fence, just replace the slats on the old one, which was a lot less work. The new fence looks amazing (and I watersealed each and every fence board I’ll have you know…) and once we figure out if the tree in the corner of the yard is going to fall or not we’ll be able to finish the fence in it’s entirety. For now we have a really nice neighbor behind us who doesn’t care that the fence isn’t done. The fence is even custom – my dad cut the slats so they would go up and around the tree roots in the back yard. My dad also build our side gate which is now a beautiful wooden gate instead of the crappy chain link one that was there before.

That is a barbecue flipper and paint sprayer, not a putty knife and squirt bottle. She's short, but she's not THAT short.

That is a barbecue flipper and paint sprayer, not a putty knife and squirt bottle. She's short, but she's not THAT short.

Jimmy’s mom, Judy, took on our bathroom as her pet project for the weekend. Honestly Jimmy and I didn’t think we’d get to do any cosmetic stuff, just the stuff that really needed to get done. But, when Judy said that she liked taking down wall paper I said that if she wanted to take it down in the bathroom that she was welcome to it. I had never taken down wall paper before, but I learned from Judy and pretty soon the walls were a hideous pink instead of a hideous 90’s wall paper. After the wall paper was down we took down the medicine cabinet and the light fixture and Judy painted the pink a white to match the rest of the bathroom (one of the only good things the people we bought the house from left us – paint). Jimmy and I invested in a new light fixture and with some beautiful new towels from Judy and Mike our bathroom looks 100% better! It truly is amazing what a little paint will do. Judy also loaded up all the branches and yard waste I had put in piles in the back yard (two yard waste bins just isn’t enough…) into my mom’s truck so that we could make a run to the dump. Just getting all that ivy, black berry brambles and branches out of the yard made it look so much better. Judy also helped us seal some cracks in the foundation.

Mike fixing the crawlspace door. Now the rats can't get in!

Mike fixing the crawlspace door. Now the rats can't get in!

Jimmy’s dad, Mike, was our jack-of-all-trades for the weekend. There weren’t many projects in which he didn’t have a hand. The fence around our back patio was put in incorrectly by the idiots who lived here before us so somehow Mike, Jimmy and my dad managed to get the fence standing up straight again, thought for the life of me I don’t really understand how… He also took on the job of helping to keep our house rodent free by fixing the front grate and the back door to the crawl space under the house. I am so glad that that is done as being under the house does show signs of rodents and I don’t want any in my house. Mike re-sealed our tub and the shower backsplash wall thingy(?), thus completing our new bathroom look. We had a rain gutter in the back yard that was eroding our porch due to poor placement and so Mike helped engineer a way for the water to run over to the side of the house instead. Jimmy and Mike also put a light fixture on the fan in the livingroom and a ceiling fan in the den/office.

We must have spent half of the weekend driving back and forth to Home Depot – I’m thinking one of us just should have made it base camp for the weekend 😉 I really wish now that we had kept a tally of how many times we had to go to Home Depot, but my guess is that there were probably a dozen trips made over the 4 day span…

Needless to say that by the end of the weekend we were all dog tired. But it was great to have everyone meet (and get along swimmingly) and to get so much work done to boot.

Way too many pictures were taken, here’s the rest:

Dog Ran

5 Sep
Look at it...mocking me

Look at it...mocking me

Ever since we moved in, this dog run has been the bane of our existence. Sitting in the backyard, taking up a ton of space, constantly reminding us of all the crap the previous owners left us with. So last night I put this up on craigslist:

“Just moved in and the previous owners left a 7.5 feet wide x 12.5 feet long x 6 feet high chain-link dog run. It’s in good condition, but we don’t have a dog. If you take it apart, you can have it!”

Checked back about an hour later. 70 responses! Wow! My personal favorite was:

“Mom of 4 would appreciate this. Need kennel in order to start in home childcare.”

Yay, it's less of an eyesore!

Yay, it's less of an eyesore!

But while I support the caging of children as much as the next guy, it’s first come, first served. Sorry, sixty-nine other people! So this morning Jim, and his black lab Emma, drove down and picked up the dog run, along with the pet carrier and a Kong chew toy that had been sitting in a literal pile of crap. Emma, make sure he boils that thing before he gives it to you! Jim’s going to add it on to Emma’s current dog run to give her more space to play.

So now we’ve just got a big rectangle of empty dirt. Frankly, I consider it an improvement. Thanks Jim! Hope Emma likes her new digs!

Kat 1 – Ivy 0

2 Sep

So I finally finished getting rid of the ivy that had been coating the back fence.  The yard waste bins were collected by the trash collectors today, but after only about an hour I filled one of them already.

Now that the ivy is gone it gives you a good idea about why they left the ivy there – because they were lazy, because it takes a lot of work and because the fence looks awful without it’s nice pretty coating of ivy.  Here are some before and after pictures to give you an idea of just how much work I’ve done…

Before

Before

After

After

Before

Before

After

After

Kat Victorious

Kat Victorious

Ivy, how I hate you…

28 Aug
Take THAT!

Take THAT!

It’s amazing how much work a yard takes when the people who used to own the house apparently didn’t do any yard work for 7 years…  As you have probably seen by the pictures ivy has taken over a big chunk of the back yard, which means that Kat and Jimmy have a lot of work to do ripping out all that ivy…
Bzzzzzzzzzzz

Bzzzzzzzzzzz

A couple of days ago Jimmy and I realized that we had a wasp nest living in the mound of ivy surrounding one of the T posts of the laundry line.  I was stung last weekend (only twice – by the same wasp) and then we discovered the wasp nest when we were taking these pictures…
Most? Try ALL of the Ivy!

Most? Try ALL of the Ivy!

So we bought a wasp killing spray and used it yesterday night, then today I went out and took down most of the ivy surrounding the T post.  I am getting really tired of tearing out ivy, though it does need to be done before my and Jimmy’s parents come to visit next month – as we are going to repair or replace the back fence.
Yummy!

Yummy!

I have spent all week cooking and working (playing) in the yard and I am exhausted!  I have been focused on filling our chest freezer with as many meals as possible so that when I do FINALLY get a job that we will have some meals in reserve.  I have been experimenting with new crock pot recipes, which all have turned out good so far.  Now that we have a mortgage we have to make our food budget go further, hopefully making all these meals will help.

Landscraping – Our Craptastic Backyard

18 Aug

Just spent an hour in the backyard shoveling dog crap, and I don’t own a dog. I’m only about half done.

You’ll notice from the first post on our blog that apart from the great-looking patio, the listing didn’t show the backyard at all. Turns out there was a reason for that. Sagging fence, dead lawn, out-of-control ivy, and piles upon piles of concrete chunks from the old patio to haul away. This is going to take some work!