Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Front Yard

Let's take a tour of our yard, shall we?

This is the front of the house (says Captain Obvious).

That large brown patch of ground you see in front used to be filled with ground cover called vinca (which is actually quite lovely and gets these nice little purple flowers on it).
This is what it looks like - we left a bit at the bottom of the bed

 I would have been OK with the bed staying as it, but unfortunately, it was intermixed with ivy and morning glories.  The ivy was getting really invasive and starting to attack the siding of the house and choke out some bushes.  Anyone who's ever had to deal with ivy knows that it's extremely difficult to kill - every time we thought we had it conquered, it would come back.  So, we had to take drastic measures.

More on this in the next post.  Moving on...

I love our driveway - the trees make me swoon...

Coming down the driveway.  That area under the birch tree right there is one of my favorite spots in the yard.

View from the driveway through the cherry trees to the right  into the side/back yard.

(more pictures of the cherry trees in bloom and the back yard here)

The fence to the back yard directly to the right of the garage.

The deck.  Yes, I realize it needs to be power washed and sealed but that mofo is huge and is a three day project in itself. 

We had holly bushes surrounding the deck that grew quite large - and attracted hundreds of yellow jackets in the summer.  Apparently bees love holly trees and bushes.  Not exactly ideal for two young girls who loved to play outside in the summer time.  The bushes would "hum" with the noise of so many bees, so we removed them a few years ago and managed to save a few which were transplanted to the back of our property (where the bees can hum to their hearts content).  

We have several more holly bushes out front and a few trees so I still have fresh holly at the holidays.

Last year we planted some azaleas on the back side, in the hopes that they will fill in around the deck so you can't see the ugliness underneath.  

I ADORE azaleas and rhododendrons.  I just wish their beautiful flowers lasted longer. 

On we go....

Switching to the left side of the driveway now....

View from the driveway looking to the front of the house.

View going up the walkway from the driveway to the front of the house. 

Looking back down the walkway.

As you can see, we have some work to do. 

The bushes I refer to as "the ones that are green underneath and red on top". Very technical terms, I know.

View from the front/side yard looking toward the driveway

Rhododendrons out front. Two of these are getting choked out by the holly trees and two others are just getting choked out by the bushes planted next to them (Darwinism - survival of the fittest applies to plants too!) 

Looking from the end of the walkway to the front door onto the side yard. 

So, why am I taking you on this tour?

Well, Brian and I spent two full days - from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm - working in the front yard.  We did some pretty major landscaping.  

And this is ONLY the front yard.

And we aren't done. 

I declare 2012 "The Year of the Yard".

After pictures to follow.....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The story of the rain barrel

Because, let's face it, everything sounds better as a story, right?

There once was a big blue barrel that was given to a deserving family for free by a most generous relative.

(Translation:  Brian's cousin got tired of me bitching about not having a rain barrel and got me one for free - Score!)

Anyway - it was PERFECT.

Except, it was BLUE.

So I painted it. And now it's grey.

Unfortunately, all of the downspouts out front are at the ends of the house - nowhere near where I needed the rain barrel.

So, Brian had to connect to the middle of the gutter.   Here are the tools we used:

And here he is cutting a hole with the saw. 

And here's the resulting broken saw blade. 

So, he cut the rest of it with the tin snips.

Finally, after much cursing and calling of names, we had a hole.

 And now we needed to make the connection from the gutter hole to the barrel.

Here she is right before installation :)

 One thing I needed to remedy was covering up the hole with material so that we didn't have a mosquito paradise, but the water could still flow into the barrel freely.

I went down to mom and dad's and grabbed some landscaping material, cut it to size and placed it over the top of the open barrel and put the lid back on.

What. A. Mess.

SIDE NOTE! Thinking about painting the porch ceiling haint blue - thoughts?

Anyway, while I solved the problem of how to make sure mosquito's didn't move in to my barrel, Brian installed the gutter connection.

And in the process, lost about 40 of these^^^^^

In here ^^^^^^^

Much cursing ensued. 

But finally it was done.

And put on blocks.

The hose was attached and we were good to go. 

We moved some of the plants to provide some cover for the barrel and I'm happy to report it really isn't very noticeable and you can't see it at all from the front.


No. You don't.
(Psst, it's behind the tree on the right hand side)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Look. At. My. Baby!

I think I'm in love with this picture....

Best. Face. Ever.

The recital was awesome - and there were absolutely no protesters, no issues with parking, and a shit ton of police walking around downtown Frederick (better safe than sorry given what's happened at past G8 Summits - but it was definitely a bit of overkill)

Here we go.

We took a ton of pictures before we left.

Look over here!

We made her do a bunch of poses, close ups, far away shots, looking at the camera, looking away..... workin' it ...

Close up!
Strike a pose!

It was quite the photo shoot....
Far away!

Aaaaaaand ........ she's done. 
Turn the camera off mother.  Now. 

We took more once we got to the theater.

Waiting outside to get her backstage
She HATES make up.  But it looks so good on her! 

And she's ready to take my camera and throw it into the busy street for the horses to stomp on.
Finally, it was time!!

All pictures of the girls on stage were taken at Dress Rehearsal since

Which is, in my humble opinion, bull ca-ca.

But, other than the stray head in the pictures (which happens to be their dance teacher standing in front of the stage watching) its basically what we saw at the recital.

This one kills me because her teacher is standing RIGHT THERE IN THE WAY!

Yes, that's my baby.

Doing a split while touching her head with her toes.

The audience broke into spontaneous applause in the middle of the dance when she did this. 

Possibly because it does NOT look humanly possible. 

Unfortunately for her father, she doesn't get that from me. 

I might be able to touch my toes AND touch my head but I certainly can't touch my toes TO my head.

Once again, my girl made me sooo proud and I can't wait until next year - both girls are picking out their dance classes as we speak!