Spring Cleaning Outdoors

Friday, April 25, 2014

I started spring yard clean up over a month ago, but didn't get around to mulching until yesterday and today.  Within the past 2 weeks, nearly every tree in my yard has burst back to life with beautiful spring green leaves.  It makes such a difference in how the outdoors feels and provides so much privacy.  Not just my own trees but my neighbor's trees too.

The grass still looks like death, but whatever.  I was trying to go organic and avoid the use of chemicals on the weeds.   I put down corn gluten meal which is a pre-emergent, so I am hoping it fights the summer weeds.  But I started pulling the existing weeds by hand and as I got down on the ground, I realized it was pretty much all weeds.  So that's kind of throwing a wrench in my organic plan.  I feel really tempted to just spray them, but then again, that hasn't ever been that effective either.

For now, I think the other plants are being nice to me since the grass is so merciless.

Upstairs in the garden..

And downstairs.  

I attempted pruning my crepe myrtles for the first time in about 4 years.  I did it years ago and didn't like how it grew back from the pruning.  The shoots couldn't support the weight of the flowers. And I didn't want to have the knobby hacked-off look, so I found an article online that gave directions.  I kept waiting for the part where I hacked off a branch, but it really was about thinning out the tree and losing the small branches.  I'm not sure if it's correct, but we'll see how they do this year. 

I also transplanted the hydrangea below that's underneath the window, so I'm looking forward to some purple blooms this summer.

Our lawn mower went down last fall after 10 years of use and zero service.  So I switched to an old school reel mower, and I love it.  We have steps in our back yard to a grass area I have to mow and this one is so much easier to lift up the steps.  I wanted to buy one when we first moved here but was talked out of it.  I should have trusted my gut.  It's so easy to use, plus no gas, no oil, and no fumes.  Maybe we'll call that the 'organic' part of lawn care.  

I still want to pot up some herbs, and plant a few more veggies. I'm also planning a succulent planter. But for now, I think the back yard is cleaned up. Well, except for the grass. But even weeds look better when they're cut and edged. (At least the HOA won't have to send me ugly letters.) What a difference a few weeks makes in the spring. The pics below were taken two and a half weeks apart.

I'm hoping to finish mulching the front and side yards by next week.  It's going to be a nice weekend here for yard work.  Have a great weekend!

Read More

Loving The Imperfections In Your Home

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I said that I had a funny story about how we ended up with the playroom sofa.  We got that sofa about four years ago.   At the time, we had a leather sofa that we had owned nearly seven years, which was a little after we got married.  It was the most expensive piece of furniture we had ever purchased.
Well, my toddler son wrote all over one of the seat cushions with an ink pen.  I was mortified!

Thankfully, even though at the time of purchase we didn't have a kid, we got some sort of extended protection plan where they would come out and remove any ink marks in the leather or completely replace it if they couldn't remove the marks.  The guy comes out, but he can't remove the ink.


But the company honored the warranty!  We literally had about 2 months left on the seven year warranty, and they honored it.  Thankfully I had kept the paperwork for all that time because they said they wouldn't honor the warranty without it.

 I love the company to this day because of that.  I was afraid that they would find some sort of loophole to get out of it, but they didn't.  Unfortunately, seven years later, the sofa had been discontinued, but they gave us a credit for the original cost of the leather sofa minus the value of the damaged one if we wanted to keep it.   I was able to find a sofa (which we currently use in the playroom), love seat, and chair set that was heavily marked down and used the credit to purchase the set.  I think I only had to pay for delivery and another protection plan on the new set.  Woohoo!

(The Sofa, 11 years later)

We decided to keep the original sofa because, well, it's leather, we really loved it, and it had a matching love seat.  I can't deny that I was distraught over the ink marks.  There were several.  Thankfully, they were limited to one seat cushion.  Over the years the ink marks have been worn away by use of the sofa.  Today, the sofa isn't perfect, but I've come to appreciate it's imperfections.  It's slowly developing a time-worn patina that people pay good money for.  Except it comes from real life. 

It's easy to be attracted to the shiny and new.  We can be quick to toss the imperfect, the worn, and the damaged.  But I try to remind myself that it's better if we can see beyond the imperfection to the inherent value.  It applies to things, but more importantly to people because we have to see each other's inherent value beyond visible inperfections.  Had we been quick to toss that sofa because of an imperfection, it would have been a waste.  I am so glad we kept it because, eleven years later it's the most favorite piece of furniture I own.  And it's perfectly imperfect.

Wow, I didn't plan on getting this deep about a sofa, haha!  I'll be back to share the art station I'm working on.  If you have a toddler and a sofa, go put up those ink pens!
Read More