Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's All Worth It!

This morning on the way out the door I tried to get a couple of quick shots of my newly completed flower beds, but the humidity was so high that my camera lense kept fogging up.  So here's what I have anyway. 

The front looks really nice but still needs some more mulch.  (Almost nothing here got moved)

After a gruling weekend of labor and another late night on Tuesday, I can finally say that I'm completely finished with about half of the flowerbeds.  For the other half, I'm only one more truck load of mulch away.  Which will just have to wait until we get back from vacation.  I'm sure that once I'm finished all the hard work will be worth it.  (Maybe by next year anyway) 

Unfortunately, I think it will be next summer before things are looking really good again.  I'm afraid that I've come close to killing some things since I had to dig them up to move and then leave them sitting in the super hot sun (sometimes for 36 hours).  Plus, for things like my hostas, I went ahead and took the opportunity to divide them up and thin them down.  Things that spread can get really out of hand without being cut back every few years. 

I'm hoping that with watering almost daily I'll be able to save everything.  Then in late october, I'll cut everthing way back and let it start all over next spring.  That's easy to say now, but it probably won't get done.  In any event.  Here are the newly re-designed and re-controlled flower beds.  


The hostas (small plants on the front) look kinda thin but will grow back.
 My poor iris (to the right of the downspout) got left in the sun for two whole days before I could get them back in the ground.  They are going to need some healing time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beat Down but Victorious

Well we've had another long hard weekend of yardwork at our house.  We are sore, tired, and definately ready for our vacation (just 5 days away).  Brian had his summer camp for Air Guard last week and this week (Tues-Friday) so I've been working long days then going home to work long nights in the flower beds to try to finish up.  Yesterday around lunchtime I finally finished (less the clearning up and spreading new mulch).  All of my flowerbeds are now smooth and sloped to drain away from the house properly.  My sprinklers are actually above ground! And (I hope) things are planted so that all I need to do is a little weeding along the way (no more plants growing over sprinklers).  I don't guess that I need to tell you how sore my back is from all the digging or how my feet and legs ache from squating, crawling, stooping, etc.  But the pain I'm in today will be way worth it tonight when I get home, turn on the sprinklers, and go inside. 

While I worked to finish up the flowerbeds, Brian rebuild a rearend on the truck.  Every weekend gets us another day closer to finished with the Truck project and (hopefully) another day closer to removing the old junkers (I mean part trucks) from our yard. 

Now I must accomplish some work for my paying job so that I can head home this afternoon and get started on cleaning the house.  I can't stand the thought of going on vacation and having to come home to a dirty house.  Hopefully, Brian is making a little progress at home today while I'm working.  Victory in the Gardening War, now on to the War For Clean Homes.  

Monday, June 7, 2010

Post Weekend Update!

No progress this weekend on the flower beds thanks to this guy (well, one of his distance cousins at least).  After a very fun day Friday playing softball with the coworkers, and getting paid to do it!!! We stopped by Sams Club to get our new memberships (Thanks, Mom!) and do some shopping for things we buy super frequently.  We saved $10 on dog food alone!!!! We also bought lots of diced tomatoes and green beans (other staples at our house). 

We got up Saturday morning and were going to take our latest doggie addition, Jethro, to the vet.  Unfortunately, our truck still needed some mechanical work so we had to try it in my Jeep.  The instant Jethro go in the car he started freakin' out.  So we aborted our vet mission and will try again next weekend in the truck.  Once we returned from the parts store we changed clothes and got ready to head outside.  Brian was going to finish up what he could on the truck and I was going to tackle some more of my flower beds.  I had my shoes in my hand and was walking through the garage (sock footed) to sit down outside and get my old ratty tennis shoes on.  I was almost outside when suddenly my foot exploded in pain.  In the midst of saying a few choice words I looked down to see a huge bee fly off very much wounded. I had stepped on this huge been nearly barefoot and was now pretty much out of commission for the rest of the weekend. After an hour of an ice pack and rest I tried to "man-up" and get back to work.  I managed to get the front yard cut and took the time to blow all the grass out into the road on one side and into the hay field on the others.  Take that neighbors!!!! I then hobbled around in the yard trying to help Brian work on his Jeep for a while before I was in severe pain and went inside to elevate my poor foot. After a while, Brian and I rode to my parents house so that he could do a couple of things around the house for them (because I sure wasn't going to be any help).  And my wonderful mother even fed us supper.  By the time we had finished supper my foot was swelling profusely and the Benedryl I had taken before supper combined with my glass of wine was making me super sleepy.  So Brian took me home and put me to bed with my foot elevated.  Fortunately, by Sunday I could stand to walk again, though there is still some minor discomfort.  I hope whereever that stupid bee is who thought he belonged on my driveway he is hurting at least as bad as I did.  I've also resolved that it doesn't matter how dirty my shoes are I would rather put them on in the laudry room and risk tracking in a little dirt than to risk stepping on another bee.  One of my favorite things used to be walking barefoot in the grass.  I may now be permanently traumatized and unable to take the risk.  Here's hoping I can recover.  Happy and Safe Walking!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Redneck Sprinklers

So what are my redneck sprinklers???? Well basically it's the entire sprinkler system without the automated parts.  The most expensive parts of a sprinkler system are the labor (for paying someone who knows what they are doing to come set things up) and the timers and pumps (that make the sprinklers automatic and tie into your main water line).  The timers and pumps are also the most difficult part of the installation.  Plus you have to find a way to tie everything to the same point in the yard which means a lot more pipe than just in your flower beds. 

Fortunately, I am semi-proficient at laying and connecting PVC pipe (it's really easy).  And I found this awesome tutorial that helped me determine how many sprinkler heads I could put on one run of pipe.  So I went to the Home Depot, bought a pressure guage ($6), hooked it up to my water spigot, and Boom! I know what pressure I have available for going into the system.  Then I went to sprinklerwarehouse.com and picked out this sprinkler head and the accompanying 10 ft nozzle (total of $3.50 per sprinkler head).  In the online specifications I was able to find all the information I needed for the sprinkler design tutorial.  Then it was a simple process of measuring my flowerbeds and going step by step through the tutorial to do my design.  Once I had my design, I could order my sprinkler heads then pick up all the rest of my pipe and fittings at the local Home Depot.  We also rented a trencher to make installing the pipe so much easier on our backs.  So basically, one we put our pipe and sprinkler heads in the ground, I ran the end of the pipe to the surface near our hose spigot and stubbed it out so that I could attach my regular garden hose to it.  So basically, when I want to run my sprinklers, I go out and hook up a short garden hose to my spigot and sprinkler head.  The sprinklers run and I walk away to do something else!  Plus, you can feed everything through the system using the old-school miracle grow feeder system and another short hose. 

I'll admit that I'm just dying to automate this further with one of these.  Ahhhhhhh someday! Got more questions? Leave me a comment.

Happy Be-lated Memorial Day

Hello All!

I hope everyone had as great a Memorial Day as we did.  We had a very productive day ourside and are now completely sunburned, exhausted, and sore.  Brian made some incredible progress on our truck project this weekend and I can now officially say that it is moving again under it's own power.  Whoooot! That's not to say that we are finished by any stretch of the imagination.  We have reached the point in the project where there seem to be a million loose ends to tie up, but those will soon be done too.  At least we can take our trash to the dump again without borrowing a car (by the way, thanks Joey and Rickey for loaning us a truck from time to time).

While Brian worked on the truck yesterday, I continued (or barely got started on) my massive gardening project. Two summers ago, we added landscaping all the way around our house. Last summer, we rented a trencher and added redneck sprinklers (I'll explain in a sec).  Well by the time we finished with the sprinklers we were so exhausted that we just threw everything back in where it was, filled the holes pretty much full, and dumped mulch on everything.  This left my flower beds with hills and valleys, big ole' monkey grass plants right on top of my sprinklers, ugh! Everything was just a mess underneath the new pretty mulch.  So this year, my project is to clean up the mess we left last year.  I started by removing all the mulch and landscaping fabric. Then I did the backbreaking labor of scraping/hoeing/digging/raking everything down to a nice neat level surface. And finally, I'm finishing off by moving things as needed so that my sprinklers work better, replacing some bushed that I didn't like, and laying new landscaping fabric and much.  So far I've finished the front of the house (half a couple of weeks ago then the othe half yesterday.  My goal is to get one more side done every weekend, which leaves me with 3 more hard days of work.  As sore as I am, seeing the results make it all worth it.  Plus I get the benefit of knowing that it will, at last, be finished a semi-maintenance free.

Hope your weekend was as productive as ours.  See the next post for my redneck sprinkler plan.