Thursday, April 18, 2013

Getting a Green Thumb

Thanks to the end of winter and warmer weather moving in, I have found myself very motivated to get outside and do work around the house instead of in it. Because of my surgery last October, I wasn't able to get to the clean up around the exterior that I wanted to, so I've spent the past few weeks working towards that.

The most frustrating aspect of that cleanup has been raking up the remaining leaves. Unfortunately, the backyard received no attention last fall which meant it was covered with debris. Sadly, the lawn suffered because of that. I say this was a frustrating task largely because the wind would undo much of the work I was doing piling up the leaves. Eventually, I got the leaves piled up and moved out to the back end of the property. Franklin does offer yard waste pick ups every so often but I am hoping to use the leaf piles as a means of killing off unwanted plants that are growing along the end of the property (primarily the stinging nettles). There is still work to be done on both the front and back lawns - random leaves and sticks, but I can pick at those at my leisure.

The nice weather has allowed me to start planting for the year as well. I have degradable pots with a variety of seeds in them that will hopefully begin sprouting soon! Additionally, I've cleaned up one of the clean beds in the front yard and planted more blueberries and strawberries (to replace the ones that died over the winter) as well as two grapes by the big boulder. I am considering replacing the scrubs that are growing along the driveway with grapes as well, but I'd like to see how these two handle the front yard first before I go to the effort for a larger removal and planting project.

For the backyard, I've changed things around a little bit. The grill has been moved away from the house and placed next to the house-side pool fence. I've moved the larger plants that were in there (snapdragons and a rose bush) to make room for the grill and to also set up my garden bed to be a single plot instead of two plots broken up by bushes.

Another experiment I am undertaking this year is utilizing the black raspberry bushes that seem to grow just about anywhere as a  privacy screen along the fence of the pool. They seemed to do very well on their own last year, but this year I will be attempting to direct them to weave through the fence instead of reaching towards the pool. Their leaves should make for a nice screen and their berries will be a great snack!

All of my major planting efforts are now handled and the rest of what I am going to be doing outside will be clean up. I've got a lot of small trees and bushes to cut back and try to manage as well as 6 small arborvitae that I need to figure out a home for (perhaps either along the downhill side of the pool fence or at the back of the property near the old grill).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Oh Yeah - I did something recently!

This is going to be a quick post because what I did accomplish wasn't some huge feat of home improvement - but it was a small step towards things feeling to some degree done.

I recently wrapped up the work I was doing in the hallway closet on the second floor. Originally, this closet with a tiny thing that was lucky to hold the linens and towels it had in it. While working on the second floor bathroom, the decision was made to remove the closet from the adjacent bedroom and make one for the bathroom. This also meant that I could make the hallway closet a bit deeper as well.

After some slow starts, I did complete the hallway closet to the extent that I am happy with it. Well... not entirely happy... the back wall of it isn't square (off by 3/8s of an inch) but it is dry walled, painted, has flooring (which I recycled from the flooring of the old bedroom closet) and has shelving in it for linen and other storage such as the vacuum cleaner.

If the end results was more interesting to look at I'd have pictures to post but it is a small primer-painted closet, not really an exciting photo subject.

Next I hope to get some work done on the closet in the bathroom. To start, I'll need to remove the interior door casing so that I can get at some of the dry wall I need to replace. After that, I am going to work a bit on the framing of the bathroom closet itself so that there is some symmetry between the sides. Then it is more joint compound, painting and finishing.

Neither of these projects are particularly exciting but with my current state of employment, they are nice and easy projects I can do with the materials I have handy around the house or with minimal expense that will help put me in a position to move forward on to bigger projects more easily (such as the update on the bathroom).