April 2011


The other day I had just gotten home from work and, as I do, I was pulling a few weeds in my work clothes before going inside. My neighbor Mary Alice from two doors down pulled up and came over to say hi.

“Oh, I see you already got to your mowing! You beat me to it.”

<Confused look>

“Oh, I just always do these three lawns at once when I’m doing mine, since it’s a straight shot from one end to the other.”

Haha okay, Mary Alice. So she told me that if she’s ever mowing hers and mine is looking a little shaggy, to not be surprised if she goes ahead and mows it. Uh, score!

Anyway, I thought it was funny. Would you ever do something like that? I was about to mow the elderly people’s overgrown parking strip the other day, but Mary Alice had beaten me to that. But to set out to mow three times the amount of lawn than you really have to every time? I’m not sure if I would do it.

And now for a totally pointless video of Blanche being dumb running around excitedly.

PS- We’re still rocking the freebie lawnmower for now. We haven’t had a moment to make the decision, plus after booking our honeymoon we’re feeling the clench of tight finances. We’ll see…

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This weekend we did lots of stuff, including:

  • Got rid of a huge eyesore hanging from the side of the house (more on that later)
  • Toured a neighbor’s current reno- I mean they are really in the thick of things!
  • Perused old pictures from when I was really in the thick of things

  • Built a tabletop raised bed for a friend (more on that later)
  • Spent half a day designing invitations and insert cards
  • Hand-addressed half of our wedding invitations
  • BBQed salmon burgers twice and hung out with my friend Becca who I wish would move back here
  • Performed a major cleanup on the patio and made a thrilling time-lapse video of it (I know, it seems like that’s all I ever do- move pavers around and make time-lapse videos of it. But this time I had help, and this time the patio is NOT going to turn into a storage unit again, and this time I used my Wingscapes ProjectCam that the nice folks over at Wingscapes sent me. This time is different.)

No there aren’t two Stans. The other one is Duncan.

  • Ate a delicious Easter dinner
  • Booked our Honeymoon! Well that was last week but it counts. We’re going to Playa del Carmen and I cannot WAIT. I’ve never been on a resort vacation before.

  • Thanks to all of your helpful input, we set up our registry. We chose to use myregistry.com, since you can put anything from any store in the world on there, and also set up a cash fund if you want (still figuring all that out). We also chose not to include the info on our invitations, but to tell our parents so they can spread the word if people ask.

I’m feeling pretty good about the amount of stuff we got done, but also a little overwhelmed by all that there is left to do. My brother-in-law offered to fly me out to Texas for my niece’s baptism and my new nephew’s blessing this weekend (robbers beware- I will have a housesitter so don’t try anything funny). I’m suuuuper excited to go there! But we also kind of made me going out of town the deadline for the invitations (which is probably laughable) and work is busy this week, so we’ll see how much more we can get done.

Whew!

Even if I don’t end up getting a reel mower, at least I have one reason to feel eco-superior:

I even cropped out my skivvies for ya. You’re welcome. (Or sorry- depending on who’s reading this.)

If you want to just cut to the chase, scroll down to vote!

The other day, Stan and I were talking about the back yard. The same one where I accidentally killed everything that was green, then said “Oh well, it was all weeds anyway”, and then dug up and tilled and re-planted it. That one.

Anyway, it’s looking awesome back there. Awesomely green. But there are a TON of weeds still. We did Weed & Feed so maybe that will help some, but we were also thinking we may need to tackle the problem in another way, too, and always use a bag to catch the clippings. It seems like chopping off the tops of weeds and blowing them around the yard is just going to exacerbate the weed problem. (There is a mega amount of weeds. Not just a dandelion here and there. MEGA.)

This is an old pic. It's more filled in now.

And so the decision was made that we needed to buy a new lawnmower. My current one is a freebie that my awesome brother gave me. It runs okay, but it doesn’t have a bag. And since it’s older and kind of obscure, getting a bag would not only be a PITA, but it would be expensive.

So like any other normal couple does on a “nice little Saturday” (name that movie), we went to Home Depot to buy a lawn mower.

We had our sights set on this one:

Yup, it’s a push. I’ve been mowing lawns for quite a few years now, and I know my lawn mowing needs well enough to know that I don’t need a self-propelled jobby. So lay off!!! I know some people can get pretty passionate about how much better their life got when their lawn mower started being able to push itself, but I’m not one of them. The yard is big, but it’s flat, and your efforts to convince me to get a self-propelled mower will fall flat. So yeah, this is our gas mower of choice.

But then I said “Stan, this reel mower has a bag!” I’ve always had visions of my beautiful self getting out in the yard on a nice sunny day and working up a good sweat and feeling awesomely superior for how “green” I am with my reel mower.

But I can hear it now “If you’ve never had to mow with one of those things you DO NOT know what you’re getting into AVOID AVOID AVOID!”

And I’m totally willing to listen to all advice, over-the-top or otherwise. (Except do not try to convince me I need a self-propelled mower.)

Push:

  • easier to use?
  • probably a better cut job
  • mulching capabilities
  • $200
  • gotta buy gas
  • gotta fix it and I don’t know much about motors (but oh yeah, I’ll have a husband soon… muahahaha)

Reel:

  • It has a bag!!!
  • The earth! Think of the earth!!
  • I’ve heard they don’t cut evenly and sometimes you have to go over the same spot 2-3 times. Not cool.
  • $140
  • If it works well, it would be awesome!
  • I like to multi-task and get a little workout in with my yard work
  • Might be just as much maintenance as a gas one, with sharpening the blades, adjusting it, etc. (The blades on this thing touch each other, which dulls them. The blades on a powered mower only touch grass, so it’s my understanding that you don’t have to sharpen them as often.)

Sorry, I totally mixed the pros in with the cons there. You’ll just have to figure out which is which.

Needless to say, we left Home Depot without making a purchase (which someone who I will not name was slightly grumpy about) and are now just trying to read up on mowers and make a decision. Care to vote?

We ran the half marathon this weekend! Four friends, two boyfriends, and one sister. It was fun but my legs still murder me when I go down stairs. Stan and I came in at 1:59:42. I was bummed that I didn’t beat my time two years ago (1:58:55) but pretty stoked that we came in under two hours. We crossed the finish line holding hands! It was extremely cute. The photographers took a picture of it but I’m not going to pay $44.95 to have one of the fugliest pictures of me in all of existence. Anyway, the race was fun- the challenge now is to continue working out!

Also, I made a quilt. Happy Birthday Wendy! She likes animal print.

I’m kind of mad at Blanche right now because I woke up to a huge mess this morning involving anywhere from 1-3 bodily functions (don’t worry, she’s fine, yes I’m sure). But these pictures¬† cracked me up, so I’ll forgive her long enough to give her ten minutes of fame.

Stan decided she needed some ear protection.

Don’t mind the mess. I was using the living room as a spot to tie the quilt, which you can see unfinished in the background.

“Get it off. :-(“

Parking strip: the area of land between the street and the sidewalk in front of your house.

Remember Rip Your Strip? It’s essentially a program that encourages Utahns (#2 in the nation for water consumption!) and other desert dwellers to get rid of that strip of grass and replace it with water-wise, native desert plants. I think the reason they target the parking strip is because for one thing, it’s a small area that homeowners can tackle, and for another thing the strip ends up guzzling a ton of water because it’s hard to efficiently place a sprinkler on such a narrow strip without watering the sidewalk and street.

Some SLCers are probably laughing at me right now, because we’re experiencing a very rainy wet spring on top higher than average snowfall this year that’s just chomping at the bit to melt and come rushing down into the valley. That’s right folks, we’re looking at some pretty high chances of flooding this year.

But ultimately, Salt Lake sits in a desert valley, and in the long run these plants are perfect.

I have a love/hate relationship with xeriscaping. I think it’s an awesome idea, but a lot of time people think “Hey, if the plants are native, then that means they’ll take care of themselves and I don’t have to do anything!” Those people end up having having yards that look like poo. You still have to weed, nurture, spread mulch, and yes, you may need to water a little bit.

Also, some people’s idea of xeriscaping is this:

(click photo for source)

I guess it’s ok to see one of those once in a while, but I certainly wouldn’t like to see a whole neighborhood of that. Also, I think SLC might technically have guidelines about ratio of plants to rocks to avoid strips like this (which seems kind of funny and frivolous to me, but whatevs).

A lot of parking strips are just plain grass, like mine when I bought the house. This isn’t mine, but you get the idea:

(click photo for source)

Then we killed the grass with black plastic and dug it out, and it looked like this:

(click photo for source)

(Again, not mine.)

And finally, after some rock laying, plant planting, and mulch spreading, we had this!

My dad said to me “That’s the best it’s ever going to look.” Thanks, dad. Doesn’t he seem like a real charmer based on what I write about him on the blog? Well, he was kinda right. My big beautiful tree starts losing seed pods mid-summer, so I’m raking pretty much constantly until snow starts to fall. And the pods and leaves get down in my mulch and gets it looking right crappy.

However, I’m super excited because the plants are all rapidly growing! I think that will make the mess of seed pods and leaves less noticeable and easier to clean out. It’s hard to see the difference in the pictures, but trust me it’s there. A ton of the plants I got were just starts from this beautiful yard, and they required kind of a lot of attention while they were getting established. Now that they’re feeling at home and growing bigger, I’m excited to see how much (or little) watering I’ll need to do this summer.

And plus, we refreshed the look by weeding, removing fallen sticks, pulling off the dead parts of the plants, and adding $4 worth of mulch.

Mulch is our friend because it looks nice and it’s a good natural weed barrier.

nice butt!

Of course as it’s still early, none of the flowers are out yet. There’s yarrow, catmint, pussytoes, snow-in-summer, lavender, and some other really cool flowers that I can’t remember but should get pretty tall. I’m excited to see what it looks like by the end of the summer!

I’m hoping for this:

(click photo for source)

and this:

(click photo for source)

Or ya know, half of that.

PS- I could have waited till the end of summer to “revisit” the parking strip, but I wanted to post it now because the next few weeks are the perfect time to get starts if you’re interested in doing something like this, or even if your yard just needs some more perennials. When we’re into the dry, hot summer, it’s less ideal for new plants and harder to keep them moist. Ask a neighbor or friend with a mature yard, and I’m sure they’d be happy to have you come clean up/thin out their plants!

I did some edging. It’s not fancy. When my dad comes, he’ll look at it and say “Girl,” (not the sassy way people say “girl”, but my dad’s way… it’s hard to convey with text). Anyway, he’ll say “Girl, you should have turned those bricks on end and buried them! That way you might have actually stopped the grass from spreading into your flower beds!”

Sorry dad, I’m just a little less of an overachiever than you are.

And speaking of my dad real quick, did anyone see his recent comment on how Jonny picked up the accordion? He really set me straight!

Anyhoo, this is how my front beds were looking where bed meets grass. Where Bed Meets Grass… sounds like a hippie novel about the joys of living outside in nature. Dumbest joke ever.

I got these bricks from the pile-o-bricks in the back yard and dug a little to settle them in there.

This weird little side yard area next to the driveway needed some cleaning up. (Here it is last fall.)

With bricks edging the bed (the grass is trying so hard to fill in):

And with blooming tulips!

Nice little free, dirty project to make me feel accomplished!

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