Saturday, May 21, 2011

The flu made me a liar

The last post was scheduled already when I found this after the sun came out and dried up all the rain:

But I had the flu and had to just let it all go on because... well... yeah.
I got the flu 48hrs after Travis.
While we had gorgeous weather Tues-Fri, I was in bed worrying about work, our to do list, the lying on the blog and... actually, no I wasn't. I was just in bed.

Now this opening after the storm isn't nearly as pretty as what I remember when it was fresh,
it is still pretty! The petals were fuller and it wasn't open this wide.  
Now I have evidence to find the type of Magnolia!

Yes, this is pretty much the same picture over and over, but I am thrilled!

 The story of this Magnolia, that requires patience goes like this: I bought some Magnolia tree babies from Arbor day foundation for Mothers day back in 2002 or 2003 for several mothers in my life and gave them out. Then I had plant envy! I hadn't thought to buy one for myself! But since I lived in an apartment, it was probably for the best. But one day I found a lonely vaguely labelled mystery Magnolia at some unreputable store and took it home for $20. It does get green and leafy this time of year after it blooms (or is supposed to) and stays leafy til late fall. So it distracted me from the fact that it is SUPPOSED to flower. 

May 2010-it bushes out more but I am lacking pictures.

 As it turns out it just wanted a real home of its own, because it bloomed for the first time the week after we bought the house. I admit, I was a bit shocked when I saw that first bloom. I was warming up my car to go to work when I noticed it. I promptly jumped out of my car and did a little happy dance (the neighbors still aren't making eye contact) then ran back in the house for my camera!
 And now?
I just have to figure out where to plant this ungrateful mystery Magnolia with its fleeting bloom.

Funny how I never cared much before, but now I'm in the habit of knowing the names and I must find out.

Any suggestions on plant identification websites I can upload some pics to find out what this is?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


A year ago today I planted my first ever vegetables!
And believe it or not the sun was shining. I was even in shorts and thongs!
(I wrote this on the 16th)

These have been in the ground for a month now and If I thought last years garden was lush--this is really gonna be something! With the exception of tomatoes--which we will not talk about! (High of 55 today!)

I was almost a full season behind last year and still made something of it!
So whether you are early or late--it will still turn out okay.

With the exception of flowers pictures!
This mysterious Magnolia made me wait 5 years for 1 bloom. ONE!

I find without a bloom it is nearly impossible to find out the type it is...

By the time I noticed it bloom last year a wind storm had knocked it off the retaining wall and all I got was this lousy tshirt picture with a broken petal.

So I waited a full year... and waited... another month and FINALLY. I got one, ONE! bloom again.
I did not put off taking its picture and watching each day for it to open!
I think I have deduced it is of the "little girl" hybrid of Magnolia.

Well, Ann, Betty, Susan, Jane, Randy, Judy or who ever the hell you think you are! I don't think I will be saving many more mystery plants at the local shops. You are all ungrateful not to be more patient with me.

I saw it open Friday night and it was glorious (if only because I waited 5+ years to see the inside!) and by the time I got around to it with my camera Saturday we had a record breaking rain storm and this is what you give me

If you don't like the rain--what are you doing here?

You were so pretty 2 days ago! Well, this is kinda pretty, but I take credit for that!

One bloom, One rainstorm!
Maybe I should send her to an orphanage in Florida? 

So you CAN put of your veggie planting, but you really shouldn't.
Unless they are tomatoes!
Then you SHOULD put it off as long as its under 55 every. single. day
But you CAN'T put off the flower photos or you may as well just take pictures of the branches!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Random update-Travis edition

Along with a little bit of this this weekend:

Travis got the flu and spent most of it on the couch and in bed!
Rare occurrence for him. Not sure other than a cold it has ever happened in 6+ years

Maybe he is allergic to work? Nah!

Before this--He spent the whole week on the water leak, that  found here last weekend.

After finding this behind the washing machine.....

We lost a week(or gained a few years of life!) Cleaned out the pipes and he replaced the faucets.

 It sure takes alot of tools! Every available surface was covered with tools!

But I mean ----Come on--look at this gunk?! This is why we use a Brita filter for our water consumption!

 And it wasn't enough that we turned off the main water, opening all the faucets, changing out the faucets, turning on the main, closing the faucets, that we find this little itty bitty leak... and start back at the beginning.
No such leaking the 2nd go around (and when I saw we, I did the running & he did the real work)

And then comes the adding of drywall. I think this was less than $5 worth of materials?

Luckily we had all the other tools. Yes more tools!

And then he mudded the area(joint compound I think)
 And the gap behind the left faucet...
 And this takes us to the bedroom...

We have slept in the same room as this gaping hole since we moved in.
Shocking I know! That I never mentioned it before....

It has been quite the sore spot since I realized some time ago WHY it was there at all. We asked the sellers to replace the breaker box, they did... and that was all. Not even bothering to replace the drywall once the job is done! Sigh... other patch in the garage is missing too due to this project.

Looking more closely we notice daylight thru the wall :( No wonder I have battled spiders all this time!!!
And I have to wear socks to bed (or maybe that is because I am a woman?)

Now a few spiders are a small price to pay for the new electrical panel we requested during the inspection. The old one had been recalled back in the 80's but no one ever noticed... And the place did not burn down so all was well...
We got instead of new flooring, a new breaker box! Weeeeee!
Hardly something you brag to your peers about,
but OUR house is not going to burn down around this box!
And everything is labelled which is a dream come true.

(Except for those 4 way switches/front lights and turning off the plugged in lights with a switch upstairs causes the outside front light/plugs to work... Hmmmm...)

 So Travis worked all week, here is an action shot of vacuuming the hole (those nasty spiders!)
 Installing drywall....

After taping...

 Adding mud....

 And the after shot! Now it is time to sand and paint and make it look half way decent. I actually think just not having wiring showing is a huge improvement and we could move on to other tasks!

Do you think a white patch here will detract from the baby blue and pink bedroom?

Here is a sneak peak at what I did this weekend!
They are definitely not NEW...
but clean and fresh and NOT greasy is all I am after.
I would take nicks, dings and knife scrapes over what I had in there before anyway!
Even a mediocre paint job!

I was going to go for a smaller shot like this to just give you a tease:

But I couldn't make the sweet molasses(brown) come out quite right in color so it wouldn't be fair.
I still have to paint the final coat on the accent wall. It is not quite as orange as the pics make it out to be since it is just primer. Not that I mind the color it is now, it is just not in the plan.
Once we paint this--it will NEVER be painted again.
Too many tall corners and straight lines--that I cannot do well.  
As for cupboard, I have some touch ups to do, send off the hinges to a friend, and get those doors & drawers painted!

Thank you Travis for working so hard all week that being sick this weekend didn't even phase us!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mothers Day Massacre

This weekend started off great! We were quite proud of ourselves for making so much progress upstairs on Saturday. We started early and worked til 4 before calling it a night. We had a small BBQ planned with 1 guest but that amazingly turned in to 5. Not sure how that happens around here, but "surprise" parties have happened more than once! I am not showing any detailed pics of the kitchen til it's finished, but here is Travis steadily working away on the east beam. This beam is proving much harder than the west, but Ill go in to that in more detail in another post.

We were so proud of our efforts we decided to take it easy a bit Sunday morning. The sun was trying to come out and yard work is very tempting escape from our work upstairs.
We could go bike riding, or run some errands or just a nice walk in the sun(= cloudy not raining)
Laundry was started, we werefed & dressed...
But Sunday had other plans for us...
While brushing teeth I hear a drip drip dripping sound....
Clusiana tulips reaching for the sun

Down in the basement, the washer/dryer are in the 1/2 bath.
And this is where we followed the sound of dripping water....

 The sink is just to the right of this mess where I was minding my own business day dreaming about doing fun things...
Don't look too closely--Ew! This was one area that we hadn't cleaned out after moving in. I had lost something off the counter a month back and when I looked to see if I could reach it I noticed the previous owners too had lost things back here. Laundry items, kids toys & socks. I added "Cleaning behind washer" to our to do list.. once we finish upstairs...
 Well, we didn't get to wait on that. It also contained mold and wet drywall! How long has it been dripping? We don't know but a trip to Home Depot ensued. Travis has some mad skills (skilz?) and with some quick thinking and bleach he cleaned it all up set the fan on it. With a few new tools he removed the wet drywall and has all supplies on hand to make it new again!

 During this debacle, we hired a man who was in need of some work.  We figured if we were behind we could save some time in the yard and help someone else along with fixing the water issue.
After talking with him a bit we decided he sober and just down on his luck (meaning wouldn't kill us in our sleep or stalk our house in the following weeks) so we handed him the weed whacker and lawn mower and off he went.

He did a 110% job! Even mowed the lower moat, which we would just weed whack because of the slope and moistness of it. All these weeds and ground covers almost look like lawn now!!!

 The extra 10% comes from the fact that he MOWED DOWN my Autumn Joy Sedum. Which was conveniently surrounded by daffodils minus the yellow heads!!! It looks like a murder scene:


Good thing I take lots of pictures. I will always have the memories of it.
Picture this, plus 3 weeks of growth, but with the yellow flowers removed.
Looks like NOT GRASS TO ME.

 Now had we been supervising, we wouldn't have needed his help in the first place. But had we been supervising we would have noticed he possibly never used a weed whacker, mower or rake in his life.
But no problem right? I had never done alot of yard work before this house. It is pretty easy to figure out.
 Here he got all the weeds, left the rock and tree standing. He did help the neighbor remove the pesky Snap dragons that were separating our yards. They were only oh--18 inches tall and NOT A WEED. Another 110% for this section!

 Here, all the Bugle weed is looking GREAT! This is a section he got perfect. We asked he attempt to rid it of dandelions but leave as much of these as he could.
We do have plans for this garden, but this is filling the space for the meantime

Upon 2nd thought--wait--Didn't I have something growing in the south garden?
Oh yes. Yes I did. I planted a lily from the NW Flower & Garden show!
It was about 5 inches tall last I saw it this weekend.  No pictures to remember it by.

So it seems that no good deed goes unpunished. This guy was blind! Like actually legally blind!
 Next time we will let our weeds grow for another day.

I keep telling myself, both those plants were free. Both those plants were free. Both those plants were free. Both those plants were free...
And now I can go buy more!! It isn't so much the plants as it is fun to watch things grow. I had grown attached to those 2 already and never would have willingly given them up. So maybe this is for the best?

Back in the house, Travis replaced the hoses that were dripping, unclogged the drain tube which alerted me to the dripping in the first place. Cut out the drywall, doused everything in more bleach and put the fan on it.
Turns out it could be the washing machine pump or a tub seal on top of the hoses, drain hole and now some drywall repair.
After Travis took it apart: Inside the washer is where the drain hose connects, it had been rubbing on sheet metal and leaking from the bottom. Along with the hoses and faucets were dripping(replaced now) and the drain was clogged.
Im super suprised that we managed to catch this NOW(a few weeks ago would have been good too) compared to the Huge mess that these 3 leaking items could have caused.

Here is how the night ended with a bucket to catch the drips from the faucets that need replacing (on top of the hoses)

Nope--Didn't clean the inside of the bucket, just the outside
 All so we could finish up the laundry before turning off the water to it.

It could have been so much worse but it seems to always be two steps forward and one step back (minus a few plants)
Im glad we caught this now before it turned in to a job to big for us to handle.
Travis rocks.

To end this on a happy note--I saw my first bird on the feeder!!!
Many more followed during the day.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Random update: Garden Edition

(This is going to be a really long post. Feel free to skip the words and browse the pictures or maybe just read half and come back and read the rest another day)

April was a plant filled month. I was off work for a week for my birthday and what better excuse to buy all the plants you desire?
So this random update will include tons of PLANTS. Along with some yard updates.

This has nothing to do with plants--but my Littler and I shared this flaming volcano of booze at my birthday dinner at Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse. Fantastic food, drinks & friends all for me!

Travis and I also went to Bellevue Botanical Gardens and maybe that is why it was a plant craze of a month?
That will have to be a post of its own. Lots of wonderful plants.

 My crazy gardener delivered these during my vacation.
Snap peas, kale, collard, chard, broccoli, cabbage, lettuces oh my!

This was a gift from the lovely Emily.
I'm not usually one for names, but I had to know and with my trusty google skills (purple succulents) I got this:
Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg'.

This little succulent tree I fell in love with at Molbaks and went back and bought it days later. I looked up the name for this one too, but have forgotten it

Here are some African daisies from Jen.  Not a very good picture, but love them anyway!
 And a Early Sensation Clematis from Sabina. Actually it was a gift card so I got to pick it out. This one is in the pruning group that makes me happy. AND! I know what type it is! My rescue Clematis of Unknown names/pruning groups have just about outlived there welcome. So many little white flowers on these at once, they have outbloomed the refugees total blooms in 5 years!

Here is my  new Fuchsia  'Gartenmeister Bonstedt....TAKE 3. Will I never learn?
 I suppose I should treat it as an annual and just plan on buying one each year. The hummingbirds love it.
(This too is from Jen, but since I will end up killing it, I didn't want to say)


Perfect timing for you to take a break

(Technically post 2)
Oh and here is what I did with all those veggies! Plenty(I just typo'd planty, which still works) of space left for tomatoes squash and peppers! Oh and flowers!
Twine has so many uses! Plotting the garden was super easy.

(Technically post 3)
Creating work where there was none before? Yes, that is us!
What should have been a 2 hour project took 3 weeks. These brackets were out of stock and the other brand had the wrong measurements... but eventually I got smart and went to a different Home Depot and scored.

This whole project was Travis' idea.  He even picked the color to paint them to blend in--and they sure do!
This year we will have straight twine for the peas. Forever more!

(Technically post 4)

In the fall I planted 12 horse chestnuts I found around town, so Chester could have a mate (needed for pollination some day) and I thought it was a bust, nothing came up. As I was dumping the pots to throw them out, I found 3 that HAD germinated, and 1 was actually out of the soil. So I kept it, and was surprised to see it was standing up the next day! Ya for  baby trees! This guy is 2 inches tall.

 For comparison, this is Chester today. He is around 7ft now, but began life in a Starbucks cup in 2005ish. The baby is at his base for comparison. Last year he was only as tall as the bamboo polls next to him.

Also see the really straight twine in the background? Now you get it.

 Here is the garden this morning. Noticeable growth in just 2 weeks.
See the pretty twine? Most of the peas seedlings planted are almost up to the first row. And the peas planted as seeds(pea seeds are just that.. peas) have popped out of the soil! Grow baby grow!

We have peas against the fence, then the entine 3 rows on the left are kale, collard and chard. Yes, we really really like our greens!
Empty space at the top is for the hot weather stuff. In the center is Broccoli and now carrots are planted.
And bottom right is spinach and 6 kinds of lettuce.
My paths are quite wide but that just means I can tuck in random plants I come across :)
Lets not talk about those puddles, shall we?

 (Technically post 6)
I adore these tulips. There insides glow like sunshine!  They open as soon as you aren't looking....

And close again with out notice! The name escapes me and I don't feel like looking it up atm. I am pretty sure we will have more pictures of these.. Ok ok. Clusiana something or other is the type.

We all know daffodils can do no wrong right?
(I have spared you at least 100 photos of these)

 Found a great deal on the ground cover we needed! Little star creeper. I have already bought and spread last year but since the snails ate it all in February, I couldn't fathom paying $3.99 on each little pot. Fred Meyers had 2/$5 so I bought a flat. I will need more too...

Here we go again!

(Technically post 8)
Love this tree in bloom, love this man, and he loves his new lawn mower.
Here is the maiden voyage. 20 minutes start to finish and cleaned!

And last, my bribe for the lawn mower purchase! I finally got a bird feeder! Now come home all you birdies! Come eat at my house! It has been a week and I see little evidence of visitation...

If you made it here--I congratulate you! Hooray!
So much happens in 3 weeks around here--I really need to update more often.
I promise I won't do this again!
(fingers are crossed a bit though)