In Our House: Backyard

Ever wondered what our whole backyard looks like? I know I’ve given you snippets of weeds or snow, but today our neighbor graciously bush-hogged the whole backyard so that you can actually see it/use it/not be driven crazy with allergies by all the weeds! It’s about an acre, and it’s all hill – and pretty steep hill at that. If you use anything less than a 17 horsepower mower on it, the mower engine will die (trust us on this one).

So thanks to CleVR.com and their free panorama editing software, I was able to drum this one up. If you click on it, you can see the whole image. Also, keep in mind that the colors are distorted as CleVR put together 4 different shots to make this one.

There’s not too awful much we can do with the yard (it looks pretty tame here, but trust me, there is more slope than anything and it’s at least a 70 degree angle) with the exception of the small flat plot the house sits on. But it sure is pretty to look at when it’s all snowy or flowery!

In Our House: Mulching and a Perennial

Today was a semi-busy day chez Howard as we had quite a bit to do on the yard work. Jason had to do his annual first mowing, which takes quite a bit of work with a push mower (our lawn tractor is not currently working, so he cut 1/2 acre of very sloping hill today!).

As for me, I took to clearing the grass and weeds from around our two slow-growing trees to help encourage them to grow more. The weeds were wrapped around the bottom of the trunk and keeping them from hitting even their regular growth rate, so this had made them ultra-slow-growing and they look a lot younger than they actually are. I always wondered why people chose to mulch around trees in circles, and now I know. I set off to make some of these mulch circles myself, using an aerator to help me dig up the deep-rooted grass and weeds. Then I mixed Miracle Grow with water and gave our little trees a little extra boost 🙂 To those of you worried about gardening and pregnancy, don’t worry – I took all the proper precautions and wore gloves the entire time. Then, I hit up Home Depot for some black satin mulch. Following a tip from HGTV, I used an entire bag of mulch around the tree and made it about four inches deep (to help keep the weeds from growing underneath). Jason also found some weed barrier, so that was laid underneath the mulch. They turned out pretty well for my first try! This is a picture from the front porch (the house in the background is across the street).

Next, I turned my attention to the front porch. I didn’t want to add anything major since we are hoping to add a deck this summer (which will change the whole look of the front of the house!) but I wanted something pretty to add. I found a cute little metal bird at Dollar General, and I grabbed a cute pot from Home Depot along with a perennial. Add some potting mix, and voila!  A cute little table arrangement 🙂

I love the color of that planter and would like to paint the shutters a darker shade.

Do you guys have any interesting yard stories to tell? I’d love to see some pictures!

In Our House: We’ve Got Mail!

Remember this post about our mailbox hunting woes? We did end up purchasing a mailbox (about a month ago) and it’s been sitting in our house for quite awhile. We went with a plain black over-sized metal mailbox because we wanted something affordable ($20 at Home Depot!) and big enough to hold packages like textbooks and small trinkets. Also, by purchasing the metal kind, we have a much better chance of no leaks than the plastic (which gets tiny cracks after constant exposure to the sun).

So why haven’t we done anything with it for an entire month? Why have we continued to drive to the post office just to drop off our Netflix movies? Well, I insisted that I needed to personalize this mailbox while I was able to hold it in my lap and while I didn’t have to clean the road grime to get to the surface. Thus was born my plan – I’d trace the letters in pencil and then erase any pencil lines after painting.

Great idea? Sure. Did it work? Not really. When it came time to cut out all the letters, it took 5 minutes for one letter and was painstaking work. I ended up using that one piece to set a guideline for all my other letters and just freehanded the rest, looking at what I had printed as a guideline.

This is a really rough picture of the sketches. I fixed the o placement in “Howards” after looking at the picture.

Next, I got some gold craft paint and a really tiny brush and went to work. I worried more about making sure everything looked straight and even instead of staying with the exact lines I drew. Then I erased and visible marks and wiped the eraser marks off (gently – make sure not to scrub!). Finally, I broke out a can of clear acrylic spray paint that I had leftover from the wedding, strapped on a fume mask, and sealed everything in. Trust me, there is no chance of this baby chipping, at least in the next year or so, and I’ll watch to see if it needs another coat here and there to help it stay nice for a long time.

Looks pretty good for a $20 project, huh?

Reader Weigh-In: Favorite Springtime Activities

First of all, yay to all of my awesome blog readers! I had 350 page views this last month, which isn’t a lot in the world of blogging, but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere! And definitely feel free to pass on this link to whomever you wish 🙂

It has really warmed up here in Cincinnati this week and all I want to do is have a picnic! This weekend, Jason and I are planning to go to a local state park this Saturday and have a nice little picnic to enjoy this beautiful weather (and maybe I’ll get to take some interesting pictures?). I’m super pumped to make all kinds of yummy food to take with us and get out the picnic basket that we got for our wedding.

So what kind of activities do you enjoy during this beautiful weather?

In Our House: Weeds

Isn’t the world beautiful when we take a second to open our eyes? Even what we see as simple weeds can bring beauty into our lives!