manual labor marathon

Thursday was my Mom’s birthday. My gift to her this year (because we don’t really have disposable income) was lunch with a friend, and me! By “me”, of course, I mean manual labor.  Mom got to go pick out all the flowers that she wanted at the store, and I planted them for her.  The only problem is we had two giant rose bushes that had grown out of control to remove first.

After about an hour of digging, thinking we were going to try to salvage them, I was victorious!

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Luckily I was wearing gloves, because the thorns are a bitch.

2013-04-27 13.37.20By Saturday evening, we had the garden planted. I drove back to my house, and today attacked my own yard again. No fancy before and after pictures, but safe to say I will be stocking up on aspirin and a good book for the next few days.

I’m glad I got to spend the time at my mom’s and still get stuff done at my place. Just sad to see Monday coming so quickly.

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i missed earth day but…

It has been a crazy few weeks here at casa de restoration (it sounds good but I didn’t take Spanish so that is probably wrong…) and I can’t wait to share with you the recent crazy!

Last week, The Man turned 31  so I took off Monday and Tuesday to celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean he had drill on Saturday and Sunday and we didn’t get to do anything, and we spent Monday and Tuesday attacking the gardens! I would say that he was disappointed, but after a weekend at drill, he seemed happy that we went out for a birthday sushi lunch pre-gardening.

The amount of gardening refuse we accumulate whenever I decide I’m going to garden “just for a little bit” (which invariably turns into 4 hours or so) has been amazing.  I think the Man wanted to kill me last week when we had to take it to the curb. (And I think the garbage men may kill me if I continue on this trend…)

alllllllll from the garden

alllllllll from the garden

What pisses me off most is that my little yellow collapsible gardening bag was taken by the garbage men. And by taken, I mean they threw it out.  So while I am in mourning for my favorite gardening garbage receptacle, I soldiered on.

I meant to share these pics with you for Earth Day, and I missed the boat, but better late than never!  If you remember, a few weeks ago I began attacking the front of the house by removing some bushes. While the Man was at drill, the attack continued! This time, I drafted some friends.

Meet Kat.

hi Kat!

hi Kat!

Kat is my very tall friend who can reach things that I can’t. He is also has INFINITELY cooler power tools than I do.  While he originally came over to use my driveway with my painting friend, Julie, I innocently asked him for his opinion on removing the columns and he either a. decided I couldn’t be trusted with tools or b. figured I was just pretending to be clueless and he was going to get roped into helping anyway.

2013-04-14 17.35.18Kat was able to unscrew everything holding the columns together and find the seams to split the columns apart in about half the time it took me to get the ladder and find the battery to my drill. We already knew that the columns were not supporting anything so we were surprised to find a giant wooden 4×4 inside each of them.

4x4 brought to you by Kat and Julie

4×4 brought to you by Kat and Julie

Once the columns were off, we found a surprise:

2013-04-14 17.42.42A bazillion anchors that fell THROUGH the columns when the Man and I tried to attach a flag holder to it. After the third time the flag holder came loose on a windy day, my hatred of the columns was confirmed, and the columns’ death note was signed, sealed, and delivered. I cannot tell you the squeals of joy that erupted from me as the beams came down. And the transformation is truly amazing.

Before:

before

AFTER:

tada!

tada!

Rest assured, there is a master plan to this transformation, albeit a slow going plan. However, I’m already in love with how the front of the house is opened up. The columns just don’t go with the period of our house, and now we had room to put our bench on the front steps, which I’ve wanted to do since we scored it at an estate sale the summer we moved in.

bench love

bench love

Monday and Tuesday moved to tackling the ivy in the backyard. And by tackling, I mean I have a vendetta against the ivy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we moved in the house, we had no idea that the pavers along the back of our property existed. Why? BECAUSE THEY WERE EATEN BY IVY. One of the reasons I hate the ivy so much is because we have gorgeous day lilies and yucca plants that were so overgrown you could barely see them.  While I made a lot of progress last year, it truly is a battle to get to the ivy roots and remove them without damaging the other plants. Over the fall the ivy started creeping back over the pavers, but after a few hours of work, I think it came out pretty good!

clean again!

clean again!

I have to say that removing the ivy is backbreaking, but the satisfaction afterwards is immeasurable.

post ivy-pulling glow

post ivy-pulling glow

All in all, the 4 day gardening extravaganza was a success.  AND I’m very excited because I finally get to use our rehabbed wheelbarrow (a $5 score at an estate sale!).

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And when all was said and done, I finally sat back and relaxed.  As the two year anniversary of being in the house looms, I can’t wait to show you the continuing projects, inside and out. If you had told me a few years ago that this is what I would be getting joy from, I would have told you that you were crazy.  But here I am, and I couldn’t be happier with the house, and myself.  Happy belated Earth Day!

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feline friday – tolerance edition

I want to assure you all that we do in fact let our cats out of our bedroom, and we do have more than just a bedroom to our house (otherwise I wouldn’t have this blog!). That being said, our cats spend the majority of their time sleeping, and the majority of their cute poses happen to be in those sleepy, just-waking-up hours of the day.

I snapped this pic a few days ago when I had just woken up. Yes, cats are cute. Yes, the cats typically both sleep with me. What is so odd is that they were less than a foot apart from each other AND not fighting!!!!!

Luna is a typical former “only cat” and is a spoiled princess.  She doesn’t hate Loki, but by no means does she love him either.  There is a tolerance that exists, and as much as Loki tries to snuggle with her, she usually just hisses and slaps him.

So, without further ado, here is the miracle pic of them ALMOST getting along on this fine feline friday!

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feline friday sleepy edition

Loki has decided that today is “stay in bed” day.

are you looking at me?

are you looking at me?

I cam home to one very sleepy kitty, still curled up in bed.

you're interrupting quality nap time...

you’re interrupting quality nap time…

So Loki says go home, escape the rain, and curl up in bed! It’s good for your health.

happy feline friday!

happy feline friday!

 

 

cheaper than therapy

I had a function for work today. On a Sunday. Now usually having to go to work on the weekend would bother me, but today was great.  It was an acceptance day for our new students, and they really seemed to gel. Typically, work stresses me out, drives me crazy, and occasionally makes me cry because I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. But the weather the past few days has been gorgeous and today was no exception. So with my 4 inch heels and new dress on, I went to work looking forward to seeing, in a way, the fruits of my labor. I screened these applications. I interviewed some of these people. I have talked to some of them on the phone more than a dozen times as they have navigated the application process. And now they are here, and real, and I helped that.

But on any given normal week, work stresses me out the same way it does half of my friends. This time of year, though, I have an outlet for my stress: the house, and particularly, the garden. So even though today went great, and it was utterly blissful to see all the students engage in conversation and share how excited they were, I decided to take out some leftover aggression on the front yard.

I’ve got a plan for the yard, you see. And part of it involved dealing with the two Alberta spruce bush/tree/monstrosities that are on either side of our front stairs. They didn’t do well last summer – the stress of a dry, hot season had browned out what are supposed to be evergreens. And as much as I had been hoping, the green is not coming back, and Alberta is like a crazy woman dropping her needles all over the place.

before, with tools of destruction at the ready

I’m tired of Alberta 1 & 2.  Alberta 1 (on the left) was all bushy and pretty and full in the front, but had caused the bush next to it to grow REALLY strange. And Alberta 2 (on the right) decided to die in the midsection. On top of that, they both have an unwieldy shape, the needles are quite prickly, and they don’t fit into my plan. Solution?

after... time elapsed approximately 2 hours

after… time elapsed approximately 2 hours

Me + handsaw + determination = AWESOME.

Please refrain from making fun of my lopsided daffodils – only half decided to bloom. And as a bonus I found a yucca plant growing underneath Alberta 1. So no daffodils yet, but an extra plant for no cost! Score!

So while some people run, or drink, or take a warm bath, chances are on a day when I’m stressed you’ll find me in the garden. Hacking something to pieces or pulling ivy.

I can’t wait to show everyone when the whole transformation is done.

feline friday and blog giveaway results!

It’s Friday and the day was GORGEOUS so we opened the windows and had two very happy kitties.

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And, as National Craft Month is over, I’m very happy to announce the two winners – commenter #2 and commenter #5 (thanks to the handy dandy Random Number Generator) Laura-Jayne and The Grumpy Giraffe!  I will be sending you an email so you can tell me what goodie you would like and where to mail it.

Congratulations!

And if you’d like to purchase a critter for yourself, feel free to visit my Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/PhillyCrochetCat

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!