Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Weekend Full of Outside

I'll be honest: my primary goal for our yard and "landscaping" is that it look decent enough that the neighbors don't get together and plot ways to try to make us move out. When we walk the dogs, I spend a lot of my time pointing out yards that aren't any better than ours to Dave, to make myself feel better. Fortunately, we have no homeowner's association here, so there are at least a few other yards as incompetently maintained as ours. Not so fortunately, our house happens to be located amongst a little enclave of neighbors who all have a lawn service come out regularly to keep their grass shockingly green year round and their landscaping perfectly maintained. I suspect they probably do this just to make me feel bad.

We both find landscaping overwhelming. And too expensive to turn over to someone who knows what s/he's doing. So. We mow the weeds lawn. And we haven't found any nasty letters taped to our door yet. Since our house was empty and utterly neglected for nearly two years before we bought it, I think that so far everyone's still pretty thrilled that we're mowing the lawn.

But last weekend, or at least the first part of it, was so lovely that we had no excuse not to spend much of it outside, and much of that outside time doing long overdue yard work.

I ordered an electric hedge trimmer off of Amazon last week, and it got here on Friday:

....I'm not sure why no one ever told me how cheap electric hedge trimmers are. I would have bought one years ago! This one was $30. Of course some of them are way more expensive, and I have no idea what the difference is. But the $30 is So.Much.Better than whacking away at the edges with non-electric hedge trimmers, that I don't even care what features I might be missing out on. So fast!

It came in a hedge trimmer shaped box, which, for some reason, I found adorable:

Here it is! Electric!

I got the kind you have to plug in instead of a rechargeable one. Historically, we have bad luck with battery powered things. I think maybe we have some sort of battery-draining genes or something. But we also have a really long extension cord, so it all works out.

Here's Dave, all ready for yard work in his "Here Comes the Metric System" T-shirt. We're not sure what it means, but when I saw it at the thrift shop, I knew he had to have it:

(Googled: apparently it is both a Simpsons reference and a band).

Action shot of hedge clipper:

Okay, so, confession time: we had never trimmed these hedges before. I'm not sure what's up with these hedges; if we neglected the hedges at our old house for that long, we wouldn't be able to see the house anymore. These are some kind of magic hedges that stop growing when they get to the bottom of the windows. Or even shorter, in the case of the ones farther away from the front door. Anyway, here's what they looked like before we took the new hedge trimmers to them:

And here's the after:

It looks more like someone put them there on purpose now.

Trimming did not do much to help the dead ones, though:

We should probably get rid of those.

While Dave was electric trimming, I dealt with the honeysuckle-encrusted bush by the road. I forgot to take a before picture, but you know the honeysuckle's out of control when you ask your husband, in all seriousness, "there's a bush under there?!" There was! A remarkably healthy one, at that.

Here it is when I finally remembered to take a picture, about halfway through yanking honeysuckle off:

Gus was sad at first that I was ripping the honeysuckle out, but I explained that it was, despite all evidence to the contrary, not good for the bush. Once I was finished he announced cheerily, "that DOES look better! I'm never going to sit on that bush again!" Well....good.

Take a look what we're up against here:

Right across the street! And it looks like that ALL WINTER. Lawn service + chemicals=CHEATING, I say! (It's possible the neighbors aren't actually viewing this as a competition, as I apparently am. Which is good, because we're SO losing).

And then, right next door--I've taken this dramatic shot where you can actually see the line between their professionally manicured lawn and our, umm, "lawn:"

And why are their azaleas blooming? My azaleas aren't blooming! (At least I think I have azaleas. And I think those are azaleas over there).

But look! That's the bush that used to be completely covered with honeysuckle. So that's something, right?

Note: those neighbors with the blooming azaleas got a Bagster this weekend, just like a blogger! (I know they're not really just for bloggers, but I had never seen one in real life before--only reviewed on blogs). My observations: it looks very handy and all, but that thing's been there, keeping them from being able to park in their driveway, since Friday. When are they going to come get it?! We want to see the big truck!

Anyway, the neighbors can't claim we're not trying, because look what we had by the end of the weekend:

Also, do any of the neighbors have a baby like this in their yards?

I didn't think so.

Or a rock like this to welcome visitors to their houses?

So, to sum up, we did a lot of yard work this weekend, and we still have a lot left to do. Like:

*pull up dead bushes
*plant something nice to replace dead bushes (maybe some pretty edibles? I have a book about edible landscaping. I should read it!)
*do something about all those dandelions (weed and feed? I hear maybe that's what I want)
*get rid of weeds and put mulch down (I signed up with a site that matches tree services with people who need wood chips. Word is I'll get a call when one is working in our area and they'll bring us a truckload. Not the prettiest mulch, but it'll work, and it's free)
*trim hedges more than once every two years
*reseed lawn someday. (I have a hard time making myself spend money on lawns. I'm more of a food not lawns kind of gal)
*I am still talking about blueberries. But I haven't planted them yet.

And that's just the front yard!

I'm doubling up this week and doing my weekly kid/family photo diary thing in this post, too. Because one of the most exciting things we did this week was build a fire in the fire pit for the first time since fall. Friends came over, kids played, fun was had:

This post contains affiliate links. Well, one.


  1. Great work! Your yard looks even better than mine! (Does that mean I'm going to get kicked out of the club for a bad yard?) We raked ours out last night and my face is still spinning from the allergens.

    And you know what, those chemicals are SO cheating.

    1. We have tons of allergies here, but for some reason spring pollen doesn't get us as bad as some of the others (ragweed in the fall and the early summer grass pollen seem to be the worst)

  2. I love the way you write - you always make me laugh when I read your blog :)
    We've been explaining to our neighbors that we've been "getting to know" our yard -- we've lived there 4 summers, and have VERY SLOWLY progressed past mowing being the only type of lawn maintenance we'd tackle. So, we are right there with you!
    - Lora

    1. "getting to know" the yard--LOL! I like that--I'll have to remember it when the neighbors come knocking ;)

  3. Oh so much goodness happening in one post. I would be over the moon about that new hedge clipper. I have one too, I think... I think it was gifted to us along with an electrical garden blower. I love my garden blower like nobody's business.
    B was fascinated with Abe's second look. As was I.
    That stair rock just screams welcome. Love it!! :)

    1. Thanks, Katja! We have a blower, too, but it hasn't seen as much use in our treeless yard!

  4. We have just started raking our yard and the grass is starting to turn green up here. It feels like spring is taking forever to come! I'm terrible with plants, but my mom can keep her potted azaleas blooming all year. I absolutely love how you captured Abe's expression in the close up. :)

    1. Our grass just started turning green in the past couple of weeks, with the help of a warm spell + some stayed cold late here this year, too (though not as cold as where you are, I'm sure!)

  5. That is EXACTLY my motivation for yard work too, and I ALSO live across the street from a sweet older lady who has a RIDICULOUS green thumb and a world-class garden. Minor detail: our HOA just sent us a letter asking us to remove our weeds. So yeah. Maybe should get on that.

    1. Ha ha--Our realtor couldn't understand why we kept asking anxiously if this subdivision had an HOA ;). If we didn't have weeds, there'd be nothing green in our yard....though we can still get away with blaming the previous owners/the bank that foreclosed for this year, I think...right?

  6. I kept reading and reading waiting for an "IT'S ELECTRIC! BOOGIE WOOGIE WOOGIE!" joke. I have no idea what the actual name of that song is...

    ANYWAY- ours is electric too and it is a lifesaver!! It, however, did not come in that fantastic box. I feel jipped! :)

    1. Ha! Yes, I should totally have included a musical reference--missed opportunity!

  7. Your hedges look amaze sauce! And your baby... OH MY I AM GOING TO STEAL HIM!!! I LOVE HIM! And stephanie... The Electric Slide!!!


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