Collage

Collage

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Garden 2015: Prepwork!

If you read my post where I shared photos of the exterior of our new house in Michigan, you saw how excited I was about that little 500 square feet of garden space!
 
Ok, 500 square feet is significant, but I'm super excited and am going to do my best not to get overwhelmed or over-do it.
 
As with any undertaking, there is always prep-work involved.
 
We had some pretty nice weather this past weekend, so I rented a Roto-Tiller and got to work breaking up the compact soil that had had feet of snow sitting on top of it for so many months (before I got here, thank goodness - but I have a feeling I'll get my share this next winter....).
 

 
Pre-tilling.
 
You'll need to move, sir.
 
Post-tilling.

 
After I smoothed it out a bit, and broke the rake into two pieces. Didn't know my own strength, it appears. Oops.
 
Who doesn't have time for a couple sunny selfies when they're working in their garden?

 
The last frost date in my zip code is May 19th. I hope to plant very close to that, if not that day. But I want to make sure the soil is warm. To assist with the warmer soil temperatures, I covered the soil with this black plastic. This creates the black t-shirt effect - heat gets in and can't get back out. (I purchased more plastic and covered the middle strip a couple days later.)
 


 
On Sunday, I went back out and just planned and schemed. I have drawn up a plan, and know what's going where. We'll see how close to the drawing everything is when it's all seeded and sprouted, though. :)
 
 
I'm VERY excited about the whole process. The boys and I started sunflower and pumpkin seeds Sunday afternoon. I can't wait until we can direct-sow our seeds, and buy our tomato and pepper plants from the greenhouse and get those into the ground.
 
I feel like it's going to be therapeutic for me to work in the garden. It's so quiet and peaceful out there, with birds chirping and the breeze blowing.
 
I'm looking forward to sharing it with you!
 
Do you garden?
 
What's your favorite vegetable to plant?
 
Any advice for a semi-beginner?
 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Am Done.

Over the years, I've thought that it would be cool - with the proper knowledge and preparation of course - to just take off deep into the woods somewhere remote, and live the life of the Alaskan Bush people. (I'm sure you've at least seen a preview for that show on TV.)

Little to no contact with society, grow our own food, raise our own meat, be survivalists. But mostly just not to be a part of mainstream society.

Kind of "out there," I know.

But as I read the news stories of these demented idiots in Baltimore, it sounds better every day.

As I hear Bruce Jenner being called a hero, it sounds better every day.
(SIDE NOTE: Bruce Jenner wants to be a woman. Fine. That's his deal. But there are policemen, firefighters, and soldiers putting their lives on the line every day. There are young children battling deadly illnesses. There are children and adults alike simply trying to stay alive in poverty and war-torn lands. Let's please re-define the word 'hero.')

And as I see the sheer HATE that is spewed all over everywhere just because someone's opinion differs from some else's, getting away from all of these people just looks better and better.

Does anyone out there have a lot of wooded acres that might be able to spare a couple of them?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I'm Done.

Over the years, I've thought that it would be cool - with the proper knowledge and preparation of course - to just take off deep into the woods somewhere remote, and live the life of the Alaskan Bush people. (I'm sure you've at least seen a preview for that show on TV.)

Little to no contact with society, grow our own food, raise our own meat, be survivalists. But mostly just not to be a part of mainstream society.

Kind of "out there," I know.

But as I read the news stories of these demented idiots in Baltimore, it sounds better every day.

As I hear Bruce Jenner being called a hero, it sounds better every day.
(SIDE NOTE: Bruce Jenner wants to be a woman. Fine. That's his deal. But there are policemen, firefighters, and soldiers putting their lives on the line every day. There are young children battling deadly illnesses. There are children and adults alike simply trying to stay alive in poverty and war-torn lands. Let's please re-define the word 'hero.')

And as I see the sheer HATE that is spewed all over everywhere just because someone's opinion differs from some else's, getting away from all of these people just looks better and better.

Does anyone out there have a lot of wooded acres that might be able to spare a couple of them?


Out With the Tub!

Sometimes, impromptu projects are the best projects.
 
We had a big hot tub sitting in the space - it came with the house. The sellers clearly stated that they did not know the condition of the hot hub, and there was no guarantee it would work.
 
We had a technician out and it was going to cost over $1,000 to get it up and running, with no guarantee it wouldn't break or leak again next season. No thank you.
 
I advertised it for free on Craigslist and it was gone 2 days later. Score for us!
 

 
What we were left with was a very visible air conditioning unit as well as a random corner of lattice and a couple oddly placed 2x4's.
 
I have a fun vision for a comfortable sitting area down here. It's nice and shady with a breeze under the deck, and I think it will feel fabulous on a hot summer day.
 
So, I grabbed the electric drill on a whim and started taking screws out!
 
I think it opened up the space a lot, and I'm anxious to find some outdoor furniture pieces to makeover, perhaps a porch swing, and a hammock to make this a nice little place to sit and read a book on a hot Saturday or Sunday afternoon!
 
 
And this picture of the boys is just cute. Look at Hendrix in all that camo. Love him.
 
Stick around - I'll share our Michigan adventures and house projects with you as we complete them!
 
Happy Spring, friends!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Michiganders - Our New Home (Exterior)

Howdy, friends! How's your second winter spring coming along? Has anyone else gotten snow this past week? Ugh, makes me just want to scream and throw things, including an adult version of a toddler tantrum!
 
If you read my previous post, you saw that we are now living in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. We moved for Matt's job, and instead of going through the annoyance of renting again, we purchased a home. It's a ways out from our work, though not out in the sticks by any means. The house sits on two acres, it's pretty quiet, and we really like it!
 
I'm sharing exterior photos with you today, and hopefully I'll share interior ones soon! Sorry for the gray skies and leafless trees, but I guess it's winter in Michigan until August.....
 
 
 
 
Front yard:

 
View to the west of the front porch:
 
 
Peering into the backyard from the west side of the house.
 
Backyard:
 
More backyard - woods beyond the fence!
 
The smaller of the back patios - double doors leading out from my office/sewing room:
 
 
This beast (on the bigger of the two back patios), which is no longer there.
It was disclosed when we purchased the house that the condition of the hot tub was unknown, and it was coming with the house "as is." We had a tech out, and would have gotten it up and running had the price tag been a couple hundred dollars. But to the tune of $1,200, I advertised it for free on Craigslist and Facebook and someone came and got it that night. It's their problem now. :)
 
Back of the house, from the southeast edge of the back yard.
 
Southeast of the house:
 
East of the house - two stories - perfect for bikes, mowers, etc.
(Camper is not ours, though ours will be parked in that spot very soon!)
 
Deck coming off the kitchen

 
Now.....I present to you the part of the yard that I'm MOST excited about - A Garden!!!
I purchased "Vegetable Gardening for Dummies" and am reading it at a fever pace. I can't wait to get some veggies in here and hopefully have a bit of a harvest to share with you in a few months! 
 
There you have it! The exterior and yard of our new (to us) house. Like I mentioned, we really like the location and the quiet country feel without being a million miles from civilization.
 
We are pretty much settled, so I'll try and get you a tour of the inside soon - then you can come along with me as I do several little projects and make it really "ours."
 
Stay tuned, and stay warm! (Ugh.)

 

 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grand Rapids, OH Visit

So for those of you who aren't aware, we are no longer in Rapid City, South Dakota. It's a story that one day I hope to post on the blog, but for now, it's just relevant for you to know that we have relocated to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
 
There are three "Grand Rapids's" in the United States, and we've now lived in 2 of them. :)
 
When we moved to South Dakota, we were unable to sell our house in Ohio (stale market), and ended up renting it out. The first tenant we had moved out and another family moved in, all while we were still out west.
 
This past weekend, we decided to drive down to Grand Rapids, OH to see the house, meet the tenants, and spend some time with friends there in Ohio. It was a long and tiring day (7 hour drive round trip), but so much fun!!
 
We got up and hit the road around Saturday morning. As soon as we got south of Toledo, the memories started coming back!

 

 
Our first stop was to our house in Ohio. The outside of the house looks great, but the inside needs some love - shampooed carpets, fresh coat of paint on the walls, etc. We chatted with the new tenants for a while, did a walk-through of the house, and spent about an hour there. I knew Jameson wouldn't remember the house, but I was hoping Hendrix would remember some of it. He acted like he did not, which made me a little sad.
 
Both boys will have some memories of South Dakota, but mostly of Michigan as they grow older, since Michigan is where we will settle, and they were so young in South Dakota.
 
After we finished at the house, we just drove around Grand Rapids for a little while. (Doesn't take long in a village of 800 people!) We stopped downtown to go for a little walk. It was an absolutely gorgeous day - mid 70's and sunshine.

The Maumee River.

I LOVE downtown Grand Rapids. Can't get enough of it. It's so quaint and quiet. We used to go for walks downtown and along the river several nights a week during warm months.

Grand Rapids park.

The "sidewalk" that goes to the river towpath.

Selfie. Because.

The canal.
 
Selfie. Don't judge.

Mr. Wrinkle-Nose.

Where we used to have picnics.

Used book store downtown. This tiger was for sale last time we were here. It had a $7,000 price tag. I guess they gave up on the hope of selling it, because now there's a stool there to climb up on it. :)

Oh what a difference three years makes. My guys are growing into such handsome young men. I love this picture way too much.
 
After our nostalgic walk through town, we drove out to our friend, Angie's house. She watched the boys for a while when they were really young.
 
Hendrix and her son, Wes, are about 6 months apart in age (Wes is older), and they were just such good buddies when we lived in Ohio. Angie hadn't told Wes we were coming, so he was really surprised when Hendrix hopped out of the car! They kind of just looked at each other for a while, then took off and played the afternoon away. It made my heart happy to see them together again after almost two and a half years!


 
After Angie's house, we stopped by a friend's house that we used to go to church with and I used to hang out with a lot and saw her, her husband, and her 3 kids. Turns out, my kids aren't the only ones who have grown a lot since the last time we were here! :)
 
We didn't stay long at Jeanna's house, because she was getting ready to host a cookout that evening, and we didn't want to keep her from finishing up. We headed back north and got home around 7:30 pm. We watched a little bit of TV, then all 4 of us hit the pillow and I don't think we lasted more than 3 minutes before we were unconscious!
 
It was a great day. It's a long drive, so it's not one I plan on making every other week or anything, but I definitely look forward to spending more time down there, with friends, and keeping an eye on our house. Plus, my piano is still there, along with a couple of our bikes that we will need to pick up at some point this summer.
 
Until next time, Grand Rapids!