Author Archives: Leigh

Exterior Update

It’s always good to look back and see where we’ve been.  I figured I’d pull together some of the photos of the front of the house so you all can see the progress.  I think it largely speaks for itself:

(Click picture to enlarge.)

So, after taking down the Christmas lights, we re-roofed the main house and painted the stucco grey.  We also put new cedar fascia boards on both the 1st and 2nd floor eaves.  I put some landscaping bricks around the front and planted some glossy chokeberry bushes I got from work.  After that I scraped the old, chipping paint off the window and door trim, re-primed and then painted all of it dark green.  I also took out the old, accidentally painted outer basement windows, put in window wells and well-covers on.  Paul’s mom helped me repaint the stucco scallops along the ground so the white really pops.  Next I took off all six storm windows, cleaned them and spray-painted them white.  Most recently, we replaced the screen door.  Not too bad!

Still lots to do, but I definitely feel like this has been one of the more impressive transformations thus far.

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Close Encounters of the Mammalian Kind

June and July have been intense months, filled with many projects that are bringing us closer to completion of the bathroom and 1st floor bedroom.  Plumbing, electrical, more window replacements, fire blocking, drywall prep work have all been on Paul’s work list over the past several weeks, and I’m hoping to get some photos up on a lot of that as things get done.  Meanwhile, I’ve been spending most days working on the exterior: weeding, digging out the sidewalks, painting stucco & trim, landscaping, and so on.  Point being, we have a lot of projects labelled “ongoing” that therefore don’t lend well to the “here’s what we just finished” format of the blog.  So, I’ll be posting more about general goings-on until that changes.

One relatively recent development that has us a bit stumped is a conflict we’ve been having recently with some of the local wildlife.  Specifically, a red squirrel and a family of groundhogs.  Honestly, we had a not-so-auspicious start to our relationship with the resident mammal population. When we first bought the house, there was a garbage can on the property that had filled with water and then frozen over the winter. As spring came around, the can slowly thawed, until we could tip it over and let most of the water out. However, the middle was still frozen, and as the ice slid out of the garbage can onto the grass, we discovered that it had a freaking tail:

Squirrel-sicle.

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Photo of the Week: Postal Petunias

A couple weeks ago, Paul and I decided to check out a nursery that had been overwhelmingly voted “best garden center in the South Metro” on the local Patch website, Gerten’s Farm Market.  For those of you familiar with the area, this is not the enormous, sprawling Gerten’s you can see from I-494 in Inver Grove Heights, but rather a separate business not too far down the road.  We were just planning to scope the place out, but then I saw them: so many petunias!  The pink and purple mix caught my eye, and that was that.  I bought a tray-full and brought them home.

But hmm, what to do with them?  After a little bit of scouring the property for good planting spots (there’s still not really many), we settled on planting them around the mailbox.  I hate mowing around that thing anyway, so let’s remove the grass from the equation, right?  After a trip to Menards for black plastic edging, a trip to the County compost site for some free mulch, and a few hours of prepping and planting, this is what we ended up with:

Of course, there were set backs — it wouldn’t be the Twin Cities Farmhouse without something unexpected!  I chose the diameter of my flower bed’s edging before starting, so of course, as I’m digging: CLUNK.  Upon inspection, I found a square metal post that had been sheared off just below ground level. Almost certainly a former mailbox post.  Unfortunately, it was really buried in there, and I couldn’t be asked to dig it out, so I shifted my trench over ever so slightly to set the edging into.  Luckily, the way the flowers ended up being spaced seems to have made it impossible to tell which side I shifted it to.  Dare you to guess!

Photo of The Week: First Harvest

Here they are, the first vegetables from the garden for 2012!  How can you not be excited?

This type of radish is the Early Scarlet Globe variety, which Paul got from Seed Savers Exchange and planted just six short weeks ago. He got a total about 21 bunches (a bunch is about 6-9) from the bed, as well as 5 bunches of another variety he tried, the Plum Purple variety.

Oh heck, I’ll throw in a bonus photo of the purple ones, just for fun.

Next up is kale, and then a whole bunch more!