Category Archives: Property

Non-house related: landscaping, yard, etc.

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!

Farm Foliage

Everything is greening up nicely at the house; we’ve been getting a lot of rain and a lot of warm, sunny weather that is exactly what our property’s plant population needs to just shoot up and leaf out.  First off, the radishes are pretty much ready to harvest already!  Here’s the photo I took on Thursday:

Rows of radishes.

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Photo of the Week: Radish

At some point, Paul will write a more expansive post about this, but until then I’ll break the news: we have a garden!  Or at least, we have part of it.  Paul has a season-long plan for planting over a dozen types of vegetables, and the plant he started with was radishes.  He planted them a couple weeks ago in an area of the lawn that he had tilled up.  I took a photo last week after they the sprouts had developed their cotyledons and were starting to grow their first true leaves:

I’m actually surprised to look at this photo, as the radishes have already grown so much more since last week.  I’ll certainly have to take some follow-up photos once they are ready to harvest in a few weeks.  Also, even though it’s been my reality for over a year, I think this is the first time I have shown our sandy soil on the blog.  I know Paul has added some nutrients to the soil to compensate — I’m sure he’ll be able to talk more on this topic.  But the point is, so far so good!  We have plans for carrots, peas, cabbage, kale and more over the course of the spring and summer, so stay tuned for more gardening updates!