Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home is where you sweat 'cause you're workin' real hard.

Alright, so now you've been updated on how the early summer progressed. "So how are things going NOW?" you might be asking.  Ok, ok, well first things first, let me show you the cutest thing ever:

It's a baby watermelon.  Isn't it adorable?  I had no idea the watermelon plant had even successfully flowered, and yet here it is.  In this photo (taken only a couple days ago--these photos are relevant to the present, I swear!), this little watermelon is probably only 1 1/2 in. long.  Awwwww...

Anyway, though we have had hot days, this summer has not been nearly as miserable as the past two summers.  I'm not even sure we reached 100 degrees this year; I was even--eep--cold today!  It was pleasant.  But having a moderate to cold early spring/summer also made a few things in the garden get a little stunted (mostly my pepper plants...and eggplant!...wah wah...), but other things are just loving it.  Here, I'll just get on with the photos instead of blabbering on. 

Here is a volunteer melon that I just found last week.  It was literally 4 inches in diameter when I found it--hiding in plain sight!

My little helpers. 

What the garden looks like now!  It is quite the green explosion!  We thought the fig tree died over the winter, but it didn't!  Look at it!  It's flourishing, and loving life! 

The first harvest of beans off of the vine.  Not quite enough for dinner...

The tomatoes are really happy, though.  They are loving the hot sun.

What the yard looks like from the alley.  I love that you would never suspect that the garden is there if you're just walking past it on the other side of the fence.  Although, I guess the blackberry bush gives it away a little this year. 

My attempt at a panorama photo of the yard.

I spy a Satcha!

I'm trying to coax the beans into growing into an arch!  So far, it has only been slightly successful. 

One last look at the delightful green.  It is truly a gift to go back there and watch nature--we've created a whole ecosystem back there!  We've got bees, wasps, hornets, butterflies, what I think was a young female Giant Eastern Hercules Beetle, baby preying mantis, rats, robins, sparrows, worms, and we even have a Yellow Garden Spider that has made its home in the tomato plants.  Photos to come soon, once I can get a good one of him--it was too windy to take a good one today.
Though this is a horrible panoramic picture (I think our yard is too small for panoramic...), just take note of the paw paw tree next to the silver compost bin.  It has now--as of this week--just gotten taller than me!  How exciting!

OK, guys, that's it for now.  Thanks for reading!  The next post won't be all about the garden, I swear, but that's where I've been putting a lot of my time and energy.  That, and neighborhood meetings, making artwork, and singing...been wearing lots of hats lately.  I'm getting excited for vacation!

Until next time!  Ciao!  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Catch up time!

So, my mother just informed me that there may have been a few questions as far as how I've been doing down here. I have been rather behind on these posts, so we'll do a quick catch up to where we are now! Photo style! 

This was taken in early spring.  With birthday money from Ninna (Peter's mom), I bought myself an electric kettle--which was a life-changing purchase!  I was so inspired, that I then created this coffee/tea area.  Underneath (and hidden) is Kitty's litter box.

It comes equipped with grinder, elecric kettle, all of the teas (stored in the little drawers and in the boxes), hot cocoa, coffee, french press, and tea pot! 

The yard--full of seedlings!  But there's the blackberry "bush" in the background!

Satcha enjoying the space.

Our front planter--an explosion of perennials that I planted last year.  I basically dumped a whole seed packet (that's what it said to do on the package!!!)--and it worked!

The only big planter on our street.

From the front.

So pretty!

Things were just so happy to be alive!  It was a "long" winter...for here (nothing compares to long Minnesota winters!  I know, I know!!)--but we did have quite a few things die off that shouldn't have.

A closer look at the GIANT BLACKBERRY BUSH/VINE/THING THAT IS TAKING OVER THE YARD!! (In a good way--yum!)

Harvest time!  Notice that the giant blackberry bush produced giant blackberries!

Here they are!  We could fill an entire nice-sized bowl every day at its peak. 

It even started creeping into the alley, which I thought was pretty cool. 

Here are the beans!  The iron grate was saved from the original rat-infested shed that was in our backyard.  There's nothing better than repurposing! 

An example of how big these blackberries were.  This one wasn't even the biggest one!

Aaaaaand...that just about brings us up to date!  There is a door project that I still have yet to post, but that will come someday.  Plus a whole bunch that is happening with our other property.  I guess I should probably post a few photos of that sometime soon as well...but I can't give everything away at once, so you'll have to wait!  Oh, the anticipation!

Anyway, thanks for reading, folks!  Until next time...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Tree pit adventures!

Hello all!!! And welcome to the "Tree Pit Adventure" post!. We've spent a lot of time covering our house...the inside of our house, the back of our house, the front of our house...blah blah blah.  This is an adventure through the city!  So exciting, right?

We are in the process of analyzing our street; figuring out what improvements we want to make, which ones are possible, and last but not least: which ones are affordable.  High on our list, of course, are TREES!!!!  WE WANT TREES!!!  What a desolate, HOT street we live on.  If only we had a few places that were shaded...

Some people don't think it is possible to put trees on our street because of how narrow the street and sidewalks are.  The concern is that trees combined with our stairs would make it impossible to walk down the street.  At first we were swayed by this argument, until we started walking down streets and sidewalks around the city that had even less space, but even THEY had trees!  So, these are a few of the examples we saw of what we saw.  It is possible!  Trusty Peter is the model in these photos, with a notebook for scale.

Disclaimer:  This post is definitely different than the others.  I apologize if this isn't up your alley.  Most people already have trees on their street and most likely find this predicament we're in, to be quite puzzling.  For those of you who, like us, have very little space on the street or in the yard, may these images provide inspiration and interesting models for future projects.  For those of you who are still disappointed by these photos...I promise the next one will be a home-improvement post.  I completed an exciting one this past month, and I'm excited to share!   
Just to put things into perspective, this is our sidewalk.  Of course, if we ended up putting trees into the sidewalk, we would have to get rid of our lovely planter...sad...but yay for trees!  The tree would be planted alongside the curb midway between the stairs. 
This is what it looks like up and down our street.  Where is the green?  No where to be found...
Now on to the tree-pit tour adventure in Baltimore!  Woo!!

Brick wall planters with adorable dwarf evergreen trees!  If only we had a brick wall...

Raised planter with full-grown tree.

Pretty close to the steps.  Tiny tree pit with a tiny tree.

Just enough room to walk.  Not exactly the best example because they don't have stairs to deal with. 

Oh!  Nice balcony!  Err...is that a balcony?  I feel like that term is incorrect...

Square bush in a raised brick planter...Ok, I'm just having fun taking photos at this point.  Cool bush though, right?

Narrow street with trees.  Same width as Miles Ave.

Tight, but totally still enough to walk through!

Inspiring tree grate.

Tree-pit model.  Ow ow!!

Tree grates would be ideal in our situation as it would enable us to make the hole large enough to promote healthy tree growth, but still keep it pedestrian friendly.

Giant tree! 

I was inspired by these trees planted right next to the brick.  Also another option if the trees in the sidewalk are a no-go.

Tiny tree pit with skinny trees.

ADA compliant? 

So much more narrow than Miles, and even THEY have trees. 

Another example of a narrow street with trees.  Notice the beautiful lightpost to the right. 

Close, but we still walked around it!  No problem! 

We could also put the trees in the street! 

This situation is probably most similar to ours.  We have stairs, and narrow sidewalks like these.  Their tree pit is close to the stairs, but due to the tree grate, it is still easy to walk over.

GIANT TREE.  Tiny sidewalk.

Tiny tree, tiny sidewalk.  End of tree-pit adventure!
Adios!  Until next time!  Thanks for reading!