Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why I've been gone

With this post the world will see just how obsessive I can get when I want something done. I get a little nuts. Just ask Husband. Our yard was a mess. Last winter it looked okay because of all the rain, but it wasn't anything to write home about. The grass was green, and that really was about it. Then spring and summer happened, and without working sprinklers the grass died. It was really really dead. The weather recently got cooler, so I set out to fix the sprinklers. With the help of The Lovely (and knowledgeable) Neighbor Jan, I'm now an expert on most things sprinklers. I fixed all the broken sprinklers and pipe, then went on Sprinkler Search 2011 to find all the sprinkler heads that were broken and/or buried so far underground that the water pressure wasn't making them show themselves. After finding all the sprinklers, I realized that I still wasn't getting the coverage that I wanted, so then I set out to put more sprinklers in.

Lots of these were dug. I ended up laying a little over 50' of PVC.

Now we have good coverage. I put in 5 new ones on this side of the house where there were none, and 2 more in the main part of the backyard where sprinkle was lacking.

Next I started in on the oleander bushes. ALL of them. We have about 8 of them, I think, and they're all enormous. Well, they were.

Now they're a little more tree like, and they're about to bloom again, so I'm kinda looking forward to that.

Here's the evidence of my labors. All this is hanging out in the little strip of no-man's-land on one side of the house.

I noticed pretty soon after I was done hacking those up, that some flowerbeds would be nice....

....all the way around the yard. I'm about 3/4 of the way done.

This is where I stopped. For now. Until later today.

Problem was, that after I loosened up the dirt next to the fence, then the dog next door (Not The Lovely Neighbor Jan's dog) started digging under our fence to come visit Bob. That was frustrating, but it wasn't a HUGE problem until I got out of the shower yesterday and the dog had come THROUGH our screen door, pooed in our living room, and was in the hallway to greet me. That was it.

Last night I put down 15 12x12x1 pavers just below the surface of the dirt. That dog isn't coming through there no way no how. That's Bob, by the way. Not Neighbor Dog. Neighbor Dog will never be seen on this side of the fence. Ever.

Now I'll show you some of the planting I've done.

Here next to the patio I've planted a new white rose bush, several garden mums, an aster, and some other thing that's pink that I found on clearance. Farther around the side of the house are two more rose bushes, a lavender one, and a red one. I've also planted some morning glories up against the side of the house, near the lavender roses, but I'm not sure if they're gonna pop up or not.

See! White rose is about to bloom!

I also made a big pot out of pavers and put a delphinium in it.

Around the side of the house I planted some calla lilies.
Noah also helped me plant some early snow glories, and wild tulips that hopefully will come up in the spring.

This is my new baby lemon tree. I'm excited about this.

Now to the front yard.

This is half of the shared yard between The Lovely Neighbor Jan and I. She planted all the stuff here. The only contributions I've made to this side is cleaning and sealing the wagon thing, and painting the little girl. Well, there's one other thing, but I'll get to that in a little bit. Lovely Neighbor Jan has planted broccoli, cabbage, mums, begonias, day lilies, and some other stuff that I don't know what the names are. I do have some garlic that I'm going to plant here, I just haven't done it yet.

A close up of the little garden girl.

This is my other contribution. I started some morning glories and moon flowers from seed and then planted them out by the fence. Since we're both cheap, instead of buying a trellis or something for them to climb, I just put some fishing line up for them with a few nails.

My side of the yard isn't so pretty, but that's mostly because everything is still young and small. The Lovely Jan gave me lots of stuff to put over here. (Free!!!) I've planted morning glories, moon flowers, day lilies, elephant ears, society garlic, early snow glories, daffodils, poppies, mums, and Japanese fountain grass. The rose here has a bunch of new growth and lots of buds on it that I'm excited about. I've only ever seen one blossom on this thing. I feel like I almost know how to take care of it now.

Noah likes to hide behind all the bushes while I'm working in the garden. :)

I also found some of these things on clearance. They're supposed to grow ridiculously fast and hopefully will cover up this stupid sliver of ugly next to our sidewalk.

I also fixed all the sprinklers in the front yard, so our tree has been watered and is about to bloom! Yay!

Happy fall everyone!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mmmm...Potato Soup

This is the best potato soup I've ever had. This soup is a big reason that I look forward to cooler weather. It'd probably be good no matter what time of year it is, but I'm a little weird about soup in the summer. Just can't do it. I made this for lunch today and thought I should share the love. Noah has loved this soup since he was just a baby, but he never remembers it since I only make it in the fall and winter. This year, since he's talking more, he's dubbed it "New Soup." He ate it with a piece of butter bread in one hand to dip with, and a spoon in the other hand to eat with between dips. That's my boy. :D Without further adieu, the Cheesiest Potato Soup recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (I double)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper


  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion in butter until softened. Stir in potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Puree potato mixture in a blender or food processor or using an immersion blender; return to pot over medium heat. Stir in cream, cheese, dill, pepper, salt and cayenne. Bring to a low boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 minutes.

I'm still alive...really, I am

The last month or so has been busy around here. Not so much because of running around with the kiddos, but because of all the projects I've been into. It has cooled down a little bit here, so I've been able to spend more time (comfortably) outside, which has been fun. I've always loved to be outside, and thankfully, the little boys do too.

Since it's cooled off, and the plants around here have decided to show small signs of life, I've decided to take on putting in flower beds and fixing all the sprinklers in the backyard. The sprinkler project turned out to be more of a "if you give a mouse a cookie" type of thing, because to get to the shrub sprinklers repaired meant I had to cut back all the shrubs...of which there are many that look like they haven't been touched in years. Then we had Sprinkler Search 2011 where I ended up following the PVC underground to see if there were sprinklers that had been covered up by dirt. I ended up finding two, but still wasn't quite getting the coverage I wanted, so after getting all of the sprinklers repaired, I put in almost 40' of PVC pipe and put in 4 new sprinklers off of the existing lines. I still need to put in two more, but I ran out of pipe. Bummer. Until I make it out to get more, I'm stuck.

My neighbor has been helping with all of this because she's awesome like that. She's also teaching me how to garden. It's been...about 3 weeks since she helped me put in a flower bed, and, knock-on-wood, I haven't killed anything yet. I think some of the mums might be on their way out, but there's still hope, right? Just the yellow ones though- the white ones are doing just fine for some reason.

I've also started working on a Master Bedroom make-over. I'm about half way done with that as I'm doing it in phases so that I don't have to dish out all the moo-la at once.

All this along with cooking, cleaning, and attempting to keep up with laundry, and everyone being sick for two weeks has kept me away from the blog for awhile, but soon, I promise, I'll take pictures of the madness and give you all a real update. Until then, cheerio!