Monday, 10 April 2017

First sunburn of the season and happier neighbours

This weekend Jake and I had all sorts of plans for working on the house.

And if you've followed along in our journey at all, you'll know that nearly all plans we make regarding the house change... like... a lot.

Plans changing completely. = This weekend.

We started checking things off our list like normal. Did a dump run, went to the house to calculate how much lumber we needed to pick up to finish blocking the living room ceiling, and then we saw that Home Depot had a great deal on rakes.

$10 for a 24" rake? Yes please!

We went back to the house to get to work, but I figured a quick sprucing up of the front yard would be a good use of time.
A) I could try out the new rake
B) Our neighbours wouldn't be forced to look at such a neglected yard anymore
C) I could pretend I was normal and do yard work on a beautiful Saturday instead of doing something like pulling up nails

I spent about an hour or so and suddenly we had a garden again!

Who knew?!
I know it looks pretty grey and gross in this picture... but I swear this is a monstrous improvement to what it was before the rake got to it.
I cut out the old (and extremely dead) mums that I planted last fall.
I'm going to hold off on putting anything new in here until I can be around to water them daily.
Or you know... have water at the house to do so.
The most satisfying part of this was raking out all of the leaves and junk from the garden bed to find these guys hiding underneath:
I don't know what you are, but I'm glad I didn't kill you.
Sunday rolled around and I decided that I really wanted to just rake the backyard quickly. But then Jake and I were both outside and it was so amazing out that we opted to actually put some effort into cleaning up the whole yard.

Last year I neglected the gardens completely, working inside the house everyday. And Jake even stopped mowing the lawn mid-August... needless to say, it was in pretty rough shape.

View from the deck.
You'll notice on the bottom left corner that we have yet to get rid of the broken gazebo...

Everything just looked gross and dead.
And there were leaves all along the fence line.

The back neighbour's vine had started to take over our side of the fence.

Things I should have pruned and cut down last fall were just tall, dead sticks, warning people to never enter the yard!

Broken gazebo and dead peonies (I'm SO happy I have thriving peonies. They're my favourite)

Dead peonies and a rose bush that started taking over the fence.

Random garden bed that had nothing actually planted in it.
Oh and half of the edging was entirely buried, the other half had managed to escape the ground completely.

Leaves, leaves leaves. And more dead, neglected things.
And a shed that has seen better days but otherwise is fine.


Jake started on getting the leaves out and I went to work on the garden beds. 
Fun fact: If you neglect your yard entirely, the grass WILL grow into your gardens and completely hide the rocks that line it.

I didn't know those rocks even existed.
It was quite a pleasant surprise for me to see that some of the garden beds were already edged with rocks. I need to either buy or borrow some more garden tools before I can properly clean them up, but I've made improvements already.

I cut the dead peonies down and saw that the new ones were already starting to grow which is super exciting. I can't wait for them to bloom!!!

This was a rotten stump in the middle of the yard that Jake hacked at to get rid of it. 
Being pretty new to gardening, I had no idea what most of the plants were. Especially since they were dead. So I downloaded an app that can identify said plants by taking a picture of it. I wasn't sure that it would work on dead ones, but apparently this is a lady's purse. Go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong. I want to learn.

According to the app I used, this one doesn't get trimmed down each year.

After a few hours' worth of work, we ended up filling 7 yard-waste bags with the backyard's dead stuff. (The front yard took two bags which I burned on Saturday night at my parents'). 

Our hard work bagged up!
We still have a lot to do in the gardens. And the yard itself is a bit of a lumpy mess. But we made a really good start for the year and now it will just take a bit of time each month to maintain and improve. And then slowly, we will get a yard to be proud of again.

This is before the grass got cut. 
We decided to remove the empty garden bed entirely.
There is another one in the backyard that used to house a flag that has tulips in it.
It is in slightly better shape and the tulips are already growing so I plan on bringing that one back to life. 

Rose bush cut back and peonies cut down. This is one of the prettiest sections of the garden when things are blooming.

After the grass has been cut. 

Oh yeah... and pasty thing that I am, this is what I woke up to this morning:

First sunburn of 2017: April 9.

Happy garden season everyone!

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