Earth Day

I’d love to say that I waited to post this until Earth Day (and really, that would have been well organized of me), but honestly I was just too exhausted.  We spent the weekend Earth-Daying it up in our own yard — raking last fall’s leftovers, weeding, planting, and mulching.

Nellie and I were in charge of planting, and three trips to the garden center later, we’re extremely proud of our work.

Her little garden is now complete with rosemary, basil, cilantro, dill, mint, spinach, red leaf lettuce, and tomatoes:

We also picked up five strawberry plants and used an empty sun-filled bed for our own little strawberry patch:

In the shade between the main house and the guest house, Nellie and I added six azaleas and four plantain lily hostas:

And in the front bed, we planted six rose bushes, six midnight blue salvias, two hydrangeas, two corkscrew rush (aka Juncus ‘curly wurly’), and twelve dianthuses, which we hope will spread out and cover some of the unsightly hill:

We also picked up three semi-dwarf crepe myrtles to plant along our back fence, but Nellie and I were too tired to get the last three plants in.

G, who came with us on our Sunday trip to the garden center, discovered mulch on sale and — never one to do something halfway — purchased 48 bags of premium mulch.  It all fit in the back of the truck — barely — with the last round of plants in the backseat next to Nell, and I am pleased to say that no matter what truck we drive, we always find a way to inch up to the top of its payscale.

As it turns out, 48 bags of mulch probably IS only halfway — we’ve still got the center shade bed, the strawberry patch, and some of the yet-to-be-touched back beds — but it was a monster job, nonetheless, for G, who hauled and spread all 48 bags yesterday while Nellie and I did our planting thing.  This evening, the three of us traded cars after work and took the truck back for another 48 bags of mulch.

Ugh, I know.

So needless to say, we’re a little sore and a lot tired this week, but we’re looking forward to getting through this spring push — wrapping up the indoor projects and tackling the big outdoor projects — so that we can fully enjoy our summer.

And hopefully it will be blossomy and bountiful.

April Showers

It rained overnight, and we woke up to morning thunder rumbling low over the Bay.  But by the time we returned home, the clouds were gone, the sun was shining, and the weather had warmed back up.  It was the perfect Friday evening for gardening.  I miss a lot of the flowers we planted at the old house — the roses, the boxwoods, the hydrangeas, and my weeping cherry in the back garden.  G would argue that most of what I had at the last house was completely overgrown, but I contend that it was awesome and wild and rustic.  And while I don’t intend to replicate the gardens we had over there, there are a few things that had to come back.

Like another beautiful weeping cherry — this one is right between the driveways, so we’ll get to enjoy it every day.  (It’s a little worse for wear right now after a long, windy trip sticking out of the truck on the highway.)

And boxwoods.  I love me some boxwoods.

I only got six this time.  I’m sure there will be more of these appearing.  I have very little restraint when it comes to roses and boxwoods.  As for the roses, they’re not out at the garden center yet, but they’re coming.  I promise.

We’re hoping all this beautiful sunshine and April’s morning showers do indeed bring May flowers.  But in the meantime, they’ve brought puddles.  Lots of mud puddles for toddlers who once disliked getting dirty.

This is totally unrelated to this post, but just in case you were wondering, it’s burrito night.

Nellie approves.

Promising Summer

Sometimes I make promises I can’t keep.  Promises like

I promise this is the last time we will paint this room.


I promise this is the last project I need help with.


I promise I won’t buy any more roses.

As to that last one, I offered up several suggestions — that at least one of us considered to be very helpful — as to where the four new giant rose bushes could go.

It’s fortunate that G knows me well enough to know that when I say our projects are done, they’re not; and when I say I don’t need help with anything else at all, I do.

And when I mentioned that we have this weekend off, what I really meant was that we have no commitments–what I also meant is that I might have a super short list of things I need help with around the house:

Things like hanging Nellie’s new pink swing, inflating her fabulous pool, constructing her super awesome ball pit*, and planting just a few more rose bushes.

*Sidebar: sometimes telling your husband that you ordered hundreds of plastic balls from Amazon in order to create the world’s best ball pit for your 9 month old daughter does not result in the reaction you would expect.  Even when those balls arrive in a giant box of happiness.

But G knows to expect no less.  He really deserves a lot of credit, that guy.  Because he puts up with all my crazy ideas.  For example, last weekend I came home with new planter boxes and a pair of grape vines to cover the trellises that surround the hot tub.  The result? Awesome.

In fairness to me, there is one promise that I always keep: that after a busy spring of projects and, yanno, complete backyard remodels, we have the summer off.  It’s our season to celebrate living on the bay and to make up for the time we spend commuting to the city all year.

This year, our summer is starting with a trip–a vacation to Florida to see family.  I realized this morning that our plane ride is only one week away, so tonight I started pulling things out to pack–things that smell like summer and look like summer and feel like summer. Nellie’s bathing suits, cover-ups, sunglasses, pool float, swim diapers, and hat — or, yanno, basically every item known to mankind babykind.

Of course Nellie checked out her suitcase as soon as she saw it…

…rejected everything I had packed for her…

…and proceeded to unpack her suitcase.

After watching the monkey dismantle all of my hard work, I carried her out to the screened porch for the late spring edition of a toy picnic.  Last night’s impressive thunder and lightning show gave way to a beautiful day today and to a calm evening tonight, so it was the perfect evening for a toy picnic, set to the sounds of the frogs and crickets who have already moved into our yard for the season.

It’s not summer yet, but it’s close.


Blankets on the Grass

Yesterday, after shopping and lunching, Mom, Nellie, and I put out a big blanket in the grass and enjoyed the sunshine.  It was a beautiful afternoon, and we stayed outside until dinnertime.  Mom stayed an extra day today to spend time with Nellie, but she’s off tomorrow to visit Grandma in New Jersey.  We’ll all be reunited on Mother’s Day at the farm, but until then, here are a few pics from our adventure in the front yard, which Nellie found very enjoyable.

Our flowers are in bloom.  It’s absolutely beautiful around here.

…and it turns out…

…cocktails around the firepit are as awesome as suspected.

Pre-fire celebration:

Relaxing around the fire (Nellie loved it):

Picture credit goes to Mom’s iPhone.  She is home with Nellie today because playing with her grandma is waaaay better than daycare.  For example, Nellie has not been able to go from a crawling position to a sitting position–a source of much frustration for her.  I mentioned this to Mom, who then spent yesterday’s playtime showing Nellie how to slide her foot under her little butt to sit.

And now the little monkey can sit after she crawls.

It’s unfortunate for Mom that she is such a good teacher of monkeys: I will be ripping up her return ticket home.  Oops!