Saturday, May 25, 2019

Red Dragon Contorted Hazelnut

We planted this ornamental hazelnut tree in March of 2013. It's fun to see where it's grown in that time.
It's gotten quite tall, much taller than expected, and now stands out prominently in the landscape. But it's leaning way to the side, probably in an attempt to capture more sunlight. The poor thing wants full sun to part shade, but once the rain garden got so overgrown, I think it got inadequate light. Now that we've removed so many shrubs from the rain garden, hopefully it will get better.

We may have to figure out how to prune off some of the furthest reaching branches this winter.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Parking Strip Redux

Back in 2017, I hatched up a plan to remodel our plain front parking strip. I ordered about $100 of  plants and did a blog post. Sadly, by the time the plants came the bed hadn't been prepped and wasn't ready for them. Jeff hastily dug out some spots and planted a few of the plants and we watered them the rest of the summer, but we never saw them the following year.

We finally decided to take on this yard space again. I don't have a recent before photo, but it looked something like this. The path was more overgrown with grass, which was quite a chore to clear.
I approached Jeff a couple of weeks ago and asked if he was willing to take on this project again. He agreed, particularly when we discovered Aaron was back in town and would be available to help.

I was thinking of something along these lines. (Thanks to our lovely Laurelhurst neighbor a couple blocks over for the inspiration photo.)
I was all excited and spent a couple of days making a flower inspiration board with all the beautiful plants I wanted to put there. It was a riot of oranges, yellows and purples.
I ordered the bulbs and some seeds. I was thinking I would start some of the plants myself to save some money.

Then Jeff and Aaron set to work digging out the location and adding mulch. Jeff likes his berms and swales.
However, after spending all day outside we realized the front planting bed gets almost no direct sun this time of year. The huge maple tree across the street shades a lot of our front yard for most of the day. So, at that moment, our plant plan screeched to a halt. That's probably why the flowers we planted earlier didn't survive.

So I hastily started over with plant research. We needed to find plants that would tolerate mostly shade. Since the dirt was ready, I couldn't take my time with this project. My obsessive personality was up to it because by the next morning, I had my plan.
I was not disappointed. I have always loved ferns.

Jeff blogged about the plant selections at his garden blog if anyone wants a more detailed list.

I'm excited we finally got another small project checked off the list.
We're still debating about the side with the Oregon Grape. Jeff likes it. I think it's too big. At the moment we've compromised by Jeff cutting it way back. My hope is that eventually we do at least some plantings around it to resemble this side, but I'm willing to wait until more pressing projects are finished.

Monday, May 13, 2019

At Loose Ends

We've lost our way. We had planned to prepare our house for sale and put it on the market this summer, but after a strong start in January our motivation eventually sputtered out. We've had a few spurts of energy where we worked on some difficult projects—like the day I managed to mostly finish sifting through the boxes in my closet—but invariably we crash back down to our comfy recliners.

It hasn't helped our motivation to read reports that house sales and prices are down in Portland and houses are taking longer to sell, especially given that our house will be near the top of the market price-wise. The thought that we could spend months dealing with real estate agents and potential buyers and still end up pulling the house off the market at the end of the season pretty much erased my motivation. And honestly, once the Prineville house was rented out, it took off quite a bit of financial pressure.

At this point, I think there's a good chance we'll end up staying in this house for another couple of years.
There are worse ways to spend a late-spring afternoon
On the bright side, Jeff has gotten really preoccupied with our diet. We'd gotten pretty bad about eating junk food and we'd both gained too much weight. In April, Jeff joined a nutrition website that has really helped keep him (and therefore us, because he does the cooking) on track. It's been over a month since I've had a soda and my weight is very slowly trending down. Exercise would speed my progress but I've been having some knee problems. Right now, I'm trying to do the best I can with just limiting my intake.

I've also been trying to get back into writing. I thought I'd try and write a cozy mystery, but after a couple of false starts, I decided I should first spend a month reading some mysteries (both cozies and other light mysteries) to get a feel for how they work. After only a week, where I started 14 mystery novels and finished only 9 (I ditched the worst of them) I realized I don't enjoy most of the stories with amateur sleuths. They require too much suspension of disbelief. The books I did manage to finish invariably had a detective or other investigator as the protagonist. So, now I'm exploring some other options. I'm still spending quite a lot of time reading. I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited in March and I'm trying to read as much as I can before I cancel it later this month.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Ready to Rent

Everything has been cleaned and repaired and the Prineville house is ready to rent. There is a family moving in on Feb 1st.

We had to replace that awful Frankenstein counter. It was pretty expensive to remove the old one. If we had known we would end up renting this out, we probably would have paid a little better attention to the state of the kitchen. LOL

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

And 2018 is Over!

We hope everyone had a wonderful New Years' Eve.

Today was a beautiful sunny day in Portland and Jeff spent a couple hours digging ugly rose bushes and a large volunteer maple tree out of our front yard. There were four old rose bushes in the yard that were hideous when we moved in and we always meant to pull them out. Today, finally, Jeff did it. Usually, we like roses, but we suspect these had died down to the rootstock at some point before we bought the house so the flowers on them were nothing to blog about.

The front yard had gotten pretty overgrown. Here is how it looked last summer.
Some of the plants we planted in the rain garden had gotten really big, plus we had a number of maple volunteers pop up.

Jeff trimmed back the spiraea douglasii, which had gotten as tall as the roofline. And he is working to pull out the volunteer trees, except for one birch which he really likes.

Here is how it looked after some tidying work. Until Spring when the plants start leafing out, it will be hard to tell how successful he's been.
I've spent the last couple of days sifting our SCA belongings and taking photos so I can list them for sale. AnTir's 12th Night is next weekend and it's only 2 miles from our house, so this is one of our best opportunities to thin down those possessions.

I've spent quite a lot of time on the various trade sites the last couple of weeks. I don't particularly like dealing with eBay, but sometimes it's the best option.