July 16, 2017:
Hola! Where does the time go, Geez Louise! Half summer is already gone, and I am first now updating this from last December, tsk tsk. Bad Jan! So, been busy puttering around the yard, as always, and paying more attention than I probably should be to politics. The kitchen "remodel" is on hold due to budgetary constraints, but I hope to have that remedied before the end of the year. And I have yet to paint the guest room - it's only been 3 years now since I moved in to this version of Maison Newton, I'm not lazy or anything, nope... LOL! Take care and have a great rest of the summer. Jan

Monday, July 17, 2017

Views from the Shezebo 2017

Hola!

It was gorgeous today, so the grass out front didn't get cut after all.  I hoofed it to the Pick 'n Save and then back home, got all my rays for the day, wow.  I spent hours in my Shezebo, reading and just relaxing and snoozing (I confess).  Here are some photos from the inside looking out.  This is what I see:


My feet say "Hellooooo!!!"


This is my view looking directly across from mt seat (I removed my feet).  The yellow table was the one I created last year from an old TV stand purchased in the early 1970s.  I spray painted it the sunny yellow and added the wheels for easy mobility.  More about that chair (and its twin, the one I'm sitting in) tomorrow, OY!


Pan to the right (you can see peeking out my enshrouded poor roll of sod - see yesterday's post...)  In the background is the back of the yard, it faces east and is anchored on the left by several clustered arborvitae and three large hostas, and the raised garden bed that runs most of the length of the east fence line.


And panning to the left of the second photo, a matching chair.  They're old, they take a ton of scrubbing even to make half-way presentable, and one of these years, I'll get around to spray painting them with plastic paint :)  In the background you can see one end of the north garden bed that contains a massive multi-trunk arborvitae and the concrete birdbath.  That's the new fence that was installed last November.  Because of the cost, I could only afford to do that one side.  The east fence line will wait until next year.


Here's my seat in the shade.  Across the south side of the Shezebo behind is a queen size white sheet, and on either side turning the corners are two curtain panels I purchased last year.  As soon as I can find reasonably priced yellow flat sheets that don't come in a set I will hang them instead.  This time of year, the Sun beats in from that south side and even though the Shezebo DOES provide much needed shade, it's not 100% shade all the time, depending upon the angle of the Sun.  The perfection, though, is the bug-free environment, especially since yours truly is a MOSQUITO MAGNET!  No problemo while I'm inside my Shezebo, aaaaaaahhhhhhh!


There's the view toward the southeast corner of my lot.  You may notice a roof-like structure running from the garage to the top of the fence along the east fence line.  That's my extra storage area and it's HUGE!  It's at least 10 feet wide and the length of the 2.5 car garage, all poured concrete.  Thanks to the prior owner who installed it, the rain and snow don't get in and it's a good space to store the Weber grill, the patio table and chairs, miscellaneous things that can withstand the cold and damp and assorted tools (there are hanging racks installed - thanks, prior owner!) and also to grill under, with the double doors that open wide to the back yard open if it's raining out.  It also allows me to rent out half of my garage for car storage, since I don't drive and do not own a car myself.  The space would otherwise pretty much go to waste.  Always nice to get that extra $100 a month.


The final pic of the day, a rather blurry close-up of the hooky thingy at the top of my Shezebo (inside).  As you can see, it is NOT CENTERED!  Now what woman, I ask you, would ever design something with a hook meant to hold a chain that holds something else not perfectly centered in the space?  I therefore know my Shezebo was designed by a man, for a woman would NEVAH do such a silly thing!

I haven't attempted to hang anything form the hooky thingy (like a battery-operated lantern) because I know it would drive me bonkers seeing it off center.  Arrrrrgggghhhhh!

Tomorrow, the sad saga of the put-together-backwards chairs.  Yes, it's true.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Endless Puttering Around the Garden

Hola everyone!  I'm still here and kicking, although not quite as 20 years ago, sigh.

It seems that yard work around here is never-ending.  It's funny, I do not seem to remember having this much to do in the yard all the time when I was at my bigger house with the much bigger yard.  Why on earth is that, and how can that possibly be???

I have several items that still need to be transplanted, including a volunteer (probably from bird poop) of a honeysuckle shrub that has sprung up on the right side of the concrete bird bath:


I also want to move over the purple shrub against the back of the fence on the left side of the bird bath (you can just barely see it, about 3 branches peeking up), as it's too close to the Japanese maple. I want to move it to the spot I'm vacating by moving the honeysuckle, which was never intended to be there.  That honeysuckle will get very large if I let it, and I don't feel like constantly pruning it to keep it a small size for the north garden bed.  It seems every time I turn around, I have some new surprise popping up in my garden beds.

The nice 6 foot tall privacy fence that went in early last November looks great; it hasn't started to "silver" yet, but it will, eventually.  The plants seem to like having the taller fence there, I think it may be creating a warmer micro-climate, especially along that north lot line.

I bought a roll of sod to finally fill in a few depressions in the backyard that have been driving me nuts for the past few years.  I keep filling them in with top soil and the squirrels promptly dig out all the dirt in record time, so the depressions are deeper than ever because the dug-out dirt builds up around the edges, sigh.  Well, I bought that sod on May 26th and it's still rolled up in a sheet.  Oops.   As of today, the poor sod is probably dead; I wet it down when I remember to do that and it hasn't rained (we've had a LOT of rain here lately).  I'm afraid to open up the sheet and unroll the sod (yes, I'm a coward that way).  Oh well.

I have more to write about, but I just got off a Skype call with a friend of mine, and once I get her on I can't get her off, 1.5 hours poof - gone!  It was supposed to be a test to see if her Skype still worked.  So, here are a few photos of plants and/or successful transplants I moved into the south garden along the edge of the driveway last year, I'll have to come back and post again, there's some to catch up on!


This is one of two shasta daisies I planted new last year in the driveway garden bed.  One did not make it over the winter but this one popped right up and as you can see, is loving the hot sunny location.


The hydrangea was transplanted from the backyard north lot line last year, in preparation for having the new fence put in.  It was a little droopy in this photo; I watered it afterwards and in less than an hour it perked right back up.  There are two pine trees on that side of the lot bordering the driveway (south lot line area) and they shed tons of needles and pine cones, keeping the soil very acidic.  The hydrangea loves it.  When it was in the backyard, I had to give it lemon juice to get that color on the blooms.  This year, it came up with the flowers already those lovely lavender and lavender-pink colors!  This is a "mini" shrub, it will get wider as it matures but not much taller.

On the left side of the hydrangea is a columbine I put in last year, which seeded plentifully and I now have columbines popping up throughout the south garden bed, which is fine with me; on the right is a faded bleeding heart.  The blooms on both are gone, although the deep purple blossoms on the columbine only just stopped, they were gorgeous this year!  The spring got warm early and then we turned hot and dry and the bleeding heart didn't like it this year, it faded early and the greenery is already dying out; usually it lasts until the end of August but not this year.

And in the background to the left of the hydrangea, you can see the only survivor of three artimesias I planted in the north bed a couple of years ago.  It is much happier in this hot and sunny spot than in the north lot line; the other two just faded away and did not reappear last year.  On the right is a hybrid double mini-day lily that is a luscious peach-pink color; the last of the blooms fell a few weeks ago.  I am hoping it will survive the winter and give me a good crop of blooms next season.

And what Milwaukee garden would be complete without the common old-fashioned day lily:


This is a shot from the east garden bed; you can see a Rose of Sharon to the left and some volunteer Queen Anne's Lace peeking up.  The day lilies are just nutso blossoming this year!

More coming - promise!  I want to show you what progress I've made in the kitchen, as well as visiting my Shezebo and its current accoutrements :)