May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

Jan

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Inspiration for My Home During a Heat Wave

Maison Newton (retirement version) at present.  Sad empty porch planters flanking the door.
Bare areas in planting beds where colorful annuals would normally be planted by now,
but transplanted perennials from around the yard will fill in beautifully once put in.
Barberry shrubs need to be pruned.  You really can't see the porch light and the only
pop of color on the facade right now is the red mail box! The flower beds are not as
nice looking and spiffy clean as I would like, but the weather hasn't been cooperative
this season.  Notice the large spread of white trim around the picture window, which
juts out at a 45 degree angle from the inner trim!  The black metal trellis I moved
from the driveway (house side) garden to between the two ranch windows on the
left (the bedroom and bath wing) isn't really showing up as much as I'd like.  I
maybe need something heftier there.  But it's better with it there now than it was empty.

Hola!  Heat indexes for the next few days will be 100 and above, with dew points in the 70s.  Right now, at least, we are catching a bit of a break, with a wind out of the SE off of Lake Michigan and the sky has been skimmed with clouds off and on since sunrise.  So the temperature feels "okay," but the air is uncomfortable sticky.  I start experiencing difficulties breathing once the dew point gets above 50 with even average exertion (bad ticker).  So, for now I am pretty much house bound, except very early in the mornings when there is a semblance of cool air outdoors.

Small House Exterior Paint Colors A Site Made Distinctive Red Doors Shutters And White Trim Exterior Remodelling
An inspiration photo from Pinterest.  The link for this photo is not to the home, but to a
page offering a web domain for sale!  So, I've no idea where this came from, and
cannot properly link its source other than this Pinterest search.  The siding looks
similar to the color of my siding, and my window trim is also white, although my windows
are narrow 1950s ranch style (long and narrow) and not Cape Cod cute.  I hope my house
looks this good with a soon to be painted bright red front door and new black shutters
to be hung on my giant picture window framed in acres of white vinyl trim.

Sunrise was so beautiful, with the early sunlight bouncing orange and pink off lingering strands of stormy grey clouds.  We had some pretty strong winds and thunderstorms for several hours overnight, with lots of lightning.  The thunder was of the CRACKLING kind that shakes your whole house and ends with a sort of sonic boom effect!  Pretty scary stuff, I was wide awake as soon as I heard the winds rise out of nowhere and start sweeping up against the house.  We got a lot of rain, and the storm was intense.  But we did need the rain, I had been contemplating running up a water bill by giving the garden beds and lawns a good soak.  I'm thankful that I didn't loose any big branches off of my arborvitaes, nothing landed on my house from neighboring trees, everything looks pretty much clean in the neighborhood except for lots of leaves all over the place.

I was outside by 6:30 a.m. to take advantage of the relative coolness of the early morning.  My intent was to move the volunteer columbine from the front garden bed underneath the bedroom windows and transplant it in the driveway garden where I have lots of other volunteer columbines that sprouted from seeds the one columbine plant I bought in 2016 has strewn about the area over the past two springs!  All varying shades of purple, none matching the "mother" plant, LOL.  Anyway, after digging deeper into the miniature spirea shrub that the columbine was growing from seemingly its center, I realized there was no way to get at it easily unless I removed a large root ball of both shrub and flower and try to untangle them.  I decided against trying that, a lot of work with no guarantee of success.  So, I swallowed hard, because I hate pulling anything out of my garden except weeds, but pull it out I did, as best I could.  The little spirea bush was being smothered by the giant foliage ball of the columbine, covering half of it.  I hope that now with the columbine gone and with exposure to lots of sunshine, the branches will quickly green up and the little shrub will be okay.

Hard to see, but the back half of the shrub is nothing but bare
sticks.  I will have a pruning job to do on this and the other
shrubs in the front beds, still more winter clean-up to do
and weed pulling.  This spring was not cooperative!

No roots came out with the columbine parts, so there was nothing to try and tarnsplant; they branches and stems were bagged and put into the trash.  I won't be surprised, though, to see another one spring up somewhere in the garden out front next spring!

Now I want to talk about the color inspiration for my house, if inspiration it can be called.  Just as various shades of gray are all the thing these days in both exterior and interior colors, back in the 1990s the IT color in siding and interior paint in my hometown was a sort of dark "greige" or dark taupe.  My simple 1956 Milwaukee basic ranch has 1,074 square feet with 3 small bedrooms and one small bath with a full basement.  The kitchen is about 10 x10 and there is an eat-in area also about 10 x 10.  The original picture window in my kitchen eat in area was replaced with a slider to stairs leading down to a large concrete patio in the backyard.  I looked at two other homes in this same double long block, one right next store, that have the identical floor plan to this "downsize retirement home" I ended up buying.  It seems every few houses in this subdivision have the same floor plan, including the kitchen dining area picture window still in place.  Thousands of this style home were built in new suburban areas all across the city, along with small "Cape Cod" style homes, at the end of WWII as the suburbs expanded and new families with children wanted to move into homes with larger lots, a garage, and more space between them than what homes have in the central part of the city, where I grew up and was used to living on top of my neighbors (and by default knowing all of their business because you could hear everything going on in their houses, that's how close they are).

curb appeal red door
Source, Pinterest, from Centsational Girl blog.  This siding looks to be the
same color as mine.  Oh, if only I could afford to have a peaked portico cover
added above my front door!  Be still my heart, thump thump thump.
Over the years, people have "made the homes their own," remodeling insides, adding recreation rooms, bedrooms, offices, exercise rooms, baths, laundry rooms and shop areas in the full basement, opening up walls on the main floor, etc.  So although many homes in my subdivision share the same original bones, today they vary widely in appearance on the outside andon the inside.  I have an old photograph of my house from around 1974, and it had what appears to be white siding (probably aluminum siding), black trim around white windows and had aluminum awnings over the front porch and windows (wish I still had them!)  The house as I bought it at the end of May 2014 has a black roof, taupe vinyl siding, white vinyl replacement windows with white trim, and fiberglass "oak" wood look front and side doors (the doors are identical, with half-round decorative glass at the top and 4 "raised" panels).  House trim and gutters are white aluminum.

Everything is in good shape and I'm not planning on spending thousands to replace anything on the exterior of the home, although the sunken part of the front walkway bugs me and I'm going to have to do something about that sooner rather than later. I'm fine with the colors of the trim, roof and siding, but I want to punch up the curb appeal.  I've been wanting a red door for some time, and when I saw my house back in 2014, I knew red would look good with the home's current color scheme.  Black shutters also seem like a no brainer idea to me, as demonstrated by the photographs I've posted here for inspiration!  If my plain basic ranch house can look half as cute as any of these homes I'll be pleased as punch!

9bde9b22deb56cfcbafd7dbdd608a39d.jpg 640×394 pixels
Source: Pinterest search.  If I had an extended front porch area like this I could probably
add columns to my facade because my overhang is at least 2 feet deep.  Hmmm...

white, black, red and yellow house exterior color theme - Google Search
Source: Pinterest search.  I hope my triple ball
topiaries in white planter boxes look just as pretty
by my soon to be red front door!

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