Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trimming Oak Trees

Did you know that you can only trim oak trees in November? I had no idea! Apparently if you trim them prior they are more susceptible to die/rot (THE MORE YOU KNOW). Not exactly sure on the science but we had a few tree trimmers over for quotes and that was the unanimous time to trim!

We have 4 huge oak trees on our property, two on the front lawn, and one on either side of the house. Three of them had branches that were overhanging our roof a bit. When we first moved in, we were greeted with an army of ants. A few inside, but mostly all over the siding. We had our pest guy come over and spray, and he highly recommended getting those branches trimmed. He said little buggers will climb the branches and drop onto the roof which is no bueno for the future of our ant-less house.

The branches were not all that large, so falling on the house wasn't a concern of mine, but a re-occurrence of an ant army was. So, we got a few quotes, and had them ring up a few other items on our daunting landscape to-do list....SO! I thought i'd give a little exterior update.

The main areas of concern were two trees to the left of the garage (currently hitting the neighbors power line & our NEWLY INSTALLED garage roof line), the forest to the right of the garage, and a tree that has been entangled in our house's powerline just ASKING for it to snap.

So, while they were there trimming the ol' oaks, we had them chop down the three trees, and clear out the brush on the side of the house.

YES, we could have cleared the brush on the side but wanna know something? Dan got poison ivy 2 years ago. And that my friend is something neither of us ever wants to live through again! Also, sometimes when the price is right, ya go for it. We wanted to clear the side of the house as basically a 'prep' for next spring. Next year is THE YEAR OF LANDSCAPING. And we have SO much work to do, so a jump start was necessary.

So the crew came, and within 4 hours they had 3 trees cut down, 3 oak trees trimmed, and cleared out ALL THE BRUSH from the side of the house. 

Do normal people landscape their trees with concrete rubble? Is this a new trend CAN THIS BE A NEW TREND? We knew there was a bunch of concrete over there. Apparently there used to be a large dog kennel back here (OMG SAD), but the fencing was taken down (all but one post) and the concrete has since been broken up and left there. Another great treat from the previous owners.

ANYWAYS, so after the landscapers left Dan and I stood and surveyed the land to see what to do next. OK we can rent a dumpster to throw the concrete into, a jackhammer to break up the concrete, and have someone deliver dirt to level out the area...totally doable...probably $400 and a weekend of work...

THEN, the next day the landscapers texted me and were like..."hey girl, want us to get rid of the concrete...and backfill with dirt...and make all your landscaping dreams come true?" YES PLZ.

So, they came back, this time it took a bit more time to level everything out, and dump the dirt etc.etc. but THEY DID IT.

And then it snowed, so just imagine how great that area is!

What's next, you might ask? Well Winter. Then we need to edge/mulch the ENTIRE yard surrounding the house. But for that back area, we have been noodling a few ideas...including A CHICKEN COOP.

To further convince Dan it could work, I drew up a plan. We have the garage (white box), the black cylinder is a tree...and I want to grow some veggies next year so that's what the two planter boxes are for. The chickens would (eventually) be able to roam the area behind the garage...but LOOK HOW CUTE IT COULD BE!

What do you guys think...SHOULD WE GET CHICKENS? Do you have chickens? Can you tell me all the things? Please?!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Small Victories!

GUYS! I still owe you some juicy updates on the Kitchen Drywall and the (finally, fully) FINISHED upstairs bathroom. HOWEVER, my DSLR of 10+ years has recently decided that it's not interested in focusing any more. Which is usually fine because i'm coo with iPhone photos (like, all of today's post), but the bathroom and kitchen photograph SO MUCH BETTER on a manual mode. I'll get over it soon and getcha an update but until then! Thought i'd drop by with a few small upgrades we completed between traveling lately.

FIRST! Outside.

I mean, obviously the house has since been painted, but I wanted to focus on that little red box. Our mail box, it's a super cute old post box that had seen better days. 

Since getting the house painted it sat in our planter boxes for the rest of summer while we debated all 10 million options on what to do with it. There were a bunch of scratches on the box, but nothing offensive. So we debated ordering a new sticker and spray painting it (what color? Red? Green? Yellow?). While we went over color options I tried to find a new 'modern' post sticker and came up short. After considering making my own we both threw in the towel once we found this little mail box at the Pottery Barn:

It matched all the black accents we have out there, and is just so cute. BTW if you are drilling through stucco as we are, be sure to get the right drill bit so it doesn't take you an hour to bore one hole :)

Also, you'll notice (probably not) that the screen door is gone! The door was so old and janky and every time we opened it a curse word came out. So, we ordered a new door and after picking it up from the store we took out the old and promptly destroyed it into 10 pieces (we take all our scrap metal to the metal recycler and omg the door yielded a WHOPPING 96 CENTS! LOL). Only to find that I measured the wrong jamb of the door, and that of course our door isn't 'typical' and that now we'd need to return this door and custom order a new one! So, TBD on when THAT will happen. 

This one is inside, so you can take your jacket off now...i'll wait.

Let's talk door hardware. At some point, the previous owners took out all the original doors to the bedrooms and put hollow core doors (WHY!) with some  cheap looking brass handles. I knew I wanted to get new handles for them to mimic the handles on all the closet doors:

But first I had to paint. In my last house I took one entire weekend and painted ALL the trim and doors. It was one of the worst weekends, but it was like ripping a giant bandaid off. I'm taking a different approach on this house...small doses of trim paint. SO! Here is the door, if you didn't know what a door looks like:

And from the inside, sneak peak at some towel hooks we FINALLY installed...

Close up of the door handle, for good measure...

SO, changing out a door knob. FAIRLY straight forward since you are basically taking apart something and then putting it back together with just a better looking item. So, unscrew all the things:

^^Evidence of my very clean painting skillz

Then you put it all back together! The bummer part for me was that the circumference (math!) of the new latch was like 1/16th larger than the old one. So I had to sand that hole down for what felt like an hour to jam it in there. The rest was smooth sailing.