Sunday, September 8, 2013

Autumn Awakening

It seems like almost every night throughout the summer when I would finally sit down at my macbook after a long day of working at the library, followed by working in the backyard, followed by working in the kitchen, etc, etc, I would think to myself, "Hmmm....should really post a blog update". Then I would promptly fall asleep. Thanks to this ritual, I now have a small stockpile of photos and stories from the past few months, and absolutely no idea where to begin.

Luckily, my ability to procrastinate has worked in my favour this time. Instead of writing blog posts, I've been stalling by organizing all of the pictures in iPhoto by the date they were taken. I'm left with a photo history of the last few months, which then acts like an outline for blogging. Pretty crafty, huh? I'm sort of a genius.

So let's look where we left off: We had a ceiling in the sunroom, cupboards in the laundry room, pine boards on the back hall, a garden that wasn't looking too bad, and a brand new puppy. Things were coming up Milhouse, if we did say so ourselves. We moved Ru into her little back hall puppy room, complete with a massive Costco dog bed and a freezer, courtesy of TJ's parents. Ru showed her appreciation by eating the stopper for the manual defrost system on the freezer.

We had some very lovely garden moments in early July....everything was in full bloom, the veggies were vegging in the dirt...all we had to do was sit back and relax, which we did in the double hammock that arrived for my birthday :D

And just because they were so beautiful, and I can't help myself....peonies!

We were able to tear ourselves away from the garden every so often to go to the beach...Ru did pretty well for her first time in the water, although she quickly learned to climb onto the nearest person if she felt the water was getting too deep. She soon let us know that she was not really an outdoorsy type of dog, and she much preferred to spend her summer in the cool shade of the living room, sleeping on a variety of comfy pillows.

Summer wasn't all flowers and beaches though. We did have to change from bathing suits and gardening clothes to our formal work attire every so often, TJ for the lab and me for a new job with Provincial Library Services in Summerside. We also cracked the whip to get things moving in the renovation department, so Shane showed up once more. This time around we needed to extend the tiling around our fire place in order to keep our fire insurance.

The before....

The process....

Moving out the insert, which weighs approximately a half ton....and taping an outline of where the new tiles will go.

The back of the insert Making the first cut and......realizing this is not tile. This is solid brick.

Shane brought out the big gun....the jackhammer. I was thisclose to getting to use it, but apparently you shouldn't use power tools if your footwear of choice is sandals. The brick was finally toast, and the tiles were finally laid....except for when we ran out and had to wait for the tile store to open again.

Once the final tiles were laid, the filling was added in....I forget the correct term for the filling that goes between the tiles. All I remember is that it was a pain to clean afterwards. The stove was slid back into place and....voila!

Now we just have to do some paint touch ups and a little bit of caulking and the fireplace will be ready for action once again.

With all of this work completed, we felt like it was finally time for some house guests. TJ's parents arrived from Ireland to spend two weeks with us at the end of July. However, this was no vacation. No no, they were put to work straight away.

Within a few days they managed to clear out the jungle garden. This included four or five trees, plus all three tiers of the flower bed. Bulbs were dug out and saved for next year, irises, peonies and lillies transplanted, poppy seeds collected and bagged, forsythia trees relocated. It was amazing. There's something to be said for imported labor. And cheap! They worked for BBQed sausages. Brilliant! They were so skilled and quick though that I didn't managed to get any pictures of their work until after they had left. The garden was looking amazing though. All TJ and I had to do was dig up the railway ties, grade the garden down to a less hazardous level and seed. I'll be honest - it was a little hard to make the decision to dig out the garden. It really was beautiful in June and July, but by August things were starting to become extremely overgrown and nothing new was blossoming, so it was looking like a big mess. A lot of the flowers were at the point where they'd have to be divided or cut back, and some were escaping the brick confines of the flower bed and overtaking the back steps. At one point, Ru even became lost in the irises and sat down and cried. I had to wade in and find her, then bring her back out to the yard. With my limited gardening skills, I knew that I wouldn't be able to properly take care of the garden, and I also wanted to have the chance to do my own thing. So out it went.

By early September it was looking like this:

The grass is still a bit patchy in places, but hopefully by next year it will look a bit better. We'll have to keep seeding it out once we see what grows in the Spring. A lot of them have already filled in since these pictures were taken about a week ago. There's still some flowers that we'll have to dig out as well, but really, I don't think it looks too bad compared to what it looked like last August:

Speaking of last August, we recently just passed out 1st year house anniversary! To celebrate, we'll be doing a side by side comparison photo post to show you just how far we've come in a year. I didn't want to post any pictures of the inside of the house in its current stage, as I wanted to wait until all the boxes have been put away, walls have been painted and decorations have been put up, but who knows when that will ever happen! So stay tuned in the next few weeks...maybe TJ will even make a guest blogger appearance! Until then...

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