Look here at my little dogwood tree blooming already!!
A few other flowers have been blooming too, now that the sun is out.
The succulent plants have also taken off, and I noticed this one falling out of its hole in the strawberry pot. Since the one above has crowded over that hole, I decided to repot the one that had fallen out. I got out the Miracle Gro Succulent and Cactus mix and filled the little green pot. I had the pots on the plant stand waiting to get other succulents to put in them, so this worked out fine.
Lots of stuff happening in the yard now that the summery weather has arrived! We got all the yard decor set out, just have to get the yard mowed before I take photos to show you. More updates forthcoming!
Yesterday we planted our new magnolia trees in the front yard. I was wondering if we should plant one in the front and one in the side yard, but I finally decided that I wanted two matching trees in the front yard. We picked our spots and The Hubs began digging.
After digging the hole for the tree, he carted off some of the dirt from the hole back to the garden area.
After digging the hole the correct size for the tree, The Hubs mixed some of this planting compost mixture with some of the dirt from the hole.
Once a good amount of dirt and compost were mixed, The Hubs put some of the compost mixture and a couple of handfuls of this transplanting fertilizer at the bottom of the hole, as directed by the nursery worker he had spoken to.
Then he plopped the tree in and he filled the hole with the compost mixture, tamping it down good and solid. I supervised during the planting process.
After doing that twice and watering them well, here is the finished result.
After planting the magnolias, The Hubs suggested I might like a tree to plant in “my” yard, the side yard, and I said, “Why not?” So we made the drive back up to Al’s, this time in the minivan. We had driven the big truck to get the magnolias and they would have fit easily in the van, so we thought we’d just take the van since the big truck uses a lot more gas. When we got the Al’s I was able to find a worker to help us find the “Venus” dogwood that I had chosen from their website. You can see from the tag that it has “exceptionally large white flowers” and also has nice fall color and attractive (though inedible) fall fruit!
The lady said, “Oh, those are BEAUTIFUL,” and I was glad to hear it since I hadn’t seen one bloom in person. She talked to a man called Gustavo on her radio and he came and led us the long way down to the fruit and flowering trees. I chose a tree I thought looked good and The Hubs dragged the pot to the cart. Once we got it up onto the cart The Hubs went in to pay while I stayed with the tree and the three Marzinera tomato plants he had picked out. When we got to the van we realized that the dogwood tree was a bit taller than the magnolias and it reached clear up into the front seat!
Oops! I had a couple of plastic bins in the way back of the van, so we put the tree’s pot in one of those ostensibly so the van floor wouldn’t get wet and dirty. It kept the floor from getting wet, but a whole lot of dirt came out of that pot when The Hubs was taking it out of the van! He did (bless him) vacuum out the dirt and also the driver’s side floor with the mini ShopVac.
We stopped for lunch at Route 99 in Brooks on the way home, and then started in planting the dogwood outside my office bay window. The Hubs dug the hole and put the fertilizer in, and we took the tree out of the pot.
The bottom of the tree was wrapped in burlap, with some rather hard clay-type dirt around the roots. The Hubs cut off the burlap before planting the tree but we left the dirt around the roots to protect them.
It was the goal on Saturday to get all my yard decorations put up and around the yard but that didn’t happen again, so I’m shooting for this coming weekend when it is supposed to be sunny and warm.
Well, not many interesting things have happened here in the last few weeks. I have bought more things for The Grandbaby for when he arrives in July, we haven’t gone on many hikes for various reasons, and I haven’t been doing much around the house. We are, however, definitely wanting to get ready for summer!
So on Sunday we went to Al’s Fruit and Shrub Garden Center in Woodburn and bought two magnolia trees for the yard. I was thinking we would put both of them in the front yard but now The Hubs has suggested putting one in the side yard, so now I’m not sure what we’ll do, but he definitely wants to plant one today. They are the “Vulcan” variety, with dark pink blossoms. I think they will add a lot of beauty to our yard!
Also, I have received many yard decorations from my friend Linda, who with her husband is selling their house and downsizing into their R.V. I had planned to have The Hubs help me with the decorations last week when the weather was nice but he was busy, so now that will have to wait because it’s going to rain again for awhile. As soon as the sun comes back we will get out there and put up all the decorations and bird feeders. I may paint some of the stars and other decorations. Right now they are a sort of chartreuse color.
Here are some updates on my little patio garden. Most of the succulents are doing quite well and making all sorts of little baby succulents:
But I’m really not sure what this one is doing. Is it still alive? I think so, but it’s hard to tell.
The rosebush seems to be going great guns and enjoying the very wet feet it got throughout the winter.
This little plant has bounced right back:
I thought this pink lavender plant with the bee waterer had died, but it is coming back. I will clean the bee waterer and add some fresh water.
This lavender plant seems to have died, but I think it seeded some new little plants in the pot.
The rosemary and silver lavender plants seem to be doing well, although I do think this lavender plant needs to be in the ground or at least a bigger pot. I’d like to set up a little bed with the rosemary and lavender plants at some point.
These pretty little flowers just grew here all by themselves.
We will have to get after the blackberries coming over from the neighbor’s yard. He refuses to cut them back for some reason. We did have a very large blackberry patch in our yard due to the neighbor’s blackberries and it was nice to have the berries, but they were out of control and we don’t want them back again!
That’s about it for this update, will do another update when we’ve gotten the yard all spruced up!
I bought this shepherd’s hook and suet cage at an estate sale awhile back, and the birds have been enjoying the suet blocks I put out for a few weeks now. Unfortunately the squirrels have finally found it, and this is the result:
The squirrels have knocked the suet cage off the hook a few times so the birds can’t get to it very well, and I don’t like that much. I did get this cute photo of two squirrels sitting close together though. I hadn’t seen them do that before. I’m not sure if these are the ones getting into the suet block, there were two others around the fence as well. I think they are happy with the sunny weather we are having for a couple of days!
Yesterday I was able to get this photo of one of our squirrels eating some corn he found leftover in our garden. They are determined and industrious little ones, he carried that whole cob up to the top of the fence in his mouth! He has obviously been feasting for the past few weeks in preparation for winter. Look at that tummy, haha!
Wishing my friends in the USA a wonderful Thanksgiving feast! I am thankful for all of you who read and subscribe to my blog!
I got photos of some of our garden friends this afternoon, although most are a bit blurry since I had to zoom well in to see the little critters because I was inside my office. The birds have been enjoying the suet block and the squirrels have been very busy running back and forth along the fence from the walnut tree to wherever they are putting the nuts they collect.
You GUYS, guess what? After 18 years living in our house I finally get to have all matching doorknobs!! Isn’t that the neatest? The Hubs started in this morning and asked me if I wanted to learn how to put on a doorknob, and of course I said I did. This is the new doorknob design – I got them at Lowe’s.
The Hubs began by taking the old doorknob off the hall closet door. There are five doors in our “hall” (a square area in the middle of the house). We had already replaced the bathroom doorknob, and while the two offices and stairs doors matched each other, the hall closet had a totally different knob. When he got the knob off the closet door, he discovered this on one side:
And this on the other side.
Um…ordinarily you would just make a hole with a hole saw or something, like this one in my office door:
So right off, there were some annoyances. This was not unexpected, since our house was formerly owned by a man who thought he was good at building and remodeling. Note the word “thought”. He was not good at building or remodeling. In fact, we would describe most of his work as “horrible”, and often “nonsensical”.
The Hubs (while making sure I knew that this isn’t the best way to do a doorknob, the best way would be to get a new door and then put on the doorknob, but we don’t have new doors in our budget right now) had to get out his Leatherman tool with the little saw and saw out some of the material to make the hole bigger. Then he realized that there were two little tabs on each side of the new doorknob that needed to fit in, and he had to get a pointy tool to dig out some space for the little tabs. (I don’t think The Hubs has a hole saw, so he just had to make modifications.)
The strikeplate wouldn’t fit in its spot properly, and then The Hubs suggested I sand and paint the area before he put in the new plate since it wouldn’t cover the brown.
The Hubs decided I should put on my office doorknob, so I got the screwdriver and started taking off the knob. The screwdriver was a bit thin and kept falling out of the screw, so that took awhile.
It finally was done and then I took off the faceplate and the innards of the knob, and then we found that the hole wasn’t big enough for the doorknob works to fit through. The Hubs got out a round file and filed the hole out so the knob workings would fit.
Then The Hubs just went ahead and put my office doorknob on himself, and later I started removing the doorknob on his office door. That one had to be filed out as well, so he did that and then went ahead and put THAT knob on, so I didn’t get to put any of them on, but that’s OK. We still have to put on the one that goes on the stairs door and the one on The Girl’s door, and the one on our bedroom door, but now we have to wait to do those until The Hubs has more days off from work.
But I just can’t BELIEVE I finally have matching doorknobs!! How awesome!!
And now for some results of the magazine table and TV tray makeovers. Don’t forget to read the first and second pieces of this saga.
I got out the Polyshades stain I bought and dipped an old t-shirt rag in it to wipe it on the magazine table. As I was applying it the first thing I noticed is that it didn’t go on as dark as I had hoped it would, and just made the dark spot on the top even darker. Also, it didn’t seem to go on very well. I got my glasses and looked at the can and on the back it said…”Apply with high-quality brush.” Oh, for heaven’s sake. I didn’t have my glasses at the store and thought I was buying a wipe-on stain. Arrrgh. That’ll teach me, I guess.
So I went back to the shed and got out my old can of Special Walnut wipe-on Minwax stain and poly in one that they don’t make anymore. It is SO much easier to apply stain and poly by wiping them on than by using a brush, where you get all the brush strokes and have to keep a “wet edge” the whole time. I wiped the Special Walnut all over the table, including on the parts I had already put the Espresso color on. Here are photos of that result.
Blargh! It was not dark enough to cover any imperfections and didn’t stick very well to some places. At this point I considered this project a FAIL.
But wait! I decided to go see if I had anything else in the shed, and what do you think I found? A brand new can of this Varathane wipe-on wood stain in Ebony! That should be dark enough! There is also a can of Varathane wipe-on stain in Kona, which is a nice dark stain as well. Dries in one hour! Aha!
I left the magazine table to dry overnight and got back to it bright and early this morning. After scuffing the table up with some fine steel wool and wiping it off with a tack cloth, I got out the Varathane and started applying it with an old t-shirt scrap. (Keep in mind that at this point I’m sort of making things up as I go along to try to salvage the table.)
After I gave the table one coat of ebony stain, I decided to let it dry and come back for another coat. The front sides of the table that were sort of an orange color didn’t take the stain very well even though I scuffed them, and the inside walls and outside ends didn’t take the stain very well either. Here’s how it looked with one coat:
I let the table dry while I went on some errands. When I got back I put another coat of stain on. Here’s how it looked after the second coat of stain:
Meanwhile, during the second coat’s dry time, I started on the TV tray. I chose the Varathane wipe-on stain in Kona for the tray. It is a nice dark brown. I started on the underside of the tray:
Once I stained the underside and legs of the tray, I let that dry and then flipped it over and stained the top side, and touched up in areas on the legs that needed it. It looks good and the next step for both projects is the wipe-on polyurethane to protect the wood.
I decided to try the wipe-on poly on the magazine table to see if it improves the look of it. There are a lot of weird spots where the stain is darker or lighter than other parts, and I’m hoping maybe the poly will at least even it out so it will be all one sheen. I had about half a can of the poly and needed more to apply multiple coats on both projects, so I ordered it and some more tack cloths since the items have to be sanded between coats. Since I am using oil-based stains, I will use this oil-based poly.
The stain on both projects needs to dry for awhile and tomorrow I have a hike planned, so I won’t get back to these for a couple of days.
Will the magazine table ultimately be a success or a fail? Will the TV tray turn out the way it’s supposed to?
TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO SEE REAL, ACTUAL END RESULTS (I hope)!!