Tag Archives: backyard project

So my garden grows

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the woods (maybe this long? Really?) and so today I worked like a wild woman in the garden, clipping and pulling and planting and sweating buckets. I’m already sore. Weeding feels like a full-body workout.

Joe cut off some jeans into shorts — there was no stopping the man — and then realized that they were too tight and short for him (thank goodness) and made me try them on. I’m embarrassed to say that by doubling over the waistband, and cuffing the hems, they actually are a little bit cute, especially paired with a plaid shirt I picked up yesterday at the Hill Vintage and Knits opening party.

I spent the day covered in dirt, hydrating with Arnold Palmers.

Up close, things look pretty:

Three giant yard waste bags later, the big picture backyard is shaping up, too. I like that there’s plenty of room for improvement, though. Now that the fence is in, and the new walkway laid, I’ve set my sights on this garage corner.

That little stump to the right of the raspberry bush is the bane of the backyard. My dream is to turn that window into a little pass-through bar that I’m calling the “Flamingo Lounge.” It’s the least practical project ever, but how sweet would it be to grow mint and basil for muddling in a window box. The windows need lovely curtains and shutters, too. I’m already daydreaming about the accessories. Joe even got me the sign for my birthday. I think it would be nice to put some trellises on the side for growing hops, too.

Friday night, we sat on the patio with friends and homemade pizzas and Moscow Mules for a dinner before going to see “Moonrise Kingdom.”Have you seen it? For me, it was about how we tend to invalidate kids’ feelings, or not take them seriously.

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Time for friends

These past few weeks have felt ever-so-busy, with TEDxDesMoines ramping up (July 15!) and summer school for the kids I work with. (I don’t even want to think about my own classes starting again on June 27.) I’ve had lots of meetings and scheduled events, but I’ve been making an attempt to squeeze in some friend visits when the opportunities arise. Sometimes getting together seems like a hard thing to do, but this week proved that making plans doesn’t require a lot of work, or a fancy dinner out. It can be a random, casual Tuesday evening. No fuss.

Last night we had a simple after-dinner double date in the backyard with Andrea and her husband, Adam. They came over at about 8:15 and we made s’mores, drank my homebrew (Well, Andrea had an Arnold Palmer, because she’s expecting a baby boy this fall!) and caught up. Andrea’s one of those people I think about quite often, but hardly ever see. She and I did creative writing workshops together in the women’s prison a few years ago, which was one of the most meaningful volunteer experiences of my life!

Photo stolen from Andrea’s sweet blog post. I couldn’t agree more about the joy of waking up still smelling like campfire mid-week. My aunt got us this fire pit when we moved in and it’s the best — especially when combined with the sweet retractable roaster sticks Santa put in our stockings this Christmas.


This is completely unrelated, but writing about Andrea, who is a writer for Lowes Creative Ideas, it reminded me!

Arin and I went garage-saling a few weeks ago and happened upon this plant sale where they were serving the cutest lemonade and cupcakes.

Oh, Windsor Heights. You’re almost too adorable for your own good.

I am obsessed with succulents right now, so this sweet planted door was the perfect way to sucker me into purchasing some plants!

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Finally! A fence!

Joe and I have been trying to build a fence in our backyard since basically forever. (As this August 2010 post from my old blog, in which I have a CRAZY mane of blonde hair, proves.)

Our backyard butts up to our backyard neighbors’ driveway, so after we finally cleared out bushes and pulled up weed blocker and sifted out rocks and leveled the area (whew!), we just basically had a gaping lack of any sort of backyard privacy. Helllooo neighbor’s old toilet! (Not pictured. Granted, they’re doing a lot of updates to the house, and our backyard looks like a Tasmanian devil playground/hosta farm/tomato jungle, so it wasn’t too big of a deal.)

Finally, though, we were able to cobble together some weekends home and make some major date nights to Menards/Tasty Taco.

Originally, we’d planned to try a woven fence, but finding the right wood that would be both thin and sturdy enough proved too difficult. The fence is a shadowbox style, and since Joe fanatically measured and re-measured boards and leveled posts and whatnot, it’s actually nice and straight and well-made. The smell of cedar, the feel of hammering those boards in were the best parts to me. It’s so satisfying to step out and see our first big DIY home project all finished!

Joe even made a small gate to fence off the gap between the garage. Our little chard plant and raspberry bush will be joined by a big garden next summer!

Can’t wait for spring planting!


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