Green Thumbs

We spent all winter mapping out grand plans for our yard and gardens. We've now spent most of spring waiting for the weather to cooperate and let us actually plant some damn things. If it would just stop SNOWING, at least, or plummeting down to near-freezing temperatures every night. That would be a nice start. On Saturday we had a rare burst of summer-like warmth and sun, and so we opened all the windows, dug out evertbody's shorts and t-shirts, then joined approximately 56,231,000 other Vitamin-D starved people buying ALL THE GREEN AND FLOWERY THINGS at the local Home Depot. The Adventures of Zah In the Enchanted Forest Minivan The kids all whined horrifically the entire time about the heat and the sun and the sweat and the my baaaaack hurts my leggggggs hurt I am too pale and video-game soft for such torrrrrrture. So once we got home and got everything unloaded and watered and debated ideal shrubbery placement all that, it was on the late side so we planned to wake up early on Sunday and get planting. Of course, by the time we got up it was grey and nasty and cold all over again. And then... Read more →


In the Sticks

We spent our weekend turning this: Into this: Our trees lost a TON of branches during the wind storms, though we're lucky we didn't lose an entire tree like many of our neighbors. (Noah's social studies teacher lives just down the street and had a tree crash through her bedroom window, barely missing her bed, which she was in at the time.) It was a lot to clean up, but hey! Free DIY firewood! (Ike is wearing a very old Coach logo-print rain hat, circa the year I started this blog and was inexplicably and basic-white-girl obsessed with all things Coach. I didn't even know I still owned this, but Ike has taken a liking to it and insists on wearing it all the time.) Poppy was not happy to be confined to the backyard while Ike and I cleaned up the front. Also not happy that we cut up or threw out all those big, delicious sticks. The firewood will be used to fuel our new fire pit (that old inherited-from-the-former-homeowners one there is completely rusted through because we...uh, forgot about it all winter and also did not inherit a cover), which we shall enjoy before/during/after dips in the... Read more →


Pave the Swamp

Look, it's a patio! Er...well, not quite yet. We admittedly chose the worst time of year to start an outdoor project, as the crew can't work in the rain or whatever the hell kind of INSANE WIND STORM swept in last night that canceled schools and sent everybody's trash cans dancing up the street. So right now we have a lot of dirt and rocks and pallets of pavers beautifying our yard. Also this! Which is delighting the boys to no end. Look at them, not even wearing jackets three days ago and now we're trapped in a sub-freezing bomb cyclone vortex of some kind. All very fine and normal and I am feeling really great about the climate right now!!! We're getting a patio for two three reasons. One, that area behind/under the deck gets absolutely zero sun and is basically a perpetual, unusable swamp. So trying to do anything in the backyard (be it gardening or s'mores or magical berry gathering) requires you to first wade through several inches of mud worthy of the Fire Swamp. Not pleasant, also take off your shoes take off your shoes omg children stop coming inside with those damn muddy shoes. Reason... Read more →


Memberberries

Late last summer, I discovered dozens of wild raspberry bushes in the woods behind our fence in the backyard. There were only a few stray berries left by that point, but Ezra and I did our best to harvest every last one we could. And I promised him that we'd pay better attention this year and maybe we'd get a few more. We started out picking just what we could reach through or over our fence, since we were a little wary of all the bugs and thorny things back there. (Of course we collected them in half of a Lego Star Wars planet. WTF else would you use?) Then one day, after watching Ezra pine for the dozens and dozens of bright red berries just beyond our reach, I said screw it, and hoisted him (and then my own ass) up and over the fence. Turns out, it's magic back there. Yes, there are thorns and mosquitoes and uneven rock paths. There are prickly vines to duck under, that catch and snag your hair and clothing and refuse to let go. There's a small stream that fills your shoes with muddy water, if you take a bad step on... Read more →


Friday Foto Fdump

Most Patient Cat of the Week, Who Knows On Some Level That I Could Put a Stop To All This If I Wanted To: Photogenic Cat of the Week, Whose Handsomeness Cannot Be Overshadowed By a Nearby Rando Laundry Basket: And Yet, Counterpoint, This Glorious Idiot: (Bonus points for Kermit finger puppet that has been claimed as a cat toy seemingly pondering the horror of his new torturous existence.) And Finally Some Random Non-Ladybug Nature That Happened, Because I Am Sometimes Still Surprised To Realize That I No Longer Live In the City, Even a Full Decade Later: WE'RE IN UR SUBURB, EATIN' UR SHRUBBERIES Read more →


Spring Awakening

This weekend the calendar ticked over into April, and lo, there was much rejoicing in Amy's brain. There was also the simple pleasure of watching a five-year-old pretend to be a cat for several hours, complete with his revolutionary costume of the day: (BTW, officially on the hunt for a drama camp/afterschool program for my smallest biggest ham. Anyone local have any recommendations? Not looking for anything stage mother-y/next great child star-ish, just want to get this kiddo an outlet for his raging LOOK AT MEEEE performing-and-pratfall-itis.) Cats. Also in full-on LOOK AT MEEEEEEE mode. On Saturday night Jason and I saw Rent, Again, For the Sixth And Probably Not Final Time. Although at this point we know the show so thoroughly well we notice when the conductor is pacing the show a half-beat too quickly, and have detailed best-to-worst rankings for every Mark/Roger/Mimi/Collins/Angel/Joanne/Maureen/Benny/Joanne-Understudy-Who-Gets-the-Big-Seasons-of-Love-Solo we've ever seen and, in summary, are probably incredibly annoying and tedious about the whole thing. And now we have matching shirts! We are THE WORST. On Sunday we spent the entire day tackling garden and yardwork crap. Jason got the vegetable garden ready out back while I hauled in many, many bags of mulch to... Read more →


Digging Out

After the insanity of last winter, our next-door neighbor and fellow long-ass driveway-haver had the sense to procure a snow thrower in time for this year. We did not, because we are cheapskates with the memories of goldfish...but then it didn't really snow at ALL so we were happy to have procrastinated on the expense. Then boom! March mini-blizzard, because of course. Jason has back issues, though, so shoveling us out was going to be All Me. So imagine my delight when I looked outside and saw that our neighbor, SUPER STOKED to finally break out that bad boy, had already cleared our driveway for us. (The bottoms of our driveways are shared, but he went above and beyond and came almost all the way up to our garage.) I opened the door to yell our thanks; he just shrugged and waved, then spun around with a gleeful look on his face as he went up the sidewalk to go help another house of people who were miserably dealing with the heavy, slushy, icy snow the old-fashioned way. The suburbs! What a country. I shoveled out the last few remaining feet and it damn near killed me -- every shovelful... Read more →


Salad Days Ahead

This weekend we started work on Big Serious-Ass Vegetable Garden 2.0... By setting up the world's lamest grow operation ever in the basement. We're planning once again on two jam-packed raised beds and about a half-dozen containers. It's a lot. Please note my use of the word "we," which is a lie. I helped clear out some boxes and assorted junk and Jason did everything else. I went back upstairs, poured a glass of wine and took pictures of my pets. Weekend productivity: NAILED IT. Last year none of our seedlings grew and we ended up buying plants instead. We started them too late, I think, and didn't account for colder temperatures in this basement vs. our old one. So in addition to the starter trays and grow light, a heat mat and digital thermostat have joined the setup. We're going with SLIGHTLY fewer tomato plants this year, but probably still too many. Summertime visitors to Yellow House should once again expect to have large bags of tomatoes hurled politely handed to you, no really, I insist, come on, you're not leaving until you take some, Jason, block the door, they're trying to escape without taking any tomatoes, etc. Read more →


This Is the Most Suburban Post I've Every Suburbed

We spent all weekend outside, with Jason finally getting to plant the proper non-container vegetable garden of his dreams in the backyard, while I sullenly weeded and pruned and planted shit in the front. This was my halfhearted response to the fact that almost everyone else in our cul de sac was visited by professional landscaping teams last week, and as the lone DIY-ers on the block I am suddenly terribly self-conscious about our lack of real plants and our abundance of weeds. The 'burbs, man. You don't think it'll happen to you and then it does. Tonight I fully intend to drive my garbage down to the street and bang the hell out of it with a stick. Although my contributions weren't solely aesthetic, as I planted two small blueberry bushes out back, with the goal of maybe getting some actual berries around the time the boys head off to college. I also want some raspberries, blackberries and a fig tree or two but now that I know how much digging is involved in planting a single (very small) bush I'm thinking we can put those on next year's to-do list. I also got a sunburn and today every... Read more →


Booming

I have no idea what to write about, because I am having troubled coming up with any string of words or letters or even basic sounds that would come close to what life is like around my house right now. This is the closest I've been able to come: GAHGAHAGHAHFOSDLHJKAWIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE (needsmoreEEEEEE)KJALZPP;A,K293,A,NA,N>>>"*@#&DKJN I should copy/paste that so I can have it handy for the next person who asks, "So how's it going?" The house is almost ready to sell. Once the dishwasher get repaired tomorrow, because OF COURSE the dishwasher choose this very moment to break. (But it's fixable! And we are getting it fixed! Have no fear, prospective homebuyers. It just needed some little hose-y part replaced and we have ordered a top-of-the-line little hose-y part and will have it professionally repaired by a licensed and bonded hose-y part expert. Spared no expense! We also refinished the deck!) In the meantime, I am literally spending hours every day handwashing a million dishes, instead of tackling the last few to-do items before we list. 1) WASH WINDOWS. 2) HIDE A SHITLOAD OF SHIT IN ATTIC. 3) VACUUM LIKE AN INSANE PERSON. 4) CHUCK ALL THE BIKES/SCOOTERS/SKATEBOARDS INTO OUR NEIGHBORS' BACKYARD, BECAUSE... Read more →