Sunday, January 31, 2010

As support for my cabin fever post, I present photographic evidence.

We went from this scenic vista, in late October, early November...

To this in January.

From a lush, verdant lawn in October...

To the Pittsburgh tundra.

We watched the snow accumulate on the picnic table. First a paltry inch or so (is that all ya got, Mother Nature??).

To 4 inches... (now we're talking!)

To eight inches... (okay, you can stop any time now!)

To ten inches (really, we get it. You're the almighty Mother Nature. We won't disrespect you again!).

To snow as deep as a beagle (Mother Nature, Mocha is only 15 inches tall. Her lawn has been restricted to the 6 square feet under the picnic table. Can't you give a girl a break?).

It has been kind of nice, though, to look out our back windows to see this...

As long as they stay in my backyard and out of the grill of my car, they're welcome in the neighborhood.

If for no other reason than to torment the dog. :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How many days 'til spring?? It's 13 degrees outside today and I'm dying for warmer weather. When we moved in in October, we did a few things outside. We built a fence for beagle containment, trimmed the front bushes and bought a reel mower. (Yes, we're those people who downgraded from a gas-powered mower to an old-fashioned human-powered mower!).
But besides those things, we didn't have the opportunity to do much outdoor work. So, come spring, the outdoor environs are uncharted territory!

Here are some images inspiring me to get through this bout of cabin fever!

I'd love to have a raised vegetable bed. As we discovered when drilling fence post holes, our yard doesn't have the best dirt. Also, the raised beds warm up sooner in the spring, dry out faster after rains (important in our wet backyard)and keep the soil fluffier (for a lack of a better term). I'll be planting the usual suspects: tomatoes, basil, cukes, zucchini, etc.

Also, I'm looking forward to doing a little landscaping along our retaining wall. I like the look of bright, fresh sweet potato vine and it seems to be pretty low-maintenance as well.

Have any other landscaping suggestions for me?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Here's a quick post on front door painting. To stand out in our neighborhood of very similar brick ranches, we decided to paint our front door red. (Actually, I have always wanted a bright front door and when Byron didn't hate the idea, it was a go!). The paint color is Red Delicious by Glidden. The door was originally white and this was after 4 (5?) coats. I think I may apply one more eventually. It's still a little uneven in person.

What do you think? Does this add a little snap to our boring brick neighborhood?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Here's a photo narrative of our holiday season! (I wanted to post this before it was completely irrelevant!)

Here is my glitter "Happy Holidays" banner I got on clearance at Michael's 2 (?) years ago. I love it.

Mocha turned 4 on December 15th! She celebrated by eating a bone the size of her head!

The 'theme' of our tree was 'Star Trek meets Starbucks' and had some martinis thrown in for good measure.

We purchased Phillips LED multicolored net lights for the front bushes. We severely underestimated the size of the shrubbery and had to buy two extra sets to make it look right. Around New Year's Eve, one of the middle sets burned out, making it easy for our guests to find the house (convenient!). Byron went out and looked and several bulbs were missing from that set. I think the mailman is screwing with us. In the third picture here you can see our snazzy new house numbers!

We had 3 other couples over for NYE. All of the ladies are also (nearly) audiologists. We played Cranium and Last Word and great fun was had by all. We woke Mocha up for midnight. Here also are my centerpiece, the whole room, and my cinnamon broom turned modern art piece!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We live in Pittsburgh and we have a basement, which means that we have water in that basement. This is especially unsurprising since there is a big hill behind the house and it's easy to see how water can come down the hill and collect in the ground in the backyard when it rains.

When we first looked at the house there was some mold in one corner of the basement, so we had the sellers pay for a contractor to come in and get rid of the mold and clean up the little bit of water damage that there was.

We figured that would be that. But no, several weeks later we came back to look at it again, and there was water in the same corner. This time the sellers agreed to pay for a contractor to put in a drain all along the back wall of the basement to carry any water that came in over to the sump pump.

Since then we have not had any more water, but we'll see what happens in the Spring when the snow melts. So far we have been extremely lucky that all that happened before we closed and the sellers agreed to pay for it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Let's do the Time Warp Again..."

Want to know what time of year we are in here at Fruits/Roots? Here's a few hints...

I'm still posting chronologically, so we'll continue to be a little bit behind. But we've got lots more to show you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

When we purchased our lovely new abode, the previous owners had done us the favor of removing the carpet but had never done anything to refinish the hardwood in all the rooms but the kitchen and bathroom. So, we strapped on our dustmasks, rented a sander and got to work.

Here is Byron in his very best floor refinishing clothes.

A somewhat blurry picture of the floors in our bedroom, post-sanding. The paint in there looks much less grey and more blue in real life.

Another blurry picture (sorry!). This is, I believe, the office.

The guest room (these are all post-sanding, pre-finishing).

The final two pictures are the living room. If you look closely at the last one, you'll see Byron's dad, Jeff, doing something very important on the floor. What? I'm not sure.

We ended up renting a 'screening' sander which just took the top layer of the old wax and polyurethane off and was much easier to use than a typical drum sander. We then vacuumed, used a tack cloth, and used two coats of a water-based poly. The whole project was finished in a Saturday, thanks to the help of Byron's parents. We did have to apply the final coat to the living room floor in the dark so it's not perfect but we're happy with how they turned out! Look for 'after' pics coming soon!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

This is a story of one of my first home-making disasters...

The mess you see above was a result of one of my first attempts at doing laundry in my new laundry room. The washing machine has a tube that runs from the output on the back of the machine up and into the washtub to the right (it's the black tube in the picture). Well, on this day, the tube kept threatening to pop up and out of the tub, spewing water all over the floor. To prevent this from occurring, I decided to yank on the tube to place it more securely into the tub. What then happened was unexpected. The other end of the tube, on the back of the machine popped off... during the spin cycle! There was a veritable fountain of dirty water erupting from the back of the machine, where I couldn't reach it. I ended up man-handling the washer (thru sheer adrenaline) to the side so I could reach the back and get the tube back on. When I succeeded in doing so, the other end popped back out of the tub, continuing the spewing from another source. I finally got the tube all settled and the water fountains under control. Now I had to deal with the flood. Did I mention this was before we moved in? I had no towels or rags... newspaper was the best I could fine. Worked pretty well! Needless to say, the tubes are now securely clamped in their respective locations, courtesy of Byron.

Additionally, I found this janky mop in the basement to help with the clean-up. Mocha decided it must be some kind of wild animal carcass...