Hosta La Vista, Baby

Garden Sign

OK, so maybe that title is a little misleading. This weekend we planted some hostas, and thus far they haven’t left.

Front Yard with Pruned Plants

This weekend’s weather was perfect for being outside and we took full advantage by clearing out some dead trees and stumps, trimming and pruning every shrub and planting some new plants, including some hostas of various colors.

Freshly Planted Hostas

Hosta Sprout Close Up

At this point they are nothing more than little sprouts in the garden, but that’s a start for sure. I feel pretty confident about what we’ve done, despite not really having the greenest thumb. My parents both are really good with their gardening but I don’t know if that has been passed down to me.

Peat and Potting Mix

Our soil is kind of sandy, and we’re in the middle of drought right now. To try and combat that, we planted the hostas with a mix of peet, potting soil and osmocote. Oh, and lots of water.

Front Yard in April

As I said, we’re in the middle of a drought. Our grass seems overrun with weeds, but we remain confident. We’ve been quietly working on it here and there since we moved in. I’ll monitor the progress of our garden for the rest of the summer, and hopefully keep posting updates as things improve.

Here are two final pictures. One of another hosta from the front yard to show you what they will look like and then a shot of the new ones from yesterday.

Full Hosta in April

Hostas Day 4

Where Does the Time Go?

No seriously…where does the time go? Days seem to crawl by sometimes, but then all of a sudden it’s Spring! And we haven’t written a blog post in what seems like ages! I can’t promise this next one here is going to be great, but it’s something. We’ve been enjoying our house lately and slowing down on major projects. We’re still bustin’ doors left and right, so definitely stay tuned for some updates on that.

It’s been super warm here in Jersey. We recently bought some new window A/C units because the ones that came with our house were pretty old and the one started leaking toward the end of last Summer. It’s a good thing we got them when we did because many of the Lowe’s in our immediate area were sold out of the units we were looking for! It’s been so warm, we actually installed the new A/C unit for the bedroom the other day. We heard it was going to be almost 80 today so we figured we might need it! Turns out, it’s not going to be quite that warm, especially at night. Nevertheless, we don’t plan on needing the heat again until October so there the A/C unit stays!

In other news…we have this skeleton of a canopy in our backyard. The previous owners left it for us, along with the canopy top and mosquito net that wraps around to create the walls of the canopy. We even busted that thing out the other week. We got the canopy top on and despite the fact that it was a bit dirty (just like everything that was left in the house), it suits the setup just fine. The mosquito net, however, had seen better days so we headed to Lowe’s to look for a new one. We saw one on a shelf that was marked $78, but one of the individual boxes was marked $58. Of course we took the one marked for less! Then we decided to check Target just to see if they had anything cheaper. Of course they did – $39 for a mosquito net. Obviously we went with that one and planned to return the $58 one to Lowe’s. We got some store credit to Lowe’s for that return – if you think hard enough you can just imagine which amount ended up on our store credit GC 😉

Anyway, it’s the tricks of the trade. We hardly ever pay full price for anything, ever, ever, ever. And when we get into situations with Comcast or if we buy a defective water filter for our Samsung refrigerator (true story) we get something in return. We recently got a ton of credits toward Best Buy because of their horrible customer service over the phone. I literally just asked for extra Reward points and they gave them to me, so we bought (for FREE) a wall mount for our new bedroom TV. We’ve lowered our Comcast bill on more than one occasion since we moved in, and this was all done via their Live Chat service. As for our defective water filter? We badgered Samsung a bit until they decided to send us a $50 Lowe’s gift card – more than enough to cover the cost of the filter.

So lesson learned – never pay full price for anything and don’t take no for an answer. Which brings me to this gem…

Andrew Extreme Couponing

A Rush of Blood to the Shed

We recently built a shed. I know that sounds impressive, but its probably not exactly what you’re thinking. The image I conjure up when thinking about building a shed is the “raise a barn on Monday, soon I’ll raise another” part of Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise.” It’s kind of like that but not really.

amish paradise raise a barn on mondayAs you may remember, we have a shed behind the house but it isn’t ours. It is on the subdivided/sold-but-vacant lot behind our property. The original owners of the house owned two adjacent pieces of property and when the time came to sell, they were sold separately. So now we have a huge vacant lot with a big ole shed and lots of hurricane debris sitting just beyond our backyard. Sounds exciting, but to be honest I’m glad the ole shed isn’t our responsibility. It’s kinda smelly. This new shed looked real spiffy in the brochure and it was on some sort of sale, so we jumped on it.

rubbermaid shed brochureThe shed is a Rubbermaid resin shed that comes delivered from Lowe’s by an old man with a forklift* and a big truck.

shed parts backyardYou can see the pallet in the background and the pieces starting to look like parts of a shed. Everything came labeled and the instructions were real simple.  The weird thing is that at the end you’re left with a pallet. What am I gonna do with a random busted up pallet?! Where’s a bonfire when you need one?!

shed floor level groundI picked the location for this shed not based on how level the ground was, but how cute I thought it’d be. Well, that’s only half true. The ground should have been more level but this spot was too perfect to pass up. This bold decision would ultimately come back to bite me in the ass later, but it ended up OK. If I have one bit of advice for a future junior shed builder out there, it would be to make sure you try and level your ground, even if it’s just a little. This pocket of our yard is full of sandy soil, so I was fighting a losing battle.

raise a barn shedAs it’s going up it all feels real flimsy, but it ends up fitting together. (Obviously, or else we wouldn’t be here talking about this shed). Everything snaps together with limited drilling and screw-driving.

shed one wallSee that soap there? Yeah. The shed requires a little bit of old fashioned lubing to slide the walls together. Way less messy than industrial graphite. I know from experience, bro.

shed finishingHere’s the part where the level ground is crucial. All of the components fit into place nicely, but then BAM and you need to slide some pins into the roof to hold it down. While doing so I sliced my hand and we both got real frustrated. In the end we just gave up on 1 of 6 pins. Everything seemed level and secure so we didn’t sweat it.

completed Rubbermaid resin shedThere it is, done in time for sunset over the Waackaack Creek. From the front yard and driveway that are just behind it, it is barely noticeable, and from this view it is nestled between the fences. The area needs some landscaping, but that will come in due time.

The resin makes the inside of the shed feel really muggy when it gets warm and there is moisture in the air. Luckily there are optional “gills” that can be cut near the roof to let the thing breathe. All in all, it took 2 people about 5 hours to complete. Not bad considering we’ve now got 7′ x 7′ of outdoor storage space we didn’t have before.

And now what you’ve really been waiting for. Amish Paradise.

*No old man guarantee. Lowe’s delivery policy subject to change.