With temperatures in the 90s now, summer is undeniably here – and with it being the start of August this weekend, it will soon be over. I’ve managed to pick a whole bowl of ripe tomatoes from our garden with many more ripening on the vine, I’m excited to see our various peppers getting bigger and closer to being ready to pick every day, and our lettuce has reached the stage where it resembles a small tree; although we continually pick leaves off the lettuce plants throughout the summer, as we need them, we never seem to be able to keep up with how fast the plants grow and I always find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of it we end up with in the end – but, it’s so nice to have fresh-from-the-garden lettuce. Neighborhood walks are always enjoyable and I love to see how all the trees, plants, and flowers change throughout the seasons; there are some really stunning flowers out now.
I’m so excited to say that we’ve now completed our basement stair beautification project…at least that’s what I’m going to call it. The red oak wood stain on the treads and Benjamin Moore super white paint really made a big difference; I’d say they have come a long way from this to this and this. I was so happy about it, when we finished painting yesterday, that I kept saying we had “sexy stairs”. Now, hopefully in the next couple months, we can finish having work done to our basement, get all the walls painted white, and say goodbye to the mint chocolate chip green color that’s currently in the space. We managed to make it to the Art Fair last weekend, picked our first four ripe tomatoes from the garden, and I cut some hosta leaves and hydrangea from our yard as well to enjoy inside – enjoying the summer weather and our summer garden/yard! (bowl and vase by Abigail Murray)
We’ve had a fairly rainy, cool summer so far – which is why, when it turned out to be such a beautiful weekend with sunshine and temperatures in the 80s, we took advantage of the sunny weather by enjoying dinner and drinks outside and taking a walk around downtown. Enjoying a sunny, summer patio is a thing of beauty!
It was good that we enjoyed a bit of the outdoors on Friday and Saturday as we spent just about all day Sunday working on our house; Ryan managed to get 4 coats of paint on the underside of the basement stairs, as well as one more coat of clear poly on the treads, so that’s done – now we just need to paint the risers and the stringers and we can check that project off our list.
We were happy to see tomatoes and peppers growing in our garden too; I’m looking forward to enjoying them later in the season when they’re ready to pick – we’ve already been able to use some of our herbs and lettuce from the garden and Melody always enjoys time outside on the patio. It’s hard to believe that we’re already in mid-July and summer will be over before we know it; here’s to many more warm summer days and firefly-lit summer nights.
We enjoyed a fun holiday weekend at home this year – complete with the wonderful company of friends on the 4th, a game of Horse at our neighborhood park, bag toss in the yard, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, apple pie, and sparklers!
Melody was ready for the holiday in her red and white striped collar and 4th of July bandana – and I like to think that the hot dog cookie we gave her tasted extra special because she ate it on the 4th. After all the excitement, she was a ready for a nap. I hope you had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend!
On Sunday, rather than taking a bike ride or heading to the park for some paddleboat fun, we decided to start working on our basement stairs; the old and ugly green carpet is gone and the treads are all sanded now, next step will be to stain, seal, and paint…more to come on that.
Thanks to our dear friends, Mo and Adrian, for the fun package we received in the mail and to Ryan for surprising me with a gorgeous Polaroid camera, it was a pretty fantastic weekend; presents and fresh iced tea and strawberry mint infused sparkling water…oh my!
It was a very productive weekend at our house too – we’re in the process of having some work done in our basement and after Ryan removed the built-in shelves that were previously there, we managed to successfully make a trip to IKEA for some more basement storage (to quote my wonderful neighbor, Emily, “our love survived a trip to IKEA” and if you haven’t seen this you should watch it for a laugh); we also got our washer and dryer back up and running (they had to be moved to make room for the sump pump that was just installed) – it may not seem all that exciting, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference!
In the process of cleaning the house yesterday, Ryan decided it was a good time to go ahead and rip off and throw out all of the really old, really ugly, green carpet that was on our basement stairs; that was the last of the carpet to go and I say good riddance – I’m so excited to see our basement once we get it all done and am looking forward to the possibilities! Our garage door opener just stopped working too, but we’re having it fixed tomorrow. Owning a home can be a lot of work, and it may not be perfect, but it’s ours and we love it!
Rather than showing you the remnants of old dryer tubing, built in shelves, and really old, really ugly, green carpet Ryan just ripped off basement stairs, I’ll leave you with this photo from our neighborhood walk on Sunday morning…
We had quite a bit of rain here on Sunday and some more on Monday (did I mention how happy we’ll be to have a waterproofing system installed in our basement over the summer – ugh?!?), but I think we’ll have a little time to dry out today and hopefully a chance to mow our lawn which is now looking a bit out of control. But the flowers and plants and gardens must be happy to have received all the rain!
These aren’t from my garden, but they are lovely aren’t they?
Guess what we did on Friday afternoon last weekend? A whole lot of nothing, that’s what, and it was wonderful – we just sat out on our patio and enjoyed it; although Melody seemed skeptical about us removing her little patch of grass in this area, I think she’s coming around and warming up to it.
We got plenty of rain on Saturday afternoon and a bit on Sunday as well and in between rain storms we managed to pick up and put out most of our 17 bags of mulch, the rest of which we’ll surely get to this week. I also took the opportunity to cut some of our garden roses and put them in vases around the house; they smell pretty amazing!
And the award for cutest fist bump last week goes to little E – super baby fist bump power!
We had a very busy, very productive Memorial Day weekend full of outdoor cleanup and improvements; we planted all four of our garden boxes (variety of peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, herbs, and some marigolds too), replaced small section of grass in our backyard with concrete pavers and pea gravel, weeded and trimmed bushes, and we cleaned up the bed around our birch tree in the front yard and placed stones underneath the bird feeders as the ivy never grew in there correctly – all of which, I think, made a huge improvement and we will most certainly enjoy throughout the summer.
For comparison, here’s the backyard before (complete with awkward, little patch of grass)…
And after (you may remember when we put in pea gravel and planter boxes a couple years ago in place of the empty garden – I mean weed – bed)…
And the front yard, before…
After a long day of hard work, it can be really relaxing to enjoy a walk in the evening light and watch the last rays of the day’s sun glisten off a field of dandelions – they almost looked like stars shining in the night sky in the light of the setting sun.
Our outdoor table is officially complete and we were able to sit around and enjoy it with friends over the weekend! The wood used for the top was all reclaimed wood found in our garage and left by the previous owner; it even includes some ping pong table (the previous owner’s wife was a ping pong champion) and bed frame wood, which I thought was fun. The center pieces come out and reveal two metal food pans which we plan on using to chill drinks in or use as a planter, etc.; the nice thing about the food pans is that we can easily remove them and drop them back in as needed. And we picked up some short hairpin legs which I think worked out great for this little table. 4 new patio chairs, DIY table complete, and we’re ready to enjoy the summer on our patio!
We did our first big plant purchase for the season over the weekend and it always make me so happy! We’re starting with lots of flowers in pots and hanging baskets: a rose bush (in honor of my Granddaddy), some really pretty pink dahlias, yellow lantana, a variety of geraniums, coleus, sweet potato vine, and various other trailing greens to fill in and spill down the pots. We also picked up a couple orange mint plants and a spearmint plant for our garden box; we’ll wait until later this month to plant the rest of our herb and vegetable garden. It’s lovely to be able to sit in the backyard and feel as though you’re in your own private oasis; Ann Arbor really is stunning this time of year – the trees are flowering and everything is so beautiful and green…and my lilacs are blooming! Want to see more photos of flowers and plants and/or our garden?
We also got started on a really cool DIY outdoor coffee table project we’ve been dreaming up and planning for since last fall; I think we my have it all finished and ready to enjoy by this weekend – stay tuned for more on that…
We had the pleasure of chatting with our mothers on Sunday too – hope you gave your Mom some love in honor of Mother’s Day; here’s a fun throwback photo of me and my brother with our Mom (those are some sweet glasses and awesome hot air balloon shirt, Mom)!