Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Archive for the ‘yardwork’ Category

It’s a jungle out there.

This summer finds us cutting lots of trees and shrubs down at both of our new old houses. In Des Moines Brandon cut down the shrubs in front of our porch. They’d overgrown the space provided and I wasn’t able to trim them back far enough to be able to use the sidewalk. I’m going to replace them with rose bushes.

(With bushes, and snow)

(Bush free and summery)

We did a similar job at our house in Clear Lake. The shrubs in front of our porch there were getting dead spots and were kind of preventing us from keeping the rest of the area around the house clean, so we decided to cut them out too.




Obviously, we have more clean-up to do now that the bushes are gone. We’re going to dig out the stumps and clear all the weeds out, then plant some new flowers there.

In the back yard in Des Moines we’ve got a bunch of trees that were volunteer saplings many years ago and have now grown to be total pests. We’re gathering quotes this week to see what it will cost to have them removed, as well as what it will take to have the big catalpa tree between our house and the neighbor’s taken out. I’ve got a good recommendation for what kind of tree to replace it with, so that will be a big change coming up sometime.

And while I’m talking about future plans I might as well list out some other things we have coming in the (hopefully) near future.

  • Reshingle the roof
  • Repair the front steps
  • Tear out sidewalk blocks & have a new one poured
  • Paint the back wall of the house
  • One more coat of paint on the rest of the house
  • Build a shed on the old garage slab

Phew! That’s a long list. Better get to work then!

It’s Poison Ivy Season!

“You’re gonna need an ocean of Calamine Lotion!”

Here it is, folks, straight from the back yard at Our New Old House: poison ivy. This lovely specimen is growing on my neighbor’s fence.


We all know the warning “leaves of three, leave it be” but there are so many plants that have groupings of three leaves. Notice the asymmetrical points on the edges of these leaves. That’s how you tell it’s poison ivy. Also, the stems are red and the main stalk or vine has little hairs on it. So use this picture to compare to plants in your yard if you’re not sure.

Garden safely!

Winter is coming!!!

I know it’s still a little ways off, but I have a whole list of projects, some of which I’d like to complete before winter, some that MUST be completed.

  • Install gutter apron (PRIORITY ONE, ASAP)
  • Finish landscaping wall
  • Transplant hostas and ferns
  • Make kindling bundles out of the sticks in the backyard
  • Borrow a chainsaw and cut the logs that are too big for the wood burning stove
  • Finish the shed or at the very least gather all the pieces and move them inside

Let’s see how many of these I can finish before the first snow.

[tags]wood burning stove, gutters, yardwork, retaining wall, landscaping, future plans[/tags]

Serious lock on a silly gate

Here’s the back gate in my back yard.  It’s in the middle of an incomplete fence which is not going to keep anyone out of anything.  But it is heavily fortified against anyone who’d try to wrestle it open through the trees that have grown up through it.  I guess the previous owners thought a heavy chain and padlock were necessary for the protection of the weeds in the back yard.


We’re going to tear this gate and fence out at some point anyway, so I wasn’t worried that I couldn’t find the key to that lock. But one day I was going down the basement stairs and the light was just right and something caught my eye:


It’s a Master brand key. I haven’t taken it down to see if it fits the lock yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

[tags]yardwork, previous owners, photos[/tags]

“Oh wall, oh sweet and lovely wall…”

I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the natural theater in Greenwood Park last week. It was wonderful! But my favorite performace of Pyramus and Thisby will always be The Beatles performing it.

Meanwhile, I’ve begun building a wall myself! I’m afraid I’ll be pretty embarassed when my uncle, the landscape architect comes over to take a look at it, but it’s my first try so there’s lots of room for improvement. I don’t really know what I’m doing.





[tags]photos, landscaping, yardwork, retaining wall[/tags]

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