"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Outside Busybodies

We have been working hard. The past five years we have lived here we have done little with the place. In fact, it has fallen apart more than it has improved. It looked so nice when we moved in. Now there are things that need to be done by the list-full but we are working our way slowly. Living in a modular park is something I am truly thankful for because we are in the thick of humanity and I love having the opportunity to share with people. It has had it's challenges because we REALLY know people and have had many opportunities to turn to Christ for strength to love in the midst of opposition.
The problem is that not everyone keeps it pretty and we don't have much of a view ANYWHERE. There is the spot out my bedroom window where I can see the green lovely hills if I look above the roof tops and carports.
The deck is nearly all peeled off and we took the border boards off nearly a year ago as they were falling off and I don't want to put money into this deck. Someday, we want a deck twice as big with a roof. So, we lined the deck with pots and have flowers and
tomatoes growing as a bit of a border.
Here is what we have been up to though:
The Border

This may look simple to you...IT WAS NOT! Our Fruitless Mulberry tree is a few feet away and the grass use to go right up to the house. All we had out there was the rose bush and the jasmine. I've wanted to make this area for years. The challenge is the these trees have wicked roots and they are high on the surface. It took us all day just to dig a place for this border. The further we got away from the tree, the faster it went. Rick had to get down in the ground and clip the heck out of the roots. We knew it would be worth it but boy, was it tough. I had bought the border on clearance last year and finally, it is in.
Using What-cha Got

We disassembled a book shelf we had had in the house for a few years when we did the flooring. It was made of pretty stones and boards but we did not want the floor to get scratched with these. I made them in to a fo-wall on the front. Caedmon helped me pick out a few dollar tree accessories for topping it.
The pole for the birdhouse (which I intend to shorten a bit, and may sand it to the old wood so it does not melt into the house color) is from our old deck pieces.
My neighbor had this shabby bird feeder hanging unused for years and years and years. I finally asked her if I could use it and she was thrilled it would get used.
Emma added the swing on her own one day and there it has stayed. I may get a real one to replace it soon. Preferably a rope and plank one. I like the old natural look. We gathered all the rocks we had around from what was left when we bought the place, and made a bordered flower garden around the tree.

I really wanted a birdbath (I'm on a bird loving kick). I priced them and just about died! I googled how to make your own and loved how easy this idea was. I found the biggest pot at the thrift store for two bucks which saved me the most. The two other pots cost about 8 total. I all ready had the blue stones for inside and we we thrilled there were birds at the dollar tree too! I love it. I'll talk about the birdhouse in a second.
Never underestimate the power of a simple Terracotta pot with a flower either, I love that too.
The flowers are just getting ready to burst in bloom from their initial planting. Soon there will be color full daisy's and petunias there.

In gathering ideas for Creative SAHM, I found this idea for old wine bottles. My jasmine needed more water so I plunked one in there. I have a prettier Italian bottle Rick is going to dig out for me to replace this one.

The Heart

My dad made us this birdhouse with Scott years ago. It was painted to match the house we were renting. He made one for my mom that matched their house. Unfortunately mine broke a bit before he passed away. I decided I didn't want to fix it because I did not want to mess with what he made. I came up with the idea to have flowers pouring out of it. I also have sweet pea seeds in there that I'm hoping will pop out soon.
This is also one of my favorite things. I've had this mini wagon since the girls were babies. It use to be at my mom's house. I've wanted to put it in landscaping for years. I love the uniformity of the same pansies in it.
The little boy is VERY SPECIAL. It is from the old barn at my grandparents house in Indiana. The property was very old and had a slave quarters on it. This little black boy may have been made by them, it's that old. He is made out of concrete type mix and painted in little blue bibs, a white shirt and a red hat. He is so old that most of the paint has worn off. He spent nearly 30 years at least hanging by the neck in the dairy barn. That is why his neck is cracked. He was used as a door weight to keep the cows from getting out if the door was left open to the barn. I met him when I was about five years old and was enthralled with him. I would open and shut the door to watch him swing (I did not really get that he was hanging by his neck, to me he looked like he was having fun:). Years later I it made more sense to me why my grandpa had used him. Unfortunately back there they still use the N word and had a lack of respect for blacks.
When my grandparents were brought out here to be cared for, things were sold off or trashed back at their place. I figured no one wanted this little boy. Then, dad got sick and he asked me if there was anything from there I would want before the place was sold. He seemed to think I was silly to just want this little concrete boy. He commented that it would be expensive to ship and I really thought he never thought of it again. Nope, he had a friend fetch him and send him out to me.
It is one of my favorite things and I'm so happy he has a better life now. His little paint job is nearly gone but I love him.

In The Yard

I had wanted to stain the play structure to match the fence but Emma has an artistic side and beat me to it. I decided her graffiti was cute and she can get her juices out on that old thing. Not so sure painting the inside of the canvas top was a good idea. I did not see that till I saw this pic.
The edge of the deck is my seedling potting station (real one from scrap coming soon...be looking for more on that). Here is one of our sugar baby watermelon seedlings.
Sorry about the shadows in a lot of these pics btw. Here is our fig tree! We have wanted one for years and are so excited to have one now. Figs do so well here in this climate. We used the bottom of the pot for some flowers too. Those stepping stones are going for a walk way in the front soon. More root cutting for that, we are putting it off for some reason :*

Using our junk and scraps meant realizing that we could turn this old shelf we have had for 12 years on it's side and plant an herb garden in the shade of the oak tree. So that will go in soon. I will be putting two cinder blocks in front of it on it's side for another layer of herbs there. The shade will protect them in our 100+ summer weather.

Rick did a great job on taking the old steps and making a planter box for me. It all ready had brackets in it and we just used those to hold it together. It's a shabby match to the house too without trying:) We have planted lettuce, salad mix, and arugula here. I can't wait!
The Carport

Some dollar pots and soon these will add some lovely on the other side of the house.
Plans are to put up some white lattice on the back panel and a few large potted citrus. We use this area as a patio in the summer because it's cool. We have our grill out there as well.

The Garden
Saw some stones under the dirt and weeds but did not realize they went this far. Dug it all out and we had a small stone path to the garden! Later on, we will probably add to it.
No one planted these pumpkins. We just throw the kids rotten jack-o-lanterns out and this year they are taking off. We will space them soon.
Green beans and green sugar peas. Caedmon and Victoria love eating these off the vine. It will be great.
We used extra stones we had to make a stepping path for easy watering. I'm watering the garden by hand this year. It also makes it easier to weed.

You know, I don't live in a pretty house. I don't have property or a view, but I'm so thankful. I reflect often on this. Making beauty from what you have, where you are is key. It's like that saying I love from Jim Elliot "Wherever you are, be all there."
This time last year I was so sick. I had just had surgery and I could hardly get through the day depending on my hormones wacking out on me 24/7. I was just trying to survive. It has made me so thankful to be up and doing this spring. The flowers are so much more lovely to me, the birds sing louder, the dirt feels good on my hands. It may be a small piece of heaven, but I love it.
On that note, if you know someone sick this spring. Take them some nature beauty. It may really make their day.


Laura rechtfertig said...

Love your ideas. It all comes together so beautifully and very charming. I just planted an herb garden using a jewelry display case I bought at a garage sale. Very exciting to see those little green leaves coming up!

Karen said...

I know I've said this before, but it's just awesome to have the connection to see you guys loving the house we loved! You are really putting in great effort, and keeping up with that house and yard is WORK! Thanks for sharing!!

Amy B said...

Beautiful spots Alicia! Man, it looks like a lot of work but what a feeling of accomplishment when those flowers and veggies start popping up! Love the blue bird feeder!

tricia said...


It looks great. I like your idea of using the old shelf for planting herbs.