Thursday, May 29, 2008

this is why the house is a mess

all we've been doing is gardening. this will probably end up being multiple posts on the same subject, as i realize i'm missing photos of a few things, but i'm not going to go out in the rain to capture them. that is for another day. let's start this thing, right?



(200+ leftover bricks--that's part of the next post):

scary hole to nowhere:

another shot of progress:


the butterfly garden

(plants in this garden include a black knight butterfly bush, red penstemons, dragonflowers, keys of heaven, monarda, and asters)



another angle:


the big shade garden


granted, this doesn't look very impressive. yet. about 1/3 of the plants were shipped bare root, so there's no foliage at all. they don't show up in the photos. total, there are roughly 80 plants in this garden.

(plants include astilbes, bleeding hearts, toad lilies, columbines, primroses, and cyclamens--i know the cyclamens will sprout only if i'm lucky, and only for the season. however, they came with the package, so why not try?)


(it's hard work operating the camera. much more intense than digging up pavers and gravel and sand. i barely made this shot before i passed out from fatigue.)



the vegetable garden (with some stray perennials)



this explains why the house is covered in a fine layer of cat hair, the cockatiel is lonely, and none of the grading is done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Can't Get Enough of This

I thought that moving from a brick house to one primarily made of wood would give me a long and possibly permanent vacation from masonry. The vacation lasted exactly 11 months. Apparently water is as corrosive as advertised. While not the Grand Canyon some of these gouges were 2"-3" deep and made me feel kinda icky inside as I walked by before and after work each day.

Fortunately the trowels and repointing tools from jobs past were not lost in the move. The bucket is what all of the best masons use these days.

The previous house required a trip to a few different mortar outlet stores in search of a soft-brick-friendly-extra-lime blend. I enjoy home improvement work but that wasn't fun. The bag above is a standard cement patch formula from the neighborhood big box home store. At least so far this mix and cinder block appear made for each other. We'll see when the freeze and thaw cycle returns.

And this home has allowed me revisit another past hobby. In high school and college I gave a number of haircuts to brothers and friends. That was fun. Now this is fun. Thanks to my dad for the use of the big clippers.

The wires are not as close as they appear.

Can you tell that we were a little eager waiting for the plants to arrive?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

wah-chicka-wah waaaahhhh

it's been a while. to be frank, the man around here had taken over the bloggin' for a while. getting all cocky and whatnot with his link-making, picture-posting, and ego-tripping over the Man Cave.

i've just spent the last three hours planting a shade garden whilst he golfs. my life is so hard!

we have big things cooking in the landscaping post department. my guess is that entry will happen after the weekend. until then, birding has been great at city cabin. in a romantic kind of way. everybody is gettin' it on avian style. it's bird sex in the city:

nectar--like an after-coitus smoke:

building a love nest:

heeeeyyyy baaby:

things to come: toad lilies, lilacs, flame grass, and my greatest challenge of digitally capturing the hummingbird that showed up tonight.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Place for Everything

(note: first entry without blog mentor's over-the-shoulder guidance, time to cut loose)
In the time that my significant other and I have shared a home it's come to my notice that, surprise, we don't share a common philosophy on everything. She likes to wake up early and get a lot done by noon. I think that many significant improvements can be made between 8:00pm and midnight, or later. I believe that my older brother has been most inspirational in this perspective. Two years ago we bonded by garage building in a December snowstorm by tractor light.

Given the differing philosophies and close quarters of City Cabin where is one allowed to accomplish such tasks without disturbing the early riser?

The Man Cave, (coined by the blog mentor) of course.

I'm not a big car guy, building guy, mason, blacksmith, ornithologist or agronomist but I enjoy dabbling in all of them. Kinda like writing words and putting them on a compewter. So I guess by default of gender I'm the director of garage space at City Cabin. With other distractions the garage didn't get a much attention in the past 10 months we've been here. I installed a garage door opener. It's the far one, Craftsman's updated aerodynamic model for more better opening.

And I like to hang things up, bag things and stack things. Ready for action!

The silver pipe to nowhere is the chimney, minus a heating source. Word on the street is that the city of St. Paul and insurers don't approve citizens installing wood burning stoves in garages, even if they're not attached to the house AND mostly made of cinder block buried half way into a hill. I can get a kit for a barrel stove for less than $60 and it would be complete in a day. Maybe if the fall is unseasonably cold...

Last week while transporting fall's yard waste from our still-in-development composting site

my first garage art installation happened.
On the first sticks-and-leaves-stuffed-into-a-tarp-lined-Neon-trunk-trip I spotted an interesting item abandoned on the road. Two trips later and without its proper owner coming back to claim it this found its way into my backseat .

With my profession and family agrarian connections I've had some time to devote to admiring and driving semi trucks. While I'm typically critical when it comes to brand loyalty and human-as-billboard marketing, I'm a hypocrite when it comes to Kenworth trucks. I pushed the toy version around as a kid and now, essentially, I do the same.

Pssst. Don't tell anyone but instead of doing man stuff at City Cabin today I saw the season's first oriole.

And word from my associate working at the horse barn was that humming birds are in the area so I made WAY too much nectar mix and chose an interesting container. I'm still learning.

But I found a way to get it into the feeder. And a new oriole feeder arrived home hours after this adventure so hopefully the Cabin will have few new guests to report in the coming days.