Thursday, June 14, 2018

{Dogs} Snickers


Lily has wanted a puppy for the longest time. She's asked and asked and my response was always "when we are down an animal" as we had our two dogs and two cats for the longest time. When Zoey died in the fall, followed by Taz (our cat), Lily continued to ask. She wanted a puppy for Christmas. Who doesn't? But we knew with our schedule, that a puppy in the middle of the school year was not right. 


Enter Lily's birthday. She turned 9 in May and we went to go pick out a dog together. I had stalked every dog rescue and/or local pet store that does adoption events. I went in and fell in love with many bigger dogs, but she wanted something small. We found a semi-local place (as in it was over two hours away) and went to visit it the day before her birthday. 


She fell in love with this puppy. She was one of four that were there that day. Snickers is a King Cavalier mixed with Brussels Griffon and is the cutest thing. She's also a crazy thing who loves to chew on people, velcro, and shoes that are left out. She's not house trained but we are working on it! 
Krypto, our American Bulldog and Lab mix, is handling her. I think he was a little lonely after Zoey died. He has turned into a grumpy old man some days and will growl at her as she bites him. It's the only time I've ever heard him growl. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

{Back Yard} Play Place Garden #1


Hello! If you follow thebrickbungalow on Instagram (which you totally should!), you have seen the following photos already. But, I'm trying to update the blog (I know, I know, I've said it before!).

The backyard play place (otherwise known as the back corner of our yard) has seen a lot of things over the years but it hasn't ever been finished. I keep making plans to do it but things come up - my car broke down and cost us a lot last year, we have vacations and bills and kids... so yeah, I thought I'd try to do it piece by piece instead of all at once. 

The plan is below. I may change it as it's definitely not drawn to scale. It is roughly a square in shape and already has a giant play structure that we built years ago.  


The following photos show the steps that I took. It already was pretty bare due to it being in the shade 95% of the day (just a tiny bit of morning light). The chickens like the area as there are a lot of bugs but it's ugly. And full of mosquitoes for some reason. 


All of the plants are transplants from my yard. The plants include purple coneflower, hostas, and one tiny baby hydrangea (that my old hydrangea made!). 




The entire thing only cost me two bags of mulch. The plants, landscape fabric, and rocks were all left over from old projects and/or given to me. Gotta love free! 


So far the chickens have definitely checked for more bugs but the rocks help keep it safe. I may add a few more rocks as I get them (I have some in my yard that I've moved around). I need to add some sort of ground cover like a sedum in the front part of the bed but I'm not to worried right now. I may add some small pots of annuals but it's not high on my list. 

I definitely like looking out my back windows and seeing this instead of a dead corner. The plants will fill in and be fine. If not, I'll get more - I have a ton of purple coneflower and hostas throughout my yard. 

What do you think? Do you like to do small projects or wait until you can do it all at once? 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

{South Side Garden} Border Update


Hello Friends! It's been awhile, hasn't it? 

Last summer, I mentioned wanting to add a border to our newly formed "South Side Garden" or, as Doug calls it "the TV room garden" because it's right outside our TV room's window. If you remember, I created this area with 5 repurposed feed buckets from a friend's farmer husband and a lot of sweat equity from me and Doug. I really wish I had a picture of it from before we did anything but it was a hot mess. Weeds were literally knocking on the TV room window they were so tall. Plus, lots of lilies and irises that were so buried they couldn't bloom.

A little refresher... the first "before" photo (but after all weeds were chopped and good flowers transplanted to a newly formed flower bed that's still in the works). Our property line is about one foot from the driveway you see on the far left so it's narrow.


I buried the buckets a few inches and all had drain holes in the bottom that Doug drilled out. This side gets full morning sun and a lot of sun throughout the day until late evening due to my neighbor's trees. 


The photo, below, doesn't show things at it's crazies. I planted gourds (why?!) and then chopped them all down after they brought in some nasty bugs that started destroying things. Plus the plants were taking over other plants. 


 A couple weeks ago, I went out to check on everything and work on some plans for the area, when I noticed someone stole one of the buckets! It was the one on the far left in the above photo - closest to the fence - and it was just gone. They took the poles out, laid them on the ground, and took it all. If you follow me on Instagram, you heard about it. But, we had a sixth bucket that I put back and filled everything up. 

Yesterday, I went to work.... 

It started with a trip to Walmart for the stones. I looked elsewhere but without having to drive 25 minutes to our local hardware store, this was my cheapest option. So it won out! I looked at delivery costs too because I only have a small SUV but it was $100 for delivery... so nope, my determination and stubbornness won for the day. 

Below are 50 concrete stones for the raised edge. A nice lady helped me load them into my car but no one was home to help me unload. I unloaded as quickly as I could so my car wouldn't have that much weight in it. These aren't hollow either, like some, so they are heavy! I then had to carry them across the width of our front yard and around to the side yard. It's not a long walk, but I carried them 2-3 at a time. 


Here's the area before I added the new (replacement) container and I started digging the edge. 


It's hard to see in the photo below (crappy weather), but the little green stake is holding up our new raspberry bush. We have a lot of regular raspberries in our back yard but lost our new golden raspberry bush last year. I can't remember if this is another golden one or a different variety, but here's hoping it'll live here. It's got great growth so far! Also, you can kind of see the giant root I was working around and dug up (large white thing on the right of the raspberry bush). 


Here's the edge as it connects to our fence. I forgot to take an after photo (I'll try if the sun ever appears again) now that I've added plants and stepping stones. 




The fifth bucket (better known as the replacement bucket or the 6th bucket).... here's hoping no one will take it! Lily thought I should put rocks in the bottom! 



Mulch makes everything better! Can you believe that this is "brown" mulch and not black? Not complaining though, it'll fade anyway. Plus at $2 a bag for 2 cubic feet, it's reasonable. I used 4 bags here and felt that it was good coverage. 



Hopefully I've taken enough photos that as things grow in and fill out, it'll be easier to compare. I can't wait until I plant my veggies in the containers. I'm thinking about planting two tomatoes (one cherry, one regular), two tomatillos, and one pepper. We have other garden space to add more of anything we want, but I thought those five would be good in these containers. I'll add some peat moss, compost, and potting soil (maybe?) to the containers once I plant the veggies. I may wait a couple weeks for them though as it's still early here. 

Behind the buckets are two types of strawberries that I'm crossing my fingers on - Tractor Supply Company had pine berries for sale and I've never seen them available here so I bought a set. They have to be planted with strawberries (the box comes with both) so fingers crossed they are doing ok. There are three good plants so far that I dug out of the mulch. I may add a couple regular strawberry plants too because they weren't looking so good when we planted them. In front of the containers, between the containers and the stones, are a variety of herbs. I will plant a few more soon now the space is bigger. All of the daffodils, minus the big white ones, are from my backyard. I thought the spring bulbs were a fun touch and the herbs can go around them later without messing anything up.

In the very back, by the fence, is half of my clematis from the backyard. The other half is stuck under some major weeds that need chopped out. But it looked like I got a good portion of the plant, so I need to move a trellis over here. I think it'll be nice to have flowers and veggies together so the bees can be happy. 

So, stay tuned to watch it all grow! Hopefully we have some warmer weather soon and I'll take better photos when the sun comes out. 

Edit: I found one more semi-before photo of the area that was taken during our bathroom remodel. It doesn't fully capture the amount of crappy weeds we had, but you can see the chaos of it starting. You can barely even see the meter near the AC unit.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

{House Plans} To Do List

I've been looking over this old blog and I need to do some updating. So here's my list to accomplish for 2018...

1. Update posts and room tours - starting with our main floor bath that I never finished posting about. 


2. Take more photos and post before/during/after series - especially garden photos and any projects.

3. Finish projects I've been talking about for years. They include: painting the front and back porches (once the weather warms up so fingers crossed for a good Spring Break in March!) and finish painting our backyard shed. 

4. Finish projects that stopped last year due to money. Obviously, this all works on the "my car won't break down again" thought but here's to hoping... and maybe doing a little at a time when I can. These projects include: mulching in our entire kids' area in the backyard (it's huge!) and adding a raised bed type border and mulch to our little side garden (DONE - March 2018!). I'd love to increase the size of it but want 2-3 more of the same containers so we will see if I can get them. 

5. Add more photos of what we do as a family - trips, big or small, and fun family activities.

6. Add more of what I do as a teacher - art projects, etc. I'm currently working on my master's degree for school counseling but I'm also an elementary art teacher. 

7. Add more food related posts as I post a lot of them on Instagram (follow me at thebrickbungalow


8. Talk about my girls, I mean chickens... they are finally producing eggs! I'm toying with the idea of getting one or two more in the Spring but I don't want to mess up the happy family right now. I'd love another bantam but we'll see. I may try to whole "put the babies under a broody mom" attempt...





Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018


2017 was a busy year. 2018 will be another busy year. I feel that it's how life will be from this point forward. Work, grad school, kids' school and activities, the list goes on and on. 


2018 goals include taking more "staycations" aka trips around the area for a fun, "get out of the house" activities. We started this a couple months ago and I look forward doing more as the weather gets warmer. 


Obviously, we are not in warm weather right now. It's cold. Freezing cold. This body of water? The Missouri River. It hasn't completely frozen, of course, but nice big chunks of ice floating by. 


The above photo is a shallow area where the water doesn't move much. It was completely frozen over and thick - thick enough that the kids could stand on it. Doug threw rocks on it (big ones!) and it cracked some but not enough to break it apart. 

I hope to post more of our explorations on this blog. It needs something besides summer flowers and garden views. 

For more, up to the date photos, check me out on Instagram - thebrickbungalow 

Friday, November 10, 2017

{Life Lately} November




This blog got sad, didn't it? It's purely a result of my busy life. 

July came around (after my last post in June) and it was family time, vacations (here in Missouri, we didn't go anywhere big), and then the biggest change of the year - I got the call saying that they wanted me to come in for an interview into a different (better) district. Within two weeks, I interviewed, was offered the job, accepted the job, had to break my contract, and then waited until they could tell me if they would let me out. Long story short, all is fine minus a hole in my bank account (yes, I had to buy out my contract). 


August became a blur of teaching stress. New district, new school, new level of students. Lily started a new school too, same district though for her.

I turned 35 in September. 

  
Nate turned 4 in October. 



Doug and I "celebrated" being together for 15 years in October. Our celebration was a Facebook post... that's seriously how busy we are.

Oh, did I forgot to mention that we are now both full time graduate students? I'm doing it for the second time (yes, I'm crazy!). 

Nate and Lily played soccer which was fun for a few weeks. Doug played rugby again. 

I went on a field trip with Lily's school group to the St. Louis City Museum. It's fantastic. The photo below is from one of their architecture exhibits. Don't go there thinking it's a regular museum though. It's truly a one of a kind place! 


And now it's almost the middle of November with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner. 

I'm really not sure where time has gone but that's life now. 


Our living room, above, received all my outside plants as the weather turned cold. It's a jungle and I love it. 

And this girl, with her four buddies, have turned six months old and I have yet to receive any eggs! 


I'll be back later. Maybe. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

{Garden} Late June Update


How it is almost the end of June?? This month has flown by and I feel like I haven't accomplished as much as I wanted. But.. my chicken coop and run are done, the girls have been in there for days, and the back porch is cleaned up from the chicken brooder. I hope to get it painted soon. But for now, let's focus on the gorgeous flowers that are open!! 



OK, so some of the plants above are technically weeds but I haven't pulled them yet. But at least the flowers look pretty! 










Guys... this oak leaf hydrangea is huge! The top of the trellis is roughly 9' feet tall (or taller!) and this oak leaf makes that look like nothing. I found a picture of it as a baby, so I should do an post about it soon. 




The "flower" above is what is left after the clematis petals fall off. I find it more unique and fun than the blooms, plus the last forever. They start off smooth and turn fuzzy.

I'll be back with more garden updates. I didn't take too many photos of our backyard garden this year, but the south side garden (with veggies and flowers) is growing strong. One pepper plant looks pitiful but it's been watered and receives full sun. I'm not sure what's going on. There are peppers on it but the leaves are droopy. 

Have a great Monday! 


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