Monthly Archives: June 2012

Garden: photographs

I had plans to be super-organised and study for an upcoming exam today, but found myself eating chips at my desk at work and daydreaming instead; and it’s a lovely day, so I caught a ride back home with Field, who was coming back from church. At least I managed to motivate myself enough to hang out the washing for the first time in weeks (it’s mostly been raining on the weekends, but today is LOVELY).

Anyway, I talked so much about the Hedge of Doom, but never posted any photographs of it.

Here’s the original Hedge in all its glory, looking from the lawn on the north side of the house. I’m pretty sure I took this photo not long after we moved in; the compost bin was one of the first things we bought.

And here’s the same Original Hedge, from the backyard near the washing line. We’d obviously done some section clearing when this photograph was taken; we pruned the Purple Glory bush and the camellia the day we took possession, so as to be able to walk up the path up the side of the house without getting hit in the face by branches, and I think at this point I’d done a little bit of Hedge Removal, plus we’d chopped off a few tree branches that were interfering with the washing line. But there is still a lot of Hedge to go:

Here’s the view from the north lawn as of a few weekends ago. The stumps of Hedge got further chopped back yesterday by way of a chainsaw, but this is pretty much how it looks at the moment:

And from the backyard:

I am so pleased that it’s gone, though as you can see we have a LOT of work ahead of us.

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House and garden: a productive day

For a number of reasons that do not need exploring at this moment, the house has been really quite untidy for the last little while. But we’d arranged to have friends of Field’s mum round this afternoon to take away all the firewood under the house (the fireplace in the living room has a bookcase and the TV in front of it. We have priorities), and Friends Of One’s Mother obviously need to see a tidy house – one that does not have fifteen craft projects piled up in front of the couch, or drifts of hair on the carpet.

So we spent the morning cleaning, and now the house looks about as ship-shape as it ever does (which is not to say we’re suddenly living the minimalist dream: we have far too many books and teapots for that).

Work on the windows is officially complete, and I am really really pleased at the lack of drafts in my bedroom, not to mention the simple joy in being able to safely open all the windows in the rest of the house. And the bathroom window no longer needs a hairtie on a screw to keep it shut.

As for the garden: Field’s mum’s friends did come round with their trailer, and took away all the firewood. They also chainsawed a couple of stumps and took those away, so the garden is looking very very bare but (dare I say it) good – or at least in a good place to start work in the spring. Field also pulled a whole bunch of rotting cardboard out from the crawlspace under the living room (why, previous residents, WHY?), so we can get a plumber in at some point soon to see if he can discover a reason for the inexplicable damp spot on the living room carpet (it’s definitely not coming from the ceiling).

I also removed the annoying carpet rug from under my desk and we’ve stashed it in the broom closet pending the next run to the Salvation Army – it’s been bugging me for months – and we’ve got quite a lot of washing done. There are chickpeas slowly cooking on the stove, and sometime in the next hour we’ll go and start dealing to the pumpkin so we can have pumpkin and chickpea soup. \o/ winter.

House: windows

Our windows are very nearly all repaired. I’m fairly sure the only ones to go are my south-facing window (small, drafty) and one of the ones in the sunroom (north-facing, large, drafty). Our builder has reused hardware where that’s been possible – that’s what we’d asked for – and having gone to Bunnings for screws and draft-stoppers this afternoon I’m very glad we made that decision because window latches are surprisingly expensive.

Most excitingly, this is the new toilet window:

From Synced online

I get a happy little thrill every time I look at it. I never got around to taking a photo of what used to be there, but suffice to say it was a sheet of glass slightly too big for the hole, so that from the outside you could see the bottom of the internal windowframe through it. It didn’t open, which is a slight deficiency in a toilet window, in my opinion, and had clearly been installed by someone On The Cheap.

And here is a photo of the living room, missing the windowsill and the gib, and with the new shiny (non-rotting) framing in place.

Note the plug on the bottom, and how it’s coming up through the floor, because:

It’s still coming up through the floor with our new shiny windowsill and gib installed, because our builder is Not An Electrician and That’s Where The Wires Were. This is actually all good from my point of view – we didn’t ask him to move it, and it would’ve cost more, but it does make me giggle a bit.

So: everything is coming up Less Drafty in the home of Field and Hazel.

Aside from that, today has been an errands kind of day – Bunnings, the library, the butchers, and the supermarket. I’ve got a pot of beef stock simmering away on the stove, and tonight we’ll make some kind of soup with it and then watch Grand Designs on TV while hemming things and/or knitting. Possibly with a crochet rug over our laps.

House and garden: June update

Winter has hit with a bang, and I’ve been reminded of all of the disadvantages of living in an uninsulated shack on the side of a hill in Tawa. There’s one main disadvantage: it’s bloody freezing. (The three minute trip onto the train platform in the mornings is still a big plus, though.)

On the gardening front, we got in people to drag away all of the hedge, mow the lawns (which had gotten very overgrown), and de-weed all the cracks in the concrete, and it looks AMAZING. Like, still really bare and shitty, but so so so much better than it was when we moved in. There’s all this room now, and we can start planning how we want to lay things out in the spring. The day before the gardeners turned up, we went round and trimmed all the trees and shrubs on the south side of the house, and now that bit of garden almost looks properly tended (it isn’t, but it’ll get there).

So far we’ve decided on a lemon tree in the far corner where the hedge was, and either a mandarin tree or a lemonade tree between the lemon tree and the compost bin. I’m going to stick in some alstromeria behind the rose we planted last summer (the rose is going to take years before it becomes established enough to eat out the alstromeria space, and in the meantime they’re my very favourite cut flower). We’re going to put in a hydrangea on the north-east corner of the section, where it can grow to a reasonable size and not get in anyone’s way, and we’ll also find space for some purple daisies and some lavender. I’m not sure what else we’ll get done this coming spring: more veges, almost certainly, but I think good gardens take time to plan.

Housewise, the builder has started work just today on fixing all our windows. We went ahead with it based on the time & materials estimate he gave us with quite a big contingency fund – because this house is old and shitty and who knows what anyone would find? – and we’ve already hit a snag. Part of the job is to replace the ridiculous cracked/broken/stupidly wide windowsill beneath the MASSIVE lounge windows (seriously, these windows are about 6’6″ tall, the entire width of the living room, and go round the corner of the room for another couple of feet) with one that is not cracked, broken, or stupidly wide. When he took off the old windowsill, naturally he found wood rot. So I came home today to discover no gib underneath the lounge windows, and that about half the framing there has been replaced. On the one hand: more money. On the other hand: not having wood rot is A Good Thing. Also, that bit of old plasterboard was really shit and full of holes, and now it’s going to have nice new gib which Field and I can practice plastering and painting on during the summer (and possibly paint ridiculous things on). He comes back on Tuesday.