Sunday, May 6, 2012

Putting down roots

When we married over five years ago, I asked for a garden shower instead of a bridal shower. My mom's friends, family members and my friends gave us the most thoughtful gifts for starting our garden(s): Smith & Hawken tools, clippers, beautiful pots, a hose holder, copper herb markers, a neat little garden sign hand painted on a shutter, Tiki torches (a garden isn't complete without parties!) and more. We've used everything we received in the two gardens that we've started and then moved away from in the last five years. Now, here we are in our third garden. Our home in Western Mass feels the closest to longterm that we've ever had - I feel so fortunate to be able to think about our future here. And in that future: I have a garden. Actually, multiple gardens.

I spent last year weeding, mulching, and just getting the existing flower beds out of their state of neglect. I also spent the year watching the sunlight hit our yard to figure out the best place for growing vegetables. In that year, I guess I vocalized my dreams for a vegetable garden because my family (Coach's parents and sister) gave me the most incredible gifts: at Christmas, my parents-in-law gave me seeds, gardening gloves, gardening tools and...the most amazing bean trellis. It's right out of Martha Stewart magazine - seriously. My father-in-law saw one just like it in a Martha Stewart magazine, figured out how to recreate it, and then built it for me! My sister-in-law bought a collection of vintage silver spoons and created the most artful plant markers I've ever seen - she soldered the plant names using a neat modern type design onto the back of the spoons. And then, for my birthday, my parents-in-law brought me a frame and hoops for a raised vegetable bed!

Basically...all I needed was soil, the amount of which I somehow managed to screw up by seriously overestimating. So...we got a rather intense load of soil delivered on Wednesday and yesterday I moved about a a third of it from the front yard to my new raised bed frames in the back yard.

After two plus hours of shoveling and carting dirt, I bought four bags of composted cow manure and worked those into the top five inches of soil. I assembled my bean trellis and then planted squash, pumpkins, two rows of lettuce, two varieties of beans, cilantro, basil, broccoli, and some tomatoes that I started inside last month. To end the day, I watered everything and staked up chicken wire to prevent our local harem of bunnies from destroying my hard work.

I can barely move today, but I feel pretty excited about what I was able to accomplish:

Now, let's hope something grows.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feeling Crafty

Since we moved in almost one year ago (WHAT?), I have done very little to actually decorate. My thought was that I would wait until our house in Maine sold to get busy on this house. Maybe I just needed a break after putting so much effort into Maine, then moving twice in one year? Whatever it was, I'm feeling like it's definitely time to get down to business here in the woods of Western Massachusetts. It's lacrosse season, and for a coach's wife, that means lots of time to futz around on my own.

So futzing, I have begun. Last weekend I dusted off my trusty sewing machine and created a curtain and two valences for my office at work. (In the middle of these projects, Coach made a really great point: "So, you do remember that we don't have any curtains in our house, right?")
Our school has a vintage feel - and because my office is right on the main hallway, I wanted to pick a fabric that worked for me...and for the existing decor. I think I succeeded (and even managed 100% cotton for $7.99/yard at my local Joann's!)

I made my door curtain double sided so that when the door is closed, it still looks nice and put together.

I lined the valences so they last for a LONG time. I feel like I made them too short, but my office doesn't get much sunlight and I definitely didn't want to lose the little bit that I get.

So what should I tackle next? Our house is still painted with "contractor's choice neutrals," which are great and non-offensive...but our bedroom is a light moss green color that I don't mind...but isn't my first choice. So paint and curtains for the master bedroom is next. Okay - I've said it out loud, in writing. First step to getting it done, right?