Wednesday, June 27, 2012

houseguests


sooo... two milestones: we have owned the house for two months AND we had our first weekend houseguests!  

the first one is self-explanatory, so on to the second : ) phil's parents came to visit for a long weekend.  the whole one bathroom thing made me nervous, but it actually worked out fine.  most of that is due to the fact that his parents wake up early and are extremely considerate about taking showers quickly and before you even wake up (!), but still - it wasn't an issue at all.  we had a great time being tourists in the city, eating at home, working in the yard, and just catching up.  we went around the mall (as in, the national mall), toured the vietnam memorial at night to avoid the heat, and went to the top of the old post office.  if you've never done that, you should!  it's free, the view is AMAZING (see photo), and it is not crowded.  and since the washington monument is closed due to earthquake damage, it beats that! the top of the tower is open - which means a great breeze on a hot day : )

i made lamb burgers with feta and roasted tomatoes and sweet potato fries with yogurt and mint dipping sauce.  and chili dogs.  and taco ring.  and key lime pie.  and roasted veggie fritatta muffins.  and we went to jettie's, my new favorite!  good weekend! we are so grateful for all the time they came to spend with us - and for the garden help : ) the neighbors even noticed!  

oh and here are a couple of photos of the "backyard" i was talking about... 
before back fence
after back fence
so, as you can see, ehhhh... still not awesome. really just cleaning to prepare for the next phase, whatever that may be. and i have the actual area behind the fence where the tomatoes and eggplants are, but it does not look like an after. it looks pathetic. i will post as it looks more lush. the tree has grown around the chain link fence, so i'm trying to train the ivy to cover it. and maybe some peas and hyacinth beans on the rest.  also, the trash and recycling cans... ick. what do i do with them?? there is nowhere to put them out of the way. work in progress. 

also, new goal: post at least once a week. we'll see... : )


Monday, June 18, 2012

yard work


this weekend was dedicated to yard work. we have a tiny TINY backyard. really, it's a patio over a gravel driveway and a giant, dying tree. i love the tree, but it is only a matter of time : ( it's awesome to have the shade, since our back faces south, but it takes up most of the space that i could use as my edible garden.  there is a small patch of plantable area, but until last friday it was overtaken by ivy, daylilies, and an unknown thorny something.  so i dedicated my day off to turning it into a small veggie patch!  it's an experiment, since my mom explained the black walnut tree emits some sort of poison through the roots to discourage other plants from growing... but i will take any sunny spot i can get.  so i dug up the gravel that had been dumped there - at least a foot thick in some places (!) - and transplanted some daylilies to make room for tomatoes and eggplants.  i ripped out the ivy and thorny bush and also found room for my pea plants and a few hyacinth beans my mom gave me. my back was KILLING me by the end of the day... need to do more core work!!

saturday we had a sweet first birthday party, followed by a 30th birthday party for her dad.  sunday we slept in and decided to put together a front walk.  there were a bunch of broken slate tiles leftover from the mud room in the basement that the previous owner had left along the staircase and we planned on using those.  i uncovered over a dozen whole tiles when i removed the ivy near the tree - what a lucky day!  so we laid them into the strip between the sidewalk and street, since we walk from the street all the time.  but it took a lot of weeding to get it clean first. more back-breaking.  phil is amazing! he is such a good worker. he knows the best way to do things he's never done before. i, on the other hand, am rather inefficient... : ) those who know me well know that it is true!! 

the weather has been absolutely fantastic, so we enjoyed lunch outside at my new favorite - jettie's!  they have great sandwiches and picnic tables to eat outside.  we go to the one in the palisades, since it is closest.  we also ate dinner outside - just too nice not to enjoy.  i roasted veggies: asparagus, potatoes, red peppers, red onion, garlic, crookneck squash... whatever was leftover from last week's farm share or on its last legs in the fridge.  i roasted them for about 40 minutes on 400 degrees with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice, and chopped herbs from the garden (sage, rosemary, thyme).  
yes, that is me being classy with ice cubes in my white wine : ) 
i will post more photos of the veggie garden as it develops - i took before photos, but it looks pretty scrawny right now. i'll wait until it looks healthy and awesome! still working on the patio furniture...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

one month.

sooo we made it! one. whole. month.  paid a round of bills, first regular mortgage payment, first rent check from basement tenant (hooray!), first party... yes, we already had our housewarming. and, in the words of phil the next morning, that was fun but let's never do it again : )

the house has great flow for entertaining - i think we had over 50 people here, maybe as many as 75!  it was a lot of work. we had a GREAT time, but it is so much more fun to go to the party than host it. we made fajitas and my friend elisa was the guacamole champion - seriously seriously good (and fast!), but our friends are wolves : ) i learned a lot about having a big party, though: don't set yourself up to be a short-order cook, keep the drinks going, good music is helpful, check on the bathroom to make sure it's well-stocked, don't forget your manners... i kept forgetting to introduce people, or interrupting a good conversation with someone to say hi to the next person. how rude! (stephanie tanner voice, hehe) i'll get better : ) the plan is to entertain a lot this summer, but on a smaller scale.  we are so appreciative of all of our wonderful friends, though - it is such a blessing to be able to be surrounded by so much love and excitement at one time!

our flowers were blooming so well, too. the peonies were already done (the photo above is from last week - they are too quick!), but we have mounds and mounds of daylilies. and the hydrangeas have started. they are my favorite!!! they're blue and gorgeous. flowers are so wonderful and joy-inducing! i went to meet sweet new niece hannah in college station over labor day and brought her pink peonies like ours. she is a living doll, by the way. just beautiful. anyway, the point was i love having a cutting garden in addition to an edible garden. i can have cut flowers for the house and for giving to friends : )

i hope to have a project to post about soon... we've been refinishing some patio furniture that phil found on craigslist. and i'm going to experiment with some different freezing techniques for strawberries that i saw on a blog. maybe after my crazy work deadlines i can paint the guest room, too... so many projects!! but i love it : )