Thursday, July 31, 2008

Surprise !!

August 17th will be the anniverary of my first year of owning this house. Now, throughout the year, we've certainly come across some strange things and of course had several questions but rarely if ever answers. Today, dear readers, is a great day because I now have an answer for something.

It all started back in late March. During one of my strolls through the yard with camera in hand, I came across this foliage near one of my trees. I snapped a photo, titled it "Resident Foliage" and saved it on my computer. I kept an eye on the little green leaves and was kind of disappointed when no flowers ever popped up.

The leaves eventually died, I cut over their remains with the lawnmower and pretty much forgot about them. This is where the strange part comes in, two days ago, I noticed some strange tall stems growing out of the ground. My yard is prone to weeds, so I figured this was just one of them. Today, I happened to take a look and this is what I saw.

How in the world do flowers pop up nearly overnight. I was still kind of skeptical; but snapped some photos anyway.

Through the lovely world that is Google, I discovered that these are not some strange alien-lifeform; but a flower called Lycoris Squamigera; better known as "Resurrection Lily", "Rain Lily" or funny enough "Naked Lady".

Now what does the very first photo of the resident foliage have to do with this, you may ask. Well, absolutely everything. You see, I've come to learn that this particular flower sends up simple foliage in the spring, it dies back and completely disappears. Then sometime in mid-summer, the plant resurrects itself and comes back with flowers that eerily have no leaves.
Hence the name Resurrection Lily.

On a side note, I planted or I should say (more like threw) some sunflower seeds in dirt by my garage and now look. The stalk...can I call it a stalk? now 5 feet tall. It's one of the Mammoth kinds, so I'm kind of excited to see just how tall it grows. I'll keep you apprised of the progress.

Monday, July 28, 2008

In The Garden

Okay, so I don't know if you can call two tomato plants a garden; but for the sake of the title...that's just what I'm going to do :-)

You see in the Spring, I bought two tomato plants from my local Lowe's. One was a Lemon Boy and the other, I thought some smaller variety (not quite cherry-size) of red. I planted them in a patch of dirt alongside my driveway and actually kind of forgot about them.

So much in fact that the one was trailing along the ground quite vigorously before I knew it and I had to buy a stake sooner then planned. I have taken to tying them up, watering them on the weekend; but that was about it.

This is why I was so surprised when I really took the time to step back and pay attention, this is what they looked like. This is only one plant; but the other is just as big.

It is enormous, at it's statuesque 4 foot tall and is so wide that I can't reach around it. I'm surprised the lowly stake in the center has withstood "semi-tornadic" windstorms that are prevelent where I live.

Just this past weekend, I picked off two tomatoes. One was baseball size, the other a tad-bit smaller. I did forget to take a picture; but will surely do so next time. When I told my parents that the plants were huge and had tomatoes all over it, I don't think they expected this.

...much less this...

All in all, between the two plants, I would have to say that I have about 40 tomatoes growing and little yellow flowers still popping up along the vines.

Oh and by the way...what I thought was a smaller red variety, turns out to be a large red variety.

What have I learned in my first year of gardening. Plant them and forget them, they survive better without us babying them.
Can I offer anyone some tomatoes???

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Most Changed Bedroom

I haven't lived in my house for an entire year yet; but there were certain things that just had to get done sooner then later. As my sister was moving in with me, I felt it only necessary to make sure that she had a liveable place, considering the disaster that was the room before.

Here is a before shot.

In some previous posts, I referred to the room as Alien since it reminded me of the cute little blue and green aliens from Toy Story.
Here is what was done:
  • Removal of chicken wire, yes I said chicken wire. It was part of the closet

  • Removal of sliding closet doors, broken door and framework

  • Moved 2 electrical outlets due to previous poor location

  • Several coats of Kilz, the absolute best primer in my opinion

  • Removal of nasty carpet

  • Removal of a handful of misc. screws, nails, picture hangers from the wall, since I could finally see them since they weren't blue and green anymore

  • Raise floor of closets to make them look more like built-ins.

  • Clean and paint window framework white

  • Recreate old style window trimwork and paint white

  • Paint everything

  • Lay down new, shiny hardwood floor

  • Recreate old style baseboards and paint them white

  • Hang blinds, curtains and move in furniture

So are you ready for the after shot.

It's like a completely different room isn't it.

This post was written for as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value. You can find out more on the links I've provided above.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rated E for Excellent

This blog has been rated E-for-Excellent. The honor was given to me by This D*mn House. So, the rules are that you have to honor 10 other blogs (of any sort). I'm going to have to cheat and only do 8. I would have more then 10; but so many of you have already received this award and getting it multiple times doesn't seem fair.

Here we go in no particular order:

Tiny Old House: The place looks completely different now that the asbestos siding is gone. Who would have thought there was brick under there.

F.M. Jack House: I happened across the blog several months ago; but there hadn't been new postings. I scoured through their archives, because their house was just so darn cute. Now, I'm happy to see that they have resurrected the blog once again and are working away.

One Sixty: This blog is one of the first I go to every morning...enough said.

108 North: Although their postings are sometimes few and far between, what they've accomplished is amazing.

The Petch House: Okay, so I have to admit that sometimes I get lost in the long postings; but I'd rather have more to read then be left keep up the good work.

Four Beds Two Baths: Although Kim is considering letting this blog go, you should check it out anyway as she has such great inspiration pictures and ideas.

Anna Marie Horner: She is a textile designer and artist extroidinare. Her stories usually make you smile and dream of being a part of her little world.

The Silver Lining: My closest friend is getting married Nov. 1st and this is the website of her wedding photographer, Kim Wade. I had the opportunity to meet Kim and her work is amazing. I encourage you to check out the site.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Old Houses & Old Glory

I have always liked it when people would fly the American Flag (usually from a post) on their porch; it brings up romantic ideals and values that nowadays are usually only shown in the movies. Yet there is something extra special and truly makes me smile, when the flag is hanging from a century old home. It's just the icing on the cake.

So to all you who hung Old Glory from your home this 4th of July weekend, or even better if you do it year-round...Cheers to You. Let's bring back this tradition one porch at a time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

P.U.R.E. (People Using Renewable Energy)

P.U.R.E. is the program I have been participating in for a few months now through my electric company, AmerenUE.

Essentially, what happens is that 100% of my home's electrical usage is offset with clean renewable energy; which in the Midwest comes from wind power and other sources.

While my electric bill is modest due to the fact that I try not to be wasteful to begin with (turning off lights when I'm not in the room, using CFLs, etc), I wanted to make sure that even my modest energy usage wasn't wasteful. Generally, it cost me about $5-$15 a month to participate in this program, depending upon my usage for the month.

I know times are tough due to $4 gas, etc; yet if you can I highly recommend you inquire with your local energy company about similiar programs. It does make me happy to know that I am doing my part for the future.