Steady March: This and That

Good Man and I have been getting some random things done around the house (and are in the middle of a massive—to us—tub issue, actually).

The kitchen hasn’t been painted yet. The previous owner was…lazy.

Lazy!

He didn’t remove this phone jack when he painted. We don’t need it, but if we remove it, you’ll see multiple paint colors.

Ugly Phone Jack

We have been dumping our lunches, my purse, etc all around the kitchen. So we picked up a rack and covered the phone jack. Now the kitchen is cleaner and the jack is covered until we can paint it.

Landing Strip

The kitchen has wired under-cabinet lighting. One of the bulbs burnt out, but it didn’t bother us until a second bulb burnt out. And that’s when I discovered that every other bulb was out.

Huh.

I don’t know how we hadn’t noticed that.

I figured the previous owner was just saving money, since the bulbs are a bit pricey. So I went to Ace, picked up new bulbs, and installed them.

One of the lights (there are seven bulbs over four lights total) doesn’t close/seat properly, so you can’t use the on/off switch. Annoying.

But that was minor compared to the single socket that did this to the halogen bulb.

That Can’t Be Good

We decided to leave that socket empty!

Moving from the kitchen, we put a gripper rack at the top of the basement stairs. It’s such a simple thing, but it is so nice to have a place to store our mops and brooms that is out of the way.

Easy to Reach

Photos

Finally, something is popping up around the yard. We just aren’t sure what yet. Crocuses and daffodils? Wild onions?

Something’s Growing

Any Idea?

Surprise!

9 thoughts on “Steady March: This and That

  1. Hi Amanda! House is progressing nicely. Not to imply there’s really an end to house maintenance, but you’ll eventually get a handle on a majority of projects…

    But the question at hand, the bulbs I’d say are probably snow drops as they’re usually the first to pop. I like the effect of planting snowdrops throughout the lawn (or better yet, have no lawn, and just garden instead!) but if you do have lawn, the snowdrops will pop up through the yet-dormant grass — it’s a cool effect.

    • I was hoping you’d pop in, Jonathan. :) I will take photos if they ever bloom. I wonder if they will or if the lawn got mowed down too quickly last spring, since that’s when the house was listed.

      We have clumps of those two types of…something in the backyard and a few in the front yard. Ultimately, what I’d like to do is plant a lot of bulbs that can “naturalize” (is that the word?) in the front yard, and keep the food in the backyard.

      I wanted to get some landscaping done this summer, but realistically, it’s not going to happen. I need to live here for a full year to see where the sun goes, how removing those trees and brushy junk on the south side affect the light, find damp spots, and what in the world my yard already has. (I think we might have wild roses?) I am finding a whooooole lot more moss than I thought I had, and I’m not sure why. I also want to get rid of the ivy, and research native ground cover. It would be great if I could get rid of the second “trip over it” stump, too (the first one is gone!).

      So! This year I think I will stick with container gardening and idea shopping.

      • Well lots of moss would lead me to believe that you have a very shady yard that retains moisture. Is this in the back? If so, that may not be ideal for vegetable gardening (as is, that is), for, as I’m sure you know, most veggies like mostly full sun and a well-drained sandy loam (if your yard is retaining water, then you have a more clay-y and silty rather than sandy soil composition).

        There’s a quick thing you can do to assess your soil: grab a handful, add a little bit of water (just enough to make it stick together) and make it into a golf ball sized ball. Then you kinda squeeze and knead it with your thumb past your index finger to form a kind of ribbon (ever make 수제비? That’s kinda what you’re aiming for here ㅋㅋ). A clay-y soil will hold its ribbon shape well and won’t break off too soon. A loamier soil will ribbon out maybe in inch or two, but then probably fall apart. Very sandy soil composition just falls apart and hardly ribbons out at all.

        Also, while you’re at it, give your dirt a smell. Chronically wet, poorly drained soil will have decaying organic material in it and will have a swampy, foetid odor. Next, you taste some of the soil…. no, I’m just kidding, don’t do that.

        Of course, the best resource is your local county extension office. They’re sure to have extensive information about your land. They probably will perform a soil analysis for you too — it’s usually very cheap to do so; you just get a kit, pull your sample, bag it up and send it to them/drop it off and then Bob’s your uncle!
        To conclude this very long comment, and because we’re talking about soil science, a word that I love but so rarely get to use: loess

        • The soil smells good, but we know from digging holes for trees that there is a lot of clay and rocks, too. That’s the whole neighborhood. It’s just where we are. (Sort of like red clay in Georgia. My God, that red clay.)

          Related: Several little turn around points use huge rocks as the turn around. When the gas company was doing work on our line, they said they might need to move the rock in our front yard. I looked at the guy and laughed. “Go right ahead.”

          The moss is mostly on the sides of the yard, and the sides of the yard are the parts covered by trees (and ivy!). The center of the yard stays bright most of the day (at least past July), and that’s where we want to garden.

          I am planning on doing raised beds, too, in part because of the soil.

      • Oh! I forgot to mention the stump! There’s this awesome method for stump removal that I’ve never had a chance to try out. Cut the stump down so it’s pretty much at ground level. Make sure the immediate area around is more or less safe for the presence of fire. Make a small pile of charcoal on the stump and light it up (I’d imagine one of those barbeque chimney starter things would be good here). Hang out or at least check on it every so often to make sure it hasn’t gone out or out of control. The ash will amend the soil a bit, you’re not breaking your back digging it out with shovel and pick (which can be fun, granted, but most people aren’t masochistic overzealous landscapers that {quite verbosely} comment about other people’s gardens ;) ), and of course, you get play with fire!

        • I should have used this method on the stump we already got out! Unfortunately, the stump we need to get out is a) close to other trees, b) very close to a wooden fence. So I think fire is out for that!

        • Oh, and I always love it when you give me yard advice! You know what you’re talking about!

  2. It’s funny, I really love teaching, and I’m enjoying my life here in Korea, but damn! I miss the sweet ache in my arms and back after digging lots of holes and planting trees, sweat streaming down through my beard, the taste of ice cold water straight from my jug, the ocasional frantic run away from a disturbed hornet’s nest, the musty sweet smell of a ten cubic yard pile of hardwood mulch, and that feeling I’d get after tying down a load on the truck and knowing that it’s not going anywhere. Hard work, yes, but there’s an honesty and cleanness about getting truly dirty.

    • On a related note–I just caulked our tub and it looks terrible (in part because of the terrible surround that needs to be replaced, that’s my excuse!), but I am so proud that I did it myself.

      All of these “bits and pieces” look silly individually, but getting this stuff done–foaming the cat door, hanging the broom rack, fixing the closet rod–it feels really good.

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