A few fewer trees

It wasn’t our top priority, but from day one, we knew we’d have to do something about some of the trees around the house.


As you can see, it was a bit of a jungle out front. That blue cedar is growing about a foot from the front porch and has the potential to get 60 feet tall or higher; the one that looks kinda muppet-ish on the right turns out to be a weeping cherry whose rootstock took over.

And the side yard wasn’t much better, what with the palm tree (!) somehow growing on the north side of the house. In addition to finding it pretty ugly, we were dismayed to discover it also housed a colony of ants, and provided a bridge for them to get into our house. It had to go!

So we hired Out on a Limb to take care of business, and they did a great job. Both our dining and living rooms get tons more light now.


And you can actually see the house from the street!

Not that long after, our neighbors arranged to take out the huge laurel hedge that ran the property line between our houses. While the roots were on “their side” of the line, the hedge paid no heed to such boundaries. It grew to 10 or 12 feet deep in some spots. We were pretty happy to hear that the neighbors wanted it gone. Here’s the view from the street before:


And from our back door:


The wood chipper got quite a workout! I think the crew filled two small dump trucks with the hedge alone, and then came back the next day to grind out the stumps.


The “after” shots:



We estimate we reclaimed 400-500 square feet of yard out of the deal. It’s a little jarring still, to see through to other houses, get light from streetlights, and so on. But overall, we’re quite happy with the extra space (did someone say chickens?), and we’ll be coordinating with the neighbors to build a privacy fence (did someone say trellis with wisteria?).

Up next is the garage roof. Never a dull moment!


When we moved the strawberries to the bed by the side of the house in early June, we got some surprise tag-alongs.

We don’t know if that bed had a bunch of squash or pumpkin seeds already there, or if they arrived with the compost we put down, but either way, we wound up with a bunch of squash vines intermixed with the strawberries.

Continue reading “Growing”

Lighting the Way

I hadn’t quite pieced together when we initially hired the electricians to rewire the house that many of the light fixtures would need replacing. The contractors did put up minimal lighting (i.e. wires with a socket and a bulb), but we hadn’t picked out new fixtures in time for them to be professionally installed.

So as we picked up lamps, I installed them around the house. Continue reading “Lighting the Way”

Lead up to the Move-in!

There was a flurry of activity in the house during and after our big trip. While we were away, the electricians installed a new panel and rewired most of the house. The old panel was made by Zinsco, and the breakers are notorious for not tripping when they’re supposed to. Much of the wiring in the house was knob and tube, some of it modified (in a bad way). In addition, the old service wire that provided electricity to the house was pulling away from its anchor, and crossed over our neighbor’s backyard. All in all, not good. Continue reading “Lead up to the Move-in!”

Berry Time!

This one’s been sitting in the “Drafts” folder for a few weeks, but we’ve got a couple of good excuses for the radio silence. First, some behind-the-scenes hosting changes left the site in limbo for a week or so. Then, more recently, we’ve been packing up and moving into the new house. But that’s another post’s topic… Continue reading “Berry Time!”

Honeymoon Part I – Photos

We took a little break from the home renovation for a belated honeymoon, and traveled to Shanghai, Vietnam, and stopped in southern California on the way home for a friend’s wedding.

Photos first, and stories later on.