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”

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!”

The great outdoors

The previous owners of our house deferred quite a bit of maintenance inside the home (to put it generously), but they put a ton of energy, love and no small amount of money into maintaining the yard. It’s a sight to behold, particularly the huge old apple tree:


It’s 30 feet tall, I’d guess, and the canopy spans most of the width of the yard, 40 or 50 feet. We knew it was a great tree before we put in our offer, but it hadn’t exploded into bloom yet. It’s far and away the best looking thing on the property!

We learned there’s a ton more in the yard, too: a peach tree, a plum tree, a fig tree, a bunch of blueberry bushes, a raspberry patch, and some Concord grape vines, all of which bear fruit. Plus a little starter garden with herbs and some lettuce that’s already happily growing.

The front half of things was a little more bare when we saw it originally, but now that spring has arrived, the street side of the house is pretty well covered up.


We’ll have to formulate some kind of a plan to clean that part of the landscape up eventually. For starters, though, Dina bought me an awesome folding saw for my birthday, and I put it to good use today, cutting all of that blackberry bush out, filling up our yard waste cart. (For those who live elsewhere: this species of blackberry is an invasive species in Seattle, and for all intents and purposes is a weed. It grows everywhere and anywhere, and it’s thorny as all get-out.) I also managed to resurrect the lawn mower that the former owner’s left behind, so we are no longer front runners for ugliest front lawn on the block. Progress.