Garden Bounty!

We’ve had two wonderful road trippy weekends in a row (more on that later!) Came home this evening and picked this:


It worked! Our garden did so many things! I’m currently looking up recipes. Pickled beans, stuffed zucchini, tomato/mozzarella salad….


If you like watching paint dry …

Then you are going to LOVE my new series:  Good God What Have I Done:  The Front Porch Edition.  It really has everything  — it’s going to be a loooong journey-type tale (like how they say all good stories are road trips?), it’s got humor, it’s got drama, you are really rooting for the protagonists and none of us have any idea how it will end.

Yup.  We started scraping the paint off the front porch.

I’m really, truly having a “what have I done” moment with this one.  It might never end.


We started this insanity last weekend.  I would say this current before & “after” peek represents about 12 hours of work and it’s maybe a quarter scraped and we haven’t even talked about paint, stain, taking the aluminum siding off the ceiling or repairing the broken shingles.

Oh!  But speaking of broken shingles … I was scraping paint on Sunday, enjoying The Glenn Jones Radio Programme, vacillating wildly between “oh, this is such nice, relaxing, rewarding work” and “this will never end.  Never”  when I heard someone saying, “Excuse me!” at the porch railing.  So I met a neighbor, who introduced herself, said she lives around the corner and she has a box of cedar shingles she can’t use that are the same shape as our front porch, and could we use them?  I might have screamed a little and I know I said, “My husband is going to freak out!”  So she came back later with some shingles to try.  They are a little smaller than the ones on the front of the porch (which led Chris on a rant about how everything in this house is in a size they don’t make any more!  Which is actually a good rant, and I will have him guest-blog and tell you his thoughts on the matter) BUT they are beautiful and they will be perfect for repairs.  Or we will move good ones from the back to the front and put smaller ones in the back.  In any case, they are going to come in handy and HOW  NICE IS THAT that a person would stop and say they have extra of something and they would like to give it to you.  Another for the Things You Don’t See in the City series.  Oh – -I’m also all about the series right now.  I think it will give me structure.

So please stay tuned for “People Who Visit Us/ A Series,” which will debut this week. In the mean time, please enjoy this slide show.  I hope to some day find this funny.


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Weekend Update

Despite the heat, we Larsens had a super productive and really fun weekend!  We kicked things off on Friday night with an early evening showing of Monsters University with our awesome nieces.  Loved it!  Then on Saturday morning, we were lucky enough to have Chris’ dad come out from the Poconos to help us get rid of the rest of the tree laying in our yard.  And I know I’m not the best photographer, but the pictures I have of the tree really cannot capture how big the piece was that fell.  The diameter of the trunk at the bottom was probably 18″?  Maybe more?  My father-in-law thought he had a quick hour job in front of him and he’d be on his merry way.  It was more like five hours, but the fellas got it all done.  And the morning started off rainy and gray — I asked Chris what they would do if it rained all day?  “Cut the thing up in the rain, I guess” was the answer.  These Minnesota fellas sure are handy!

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Most exciting to me, I got my Roman shades completed and installed! shades1

Well, I still need to braid the cords and attach a doo-thingy to tie the cord to in order to hold them open, but that will be easy.  I won’t lay out what I did to make them — there are far better instructions out there than I could provide.  This particular style/pattern/set of  instructions came from the Singer Big Book of Sewing  .  I like basic books with lots of pictures for this stuff 🙂  They took forever, but were so worth it.  Mostly because I love them.  But also because all fabric, hardware and supplies came in well under $500, which for 3 fabric shades is unheard of.  And I have enough lining fabric left for another project.  Some patterned shades that I have liked in catalogs are as much as $600 EACH!  Since spending $1800 on my front window treatments was NOT an option, off to Mood went I.

For comparison, here is a before and after of the front entry way:

Things are coming together!

I’ve been getting tired of the stairway being a barren, empty place, so we hung up some GORGEOUS pinch-pleated drapes my fabulous friend Julie made.  She was upgrading her bedroom look and I was the lucky recipient of these beautiful things!  Seriously, if I had endless vacation time, I would go down to Louisiana where she lives and move in for a week and make her teach me how to sew like she sews.  It’s like … magical.   I had to hem them, as I don’t have 9 foot plantation windows to cover, and though I kinda butchered the hems when compared with the original, you can’t really see the bottom of them and they serve the purpose.

We also got some of our Steve Keene’s hung up and a newly re-potted plant (see below) ties the whole little area together.

Something snapped this weekend (maybe heat-related?!?) and I got so tired of not having things on the walls, not having little areas finished that we just tore through some stuff.  I have been saying — “oh, I will do this after THAT because if I do it before it might get messed up while I do THAT” and then I realized that we will NEVER be done, so might as well start making things cozy!

One of my last chores on Sunday evening was to re-pot some plants.  I like this picture because this is not something I ever could have set up in our NYC apartment.  And I like it also because my wine glass is in it, and I believe that most housework goes much better with wine.


Thanks for stopping by!  Leave a comment if you like what you see….

A little work after work


It’s kind of hard to tell how much tree has been dragged to the curb this evening, because all the big stuff is underneath all the leaves. But lemme tell ya, it was a hoot. The one great thing was that it was really hot & humid. The bugs were spectacular. And it has rained a few times since Chris and our friend Eric made nice piles of branches in the yard, so the leaves that weren’t dry and eye pokey were wet and slimy and smelled like swamp.


Eric, as seen on the Fourth of July


So the city will hopefully pick that all up tomorrow. Not Eric, of course. The tree.


I guess it’s been good exercise. And if there are any budding young dermatologists out there who want to try to identify the various rashes I’m developing on my legs, arms and shoulders, just leave me a message in the comments!

Here is a picture of the pretty hydrangeas in the front yard to end on a cheery note. And to keep myself from yammering on about the damn baby birds.


they grow up so fast….


It’s been hard to get a good photo of the baby birds, with the fire escape all smashed and branches all around, but the three who are there are thriving.  We lost one somewhere along the way — not sure if that was a natural selection thing or a tree-falling-related thing, but I think I’ve been VERY brave in accepting it and moving on 🙂

The little guys even seem to be getting ready to take a little flight.  The mom sits on the roof next door and tweets at them (140 characters or less) and they ruffle their feathers and scoot around the nest.  So cute!  They are really getting big and seem very happy and active.  They should be around another 2 weeks, and though I’m tempted to try to clear up their little platform, I think I will leave well enough alone.  Besides, we have enough to do with tree clean up and chores.


The old, large tree in our neighbor’s yard decided to crack in half and crash at 3:30 a.m.  So now, instead of the 4th of July we had planned (burgers, beers, finishing the bathroom, relaxation …) we will be borrowing Chris’ brother-in-law’s chainsaw and cleaning up.  I’m honestly still shaken up by this, but I know how lucky we are– a foot further and we could have lost our back porch, the wall to the wood room, even part of the front porch.  As it is now, a screen was ripped and the siding has some dents.  The garbage cans didn’t even fall over!  No one was hurt– including the baby birds.  We were so happy to see them squirming around in their nest this morning, and I got a photo of Mamma Bird on the railing with some worms in her mouth, ready to feed the babies. So … wish us luck on the clean up. 

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baby birds are a-ok!

baby birds are a-ok!


that's Mamma, perched on the now kind of broken fire escape, worms at the ready

that’s Mamma, perched on the now kind of broken fire escape, worms at the ready


Happy Father’s Day!

Although we did not get to spend this beautiful Father’s Day weekend with our dads, we did do dad-like things in that we worked around the yard and the house and watched the U.S. Open.  And we wish them and all dads out there a great Father’s Day!

My transplanted rose bush started popping ….


Mamma Bird was busy again, too – on Saturday, she was up to 3 eggs in the nest!

I'm so in love with the color!

I’m so in love with the color!

Attempting to continue my gardening streak, I cleaned out the containers Jeffrey gave me and re-planted them with some vegetable plants.  I don’ think they will grow in such a small container, but it’s also kind of a test to see if that area of the yard gets enough sunlight to eventually sustain a full garden.


I also spent a few hours digging out the weeds that are overgrowing the curb in the yard.  (the “curb in the yard” being a separate issue that was once a driveway, but will not be used as a driveway by us, so instead is a dividing wall for now…).  The drainage is terrible  from the top of the curb into the flower bed and herb garden, and with all the rain we’ve had lately, a lot of soil got washed away and a lot of new weeds popped up.  For example, above the herb garden was looking like this:

bottom half of photo = all weeds.  Curb = kinds mossy ....

bottom half of photo = all weeds. Curb = kinds mossy ….


I dug out about half the curb and planted some grass seed.  We will see what happens!  The dirt should settle in soon and hopefully we will get some grass along the edge ….

after the weed-digging....

after the weed-digging….


Meanwhile, the Tile Master got half the bathroom floor done!  Not yet grouted, but it’s bold and crazy tile and I’m really excited about it!  (and more bathroom blog posts to follow, obv.)  What do you think?

Modwalls floor tile, gumball pattern, laid by Chris!

Modwalls floor tile, gumball pattern, laid by Chris!


But I think the most exciting Father’s Day news is for the Papa Robin, who is going to have not three, but 4 babies ….  Mamma laid one more egg today!



And how was your weekend?