The Petty Home, a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne, is being fully restored by Miles Honeycutt. Miles is the same general contracter who oversaw restoration of the Clapp-Ferguson home and Winston's Broken House, both in the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood. Miles is restoring the home in keeping with historic elements of the original house to a single family dwelling. Check back often and watch this great home come back to life.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Projects Y'all.

Life of the urban homesteader is full time work. Now that the weather is warmer we are really getting full use of our yard, which had the landscaping completed in fall. Plants that were planted in the fall and appeared to die during the winter are coming back to life. The lawn mower is tuned up and makes an appearance most weeks. The list of things to do and projects to work on is never ending but we're really enjoying it all.

Nellie has nursed these plants from seeds to seedlings like a proud mother hen. About half the plants are in the ground outside now but some (like the tomatos) need to get a bit bigger first.

 I've decided to take the plunge into becoming a bee keeper. It's something I've wanted to try for a long time and finally got the courage to go for it with some encouragement from my new friend and neighbor, Emily-Kate. Here Emily-Kate and I are putting together parts of the hives in preparation for the bees that will come later this month. Emily-Kate and Laura will be keeping her bees at their urban farm which is getting up and running now - Sweet Beet City Farm.

 Frames assembled with bee's wax foundation. Surely there will be lots more posts to come about bees but I find myself reading and wanting to share info about bees whenever I have free time now. It's not the cheapest of hobbies because there is a lot of gear to buy and prep up front but I'm viewing it as a fun little science experiment with hopefully a golden pot of honey at the end. Also bees in America are having a tough time these days so there's the bonus feel good points for doing something good for the environment as well. I totally recommend the film "Queen of the Sun", which is an awesome documentary about bees that's streaming on Netflix.

While Ludo and these primed hive supers looks rather menacing,  keeping bees is not. I've been getting a lot of "oh brother" looks when I tell people what I'm up to. People seem to assume that I'll end up dead in my back yard from bee stings or that they'll never be able to come over now that bees are around. The long and short of it is that bees don't really have any interest in just stinging you for no reason and honey bees in particular are very calm costumers  So - give bees a chance? Also - bee puns will be HUGE for me this summer.

Fully assembles hives, painted and ready. Mine is the tall white one on the left and Emily-Kate's are the purple and white. Finally using some of the left over paint from the house.

Another fun project that I finally got around to this weekend was this table for our deck. I stole the design idea from my buddy Dylan who built a ton like this for his wedding. It's a simple farm house table design but i really like the look. I made mine out of cedar so it would hold up outside over time. Eventually it will fade to a soft grey but cedar is great because you don't have to treat it for outdoor use. It's naturally resistant to rot and insects. As soon as it was done it filled up with my 3 favorite ladies - my sister, wife, and mom.....and Ludo - who is not a lady. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Project.

Perfect weather for a little work outside. Finally got around to this little painting project. Next up - stain the deck.




Monday, October 15, 2012

The grass is greener where you water it.



The final phase of our landscaping overhaul has come and gone. Below is a documented tale of this epic event, made awesomer if viewed as a montage in tandem with "The Final Countdown" by Europe. There is no way we could have gotten this done without Caitlin and Jon Sloop, who were fantastic to work with throughout the process. Can't recommend them enough--Green Light Custom Homes. This particular weekend, we teamed up and worked side by side Catlin and Jon to get an amazing amount of work done. Lots of photos, so let's get to it!

Nellie and Ludo are ready for action.

Notice the brownness of the grass. Not just neglect, this dead lawn was achieved with several doses of roundup, which will likely result in children with extra appendages. After the grass was good and dead, I beat it back further with the weedwacker before the planting began.

Side yard before.

With Caitlin's guidance, we plotted out the location of each plant according to her vision.

Jon and Caitlin on a Friday with all our plants in tow. Overall our goal was to use plants that would be low-maintenance and or native to North Carolina.

The plants are small now, but should really take off in the next few years to fill out the yard.

Caitlin was great about taking the time to select and plot out locations based on water, aesthetic, and sun-needs.
The planting areas along the left-fence and inside the triangle be for veggies, but we already have 3 blueberry bushes in the ground. SCIENCE FACT: Blueberry bushes require pine bark mulch because regular mulch changes the pH of the soil in a way that makes it difficult for blueberries to thrive.

It's really amazing how far this space has come in just a few months.
I got a fancy new phone so get ready for lots of panoramic shots in future blog posts. Click the pictures to view larger versions.

Nellie's friend, Ariel, came by and was a huge help on Saturday.
Another set of hands totally increased productivity. Thanks, Ariel!
Front yard progress.

Caitlin (mastermind behind our landscaping project) planting one of the tall grasses in front.

Ludo was less than thrilled with our weekend adventure as it did not involve any ball-throwing or doggy play-dates.

Again--these plants should really fill in in a few years time, but already look great.

I'm pretty stoked about the rosemary bushes flanking the front steps. Other herbs for picking on my way into the kitchen from work include thyme, chives, sage, lavender, and oregano. We also have more sage, thyme, and marjoram growing in the back yard.

Front-left planted.

Front-right planted.

Now, mulching forever.

Enter the dump truck of mulch. I'm still amazed at how much mulch got moved in a few days time.

For each plant, we dug holes and mixed a few shovel-fulls of compost into the soil. Luckily, we've had pretty steady rain since planting so we haven't had to do a lot of manual watering.

So much mulch.
And here are some final shots of the front.

In the back, Caitlin made a nice little path of river rocks for water to follow in the event of heavy rain. All plants in this area are also suited to larger volumes of water and eventually the plan is to have a rain barrel in this corner next to the deck. There's also a significant amount of drainage under the ground here, which Jon tied into the gutter system to divert it from the foundation.
Back yard planted--we spread the remaining compost out on the lawn for the grass that we planted a few weeks later.

The grass will grow around these blue stone pavers. A metal barrier was put into separate the grass from the natural area.

Baby grasses.
In between the poured concrete pavers, we planted creeping-thyme that will fill in the gaps.

Under the pergola.
The next weekend Nellie and I got busy planting grass and veggie seeds for our fall garden.

We decided to stir up the dirt/compost in the lawn area to give the grass something to take root in.
Buying a bale of hay is like instant happiness for me. It smells like fall and hay rides.

Grass seed for some reason has green dye on it which really gave a new meaning to the term "green thumb."

To come: follow-up pictures of our planting beds and "lawn." Both have taken off like gang busters since the seeds went down.