Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Dead

Really, we're not! We've just been helping other people move, unpacking, attending an anime convention, resuming an intense gaming schedule with our friends, (in scholarinexile's case) getting started with the fall semester at three different colleges, seeing a good friend off to marital bliss, and watching the Olympics. There has been some progress on the house in the past month, beyond unpacking; we did begin taping and mudding the drywall in the attic (we took pictures, but they're still in the camera), and we've continued the process of cleaning up the back yard. It's not in bad shape, but it isn't entirely pretty, either.

Most of the yardwork has consisted of rounding up loose bricks, of which there are legion at the Four Mile House. The previous previous owners, at some point in the house's history, decided to cover most of the property's triple lot in bricks. I guess they either required a lot of parking or just didn't like grass. The previous owners, bless them, pulled up most of the bricks and created some viable back yard space, leaving just enough for a car parking area. Then, they (bless them even more) used most of the pulled-up bricks to create an awesome patio area at the base of the hill. However, there were more bricks than the patio could sustain, so there are just random piles of surplus bricks in several locations around the property: there's a stack in the basement, a scattering on the left side of the garden, and a sizable mountain of them on the right. Plus the ones that are being used in the fire pit and as landscaping throughout the side yard, but I'm not counting them because they're at least fulfilling a purpose. Here's a picture of the patio, so I can determine whether I'm actually capable of posting pictures on this blog.

We've managed to create a small cairn of bricks atop the wall to the left of the strawberry patch, but the mountain on the right side of the patio is still untamed. I have no idea what we're going to do with all of these bricks. We could build a decent-sized wall with them if we wanted to. Hmm...we have been wanting a garden shed so we could stop storing the lawnmower in what's supposed to be the craft/sewing room. Maybe we could at least provide it with a brick foundation.

It's going to be difficult to decide what to do with the yard in general. It's huge, but it consists of a few isolated pockets of space with little flow between them. There is the front yard, which is completely fenced in:

...the "hedge maze," which consists of juniper and yew shrubs and three (apparently) replanted blue spruce Christmas trees, all of which are growing at an alarming rate and are home to several gigantic spiders:

...and the back yard, seen further above, which consists of a concrete patio, a brick patio, a brick parking pad, an ill-kept brick walkway beside the house, a path to the garden, the garden itself, the end of the driveway, another concrete pad covered with loose bricks and a firepit, and some sort of structure (possibly old stairs?) completely covered with weeds. Oh, and also some sort of small fenced-in patio behind the annex, which is weed-infested, has two large holes in it, and is home to a tiny snake.

Wow. Until I spelled it all out like that, I didn't realize quite how...diverse...a space it is. I'd really like it to have more continuity between the three separate spaces, but it's going to take some thought and some work to determine how to accomplish this. I want it to contain at least some plants native to the area, to have a healthy and prolific garden, to look nice, to be a good space for entertaining and for kids/pets to play in, and to have good drainage so our basement doesn't flood. We have some vague ideas: scholarinexile wants to take down the front yard fence, we both want a lilac bush, we need a shed, and I'd like to put in a couple of apple trees. But other than that, we're going into this a bit blindly. We're both creative people, but our creativity is largely centered on the realm of the written and spoken word. We're not quite as good with making spaces look pretty.

Given all of this, I can't believe we're also considering buying the vacant lot beside the house and extending our property even more. O.o

For the time being, we are managing to keep the lawn mowed, and we're working on rounding up the the bricks and not bothering the gigantic spiders in the hedge maze. Today is our one-month anniversary of actually living at the house with our furniture, so I guess that's some good progress so far. :)

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