Friday, May 02, 2008

House & Garden

Loving this!

I wrote before, a while ago, about my ideas of what constitutes a "Bucks County Garden." The randomness of it, the natural merging seamlessly with the intentional, a lovely, low-maintenance disarray.

And now, I'm doing my best to make that happen. A bunch of annuals have been planted along the side of the house, including black-eyed susans, purple sage, flags, and the like. Two birch trees are awaiting planting along the driveway and I have some irises to go in somewhere near them. The organic Deer-B-Gone that I got at the garden center seems to be working and we may have hosta here for the first time in a decade or so. (I think I've discerned the Secret Ingredient in the Deer-B-Gone. It smells just like cleaning up Faithful Companion's piss.)

Tomorrow, I have a consultation with a horticulturist at Bucks County Gardens, and I hope to get from him some ideas of what I can plant in the low spots in the front lawn to dry them up, along the road under the white pines (ferns, I'm hoping), and what to do about a couple of Borders Gone Wild where the rose-of-sharon and hosta contend with poison ivy and pin oak saplings.

Having last settled into gardening in a twenty-five by forty back yard in Brooklyn, having all this acreage to deal with is a wee bit overwhelming. My strategy is to create different little "rooms" within the vastness the open spaces at the Old Homestead. There's the Vista When You Pull In The Driveway, the View From The Back Window, The Surroundings Of The Screened In Front Porch, The Eastern End Of The Front Lawn That Invites Wandering And Serendipitous Discovery, and Back By The Pond.

Oh. And then there's The North Side Of The Garage. That's going to be Firewood-Central. All the firewood will be neatly stacked there, instead of in the middle of the back yard, and there will be a chopping block for splitting and a sort of lumber yard were limbs and trees can be staged after I haul them out of the woods to be sawed up into logs. A nice lawn chair or two out there, since chopping wood is hard work it's better if you pace yourself and take a break now and then to sip some iced tea.

Right now, I'm really excited about the North Side Of The Garage project most of all. Y'see, Step One is to put down a bed of stone to even it all out over there. And the other day, I got a delivery of a half a dump truck full of stone. Step Two will be to level it all out.

And how, pray tell, is that going to happen?

I'll admit that I initially thought that would happen with shovel (check!), an iron rake (check!), and my young, strong back (uhhh...). But, my back isn't as young and strong as it once was. The guy who drove the stone truck didn't think much of the idea. And so, I went and rented some Heavy. Equipment.

Namely, one of these, the Kubota BX23. I have off on Wednesday, so it will be Mine All Mine for a whole day that day. I'm hoping that the distribution and leveling of the stone goes quickly so I can have some fun doing other stuff around here with the Kubota BX23. The possibilities seem endless. For instance, Wednesday would be a perfect day to dig a nice deep hole with that scoop thingy and plant a mailbox out at the end of the driveway. Or maybe dig a drainage ditch somewhere for some reason or other.

And gosh! What'll I wear? Tooling around on the Kubota BX23 would seem to require something pretty Carhartty, no? Perhaps there will be pictures taken of the event.

On the inside of the house, things progress, but without the immediate gratification that gardening is providing me with. It seems that some of the tile I ordered for my new bathroom won't be ready for shipment until May 24th, so the bathroom won't be going in anytime before then. In part that's a good thing, because once I have my soaking tub that holds sixty gallons of water and--something I've always wanted--a shower with a window, not to mention the beautiful tile work and the natural gauged slate floors, I'll never want to leave the house again for any reason whatsoever. Also, I really have to see about getting a Floor Guy in to tear up the carpet and see about putting down some new flooring (bamboo and cork, mon amour). However, I'm about to embark on a Murphy Brown-esque relationship with a painter, a guy I know from hanging on the porch of Starbucks named Gus. Gus will have the guest bedroom painted and ready for the impending arrival of my brother and his wife on Thursday. I'm really happy about that. Too, Gus is fine about working his way through the interior and the exterior of the house piecemeal over the next couple of months, giving me lots of time to figure out color schemes and such, and clear out furniture so he and his paint crew can work. Since I know and trust Gus, I'm cool with him coming in while I'm not here and setting to work, and so, just like on Murphy Brown, I'll be coming home from work and finding my livingroom a different color than it was when I left the house in the morning.

For the colors on the outside of the house, that's set. It's all going to be based around a Georgia O'Keefe painting, "Lake George Window." More or less. I love the soft blue-greens with the faded blacks and the pure whites. Alas, there's the pale yellow-green vinyl siding to contend with, but hopefully really strong colors will distract from that.

I'm having so much fun with this.

Maybe a little too much fun. If I bankrupt myself making this place beautiful to go on the market but then can't sell it because the real estate market is in the toilet, where will I be then?

Ah well. I'll take the long view. I make it beautiful and trust Providence, then move on to some new challenge.


beaver4 said...

Where are you going to put the whipping post?


Your interior project sounds exactly what I just went through,In fact,you can read on the very end of my profile( worldleathermen) how I express the need to put the dungeon games off til the house gets done.I designed the bathroom myself(yes it has a slate walls and floor and its breath taking.I don't know where you got the Idea to do that but go for it,It comes out fucking fantastic,I also knocked down a wall to make a greatroom and put in real oak flooring,the only thing I subbed out was the sanding of the floors before I stained.At the begining I had this little 1950's retro bathroom,now it really should be in one of those remodeling magazines.would love to show you pics...BUT you have to show me a pic of your meatloaf and scalloped for choices of perennials that will stay green through the winter and run to cover lattice.