Thursday, December 4, 2014

Summer vistors

Over the Spring, Summer and early Fall I have had a few fun little visitors.  I always have birds at the feeders and an occasional deer, coyote or raccoon, but this year I had a visit from a Jack Rabbit, only one day off from last years Jack Rabbit visit, according to my wildlife tracking calendar.


What a cutie!!  He only hung out for a day, but it was fun to watch him frolick around and enjoy the local fare.

Over the Spring months I was visited often by a Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Probably a female as she was large.  We crossed paths on several occasions, quite literally, as she dove in for a meal, and often missed.  I felt bad for her, but I do so love my other birds.
One day she missed getting a chipmunk and landed on my old spool table, giving me just enough time to capture this shot.


Deer and raccoons came by all through the months too.



I also had the pleasure of getting this shot of two goldfinch fledglings on their first day out, although shot through the kitchen window.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Painting the Floor

I have seen it done before and wanted to try it for years but hadn't gotten up the nerve I guess.  Finally I had had enough of the rug with holes in it and decided it was now or never.


I pulled up the rug and discovered particle board underneath.  Not surprising as this addition hadn't been finished when I bought the place.  No problem, I was going to try the painting idea.
I didn't really need to sand it, but there were some nails that needed to be pounded down.  I vacuumed it thoroughly and taped off the sides.



Surprisingly easy, I just rolled on a base coat of primer.  I was prepared to apply a second coat but it didn't seem to need it or even a top coat of color.

I replaced the furniture and smaller area rugs and was quite happy with my results!!


I have since installed carpet tack strips along the existing carpet you see here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Replacing Outdoor Steps

Eventually everything wears out I've learned and when you're the homeowner you need to address it as soon as possible.
This year a few things came up, in this post it's the front outdoor steps.  This is the main entrance to the house and it needs to be safe, legal and with a handrail. 


I replaced two of the steps then remember to take the before picture!  As you can see they are worn and up close they are cracked and rotting.

I thought I was just going to be replacing the step boards until I got to the top and found this menacing looking board - with dry rot and holding the whole stairway on the porch!!!


 Well that was enough to get my attention and be grateful no one had fallen through there.

All I had to do now was to remove the entire staircase and attach it somehow with a new board.


 After I'd had lunch and time to contemplate the situation, I came up with the above idea.  I first had to attach the board to the steps, then attach the whole system to the porch.  It wasn't easy, but I did it!
(Insert Girl conquers carpentry).

The other thing I had to do was to re-level the steps and put in new supports under both risers.  I did this with broken patio blocks (which work for all kinds of projects by the way) and added gravel to fill.


So wala!  New steps (railing added later) and it's safe and secure for all who enters.  
I decided on these 6 inch wide deck boards with a sliver of room between them for water run off.  I noticed the last steps were all built so tightly together that water puddled up and eventually rotted the wood.


Next up is an indoor floor project I'd been thinking about for years....!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Garden First Year

It's been two years since I took out the make-shift fencing I had up around the place.  I just hadn't planned on gardening again to the degree I had before.  But, I missed my vegetables, and there is no keeping the deer away from young tender greens.

I planned a small space to start with, about 15 by 8 feet, fenced.  I had to dig up part of my yard to get rid of weeds and grass, as well as leveling it out and terracing it up on one end.
But it didn't take long before I had a sturdy enough fence enclosure with a gate.


The sun exposure is good here too, gets almost all day sun at this time of year.


Looking in the front section I have mostly pots this first year, for easy veggies like spinach and herbs and cherry tomatoes.



At the back I have utilized the base of my pear tree for squash and broccoli.  There are also other plants in here protected against the deer, like iris, lupine and columbine.

This is a small, easy care garden space for the first year.  I can keep up with the watering and weeding.
Perhaps I'll expand it next year, meanwhile it is the perfect space for one.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Great Wall

My house addition is built right up against an embankment - in a hillside.  When they first brought in the old mobile they cut out the hillside for a level spot.  The next owner then dug it out some more and added the 25 x 9 foot addition.  So basically I look out my living room window at the ground, which isn't such a bad thing as there is a lot of wildlife activity out there!  It's kind of like having your own terrarium.

A couple years after I bought the place I decided to figure out a way to utilize the small space between the mobile and hill - which is probably about 12 feet wide.  
That went very well, creating a lovely private space with a small deck.  This was of course after I cleaned out the area, leveled the ground, painted the house and built the deck.


 Later I installed a bamboo fence along that embankment just to the addition.


I've had such good luck with plants back there with the afternoon sun exposure, or shade at the base of the hill - not to mention that the deer can't get in here.  So I decided to remove the bamboo and see how much I could utilize that wall of dirt.  

I started by moving out three of the landscape timbers about two feet away from the wall, and filled it in with dirt.  I'll need to add some nice topsoil by Fall as I plan to transplant my hosta's there next to the fern.


I broke up the bamboo screen and it now lines the wall behind the planter, and further down it hides another unsightly area where stump roots are sticking out.



Now looking the other direction.  You can see a small rock planter on the left, that's where the purple star flower will go (currently in the small pot).  It's very sun sensitive and does well in the shade.
The pot of hosta's will spread well in the planter next year.  I am also considering planting the clematis in there if I can figure out a clever trellis for it.

So the projects continue!  Next week it's the new fenced garden.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Zen and Now

This not so little undertaking began in February of this year. I wanted to get a head start on it before the plants woke up and found out what I was doing.
This area right in front of the house was getting out of hand a couple of years ago but it hadn't actually come out into the pathway yet - so I ignored it for a while.


Pretty sad right?  But it's an area with potential.  
During the winter is when I think about all the things I'll do in the yard as soon as I can get outside. This year we had some incredibly mild days without sideways rain (or snow), stating in early Feb.  What a treat for me!
I relocated the two potentilla's to another part of the yard, moved out the bamboo pots and removed all of the weeds.

My plan for this section was to keep the pretty ostrich and deer ferns, then create a small hill for dimension with a dry creek bed running through it.  I had to redo it once when I realized my creek bed didn't look realistic enough, but in the end I got what I wanted.  
I contoured the ground, laid landscape fabric, then added bark and the river rock.


This was my first try at installing a lawn edge too. I did what made sense and then filled in the bark on one side and topsoil on the other, the grass will fill in on its own.


All in all it turned out well I thought.  The only cost to me was 3 bags of bark at $2 each and a half bag of topsoil, around $2 worth.  The lawn edging was less than $10 and  I already had the yard art and the ferns, as well as the river rock which was at the end of my driveway.  Oh I also bought that black pot for the small bamboo, $7.

It's an easy DIY project for dramatic results, low investment and no landscape professionals to pay either! 

Next week is about the back privacy deck area that gets a little make over.  Stay tuned!! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bamboo Privacy Screen


This is a simple and easy project with instant results.  Can't beat that in the DIY world!  
I wanted to create a semi private area in my front yard near the Japanese maple tree. Someplace I could sit and enjoy my yard - alone - and out of view.  Let me note here that I really only have one neighbor, but I am also in full view of the local trail that heads up into the woods.

This is an 8 foot long bamboo screen from Home Depot, 4 feet high.  I built a frame with reclaimed wood from my project wood pile.  Treated 4x4's, a 2x6 and an untreated 2x4.  Let me give a shout out to a friend of mine who donated the 8 foot treated 2x6!!



 This is also portable!!  I built it that way so I could move it around the yard if I wanted to.  The screen is wired to the stand so it too can be removed or replaced as needed.


This little area is also getting a make over.  I am adding gravel here since the grass never grew there anyway.

Stay tuned for next week as I finally get the project photos up from the front Zen Garden up!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fern Frenzy

The Spring and Summer are really heating up around Huck Hollow, and I don't mean the weather!  It has been a slow warming trend in my part of the Pacific Northwest, a teaser sunny day here and there in the low to mid 70's, nothing like our unusually hot May where we were hitting mid 80's.
Such is life here though, and we just have to roll with it.  The lush plant life is hardy here, toughing out all kinds of weather.  Gardening is tricky though.

I have five (yes 5!) blog posts to get out to you over the coming weeks.  I have been crazy busy around here with outdoor projects.  To start off the show, I have been studying ferns.  I know, a little late for this northwest native, and I have been taking them for granted all these years.

I have several types of interesting ferns here at my Huck Hollow, and I work with several more at a clients vacation home nearby.



This is the Ostrich fern, the tall one in the back. (In the front is a deer fern). It has the most unusual way of coming out in Spring.  This one is taken in my yard, but the following images are taken from the cabin.  





These are early, early Spring, probably March actually.  They have the most uncanny way of uncurling out and up.  They continue to do this throughout the summer!



These are Harte's Tongue.  Apparently there are several sub species of these, but I'm going to generalize here as I am not a botanist.  These are deciduous as well, to some degree, as I have to cut back the old ones each year.



These freaky little guys are my favorite.  The book has several sub species with long names, but I think the general term is a Cristata.  They remind me of a caterpillar or a centipede, as they uncurl outward, looking like a million tiny legs.

So this is my contribution to the fern world.  I never knew there were so many ferns!!!  Many of whom live right here in my neck of the woods. 

Stay tuned, next week I have a project post for a bamboo screen privacy fence.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Spring Wildflowers

Touring the yard this time of year becomes an enjoyable part of my day since new things are blooming all the time.  Growth is explosive and lush, as if it just can't wait to express it's fullness.


I love these miniature iris.  They stay in bloom for several days.  I rescued them from a weedy spot in the ground and replanted them in pots.  It took two seasons for them to bloom again, but they are doing well now.


The chives have already grown and blossomed!  I love these little puff balls.  I usually cut back the first round of blooms so I can get a more tender chive, but this month they are all eager to bloom.



I have several lovely wild columbine around the yard in different colors, they are just coming out.  And the lupine is starting to show it's color as well.

More photos to come!!!




Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wild Wild Rhodies

One of my favorite times in Spring is when the wild Rhododendrons begin to bloom.



I love how they just know how to grow and thrive and bloom all by themselves. One of my easiest plants!

I strolled through the property this morning as the sun was coming up and got these little treasures as well.




I am also amazed at ferns.  They are so elegant as they unravel into perfect fronds of feathery green.


 Of course I cannot forget the huckleberries.... for they are everywhere.  At this time of the Spring, they are blossoming and in shades of pink and red leaves.


So Spring carries on, bringing color and life to my hillside.