Monday, September 29, 2014

Summer Wrap-Up

Summer is over! And I've been a bad blogger this month mainly because we have been outside working so much. Here is a summary of the end of our summer, and some updates on the progress of our outdoor projects. It was a fun {but fast} summer. We worked on projects often. We also enjoyed our fair share of fairs, cookouts, fireworks, birthday parties, bonfires, bike rides, and fishing/kayaking ventures. I'm sure Andrew wishes there had been more fishing...

The vegetable garden was a success. All varieties of the tomatoes did well, and I was able to make some sauces. We are still harvesting yellow tomatoes, and Andrew said he saw another cluster of Roma's that look ready. The cucumber plant TOOK OVER, but after it yielded it died, so I was able to rip it out and let some of the plants around it finally see the sun. It choked out our red peppers, but we did get some surprise green peppers a week ago. Our lone spaghetti squash was a true beauty...but when I brought it inside I noticed it had a small hole. I figured I would just cut that part off. Then when I came home from work the next day, it was soft and leaking. It also smelled terrible, so I had to throw it out. Oh well! Next year we will switch things up a bit - we didn't get as many red beefsteak tomatoes, so my goal is to maximize those next summer for a little more BLT action.

We took a trip to Lakeside, OH to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary. It was perfect.

The patio continues to be a great place for gathering and sitting by the fire. The grass filled in right up next to the pavers like we hoped it would. There is one low spot where we might need to add some dirt and grass seed next year, but overall it's come a long way from where we started. We look forward to using it well into the Fall, which we are now ready for & welcoming with open arms. Andrew is already pretty anxious to buy a few pumpkins for the front stoop. Speaking of the front...

We also shuffled things around a little bit with regard to the landscaping. Earlier this summer I had planted some ground cover {a variety of different ground covers, actually} in front of the stone wall. None of them really ended up growing into the picture I saw in my mind. Andrew wasn't really a fan either, but neither of us could figure out what to do to improve things. So we just let it all sit for a while. When we got back from our little Lake Erie trip, I was inspired to do some rearranging! The cottages up in Lakeside have cute little yards, so I returned home with some good ideas. I moved the ground covers and consolidated them around some rocks, used leftover patio pavers to make a little path to our hose spigot, and we planted our boxwood and some mums. We might add a small decorative tree beside the spiral arbor vitae, but for now we are content.

The deck (read about here and here) is definitely coming along! We had family over this weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday, and we were happy to put the steps on it so people didn't have to leap off. We still want to add railings to the steps and caps to the 4x4 posts, but for now it's functional and we are enjoying it. We were able to get a nice set of furniture for it at a very reasonable price, too.

Our plan for Fall and Winter is to switch gears and work on a few things inside of the house. So check back in periodically to see what we're up to next.

Thanks for reading!


Here we have a nice BIG canvas for a nice little baby. The canvas is 18 x 24 inches - the largest birth announcement I've painted - and it is for Andrew's cousin who lives in Columbus. We happened to be in town for a concert the night before, so we stopped over the following day to drop off the canvas and have lunch. We had a great time catching up & meeting baby Declan for the first time. He is quite the snuggler!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Phase III - The Rebuilding Process

Can we all just take a minute to appreciate the fact that rebuilding a deck is hard? Maybe not if you are in construction by trade...but hard for a biologist (Andrew) and a nurse (me). But that will not stop Team Farber! I'm a sucker for doing things myself and so is Andrew. It takes a lot for us to want to wave the white flag & pay a professional. Sure, we'll gripe a little along the way if the project isn't coming together as envisioned. But fact of the matter is, we love the feeling of admiring the finished product we made with our own two (four?) hands {and the hands of others who pitch in. Fist pump for the pitcher-inners!}


Andrew & I originally set out this summer to completely renovate the back yard. We built and planted a raised garden bed, leveled earth and laid a paver patio, and last but not least: THE DECK. So here we are in September, with Fall peeking right around the corner...and we basically blew our original deadline. Yep. Blew it. But are we 80% finished? Heck yes we are.

Things have been kind of weird & unpredictable this summer with regard to inclement weather. Rain kept pushing work on the deck back a day...back a day...back a day. Well summer is made of days, and we started running out! Additionally, we like to get off the property every once and a while for date nights, baseball games, mini-golfing, ice cream runs, bonfires & cookouts with friends. Those are all crucial parts of summer, too.

Luckily, we did some major damage on the deck over the three-day Labor Day weekend. The deck boards and 4x4 posts were already in place. Andrew and I spent the majority of Monday building the railings. 11 sections with 6-7 spindles each. At the end of the day, his wrist was numb from drilling and my thighs were burning from squatting & holding wood plumb with the level. But we felt totally accomplished & went out for celebratory wine and eats at Gervasi!

Everything is coming together and looking even better than we had hoped. All that remains is installing the railings and adding the two sets of stairs. The end of the Farber Backyard Update is in sight. When we're totally finished, we want to have a big bash to celebrate our new outdoor spaces.It will be nice to sit back and appreciate all of the hard work!

Thanks for reading!