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Archive for the 'Lawn and gardens' Category

Hey Kids, Get Off My Lawn!

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
By Christa Terry

I will freely admit that if I lived on a corner lot, kids and grownups walking over my lawn to shorten their journeys by a few feet would drive me absolutely out of my mind. I am a stickler about grass even if I do find dandelions cheerful and see no problem with letting them do their thing in my lawn for a few months. Even if I subscribe to the values of the Food Not Lawns movement and grow squash and other produce in part of my front lawn. Even if I hate most yard work other than trimming the hedges. A brown streak in my lawn? No thank you!

Get off my lawn!

But I might stop short of installing a corner fence if I didn’t already have some sort of fencing. A tiny little bit of fence just seems so odd and out of place, leaving me to wonder whether I’d rather deal with a funny fence or a path running through my lawn. Am I the only one who thinks that corner fences look just a bit weird?

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? Nah…

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
By Christa Terry

I have a good but casual relationship with many of my neighbors, especially since having a baby. Nothing encourages crossing the street or popping around the fence more readily than a fresh-out-of-the-womb infant! We chat about the weather and gardening and the baby, of course. We wave hello if we are in our cars. We occasionally lend one another implements like wheel barrows, and once, my neighbor Paul even took pity on our snowblower-less butts and plowed our driveway! And yet, there’s a closeness lacking that might be nice to have. If I needed a cup of sugar, I’d drive to the Stop & Shop rather than knock on a neighbor’s door.

bad neighbors

With that in mind, I was intrigued by a post over at The Simple Dollar that explained how one could set up a simple neighborhood cooperative.

Household equipment Why not share a lawnmower with your neighbor? How about a snowblower? One great model for this exists in our neighborhood, where one person owns a snowblower and provides fuel for it, but is not in good enough physical shape to operate it. Thus, one of her neighbors actually operates the snowblower, using it to blow the snow out of both driveways (and often doing a large swath of the block’s entire sidewalk as well).

Gardening If two or three neighbors all have gardens, why not specialize the gardens and freely share the produce? This allows one family to focus specifically on a crop or two, making garden maintenance easier for all of the people involved. You can even carry this to the level of canning and/or freezing, agreeing to swap prepared garden products with neighbors.

There are other ideas in the post, though I’m not sure how readily I’d leave my baby with a neighbor or share cooking duties on a weekly basis. I would like to get to know my neighbors, however, as previous to this, I’ve been living in apartments for years and years. This was in the cheapest possible sections of Brooklyn, so there was a lot more wall banging and language barriers than friendly interaction. Now I’m curious to know how well you are acquainted with your neighbors.

Gifts For the Home: The Under $20 Edition

Monday, December 15th, 2008
By Christa Terry

Ack! The apex of the holiday season is approaching fast! What would last-minute gift buyers do without Amazon’s 2-day shipping? My guess is show up shame-facedly at holiday gatherings where grab bags and white elephant games constitute the evening’s entertainment. When you know who you’re buying for, it makes sense to spend a little cash on holiday gifts, but when you’re anonymously wrapped package is going in a sack and may just end up in the hands of that guy from accounting who you cannot stand, why pay more than twenty bucks?

Here are six holiday gifts that won’t set you back more than two ten-spots.

rooster salt and pepper shakersskeletal flamingospoodle watering can
french soapschicken pitcherten picture frames

As usual, click on the pics for more info. Remember, all is not lost. There is still time to buy holiday gifts for all the people on your list (loved and hated alike) without succumbing to the press of the crowd and the overwhelming atmosphere of the mega-mall.

Forget the Fertilizer, Break Out the Paint

Friday, November 7th, 2008
By Christa Terry

Selling foreclosures has to be a pain. When The Beard and I were looking at houses, we saw a few foreclosures and all of them had been trashed. I’m not saying that every foreclosed homes everywhere has been given a nasty once over, but I will put forth that houses that sit empty long enough begin to look…well, empty. A house with a rock “lawn” or lots of shrubs may not lose all that much curb appear for lack of care, but lawns can drop dead pretty darned quickly.


Some banks trying to sell empty homes are apparently taking the easy way out when it comes to lawn care. Companies like the Greener Grass Company in California and Tate Turf Painting in South Carolina will paint a lawn green for about $200. The benefits, according to Tate, are multifold:

  • Have a green lawn in hours, not weeks or months
  • Less expensive than the overall costs of over seeding
  • Environmentally safe, no harmful chemicals in our paint
  • Lasts up to 3 months
  • Protects the lawn from harsh winter temperatures
  • No mowing during the winter
  • No Spring Transition Period
  • Prepares grass to “green up” on its own faster in Spring

Apparently, it won’t harm the individual blades of grass or the root system, and the paint itself is applies in such a way that sunlight can still reach each blade. It seems odd, but at the same time, is intriguing. A quarter of my lawn recently died mysteriously, and we’re not quite sure what to do about it.

Two Buddhas

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
By Christa Terry

Like I said over at Manolo for the Brides, this is going to be a light week where posting is concerned because I’m nowhere near a computer. Thank you, timestamp editor! Anyway, now that it’s getting colder (in MA and WA both) my thoughts turn to garden furniture and accessories. That’s right, even as my rhubarb is getting brown and crispy in its bed, I’m thinking ahead to the glorious springtime that’s only a handful of months away. I’m not crazy — it’s just that now is the best time to find stuff for the garden on sale!

Garden Thai Buddha - Medium

This Thai Sukhothai Buddha is made with real granite and a touch of reinforced fiberglass for outdoor durability. I don’t know about you, but he makes me feel serene.

Garden Buddha - Medium

On the other hand, the traditional laughing Buddha (Buddha Maitreya) makes me feel happy! Just like his friend up there, he’s made of granite and fiberglass so he can sit out in your garden without losing his big ol’ grin.

Both are on sale at Bellacor for %15 off the usual price. Now that’s bliss!

They make take our lawns, but they’ll never take…our** freedom!

Thursday, July 17th, 2008
By Christa Terry

Full disclosure: The Beard and I have a lawn. I wish I could bring myself to join the anti-lawn movement — cars all over my town sport FOOD NOT LAWNS bumper stickers — but I can hardly keep on top of the garden I already have, which is comprised of one rhubarb, four romaine lettuces, five broccolis, some carrots, and a few onions. This is one isolated in case in which I’d rather destroy than create. Pushing my squeaky old fashioned mower over my little patch of the world is wonderfully cathartic.

Too much work to be worth it?

But while I don’t have to lovingly hunch over every inch of the thing sweating and swearing about beetles with a taste for salad greens, my lawn is not entirely maintenance free. Caring for it has brought up some interesting conundrums. I wanted to get a proper fertilizer and crabgrassicide until The Beard reminded me that we let the cats out, and they have a taste for grass. He wanted a proper power mower until I said they spewed pollution. We both wanted to pull the weeds until we read a notice sent from the city encouraging people to let ’em grow for various green reasons.


It’s a nice day for some…white wicker

Monday, July 7th, 2008
By Christa Terry

The Beard and I spent the weekend jumping from shop to shop, looking for the perfect patio set. What we saw was somewhat dismaying…the sturdy metal chairs had flimsy plastic seats while most of the umbrella-ready tables were far too big for our modest deck. Even boxed, the sets we liked were too big to fit into our car, and we weren’t willing to pay $250 for shipping on a $500 item!

It’s a nice day for some white wicker

We eventually settled on a white wicker set from Target that received rave reviews from just about everyone who bought it. At some point in the future we’ll be buying an umbrella, but that can wait. All in all, I’m pretty excited and hope it arrives quickly.

Interestingly, wicker refers not to a material, but rather to the act of weaving fibers together. A wicker chair or table may be crafted from rattan reed, bamboo, or paper fibre rush, and a lot of the wicker-style furniture in the world today is made of plastic. Natural wicker is susceptible to the elements, so it has to be covered and brought inside when not in use…or, at the very least, in the wintertime. Unlike molded plastic patio furniture, it won’t last ages and ages.

The good news is that wicker can last quite a while with proper care, as outlined in this NY Times article. Cleaning and sealing are musts!

Choices, choices, choices (II)…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
By Christa Terry

The house that The Beard and I own — or sort of own, because a goodly portion of it still belongs to Wells Fargo — came complete with a backyard deck painted a sort of rusty red color that burns the hell out of our feet on summer afternoons. We’ve got a power sander and a couple of jugs of deck stain at the ready. What we don’t have is time!

Recently, my MIL was in town along with one of The Beard’s cousins, my own mother, and her partner. Watching our relatives carry kitchen chairs out onto the deck was a bit humbling, to say the least. We’d had two of those molded plastic chairs one can buy at the Family Dollar and a little matching table, which was fine for us. Then The Beard dropped one off of the side of the deck, meaning no more leisurely Saturday morning outdoor breakfasts. For now, at least.

Well, it seems my MIL noticed the lack of outdoor seating because before she left, she presented The Beard with a check for a thousand dollars to put toward a nice patio set. Now I’m wasting precious time scouring the Internet for ideas. I can’t decide whether to buy something chic for two (seeing as that we’ll be the ones using it 99% of the time) or a set that can accommodate larger numbers.

Here are two possibilities:

Provence Garden Set (2 chairs, 1 table) $60 surcharge

The Provence garden set would be perfect for those intimate breakfasts mentioned above, but less than ideal when guests were in town.

Al Fresco Folding Teak Table ($100 surcharge)

The Al Fresco teak set, on the other hand, would allow us to play host to at least three other people.

We’re gravitating toward something durable that’s less than the amount donated by my MIL so we can buy a few other things for our home. I’m thinking about picking up this lamp from Bellacor:

Fiesta Blue Table Lamp

It’s lovely, it matches my living room scheme, and it costs a mere $151, which doesn’t seem like a lot when you have a thousand bucks to play with. Would I spring for it normally? Probably not because I like the thrifting game too much, but the rules have changed for the time being!

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    Christa Terry
    (a.k.a. Never teh Bride)


    Manolo the Shoeblogger