Our Humble Homestead

The biggest thing I asked for this past weekend on Mother's Day, was for Jer to go with me to pick out some plants and flowers, and come home to work on our yard together.  Manual labor is usually the last thing on my mind when it comes to having a relaxing day, but some other mom must have invaded my body this weekend because I loved every last minute of it.

Unexpectedly, Jared got called into work on Saturday so I was sad when our family plans turned into just me digging all by myself.  But I've been challenging myself more lately to get out there, roll up my sleeves and make Rosie the Riveter proud.  And it's been good.  I am capable of more than I realize sometimes.  It was nice to have a little bit of time to myself to tend to my garden alone anyway... peace and quiet in the great outdoors.

Luckily, Jer was only at the office for an hour so he came home in time to help me finish my mulching and pruning extravaganza.  Last year, I showed pictures on my other blog of our overgrown hostas that we thinned out and pretty-fied.  This year, they came back beautifully and much more tame.  You can actually see between them now, so we mulched around them and along our pathways. 

The above shot is of the same view of the hostas from last year's post.  We couldn't even walk on the sidewalk before.  I don't think they had been taken care of for 10 years.  The hosta on the right is a little scraggly because we transplanted it that day from another area but now it has perked up and looks great.  They are so nice and easy.

I will have to trim them all up in the fall so they don't come back twice the size next year but they are much more manageable and less Super-Sized this year.  

I also mulched under our bushes and around our HUGE bleeding heart.  I'm debating if we should risk moving the bleeding heart to an area of the lawn where we could see it more but it really thrives in it's spot next to our porch.  Who knows, it could be as old as the house and I hate to move an Octogenarian Bleeding Heart so late in it's life ;)

Every year, I plant some flowers in large pots and place them on the lawn.  This is what the house looked like when we bought it and I loved the look.  

This year, I had a pretty little pot to add to my collection from Luann and Heidi.  See if you can spot where I put it later in this post.

I've heard ferns are risky, but they are my favorite and compliment the look of our house so well.  Plus they were on sale at Big Blue so I went ahead and picked up two to hang from our front porch.  

Five days later and they are still alive but one has a horrible case of bead head from the wind.  I've read up on them and it sounds like the best way to care for ferns is by keeping them in a shady but humid spot, watering daily and misting weekly.  Can any fern lovers back that up for me? :)

Last year, I redid this pretty little table and chairs, and this year I wanted a cute little pot to grace it's presence.  Succulents are my FAVORITE, so I chose to plant those in an IKEA pot I had in my cupboard.     

This might be my favorite thing I did all weekend :)

Along the west side of our house, I planted A LOT of extra flowers that ended up having no home after I dropped and broke a clay pot on our yard.  Boo.  

It livened up the area though, and will fill in quite nicely in the next few months.  

This plot of soil is where I planted Bibb and Romaine lettuce.  I don't have a large veggie garden this year (I hope to someday) but since lettuce is easy and we eat a fair amount, I thought it would be fun to try my hand at growing some.  

On the other side of the chain-link fence was where we cleaned up a TON of weeds earlier in April.  It's our property even though you couldn't see it and no one pointed it out until AFTER we bought the house. The retaining wall is all broken and falling down and weeds make their home there by the millions.  That's on the list for next summer.  It will be a doozy as the wall is about 66 feet long.  Thank goodness for father-in-laws that are masons!!

My garden wouldn't be complete without some herbs:

I love being able to go out my side door from the kitchen and pick basil or parsley for my recipes.  It's so fresh and cheap compared to the store-bought stuff.  Plus it's easy-peasy to grow.  I planted basil, parsley and lavender and the mint and oregano came back from last year.  This area will be SUPER full of herbs by the end of the summer.  Let me know if you want any :)

A view from the other direction. I love the old brick steps.

My mom gave me a Peony plant for Mother's Day (another one of my favorites) so I planted this on the corner of our house next to the herbs.  I can't wait for it to bloom in the next few years.  

We've spent a ton of time digging up lilies this year, another part of our yard that wasn't taken care of.  I would say we probably have somewhere around 500 lilies still in the ground even after digging and digging.  It's insane.  

In the backyard we dug up two feet in April since our yard is quite small and they were slowly quickly over-taking it.  They are the beast of the flower world, the first to sprout and the last to die, extremely hardly and quick to spread.  Beautiful but beastly.  

We're working on growing grass where we dug up the lilies.  Every time I look at it, I think of Josh Denhart and high school when we would go visit him and Sarah and he would proudly take us out to the grass in his backyard he was growing from seed.  No one has ever been so proud to grow grass as him ;)  Back then we had no clue of the appreciation of this talent, but boy, I do now!

We dug up more lilies along our fence line (we like them but didn't want our yard to ONLY be lilies) and planted some Azaleas.  I'm not even sure I should have planted a bush here or if it will look silly when it gets bigger but they were on sale and pretty.  Plus, last year Jared got me one for Mother's Day and the cat ate it, so this was revenge.  

We hope to plant a few more things along the fence line including a lilac bush.  You can't have a vintage house without a lilac bush in the yard :)

I never knew gardening could be so rewarding and soothing until this weekend.  I really enjoyed myself and my time with my family.  I did not enjoy my extremely achy muscles Sunday and Monday morning but it was fun to feel like I worked hard and accomplished something. It may not look like much but compared to our jungle of a yard from last year, we've come A LONG way.  

Spending so much time in our yard really made me cherish this blessing of a house.  It may be old and have it's quirks, but it's our home and it's such a special one.  Three years ago, we couldn't imagine living somewhere like this and all the memories that we would make here but I am thankful for our Humble Abode and the gift it's been.  My eyes well up with tears as I think of The Little Brick Bungalow That Could that's been entrusted to us.  It will be hard to leave this place someday.  

I have plans to attack our side yard in the next few weeks, time willing, and even stain a porch swing we were given last year.  More on that later if we get to it.  

This post wouldn't be a Mother's Day post without a picture of the two boys that gave me the gift of Mother's Day:

This biggest blessings of all.
Notice Jared's new glasses??  From different angles now, I think he looks like Clark Kent :)

So what about you, have you done any gardening or yard work yet this year?  What have you done and what do you want to do?  Do you have any advice for me??    .


  1. Everything looks great, rach! your hard work has definitely paid off! and i LOVE that patio table that you glammed up.
    we have done our fair share of gardening and yard work too! from planting a garden to uprooting the entire front yard:) we're still learning and experimenting, but that's the beauty of owning your own home!

  2. I'm a fern lover too- and yes, they do prefer indirect light and lots of humidity. It is important not to keep the soil waterlogged or their roots will rot. Looks like you had a productive weekend! We've been working on re-taming our yard, and planting a full veggie garden with plans of canning most of it. We just started off on a "raising chickens for eggs" venture too, so I'll be blogging on that next!

  3. Your lawn is beautiful, Rachel. All your hard work will bring forth a bevy of color this summer. I have a very small yard, but you have inspired me to try some planting.

    You know....I'm not sure I could see you three in any other kind of home right now. This one is definitely more than a house and you all fit it just right.

  4. I'm completely cracking up at the comment about Josh showing you the growing grass in our backyard. Too funny. A couple weeks ago, I had actually thought about moving into that house with the dirt vs. grass backyard. Seriously, there was NO grass on half of the lawn and we were SO excited when we finally got grass to grow. :)