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As I sit here in my seventh month of pregnancy. Oh wait, did I not share those details?!? Well, hardy hardy and fiddle dee dee, look at me!

Bam! Something's cookin' in that oven #aintnofat

Bam! Something’s cookin’ in that oven #aintnofat

Continuing on, I am craving fruit smoothies like it’s an episode of “Last Man On Earth” and fresh fruit will soon disappear from a post-viral world, and I have heartburn like a veteran chain smoker and alcoholic, or at least how I imagine one with unhealthy life habits would live #judgementfreeunlessitsfunny

Here’s a few more highlights and then it’s down to bizness time:

True facts about the SHS:

  • I am a licensed landscape architect #passedtheLARE!
  • I am working as a landscape architect, (for realz, yall!) at a fantastic firm that puts up with my bold personality
  • Ben and I have the income to start working on household projects, (6 years later ain’t too shabby, right?!? Can I get a witness?!?) (Like that kitchen floor that’s badly in need of an actual floor covering since there will be a tiny person crawling around soon)
  • We have a dog! She’s so pretty she makes me feel like I’m in the popular crowd.
  • We have actual friends in the neighborhood! Instead of the bat shit crazy, blasting music at all hours but claiming they moved here “for the peace and quiet of nature” (#HotelCaliforniaisdeadtome) , trespassing on private property and then getting upset when that property is developed, digging through other peoples’ trash, allowing drug dealing boyfriends to live in one’s house then criticizing us for our unclean gutters variety, we know decent, wonderful human beings. DUDE. There are young people (and older people too) and they are lovely, and I finally feel like all the torture we’ve been put through is paying off. Shirley win, rant over.

Because of my burgeoning belly, I have been banished from yard work; especially of the lifting, digging, hauling kind. Oh, whoa is me! I must eat a mango popsicle on the veranda while watching an attractive younger man do my yard work for me. Life is SO hard you guys, so hard.

Property highlights:

  • No nasty garden bed in the front yard. Endearing? yes. Attractive? No.
  • Half the driveway is gone! We replaced it with a secluded courtyard. Fancy pants.
  • Our backyard is finally fenced in. Lord Jesus in Heaven, this makes me happy every day. The squirrels are chewing up the metal ties (yes, I said metal, and yes, I said they were chewing. We have “My strange addiction” type squirrels here.)
  • The woodpile is mostly gone, meaning, less snakes, less crappy backyard views, and I can finally work on a screen for that side of the property.
  • Speaking of screens, the one along the bad neighbor side is complete and lovely. We FINALLY have some privacy from the bottom-dwellers; at least visually. Audibly? We’re still working on screening the chain-smoking, hack-laughter, and ear-raping terrible music choices made by those with an obviously friend-free lifestyle that we are assaulted with on a daily basis. I practice the art of self-control and venting through the proper channels daily. #Iamaworkinprogress.
  • We have a proper table and chairs. 6 years of sitting on the grass or in camping chairs came to a glorious end last fall when we scored a sweet deal on end of season lawn furniture. We. Are. Adults.
  • We’re getting better with the maintenance of it all; now that the property is mostly structured out, and if we can avoid things like: surgery, academies, hurricanes and pregnancy that seem to pop up during the spring/summer months and make one or both us unable to contribute to the care of the yard, we can finally get a handle on keeping it looking spotless. In my own mind, my yard gets Yard of the Month, every month.

Words over. PICTURES!!!!

Panorama, bitches!!!!! IPAD, the fanciest electronic I've ever known. Now I can obnoxiously whip it out at family gatherings to take amazing photos. What? You don't like cameras the size of books thrown in your face? Peon.

Panorama, bitches!!!!! IPAD, the fanciest electronic I’ve ever known. Now I can obnoxiously whip it out at family gatherings to take amazing photos. What? You don’t like cameras the size of books thrown in your face? Peon.

Seriously? Love this.

Seriously? Love this.

Woodpile? Mostly gone...will be filled in soon.

Woodpile? Mostly gone…will be filled in soon.

This bed is slowly coming along..

This bed is slowly coming along..

Will be a new sanctuary one day...

Will be a new sanctuary one day…

Can you find Amelia? And favorite spot in the yard.

Can you find Amelia? And favorite spot in the yard.

Dog in wild.

Dog in wild.

More barberry on liriope action. Be still my beating heart

More barberry on liriope action. Be still my beating heart

Trust me, those peonies bloomed their hearts out this year. I snapped a photo too late.

Trust me, those peonies bloomed their hearts out this year. I snapped a photo too late.

View from the street, no box! Just lawn, beautiful lawn

View from the street, no box! Just lawn, beautiful lawn

Rosy glows....you're thorny, and magnificent. How I imagine Veronica from Archie comics is in real life.

Rosy glows….you’re thorny, and magnificent. How I imagine Veronica from Archie comics is in real life. And that Tulip poplar that craps on my roof?!?! Will be gone in June. Blessed day, come soon!

The loropetalum epically failed this winter, so it has been biblically hacked. Otherwise, look at that color!!! I drool.

The loropetalum epically failed this winter, so it has been biblically hacked. Otherwise, look at that color!!! I drool.

Gratuitous outdoor living view. Mangled grill and all. Survived the great tree-capade of 2012, still functions beautifully.

Gratuitous outdoor living view. Mangled grill and all. Survived the great tree-capade of 2012, still functions beautifully.

That once was a driveway. Benjamin hauled away 9,000 lbs of asphalt. Oh, and we have a fully fenced in backyard. Sometimes, I pinch myself.

That once was a driveway (still a work in progress). Benjamin hauled away 9,000 lbs of asphalt. Oh, and we have a fully fenced in backyard. Sometimes, I pinch myself.

A genuine table, chairs and umbrella. The simple things, people.

A genuine table, chairs and umbrella. The simple things, people.

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Just wanted to document publicly how beautifully the yard is shaping up this year, thanks to our monsoon-like spring and summer. Never before have I been so happy to see so much rain!!

 

The front yard's continuing evolution

The front yard’s continuing evolution

This marks the first year the ENTIRE line of daylilies has ever bloomed!

This marks the first year the ENTIRE line of daylilies has ever bloomed!

And I never thought the liriope would fill in as fast as it has...

And I never thought the liriope would fill in as fast as it has…

The tried and true azalea bed, now comes with hostas and liriope

The tried and true azalea bed, now comes with hostas and liriope

Two years later, and we are ALMOST through chopping up the wood from Hurricane Irene.

Two years later, and we are ALMOST through chopping up the wood from Hurricane Irene.

THIS? This is my favorite view of the yard. I'm in my own backyard hideaway!

THIS? This is my favorite view of the yard. I’m in my own backyard hideaway!

I remember looking at this bed and dreaming of the day when it would look as lush as this :o)

I remember looking at this bed and dreaming of the day when it would look as lush as this :o)

New “to us” Kitchen floor!

Finally. Kitchen reno is taking longer than expected, and in the meantime, we are loosening up our hopes and having some gosh darn awesomesauce fun. PAINT. Folks, if you don’t know paint, paint should be your new best friend. Paint is inexpensive, covers many flaws, and sincerely makes your world a better place. It’s alot like mulch in that sense. Or cheese. Or ice cream. Or cheese pie….mmmmmmmm.

Before, or rather, what we have been living with for the past year:

Subfloor – the stuff dreams are not made of…

On a recent trip to Lowes, we found this stuff called “floor” paint. Who knew? Actually, I mean, I DID know it existed, but didn’t know how awesome it would make life. I mean, really. Paint made for floors. I love this modern age.

Dark grey goodness…

And with the furniture:

It’s a whole new kitchen!!!

It’s  temporary solution, but feels so lovely after a year of nasty.

 

Welcome to the Jungle…

This my friends, is what happens to one’s garden when one owner is a temporary invalid and the other owner has a new job. Be warned. These pictures out of anything are airing our “dirty laundry”. Our poor poor yard.

Where are the planting beds? I don’t know!

We look like hoodlums

Oh, this will get remedied. Just as soon as I’m allowed to go outside again. But for now, we are those neighbors. I hate being those neighbors.

 

Missing the north

Maybe it’s my Mennonite roots, maybe it’s the fact that no matter how drought ridden Richmond can be, Pennsylvania always looks green and lush, or just merely that a good portion of my favorite people happen to live north of me…..but leaving it to come back to reality was T-O-U-G-H.

Starting with this cutie:

I spent the majority of my time trying to make her laugh

and also hanging out with her fabulous parents, who are officially my heroes. Not only are they funny, gracious and totally loving, they have the most well-behaved dogs EVER (makes me like dogs again) and they are raising their daughter with the perfect balance of laid-back calm and discipline, all wrapped up in absolute adoration of her. They are learning her as she grows, and not sacrificing themselves in the process, and they waited until they were ready. I’m sure they don’t know how much of a positive impact they made, (now they will!) but they are beacons of light to me. Further evidence that parenthood is something not to be taken lightly, but to be prepared for, and taken on your own timeline, not parents’ or co-workers timelines.

Off my soapbox.

I then got to see my other half and her husband in New York; i.e., the titan-haired Sara. We made a new friend:

Hello, sea monster

and Sara and Joe showed us their Syracuse – we went for a jog around a Caribbean blue lake bordered with spruces and firs (literally, BLUE), we ate delicious vegetarian food with some awesome people and I learned a new game that I’m determined to bring southward – “Can Jam”. Thank you northerners for spelling that correctly, and not succumbing to “Kan Jam”. And we wandered about downtown, and promptly fell in love.

The Erie Canal once passed between these two buildings

Syracuse, too, embraces art, and embraces the best kind – legal graffiti on bridges and overpasses

They also have a walk along the water – Richmond has a canal, Syracuse a creek.

We sat out on their porch and felt the gentle wind in our hair, I ate macaroons (I seem to remember someone telling me they were delicious, and they were RIGHT), and we visited kindred spirits. Not lying, I may have cried once or three times on the way home.

This time around, we had smart phones, so we were able to detour ANYWHERE we wanted too, without having to purchase maps of anything. I felt SO powerful, being able to direct us exactly where we needed to go without getting lost. A few highlights:

-Binghamton, NY- beautiful architecture, but some rough streets, we got scared and drove fast through the town.

-Scranton, PA – kept humming “the Office” theme song, but only found one of the stock shots. Ate at a REAL Italian deli (gruff, no-nonsense ladies and everything) “Carmella’s” (we “yelp”ed it) and PEOPLE. Let me tell you. EAT THERE and eat an ECLAIR. I have never ever ever had an eclair that I liked. the “boston creme” that I’ve only ever had looks like a bad sinus infection, and I generally dislike them. THIS ECLAIR???? NOT SO. It was so delicious, it was tots awesome-sauce. I’m jealous of Scranton-ites.

-Wilkes-Barre (pronounced Wilkes-Berry we were told) – absolutely stunning. The Susquehanna River runs through it, there are beautiful bridges, parks, and homes, and the streets were filled with beautiful people. WHO KNEW? I didn’t.

-Gettysburg, PA – another “yelp” find, a perfect little coffee house (the Ragged Edge Coffee house) that made me go out and buy granola and yogurt and fruit when I got back to Richmond. We saw the gorgeous college end of town, before the magic was destroyed by the tourist end of town, and then we got depressed by the battlefields. Oh, yeah, that’s right, that’s what it’s known for. NOT awesome coffeehouses. Except for nowwwwwwww!

Thanks for the memories, PA, NY, Sara, Joe, Andrea, KC, and Leah. :o)

xxxooooo,

Sara

 

 

Taking advantage of vertical space

Holographic squash plants.

Fulfilling my front yard’s color destiny

Nasty seems to be the nom de plume of this writer these days. It’s nothing a little Janet Jackson and a walk by the river can’t fix, eh? Let’s focus on lovely things, shall we? Or in the words of Grete Dollitz, “Won’t you join me?”

Heaven’s light…or twilight.

Go west young woman….

How decadent would it be to sit on that green green grass and just listen? I didn’t, I promise. It says No Trespassing. But owners, if you’re reading, my name is Sara and I appreciate lawn. Call me.