Welcoming Pathways

Among the changes to The Glade as part of the renovation will be a larger, central front door. While the new option is exciting, like every change, it means other subsequent changes will be necessary.

Projected placement of the front door.

 One of those changes will be the path, currently brick herringbone, leading up to the front door.

Currently, the walkway to the front door from the driveway is brick.

 The run of this walkway will need to be redesigned to accomodate a larger front entrance porch and should complement the materials used to make the front and side porch surfaces. I’ve been considering of what the decks of the new porches should be made.

    • Concrete – The landings near our entrance doors are made from formed concrete.  They’re very basic and not very attractive.

      The front stoop (oh, how I dislike that word) at The Glade.
    • Brick
        • Pavers
      • Field stone
    • Blue stone
    • Wood

Some of these elements are can work together to give a distinctive look. For instance stone can be bordered by brick to tie the different materials together.

(The sources for the above pictures can be found on my Pinterest board Paths, Porches and Walkways.)


What is your paving preference? Do you like to combine elements?


First Spring Planting 2012

The first seeds going into the potager at The Glade this year are sugar snap peas, radishes and collards.

Early crops - Collard greens, radishes and sugar snap peas

There are 16 smaller squares in each 4 by 4 square in the garden.

Each large square is marked with 16 small squares.

Each of these crops has a unique spacing in a squarefoot garden. Perhaps the most unusual are the peas. Normally a square is planted with 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants evenly spaced in the 1 foot by 1 foot square.

8 pea plants in each square foot

 Peas and beans, however, use 2 rows of 4 (thus 8) plants per square.

 The second crop is collards which have 4 plants per 1 foot square.

Finally, Charlie planted a variety pack of radishes all of which are planted 16 to a square.

Peas, collards and radishes can withstand some mild frost and benefit from cool weather. After planting the seeds, Charlie watered them

Seeds are well-watered when first planted.

and topped them with an old window to keep them warm.

An old window helps warm the soil and protects the seeds.

Maybe one day we’ll actually make some cold frames from our old windows.

Do you use a cold frame? Have you begun your spring planting yet? What are you favorite crops?

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Frugal Garden Upgrade

We’ve had a squarefoot garden at The Glade for almost 10 years.  The garden has grown from four 4-foot by 4-foot squares to 16 this year.

2011 Garden at The Glade

We have always used salvaged wood (1 by 6s) to create the squares.

2011 garden squares made with 1 by 6s.

This year since we are rebuilding from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene we’re going to use 2 by stock.

Salvaged "2 by" stock ready to be cleaned, cut and used.

We noticed while driving down the boulevard recently someone had crashed into a sign and fence (not on private property) which after a couple of weeks had not been cleaned up nor repaired.

Charlie nailed the corners together with large (maybe 14 d) nails.

Charlie helped the clean up effort by clearing away some of the broken lumber. To his delight there were lots of 2 by 6s and 2 by 8s from which 4-foot sections could be salvaged.

The new square is ready to be situated in the garden.

He began rebuilding the frames for his garden squares one by one from the salvaged wood.

2" by 6" by 48" garden square - 1 down, 15 to go

This substantial lumber gives the garden a more permanent and architectural appearance.

Do you reuse old broken stuff?

Sidebar: When nailing into wood (especially with large common nails) hammer the tips of the nails so they don’t split the wood.

Flatten the tip so nails don't split wood.

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Entrance to the Potager

We planned our 2012 garden here and here.  This summer we’re going for a potager style with a more formal entrance than we’ve had in the past.

Groundplan of projected 2012 potager

 We started the entrance by dividing and transplanting lilac on the outer edge of the planned entrance area here.

The transplanted lilacs are circled in yellow.

 Between the lilacs on either side of the projected gate we’re transplanting 6 lavender plants: 3 on each side.  One of the plants has been growing for a few years in a square in the vegetable garden. (The big green blob in the 2nd row, 2nd column in the groundplan above.)

The grey blob is one lavender plant.

 Charlie trimmed it back hard to make it easier to transplant. We also have 5 scraggly lavender plants on the west side of the foundation which need to be moved for the renovation we’re planning.

Close up of the lavender in front and box behind.

 Charlie leveled the soil between the lilac bushes and planted the lavender.

The plants are scruffy but a large root ball helps the plants settle into their new home.

 We accented the main path by clearing the lamb’s ear where the path begins at the edge of the driveway and laying 4 river stones we had picked up on vacation some years ago. (For a better look at the lamb’s ear refer to the photo above with the yellow-circled lilac bushes.)

We're trying to decide the best arrangement of the river stone path into the potager.

 Eventually the river stones will be impressed into the soil with only a stepping stone remaining. Then we’ll plant some of the plentiful indigenous moss we have growing throughout the yard.

The structure of the potager begins to take shape.

 We hoping all the rich, dark soil will soon be covered with new growth.

Looking toward the house at the potager entrance.

 Every project in the garden counts on growth in the future.

Do you have a hopeful project? Is it too soon to get started?

Nature’s Carpet

The title of this post is just a nice way of saying our yard at The Glade is covered in moss.

The greenish-yellow patches are moss.

 I don’t know much about moss but it appears there is more than one type.  A close-up of the moss above reveals a wooly carpet.

This is the pervasive moss in our yard.
Some of the moss is soft like velvet and sprouts thin blades through the soft green growth.
A tuft of beautiful, soft moss

 Another moss growing nearby is reddish in color and seems to have a totally different growth pattern.

This moss is brick-red contrasting against the bright green.

 The small shoots from this red moss are squiggly in contrast to the straight blades of the green moss.

Red moss

 In a shadier part of the yard near our marble-seated bench is another patch of green moss. 

All the moss is soft and velvety.

 Do you have moss? Do you like moss?


February Jonquils

I’m typing this post with my right hand only since I had my left shoulder operated on a few days ago. It’s healing very well but I have a huge sling/icing contraption that keeps my left arm fairly immobile.

In the mean time I took a stroll through the yard a couple of days ago and saw shoots of daffodils.

Not long before we'll see hosts of golden daffodils.

 Like any large yard, we have microclimates: some parts of the yard are warmer and some are cooler. In front of the Cottage which has some nice morning sun, the daffodil buds were starting to open.

Not long before these flowers will be fully blossoming.

 Sure enough the very next day these yellow daffodils are in bloom.

These pretty little jonquils have deep yellow trumpets and butter yellow petals.

 These 2 photos are of the very same flowers shot one day apart.  It won’t be long before spring is truly here and all the bulbs will be blooming. My favorites are the delicate white ones that bloom later in the season, in the mean time I’m truly grateful for these yellow harbingers of warmer weather.

I love that daffodils are also known as jonquils as well as narcissi. By which name do you refer to them?

Can You Really Call It a Basement?

Most of our house is built over crawl space. There is one underground room that houses our furnace, hot water heater and sump pump.

Last year during Hurricane Irene our electricity went out and our basement flooded because the sump pump stopped working.

The sump pump in the basement.

Water climbed up the walls about 6 inches and covered the pilot light in the hot water heater.  We had an issue relighting the water heater but that has been resolved along time ago. (We couldn’t live without hot water, after all.)

The walls were another situation entirely. On the bottom of the cinder block walls grew a soft white crystalline fuzz that looked something like polyester quilt batting or fiberglass insulation.

Wall fuzz

We knew it had to gooooooooo.

So Charlie dressed in his hazardous materials uniform and washed down the basement walls with a chlorine bleach mixture.

Charlie bravely goes where no one else will.

Then he rinsed the whole place with water which he sucked away with our wet-dry vacuum.

The wet/dry vac sucks up excess water.

I don’t go down the basement very often but it looks and smells much better.

The fuzz is gone and the walls are clean and dry.

Now we just need to add a few shelves or cabinets to hold the paint and tools we keep down there.

Do you have a dirty (but necessary) job awaiting you?