finally, some time working in the yard

What a gorgeous day today: 73 degrees and sunny, and here it is November 5. (Happy birthday Dad!) It’s supposed to be almost as nice tomorrow, though it may rain late in the day.

We spent the afternoon working in the yard. Finally! It already looks better than it did this time last year: last fall, we didn’t rake or do the final mow or cleanup. I did get some tulips and lilies in (and was very glad of it in the spring!), but outside of that, we neglected the yard. But not this year.

Stanley mowed and blew the leaves and I raked (and raked and raked) to clean out the garden beds enough so I could plant my current batch of bulbs. I got some in today and will work tomorrow and Monday on getting the rest in. (Monday is supposed to be lovely as well.) But the major goal this weekend is to get the porch area cleaned up—there’s so much junk cluttering the porch it depresses me to see it (our office looks out onto the porch). Would really love to get the office windows washed as well, but will have to ask Stanley to help me with this.

snake's head irisI planted three sets of bulbs in our raised bed garden today (a small area beneath the picture window in the kitchen. It faces west.) I planted Snake’s Head Iris, an heirloom plant cultivated since 1597. They’re supposed to bloom very early, in March, and be fragrant. I also planted a small red-blooming witch hazel here, as well as a small, white Japanese “forsythia.” While I was cleaning things up to plant, I noticed that some of the daffodils have sprouted—probably because it’s gotten so warm. We’ve only had one light frost.

In the middle of this garden, I planted three asiatic lilies: Stones. I hope they do well here. I planted them behind the box honeysuckle I planted a while ago, which still hasn’t gotten more than a foot tall. It’s a very pretty plant. Stone asiatic lily

I also planted a bunch of little bulbs—most of which, I have no idea what will come up. They came from a “wildflower garden” bulb mixture. These the squirrels will probably dig up and either eat or move, which is ok since I figure if they go for the shallower bulbs, they’ll leave my other bulbs alone. Yeah, right. Stanley said he’d make a cage for me, and I would have gone this route had we not had a foot of rain last month which kept us from even thinking about working in the garden. Now I just want to get them in the ground before we get a hard frost.

Red Hunter TulipI’m really looking forward to seeing how the Red Hunter tulips I planted in this little patch will do. I love they way they look in the catalog pictures because they’re different than most tulips, looking more like red poppies, sort of. A tidy edge rather than ruffled. Though this picture, which I got from the Dutch Gardens catalogue, doesn’t really show it off the way other pictures I’ve seen do. It’s called “The Wisley Tulip” though I’m not sure why (yet).

Besides getting depressed looking at the untidy porch, we have another motive for making things look better. The house next door, where the weasel lives, is for sale. We’re pretty sure the couple just had a second child, and along with their little boy, we can see how living on Strawberry Hill Avenue would not be the best place to raise kids. Way too much traffic with most of it speeding. Including the Norwalk police. At any rate, they put it on the market for $650,000—an amazing amount of money considering it’s a rather shoddy ten-year-old house on less than one-fourth of an acre. But that’s pretty close to the going rate around here.

We want it to sell for that amount, so we’re trying to do our best to neaten our yard up now that the leaves are falling and we’re more visible—don’t want people to avoid buying the house because they don’t want to live in some New England version of hillbilly hills.

We live in an heirloom house (I guess that’s what you could call it) built (at least the core of it) in 1826, and we’re on a full half acre. We have no intention of selling (where they hell could we afford to move around here if we did), but it’s nice to see how much equity we have in the house without even trying—we now have more equity than mortgage left to pay. Our lot is big enough to hold two houses, so I have a hunch that the land is worth more than the house by a lot—Stanley is convinced that if we sold it, the house would just get knocked down and two new ones built in its place.

If we did move, it would be up to Litchfield County or maybe in the Connecticut River area, or even further east—or maybe even Boston. It’s fun to think about, even though I love this house and don’t want to move ever. At least not until we finish it! Stanley was born in this house, and maintains it and has a definite love - hate relationship with it (and with all of Norwalk, for that matter).

Ok, on to other things. Which I will write about later. Maybe.

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