epic backyard landscaping project: the TILLING

DUN DUN DUNNNNN. (Insert dramatic theme music here.)

This is the part of the project that keeps me up at night.  Literally–I haven’t slept well in almost a week!  Andrew’s dad has a beast of a tiller that is older than dirt, heavier than crap and covered in rust.  I’ve used it before, so I knew tilling up this much surface area with it would be quite the undertaking.   Continue reading “epic backyard landscaping project: the TILLING”

labor day

We dropped our house projects for the long weekend to host our dear friends Emily and Dan and Jen and Dave and their baby, Aiden!

They arrived Friday night and we (not-so-promptly, according to Emily) ordered Pasquale’s pizza and wings:

Early risers Hadrian and Aiden hangin’ out the next morning:

After a circuit-training workout (led by Emily!) at the park across the street, we walked to Charlie’s for brunch, then to Fisher Price (headquartered in my NEW hometown!):

Followed by refreshments at Taste!

(Aiden got ahold of my earring…)

Miss Emily posing while we walked FROM OUR HOUSE TO MAIN STREET (how awesome is that?!):

Dinner on Saturday was beef on weck and homemade salad, which we devoured before I got a chance to snap a photo:

I made a cocktail for the girls of cake-flavored vodka and chocolate coconut water, a recommendation from a cousin.  It was amazing!

Andrew made a fire in the backyard and we roasted marshmallows:

(In the interest of journalistic integrity, I feel I have to divulge this: the fire department and police may have shown up.  Well, there is no ‘may’ about it; they did.  Turns out a neighbor called our fire in, but YES, we are allowed to have a fire in our backyard.  The authorities wished us well and left almost as soon as they arrived, somewhat puzzled as to why they were called in the first place…)

The spread the next morning:

Homemade bagels and blueberry donuts!

We headed off to Niagara Falls (because what else do you do with visitors who’ve never been?!), then proceeded on to Crystal Beach (also in Canada) against our better judgement.  It was a bust, Aiden was hot and fussy–heck!  We were ALL hot and fussy–so we scrambled back across the border as fast as possible!

We were welcomed by the familiar sights and smells of Wegmans, where we ordered subs to-go and picked up Bar Bill wings on the way home.  After some showers, some grub and puttin’ our feet up, I’d say we all fully recovered from the crowded Falls and beach trip.  Emily and I made a second pilgrimage to the caboose (our local ice cream joint), where we waited for what seemed like an eternity while the post-college returnee staff was still learning the ropes…

Our company left this morning after feasting on leftover breakfast and loading up the car.  We said an enthusiastic goodbye, knowing it wouldn’t be the last.

Andrew and I wasted no time in getting back to the grind; he worked tirelessly in the laundry room (ready for ceiling lights and drywall!), while I picked up, repotted some plants, did laundry at the Layers’, organized the pantry and prepped for school.

I think I need more sleep…


a list

1.  Long time no type.  Buried in schoolwork and life.  Not necessarily in that order.  Attempting to force myself to come up for air.

2.  Chemistry is hard.  Like, fail-out-of-class hard.  (Not me, but you know what I mean.)  I knew there was a good reason to fear it back at Penn State!  Anyway, I’m doing alright, but a recent bombed quiz has shown me I need to devote more time to Chem and less to Anatomy.

3.  In all my busy-ness today, I decided I needed to make bread.  That’s so like me.  Why?  I had to “revive” my starter that’s in the fridge.  And have I forgotten about the GAJILLION things of bread we brought home from our Thanksgiving trip?  (No fewer than 1.5 loaves of rye bread, 10 bagels, 8 onion rolls, plus crackers.)  Our house is carb central!

4.  My Thanksgiving pumpkin pie was the ugliest thing ever (thanks to my impatience with store-bought crust), but tasted great.  Get the recipe here.

5.  Speaking of recipes–I just managed another blog post for the co-op.  It’s about cranberries and I included the cranberry brisket Andrew loves so much.  Read it here.

6.  I am now “officially” a New Yorker; I took care of getting a new license and registering the car.  License should be here in about a week!  It’s kind of exciting, in a really anti-climactic sort of way.  I think if we’d moved into a house we were excited about, everything would feel different.  Instead, everything still feels very temporary.  But, nonetheless, it’s still neat to see the Pilot with its new yellow and blue license plate.

7.  We named our plants.  Well, I named our plants.  Andrew just went along with it good-naturedly.  My dear friend, Emily, inspired me.  She has such beautiful, healthy, vibrant house plants.  I am so jealous.  She and I recently traded some plant clippings and she mentioned one of them was named ‘Stella.’  Now, I’ve heard of people naming their plants before, but I just never have.  I mean, mine don’t normally last that long…it was never a good idea to get attached.  However, I do have one that has lasted FOUR years now!  Andrew and I were in disbelief when we realized it.  So, on the way home from our Thanksgiving holiday, I used my phone to look up names and their meanings (again, such a ‘me’ thing to do–we’re talking the significance of the names of HOUSE PLANTS) and we decided to call the big, four-year-old one “Gerard” which means ‘hardy.’  (We’ve been calling it ‘hardy’ since I hadn’t killed it yet, so we figured why not?).  I have one other plant, an orchid Andrew bravely got me for Valentine’s Day this year.  (I don’t know what he was thinking.)  Anyway, it did alright for awhile, then the blooms fell off, then I panicked until I found out that was normal, and just when it was growing another stem and bloom, one of the movers bumped into it on our table and broke it off!  I was heartbroken.  I looked up ‘long-suffering’ and ended up with “Patience.”  She’s been through a lot, that one, and just the other day I noticed a tiny bud getting ready to sprout from the moss–hurray!  And now, I have Emily’s purple one to re-pot, who I have been calling “Stella 2.”  Between the animals and now anthropomorphic plants, we have one full house!

8. I’m supposed to be working on psychology homework.  Must hurry!

9.  Hadrian has been down for the count all day today–GLORIOUS!  I’ve been so productive.  (In case you’re wondering, any time he returns from ‘puppy camp’ he sleeps 24/7 for about two days.  Totally normal.)

10.  We have 7 pints of ice cream in our freezer, plus the remnants of two Jeni’s that Emily and Dan brought us, plus a tiny bit of homemade Jeni’s vanilla.  SEVEN unopened Graeter’s and Jeni’s pints.  That’s like $45 in ice cream (hey, don’t judge my expensive taste in ice cream!).  My brilliant plan: tiny scoops, both to make it last and keep it off my hips.  I’ll let you know how it goes, but I’m not terribly optimistic…