Thursday, April 28, 2011

Piling Up

This pile of dirt is just from the trench on the left side of the porch. It's so big, it started spilling over into our neighbor's driveway (the cranky one on the north side of our property, of course!) so the workers had to brace with really ugly sheets of plywood. We get more white trash every day.

Anyone want to play king of the hill?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Our sewer pipe is made of clay and one of the seals has cracked, possibly when they were digging out around it to figure out where it goes.

It was going to have to be moved (and partially) replaced anyway, but this just moved it up in the urgency column. We've got a little bit of seepage going on, but so far nothing too unseemly...

Monday, April 25, 2011


We had another day of poppy blooms in the morning, only to find them plucked by the time I got around to pulling out the camera.

At least these guys lasted long enough to be photographed. It's the little things.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Keeping Us High and Dry

The city required our contractor to dig around the entire new foundation, water proof it and put in a french drain. Luckily we knew this from the beginning, or it would have been a pretty expensive shock.

Even though we abandoned the idea of sistering the foundation after the collapse, there are two parts of the house where we still have some of the original foundation. Here, they have to dig under the old foundation and support it with posts so that they can get to the new foundation to waterproof it.

And if that isn't crazy enough, he still has to figure out how he's going to dig under the front steps and under the old chimney in order to waterproof the foundation in those areas. Fun!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Milk! It Does a Rose Bush Good!

We have powdery mildew. It's the worst on the Phoenix rose Rob transplanted in front of the fence.

I found this milk cure online. It worked great, but I didn't do a second application soon enough, so the mildew's back in full force on Phoenix.

The other roses are pretty much cured from the first treatment, but I'm going to use milk as a preventative...

Unlawfully Beheaded

Two of our poppies bloomed, but when I pulled into the driveway, they were gone.

Close inspection revealed an empty stem -- kind of heard to see in this picture.

Really? Who picks poppies? And did I plant, water and weed them to have someone just poach them?

This does not bode well for Rob's farm in the front yard...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Got Sewage?

The location of our sewer pipe has been a concern from day one.

We now, happily, know that it comes out of the back of our house and then hooks out to the front of the house. This means we don't have to move it, or install a very expensive pump.

Our contractor thinks we should replace it since it's 100 years old and made of clay. But I'm of the mind it's not broke, don't fix it. We'll see what the estimate is.

Oh and yes, that is a roll of plastic stuck in one side of it. I asked, and the contractor said not to worry...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Phoenix Rose Bites the Dust -- Again!

That rose that just won't quit sprang up again next to the porch...and then got dug up when they did the trench on that side.

I've learned not do despair. Phoenix rose will surely spring back!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back in the Trenches

They've started digging out all around the foundation so they can waterproof it and put in a French drain. We have huge piles of dirt all around the house.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Feel Like Dorothy...

Poppies are coming in strong along the picket fence. Pretty soon these puppies will be big enough to make me feel S..L..E..E..P..Y..

I'm pretty impressed we did this from seed!!!.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

And the Jury Says....

Remember that weird growth next to the oak? The one we weren't sure was part of the tree or a renegade Phoenix rose?

Well, it's part of the tree. And there's another new part coming up, too.

We talked to the woman from Theodore Payne at the farmer's market and she said it doesn't mean our tree is going to split into three trunks; pretty soon we can expect the tree to start shooting up and the three sections will form the top of it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Farm

Rob has succeeded in digging out a decent chunk of the front yard. We call it our farm. We have tomatoes in so far. Peppers and basil got trampled by the dogs, but we're trying.

Crab grass is a bear. I'm having a hard time keeping it out of the parkway and the farm. Damn, that sucker is persistent.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Way It Grows

Rob bought this plastic seed incubator, kind of a cheap terrarium, to get some vegetables going.

Some of the seeds we saved from vegetables we got from the farmer's market. The tomato seeds have to be put through a weird fermentation process, to get them to sprout, but so far so good.

The rest of our seeds came from here or from eBay. Woo-hoo internet!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grass Is Always Greener

We have nicknamed this part of our front yard, "the meadow."

Since there are very few places on the property that are safe to grow things while the construction is going on, we have decided to turn this into a vegetable garden. Rob has the fun of digging out all this grass.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Digging Out

The bobcat came to dig out underneath the house. When it was done, we had a basement!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Working All The Angles

To get a backhoe into our backyard so that it can dig out the rest of our basement, our contractor had to cut off the corner of our garage and rehang the door that Rob and I struggled with this summer.

He also had to cut off part of our back steps, so now there is only one way into the house.

I guess this is progress...

Monday, April 4, 2011


On Sundays, we stop by the Theodore Payne Foundation booth at the farmers market and talk to this nice woman about native plants, our yard and the Engelmann Oak we planted.

Yesterday, she surprised us with a gift of a California Sycamore. It is one of the babies propagated from the tree in Pasadena whose rescue was documented in the movie Sick-Amour by Joel Tauber.

We'd been discussing planting a Sycamore on the parkway for a little while, but weren't sure we had enough space. Its roots are pretty invasive and we were concerned about possible interference with the Englemann and the sidewalk. Plus our property is crisscrossed with power lines.

The gift seemed like a sign, however, so we accepted the tree and planted it.

Joel Tauber's site has a map of all the babies that have been planted in Los Angeles. One was in our zip code and, when I put on my Nancy Drew hat, I discovered it was only two blocks from our house. We walked the dogs past it last night and it looks a little sickly. I have to go back during daylight to see for sure. I hope ours fares okay. The Englemann is doing great -- I'll post new pics of it soon.