This weekend we traveled down to Olympia for our good friend Gabe's housewarming/birthday party. The house is a beauty; sure it needs some new paint and some lovin' but it's sound and sturdy and well designed. It was built in 1937 and every single original glass doorknob is still there and in great shape. Some of the other original features which are not so desirable are there as well, such as the single pane, double hung windows, the teensy tiny kitchen sink and the really low kitchen counter, but Gabe's already got those on the remodel list.
For Gabe's Birthday present, Cary and I brought a bunch of gardening tools and our work gloves with us. Saturday was a beautiful warm and sunny-ish day, so we went right to work cleaning up the front flower beds and pruning the shrubs & trees around the yard. It felt so good to work in the dirt! Especially on a project that could actually be finished in just one day - it was a really nice change from the overwhelming scale of all our own landscaping projects.
I was impressed by what we found already established in the flower beds. There's also a beautiful mature Camellia in the back yard, which is covered with buds (I'm guessing it's a white one). Because the house had been a rental for several years before Gabe bought it I didn't think there'd be much to work with. However, once we'd pulled out all the weeds, I found there were several well-established shrubs, and a TON of bulbs - gladiolus and scilla in the front beds, as well as daffodils, tulips and crocus along the fence. Of course, the bulbs hadn't been lifted in years, so they were super crowded and the glads were about an inch below the soil surface, but the important thing is that they were there! This summer should bring some nice displays. I divided some clumps of scillia that needed to be moved and replanted the 3 dozen or so glads that I inadvertantly "dug" up when I raked the beds. Maybe this fall we'll visit again and lift and replant the rest of them. It just wasn't the right time to address that issue, since everything is starting to grow - it's incredible what a seasonal difference travelling 160 miles to the south makes!
Aside from my weeding and pruning, the guys got into a bit more muscular home improvement, starting with removing the railing from beside the front stairs.
Cary brought his powers of destruction to bear on a hazelnut stump/thicket/rootwad that was too close to the foundation and downspout.
After checking to make sure the siding behind them was actually painted, Gabe removed the dumb fake shutters from beside the windows. What a huge improvement! Once he replaces the windows and paints the exterior this summer, this little house is really going to be a cutie.
Here's how the house looked at the end of the day. Unfortunately, I didn't take a "before" picture, so you'll just have to take my word for what a big improvement we made.
If only we'd had time to trim that hedge... but we had to get started drinking for the housewarming party!