When we moved into our current house two years ago, we found a lone Target shopping cart parked in our garage. It was pushed in the back amidst a bunch of clutter and garbage (quite literally) that the previous owners had so generously left behind. I think it was being used to house a collection of old (and mostly dried up) paint cans at the time. We neglected this area of our property for quite some time, with the excuse that we were busy adding a shower and tiling the bathroom, ripping up old flooring, replacing interior doors, using heavy machinery, helping build a fence, laying a patio, expanding closets, and whipping up Swedish pancakes (just threw that last one in for fun - definitely not a house project, although I could stay pretty busy eating Swedish pancakes!). But after a spring cleaning frenzy when I took on the garage, I came upon our friend Target Cart and decided he had to go.
But where? I know we could've tried just putting him in the alleyway to see who snatches him up, or perhaps even the garbage men would round him up. But, really when it comes down to it, where does a Target cart belong? Well at Target of course! And what better way to keep a large piece of hard plastic from the landfills than by walking Target Cart back to his friendly red bulls-eye home! As Evan says, "it's my duty, just as it is when I enter any Target store and find an item miss-shelved, to return the product to where I got it from."
So that's precisely what Evan did. At around 11:15pm on a Friday night, if you happened to drive to the Target in our area, you would've seen my husband gallantly and quite jubilantly pushing his cart down the road.
Well, how about I just let you see for yourself! (Excuse the black frame a few seconds in ... I haven't quite mastered my FlipVideo and video-editing software. Any tips on how to make the resolution better?)
Anyone else out there dedicated to Target? How about returning lost carts? The funny thing is when I picked Evan up from Target at the end of his run and we were headed home, we spotted three more carts in the Walgreens parking lot! But we'll leave those for someone else ; )
Of course, later on, students were known to jump over mini-bonfires. As my sister Sarah demonstrates below:
So you can imagine that after years of celebrating the longest day of the year in such a fashion, it is a little let down when all we can create in our little Minneapolis backyard is a tiny marshmallow-roasting-sized flame in a dainty little pit.
... But what is that we're doing? Let's zoom in and see what's really going on ...
Yup, those are most definitely gardening gloves on Sarah's hands, and a wheelbarrow full of perennials in the background. (Sarah, my youngest sister, is living with us this summer, and has become our full-time gardener! And fire stoker! Gotta earn your keep! Just kidding ...)
We indulged in a spontaneous trip to Gerten's (amazing gardening store) right before close that Saturday night and couldn't wait to get some color in the ground. But we couldn't forgo our Summer Solstice bonfire, so we doubled-up and enjoyed a bonfire while gardening into the night -- far past your typical gardening hours. We felt like rebels, or else intense gardening enthusiasts, planting out peonies by
The next day we finished up planting our new perennials (and a few annuals too) around the patio.
We wanted to add some color to our patio area and give it that cozy garden feel, so we decided on some of our favorite perennials (a pink and white peony, Evan apparently loves roses so we grabbed a yellow one, Fern Leaf Yarrow - I love that color yellow, and the purple plant is called Marcus Salvia I think) and then we picked up a bunch of petunias and other annuals to fill in the front row.
As you probably remember, we built our patio just last fall (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and stage 4), so it's come a long ways in the last year. Just last June there was a big dead tree in the middle of our backyard, zero privacy from the lack-o-fence, and nothing but grass bordering our house.
We never really had an image in our head of what we wanted our backyard to look like, but we've just been developing our plan as we go.
After enjoying our patio and table this spring sans garden, we knew we needed something bordering the patio to help it feel settled and cozy. At one point we toyed with the idea of placing a raised bed under the window, but decided it would be better to incorporate pavers for a more streamlined and cohesive look. Evan found some great edgers at Menards for just a buck a piece (I think they were called "Harvest Blend"-- the same as our patio). He just dug out a little trench, then tapped them into place, using a little leftover sand from the big patio project. Easy peasy.
Come, let me show you the rest of our backyard and garden!
But how rude of me. I should've met you at the front of our house and let you in the side gate! What was I thinking. Ah, there you are ... welcome to our backyard. On your left you'll see about eight tomato plants in a rather unfinished area. We're still working on that. Then up on the left we have a raised bed made by Sarah and Evan that holds our berry garden - strawberries, raspberries, and a blueberry bush that is supposed to grow vertically. We might need to make a new bed if these guys get too crowded.
On the right is our vegetable garden (another raised bed crafted by Evan -- I'll post a tutorial on that soon!). This year we have a slew of sweet peppers, three rows of lettuce, basil (which I'm pretty sure I couldn't live without), oregano, and some zinnias (which you can't really see in this photo). This was taken a few weeks ago, so everything is a little more developed now.
S and E, spying on the neighbor? That's what fences are really for, haha ; )
I am LOVING this new space. E and I decided our patio is probably our favorite house project to date.
And this lovely garage-sale find (in the free bin of course) was so ugly, how could we not claim it? Lady Flamingo Legs is no longer camped out in our berry patch, I'm sorry to say. But she may make a reappearance when you least expect it .... ; )
... And now, just for fun, let's look at some backyard pictures of yore to see how far we've come. I'm actually really bad at remembering to take "before" photos, so most of these are just pictures documenting something else that happened to take place in the backyard. But you get the idea.
Side yard, sans fence, patio, tomatoes, raised beds.
Fence starts to go up! I don't think I've blogged about this whole process yet. We hired out a contractor, who proved to be a little unorthodox, but an awesome fence builder.
Yay, for privacy!
Last August we dined in our backyard for the first time (without a picnic blanket, that is).
Anyone else out there taking on a project one step at a time? I'm excited to see how our backyard continues to evolve .... Evan already has big plans for a homemade rain barrel! Stay tuned!
I know there has to be more bonfire or bonfire/gardening enthusiasts out there!
Read more about the patio here: stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 and stage 4.