The Great Outdoors!

Hello Nesters! We are back in action, hitting up the blogosphere with an incredible tenacity the world has yet to experience! Just as we mentioned at the end of our previous post, this post will be all about the outside and nothing about the inside. We’ve also updated the ‘About Our House’ section, so be sure to hit the top link.

House Got Back

Using the Photosynth iPhone app, we managed to capture a few panoramas that will assist in “stitching” together a visual story for those that aren’t physically here to see for themselves. If you don’t have the latest Microsoft Siverlight plug-in installed for your browser, you might want to make a quick stop and do that first since the Photosynth website uses it. Surprisingly if you’re viewing on the iPad/iPhone, it works without plug-ins because it doesn’t need them! When you’re ready, feel free to click here and here to see two different vantage points in the backyard.

We are fortunate that the house already came with a sizable concrete slab to dress up later with perhaps a pergola down the line, and also a small covered patio area for a grilling area (which we’ve already outfitted with The Beast!). There’s also a outside fan above the patio, which is a nice touch to keep the air circulating on those spicy summer days.

This holds a TON of hot dog wieners!

The only major thing we have invested in in the backyard is our revered succulent collection, made possible by the fine folks at Lowe’s. We will probably be moving this guy up to the front of the house, as we found out from our recent trip to Laredo that there are inexpensive options for some really nice Terra cotta pots. We would need a trifecta of pots, one for each free side of the concrete slab (with the remaining side being connected to the porch). We’ve had less success in the past growing and maintaining plants (herb garden)—they kept on dying for no apparent reason, ha! These succulents do not need to be babysat in Texan climate, and they are continually bearing new appendages, which is good!

You succ

We thought this hummingbird feeder would be an probable lure, but we have not seen one feeding since we got it. It might be too hot, who knows. There was a sparrow that landed on it momentarily for a quick sip, but soon left, leaving us once more with too much sugar water. We still have some sugar mix left, but after that is gone, we will probably be letting this guy off the hook.

Attracting hummingbirds is harding than we thought!

We don’t have any huge mature trees to provide massive amounts of shade, but we are fortunate enough to have two crape myrtle trees, one having white flowers and the other, pink. This type of trees is fairly common in neighborhood-type settings, and it does a good job of bringing some color into the backyard without being overbearing.

This one is located in the back right corner.

This one is in the middle of the right side of the backyard. Penny agrees.

The previous resident left us a lot of leftover bricks, which she used to plug all the holes under the fence (she had four dogs). We will need to move this somewhere out of the way, probably in the garage. Also on the agenda is removing those bricks along the fence and filling them in with dirt. There are also some uneven pits in the lawn (deep enough that if you ran around and you’re not careful, you could twist an ankle) that need to be remedied too.

She’s a brick…pile.

There are two flower beds in the backyard that could use some TLC, but we haven’t really decided what to do with them yet, but have talked about adding a major color splash in the form of flowers! One has a rosebush and the other has some random shrubbery, so it’s pretty open-ended. That hose needs to be tamed.

Extreme Flower Bed Makeover: College Station Edition

The roof is not charred, that is a finger shadow

It’s a great backyard: clean rectangular shape, two medium size trees, two flower beds, and a concrete slab that is begging for lounge material. The fence needs to be replaced but that’s not a high priority for us, especially when it involves neighbors going half in and contributing to the cause.

And lastly, we love seeing Penny running around chasing and barking at the birds and blade bounding around the yard. Our previous residence, a townhouse we were leasing, had a small backyard, and is easily an eighth of what we have now!

It’s too damn hot! Let’s go inside, bro

Stop Front-in’

Here’s the link to the Photosynth panorama for the front of the house. It’s not as good as the backyard panoramas.

Two weekends ago we did some weed-pulling to get the front back on track as far as yard maintenance goes. We like the fact that the house already had landscaping stones in place, since those can run quite a bit on their own(maybe around $3 each?). We still have some weed-pulling to do (and also weed killing on the walkway and driveway), but after that we’d like to do a complete overhaul on the stones, dismantling and washing them, and then straightening them back out. Then we can work on the inside of the bed and trim the shrubs, prune the tree, and get some color splash in there!

Mold me, use me, plant me, spruce me

Matt wasn’t too crazy about these Knock Out Roses in the beginning, but once they bloomed he changed his mind. We need to trim this guy and prune all the dead buds that are there, and there are a lot of them.

Overgrownery

At one point in his life, Matt used to play basketball. But those days are over and this thing has got to go. It doesn’t even have a bankboard!

The end is near, my friend. You are destined for the Great Claw that comes weekly on Thursday.

Here’s the left side of the house, with a place for our trash can, an ancient 17-year-old AC unit that is still chugging along, and access to the backyard. We might end up putting a mini-fence around the AC unit, and painting the trash can a brick pattern so it blends in more with the wall (Izzie’s idea).

To the left… everything I own in the can to the left

And here the right side, the utility side, with the gas meter and breaker box. There used to be a small oak tree that was growing in the flower bed near the gas meter, but it was strongly suggested that we take a saw to that guy and cut him down, just because those things can cause problems later being close to the house. Our brother (and brother-in-law) Austin actually mentioned an option for us to do down the line, which is to move the backyard fence up to the front of the house, giving us more backyard space on the side. We would have to finagle the flower bed and make that end a little earlier than it is now, but with our neighbor’s fence already up in the front, it wouldn’t look out of whack and would allow us to have something like a storage shed on the side in the backyard. It’s a great idea and quite possibly could happen in the future!

Hey this is crazy…

That’s the outdoor rundown! We look forward to making changes and really curbing that appeal!

Come back, okay?

Happy Nesting!

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Odds and Ends!

Put down the phone, we are here! Hello fellow Nesters and Nesterettes. Yes, it has been a while, wow! We have been doing great, keeping busy and enjoying the fantastically spicy weather. We have done a couple of mini-updates to The Nest, but nothing major. Remember—this takes time [and money]!

We paid our last rent check for our place on Blackhawk, so that is done and over! It was a great place for about two years, and we moved in practically a week after it was built when the neighborhood was a lil’ baby. Now they have tons and tons of surrounding units and a swimming pool, and the college kids have definitely found out about it. We won’t miss the loud trucks whizzing by randomly, but we will miss the niceties that came with being in a new place.

But back to the house, one of the major things that we wanted to do was change the locks. Since the hardware was gold, we decided to update that and get with that nickel finish. We are all about that nickel, please…no more gold. Schlage is a great German brand when it comes to lockin’ it down, but Kwikset was comparable in quality and slightly more inexpensive, so we went with that.

Front Door

Back Door – wait, which one is upside down?! We don’t know!

Garage Door – is this upside down too? Or maybe right side up?

Since there was a hole from the existing deadbolt on the garage door, we bought a plate to cover the hole for less than $3. Since we have the garage door, we weren’t convinced that we needed to have a deadbolt there.

We also put in a new nickel finish kick plate to replace the gold one. It was about $25, so not too bad and it looks great next to that doormat!

When you’re kickin’ in the door, you have to look good!

Hey, come on—it’s The Nest!

Man needs tool. Introducing a real cordless drill! HAHA! MORE POWER!!!

Skilz

We have a pretty dinky Ryobi which is good for screwing around the house, but the new drill is beefier, has variable speed, and MORE POWER!!! We are looking forward to using this in more DIY projects, like a doghouse!

And this past weekend we had a chance to go to a Habitat for Humanity Resale Store, and they had a bunch of furniture, odds and ends, etc. for great prices. We picked up some fancy items. Matt couldn’t pass up General Robert E. Lee!

Swag

We did a good deal of yardwork this past weekend, removing a ton of weeds from the front. Our next post will definitely be about yard business. So stay tuned! Until then…

Happy Nesting!

We’ve Got Gas Problems

Last night we had big plans. BIG PLANS for dinner. We wanted pasta and meatballs.

But for some reason, the stove wasn’t quite cooperating with us. All five of the burners didn’t want to…burn. The ignitors were functioning just fine, but there was no gas to be found. We moved the range up and it appeared that the gas valve/line seemed to be in working order. What was strange though was we just used the stove for lunch that same day, utilizing three at a time to heat up soup and other fancy things. Maybe we overdid it, we thought. Maybe three burners at one time was just too much for our range, and this was the end. We were hungry and delirious, and after finding some bath salt granules to munch on, we were soon imagining Penny as a giant Thanksgiving turkey…yikes!

So this morning we gave a call to the energy company in our area, Atmos. It turns out we forgot to get the gas set up! HA! The previous owners had scheduled the gas to be until May 31, and after that we had been using residual gas still left in the pipes! Apparently that can last up to a week after shutoff, and our three-burner lunch yesterday probably helped a great deal in getting in all out. We have a gas man coming out tomorrow morning to make sure we have major gas.

So we did not get a lemon of a range, we were just being silly.

Happy Nesting!

Range on the Home (Appliance Friday’s)

Hello there!

We come bearing…steel. We replaced our white 17-year-old Whirlpool gas range (it had a very strong gas smell and was not on the cheerleading squad) with a Frigidaire gas range, using one of our 10% coupons from Lowe’s. Don’t worry, we still have more. We explored the possibility of replacing the gas with electric (for familiarity of using electric and ease of cleaning), but the cost of running line to make a 240V outlet was basically the price of stove we picked out. Scratch that idea! So we decided to stick with gas, and went with a decent stainless steel five burner with good ratings. We made a great salmon dinner on it tonight and it passed the taste test—with frying colors!

Full of range

We are planning to go to Lowe’s tomorrow to get some expert advice on what kind of hinges would go best with our cabinet doors. But for the past few days we’ve been riding with the top down and it feels so good. We did the front and back yard today, and the front is really beginning to shape up into a nice lawn. It still needs TLC, but we are very satisfied with the potential of it. We will have more pics to show of this. The backyard is also a blank slate that needs to be carressed into something special.

On a happy note, our back neighbor Peggy directly behind us came by the house (the first time we met was very Wilson from Home Improvement-like) and brought us a loaf of fresh baked bread and card welcoming us to the neighborhood. Sweet lady! We have her to thank for all the great bird noises as she has multiple feeders set up in her backyard.

Happy Nesting!