Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2019 was all about sewage

To interrupt your feed full of holiday posts and Christmas lights, I wanted to share a little recap of our 2019.  If anyone is still reading?  I'm not sure, but here goes, anyway.  I have had a very boring several months when it comes to house projects.  We had the very unglamorous and expensive project of digging up our old clay sewer pipes and replacing them with PVC in April, and since then it's just been a bit of landscaping and surviving parenting for us.
This project was pretty crazy, it cost us about 7k and was unfortunately necessary because our sewer was backing up in our laundry room every few months despite rodding.   Our sewer pipe was also off-center from the main sewer line by several inches.  I am just imagining how much sewage was pumping into our yard because the pipes didn't line up.  Ugh!
We paid extra to have a 'clean check' installed, which basically makes it impossible for a main sewer line backup to enter our house.  Luckily, the village we live in offers a 50% copay for clean checks, so that was $500 back in our pocket.  
 I'm so glad we did this now, and not after we got a patio put in at the bottom of the stairs!
You can see the impressive pile of dirt (that is a generous description, it's more like clay rocks) that was left when they dug out the pipe.  They went 10 feet down near the fence!
And now, 8 months later, we are still left with an ugly line of dirt rocks.  It has been so annoying to walk over dirt or walk all the way around it to avoid the mud.  We are hopeful that the snow this winter will tamp it down enough that we can lay sod next summer.  Here it was around September:
And here is it NOW, in December:
It's definitely sinking down, but ever so slowly!  I added some new decor and seating this year, we officially became the 'driveway drinking' family and it has been amazing.  We are lucky enough to be in a great neighborhood of friends, and they often stop by and pull up a chair when we are hanging out in front. 
I added some taller plants next to the driveway, and it adds the perfect privacy screen when we are sitting here.  The pink beauty is Agastache, purchased from my favorite online plant store, High Country Gardens.  It attracts a lot of hummingbirds and I love it so much!
 It also flowered well into fall, it was awesome!
I also restained our deck this summer.  I was silly and thought it didn't really need it, but here's what it looked like while power washing:
 Obviously, it was gray and needed to be deep cleaned. 
Unfortunately, the power washing lifts all the grain and causes splinter I bought a nice big rug for the deck which has been so chic and fabulous!  It helps so much because the kids love to run around the table while we are out there, and we had at least two bad splinters.  
We were forced to use a tinted sealer (we use Ready Seal) because the company discontinued the clear, and I wasn't too pleased with the orange looking cedar railings after we were done staining.   It has since mellowed out though, and hopefully we don't have to reseal next summer.  
The deck about a month after staining:
I know composite decking is so convenient, but nothing beats the look of natural wood for me!  I was excited to add to my planting areas this year.  I raised Monarch butterflies all summer, so putting in pollinator friendly plants was on my list!  Here are some of the areas my butterflies loved the most:
(joe pye weed, daisy, black eyed susan with new cardinal flower behind)
 The cardinal flower is so pretty with the dark foliage!
Can't wait to see this fill in.  I planted a ton of milkweed for the caterpillars, here is a grouping of swamp milkweed, I also put in some common in other areas. 
By far the favorite flower of the monarchs is the meadow blazing star, the tall purple flower off to the right side here.

I got so many butterflies on these plants!
 Look at how torn the wings are on this it's best short life!
It was so awesome to see the amount of birds, butterflies, and bees we had in our yard this year.  I plan to introduce even more native perennials that pollinators love next year!
And here are some random photos of the rest of our growing and monarch season:

 We planted an apple tree last year, and it had several apples on it until squirrels ate them!
Our monarch journey has been pretty amazing, but also pretty time-consuming.  I still can't wait to start again next summer!
If you are interested in raising monarchs, there is a very helpful Facebook group called The Beautiful Monarch that has been so great!  I also bought Rest Cloud habitats to contain the caterpillars and butterflies.  
We are working on a rather cool project in our basement right now, I'm excited to share as we get closer to completion!  I might pop on here with a little Christmas post, too.  Until next time!