Archives For The Great Outdoors

I’ve mentioned before that we live in an historic neighborhood where the houses are packed pretty tightly together. Our house is nestled right up against the next on the right side, but over here on the left there’s a glorious eight feet of space between the wall and the property line. We use the portion towards the street as a driveway but the rest is just wasted space. There’s still quite a bit of gravel reaching all the way to the backyard from previous incarnations of the driveway that I guess stretched further.

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The gate to the backyard has been broken for over a year. It’s propped into place in these photos but the fact that it’s upside down gives it away. Fixing it is on our ongoing to-do list.

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Also on the to-do list: making this space somehow more attractive and functional. We’ve never had a good place to keep our outdoor trashcans and I’m thinking that if we planted a large shrub to shield them from view it would be okay to store them over here.

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If we’re feeling really ambitious we could even put down some concrete stepping stones.

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Maybe a butterfly bush would work well there? From what I understand they’re inexpensive, fast-growing, and not too fussy. As you can see we get a lot of sun over here in the afternoon. We’re never going to spend much time hanging out here since it feels like we’re loitering outside our neighbor’s windows, but seeing as it’s one of the first things I see when I pull into the driveway I’d love to make it a little prettier. I find myself dreaming of so many landscaping possibilities this time of year. I want to buy all the plants! But experience has taught me to wait and mull it over for a little while before spending any money.

We’ve been spending a lot of time outside lately–trips to walk around LSU, to feed the ducks, to the playground, the splash pad, and even our own backyard.

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Jack already has tan lines on his feet from his sandals. He’s always a shade or two darker than me (he gets it from Nick) but he looks like he spent a week at the beach just from playing outside every day.

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We were going to walk over to the splash pad again yesterday, but we decided to just pull out the baby pool from last summer instead. Best decision ever! We stored it under our house for the winter and all it took was a quick spray with the hose to get it ready for use. Jack had a lot of fun and it was so nice being able to slip inside for lunch and a break from the sun then come back out in the afternoon without all the fuss of packing up and leaving. I even got in the pool for a little while. It was surprisingly relaxing!

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I’ve been trying to take it easy because I seem to have injured my ankle somehow. I’m not working today and we’ve got some bad weather coming so I’m anticipating another day spent close to home with maybe some backyard time if the rain holds off. It’s all blue skies now so fingers crossed! I hope y’all each had a fabulous weekend and if you didn’t have the day off yesterday may it at least have been a holiday in your heart.

This beautiful oak tree shades the entirety of our tiny front yard.

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I did absolutely nothing to edit these photos (aside from resizing them). I took the one above while lying on my back on the front walk and pointing my camera directly overhead. Jack and I spend a lot of time out here when the weather’s nice. It’s shady and cool and between the fence and the tree it feels cozy despite the fact that it’s in the middle of a small city on a street that sees a lot of through traffic.

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Spring is really the most beautiful time of year in Louisiana. In a month it will be sticky and hot outside and we’ll barely be able to tolerate it even in the shade, but April is perfection. I wish it could be like this for always. It’s magical.

I love growing edibles. The past few years I’ve had a small vegetable garden and last year I added an herb garden. I am not great at weeding or watering and usually everything gets out of control but it’s so thrilling to walk out in my backyard and pick something that I can use for dinner. I’ve become accustomed to starting from scratch every spring, so I was thrilled to see that my rosemary and thyme had come through the winter quite nicely with absolutely no attention from me (besides a bit of weed pulling last weekend).

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I mean seriously, look at how much smaller the rosemary was last year!

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Last year I had spicy globe basil and I wasn’t crazy about it, so this year I went for just regular ‘ol plain basil. So excited about my pesto prospects!

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New this year: cilantro, parsley, oregano, and chives.

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The whole herb garden gets dappled sunlight all day so I’m honestly kind of surprised that it’s done so well.

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My mint overwintered nicely as well, though in its minty way it’s migrated to the perimeter of the pot. I’ve got two strawberry plants that my sister gave me right next to it. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money setting up a garden this year so the only other thing I’m growing is cherry tomatoes (Jack loves them). I put one of them in the pot with the mint. Should be interesting.

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The other three tomatoes are in containers nearby–two in a galvanized pail and one in a paper bag planter. I just put one paper grocery bag inside the other and rolled the sides down until they were the right height, then filled it with soil. We’ll see how it works!

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This is why all of my tomatoes are in makeshift containers. My old veggie spot is completely overrun with weeds and half-dead grass. I pulled off the wooden frame last weekend but haven’t figured out how to knock the grass down to ground level.

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Even though I’m not growing as many veggies this year I’m so excited. I feel like herbs are so versatile and low maintenance–if they’re in a good spot you can really just ignore them and yet they’re always there when you need them. There’s no pressure to harvest at the right point like fruit and veggies and fresh herbs are so expensive in stores that it’s super cost effective to grow them at home. I need some recipes to use up all that rosemary!