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House Doll'd Up For Halloween

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Or...at least with some ridiculous inflatables on the front porch.  For record-keeping purposes, here's the annual (or some-what-annual) photo of our house decorated for Halloween.  You can see the Big Pumpkin (or "Big Pump" as the kids call him) along with Frankenstein on our front porch.  You'll also note that the mums at the bottom of the steps are the very same ones I 'tied up' with my pro-tip earlier this fall.  There are also a couple of cinderella pumpkins stashed on the stairs near the right railing that you can - if you look closely - see peeking out. 

This is the first holiday in our #newoldfarmhouse, so we're starting from scratch decorations-wise. 

We've come a long way from last year when we were living in Equation Boy/Man and Vic's house (thanks to their generosity!).  Here's a photo from last year that shows the decorations.  Frankenstein is the only survivor from this whole setup!   To be fair, the line of pumpkin inflatables …

Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea: Planted Fall 2017

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This fall is the first fall in our #newoldbackyard, so I've been busy with various fall plantings.  Starting with the tulip and allium bulbs, the harvested hostas, ferns and hydrangea from our neighbor's yard and most recently with a Disneyland Rose plant and a Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea - both from Jackson and Perkins. 
This one above, the Tuff Stuff Red Hydrangea, is the last in the series of plants that we were given by Nat's mom as an anniversary gift.   I put it in a spot adjacent to the Everlasting Revolution variety (the multi-colored one) as outlined in the most recent landscape plan documents.   
If you look closely at the photo above, you can get a sense for the soil we're dealing with in the #newoldbackyard.  It isn't great.  In the Spring, I have plans to amend the soil with some organic material and till it in where the beds are located.  That might require me pulling some of these plants out and replanting them, but they'll be better off fo…

Washington University vs. Notre Dame Football - 1936

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A few days back, I mentioned that we had attended a game at Notre Dame Stadium and while there were a lot of 'special touches' at the Stadium/game, one that stood out was that they gave away half dollar coins from the concession stands.  Well...the game turned into a bit of a blowout, so late in the 3rd quarter, I took a walk around the bowels of the stadium.  I wanted to see all the light fixtures, reused sections of bleachers, how the old/new stadium fit together and various other things that adorn the interior of the stadium.

One of the things that they've done to represent some of their strong history is to blow up and and install vintage program covers from games of past around the concourse.  And guess what?  One of those football game programs was from a game between Washington University and the Fighting Irish.  Yeah...Wash U.

That's Nat's alma mater.  And now a Division III football program that I affectionately call the "Teddy Bears".  Nat insi…

Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea: Planted Fall 2017

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In addition to the Disneyland Rose, Nat's Mom also gifted us a few other plants that were shipped this fall including this Everlasting Revolution Hydrangea that you see above.  I mentioned in the post a week or so back that the #newoldbackyard landscape design called for hydrangeas on the south property line tucked in front of a few new hemlock trees.   And that's where I ended up placing this one.

This one is three posts down from the tall 6' section of fence on that side.    I planted it fairly close to the fence and if you look at the drawing in this post, it is where one of the Oak Leaf Hydrangeas are placed and I also planted another one (that I'll post about soon) in a similar location.  I've never planted hydrangea in the fall, so I'm not sure how these are going to turn out, but the nursery shipped them knowing our USDA Zone, so I have my fingers crossed that this one survives the winter.

Also, if you are following along closely at home, you know that

Half Dollars @ Notre Dame Stadium

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We spent a recent Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium watching the Fighting Irish with Nat's parents (both ND grads) and to answer the first question:  yes, I wore an Illini football shirt.  A little different than I did with my big orange sweater back in 2011.  This time, I covered it up with a blue sweatshirt.  No one was the wiser, I guess.

And while I bleed orange and blue, I will be the first person to tell you that there isn't very many better football 'celebrations' than what they pull off in South Bend.  And that's the part of the game that I like the most:  the circus that surrounds the game.  We arrived a few hours before the game and made ourselves comfortable at a few different tailgates and drank Michelob Ultras and downed a few hotdogs.  Then, it was in the stadium for me.  I wanted to see the warm-ups.  I wanted to see the punters and long snappers do their thing.  And I wanted to see all the on-field activities.  I'll post some photos from the game …

Fall Update On Fostered Hosta And Ferns

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For the first time in a while, we spent an afternoon out in Naperville with Nat's parents.  And that means that I took some time to wander in Nat's Mom's garden where I marveled at the size and span of her hydrangeas but also was able to peek at the plants that she is fostering for us.  Above you see both the giant hosta on the left and the dried out ostrich fern laying on it's side on the right. 

The fern ran it's course and dried out.  That is normal.  The hosta is nearing the end of it's season, too, so that's why you're seeing some dried spots.  Critters are the likely cause for some of the missing pieces of leaves.  The last time that I checked in on these plants was early this Spring.  Here's a photo of the hosta emerging from the mulchHere's what this hosta plant looks like when it is a bit further out of the ground but not unfurled quite yet.  Love this time of year.  So much to look forward to and so many gardening expectations. 

An…

Rear Foundation Planting Beds In New Backyard Landscape Plan

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Just a few days ago, I posted the first snapshot of part of our design for the full landscape plan of the #newoldbackyard and discussed how I had planted one of the hydrangea plants that I had earlier last week harvested from a teardown on our block.  Today, I'm sharing another look at part of the design - this time the southernmost section  of new landscape beds that are adjacent to the rear part of our foundation. 

This bed that you see above is actually already in place.  It was dug out and mulched when we did the initial landscaping, but we didn't plant anything in this spot as part of the first round install ahead of our occupancy permits being issued.  If you look closely, you'll see four different types of plants called out in this section:

PJM RhododendronsGreen Velvet BoxwoodsKarl Forester Reed GrassesHadspen Hostas Of the plants that I dug out of the lot down the street (which...mind you...was invited by the owner!  She told neighbors to go over and dig up some s…