Monday, January 9, 2012

The Old Year and the New

We moved into our current home in December 2010, so 2011 was our first real, whole year here. The house is a sprawling, rambling fixer - every room has problems that need to be taken care of, the whole thing needs painting inside and out, and out of 4.5 bathrooms (really - I never imagined myself having such a ridiculous excess) the only one that has a working shower is as far as possible from my bedroom. I thought I would get a lot more done on the house last year, but I'm always overly optimistic about how fast projects will go (I also haven't really, truly internalized that this house is 4 times the size of our last project house that we fixed up in one year. 4 years is a much more reasonable).

That being said, here's the goal list for this year!

1. Garden
I was a bit disappointed with the backyard when we moved in. It is really, really shady, and small, so there isn't much veggie gardening going on back there. On the plus side, the chickens love the shade, and so will the rabbits, and all that shade is generated by a massive avocado tree that rains avocados on us faster than we can eat them. My hair is getting shiny. We have the fattest, most glossy squirrels I've ever seen. And avocados are expensive, and usually imported from places that use freaky pesticides, so having organic ones falling from the sky is awesome. I also finally built a chicken coop that I'm really happy with, and that holds the right number of birds to keep us in eggs.

Things I want to improve: I need to bust up some concrete on the sunny side of the house, where our driveway is, so I can plant some real tomatoes instead of stunted little things in pots. I want to add hutches for rabbits to the backyard. I want to rip out the ugly, funky plantings in the front yard and replace them with functional and low maintenance things like rosemary and lavendar.

2. Master Bathroom

I'd really like to be able to take a shower in there. The whole bathroom is slated for a redo further down the road to make it sexy, but for now I'll settle for not having it rain downstairs if you turn the taps on. Unclogging the sink would probably be good too.

3. Exterior
This is a big job we started at last year, but still have tons of work left. Previous owners of the house had several coats of spray stucco applied, without prepping the surfaces properly. It is peeling off in big sheets and looks horrible, and all the pretty detailing on the house is lost under the blobby stucco. We are slowly trying to restore it to glory, so that we won't be the ugly house on the street forever.

4. Drive less
I'm doing pretty well on this one. One of the reasons we picked this place was the walkable neighborhood and subway access, and I've been using both a lot. Today on my walk back from a lunch date, I found a huge bag of day-old bread on the sidewalk in front of a shop, so the chickens got free forage too! They seem to be healthy and free of disease now, though after I've dealt with the rooster problem I'll be down to a dozen hens again.

I keep thinking about buying one of those folding shopping carts (all the little old ladies and hobos around here have them) to make grocery shopping on foot easier, but I haven't found one that feels sturdy and is tall enough that I'm not hunching down for the handle.

I'm sure there will be lots of other projects along the way, but those are things on my mind for the moment. Good luck on all your projects, and have a fruitful new year. Watch out for falling avocados, they really hurt.

1 comment:

  1. What wealth! Avocados falling from the sky? I do so envy you!

    And your gardening changes will go even better with that chicken and rabbit poop - both excellent fertilizers. Glad to hear the girls are all feeling better.

    You really do have your work cut out for you with that fixer-upper. I stand in awe of your many skills!