Let’s talk about the weather…

Our best weather has finally arrived and I’m in love. We save yard work for this weather. We plan family outings for this weather. We enjoy morning breakfast and reading on the patio in this weather.

People from Arizona like to claim it has the best weather ever, I’m hear to tell you that is false. California has the best weather but who can afford to live there?! Instead we live in Arizona where we live through a brutally hot summer (which often includes April/May and Sept/Oct) to enjoy 6 months of great weather. But in all reality – its not a whole lot different from people who live in painfully cold regions (hello Wisconsin) and then they have a beautiful spring/summer/fall. In essence we’ve just endured our painful “winter” season and we’ve come out to the spring flowers and beautiful sunny days – except it happens in November.

I just know for the next 6 months people get annoyed with Arizonans bragging about the weather while they’re bundled up and utilizing their fireplaces. But just remember – we suffered through 120 degree temperatures. There has to be a reward for that, right?! Well, the reward has arrived…finally. And cabin fever was starting to set-in so it came just in the nick of time!

In celebration we cut down two half dead and rotting orange trees. We are a ways off from re-landscaping the backyard – but I’m getting a little antsy, especially after cutting these trees down. We want to replant citrus – in different locations – and I know the sooner we plant them the sooner they’ll produce for us! All in due time…

On a related note – Hunter was a rockstar helping out. He worked for hours – over 6 hours! Some of it was service for a widow in the neighborhood (along with Hallie and Bennett) but then he came back to our yard (with motivation to earn money, which the other two had different plans in mind for their Saturday afternoon), and helped Steve trim all the bushes and then drug all the cut down branches of the trees to the driveway. It was legitimately hard work and he stuck with it. And he was pleasantly surprised when his dad gave him a bonus for his hard work. He earned it.

Front yard progress…

The front lawn has become the longest and most drawn out of any project I’ve worked on – it’s also the most labor intensive. Almost every Saturday, we find ourselves outside working in the yard…for the entire day. And much of the time it’s been back-breaking labor. Digging a hole in our clay/rock soil to plant a bush is a long and tiring process. And we’ve planted a lot of plants so far.

Steve and I had a date (with Briggs and Hunter in tow) at the nursery to pick out our plants. Steve wanted an easily maintained hedge to line the walkway and patio – but a hedge is made of many plants…that’s why we’ve been digging holes (which ended up being a trench) for days. Not only did we have to dig holes, but we had to run individual water lines to every single plant. Steve’s shoulders were burning from the digging and my thumbs and fingers were cramping from running all the water lines.

Another Saturday was dedicated to running low-voltage wire and hooking up LED landscape lighting.

Another Saturday was spent breaking up concrete from a previous garden bed that just so happened to be exactly where we needed to plant.

Another Saturday was spent picking out the rocks from our lawn area. I’m pretty sure the kids are tired of hearing us say every week, “Go get your shoes on, you need to go pick up rocks.”

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I keep trying to convince Steve that we’re nearing the end – but then he lists off all the things we have left and we’re both discouraged once again. I’m not sure if I’m more excited to finish this project to get our Saturdays back or to be done tracking crazy amounts of dirt throughout our entire home.

We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll be ready for sod in three weeks – I think all of our neighbors are crossing their fingers too!

Succulent sorrows…

I was told that anyone could grow succulents. I was told you couldn’t kill succulents. I was told they are the most low maintenance plants you can have. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Life with Fingerprints: Planting succulents, Ikea plants
Hallie and I were at Ikea and we came across the live plant section. We carefully picked out 7 succulent plants to grace our entertainment center. We carefully planted each one and displayed them in the living room.
Life with Fingerprints: Planting succulents, Ikea plants
I watered them per the directions on the label and within three weeks I noticed one starting to die. I gave it love and stroked it’s leaves and within another week – dead as a doornail. Four more plants quickly bit the dust. I was convinced that I received a bad bunch of plants because I was caring for them just as I had read about. Luckily, Ikea has a plant guarantee and I marched back in for my replacements. Five new plants graced the living room and within another week – the two remaining original plants were dead. Not only could I not grow succulents, the only thing I could do was kill them. Completely discouraging considering how much I love the look of them.

I was utterly embarrassed to go back to Ikea to return more dead plants and I just came to the realization that succulents are not for everyone. It is a myth to believe they are low maintenance and yes, they will die on you.

In case you were wondering – the five replacements also died – it was just a matter of time.

I now have artificial succulents. I haven’t watered them once and they look great. Thank you Hobby Lobby for helping plant challenged people like myself.