Posts Tagged ‘grass’

Deere Season


Posted by Rebecca, April 2nd, 2012

Usually the only deer I post about are those that live in our backyard (who seem to have returned in the past few weeks). Mike and I spent a good 20 minutes yesterday sitting together in front of our sliding glass door watching the deer. We’re like old people… but now we’re old people with a ride on lawn mower 🙂

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how we began our search for a ride on mower. Previously, we had been paying a service $40 per cut to mow our grass. This was supposed to be a temporary solution when we moved in and our grass grew to abandoned house status because we didn’t want to buy a mower. Last year we were so busy that we never cancelled the service and figured we’d just keep it. This year we cancelled it super early, then it got warm and we were like oh crap, we’re going to need to cut this grass soon. Since Mike left his full-time gig at Merrill Lynch to work on his own full-time gig at SongMeanings, we figured he’d have a little more time this year.

We started our search at Lowe’s where some nice young guy (okay, now I really sound like an old person but he looked like a 20 year old) gave us a nice, honest run down of mowers. Our requirements were simple… 1) something suited for a 1/2 acre of land 2) automatic instead of manual 3) cheap as possible. We also wanted something that would last a very long time and that wouldn’t be difficult to maintain. At Lowe’s the mowers started at $1000 for a manual and went up in price all the way to the thousands. The first automatic mowers started at about $1499.

There is a John Deere store very close to our house so we decided to check it out on Saturday. The man there was also very nice and very honest and gave us a run down of all of their mowers. The one we’d been thinking of was the D110, their smallest non-manual mower.

(via John Deere)

The nice sales man answered our questions about maintenance, storage and whether or not this was too much for our property. The good thing about John Deere is that the store is literally down the street from us, so any problems we may have with the mower we can bring it into them. He assured us that any other maintenance was easy enough to do on our own. He then also told us that they couldn’t match the deals they run at Lowe’s or Home Depot (okay we asked him, he didn’t offer this info out of the blue). None the less, we appreciated his honesty.

After some online stalking, I knew that Home Depot was running a deal where you receive a free dump cart with the purchase of a John Deere mower (a $199 value).

 (via Home Depot)

Plus if we opened a credit card we could receive 0% financing for 2 years and the mower would be delivered by a John Deere representative who would show us how to use everything. The price of the D110 was otherwise the same at Lowe’s, Home Depot and the John Deere store. So we headed to Home Depot!

We then looked around at some of their other brands (Cub Cadet and Ariens) and debated whether the free dump cart was worth the extra $200 or so in price. As we stood there debating, one random guy overheard us and told us to go with the John Deere. He said he owned a Cub Cadet before and hated it and that John Deere is, well, John Deere for a reason. We thanked him and went about our discussion. Then 5 minutes later another customer came by to look at a bagger who told us he had a John Deere and loved it. That was two completely random happy customers in a matter of minutes, so we decided to go with the Deere.

At first we were going to go with the 10% off promotion for new Home Depot card holders, but we learned that John Deere products weren’t eligible. Whaaamp whammmp. But that was okay because we were still able to get 24 months of 0% financing, which gives us a chance to pay for this bad boy with less pressure, as we have so many other expenses going on. We figure if we put the money we were using for each cut with the lawn service towards paying off the mower, we should be set.

Our new mower and dump cart will be delivered tomorrow. Once I am no longer pregnant, you bet I’ll be looking like this….

Image not to scale.

(original image from John Deere)

Out Like A Lamb


Posted by Rebecca, March 23rd, 2012

Anyone who lives in the Northeast knows that it has been unseasonably warm the past two weeks. Like, it was 82 degrees when I got in my car this afternoon. 82 in March is slightly ridiculous. Though we should be welcoming this weather since 1) I love spring and 2) my winter coat was going to stop fitting me any day now, the warm weather has brought about a series of unexpected issues.

Things are blooming! Which is beautiful and all with our daylilies sprouting up…

They look great now, but if you look closely, you’ll see that we barely have any mulch. We haven’t put mulch down since July 2010.

Which we thought would be fine until after the baby comes. But it’s only March and we have weeds…

Being 8 months pregnant, there is no way I can pull those. I struggled in the fall when I had hardly any belly. This time it’s up to Mike 🙂

Here’s the other side of our front yard, where we planted some new daylilies last year that are also screaming for mulch.

With all of the work we need to finish in the nursery and all of the things we need to buy before the baby comes, this early spring is more of a pain. I remember how awful putting down new mulch was when I wasn’t pregnant, so I know I can’t help Mike do it.

On top of the mulching issue, we’re dealing with a much larger issue… Our grass is turning green.

Which means it will soon be growing. Which means it will need to be mowed soon. For the first 2 summers we lived here, we had a lawn service cut our grass. The first time we cut the grass, Mike did it with our push mower and it took him 4 hours to cover our whole yard. We didn’t want to invest in a ride on at the time, so we found a landscaping company that cut our grass for $40/cut. The first year we lived here it was insanely hot and dry, so we literally got away with paying them like once a month. Last year it got expensive so we decided to cancel it. With a baby coming and Mike working from home, we figured it was a good time to cut some expenses and that Mike could dedicate more time to the yard. We thought we’d buy a ride on mower after the baby was born….but we will need one sooner.

We’ve been shopping around and the price of those things makes me want to fall over and die. I understand that we’ve already spent a lot on the lawn service, but a $1500 price tag is not something I want to swallow right now. We figured we’d do the 12 months of interest free financing that Lowe’s and Home Depot are always offering and we’d pay it off as if we were paying the landscaper. Or we can get a couple of pairs of scissors…

We might make a decision this weekend and I will keep you posted on the details, but right now we’re leaning towards a small John Deere. Anyone have any experience or recommendations? We live on a half acre of mostly grass and want something basic.

In happier news, we can officially begin hydrangea watch 2012 🙂

I can’t wait until they bloom. Wait, was I supposed to remove the dead blooms from last year? I meant to cut them when they were alive so I could enjoy them, but I didn’t…Whoops. I’m an awful gardener.

Hello Mid-June


Posted by Rebecca, June 14th, 2011

Remember back when Mike and I had big landscaping dreams? Okay they weren’t big dreams, we just wanted to dig up some plants, add a little fresh mulch and some river rock edging, sort of like these pictures I pinned on Pinterest.



We wanted to do all of this before it got brutally hot, especially since last year we were mulching into July. Pale ol’ me doesn’t do direct sunlight well and our front yard has loooads of it. I looked at the calendar this weekend and somehow it is MID-JUNE.

This wouldn’t be so bad if the temps were in the 80s or so, but for several days last week we were in the triple digits. We actually did bring our grass back to life in all of our problem areas and it was looking fabulous this spring.

Our daylilies finally bloomed.

And our hydrangeas were growing like weeds!

As we saw the forecast for last week, Mike’s response was “well it was nice having green grass for a while!” I thought he was being pessimistic, but nope…

My poor hydrangeas had a few droopy moments in between watering and I thought I’d lose their flowers to the heat like I did last summer. We thought about doing a sprinkler system last year when our grass got fried, but I honestly forgot about it this year until every neighbor around us had them installed. We already committed to the patio and we just decided we’d rather spend our money on other things. Which means we run outside and move our standard sprinklers several times a night, while our whole block probably chuckles. We sort of have to do this because our association will get on us if our grass starts looking too neglected. Granted, I’m pretty sure extreme heat is a good excuse but we can’t let it completely die without someone complaining. It’s good and bad all at the same time. It maintains the value and curb appeal of our neighborhood, but forces us to move our fiesty sprinklers. Last night Mike took a straight shot to the crotch and looked like he peed his pants. I wish I had a photo.

With summer quickly flying by and scorching us at the same time, we have decided not to do anymore landscaping in the front this year. We are already booked with weekend plans for the rest of June and a chunk of July. We’ve decided we want to enjoy life on the weekends and spend some time on our patio, catching up with friends and just doing some summery things. And for those weekends where it’s 100 degrees and we can’t breathe outside? We have plenty of indoor projects we’re looking forward to finishing and we just bought a pneumatic nail gun to do so 🙂

For now, we’re just planning on pulling these guys regularly and adding a tiny bit more mulch along the edges of the walkway where it’s always weedy (okay a good amount of the weeds are actually stray grass from when we seeded).

We have a couple of extra bags of mulch from last year and we can always pick up more just to maintain the front. But as for any major redesigning? I’d rather be making s’mores at this point in the summer 🙂

I made a lengthy to-do list early in the summer full of things to do around the house and the blog during my semi-hiatus from grad school (I’m still taking 2 online electives this summer). But I think I’m going to kick the list to the curb and just wing things this summer. I have to stop getting mad at myself for not accomplishing enough, when I’m pretty sure I run around like a busy looney 90% of the time. It’s just in my nature as a nerd. You know those kids in school who were mad if they got a 95 on a test? That’s me. As an adult. In fact I did that just two nights ago with a quiz. So in an attempt to stop being so hard on myself, I don’t think I’m going to look at that list this summer.

Okay for at least this week 😉

Sprucing Up


Posted by Rebecca, April 22nd, 2011

I mentioned last week that Mike and I had spent some time in the front yard clearing the death. Though we haven’t had a chance to do much other than just making it look not-bad, I figured I’d share some pictures until it looks just plain old good. So here we go, in mostly pictures 🙂

Two out of three bushes dead! Still thinking of what to replace them with…

The other side at least had some signs of life coming up in the middle of all that death.

Plus some mum skeletons mixed in.

But! The two hydrangeas we planted last year are sprouting up! I was a little worried about them because we planted them late. They had beautiful blue flowers on them, then we got hit with a killer heat wave in early June and all of the flowers fell off 🙁 The leaves stayed green, but they didn’t bloom ever again. Hopefully this year I can have flowers for long enough to put some around the house!

Hot mess going on in our little island garden.

So I gave them a little (okay a lot of) a haircut. That’s Mike in the background dealing with our dead patches of sod, from above mentioned heat wave last year.

Then I pulled out all of the plant skeletons.

And things started looking much better!

Reseeded (and thanks to the rain this week, it’s green now!)

So now we just need to keep seeding our hearts out, doing rain dances (for the grass and the hydrangeas!), hunt down some replacement plants and freshen up the mulch in some spots and we’re good to go! 🙂

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