September 8, 2010

Jake's a WiLdCaT now....


Graduate school officially started Monday August 23rd for Jake.

He's settling in well to his classes and getting all his supplies moved into his studio. With only 5 of them in his class, he's already gotten to know his classmates well, and they're all becoming fast friends. We found out a few days ago that Jake was one of 5 accepted to the Landscape Architechture program out of hundreds* who applied. He's definately where he should be, doing what he's meant to do!
*"Hundreds applied" according to department head Stephanie Raleigh when asked by Jake's classmate Will.*
Seaton Hall: Where Jake spends most of his campus life
There was an interesting twist to his first week of school when his truck broke down. The clutch and flywheel had gone out. Thank goodness there was AAA & Julia Jenkins to the rescue. AAA quickly had Jake towed to a mechanic shop and his friends were able to pick him up in time for class. Julia was able to arrange for a rental car for Jake so he could continue to make the 6 mile drive back and forth to school while his truck was being repaired. Enterprise picked him up from campus at the end of his busy day and got him on his way in a 2011 corolla with all of 7 miles on it. Truck is back up and running, and life is back to mostly normal now.

You can check our blog for frequent updates on some of his (and my!) favorite projects that we'll either photograph, or scan in depending on the medium he's using. So check back often for updates.

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September 5, 2010

Gardening

I've been thinking a lot about our garden lately. I'm a pretty big planner, and like to think things out well in advance of actually doing them. Plus I'm a dreamer and love gardening, so I'm always thinking "ohh I could do this over here....and that over there..." type of thoughts. Today I was exploring one of my favorite websites to browse when I'm bored slow at work, and found this handy little "garden planner" application.

Right now, this is really what our yard looks like:
There is literally nothing out there. We've got a garden shed, a patio, and some stepping stones. There is one little plant of climbing ivy that I found, so I've tied that up to try to train it to climb the house, a little added bonus. But the previous tenant did nothing with the yard to add any personality, which is fine with me- I'd prefer a blank slate to something that I didn't like and had to remove first. Saves us time in the long run.

Right before we moved in, our landlord ripped out this tiny little shed that was between our garage, and garden shed. This leaves us with a nice patch of open ground (well 2 really) where we can grow veggies and flowers. We already have our compost bin set up near these plots and our hummingbird feeders too, so next spring we'll continue to add further details- mainly the flowers and veggies. With prairie grasses so pertinent in Kansas, I'm leaning toward turning the smaller square plot of ground into a patch for wild flowers, and then using the larger rectangle plot to grow all the veggies we enjoy each year. But who knows, maybe Jake will have some brilliant landscaping ideas that we'll have to try instead..
Maybe someday it will look like this "better garden" version
We've already started working on planing some herbs in the front garden space, and will plant tulip bulbs before the frost this fall so they'll be in full bloom when next spring rolls around.

Some other ideas we're into:
1. making our own rain barrel to collect some of the water that is wasted in run-off from our roof
2. sewing a shade sail to create a quiet resting place on our back patio where we can enjoy evenings
3. re-purposing a small table to add to above mentioned space
4. convincing our landlord to allow us to raise a few chickens for their eggs

We are going to try to use craigslist and freecycle.org to get some of these little additions for free or cheaper than we can find in stores. With a little craftiness and creativity we're hoping to be able to re-purpose and re-use a lot of previously unwanted items into something to brighten our lives.
It's so fun coming up with creative new ways to express yourself in a new space. What are your top gardening ideas, dreams, or priorities?

September 2, 2010

Our little Ogden home

We can't say we're "settled in" but we're officially moved into our little rental home in Ogden. We totally got this tiny little house because of its great yard, and outdoor space in general. The dogs were the biggest motivation behind this, but the fact that we have a two car garage, garden space and a garden shed didn't hurt either. The house itself is very small, similar in size to many of our previous apartments, but the outdoor space more than makes up for it. Its pretty drab now, but has lots of potential. We like potential : D
Things with our landlord got off to a rough start, but we're working on getting things sorted out with them, and look forward to a time in the future where our only interactions with them will be to turn in our monthly rent check. Ahh moving, is great isn't it ; )

Scooter was a big help- he slept in the pillows all weekend.
In our first weekend at the house together we got a lot accomplished:
1. hung hummingbird feeder- happy to note we had little buzzing visitors within the hour!
2. mowed yard-landlord was nice enough to leave us with some TALL grass to deal with
3. created a compost bin- we're all about keeping the planet green (and bettering the soil in our garden!)
4. hung various other bird feeders, one of which (my favorite of course) fell and broke the next day, grr. Thankfully glue gun came to the rescue!
5. hung some pictures, placed some candles, making for a more "home-y" feel
6. and did lots and lots of cleaning, and unpacking- not much fun, but definitely needed to be taken care of. Our house was in less than spectacular condition, so the cleaning process will continue for weeks to come.
We both already feel much more at home in Manhattan/Ogden than we ever did in Ames, and are looking to that as a good omen. We're working on learning our way to the important things in town, but not in a rush to find anything we don't need yet. So far we've got target, verizon, hy vee, and walmart on our radar- along with a few state parks to explore with the dogs. We're excited about the opportunities this new town will bring to us, and are looking forward to using this house to make some of our first "married memories" together.

Our wedding is:  116 days from now, which is probably about 100 days too many in my book. Hawaii, is calling my name!

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