Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

A New Foster Puppy and Fall Planting

“Love, soft as an easy chair
Love, fresh as the morning air
Time won’t change the meaning of one love
Ageless and ever evergreen”

Summer flew by and suddenly, we are in September. The leaves have not turned their colors yet, but the crisp morning air and clear night sky are signaling that my favorite season is coming.

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The dogs are enjoying the cold air + warm sun combo too. They spent lots of time in the yard even in the evenings.

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In these photos you can see Dazumble, our first foster puppy. But I am happy to announce that she has been adopted! Dazumble went to her forever family about 10 days ago, and we brought her sister, the Snorch home to foster on the same day.

In addition to the new foster puppy, we also brought home new evergreen trees! They were purchased during the 50% tree sale from Home Depot. We always wanted more evergreen trees for our property. This time, we were fortunate to grab three decent sized evergreens for just over $200!

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The first one is this weeping Norway Spruce. Isn’t it cute? We planted it next to the ginkgo tree and expanded the flower bed around it.

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With the weeping habit this Norway spruce will grow to 8-12 ft tall and wide. We planted it 6 feet away from the fence and the ginkgo tree, so it can grow to its mature size without trimming. I also planted some daylilies to fill in the empty space around it. These daylilies were given to me as a gift. I spent a couple weekends dividing the irises in the front yard and gave away most of the rhizomes through Nextdoor. The irise giveaway attracted many gardeners to our house. One lady, when picking up irises, brought me daylilies she divided from her yard. These daylilies should bloom golden red. I cannot wait to see them flower next summer!

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Here is the ginkgo tree, which was a small twig three years ago. Now it is 6 feet tall with very nice lower branching. Its leaves should turn to bright yellow color in a months or so.

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This is the first year I planted flowers in the vegetable garden. The marigold has been blooming all summer long.

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Besides the weeping Norway spruce, we also got a pine and a Colorado spruce. This Vanderwolf’s Pyramid Limber pine is about 6 feet tall right now, and eventually become 20′ tall and 15′ wide. We planted it in the new patio garden, with plenty of room to spread.

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Behind the new pine is this Malabar spinach planted on a trellis. It is an annual in my area and a great climber. I planted two seedlings at the base of this metal trellis. I love its shape and purple-red stems. A must-have in the garden just for its beauty!

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Here are the volunteer sunflowers in the same patio garden bed. They came up where our winter bird feeder was, probably planted by the birds. We can see at least two different varieties blooming.

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Here is the last new evergreen we bought – a Colorado spruce! The Colorado blue spruce, also called Colorado Spruce or blue spruce, needs no introduction. It is a Rocky mountain native and can get to 70′ tall when planted at the right spot. Fortunately, it only spread to up to 20′ wide, making it possible to bring it into our backyard.

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We situated it near the garden shed, in front of the two Ash trees. It gets dappled shade in the morning and full sun from noon to sunset. We also positioned it 9 feet away from the side fence and the hazelnut tree, so it has plenty room to spread.

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Not until we planted the Colorado spruce I realized how much we needed its blue color in our backyard. Most of the trees here, including the Ash tree, the crabapple tree, the fruit and nut trees all have green foliage. Adding the icy blue color here really draws your eyes to the far corner of the yard, which makes the yard feel bigger.

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On the other side of the hazelnut is the wisteria planted this spring. It has put on some growth and started climbing the trellis. 🙂 The weeping cedar planted along the side fence is also doing well. I have not see much growth from it, but the needles are all green and the tree seems to be well hydrated.

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While all three evergreens went to the backyard, I added some Fall perennials and decor to the front yard garden. I’ve shown you the new boxwood in front of the new front porch. They are putting on new sprouts since planted a few weeks ago and appear to be very happy.

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On the other side of the front door, we planted three junipers in early Spring. They should eventually crawl onto the gravel and cover the area around the foundation, but it will take lots of years for them to get there. To fill the space between them. I added three dwarf Joe-pye weed called “Euphoria™ Ruby”. It will only get 2′ tall and wide, a perfect size for this area.

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Most of the plants in the front yard bloom in spring, so I have been wanting to add some color to the front yard garden for late summer/fall. The Ruby Joe-pye weed will bloom purple pink from mid-summer to frost, exactly what we need.

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I also want to add more Fall colors along the sidewalk. Here are six Fall blooming mums new to the front yard! These little plants will grow into 2′-3′ mounds of cute flowers which last the whole autumn. They might not be able to bloom this season, but they seems to be taken in very well and I am looking forward to their blooms next Fall.

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Believe or not, some pumpkins in my vegetable garden have matured. I have never picked pumpkins this early, and they may not last as long as those in previous years. But I was happy to get the new front porch decorated early. I grabbed two flowering mums from the stores and added pumpkins from my own vines. I like how colorful and cheerful this small decoration looks.

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As the summer is coming to an end, we will be harvesting, grilling, dining outside, and cozy up with Roxie, Charlie, and our new foster puppy. Are you fond of fall too?

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A New Parking Pad Addition

Last week, I showed you the new concrete porch in the front of the house. Today, let us go to the backyard for another concrete project – the new trailer parking pad!

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This area is located on the south side of our garage. When we moved in back in 2017, this area was part of the front yard lawn:

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In 2018, we constructing a new fence here and enclosed this area behind. Since then, this side yard has been used to park our utility trailer.

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Although very functional, parking the trailer here slowly killed the lawn grass beneath, and the dogs started use it as a sandbox to nap in.

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The soil surrounding the trailer also became more compact. Instead of healthy lawn grass, weeds started to grow.

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We had talked about pouring a proper parking pad for a couple years. This July, when we hired a concrete contractor to build the new front porch, we added this area into the concrete work, filling the space between the gravel area under the fence line and the existing sidewalk.

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Before the contractors came, Slav and I removed the pea gravel and pulled up the landscape edging around the work area. These pea gravels would be put back eventually. But for then, we wanted to give the contractor some space to build the form.

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On the day of concrete work, the contractors started by removing a few inches of soil from the space. Then they built the form and compacted down the soil.

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A metal wire mesh was added to prevent the new concrete pad from cracking and separating. The new pad would fill the entire length from the drive gate to the end of the sidewalk.

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The same contractor also worked on the garage floor for my neighbor across the street on the same day. Sharing the labor and the concrete truck significantly lowered the cost for both of us. But the parking situation on our street that day was kinda crazy.

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The pups were locked in the house for good measure – we do not want hundreds of paw prints all over the new concrete patio!

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By mid-afternoon, the new parking pad was poured and finished. It was amazing how a team of people worked so seamlessly that they created this in only 6 hours.

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The edge of the pad is about 8″ away from the fence line. This space would be filled with pea gravel again after the concrete pad was properly cured.

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We were told to stay off the new pad for 5 days. A temporary fencing was set up to block the dogs out. Although every single of them could easily clear the low fencing, lucky for us, none of them attempted.

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After five days, we removed the temporary fencing, put the pea gravel back, and parked the trailer onto the new pad.

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As you can see, the new parking pad was a lot longer than the trailer itself. This is intentional for easier access from the back of the trailer.

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Here is Dazumble, checking out the new parking spot!

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Here is a closer look of the pea gravel area along the fence. The height of the new pad is tall enough to hold back the pea gravel, so we no longer need to use landscape edging here.

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Beyond the parking pad area, we put in landscape edging to better contain the small-size pea gravel, then aligned it with decorative concrete blocks that match other area of the backyard.

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As you can imagine, the pups are happy to get their yard back!

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A New Front Entry

A month flew by and lots have happened. We have been spending time with our first foster dog, Dazumble. She quickly came out of her shell and is now a happy, sweet, dorky, and loyal pup.

Besides working our full-time jobs and taking Dazumble to weekly adoption events, we accomplished a feel-good project at the ranch house – a new front porch.

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Below was the front porch when we purchased the house. We tackled this area immediately after moving in, including demoing the awning and the old sinking concrete patio, replacing the storm door and painting the front door a new color, and laying the drainage rocks.

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Then the front porch looked like this for the last six years. It was always in our plan to rebuild a concrete front porch. The drainage rock was meant to be temporary, just to hold down the plastic underneath and to prevent water penetration.

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To my surprise, this gravel area has worked well for the last 6 years. The melting snow and spring rain flew down to the pathway below and the lawn smoothly, and the 3/4″ rocks stayed in place. We never needed to add more rocks. Overall, this “temporary” solution was functional. However, we still wished for a real concrete patio for better look.

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Came around this June, one of our neighbors did a concrete project and brought in some contractors. We had a chance to talk to the contractor about this porch job. In early July, Slav removed all the drainage rocks (and incorporated them into other areas around the house), lifted the 6 mil plastic, and the new concrete porch was poured.

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New porch was levered with the adjacent pathway and went around the window well we installed ourselves. It was finished with a nice broom finish to match the pathway.

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Just like that, we have a large and leveled surface next to the house again. The new porch patio is in a cooler grey color when compared to the older door steps and pathway, but it certainly looks better than the colorful gravel!

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Although we are not interested in furnishing the front porch, we do want to add a couple planters for seasonal colors. Slav also requested some screening plants in front of the pathway, just to obscure the exposed foundation and the window well from the street.

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So the same week when the concrete patio was finished, I placed order for eight Green Mountain boxwood. The plan was to grow a low and evergreen hedge to hide all the concrete from the street. It will also to make the front porch look more formal and tidy.

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I chose the “Green Mountain” variety for its bright green foliage, resistance to winter burn, and its upright growing habit. Leaving alone, the Green mountain boxwood grows naturally into a cone shape, so it does not require as much trimming as other varieties of boxwood. Leaving untrimmed, these boxwoods will grow into a line of connecting cones, and stay above 4′ tall. We will likely trim the sides and top to keep a more formal, smooth wall-like look.

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Here are the boxwood, all planted! We cut away the sod to create a skinny flower bed, then planted all the boxwoods in line. When reaching maturity, these boxwood plants will grow over 3′ wide, so their canopies will completely cover the mulched area.

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So, this is our curb appeal as of today. It might not look like not a big change when compared the “before” look just a few weeks ago, but it is a good start for something lush and lively in a few years. Imagine when the boxwoods grow into a 4′ tall green wall, with a couple tall planters behind it filled with summer annuals. The honeysuckle will cover the trellises around Slav’s office window by then. Cannot wait!

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