General Updates

I thought I would post some general updates…

Westview Bungalow

Front of our house

It seems like it’s been a while since I’ve posted an exterior house shot. We installed some hooks this spring so we could hang up ferns – and I’m loving them! Otherwise our house is still pink, still has that ugly tree stump, and still has that beat up path. At least one of them will get worked on soon…but I’m not going to tell you which one! :)

I’ve talked about our kudzu musings and frustrations in the past (See photos from May 2007, June 2007, July 2007 I, July 2007 II, and September 2007), and took a photo of the neighbors yard last October (2007):

Lost in kudzu field

Lost in kudzu field

Well I’m glad to finally be able to present some change! Our new neighbor moved in back in April. He’s fought unsuccessfully with the landlord to get the back yard cleaned up so his kids could play in it. He has finally decided to take matters into his own hands and look at how far he got! I have never seen the back of that backyard cleared up since we’ve lived here, so I’m just amazed at the view – I’m not used to it!

Kudzu field removed

Kudzu field removed

So in the meanwhile back to our garden…

Vegetable bed

Vegetable bed

…I think we have a vegetable garden buried under those weeds somewhere! This year we had planted tomatoes, beans, zucchini, bell pepper, hot pepper, and cucumber. Our tomatoes caught some disease so we haven’t seen any harvest from them. The beans seem to grow at a steady pace, so we’ve collected beans here and there and are freezing them until we have enough to make something with. We’ve harvested a couple of zucchini’’s and were a bit disappointed with how hard they were on the outside (any tips?). The cucumber has yet to deliver. The hot peppers have had a few that we’ve collected and dried. And the bell pepper had one of decent size that was ready to be harvested when we found a squirrel had gotten to it before us! (Next one is growing now.) The weeds have yet to be removed…we’re still not quite caught up from having gone on vacation, and the torching heat, killer mosquitoes, and “convenient” rain only on weekends has hindered us from tackling the bed. (The ever-growing grass has kept us busy in the meanwhile too.) Oh yeah, and don’t we look classy with our pile of crap on the driveway?!

And more gardening…

Front yard landscaping

Front yard landscaping

This bed looked so cute last fall, but isn’t quite as cute this year. We haven’t planted anything new, but I was excited to see the fern overwintered since it indicated it wasn’t supposed to. The yellow annuals obviously didn’t make it, but I’m glad to see the mum’s have made a return. In the meanwhile I’ve been really disappointed with the boxwoods. I was really fixed on having them as the evergreen backdrop in that bed, but they’re not doing well at all. I think they may not be getting enough water – whenever it rains the water doesn’t go on the boxwoods due to the houses overhang. I was sooo determined to have them there! We already replaced one of the plants in the spring, but now only two of the plants have survived. Anyone know anything about Japanese Boxwoods? Is it worth replanting new ones? They only get morning sun and like I mentioned hardly get any rain water. I’m simply determined to have an evergreen that doesn’t grow above approximately 3 feet in that spot that will survive in Zone 7.

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What Slackers

Wow, what slackers. I know we said that in the last post, but I think we can say it again. Last time my parents had been in town so we didn’t get too much accomplished. This time we were on vacation, followed by being so busy with work that we found ourselves slaving away until 11pm every night to catch up, followed by Patrick coming down with an unpleasant fever. Now we finally feel like we’re starting to catch up with life…work is getting back to normal, Patrick is feeling fine, and we’re starting to get our yard under control again (you know how those weeds grow when you’re gone for a little while!).

So even though we’ve been doing a little house work here and a little yard work there I’ll post about that later. In the meanwhile I’ll share some more non-house related things, like happenings in the neighborhood.

As spring/summer was coming, the trees were filling in with leaves, and the birds were busy making nests. While checking the mail one morning I was upset to see one bird’s hard work hadn’t paid off. The nest had fallen on our path and the blue eggs were lying smashed next to it. :(

Bird nest

Bird nest

In the meanwhile at a neighborhood association meeting someone asked “What’s going on with all the dead chickens in the road?” – Patrick and I, like much of the remainder of the room, burst out in a puzzled laughter. What on earth were they talking about?? Someone else chimed in and said they’d seen them at various intersections as well.

A couple of days later we drove down one of the nearby streets and saw something laying in the middle of the road. What do you know, it was a dead chicken!! Of course there has been much speculation as to the reasoning of this, the main one being that it’s some sort of voodoo related thing. I believe someone mentioned that it may be a type of initiation ceremony, or someone doing a protective “spell” on the neighborhood or something. If anyone knows about these types of things, please let us know what else it may mean!

Voodoo Chicken

Voodoo Chicken

Otherwise we’ve been very busy with neighborhood related work. One of the recent projects was a neighborhood BBQ…an “excuse” for neighbors to come out, meet new neighbors, chat with acquainted neighbors, and an opportunity to get to know their local police officers and firefighters. The firefighters brought out the truck for kids to play with, the police brought out barricades to block off the street, and generous neighbors donated food, money, and time to make the BBQ happen.

2008 Ontario Park BBQ

Patrick and neighbor Leslie enjoying some food in the shade during the Ontario Park BBQ.

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Breakdancing Bungalow

Too much partying, not enough home renovating! But that’s ok, we’ll get back to work before too long. There’s just been so much going on around the neighborhood lately. But you know what, that’s what makes our neighborhood so wonderful – all the amazing people that live here! It’s been a little over a year now that we’ve lived here and we’ve truely met some wonderful neighbors.

So speaking of wonderful neighbors – one of them had a party this past Saturday. A 70s/80s hip hop themed party! It was pretty funny to see what “costumes” some people came up with. :) And in the true spirit of the party the old skool hip hop was playing, the couches were moved to the side, and the hardwood floors made the perfect breakdancing spot!

It’s a little bit dark, but I have some video of the breakdancing…

[jwplayer mediaid=”1555″]

Westview breakdancing

Look at those crazy skills!

Westview breakdancing

Some great outfits…

Patrick wings

And some awesome ribs to chow down on…

What more could you ask for?! Like I said, I love our neighborhood! There’s no one better to party with than your neighbors. :)

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European Christmas

Since I’m German, and German’s celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, I decided I wanted to do something nice on the 24th to preserve at least a little bit of my German tradition. (And since Patrick’s family takes care of the American tradition side.) Some traditional meals for this day are goose or carp, so we decided to try the goose this year. And to keep things in more of a European Christmas spirit we thought it would be nice to invite some of our Polish neighbors from neighboring West End! As we figured out they have several similar traditions to Germans, such as celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve and eating carp as the main dish.

It was our first time cooking a goose, but it really wasn’t too different from cooking a turkey. Here’s Patrick stuffing the goose with onion and apple slices…

Stuffing the Christmas goose

Stuffing the Christmas goose

Look at that beautiful crispy brown goose!

Christmas Goose

Christmas goose

And here’s us devouring the goose. On the left is our brother-in-law Justin, then neighbor Darek, then his wife Ewelina. Note Ewelina is holding a glass of water! (Just for you Ewelina! :))

Christmas dinner with friends

Christmas dinner with friends

With all the holidays, and this, that and the other going on it feels like on one hand we haven’t been very productive with the house, but on the other hand we did have extra days off were we were able to focus on some projects. I’ll try and post some of those soon, like progress in the bathroom, progress in the bedroom, and a little 4-night getaway between Christmas and New Years where we saw some inspiringly cute cottages. So stay tuned for those updates!

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Christmas Parties and Alfred Hitchcock

Ahhhhh yes, it’s that time of the year. That time where you’re not sure whether you love shopping because it gets you in the Christmas mood, or whether you hate it because you can’t find a parking place when all you’re trying to do is buy a roll of toilet paper. It’s also that time of the year where you’re bound to get sick at one point or another. First Patrick got hit. I avoided it for a while and thought I was going to get away without catching it. That wasn’t the case…it just teased me by taking longer to hit. So that didn’t help in the renovation department. That and our addiction to SimCity 4. :-D

So back to “that time of the year.” It’s also that time of the year where there are so many Christmas parties that it’s hard to keep up. We recently had the annual Westview Christmas party at the local fire station. It’s a nice touch for the community and I know a number of neighbors work hard to put it together, which is appreciated. That being said a lot of our neighbors are 70+ year old citizens, so the party has that certain grandparent feel. It takes place in the afternoon with yummy food and good ol’ sweet tea (not the Long Island version). It was even nice to see some local politicians like Mary Norwood and CT Martin come out and to show their support for the neighborhood celebration. I think personally I like something a little more upbeat…something in the evening where you can enjoy a drink with your neighbors and less of the cafeteria feeling. I’m feeling a little bad expressing this because I do honestly appreciate what is being done and how it helps to bring the community together, but I guess I’m just looking for more of a party-party. Thankfully we have neighbors that like the parties-parties too, so we still get plenty of those throughout the year.

So the Westview party came and went last weekend. This weekend was neighboring West End’s turn. Just like we’ve become close with many neighbors in Westview we’ve also become friends with people in West End. Only this party was more of what I was referring to above…being able to enjoy that glass of wine while mingling with the community members. And the host even pulled some strings to get the press to cover the party! (Which doesn’t hurt considering the other recently bad article.) Read the Atlanta Journal Constitution article and make sure to check out the photos – our chicken satay as well as us and our friend Jeremy even made it in there on page 10! :) And as you might expect from parties where there is an abundance of drinks available – you end up with some funny videos around 2am! So in the holiday spirit I thought I’d share some Christmas ha-ha’s. Enjoy watching the host and some neighbors break it down at the end of the night when only a few of us remained…

[jwplayer mediaid=”1643″]

[jwplayer mediaid=”1644″]

In other crazy news Patrick and I thought we were in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” the other day. We were in the office when this giant mob of birds decided to rest in our yard. It was entirely too crazy!

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds

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