Our House: Another Piece of the Puzzle

Apparently, I started a little post about some more history on our house. Somewhere along the way, the post was set aside and I completely forgot about it. So, I think it’s time I revisit some of our house’s past.

Some time ago,  I was watching a local University of Wisconsin program on PBS about historic aerial photos. They discussed a lot of cool features for the photography and mapping system, and a lot of then-and-now photos. I of course had to check it out. Many states have similar websites for historic aerial photos but, for Wisconsin, you can easily search for photos taken in the 1930’s by going to https://maps.sco.wisc.edu/WHAIFinder/.

I had to look up our house. I was easily able to find our neighborhood. If you read my my first two posts (here and here) about the history our home, you’ll know our lot was once part of a larger farm. This 1938 photo shows that! You can seen the farm and it’s original outline, which now coincides with a few of main roads in our neighborhood. It is fascinating to see what our part of town looked like as outskirt farms and newly built rows of little houses.

To pin point where our house would be in 1938, I used Photoshop to overlay the two images. I placed green squares over the houses already existing on the 1938 image and a purple square over our house on today’s modern Google image. With a little adjusting and aligning of a few landmarks, I am able to see where our house would be on the 1938 image. I used a real-estate website to get the ages of the houses behind ours, so I could figure out which houses they were in relation to ours. You can also do this with your county’s GIS map and tax info.

Old maps and aerial images are so wonderful. I can spend hours studying them and relating it to what still exists or digging into the stories of what used to be. I highly recommend it! It’s also fun to build on to the story of our home and the land.

 

 

Updates and Upgrades!

UPDATE: Despite having more time than I know what to do with lately, I still don’t fee like I’ve caught up on chores. Ugh. That being said, I am getting ready to pot up my little seedlings, dig up some new beds, and I have a ton of posts in my draft section. There should be a good mix of history, genealogy, and plants in topics coming soon!

UPGRADE: I have acquired 24 landscape timbers to start laying out two new garden beds in the vegetable area. After doing some research on landscape timbers, I decided I am OK with using them in the veggie garden. I have been watching so many British garden shows lately that I am starting to want to call it a “veg patch.” Oh. Boy. The newer process of treating lumber means they are now safer to use in gardens. I did some research and double checked the description on the lumber I bought. So, I feel confident in using these. But, be sure to double check any lumber you choose to add in your garden!

UPGRADE: I have a fancy new camera. I bought it in January, but I am just now starting to get it figured out. It’s aNikon D3500 which I got as bundle from Target while I still worked there. I was able to stack several discounts and get a good deal on it. It will definitely be an upgrade from my S7 phone and my Nikon Coolpix L310. I also bought a few accessories: this Altura wide angle lens and this Altura viewfinder eye piece.  The camera and both accessories are great starting points for people like me. I like to take beautiful photos, but really only have high school photography class knowledge. Todd and I both agreed we need to document more adventures and visits to ancestral places!

Enjoy photos of life so far! Can you guess which are from my phone and which are from the new camera!?

Well, here’s to catching up, praying for a lift on the stay-at-home order, warmer weather, and more posts! I can’t wait to get more projects and posts rolling.

 

~p.s. I am trying out ‘affiliate’ linking. There are affiliate links in this post, but they are only for products I appreciate or use personally!~

 

A Look Back on 2019’s Big Garden Plans

Now that I am wiping away the failures of 2019 and looking towards the opportunities of 2020, I’m ready to start planning.

Do you remember my big plans for the garden last year? I wrote about them in 2019 Garden Plans. Here’s the list of plans and notes about what was accomplished:

  • Create a “holding bed” with good soil and good drainage while better permanent beds are made (this actually turned into my herb garden while my iris just hung out in buckets for while. oops)

     

  • Paint my existing shed, add better shelves inside (HURRAY! I DID THIS! And I organized it!)
  • Move plants from the “Big Bed” to holding bed, and dismantle “Big Bed” (We kept the Big Bed. I like it. It’s there. It would be a lot to move it. We did amend the soil though and I replanted my iris collection there)
  • Replace the Big Bed with space/pad for new shed (coming in 2020?) and two new 8×8 square beds flanking each side (Hahahaha. None of this happened, but I do have hopes for a new shed…some day)
  • Replace existing raised beds with better quality materials, refreshed soil, and good drainage (I did take out the beds, and removed a lot of the rubble at the bottom, but we never got around to rebuilding them)
  • Add two large 8×15 spaces with landscape timbers and mulch as pads for my grow bags (Nope. didn’t happen. I marked them out. Put landscape fabric down in one area. This is still on the list)
  • Add large row for cut flowers in front of the garden (HEY! I did this too. It definitely still needs some work…and to be widened a bit.)
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    Left to right: the new flower row, grow bags on weed barrier, dismantled raised beds, and the Big Bed before it’s makeover!

  • The most expensive but the most important addition will be the privacy fence. It will probably the big project of the year (We got an estimate which was so far out of our budget that we had to rethink the whole thing. I’m thinking hedges.)
  • Pour cement for new patio slab (this is all Todd) (The ground is sort of prepped, aka we have a huge section of cut out yard making walking out the back really interesting)
  • Extend and clean up the rock area along the backside of the house (I don’t even remember this plan. But we do still need to work on cleaning up this area)

What Now? I’m making a new list. For sure.

Here are few extra pictures from the 2019 season including our house’s new paint!:

Falling off the Map

Hello? So much for my posting goals of 2019. What happened? Well, I never did hear back from the current owners of the Hall Homestead (or if they emailed me it was lost in the infinite, junk mail folder). We had a huge storm in July that dropped branches over most of our yard, including my iris bed. The bed was mostly cleared out except for some special iris I didn’t want out of the ground for long. The tree, of course, fell right over that section. Thankfully, everything made it and by the end of the summer I had over 20 wheel barrows full of sandy soil added to the notoriously winter-flood prone bed. All the iris were replanted by the end of August. Hopefully, they’ll make it. This turned out to be the BIG project of the year. 

My grow-bags were, once again, a success. This year in general wasn’t the greatest garden year. Lots of rain and cool weather kept most of my veggies from producing at the top of their game. It also kept my motivation at bay. It seemed every day I had off was raining. My flowers did pretty well though, as well as the new space created this spring.

The summer and fall turned out much different than I expected. I ended up putting in many more hours at work than originally planned (I work in soul-sucking retail). In January, I hope things slow down, so I have a chance to reevaluate what was accomplished in 2019, what was successful, and what I want to attempt next.

I already have big plans for 2020, of course. 2019 was overall, more successful than 2018. Moving forward, no matter how slow, is all that matters. Did I accomplish everything I planned? Not even 10%. My goal for 2020? I hope to accomplish 15% of my plans. Small steps.

I do have many ideas and plans. I hope some of them come to fruition. I also hope I can keep motivation to share the journey!

Good Bye, 2019. Hello, 2020.

The Garden Shed: Before and After

Part of our garden plans is to get a bigger shed, but that is down the road a few years! For now, the shed is what we inherited. It works. Before we bought the house, both were painted two separate (and bleh) shades of yellow (or tan?)

Todd and I finally decided we are going to paint the house siding instead of going with vinyl. I like the wide plank that’s there. It suits the age of the house. We can’t afford the price tag for the customization for vinyl siding that it would take to replicate the width, not to mention the color I want.

Speaking of colors. Once we decided we were going to paint the house, we took out time and chose a paint color. Dutch Boy’s Cattails. The shed is the perfect test spot for the color! Last week, I spent an entire day painting the shed. I love it.

We had Lowe’s match our Cattails paint chip with a Valspar exterior paint (one of the lower quality ones so we could test the color cheaply). For the trim we used Valspar’s Perfect White.  I used black spray paint to spruce up an old gate which I hung on the side of the shed as trellis. A new black latch and some handles completed the transformation. I love it.

More importantly, Todd and I both love the color! The house is next. Even though it’s going to be a huge project.