Welcome to Melrose

The last time I wrote about the house I was announcing that we were homeowners. My intention was to post a front photo after closing and that didn’t happen. Today I have several photos of the front as we have made several changes since July 2012. Follow the progression through the pictures below!

Homewood, AL cottage

Here is the front in July 2012. Originally built in 1941, this is one of Homewood’s idyllic cottages. People don’t believe me when they ask for our address – it’s Melrose Place – yes, like the tv show.

Homewood, AL cottage

A closer look at the entry way from July 2012.

We knew immediately that we wanted to replace the screen door. As you can see above, the hardware was visible and the door hung at a diagonal. After living in the house for a short time we also figured out that the evergreen tree to the right grew like crazy! We were constantly trimming it and it blocked the view of half of the porch.

Homewood, AL cottage

In October we decided to cut the crazy evergreen down. When we did we found the exterior light and a mount for a flagpole. Since it was October I bought some mums and decorated the inside of the porch to get ready for trick-or-treaters.

Homewood, AL cottage

In December we decorated for Christmas by hanging globes inside the screened porch and draping lights over the two bushes which frame the walkway. I wanted to outline the roofline – a la Texas – but apparently Texas is the only place that really does that.

I love how Texas homes outline the roofline at Christmas. This is the classiest example I could find on Google Images.

I love how Texas homes outline the roofline at Christmas. This is the classiest example I could find on Google Images.

We found a carpenter who makes custom screen doors and window boxes in early December. I had planned to add window boxes since the day we bought the house and they were one of the best Christmas presents we could have received! This picture shows them empty because by the time we hung them it was too late to buy pansies and too early to plant anything else. You can also see the new screen door which hangs straight and is even with the lines of the porch. The hardware is now installed correctly (on the inside) and we added numbers in the cross bar.

Homewood, AL cottage

One of our best Christmas presents? Window boxes!

Now we have the window boxes planted and our azaleas bloomed for the first time. Spring is absolutely beautiful on our street!

Homewood, AL cottage

At the end of a full day working in the yard, I apparently couldn’t move the blower or my garden bucket for the picture. In fact, I could barely move my body…

That brings everyone up to speed on the front exterior! My lofty blogging goals include an update on each room and the backyard. W and I take so much pride on the front exterior because the other houses on the street care for theirs as well. I imagine the Rascal Flatts song “Mayberry” applies to Melrose Place in Homewood ­čÖé

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Wandering through Gardening

Since W and I are aiming to cook most of our meals at home, our monthly budget has changed drastically.  While we are saving money by eating at home, our total spending at the grocery store has definitely increased.  Thankfully we have something helping keep the cost of groceries down and that would be our homegrown herbs.

I do not have a green thumb and I never thought I could keep herbs alive, let alone grow them. My MIL helped start our herbs when we moved into our apartment. We have a covered porch that had two planters filled with dry soil when she came to visit. She and I found a great nursery where we purchased basil, italian parsley, rosemary, oregano, and cilantro. We also bought impatiens to add a little color to each pot and an arrowhead plant to provide shade to the cilantro.

These are pictures of our homegrown herbs at the beginning (forgive the quality of the iPhone!):

And these two pictures are the planters today!

Here are the tips passed on to me that some of you may want to know:
1. Spend a day checking the area periodically to know the sun and shade patterns and  note what time of day they occur.
2. Plant your herbs together based on those that have similar needs for sun and shade.
3. Place your pots in locations appropriate to the sun and shade requirements for your herbs.
4. Water! Water your plants as often as needed. My MIL suggested sticking your thumb in the soil to see if it is dry or not. When my thumb feels dry soil, I water the plants. Here in the South with this crazy hot summer, I water them every day.
5. Be careful not to over water – plants can drown too! My watering can is the perfect size needed for my pots. My MIL advised this purchase!

I’m absolutely thrilled to say that with the encouragement and knowledge passed on to me, I have not only kept these herbs alive but they have grown immensely. We now look for recipes that include basil, oregano and rosemary as they have really thrived.┬áI don’t know specifically how much we have saved by having the herbs on hand, but I can tell you we have saved! More importantly I have gained confidence that one day I will have a green thumb. I’m already planning on gardening and landscaping our imaginary yards!