It's a 1969 MG Midget with a factory removable hard top. For a 40 year old car, it doesn't look a day over 15. :D I've wanted an MG at least since I was in high school, but could never afford a nice one, and never really looked for a nice one. Yesterday, we spotted the perfect MG - California car, garage kept most of it's life, low miles for a car this old (95k), and recently painted. Not the greatest paint job in the world, but it keeps the rust off! It looks great unless you're 2 feet away and picky. It's going to be a real blast to fix this baby up. Most of the work is already done, but it needs little things here and there.

Yes, they actually called the car a 'Midget'.  That might be considered politically incorrect these days.
On a recent trip to Dodgeville with the Madison British Car Group, a kitty took a liking to our car.  :D
On our way home from Dodgeville, we followed this car, a '64 Lotus Elan. If you want to test your driving skill, follow a LOTUS!
Eek!  How could you not fall in love with that toothy grin?
Our new baby
We took it to a local car show.  We were the only british car in a lot full of Detroit iron.  And easily the smallest engine!!
We named the car 'Woodstock', so the white flowers are appropriate, don't you think?

Since we cut the grass and created 4 new garden beds, we've only managed to get mulch onto the largest bed next to the road. The other three beds were in various states of disrepair. I put black landscape fabric down over most of the one closest to the house, but the other two were bare dirt. On Saturday, we cleared up the weeds that had grown up in two of the beds. One of them is still bare dirt, but the other, we put a layer of rosin paper down as a weed block, and mulched over the paper. We are officially out of mulch. We've used a total of 3 cubic yards of store bought mulch, and 2 truckloads (maybe 3 cubic yards each) of wood chip mulch, for a total of around 7 to 9 cubic yards. That's a lot of mulch! Our camera is on the fritz, so we didn't get any photos of the cleanup. It wasn't that interesting, just weed pulling and digging in the dirt.

On Memorial weekend we decided to move our bedroom downstairs until my foot gets better (I have achilles tendonitis and it's flared up again, this time more painful then ever before). We have a small bedroom downstairs which we have used for storage and it had become a large dumping ground for 'STUFF'. So before we could move in we had to clear everything out. We spent Sunday morning organizing (purchased several large totes for the job) and disposing of items. We have not done anything to the room since we moved in about 3 years ago, except for taking down the curtains. The walls were still a 'lovely' shade of pink... I had to do something about that, so we had some leftover cream paint from when we painted the living room, so we painted 3 walls cream and have an accent wall ( of which we have painted, but I'm not sure of the colour so it will probably change.. again).
Steve then moved the bedframe, mattress and boxspring down (the bed just fits with a enough space to maneuver around it). We also had stored our old mattress in the 'pink room' and as Steve moved it out and up, Muesli (one of our cats), decided that she wanted to go for a ride, during the whole time, including going up the stairs, she just hung on. Steve even took her off before he pushed the mattress up the stairs, and she jumped right back on! It was so funny to watch!
So now we have our bedroom downstairs, which is good for now.. until the bathroom upstairs gets completed.. which I think won't get worked on till the leaves start to fall again.. ;)

Today was mulch day.
It was going to rain today and in case it rained hard, we wanted to prevent any erosion before the city delivered our free mulch.
We drove to Madison and bought 15 bags of mulch (30 cubic feet - just over one cubic yard). We spread the mulch next to the street so that any washed-away dirt would stay in the yard and not enter the sewer. Construction sites are required to control their runoff and I guess we probably qualified - we certainly would have seen a lot of runoff in a big rain storm with all that exposed clay topsoil.

Even with about 300 pounds of mulch, we had just enough to do the outside edges (street and sidewalk) of the large bed.

Then, Zoe wanted to plant something, but we were now out of mulch again, so we went off to the local garden center (instead of our usual Madison shop) to inquire about the price of their mulch. We took the pickup to the garden center and checked the prices - quite a bit more than in Madison for bagged mulch, but they had a huge pile of the stuff out back. We went in and got a very reasonable price for a cubic yard. Back home, with the truck bed mounded over with our mulch, we set about spreading it on the large bed. Once we had it all spread out, we realized we hadn't planted anything - the whole point of getting more mulch - and were too exhausted to start.

We went inside to rest for a bit and finally steeled ourselves to out again to plant Zoe's new Primroses. Suddenly, I got the idea that I should go get ANOTHER truckload of mulch. I'm still not certain why - maybe the intoxicating smell of triple-shredded hardwood got to me. We scrounged up $30 and I set off back to the garden center for more. The bobcat operator deposited his two heaping shovel-fulls into the truck bed and I drove carefully home. I parked the brimming-over pickup in the driveway and helped Zoe pull apart the mulch we had already spread and dig a few holes for Primroses.

After planting one and nearly planting another, Zoe looked at the tag - Partial shade! We had picked the single sunniest, driest spot in the yard! Well this just wouldn't do. We had to find another low-growing plant to put in the holes we had dug. I suggested we split one of the old ground phlox, so I dug up wizened old phlox from the front walk, flipped it over in the wheelbarrow and split it into several chunks with a shovel. Alas, one of the bits hadn't any root. We settled for the two remaining pieces and put them on opposite sides of the bed, next to the sidewalk. If they both take off, they'll spread nicely to fill the corners. We had also split our granddaddy of a lambs ear and placed a few of the bits up and down next to the main path. Some should grow, some will definitely not. The splitting was rather brutal.

At this point, Zoe went in because she was getting pretty chilled. I said I would finish spreading the second yard of mulch to take the weight off the poor truck's springs.

I pulled the truck out into the street and started shoveling mulch into the wheelbarrow. Zoe called out from the porch to ask if I had the rake. I replied that I did not and wondered why she would ask if she was going in. But then, she retrieved the rake from the garage and came out to help! Even as tired as she was, she couldn't let me finish the job alone! :)

A few of our neighbors, having watched us try to kill ourselves with work all weekend, each stopped for a moment to congratulate us or offer their good comments on our determination.
So thus ended our long Easter weekend. Two nutty gardeners, 18 hours of muscle straining labor, and a boring weedy lawn transformed into the beginnings of a beautiful garden.

Smells like mulch...
Smells like mulch...
Smells like mulch...
Smells like mulch...

Who stole all our grass??

We did.

Yesterday, Saturday, we drove to our local hardware store in the morning and picked up a gas powered sod cutter.

We had marked out with little white flags where we wanted to take up the grass. Just before we started, Barry stopped by to help for a little bit. Steve cut the sod in long strips up and down the yard, and Zoe cut the long strips into shorter pieces, which she then rolled up into "sod sushi". The sushi rolls were loaded onto either a hand dolly or the back of the pickup truck, then transported to the neighbor's yard.

Thankfully, we have two great neighbors that both needed lots of sod. One neighbor had a new addition added to their house and their yard was all torn up. The neighbor on the other side has a low spot that floods during heavy rains. The sod was cut very thick, so it easily filled up the low spot. Where one layer wasn't quite enough, two layers of sod built up the spot nicely.

The largest 'swath' is along the south side, following the street. The second cut extended the bed under the cedar tree, which Steve has always wanted a bit bigger. The third was cut in between two existing beds to make one large oval-shaped bed. The last cut is triangular with one edge up against the sidewalk. This bed brings our Japanese maple and our newly planted lilac into one bed, and splits one of our two main paths, providing a bit of interest (and hopefully a bit of fragrance) at the end of the path.

Saturday we managed to make all the cuts, and roll up and move most of the large "swath".
Sunday, we cleaned up the last bits of the large cut, and rolled the sod from the other three cuts.
Zoe cleaned up all the edges next to the sidewalk and curb, while Barry helped Steve to roll and move the sod. When all the sod was removed, Barry and Steve cleaned up with rakes and shovels, all the remaining grass roots. Zoe kept everyone going strong with a lunch of turkey and veggie burgers with all the fixins, cole slaw and salad.

After 12 hours of hard work over two days, we are all thoroughly shattered. It'll take some time to re-coop. Our muscles are sore, our legs and arms feel like spaghetti, and Steve is nursing a bad sunburn on the back of his neck.

Once we get some compost and mulch down, and start watching things grow, it will all be worth it!

Sod is cut in the big bed, Zoe has started to roll it into 'sushis'
Zoe rolling sushi
More sod rolls
Loading the sod into the truck was hard work!  These things each weigh somewhere in the 60-80 pound range!
Exposing the bare dirt
Exhausted!
Working on the smaller bed close to the house
Smaller bed is done
Crocuses coming up around the bird bath!
Barry helped us with rolling and moving the sod
The first bits of mulch - protecting the tree is important!
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