This rainy afternoon I am enjoying a delicious cup of fresh mint iced coffee, recipe a la How Sweet Eats. If you like mint, you need to go visit her blog post on how to make this. So fresh (unlike the overwhelming syrup taste of the Starbucks peppermint mocha)! Anyway, when I went outside to get some fresh peppermint from my little herb garden (EEK!), I realized it was far beyond time to update you guys on our house! We have been working working working on it and I have been so tempted to present our home in a “big reveal” kind of way, but alas, if I wait until I feel like it is done, I probably will never show you guys any pictures and then we’d lose the fun of you joining us on the journey. So today we’re doing a yard tour. I’ve been doing yard work like a full time job, so this seems like a natural place to start. Isn’t peppermint lovely? Ah. So fun story real quick: there’s a little mama bird who insists on having a nest on our back porch light. No matter how many times I clean up her construction, she always comes back. So for now, she’s staying. It’s against my better judgment, but I keep imagining little baby birds and my heart explodes, which automatically makes this a job for Mr. P now. Quirky little nest. She used some discarded white twine that we recently used as well as some uprooted weeds to build this. Haha, I suppose it’s resourceful, but it made me laugh. That light could use an upgrade as well, but we’ll get there. One thing at a time, now. Mama bird is watching me photograph her nest… Ok, moving on. My beloved sister welcomed us into our home with HERBS! More specifically we have rosemary, peppermint, sage, thyme, basil, and cilantro. Heaven. I can’t wait to plant these guys (in the ground), but I’m waiting until we build a planter for them. In the mean time, we found a ton of ancient pots in the shed, so don’t mind if I do. Kind of like this one. And then there’s this beauty. We were blessed with her (psh, does this look like a he?) thanks to Mr. P’s sweet parents. Not only is this a braided hibiscus tree, but it seems that it’s two different kinds of hibiscus braided together (note the two different kinds of blooms). Can’t wait to find an enormous, beautiful pot to put her in. So this is our back porch currently. We have some big plans for back here, but you’ll have to wait and see on those. See that long grass with purple flowers? Yeah, a month ago it was a rash all over our huge yard. After a bunch of dirt surgery, they are almost contained. I call them grass fountains, but today’s research revealed that they are technically “tradescantia,” more commonly known as “spiderwort.” I like the latter name since they, though pretty, are completely out of control. They are also difficult to get rid of because they have weak stalks but strong roots, which means that if you try to pull them out of the ground, you will just rip the stalk off. According to my neighbors, I will never get rid of them, ever. So I used a shovel and uprooted those badboys. We’ll see. I think I’m going to win this battle. Granted, my yard is prime ground for spraining your ankle right now since I have now dug holes absolutely all over it. The price you have to pay, my friends. Here’s a shot of where I have yet to dig these suckers up. I’m telling you, they take over. Spiderwort. This side of the house may not look like much, but a month ago it looked like a forest. There were trees (multiple) here blocking both bedroom and bathroom windows and wasting perfectly wonderful yard real estate (they weren’t lovely trees, they were like overgrown shrubs–the only reason they weren’t boring was because they were huge… not redeeming). How did we uproot shrub trees? By chaining them to the car and driving away… Not kidding. Did I mention that Mr. P built a lovely new fence!!! Did I mention that he built it in 24 hours? Go Mr. P! We opted for a 6-foot privacy fence. Initially I wasn’t too stoked on what felt like walling out our neighbors, but after a week of having ample awkward “oh we’re eating dinner at the same time” moments from our window to our neighbor’s (not to mention occasionally forgetting to close the blinds before changing), the fence has turned out to be an amazing solution. Not only does it give us privacy, but it makes it possible to utilize the perimeter of our yard. I’m realizing how much weeding I still have left along this fence. Boo. Yet another seemingly unremarkable shot. Before and afters would be so killer right now. I know. Lesson learned. Next time. So in this spot, I didn’t even know we had azalea bushes at first, particular the coral-colored ones on the left. Yeah, didn’t know they were even there because of random baby oak trees and tons of spiderwort. So yay this. This strange little extension of the house that these are against is the laundry shack. It’s technically attached to the house, but the entry is from the porch and the roof was built facing the wrong way so that the watershed is directly onto the porch and the whole addition is a huge mess that we cannot wait to get our hands on. And then there’s this absolutely gorgeous oak tree. This picture cannot capture the size of this thing. It is so unbelievably tall. Apparently the neighborhood we’re in used to be a dairy farm (most houses here were built in the early 1950s, so sometime before that), and it has many old, beautiful trees to show for it. I grabbed a small branch off this guy and researched trees native to Alabama for maybe thirty minutes (…maybe more… what is wrong with me?) and I believe it is a water oak. You know, because you wanted to know. That dark, glossy tree in the back corner is a glorious magnolia tree!!! This puppy should be set to bloom in a month or so. Can’t wait! Mm. Beautiful oak tree. Moving to the front yard: we uncovered (after murdering more spiderwort) another gorgeous azalea bush! This little guy was hiding behind the painfully under-pruned bush to the right. I’m hesitant to plant anything in our newly freed up ground here because we have some exciting ideas about upgrading to a full-sized front porch. More details on that project to come! I’m also pretty stoked about upgrading those shutters (goodbye, forest green). One of our little projects I’m loving are these gerber daisies at the base of the mailbox. They are so unbelievably happy and look like little sunshines. A few of them are hurting after a freeze we had the other day (yeah, in April… Alabama needs to figure out that it’s spring). Mr. P and I are both super excited to upgrade the mailbox. Sheesh. Unsure if we’ll do some DIY magic up on that or if we’ll replace it entirely. So pretty! And last but not least, we planted a tree! Yes, it’s a little baby tree, but how fun will it be to see this grow. And oh how happy our wallets were when we only spent $15 on a soon-to-be gorgeous yoshino cherry tree! I can’t wait for this to one day grow up into something more like this. Welp, that about wraps it up. We’ve made so much progress, but there is a lot to be done (inside and out)! I can’t wait to show you more. We’re in the midst of a bathroom makeover that I need to let you guys in on soon. Until then!