Thursday, April 26, 2012

yews a hoe.

First things first, I changed the name of the blog.  When I created the blog I felt like I was rushed into making a name for it - you can't write a (first) blog post without a name!  "House to home" was a common blog title online anyway.  When someone asks me what my style is, I've always said "cozy contemporary".. before our precious Cozy existed.  I love the sleek lines of contemporary style.  I love black and white.  I love contrast and pops of color.  I also, however, love to feel comfortable.  My favorite feeling is feeling "cozy"(like sitting in front of a fire with coffee, reading a book by a window while it rains, cuddling while it snows).  That is one reason why we named our dog, Cozy. 

Sidenote: this is the picture that I feel in love with on the Petfinder app.  Ehren had a GSP (German shorthair pointer) in college, so I knew he would think this little guy was cute.  This was our text conversation on a Friday:

Jamie: let's get him!  (in a joking, har-har kind of way, never thinking he would say yes)
Ehren: okay!
Jamie: really?
Ehren: yes!
Jamie: really??
Ehren: yeeeessss.
Jamie: don't you dare get my hopes up

We got him on Tuesday. 

Back to the main topic: ...sometimes contemporary can look cold with stick-like furniture.  I like to create rooms that are a combination of contemporary and cozy, therefore, "cozy contemporary".  When people come over, I want them to think, "ooh, I could sit in that room, drink some lots of wine, and chat for hours".

Now, on to explaining the name of this post.  Yews a hoe.  No, I'm not calling you a ho.  I'm talking about landscaping.  We are lucky to have wonderful landscaping done by the Nyes over the years.  Our yard definitely needed some lovin' from our somewhat green thumbs due to lack of maintenance from the time the Nyes moved out, someone moved in/out, and we moved in.  Last fall, our house looked like this:

A little overgrown, don't you think?  So, for a temporary fix, I took the shears and trimmed everything up.  Then, it looked like this:

But, as you can see, there is a gap between the yews and there was only about 6 inches worth of green on the ends of the twigs.  I'm not sure how long they have been there, probably many years.  So, like usual, our conversation went like this:

Ehren:  what do you want to do today?
Jamie:  want to rip out the yews?
Ehren: okay!

Here's another before. 

See the gap and the twiggy-ness?

We lopped off most of the branches to prepare to dig up the root balls.

Bye, bye, shrubbery.
Cozy, the spectator.

After we cut off all the branches, Ehren started digging up the root balls with a shovel.  Unfortunately fortunately for me we only have one shovel, so Ehren did all the manual labor. 

Ehren digging up the root balls.  Not easy work. 

And THEN, on the last (6th) rootball, our shovel broke.  I told Ehren to give me his reaction and it looked like this:

This is Ehren's "mad" face... pretty sweet looking, huh?
So, then I told him to look angry.

Ehren's "angry" face.
This is Cozy's angry face (he was pretty upset about the shovel):

"I can't believe dad broke the shovel."
Right after the shovel broke and when we were trying to use a hand shovel to get the root ball out, our neighbors literally ran over with a shovel to help us out.  We got a new shovel the next day.

This is the aftermath:

Then I mowed all the monkey grass down to get rid of last years growth.

We found a brick pathway that was almost completely covered up.

Cozy found the only shade in the yard to keep cool.

Here's the view from the porch after the yews were dug out. 

After hours of digging and sweating and Cozy laying in the shade, we were done.  To recap, here's BEFORE:

And here's AFTER:

It looks a little bare now, but you can finally see the porch and the porch swing.  It will look less bare when the monkey grass and pampas grass grow and when we get pots to put on the front porch.  We will eventually put in different shrubs that aren't as tall.  I've got lots of ideas in my head about sprucing up the front of the house (fixing up the front door, porch light, porch swing, landscaping, shutters, trim).  I'm so excited. 


  1. Brava, Jamie. If you haven't already, check out K-State extension's website for all kinds of good Kansas advice on yardengarden stuff.

  2. Just found your website through Young House Love! Great job on removing the yews...and I love this post title. Made me grin :) We have similar bushes in the front of our new house were planted in the 70s with super deep root balls, so I think we need a truck to rip them out but my husband thinks he can dig em up. Do you know how old your bushes were?

  3. Love your blog and your style, even though I'm a TIGER (I actually have no feelings whatsoever about the infamous border war -- I like Kansans just fine). Anyway, your work inspires me. My house is a bit older than yours and I've been working hard on it for a few years now. I just wonder how you keep your energy up. Of course you are much younger than me, but still, sometimes I just want everything to be done.
    By the way, my two boys are also 1/2 filipino (I divorced their dad in 2004). Ehren is a cutie! My boys (13 and 15) are gorgeous if I say so myself. They look a bit like Ehren actually!


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