Salvaging and Making Due

We transformed this old wardrobe that our friend Steven had given us long ago into a pantry for food storage. Our kitchen, while spacious in the center, is not overly equipped with cupboards, and we'd been living with several boxes in the middle of the floor of the kitchen, trying to figure out where all the kitchen stuff would go. A few 1X2s and 1x4s and it is fulfilling its highest calling.

I was really wanting an outdoor table for the covered area outside the back door. I knew we would eventually find something, but I really was wanting something on Sunday morning since people were coming over that evening. I told Justin as we left to do errands, "I want to find a free outdoor table." He pointed out that we couldn't really fit a table in the car, and I reluctantly agreed.

Nothing at Urban Ore. Went to Berkeley Bowl and got the closest parking space I've ever seen on a weekend. A couple more errands. Back in Richmond, we saw a sign for a garage sale. Before we found the garage sale, we saw some furniture on a lawn with a "free" sign. One of the items was a round formica table, with detachable legs, that just barely fit in our car. And here it is:

By the way, the vase was also salvaged and the flowers are from the yard!

Name that Dormant Tree

Peach Tree Damage

The lovely peach tree had some plastic wrap around one limb and the crotch where all the limbs come out from the trunk. We removed it and discovered underneath some kind of damage/infestation. I can't actually tell if it is active or the result of something that already happened. I'm posting pictures in hopes that somebody will be able to identify what it is and what we should do about it!

Just a Quick Note

About the trees in the backyard:

I think the tree near the house is guava. Although the fruit are much smaller than any guava I've seen, they look and taste like guava. I will take a sample to the nursery.

Other trees that were identified this weekend: definitely one is a fig,then there appear to also be a walnut, an avocado, and an apple.

Several others remain unidentified. Their identities shall reveal themselves when they leaf or flower. Mysteries of a limited time-span!

More pictures, just because I have them

A few more pictures from when we were there on Monday. As you can see, we got the grand old range. We need to buy a refrigerator and a washing machine (clothesline is already in place!). We're going to leave the carpets in place for now, even though they are kinda funky (not dirty, just brown and worn).


Here's the text to go with the photos below.
1. House from across the street.
2. Row of roses along the 26th Street (western) side of the house.
3. Square bushes along the front (northern) side of the house turn out to be camellias, I realized.
4. Fruit tree covered with pink blossoms turns out to be peach. The plastic on the branch is because the branch cracked and it is healing and he (the man who made this garden) didn't want the tree to get infected.
5. Close-up of peach blossom.
6. An herb that he said was good for the stomach. Anyone recognize it?
7. Closer-up and further back of a bush that looks familiar to me, but I don't know what it is. Is it buckwheat or some other faux grain?
8. Mystery herb. 9. Mystery tree.
10. Row of aloes. 11. Big bunch of calla lilies.
12. View of back yard from southeast corner of yard, with garage and shed in view behind Justin.
13., 14. Two shots from the same spot, facing the house.
15. This is the rhododendron "tree" whose pink blossoms featured in a previous post as mystery flowers.
16. This mystery tree (followed by 17. a picture of its fruit) is close up to the house.
18. View of the backyard from the driveway gate. House is on the right, garage on the left.
19. Justin in front of the driveway gate. It's not a home without a big iron gate, right?

Please identify any plants you can!

Not featured, but I have to mention again, two lemon trees (full of fruit), several robust prickly pear cacti, a patch of calendula, lots of bolting cilantro in the beds as well as bolting radishes, a few random pots of plants, like a big purple wandering-jew (what's the right name for that?) and mint. There are also two tallish hot pepper plants, the kind with the little upright peppers. The sellers' agent, who was showing us around, warned us that they are very hot! She also said that the man said the peaches are really delicious, and she vouched for the nopales herself, which they had given her on various visits.

My visions are grand and will take years to implement, but I think I've already managed to convince Justin that we can get some hens, maybe even rabbits if we can figure out what to do with them (could we eat them? Could we sell them to someone else to eat?). I'm imagining turning the front yard into a wild garden of California natives, drought tolerant and appropriate for our climate and locale. There are a few non-natives that I really want: bougainvillea, hibiscus or rose-of-sharon, and that purple-flowering tree that is everywhere around the east bay and blooms year-round. I also really like wisteria and jacaranda. Okay, so maybe those can go in the back with the vegetables and herbs.

We want to set up greywater from the washing machine, which will be housed in the garage and easy to set up for graywater. It would be great to also do greywater from the showers, but that'll be slightly more complicated to do.

There are so many things to do! We're not really going to do much until this summer, which I will have off. That is when we will do interior painting, and pull up the carpets. (We lifted it up in two of the closets and saw the hardwood underneath, as the sellers told us it was.) It's tempting to paint now while it's empty, but (a) we don't have any spare time, and (b) it's rainy and cold and we won't be able to leave the doors and windows open to get it really ventilated.

Also looking forward to solar cooking again, in our sunny driveway or in the middle of the garden, maybe even in the front yard. That'd get the neighbors over for a chat, right?

As you can tell, I'm really excited--not just that this process is finally over, but actually excited about the particular house we bought. Thanks to everyone for your supportive words during this ordeal!

Pictures of OUR house