It's under a year, right?

Almost one year ago, many of you assembled in our yard to drink heavily, dance badly, laugh loudly and watch us stumble through exchanging wedding vows. Dom asked who else would he build a house with, and James hoisted a granite block at him.

This is to thank you for your participation in that crazy ass event. Much of that evening was about the home we built together. The tables every one ate off of was actually the plywood used to board up the windows. The logs for the fire pit were from trees cut down in the yard. The grass still hasn’t grown in where the dancing took place, our own little Riot Fest.


In our “registry”, we opted for contributions to various facets of the home we were building together. Often we are asked, where are the fruit trees? We did purchase one, now rough-looking, espaliered apple tree, though the squirrels got its fruit before we could. After some pruning and tree clearing(used with NEW tools!), we learned a little more about the trees we already had. It turns out we had a plum tree, and a cherry tree, both which produced pretty good fruit, if the birds and squirrels didn’t get to it first. It was pretty exciting to bite from a juicy plum, and to know we had a long season of fruit bearing ahead of us, rounded out by our pear tree, still dropping the last of its fruit as we write this.

We picked up a LOT of English Ivy, well aware of it’s invasive qualities, which we hope to steer vertically up toward our fence.

Another project asked about is the rebar fence. We did purchase some materials to do a mild test, and James even took a welding class to learn how to hold it all together, but we will likely pick that project up next year, along with welding the window boxes.

We haven’t yet acquired any galvanized tubs for gardening, though at a mother’s persistence, James picked up one for a beer bucket, to use at Mercedes’ graduation party, and will likely plant something in it next spring.

We did manage to get some five-panel doors, which Dom has been stripping and refinishing so we can install soon.

We haven’t yet put in any skylights, but as we turn our sights inward to the house, we did refinish the floors in the dining room, living room, and now the guest room.

The guest room being part of a different project, turning it into an AirBnB rental to supplement our income, and finance refinishing a part of our basement to also rent out on AirBnB. One of the goals we had when we purchased this property was to make enough income to cover the mortgage itself, and after a successful September and based on our bookings in October, we will have actually achieved that goal.

We’ve already had friends and family stay with us and use the amenities offered, most importantly, with their own private bathroom, and if you haven’t stayed with us yet, we would like to welcome you to do so, whenever you want(just let us know so we can delist it for
those dates).


This has been a great year for us, and incredibly busy. The dogs probably wish we played with them more, but they’re self-absorbed little shits, and will never be satisfied, we love them anyways. We hope all is well for you, too, and if we haven’t heard from you lately, we hope to do so soon.

Last year, it was easy to say we would have a one-year anniversary party in the same fashion, an Octoberfest style cookout, but instead, we’re off to Pittsburgh, to celebrate the wedding of friends, who also bought a two-unit, and are having the ceremony on their stoop of their new home.

If we’re not caught in some ouroboros of early October weddings, we do hope to have an anniversary celebration, and we will let everyone know, and we would love to show you all the work we are still in the middle of, if you’re into that sort of thing, if not, you’re welcome to sit on the stoop and have a beer, but do us a favor and throw the ball, Addie won’t leave us alone.

Thank you, your well-wishing has made our home warmer and happier, and we look forward to sharing it with you soon.

James and Dom


On October 11, 2014, we were happy to share our home with our family and friends for a ceremony and celebration of our marriage. Beer enthusiasts and lovers of tamales, we opted for a Little Village Octoberfest in our front yard. With long hall tables, string lights, and a kegerator, we pulled off the wedding of our dreams on a shoe string budget and a prayer for good weather. The ceremony was conducted on our front stoop, with our loved ones gathered around, and the celebration promptly started after, and went into the night with dancing and a bonfire. 

Note: Those long hall tables? Made from the plywood our windows were boarded up with when we purchased the house.

The Man Who Grows Objects

"Hello, My name is Thomas Land and I started growing objects in my little orchard in southern Germany in 2010. Why do I do this? Because I am a romantic botanist & alchemist who believes that designing objects should become more of a natural process, like “going back to our roots”. 

Enter his world & discover for yourself how to grow your own produce:

Illustrations by Philipp Zurmöhle:

Source: Lustik 

Garage Kittens

We found three kittens in our garage this past weekend, not even a month old. I was trying to diminish a pile of trash and discovered them behind discarded drywall. I have noticed the mom, but didn't realize she had kittens, she always scurries out of the garage as soon as we enter, and I didn't mind her hanging out as I thought she might keep the rats away. Since kittens are incredibly cute, we fell in love immediately, though they may not have loved us, though they have since come around and started climbing on us if we sat on the floor near them. We thought to keep them safe in a cardboard box that the mom could still have access to to feed them, but ultimately she decided to relocate them altogether, out of the garage, and beyond our reach. We'll continue to leave food, and hope they rerun, and if so, may initiate a trap and release set up, to get them splayed and dewormed. We may even start a colony in the garage, as we liked having them around. Of course, we named them.

Marshall, Rockwell and Oakley

The Yard in Summer

One of the common things you'll hear when you move into a new property, is to leave the yard alone for the first year. Of course keep it cleaned up, but not to start planting or planning until the following spring. It's important to learn what comes and goes throughout the growing season, the path of the sun across the property, where water pools after it rains.

We have enough to do inside the house without worrying about the yard, so it's been kind of relaxing just to study the landscape. We have a flowering tree that comes in first on the north side of the yard, but still don't know what it is. It came in early May, along with the Pear tree, and what we learned was a Black Birch tree. We have a massive Catalpa tree that didn't fully come in until early June, and flowered in mid-June. We knew we had a series of rose bushes throughout the yard, but didn't know they were Rosa Mundi until they began to flower. The bud looks like a rose, but the bloom looks like a smaller peony.

Rosa Mundi Bush

Rosa Mundi Bush

We also have a few hydrangea bushes, that have not yet flowered, but I attribute that to the fact that we have watered nothing, laid no mulch, or pruned anything. We have a few daffodils, and bleeding hearts in the yard, also some crocus. 

The biggest growth is a large mass of lilies that had been growing since late March, however, thinking they were a spring flower, I expected them to bloom earlier, but here we are in the first days of summer, and they started to bud and pop, very lovely flowers. We could have about a hundred blooms.



Also, I know that last year, the red bartlett pears were very small on our tree, and it looks like again, they will continue to be so. I expect a few hundred from this tree. I have pruned some of it, but haven't mulched or fertilized, and that could contribute to the smaller than desired fruit. I'll follow up with a strategy next spring, though may prune again late fall this year.

Close up of the pear tree

Close up of the pear tree

In the yard are three dead looking peach trees I have cut down. I know there are successful trees in the city, but don't think this is an appropriate climate for that struggle, and I don't love peaches as I do pears. I do plan to hold a bonfire this fall and burn the wood from the trees. We have three unhealthy arborvitae trees, that I intend to relocate elsewhere in the yard, and maybe in planters on the patio. They might benefit from attention.