Grills Gone Wild

Happy 4th of July WEEK. Yes – a week-long celebration of the good old USA and a reason to eat hot dogs and cheeseburgers every single day! Well, not really, but it’s definitely an excuse to take advantage of a good holiday sale!

Andrew’s friend from work passed a nice Weber Charcoal Grill down to us and we made several attempts at trying to use it. However, we’re quite pathetic and had a very hard time being patient and working to get the thing heated up properly. The first time we actually cooked something on it, we burnt some hamburgers to a crisp (and ate them anyway). The 2nd time we actually got the grill up to the right temperature and attempted to cook something, we had hot dogs that tasted like lighter fluid (didn’t eat them anyway, yuck).

Weber Charcoal GrillThat’s when I got the brilliant idea – get Andrew a grill for his birthday! His birthday isn’t until July 31, but don’t worry, I made sure to ruin the surprise well in advance ūüėČ I’m just terrible at giving and receiving surprises and this time, there were so many variables, I’m not sure I could have pulled it off.

The grill I had been eyeing online at Lowes was sitting in my shopping cart for a few weeks. I had this grand idea that I would bring it home and have it sitting outside and Andrew would be like, “whoa where did that grill come from?!” However, the grill went on sale this week and the sale only lasts until Sunday! The 8th is far too early to be giving the gift, so trying to get the thing at the right time was out of the question. Secondly, when would I pick the thing up, how would I get it put together, how would I conceal this from Andrew when we share the same Lowes card? Not to mention, I can’t really make this kind of decision on my own, so I decide I need Andrew to be involved.

I ruin the surprise…so we head down to Lowes where they are currently offering 18 months 0% APR financing for total purchases over $300 – score! There were a few other things we needed, so we knew it wouldn’t be a problem to reach the $300 mark. One $139 Grillmaster Grill, 1 Blue Rhino propane tank, 1 LED solar security/motion light, 6 solar path lights, and a few other odds and ends later, we got ourselves a brand new grill and we don’t have to pay for it until next January, hah! Obviously we will have it paid off well before then, but it’s just nice to be able to take your time and make small payments here and there as opposed to dropping $300 all at once (especially while you’re in the middle of some other pricier projects). Anyone new to home ownership, we definitely recommend a Lowes card!

So we have the grill, we have the tank, we bring it all home and set the grill up the next day. With an estimated assembly time of 45 minutes, we’re all done after about 2.5 hours! 8, 496 mosquito bites later, I give you – THE GRILL.

Grillmaster 3-Burner Gas GrillGrillmaster 3-Burner Gas Grill

Sure, it’s not the Rolls Royce of grills, but it’s gas and should be easy to use. It even has a side burner! It’s a practical solution for us and our budget. Now all we have to do is connect the propane tank and we’ll be making tons of burgers and dogs on 580 square inches of grill, all Summer long.

Gutter Madness!

As part of our “go outside” initiative, we’ve been outside a lot. It isn’t always frolicking in the grass and catching fireflies, sometimes its dealing with gutters. People tend to make a really big deal about keeping their gutters clean. (Just Google it if you don’t believe me) I’ve always thought that those people were somewhat crazy and a tad bit extreme. We learned a pretty good lesson in the importance of routine gutter maintenance this weekend. We also learned not to trust whatever gutter guard was installed previously, or whoever installed said guard and drain spout.

Down Spout

To make a long story short, we’ve gotten a good bit of rain since our regional drought ended. Saturday morning, while doing yard work(which we are no strangers to), I noticed water dripping from the gutter. I hopped up on the roof, checked it out. Sure enough the gutter was filled with water. I stuck my hand down the spout and couldn’t pull anything out. Unfortunately, that meant the problem was in the spout. I climbed back down to the ground, climbed back up the ladder and removed the spout. (I made that seem fast. it was anything but a fast process) Out came all of the water but still nothing solid.

Location of Gutter Gunk Hiding

All of the solid stuff was hiding in an “s-curve” portion of the downspout. After all the water had drained, and I was able to look at the spout. Turns out this section was made of 3 sections. The middle portion had been so bent to fit inside the other two that nothing could pass. Except maybe water. Brilliant engineering! Removing this proverbial wrench in our works, and reassembling the downspout seems to have solved that problem.

Downspout Bottom

Not to pat myself on the back, but I’d say we narrowly avoided¬†catastrophe. Stay tuned for a follow up on our gutter issues.

Hosta La Vista, Baby

Garden Sign

OK, so maybe that title is a little misleading. This weekend we¬†planted some hostas, and thus far they haven’t left.

Front Yard with Pruned Plants

This weekend’s weather was perfect for being outside and we took full advantage by clearing out some dead trees and stumps, trimming and pruning every shrub and planting some new plants, including some hostas of various colors.

Freshly Planted Hostas

Hosta Sprout Close Up

At this point they are nothing more than little sprouts in the garden, but that’s a start for sure. I feel pretty confident about what we’ve done, despite not really having the greenest thumb. My parents both are really good with their gardening but I don’t know if that has been passed down to me.

Peat and Potting Mix

Our soil is kind of sandy, and we’re in the middle of drought right now. To try and combat that, we planted the hostas with a mix of peet, potting soil and osmocote. Oh, and lots of water.

Front Yard in April

As I said, we’re in the middle of a drought. Our grass seems overrun with weeds, but we remain confident. We’ve been quietly working on it here and there since we moved in. I’ll monitor the progress of our garden for the rest of the summer, and hopefully keep posting updates as things improve.

Here are two final pictures. One of another hosta from the front yard to show you what they will look like and then a shot of the new ones from yesterday.

Full Hosta in April

Hostas Day 4