Yesterday afternoon, Ben picked up another load of foam insulation.  Just as he came home with it, I went out to the post office.  In the twenty-ish minutes I was gone, Ben did something.

Can you tell?

He cut down (most of) the apple tree.  We had talked about this for a few weeks, not certain when it would happen, but eventually it would.  While we both love trees, heck, Ben planted 17 fruit trees at our last house, this one wasn’t working for us.  First off, it was too close to the house.  Structurally speaking, the roots could damage the foundation.  It also blocked a lot of our view and darkened the kitchen and breakfast nook.  Now we can actually see our back yard from the kitchen.

But the main reason Ben cut it down yesterday afternoon is this:

Hauling bulky insulation to the pool room.  With the first load, Ben and Handy Sammy walked up the stairs, maneuvering around the big rock.  Now that the tree was out-of-the-way, they could easily set the insulation on the landing, and haul it in from there.

Once through the door, the boys loaded it in the pool.

Inside the house, it’s wonderful not having the tree.  From the outside, it looks so bare.

When Ben is ready, he’ll pull the rest of the stump out and we can get to work on the landscaping.

Until then, he’s got several tons of shingles to install.

After we get our hardscaping done, we’ll figure out what plants and trees we want to add for shade and greenery.  We’ve already talked about fruit trees and a pergola for shade.  Despite being a ways off, I’m getting excited.

What are your favorite shade trees?  Do you have landscaping ideas for us?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

That’s right, folks.  I know it’s not December yet, but Christmas is right around the corner.  Have you started decorating?  I think most people decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, and usually I do, too.  But, this year, we’re running around like crazy people the week before, so I decided to decorate a few weeks ago.  Yep, you read that right, weeks.  What was the first Christmas thing to go up?  The tree, of course! 

This year’s color palette is silver, white, blue and green.  Not very original, I know, but I bought ornaments at Target (love Target!) the day after Christmas last year.  So, I’m working with what I’ve got.  Every year, it’s Ben’s task to add the lights to the tree.  We both prefer the plain white strands for a classic look.  So, he lights the tree and I add the ornaments.  This year, I had a little help from Vincent.  Of course, most decorations are at the bottom two feet, but hey, it’s free help. 

A white dove is perched atop our tree this year.

I have my eye on a beautiful Capiz star topper from, where else, Target.  It’s currently priced at $20.  Not bad, but it will be much better when it’s 50% off, dontcha think?  Yeah, me too.  What else is on my Christmas tree wish list?  A cute tree skirt of some sort. 

You see, we don’t have anything covering that ugly tree stand right now.  I want something white or silver, but I haven’t seen anything I really like yet.  I think I’ll buy some fabric and make a tree skirt at some point. 

So, that’s what our Christmas tree looks like this year.  What about your tree?  Have you set it up yet?  Do you have a color scheme or theme you’re sticking to or do you prefer to decorate with all of those mismatched, collected-over-time ornaments?