Deuce Cities Henhouse

My July Garden


My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Hello, Friendz! As I mentioned earlier this summer, my garden has had a rough go of it this season. The side garden was torn up and trampled by worker dudes, the veggie garden couldn’t be accessed for maintenance due to piles of dirt next to them, and I lost my Japanese maple. Yes, I am sad to announce that the maple is officially a goner. Happily, I did replace it with a new Empire I Japanese maple and I planted it in a different location. I have my fingers and toes crossed for this one – so far it’s thriving. All of the ups and downs are all part of the gardening adventure, so I try not to feel too bummed out.

I’m on the hunt for late summer flowering zone 4 perennials for shade and sun. I’m realizing (and you can tell by the pics) that I don’t have a lot flowering right now. I need to fix that and make a plan for next year. So all you green thumbs out there, let me know what I should be considering for next year’s late-summer-bloomers.

A few weeks the hus-bo was out of town for the weekend and I was left to my own devices, I decided to go hard on the veggie garden. I spent the entire day out in the sun, pulling weeds, edging the borders, and replanting peas and leaf lettuce that had become over grown. It all looks kind of pretty now, and spending a full day in the garden made me so happy. The pole beans are growing out of control, we have cucumbers and kale. The carrots are almost ready for harvesting and the potatoes (aka french fries) look like they must be growing well under the soil.



My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Zinnias have always been a go to annual plant for me. I always plant them from seed and I love to see them in my sun-loving garden. The Zinnias are not coming in this year like they have in the past. I think that my sun garden perennials are becoming so large that they are shading the seedlings and causing them not to grow as mightily as they have in years past. I’m thinking this will be the last year that I seed them in the sun garden and instead will start seeding them in the small gardens next to the garage where they will be sure to get lots of sun. They make the best cut flower and I would hate to give up on them.



My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse
My Dahlias are having the same problem the Zinnias are. This normally sunny location is starting to get too shaded by large full grown hostas and the shade of the new fence. I think next year I will try to plant the tubers on the side of the house near the veggie gardens where sun is plentiful.


Hydrangea Bush

My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse


Weeping Crab Apple

My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse
The weeping crab apple tree on the corner of our yard is getting big! It was supposed to reach a maximum height and width of 10 feet, and in only 4 short years it has already achieved that. I hope that this is it for the outward growth of this tree, otherwise I don’t know what I’m gonna do!



My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse
I planted some new lily bulbs at the beginning of the spring, and they just bloomed. I love them! They sit right next to the copper bird bath and they are absolutely spectacular!


Cone Flower

My July Garden | Deuce Cities Henhouse
I just added some new Coneflowers (aka Echinacea) and Liatris around the new egress window well. This is an especially sunny spot, and I wanted to add some flowers that the bees and butterflies could enjoy.

Happy gardening people, and don’t forget to throw your summer bloomer suggestions my way!

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Basement Remodel : Week 8

Basement Remodel : Week 2 | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Whaddup? Long time no see, huh? I’ve been SO incredibly busy realizing this basement plan. The last two weeks have been nuts. I have basically abandoned my family and live in the basement surviving only on food people bring me and beers. Sorry in advance if my writing skills are not up to par, this body is still tired and the lack of social interaction is taking its toll.

Minus the sore back, it’s actually been really fun and satisfying to work on the basement. The worker dudes left me with a drywalled basement about 2 weeks ago. It is my responsibility to get it painted, wallpapered and decked out with new cabinetry before the guys come back to do the finishing touches.

There has been so much that has changed over the last two weeks. In week 7 it was a mad rush to get all the walls and ceiling primed and painted before the flooring guys came to install our new amazing floor – its vinyl, crazy, huh? Why vinyl, well it looks like wood, it’s waterproof, it can have cabinetry installed on top of it (unlike floating floor systems), and it can easily be replaced if damaged. It comes in 3″x 36″ strips so it doesn’t look like vinyl tiles, it really looks like wood – there is texture on the surface and an edge to it, just like a real wood floor. I love it.

Once the floor was installed it was time for cabinetry, and that my friends, is what I have been doing for 10 hours a day for the last 4 days. It looks great! We are only shy a few cabinet fronts – they should be in at Ikea later this week. I have a little more tweaking to do after the guys get done installing all the baseboard and trim, but I’m not expecting that to be too much work.

Anyway, it’s all coming together really quickly now, and I have my fingers and toes crossed that the fam and I will be having movie night in our new basement this weekend!


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Alley Appeal

Easy Garage Makeover : Before & After | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Whazzup all you cool people? I have a sweet makeover to share with you today facilitated by my nice neighborly pals over at Ace Hardware, (thanks Ace, you da best!).

Us Ace bloggers were asked to get really in depth on a project this summer, something that we were really itching to get at. I knew right away that I had to tackle my garage. I have a few good reasons for this. Firstly, the exterior of it is so boring; white vinyl siding paired with a plain white aluminum door leaves much to be desired. I’m thankful that the garage is newer and not slanting to its side like so many of those hundred year old garages around here, but it needed a facelift for sure. Secondly, the interior (which I’ll get to in a future post), is filled to the brim with tons and tons of crap – you know, all that stuff that doesn’t go anywhere else – and needs to be sorted through and organized.

Here in MPLS (aka Minneapolis) most of us residents access our garages via an alley way behind our homes. Now, this is nice for many of us, it prevents our small-ish (all is relative) yards from be eaten up by driveways, sadly though, there is a down side to alley lyfe. It is not popular in my neighborhood to keep a pretty garage or alley facade. Alley ways are strictly utilitarian and are strewn with garbage cans, recycling bins, yard waste and so on. It should be noted, that I carefully cropped a temporary port-a-potty out of these pics – point is, anything goes in the alley.

I didn’t want my garage to fall by the wayside like so many others and wondered what would happen to the culture of our alley if I spent some time and gave it a quick but purposeful face lift. Could I inspire other folks in the neighborhood to pretty up their alley appeal™ too?

I purchased a can of paint, some painters tape, a set of faux windows, and some decorative hardware, and guess what? The garage looks way better! Now, this isn’t my dream garage, and I know it looks a little fake-y, but when you’re putting lipstick on a pig, isn’t the lipstick better than just the ugly old pig? I think the answer is “heck yeah it is”.

Of course I topped it off with my number one pretty-it-up-go-to-solution, FLOWERS, dur. Earlier this summer I threw some Morning Glory seeds in the planters I built last summer and added some impatiens and cascading petunias to the flower boxes as well. The dirt piles on the edges of our concrete pad got a flower facelift too. I used some tall ornamental grasses (King Tut), a few Day Lilies and Hostas transplanted from the backyard, and Zinnias to make those dirt patches shine. All alleys deserve a little flower love.

The house numbers got updated too, I had an extra set of nums from when we had the house painted a few years back. I quickly mounted them on a board painted white, and attached the spiffed up numbers with a few wood screws, and blamo!

Easy Garage Makeover | Deuce Cities Henhouse

Easy Garage Makeover | Deuce Cities Henhouse
I didn’t know this was a thing, but when researching how to make my garage prettier, I ran across these faux windows. They are black plexi-glass trimmed out in paintable vinyl to give the appearance of real live windows, and they can be attached to most typical garage doors in just a few minutes. The down side is that you get one design option. I searched and searched, but I could only come across one manufacturer producing one type of faux window. Beggars can’t be choosers, and even though it wasn’t my preferred faux-window-style, I decided to go for it. After all, I was after a carriage-door look, and all good carriage doors are known for their iconic windows – I’m sold. To complete the garages new look I needed to fancy it up with some decorative hardware. Guess what? They make decorative hardware fer garages too! I didn’t want anything super ornate and was able to find simple hardware on this thing they have called the internet.

Hey, if you try and take on a project similar, here are a few cool tips to take note of.

↬ Check the weather, you don’t want to start this project if rain is in the forecast.
↬ Don’t paint on a hot day in direct sunlight, the paint will gum up. Make sure to paint on a cool overcast day or in the shade.
↬ Use exterior paint! This garage will need to stand up to a lot of weather wear so make sure you are making the proper paint choice. I talked to my bros over at Ace and they recommended Clark+Kensington exterior paint (in flat) and they even color matched it to match my storm windows.
↬ Roll on your paint and then use a brush to smooth it out. It’s obvious when you use a roller, so make it look natural and use a brush to smooth out the rails and stiles of the garage door.

Easy Garage Makeover | Deuce Cities Henhouse
All in an afternoons work – so get out there and pretty up your neighborhood alley-way already!

Tell me, does your house or apartment have an alley too? How does your neighborhood approach alley appeal?

Easy Garage Makeover | Deuce Cities Henhouse

I’m excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided me with compensation and some of the materials necessary to complete this project! All opinions are my own. Thanks a biznillion, Ace!
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Cut Flowers From The Garden

Simple Garden Bouquet | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Hey Guys! Hope you all had a sweet weekend. I spent mine painting our basement like I was born to do it.

Even though I spent so much time in the basement, I made it a priority to get in some of quality time in the garden, one of my first times being able to do so all summer. I spent the good part of a day cleaning out my overgrown lettuce garden, weeding, and repairing and reseeding the lawn where it had been damaged during the egress window installation. I feel much better about where things are now after putting in a few hours of dedicated cleaning up.

Anyway, I rewarded myself by making a few bouquets for the house, something I’ve been making time to do all summer.

It doesn’t take much to make a pretty bouquet from garden flowers, anything and everything can be used and it doesn’t need to be flowering to be pretty.

Earlier this summer I made a lot of Hosta bouquets filled in with Salvia and Ferns, which are highly beautiful on their own. Now I have a few more flowering plants popping up in the yard (like Zinnias, Dahlias and Phlox) and I’m adding them into my summer bouquet repertoire.

Common summer flowers
Hosta Flowers
Huchera Flowers
Bleeding Hearts
Flower Tree Branches


Cut Greens
Hosta leaves
Solomon’s Seal
Ornamental Grasses
Peony Foliage
Bleeding Heart Foliage

Simply put, anything from the garden can be used in a bouquet. Don’t be afraid to try all sorts of combinations of foliage and flower – it’s all pretty!

Simple Garden Bouquet | Deuce Cities Henhouse

Simple Garden Bouquet | Deuce Cities Henhouse

Simple Garden Bouquet | Deuce Cities Henhouse

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Basement Remodel : Week 6

Basement Remodel : Week 2 | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Hey Guys! Sorry, I’ve been a little MIA lately. We were on a family vacay and I was very much phoning it in for the last few weeks. I haven’t been a good poster, or comment responder, or blogger in general – but don’t worry, those days are over.

Alright, so I went away for two weeks and got to come back to a drywalled basement! It is really starting to look so real. The excitement within me is brimming over.

I know a lot of this basement series has been pretty redundant, but the hanging of the sheetrock has been a real game changer. The pics are now changing from ugly dark basement shots to photos of actual real-deal spaces filled with light, and design, and all that good stuff.


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