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Welcome to the Arneson house on Cottage Lane

经典a级片We started this big adventure in February 2009 as we purchased the Danielson house on Cottage lane. As our new home is built we will post plans, progress reports, and photos to this blog creating a permanent record of this exciting new chapter in our lives. Be sure to check back often and watch as our new home takes shape!

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The New Cottage Lane…

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The changes around the “L” Shaped House on Cottage Lane in Minnetonka are not limited to only plant life. Since we moved into the neighborhood three new homes have been built along the North side of Cottage Lane and we have new neighbors in at least two other homes.

Our annual neighborhood National Night Out party this year was blessed with the sounds of children playing, dogs barking, and friends laughing!
 
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Rain Garden… 2015

The rain garden at the end of the driveway received some attention in the 2015 upgrades as well. We planted the rain garden in July of 2010 (see it here) and have had some attrition over the past couple of years. The plantings along the front edge (in particular) are subject to not only snowplow damage but also the ravages of Minnesota road salt. This round of new plants will probably not be the last!

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New Trees… 2015

We lost two thirds of a very nice Hackberry along the driveway in a big wind storm this summer. As a part of the project upgrading the landscaping and plantings we decided to replace it and one White Pine along the border with our neighbor to the West that died last year. The first two photos below show the Hackberry laying in pieces on the driveway and the Tamrac we have decided to replace it with.

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We placed five White Pines along the West property line in the original planting back in August 2010 (see it here). Four of the trees taken root and prospered. The tree at the top of the hill slowly withered and finally died last year. Matt found us a very nice natural tree at Gertens and placed it in the same spot.

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Landscaping Before and After

In my Minnesota Native Prairie 2.0 posting just previous I stated that 60% of the plantings in and around the “L” Shaped House have come in “perfectly”. I think the before and after image below shows this nicely. The lower photo shows the area around the stairs leading to the front porch (in early 2010) just after planting the pagoda dogwood trees, the endless summer hydrangea, and various grasses (see it here). The top photo shows this same area earlier this summer (2015) at the beginning of the fourth growing season.

Amazing…

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Refreshing a Meadow…

So… Here is Matt Wolfe’s plan for the Minnesota Native Prairie 2.0 (click on image to see it huge). The highlighted areas are being replenished with 1500 new plantings of 19 different plants and grasses, two new trees are being added, and the entire grounds of the “L” Shaped House are being top dressed with pine bark mulch. We are being especially mindful to include plants in the meadow that will attract both Hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies.

We are also re-configuring the irrigation system adding two new watering heads in the highlighted areas while removing heads in the lower right hand corner that are no longer needed. It is especially cool to see that this area has grown in so well that we will no longer have to water the plants.

 

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The project starts with the pine bark mulch top dressing. We engaged Justin Crandall Midwest Groundcover to blow-in the mulch. He and his dad showed up with his amazing truck and spent two days blowing  90 cubic yards of their pine bark mulch. The whole neighborhood smelled like a pine forest for two days after they finished!

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Matt and his crew form Lee’s Landscape came in right behind the mulching operation to start installing the new plants in the meadow.  Some of the “flats” containing rooted plants can be seen sitting on the freshly installed mulch in the photos below.

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Planting the 1500 rooted plugs in the three areas across the bottom of the front yard took two days. The two photos below show the meadow near the end of their efforts. Once they finished planting plugs an application of corn meal gluten is applied covered with a sprinkling of additional pine bark mulch. Now we all sit back and hope for a nice blanket of snow to cover everything for the winter.

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Minnesota Native Prairie 2.0

After completing construction and moving into the “L” Shaped House in late 2010 we turned our attention to the yard and landscaping. From the very beginning of this big adventure we have had a master plan for the landscaping and plants (see it here). An integral part of this plan is the native Minnesota meadow extending to the street in the front yard.

 

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Now that we have seen the results of three complete growing seasons we invited Matt Wolfe back to assess the progress toward our goal of having a native prairie meadow yard and engaged him to supervise the planning and planting of  “Native Prairie Meadow 2.0” at the “L” Shaped House.

I have taken to describing the results of our original planting efforts as having been… “largely Successful”

  • 60% of the plants came in perfectly
  • 20% of the plants grew “reasonably” well
  • 20% of the plants did not make it

Unfortunately three big sections of grasses planted in the meadow region of the front yard fall into the 20% of plantings that did not make it at all. This has resulted in an especially obvious bare area right out front for the last year. Matt is convinced that a combination of more shade than expected in the front yard combined with inadequate  irrigation coverage is at the “root” of our troubles. Deb and Helen think that Phil made friends with the geese instead of chasing them away and that they ate all the sweet grass together.  No matter the cause… we are forging ahead with Minnesota Meadow 2.0!

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Rollac Rolling Shutters

The screen porch on the front of the “L” Shaped is is almost certainly the favorite space inside the “L” Shaped House. Opening the french doors to the porch in the spring transforms the living room into a wide open space that includes all the outdoors. Many gatherings at the “L” Shaped House end with everyone crowded together competing for a comfortable place to sit. The only complaint has been the late summer afternoon sun shining directly into the space.
Our friend Dave Lommen at Shutters and Shades in Hopkins suggested rolling shutters as the best possible solution to this problem. He and his crew installed the Rollac Rolling Shutters in May (2015). They are a  fantastic addition to the front porch!

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The shutters roll up into a metal enclosure that tucks up under the porch roof overhang nicely and are operated with a wireless remote.

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The rolling shutters in action!

 



Five Year Updates…

So… My last posting on these pages is dated June 14, 2012.

Demolition of the Danielson home started on June 22, 2009 (see it here)…

Work on the footings for the “L” Shaped House started July 7, 2009 (see it here)…

We moved in October 7, 2010 (see it here)…

As you can imagine a lot has happened in these last four to five years. Even though this blog was always intended to be only a record of the planning and building of the “L” Shaped House I’ve decided to add a series of “Five Year Updates” to help finish the story.

Anna and Grandma Ruth cooking rice pudding for the Ohnesorge Christmas party.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Ducks of Cottage Lane…

The pond across the street has produced not only Wood Duck babies but also a family of Hooded Mergansers. We have had the rare privilege of watching as these new additions thrive in the middle of the city.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wood Ducks…

Anna and I have built and erected two wood duck houses on the shoreline of the pond across the street. The ducks have enthusiastically adopted the houses and we have the second brood of the year exploring the pond.

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One of the houses along the North shore…

Wood Duck House