Archive | August, 2017

Paint Us into Our Oasis

24 Aug

When we bought our first home in SD it had been decided that when we got our shit sort of put together (complete rehab) a hot tub was very soon to follow. We laid the concrete slab, installed the electrical (thanks dad!) and built a deck around it. We had that beautiful baby within 8 months. (If you’d seen that home, you’d be impressed by how quickly it came to fruition.) Fast forward to us viewing this new prospect and, wadyaknow, there was already a back deck AND a hot tub! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ» But to be quite honest, we really only gave it a 10-20% chance of working, with minimal repairs 🀞🏻Since the house was on the market through winter all pipes had been winterized, so even turning it on until the weather improved made no sense and all of our focus was putting the inside in order anyway. Alas, the weather warmed and we had a comfortable grip on the house so James hopped in that baby, gave her a good scrub down (I’m glad I don’t have pics of what it looked like) filled her up and BAM! We have a fucking hot tub! We’ve since had one leak, (and seriously, that’s all we’ve had!) but, we bought this expanding foam shit that we’d used once on our other tub, and haven’t had an issue since.
Well, now that we have an up and running hot tub, time to spruce this deck up. Not sure how long it’s been here or when the last time it was painted but there is natural wear and tear, a few boards that needed replacing and the simple effect of the elements. The paint department at the Depot recommended Deck Over, a paint about twice as thick as anything we’ve used before, made to help, not just cover, the wood, but fill in the split and damaged areas as well. And this paint, Not.Fun.To.Work.With!! It’s, again, thick and heavy, hard to spread, and oh yeah, not fun! But, I can see why it was the recommended choice.And now it’s time to finish our fence. Long pause………Because…..Ugh. When we closed, our first order was to do whatever we could to simply make sure the animals couldn’t escape the grounds. Not exaggerating, we did whatever we could before our POD of belongings, (containing all tools necessary) arrived. Then, unsurprisingly, one “Doesn’t Give a Shit” cat, and one “I Have No Idea what I Just Did,” dog, found some holes. That’s it, time to rebuild the fence. James is well versed in this area thanks to a previous job, so he tackled that sumbitch in 3 days. All by himself! (I had to leave town or else I would’ve for sure helped) Seriously! No. Seriously! He fully replaced 3 sides of our yard, including three gates. The fourth side of the fence was intact, enough, so we saved it for a later day. Well, this was back in February and we left it it’s natural unpainted wood, cuz, for whatever reason, it seems no one paints their fences here. Huh? After thinking on it a few months James decided he wanted to paint, making it last years longer, so now the time to build the last piece had come. We’d had our color palette picked out for when we repaint the house and our accent color is a beautiful blue so we played off that for the fence. We painted that last/new side white, the color the homeowner requested, and since we didn’t need to replace the whole side of the fence and the intact part was already white, it really wasn’t too much skin off our backs. Play nice with the neighbors and they’ll play nice with you.  6/21/17I love me a nail gun!!! As for the rest, James thought it’d be more aesthetically pleasing, (which, aesthetisc and color, are more my thing but, I guess he can have this one,) to leave the rails and posts their natural wood color, and he totally nailed it! We used an airless spray gun, as we will not go through another episode of hand painting an entire fence! I just won’t! Insert personal nightmare here. Attempting something this delicate took some crafty thinking, and again, James nailed it! He took the fence off in sections, laid them on a tarp, made this little “cover” for the rails using two 1.5″x 1.5″ L-drip edge, (in laymen’s, my, terms, two long aluminum edge pieces,) taped them together with blue painters tape and simply laid them over the rails and sprayed them down.Now, it really wasn’t as easy as that, I mean, he basically made himself a jigsaw puzzle to take apart and rebuild. But, the outcome, I know you agree, was spot on!

So now we are beautifully secure in our backyard.

Cold beer and a dunk in the tub anyone?

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Backyard Oasis Take One.Β 

13 Aug

Now that we’ve cleared out all the nonsense that existed in the back yard it’s time to start creating a beautifully landscaped oasis. We’ll start with some fruit trees, as they take a bit longer to produce. Went in with intent to buy 3-4 and decided for sure on an apple and pear. Now, there are so many damn varieties and we hoped we could find a Honeycrisp apple tree. Yumm! No dice. So we asked for a recommendation and the employees response was, “Dude! You gotta get the Arkansas Black Spur!” So of course with that response we had to. Then, they mention the pollination issue, something we’d never taken into account. They found us trees that were pollinating buddies and we ended up with 2 pear and 2 apple. Three of the four I’m not familiar with, but their confidence left me happy. We may have a handful of adolescent fruit next year, but I assure us all that when it becomes mature, we will not be shy of sharing. I see cobblers and pies and anything your heart desires!🍐🍎 Now, before we planted said trees we must confront our weed problem. If you recall in my last post, there was zero shit given to this property for X amount of time. First we must till and amend the soil. Then till again. Just when I think there are no more tools we could possibly need, I am sorely proven wrong! (My Dad assures me there is no such thing as enough, and thinking of my kitchen, I suppose he’s right, and James wasn’t too terribly bummed about buying a new toy!) And buy he did. I do however, recommend one if you plan any further endeavors of yard work. Rent vs Buy, worth every penny! This would’ve been painfully painful and, time consuming to do manually. ​

​We went a direction we’d learned on our SD home. Sheet Mulching. LOVED the concept. Using cardboard boxes, sans any tape or glossy labels, and luckily we had a shit ton from our move, (also smart on us we didn’t just throw them away,) any-who, it consists of covering the grounds with cardboard then adding a layer about 4-6 inches of a beautiful healthy mulch. This creates a heat that essentially stifles and burns the weeds, while also breaking down the cardboard to become part of your soil. Chemical free, self composting, weed killing beauty. A much better way to enjoy your home grown fruits and veggies.Β Now let’s add a little ground cover plants, and watch them all grow.Β Time to add some fun backyard additions.πŸ‘πŸ» Someday, when we have grass, I’m getting a fucking slip-n-slide! For now, fire pit. We’re talking the real-deal-bonfire-grill-steel-fire-ring! Nestled in a beautiful Pavestone surrounding, built by James. Β πŸ”₯When James went through that painful lopping, chopping, chainsaw-ing and stump grinding the damn yard, there was one tree that, as an afterthought, he decided he wanted it gone. However, revisiting that dreaded stump grinder again was, Out.Of.The.Question. So it simply became a large stump. Just need to sand the top to make it level, add a nice layer of lacquer and viola! It’ll be a proper captains chair to man the fire.Β Equipped with a swivel grill grate for your changing wants of a mesmerizing fire or some kick ass steaks and kabobs on the grillπŸ»βœ”οΈ

Looking forward to some clear cool nights after this hot, dry summer.✨

Road Trip with a Side of a Patty Melt.

4 Aug

For our 7 year anniversary, (this past June, yeah I procrastinate!) James had planned a travel down the Oregon coast, something I’ve been telling him he has to see for years now, for a 3 night camping trip. We dusted off our gear, (it had been way to long since the last time we camped,) planned and prepared the menu and loaded up the truck and dogs. We left early as the campsite was a 6 1/2 hour drive, and a beautiful day and drive it was.

Then, this happened. What should be a Yelp review (but won’t) is coming your way. It took about an hour longer than we’d planned when we stopped for a quick bite and beer at a dog friendly restaurant in Newport, OR. Found it on the BringFido app and it was at a Rouge Brewing Co. restaurant, and, being a well established name it had to be good, right? Wrong!!

We lucked out and found a parking spot right next to the patio, where I presume we’ll be sitting with the pups, πŸ‘πŸ»we were told to seat ourselves with a heads up that the food might take around 30 mins. That’s cool, I appreciate the knowing what I’m getting myself into. Unfamiliar with the area, and again, a well known name, we accepted it. Then 5 mins passed, 10, maybe 15 until we actually were greeted by our server. And as a person well versed of the industry myself I know how customers can TOTALLY over exaggerate a time frame. I assure you I am not. Now, “why didn’t you just leave?” you may be thinking. It’s a 3 fold response. 1, dogs. 2, wanting our truck, full of monies worth of camping gear and foods within eyesight βœ”οΈ. 3, small town, small roads, big truck (see reason #2). So we wait, every few mins saying, “Let’s just wait another minute and we’ll leave.” Alas, there she is!! She was apologetic so that’s cool, even though I’d seen her at the table across from us, twice, we are fully ready with our order (hoping it would expedite our departure as we still have almost 3 hours of driving,) and then proceeded to wait for our beers. We are now maybe 30+mins in. Me trying to make small talk when drinks finally come, “Wow you guys are pretty busy!” Her response, “Not Really” Really! Over 30 mins for a beer. Not Really!!?? Then another 30 mins pass, still no food. We’re sharing a fucking patty melt people! So, we order another round. When that round finally comes she says, “I have some interesting news and some good news. Which do you want first?” Interesting, bc well, I’m interested to hear any form of explanation. Turns out Mike took our sandwich to the wrong table and they’d already started eating it so, they’re making another for us right now, and she told them to, “put a rush on it“. The good news is, this round was on her. Sweet πŸΊπŸ–•πŸ»! So that rush put on our food was just that. Use your own imagination on how good it was. Thus folks, this took an hour and 45 mins!!!!! I’ll be skipping on Rogue Brewing from now on.

Oh! Damnit! I almost skipped the best part. There was a solo bathroom for both men and women, BUT, there was no way to lock the door, that I could see in the women’s so I went to the men’s. Huh? Same mother fucking thing! So I ask an employee who’s right there, “How do I lock the bathroom door?” I shit you not his response is, “That’s a good question, I don’t really know?” Followed by, “I’m not sure if you can.” If I can?!! How do you not know the answer? How has this never come up before? And is that even legal?!!!

Now that my rant is done and I hope you’re still reading, (sorry but it really was an experience that I felt I had to share, I mean, yeah,) we’re back on the road. The park. Sunset Bay.  Was beautiful! And the best part, no cell service. Nothing, nada, zilch, the whole time! I recommend taking yourselves somewhere similar, often. There was however, one way to make contact with the outside world, just in case. How many of you or people you know have never seen or used one of these!!!?? I picked it up just to hear the dial tone. (Also possibly something you or someone you know has no idea what that means or sounds like.)

Well, on the drive in, close to the park we passed a little corner store and there was a wheel barrow full of wood and a sign, “for sale.” Yeah, I made him turn around, those bundles they sell at the sites always burn faster as they rarely have any substantial sized logs. 20 bucks for the barrel, and nice cuts of logs. πŸ‘πŸ» Not positive the species but I know for damn sure that what we were burning here compared to camping in SD was in so many ways better! In SD the smoke was well, smokier, and when we’d get home it was straight up, everything in the garage-dogs get hosed down-strip naked-and get in the shower, smokier!! But this wood, none of that. Yeah there was still campfire smell but it was a happier kind. And when unloading our gear, dogs and own smelly beings at home, not that bad. Here our washer and dryer are in the house, in SD they were in the garage, so yeah, wood up here, unsurprisingly, trumps. No, wait, that’s not the right word. Maybe use, superior? Yep! That’s the one. Thanks to our unexpected “layover” we didn’t get settled in as early as we wanted, but we did. So by the time we’re ready to get that campfire going we’re teetering towards 8o’clock. Our little camping guidelines pamphlet we get says nothing about when fires must be out. Quiet time is at 10 but fires? When? So James goes to the host to inquire, and her answer is, none. “We can have a fire all night?”

“Yes, as long as you are quite and don’t disturb other campers.”

WHATTT??? Nice. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ”₯So we got lost in the flames and embers on a beautiful quiet night. Tomorrow. We walk! We were told there’s this amazing botanical garden at Shore Acres park, just a short hike away. Fuck yeah!! So we head off. Apparently in the wrong direction as we see no signs, and end up kicked off to the road. So we turn around and head back to camp to find our pathway out. When asking the first ranger we see where the path is her response is basically “yeah, the new camp host sn’t a fan of signs. I don’t know why.” Umm, I’m sorry, but how can you be a campground host and not be a fan of letting campers know where they’re going. In the wilderness. Where they haven’t been before? I mean, at least give us an arrow! βž°πŸ”œ But, we make our way and find the path, we did walk by the same outlook twice along the way, can’t possibly imagine how that happened, but the views were worth it!! Told you so James. 

We did find that botanical garden and of course they don’t allow dogs, understand why but, Damnit! So we had to take turns to walk through it. Which of course means, while walking through the most amazing rose garden I’ve ever seen, stopping to smell the roses loses a bit of it’s charm when the husband/dog hand-off is waiting for me. But smell I did. Totally worth it.As you know we bought a rehab property, which comes with all kinds of surprises. And whatever trees, shrubs and or plants that came with it were also part of that surprise, so we had no idea what they would look like come spring. Well there is a small rose bush in our front yard that, it seemed out of nowhere, produced this beautiful rose. I’d never seem one like this before and I beamed when I saw it out my bedroom window! Tada, this is it. It’s named Scentimental. And now when I stop and smell my roses, I know her name. It was a beautiful and peaceful few days. 
Fun’s over guys! We have a yard to get together.

Where the Willows Meet the Stump Grinder.Β 

3 Aug

Now that the inside of the house is pretty much squared away it’s time to turn our attention to the outside. I could spend time telling you how un-kept this property was before we purchased it, but you really need visual aids. I’ll first add that in these before and after pics, you’ll notice quite a difference in the ground color so keep in mind that the befores were taken in Dec/Jan and the afters are during one of the driest summers we’ve had in years. We’ll tackle that lawn issue sometime soon, but as you’ll see, the overgrowth of trees and left behind stumps HAS to come first! We took a few cuttings of the branches to our local nursery and their best guess at the species was a sort of Willow tree, or tree-ezz. They have a very invasive root system and they had been having a fucking party in the backyard when no one was paying attention! Our neighbor told us that the city had came in after it was foreclosed on and cut down a slew of trees, just close enough above ground that if you don’t look down while walking there is an inevitable occurrence of profanity from whatever injuries or pissed off toe that transpires.

For this fun-time removal project we started from top to bottom. Smaller pieces, quicker clean up and less chance for crazy shit to happen. James started with his telescoping loppers, then came the chainsaw, then the dreaded stump grinder. There was a good 30 stumps that needed grinding and that’s about 30 more than you’ll ever want to have to use that beast of a machine on. Here’s something you won’t hear James say, “That beat the shit out of me!”​There was an added small handful of stumps and about 3 trees/bushes in the front yard we took down too, but I think you’ve got the gist of what we’re dealing with. 🌲 (I don’t know why the video isn’t playing with sound, I’m not very tech-y, but imagine a very intimidating/scary movie/chainsaw sound)βš™οΈπŸ˜΅

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​This happened for about 8 hours. 8 hours!! Followed by a couple truck loads to the dump of yard waste later, we can get on that landscaping!Remember kids, we’ll work on that dreaded brown ground later, but for now, the view of the clear blue sky just got better.