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A Haircut and Three Pallets of Flagstones Later

28 Sep

After leaving my beloved hairstylist in SD, and a torturous search for a new, qualified, stylist, I found one! She was conveniently located less than 10 minutes from home, (BONUS!!) then she moved ☹️ (points taken away,) so she’s now 20+ mins from home. On my last visit James drove me and figured he’d just make a trip over to Habitat For Humanity which is right around the corner to just peruse, because you never know, and to kill time. Well. In our quest for an outside oasis, we’d conjured up a concept of landscaping some pathways in the front and backyards, carved out with flagstones and accenting with mulch. Much preferred over a slab of concrete sidewalk. Future plans to grow grass in the surrounding areas, maybe a raised bed for veggies and a sparkle of ground coverings when fall brings the rain that summer did not.
Now. Lets backtrack to the day before my haircut. On this day I was in my PJ’s watching Ellen and was not in the “Let’s go to the Depot” mood, but James wanted to go price out some flagstones, knowing he’d be heading to H4H tomorrow while I’m getting my haircut, and again, you never know!! TaDa! H4H had just received a pallet of flagstones, littered with bits and pieces the Depot didn’t possess πŸ‘πŸ». So he took some pics for me to see if they were something I liked and my response was, “Babe, why didn’t you just buy them?” By now we are on our way to lunch, then home so he figures he’d just head over in the morning, hoping they’ll still be there and, YAY! BUT. Two more pallets had arrived that morning! That’s a double yay my friends. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» So he bought all three. I’d say it was about 2 tons worth of stone, you could say a plethora of stones, that we unloaded, super fun, and piled them in the side yard for our next project. IMG_3479Now it’s time to move these little, and big, shits throughout the front and backyard. This was the greatest jigsaw puzzle I’ve ever created, and the heaviest damn pieces for such a puzzle, I’ve ever had to move around.

James spent the next morning using the roto-tiller to clear the paths, ridding them of all the dried out grass, weeds and dust that had taken over this dry ass summer. Filled them in with sand and tamped it down, (tamping is some serious shit, I recommend it for all your upper body needs,) to level them out and in comes me.
IMG_3498Now, this is not a puzzle that the pieces are made to fit together, in anyway, they are just that, pieces. Lots. Of. Pieces. Different, very different sizes and colors, and they are beautiful! I Spent hours spreading them out, randomly putting them along the edges, then moving, then moving again, and yes, again. In my mind I didn’t want any two of the same “color” together, didn’t want any “sizes” next to each other making it look like an organized path. I’m sure my neighbors thought I was crazy as I’d lay a row of stones, then walk up and down it to see how the flow felt under my feet. Then move or add as needed, and repeat. It was more fun than I thought it would be. It was a great creative and physical, (remember the 2 tons part,) project. Now that I’m finally pleased with the placement and ease of the paths, time to do it all over in the backyard.IMG_3517
Priority one was the fire pit, wanting to ensure we had enough flagstones. Hard to determine how far a pile of random size pieces can stretch with an organic concept. Starting with the inner circle I picked through the pile to find any that had the slightest resemblance of a curve, luckily I found enough to make it work. And continued outward. The size of our fire ring was satisfactory and we had, hopefully, enough left over to carve a pathway from the porch to the back gate. I took caution and spaced the pieces out farther with hopes to be able to fill more in as it came down to the wire, and we barely made it.
IMG_3574Our finishing touches was to mulch around the stones in the pathways and fill in the the stones with pebbles around the fire pit. Just needs a few chairs and a fire, which we for sure did right after we finished!IMG_3549-2
With such a great resource as H4H and never knowing what you might find, there might be a diamond in the rough that didn’t work for somebody else but may find a good home, seems this visit worked out for this home. From us pricing retail first, and there isn’t nearly the array of personalities and designs as an option, James figures we saved around $1,000. It pays to shop used first, reduces waste and saves money!

Fork! βœ”οΈ

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Mini Me meets The Big House

6 Sep

Now that we’ve secured the grounds via newly built, (heavy πŸ˜” sigh,) painted, fence, we’ve got a shed to rebuild and, fuck, seriously!, paint. I shall dub her, Mini Me, and when we finish with her we paint the big house. Yes. I said paint. Again!A plus for us with the shed is that the concrete had already been laid and it came with a nice solid frame, it was just that every other part of it needed to be replaced. So we stripped that baby naked!Now it just needs four walls, a roof, trim, and paint. Lucky for us, that good friend I’ve mentioned before, knows all about that and, I mean, who doesn’t want to help cut and install siding, lay some black tar paper and drag a heavy ass, cumbersome pile of shingles up a ladder on a hot day? A great friend that’s who. 🍺🍺🌞

Bring out that piece of liquid gold/airless spray gun again my friends. Voila! And by “voila” I mean FORK! 

(For any new readers that means we stuck a fork in another project.) Now, it’s the big girls turn. And by big I mean, we need a MUCH bigger ladder. Day one was spent pressure washing the house, and that’s a fun tool to play with, so it wasn’t too painful!! πŸ˜‰

Then..

Ok. First, there’s a reason people pay someone else to do this shit, and I thank them for their talent. And I do mean talent. Oh and, for beginners painting a whole house, its like a 17 step, (or whatever horrific number you want to imagine,) process. So I’m just going to give a small picture tutorial with minimal captioning. You and I are both welcome for this shortcut.BeforeSanding the remnants of vines that grew up the house.Paint the under belly and eves our trim color.Cut in the edges a few inches by hand. Spray gun fun again!!Some minor trim work.And, Voila!! Except the garage door and front door, (I need a day off!) Then. FORK

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?

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.✨

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˜΅

​

​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.

PORT.A WHAT????

12 Jul

Weeks ago, hahahah! Nope. Back in late May James was all excited about a present he had bought for me that was coming in the mail. It’s a surprise! He says. So of course I’m intrigued. Can anyone guess what it was? No! Every thought is wrong! Wrong! It was a port a potty! You heard me. Port.A.Potty. Now I’ll explain. Our bathroom is next up on the to-do list and needs an upgrade on a serious level. Tile, vanity and medicine cabinet, and with doing that ourselves it could possibly take more than a week. So, there’s that toilet issue, it did not need to be replaced but, just plain old had to be removed for proper laying of the tile, hence, needing a place to do our business! And then a series of events happened. 

First, I’m a procrastinator, (that has been established time and time again,) and secondly, family and friend and life shit happened. So it was put on hold. 

Then a rainbow arose 🌈 and a pot of gold landed in our backyard. Well, a couple miles away but. Dude. Some great friends of ours over the last 7 years moved up here, purely coincidental, and well sometimes, one needs a great coincidence to poop out in their backyard. (Is it just me or does this post seem to be leaning too much towards poo? πŸ€”) And don’t ever dismiss it. One of these friends happens to be someone who knows a little about everything and a lot about some things. So our project that may have taken us a week plus some days, took these two boys 3 days. And those three days, they did while I was away.  

When men take a before and after. Yeah. Cannot trust them!!  Close the lid babe. But, thank you. 

I came home to a new bathroom. While I didn’t do any actual labor, I was instrumental to this remodel. I picked out everything and damnit not surprised, totally nailed it!! Looks amazing! And while I got away with the days worth of no working toilet, there is still one last task, (besides more mother-fucking painting!) seal the tile, and that takes the better part of a day. So. I cannot get away without gracing that port a potty with this cute little bum. Hello garage. You seriously need to pick up after yourself! 

Paint & Doors & Trim Oh My!

24 Jun

(Late late post, 3/27-ish)

The flooring has been laid and it’s time for the finishing touches! We once had some general contractor friends tell us that finishing work is most often… not finished. They were of course alluding to our naΓ―vetΓ© having our first ever contractor to skimp on us unknowingly. They ever so kindly graced us with their experience, referencing that the budget is usually exceeded by the time the little bits come, but the clients’ wad has been blown on all the in your face pretty stuff, that it’s sneakingly undone. So we hired them to do the finishing work for us and we’ve never looked at a room the same. Even the hidden pieces. Lesson learned, there is no way I will let my wad be blown until it is finished. 

   Now, let’s get that trim on so we can move all our shit out of the kitchen and returned to it’s proper place (meaning where I want it to go πŸ˜‰)! For this full house project we needed 500 feet of trim, and every foot needed to be painted! Yes, 500′!! We bought them in 12 foot pieces, making less cuts needed so to save James a few trips to and from the miter saw. Well, we couldn’t just lay that all out and do a full sweep worths of painting, so there were stages. Some of this 500′ was done previously (back in January, to be able to move into our bedroom,) when we had naked floors that didn’t care if I dripped on them, making it slightly less painful. At the time we only painted enough trim to complete the two bedrooms, and now that all our belongings have been moved in we have a bit less open space and must take caution with the paint and our flooring, get crafty Desiree. (I’m seeing a trend in my attire πŸ€”)

Paint. 😫 Smoosh them together for easy and quick rolling. But then, don’t forget to scooch them apart, without pushing one off of the horses they are hanging onto for dear life, to paint those little top ridges too. Wait to dry. Repeat for two more bundles. But. Nailed it! Of course we didn’t get away without a few paint samples on.. hair of, I’ll just say their initials are Lily and Beau, due to tight circumstances from having to pass under and around this tight knit space. Nail guns are fun!! It’s the little things.Now that’s a finishing touch! On to the next task. 

It’s time to replace all the doors, all 5 of them!! And wouldn’t ya know it, two of them had to be special ordered, the door frames were built in some random measurements that no one carries! So we decide to wait until they come in to paint, trying to get it all done in one swoop.  You all must know how tired I am of painting. Well, one of the two doors arrived and the other was going to take a few weeks so we tackled what we had and figured I’d get to the last one when it gets here. 


Hahaha!  πŸ˜” It’s been hung for a couple weeks now, chilling naked on its hinges, blue tape and all! And I talk about putting forks in it, shame!
Now that this is posted, I suppose I must finish it. Hold me accountable!! 🎨

Update 7/9.  I finally finished the door!!! Fork!! βœ”οΈ