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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˜΅

​

​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.

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

The Neurosis of a Dog, and Some Flooring.Β 

4 Jun

It’s been a few months since my latest update on the rehab and I apologize for depriving you of my juicy reads. You’ll probably need a refresher of where I left off so go ahead and reread this last post pertaining to our house progress. 

https://itzalllogical.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/climbing-up-the-diy-ladder/
 

 During our wall tear down/closet project, opening up the kitchen to living room, we had a bit of a floor situation. We were left with exposed subfloor from the 10 tiles we had to tear up in order to form a clean line for the new laminate to be laid throughout the rest of the house. As it turned out, whatever scent or discovery of life Lily caught through the cracks became her new obsession, (she has a history of such a thing). Our temporary solution was to just throw a rug over the void to prevent any life threatening toe stubbing, but nothing gets in the way of a Lily obsession.And it continued throughout the project. We finished building out my new pantry, (shelving and all!) and it’s finally come time to complete this flooring project that we’d started the end of January!! (This completion actually took place around March 27, again, late posting.)Why does it take 2 hours to tear up a floor, and load up the truck for a trip to the dump, but 3 days to lay it? Oh yeah, bc tearing up shit is more fun! 
Something we didn’t even think of when we picked out the flooring we wanted was the fact that they weren’t locking panels and here’s a tip my friends, always go for the locking ones!! If you’d like a first hand experience, laying it was kind of a bitch, as in, fuck you floor! So James spent all day laying laminate, wearing a path through the house to the garage to cut pieces, tapping them in, then one end would pop out so he’d go down and tap it back in, back.and.forth, back.and.forth, tapping.I’m going to take a quick time out to remind you all this is a different kind of “tapping”. You and your dirty minds πŸ˜‰

Anyway, for me, there wasn’t much I could do to help. The kitchen and back bedroom were full of our living room so I chilled with the dogs and binge watched Netflix, until beckoned upon from time to time. Plus Lily was basically grounded to the room with me for being in the way with her obsession, so that’s what we did. As luck has it, James is almost to the end and you’ll never guess, had to go buy more. The amount of waste there is to match the pattern and fit around hallways and closets is ridiculous!! Finally, its finished!! βœ”οΈ Our next project is the trim, and until we get that done, the living room stays in the kitchen and we chill in our bedroom with Netflix, and furry animals.

You will see the finished beautiful floors when the trim is in, next post. 

In Loving Memory

2 May

I can’t express the hole you’ve left in our lives. 

I can’t explain the heartbreak I’d witnessed before my eyes.

My last moment with you, my very last goodbye. 

I thanked you.

For what you gave to her, for how you made her feel.

And how that carried over, you were infectious.     

 You were real.

So I thanked you. 

I’ve never held back so many tears while wanting to cry so much and so hard. 

Lowering my gaze, staring off in the distance, 

I fought to stay strong, to keep up my guard.  

We can only fight so long. It’s proven to be true.

And at the end, I thanked you. ❀️

http://www.gofundme.com/danbelair  

Climbing up the DIY Ladder

24 Mar

Editor’s note; if you haven’t, or have, read these 2 previous blogs, well you don’t have to now, per say, but I highly recommend just taking a quick glimpse at the pics. It’ll help string this whole project together. 

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/414

https://wordpress.com/post/itzalllogical.wordpress.com/371

As I’ve mentioned previously, most likely a few times, our path to homeownership began with having little to (leaning heavily on this), no knowledge. The amount we’ve gained is immeasurable. Our tool collection has become quite impressive, considering we started out with, I’m sure, nothing more than a few screwdrivers, a hammer, maybe a couple of those picture hanger things and measuring tape, we’ve officially come a long way! And with every project, every new piece of the puzzle there’s almost always that one tool you don’t have so you buy it out of necessity, because you can’t use just any screw, saw, drill or nail gun and so on. Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. That’s not how it works with building. Sure, you can buy the cheap version first, thinking you’ll save some money, only to replace it later with the real deal, so spend the money now and thank me later. This cycle is vicious and necessary until one day, suddenly, you need a bigger tool box, a bigger garage, with peg board and shelving Oh My!

This wall/tear down/shelf building/closet project has been our biggest so far. I guess I should say James’ in the way of a start to finish, piece by piece, on his own, project. Tackling this closet, goes like this; tear down the unwanted, redirect two outlets and a switch, frame it out, drywall, mud, apply that wonderful knock down texture and install the door. Easy enough yeah? 😐

Stage 1 and 2, βœ”οΈ. I’ve basically become his assistant at this point on, hold the drywall while he cuts, hand him tools, find tools for him, ( I hear a lot of, “Babe, did you see where I put the..) and cleanup duty. Which is how I know where to locate almost anything since they are finally finding their way home!! So while I’m not needed I’m chilling. Guilty tv, writing, reading and the likes, but I get to watch him work.

Working his way around the electrical. Installing the drywall, cutting the pieces to fit the outlets just right. The way he seamlessly goes from one tool to the next, handling them with such confidence. Even when he just stands there, visualizing how he’s going to assemble the door, frame by frame, mapping it out in his head, and I gotta say, it’s sexy as fuck! πŸ˜‹ And I’ve only heard a handful of curse words followed by, “nothing a little caulk and paint can’t fix.” That’s a comforting theory to have in the back of your head at all times. 

Let’s talk about this drywall, in case you’ve never played with it. There’s the cutting and the resulting gypsum particles floating it’s fine ass as it likes, but oohhh no, that’s nothing. Next comes the mud. The application itself isn’t the worst but you can’t just scrape it on and be done, it has to dry and be sanded, (the sanding comes in handy if you’re a beginner bc it gives you room to fix what needs fixing.) It’s not just a one coat and done thing, there’s 2, maybe 3 rounds of this fun. Now that fucking dust, it settles on every damn thing. In ever corner. There’s no escaping it!! And the depths of which it travels! When the time comes for such an experience in your home, I’m sorry for your impending struggle, I offer this, only drape whatever furniture you plan on putting your feet up with that glass of wine, after you’re cleaned and showered yourself. Don’t waste your time trying to cover silly things as a bookshelf or entertainment center, it wont help. You must hide any utensils or cookware that reside the countertops, any. Tomorrow, well, cover that furniture back up! You may have to live with that horrible layer of dust for days, (unless you’re paying someone but then this blog would makes no sense) but hang in there! For every.thing.must.be.dusted! And I ain’t doing that shit more than once.
We survived the drywall and today it’s time to apply the knock down texture. The simplest breakdown, you’re shaking the hell out of the can while only pausing to spray and to scrape it down, repeat.

 

This is not like shaking a can of spray paint, it’s like arm day at the gym. πŸ’ͺ🏻Got it done, it dried we painted and all thats left is the door!! Well then the shelves but that’s not a worry.
We couldn’t buy a pre-hung door bc they’re all too big for the frame so James had to build it himself. Not the actual door, but the smallest they sell is still too wide for this frame. So he built in the door jamb, we had to trim about an inch off the width of the door, (thank you table saw) chisel in the grooves for door brackets, he ended up needing to shave a hair off the top as well. Door handle and catch and bam! (Hours, days and I guess a week or two later) It’s done!! (Minus the shelves)Fork βœ”οΈ