Can You See It?

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Just beyond my lilac bush, which has bloomed beautifully despite the horrible winter and crazy spring.

What about now?

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Just a few short steps past my lilac bush which sends a wonderful scent of fragrance thru the air.  If I open my kitchen window, the scent wafts into the house.  Ahhhh!!!

Now I know you see it.

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I finally have a new clothes line!!!!  I had one many years ago.  It wasn’t the best, but it worked for a couple of years until we finally took it down.  It wasn’t installed property and began to sag, posts tilting in and the cross-bar loose and falling off.  A few years later we replaced it with one of those umbrella style clothes lines.  That one served it’s purpose for a few years and when it kept collapsing under the weight of clothes, I knew it was time to go.  Finally, over the weekend, hubby (with the help of Lili) installed my new clothesline.  I’m in laundry heaven!!!  Clothes flapping in the breeze.  My dryer getting a rest.  It’s awesome!!!

And I am probably in the minority of those who gets excited over a new clothesline 🙂

Landscaping

Slowly, but surely, we’ve been working on our patio landscape project. It’s come along nicely and my hope is that by the end of the weekend, it will be complete.

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I put grass seed down as well and we are due for another spring shower tomorrow, so hopefully new, beautiful green grass will fill in the bare spots around the new landscaping.  I also have a new hydrangea bush arriving any day now.  It will make its home just on the other side of my new Mock Orange bush.  Granted, it will take a couple of years for everything to really fill out, but I think it will look lovely.

The other empty space will house pots of fresh herbs.  My goal is to not only have wonderful herbs for cooking, but I will learn how to make my own salves, teas and tinctures.  I’m so excited about the possibilities!!

Once the project is completed, I’ll make sure to post before and after pictures.

Finally!!! A Spring Day

We are finally getting a real spring day here and it couldn’t come at a better time. There is a lot to be done outside and we are armed with supplies to get it done.

Last year we completed a deck and patio project.

First, hubby and girls built a fire pit.
First, hubby and girls built a fire pit.

 

Our rebuilt deck leading down to our new patio.  The fire pit is lonely no more!!
Our rebuilt deck leading down to our new patio. The fire pit is lonely no more!!

That project now requires some landscaping be done and I had decided last year that I would be putting in some small shrubs around the patio and along the deck. Of course, those plans have now changed, as most plans around here do.  Having a real need for more garden space, planting shrubs just didn’t seem like a good idea.  So instead of shrubs around the patio, I will be putting in pots filled with herbs. The space around the deck will be filled with plants that will attract butterflies and bees, which are of great benefit to the garden. I’m also putting in a small flowering tree that will eventually provide some shade to the deck. There will still be space for additional pots of herbs around the deck as well.

The nice thing about using pots for my herbs is that I can take them with me when we move to the homestead.

I’ve ordered everything and they should arrive later this week, so today is my day to get the ground ready for planting – cleaning up dead growth, leveling the ground, putting down landscape fabric and mulch. A lot to do on a beautiful spring day!!!!

 

Snow, Thru the Eyes of a Child

It began snowing early evening yesterday and as the sun went down, the snow continued. We watched the snow falling, sparkling in the glow of the street lights. Slowly, it began to cover everything in a blanket of white.

When we awoke this morning, we peeked outside and saw our winter wonderland. Everything covered in white. So clean. So bright. So beautiful.

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After breakfast we bundled up and headed outside. We measured the snow – 7 inches of newly fallen snow. If we had any hopes of getting out of our driveway, the shovels had to be put to work and work they did. We shoveled a path down the driveway, just wide enough to drive in and out. Then the snow building began – a tiny snowman, a snowy tunnel, and a small hill for sledding.  Things I loved doing so much as a child, my girls were now enjoying. The three of us outside for hours, creating fun in the snow.

Digging out the snow tunnel
Digging out the snow tunnel
Crawling thru the snow tunnel
Crawling thru the snow tunnel
Looking thru the snow tunnel.  No way I could crawl thru the narrow tunnel :-)
Looking thru the snow tunnel. No way I could crawl thru the narrow tunnel 🙂

The girls took turns climbing onto the inner tube in hopes of a successful run down our little snow hill.  I held onto the tube, trying to keep it from prematurely sliding down the hill without them fully in place.  Deep belly laughs from all three of us when one would slide the wrong way or fall off before reaching the end of the run.  Cheers when making it to the end of the run.  I was seeing snow thru the eyes of a child.  It wasn’t something that created more work for me.  Instead, it was something that created joy, laughter, fun, memories and a tighter bond between mother and child.

As I stood there enjoying the moment, I found myself feeling more childlike.  I forgot my true age and climbed onto the inner tube, first sliding backwards down the hill onto the driveway.  More laughter!!  Then I plopped on the tube again, sliding forward down the hill.  My legs and feet dragging along behind me.  Smiles and even more laughter.  A feeling of accomplishment that I’m not too old to enjoy those things typically enjoyed by a much younger crowd and remembering once again what it’s like to be a child.

(Sorry that there are no photos of our inner tube fun.  Although photos of me sliding down the hill would have been awesome I’m sure.)

Three hours later, we made our way indoors again with only one casualty in the snow –  Naomi’s lower lip, which she bit when hitting her chin on the hard snow covered ground trying to get on the inner tube. Some tears, a little blood, but nothing serious. Yet even a little accident wouldn’t spoil the joy, laughter, fun and memories that were created today.

Tomorrow will be another day. The temperatures getting a bit colder allowing the snow to stay around a few days. Maybe another round of snow fun simply to bring more smiles to these cute little faces.

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First Fire

We lit our first fire in the new fire pit while sitting on the new patio tonight.
There were hot dogs for roasting, marshmallows for toasting and the roaring fire kept us warm from the cool night air.

For 3 1/2 hours, we sat by the fire enjoying the moment.  Okay, the girls didn’t do a lot of sitting by the fire, but they sure enjoyed our evening around the fire.

I see a lot more evenings like this in our future.

 

Our first fire in the new fire pit.
Our first fire in the new fire pit.

 

Project Pictures

As promised, here are the before and after pictures from our big deck and patio project.

 

Our newly built fire pit, sitting all alone in a pit of sand.
Our newly built fire pit, sitting all alone in a pit of sand.

 

The old deck, partially torn down.
The old deck, partially torn down.

 

Supplies for our deck and patio project.
Supplies for our deck and patio project.

After weeks of deck tear down and preparing the ground for the patio, our projects were complete.

Our rebuilt deck leading down to our new patio.  The fire pit is lonely no more!!
Our rebuilt deck leading down to our new patio. The fire pit is lonely no more!!  (Please excuse the bike, bucket, and construction material.  They were picked up and put away shortly after this picture was taken.)

Next, is landscaping around the deck and patio for that “Pièce de résistance.”

More pictures soon!!

 

 

 

 

 

Big Weekend of Projects Completed

A few months ago, hubby, Lili and our son Josh, used some unused landscape blocks and built a fire pit. That little project lead to a bigger project, which was to put in a patio around the fire pit. We also needed to rebuild our deck and since one set of stairs would lead down to the patio, it was almost an all-in-one project.

We finished the deck rebuild a few weekends ago, except for one set of stairs that would lead down to the patio. This weekend, the patio project was completed. The stairs have also been started and should be completed in the next few days.

Next on my backyard to-do list, is landscaping around the patio.  Something simple, but very needed.

Another project completed this weekend was the garden clean up. If we’re still here next fall, I hope to have a fall/winter garden going, but this year is about focusing on getting our house ready to sell.

This week I’m going to tackle some painting projects inside. I’ve had one room prepped and ready to paint for several days. I planned to paint it several times during the last week, but other things got in the way. If all goes well, it will be painted in the next few days. And if things go really well, I may actually get another room prepped and painted.

Overall, it has been a great weekend for finishing projects and I am looking forward to sitting on our new patio with a cup of hot chocolate and a roaring fire in our fire pit.

**Before and after pics will be posted soon.

Ready, Set, Go

For several years, we had an above ground pool.  The pool was used often while the boys were growing up, but when we brought Lili home, the pool use decreased dramatically.  During Naomi’s adoption, we decided to take the pool down.  We knew it wasn’t going to get used enough to make it worth the upkeep, so down it came. 

Around the pool was a 4 foot deck.  We couldn’t leave a deck up with a hole in the middle where the pool used to be, so we began dismantling the deck with the plans to rebuild a new deck.

We were making good progress on our deck demolition when our son died and everything came to a stand still.  The sand that sat under the pool became a big sand pit for the girls to play in and the new deck remained a plan with no progress being made.  About the only thing that happened on the deck project was removing deck railing and replacing some of it to keep dogs and kids from jumping off the side of the deck.  Then the deck became a place to sit things like concrete pieces from the deck posts that had been pulled out of the ground and coolers that were outside to dry.  Sadly, the deck we spent so much time enjoying was nothing more than a walkway from the back door to the yard.   

Our partially demolished deck
Our partially demolished deck

 

Our deck from the side
Our deck from the side

 

A couple weekends ago we decided to get to work on the sand pit area.  We repurposed some landscape blocks and put in a fire pit.  As I looked at the fire pit surrounded by all the sand, I thought it might be nice to see a patio around the pit.  Hubby wasn’t too fond of the idea.  Not that he didn’t like the idea of a patio around the fire pit, but it didn’t want a bit slab of concrete.  Instead, he wanted a paver patio.   

Our fire pit that needs a patio
Our fire pit that needs a patio

Now we had a patio and deck project to complete.  We also needed to replace a sliding patio door on the back of the house and it was way past time to get busy and get things done.  So off we went to order supplies and those supplies were delivered yesterday.

Wood for a new deck
Wood for a new deck

 

Pavers for a new patio around our fire pit
Pavers and patio supplies for the new patio around our fire pit

The deck project is primarily replacing deck boards, stairs and railing and will be smaller than our previous deck.  The space we lose on the deck will be replaced by space on the new patio though. 

Other than the door, none of these projects will be completed over a weekend and we know what we’ll be doing for the next several weekends as well as some evenings during the week.  So let’s begin. 

Ready, set, go!!!

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Notice how I’m behind the camera and not out there working 🙂  For good reason though.  I had to take the pictures and was working on canning tomatoes.

We are very excited about getting these projects completed so we can enjoy our new outdoor living space.  I will be posting updates here as progress is made and hopefully we can have everything done before it’s too cold to enjoy.  Although with a fire pit, some cooler weather would certainly be nice.

 

 

The Pit

At one time we had an above ground pool in our back yard.  We took it out, but have never done anything with all the sand that sat under the pool.  The girls have enjoyed playing in it, but it has basically just sat there while we have had on going discussions about what we want to do in our back yard.

Earlier in the spring we decided to pull up landscape blocks around some shrubs.  We stacked them neatly on the porch and they have sat there for the last few months.

In the back yard sits a pile of wood from our tree that fell a couple of months ago.

We have the perfect combination.

Sand in a back yard that needs new life + wood + landscape blocks = fire pit.

Our son Josh happened to be at our house so we put him to work carrying blocks and doing the initial digging.  Then hubby worked diligently placing each block around the outer edge of the circle and making sure they were level.  Lili got in on the project handing blocks to daddy and helping glue them into place.

During all of this, I was busy canning salsa and tomatoes when I suddenly realized I hadn’t taken any pictures of the project.  I grabbed my camera and got a few pics of the project before it was completed.

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Lili posing with the glue gun. Not sure what that look is on her face 🙂

 

First some glue and then some blocks.
First some glue and then some blocks.

 

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Finally, the finished project.

It was a project that only took a few hours and when the weather cools off it will give us many evenings of enjoyment and relaxation.

Now I’m trying to convince hubby that we need a concrete patio around the fire pit to put some real life into our yard 🙂