Sunday, March 27, 2011

365 days later

This is what we are working on this week:
Making sure there are no bodies buried in the garden in a shallow grave,
Picking old paint from nooks and crannies in the beam,
Sanding primed cupboards
& bathing some rocks

I will not bore you with these gruesome pictures.

Instead I will share with you some of  my favorite pictures & memories from the last year.
In almost no particular order.
Moving day: have plants will travel

365 sunsets a year
Before: A blank page in a coloring book
A dog for a day

After a hard days work, we rest and ponder.
Sunset kisses

Dinner every night on the BBQ

Fred loves his greens

A glimpse thru the garden gate
More than I ever dreamed of.
The perfect subjects for learning to use my camera

 Flowers make good models, so much patience

Quince next door

Sunflower detail

Poppy love
A few of my favorite things
Travis does not approve holding my flowers, but I do!

Patio hijinx
Snow greens

And back to spring rains

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Houseplant homicide

What happened to my plant?

Did it die from a broken heart?

It was doing just fine after I replanted it last month. It had outgrown the little pot on the right, so much so it had climbed right out of the dirt. Bad dirt at that. It was in random potting soil and I got some cactus mix to replant it in.

Repotting extravaganza!

After replanting, it was stretching out and even looked like it may flower soon!
I watered it very lightly at this point.

I got to buy a new plant for the pot it outgrew too!

And even without much water it seems to be melting. The soil is dry and Travis swears he did not water it.

Although I am curious what happened to it, I have already replaced it in my heart with a new plant. I bought this colorful little Haworthia at the NW Flower and Garden show. Since I am not ready to plant outdoors yet, I eased my plant buying soul with a new succulent.
This itty bitty plant and pot is only 3 inches tall.

 So--what did I do wrong? Will I lose another this way? I do not think it is redeemable in its current state.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In other news

 This is what we have been up to the last week...
I took this.....

 And made this!

It was actually the easiest part ofcleaning/sanding/priming all the cupboards.
With a little help from a friend, we got this accomplished on a Saturday night!
I am great company eh?
I know it is just primer, but it is my 2nd can!
And I am done with this phase and have just bought the actual paint!!!
(please kindly forget that I started this project in November)

A tree left our skyline.

I preferred the threesome but after a walk thru the neighborhood we determined it was 2 different property owners, so we are unlikely to lose the other 2. The trunk is now completely gone.

The lovely Crocus' graced our presence all day this Saturday,
opening wider and wider, making our dirty chores somehow funner....
I had to make this pic bigger because all the other pictures hurt to look at.
Our mud puddles of the week dried up!
While we went from this....

 to this...

Once the sun starts going down the pictures are really hard to get decent pictures.
We measured it and it is exactly 1ft deep. We amaze me sometimes.

I hope you can all see the progress that left us groaning and limping today! We are some tired units ready for bed at 9pm on a Saturday night.  Grueling work! I did time our slowest load. 15 minutes to fill a wheel barrow! Travis cuts the dirt from the earth, and loads up my sifter with 5ish shovels of dirt(clay!!)I sift rocks and clear rocks to bucket and REPEAT. For 4 HOURS!
We have 1 more section of fence to do this to before we get to the pretilled garden of last year which will be a relief.

The point of all this is to bring in good dirt for veggie growing. Meanwhile using the bad soil instead of creating a huge pile of it. I tried giving up this project over and over and Travis won't let me. I have suggested NOT having such a huge garden, building raised beds, selling the house and having children and waiting 10 years for them to do it.
I'm pretty sure there are easier ways to do this--but this is the cheapest most efficient method.

This is what we created :

I always miss the before pictures so you get a during picture..

We were about a foot short all the way around this South Garden along with every other part of the retaining wall we inherited....

This is the South Garden after.

It is a bit dirty after all that work, but I could not push a broom any longer. Just too much like the raking action I had been doing all day.  I get to plant every plant I ever dreamed of in this lovely full sun garden! Lilacs, roses, peonies, Oh my!

We also finished off Travis' garden, the grass strip. It is all so much nicer to the eye, even just dirt!  Travis says mowing will be so much easier... I am not sure if it is because it is NOW less grass, or the eventual grass will be even....

My first daffodil snuck in to this pic at the top right

And with all that work and creating we have a whole lotta rocks.
Rocks mixed with CLAY!
I have lost count of how many buckets worth now.
But on Saturday we were averaging 1 bucket full of rocks per wheel barrow full of dirt.
That is 1 bucket of rocks per 15 minutes and I only have 3 buckets!
Now we must wash off the rocks for some future use,
which I have no doubt we will find with the rainfall and drainage of the clay

The best part of the rocks!! This one we picked up at the cement dump of Pacific Topsoils. Paid to get rid of cement, and brought home a huge rock as a trophy!

This one is a close 2nd in size--and we found it in our yard.
I am not sure what I want with these gigantic rocks, but want them I do.

In other news, I caught Fred sleeping this week! He is an early riser and is usually up before me. In 8 years I have never seen him sleeping! By the time I found the camera he was waking up.

Dirt, rocks, dirt, rocks... soon we will be back to having garden and moving upstairs!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

1st Blogaversary!!

A whole year has passed and it turns out waiting is NOT the hardest part.
Waiting seems relatively easy these days. Writing a blog is much preferable then finishing the work. The never ending work. Just like a true 1 yr old keeping us up at nights and puking on all our plans.
Back in March 2010, I really thought we would move upstairs much sooner. I also didn't plan on redoing the kitchen and just thought they were really really dirty and could be cleaned.
Travis thought the beam would just take a couple of weeks.
Ha! Noobs.

We have learned a lot though. Home repair, cost + time=2x what you planned, gardening, plants & patience.
Last date planned to move upstairs was March 1... it is now March 16th and well....  I stopped planning.
We actually moved in March 28th... but it seems unlikely we will be moving by then.
I turn 31 on April 12th.... and I kinda half hoping and not planning (if I plan it, it will go wrong) to be moving before that week.
The fun of that is spring cleaning, unpacking, getting resorted out... in to our ACTUAL first house. Not our actual first basement. I am looking forward to it.

The whole reason I started this blog, well 2 parts...
1. Our friends would get plenty sick of us if all we ever talked about was the house--so I started a blog to talk about what we do, and if they ARE interested they can come here to see what is what. Otherwise we try not to talk about the house (too much) during our dates with them.
Funny story recently: Superbowl 2011 party at a friends, same people as 2010 but we had not seen some of them since that time...
One lady asks, 'So you bought a house like you were talking about last year?"
"Yes we did", I say.
"So started any little house projects?"
And the entire room bursts out laughing! I could not bear to go in to it, instead I gave her the blog link.
Even when we try to get away from it, it follows us.
2. To remember. Like the cake says. Remember everything. In 10yrs time, all the stupid little things we will have forgotten the extraneous details that make it all worth it.
Even in 1 years time, looking thru the 1000's of pictures, we will run across some that we had forgotten. One day we will take our hard work for granted and life will move on but we can always come back here.

Here are a few of my favorite search terms that have found this blog:

"can living in a basement make you depressed"

"Bacon taking over Virginia"

The stats are much fun to watch. I kinda felt like a star the first time I saw these. I google imaged them myself and found my pictures!
I have had over 2000 visits on this blog which astounds me. I mean I have to say words or I will explode, but that doesn't mean other people have to listen or read!
I have 18 followers and at least 10 of those are complete strangers!! I love that.
And I want to know why my friends do not comment?
I don't know anyone on the other side of the world, but Korea & Poland have beat Canada for page views recently. Of course the US has the lead.

Spring is coming and it is energizing us to get a move on. Well it is probably my nagging that is energizing Travis... but energized we are!  I hope to get more content filled blog posts up soon instead of this whining I have been doing for the past couple months.

Til then--

Thanks to you all for joining us on this rollercoaster ride called home ownership!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rain rain go away...

It has only been since we moved here that I learned that Travis can build things.
Not just build them well, but enjoys it! Obviously renting does not merit this type of thing.
Somehow I said Yes before learning this information.

We had some 2x4s that were the wrong kind of wood for testing stain on our beams just laying around and I had a new project idea!

This is not the project--this is just fun! Here are the 2x4s used for stain testing. Got a favorite?

We believe fully in the motto is "A project worth doing deserves a new tool" so we gained an awesome staple gun for this job. The proper kind where you press against the end the staple comes out.
A couple 2x4s and a metal screen about $15 in material is all we needed...

So now if the sun ever comes out enough for the puddles to go away I can be found in the below picture!

A dirt sifter! or rock harvester as it turns out.

It is almost meditative to shovel 5 loads of dirt on the the screen, set shovel to the right, grab rake from the left and sift the dirt thru the screen, harvesting the rocks, and repeat. Especially in the sun!

The first yard I sifted by myself. Took an hour or so. I only got 1/2 bucket full of rocks. I guess that area had been pre dug last year and we hand picked a lot of rocks out. I almost stopped using the screen at this point and felt really bad for making Travis build it.

But the 2nd day I had help and we filled all 3 buckets with rocks.
Moving another yard of soil. (2 down, 8ish to go!)
This dirt is no joke. Full of rocks and roots AND clay based and WET. Really a great workout.
It was perfect timing with one person shovelling dirt on screen, 2nd person sifting and removing rocks and as soon as wheel barrow was full, Travis dumped it here.

And proceeded to use it to level out the slope in our grass!

Below is where I randomly planted my Autumn Joy and some daffodils, not realizing at the time that they will have to be raised up. So they get to stay low until after the daffodils bloom.

The reason we are getting this done now is to get rid of as much anti veggie type soil as we can, and bring in some good dirt for planting!  Reusing our bad soil for grass growing and using the rocks to place around the base of the fence posts to keep the dirt off them,
Mowing will be alot easier when we are done

This area took more than a yard to make the slope as little as possible.
A yard is equal to 5-6 wheel barrows full.
The sifted clay soil reminds me of ground beef. Hope grass likes to grow in ground beef!

The saddest part of sifting process are the worms. Some of them I picked out and thru in the compost filled Pea bed and others found there way thru the screen. But without stopping every 2 seconds to pick out a worm, they kinda parted ways with being whole. Here is one below rejoicing at making it to greener pastures. It is over a foot long!

It has been raining for 2 days now. We should host some mud wrestling! This is the hole we created so far and we still have this much more to do at least before we start bringing in the dirt. As you can see, clay does not offer much in the way of drainage. Good riddance!

While it is raining the old man will NOT be snoring. 
(I'm sure Travis approves that I haven't added yet another caught sleeping picture again so soon)
 I will finish up priming the cupboards and Travis will be working on phase 3.5 of the beams!