Monday, November 5, 2012

The Big Dig

Having a hillside garden means everything eventually wants to end at the bottom of the hill.  Water, top soil etc.

And with the slope is a greater chance of slipping and falling for mom and her friends.  It made sense to slow the slope with a series of low terraces and designated paths.  It also made sense to use that good top soil in the garden and create a depression to collect any rain run off.

And thus the big dig began, load after load dug up and pushed up the hill.  Down came the last of the old fencing, distinct paths around trees were created and terraces started.  We even have room to park a trailer now.  But what a lot of work!  And all in the summer heat no less.  This included removing two old palm tree stumps too.

We also did a bit of canning and picking of tomatoes

Added a sprinkler system and changed the drip system
 And added a run to our chicken coop

It has been a busy 16 months!

Roses Roses

Our new neighbor did not like the lolly pop effect of the standard roses that lined the entry walk.  She gave them away and we were lucky to get a bunch of them

And then the big lower garden project started.  It was a secret and a ton or two of work

More Yard Work

With our well used little garden shed set up, mom found her roll of old green house plastic.  So of course a hoop house style would just not work... Not the prettiest of green houses, but for the price it works

Once the green house was in the corner, we could not just sit in the dirt!  We needed a patio.  The boys and I bought enough 12x12 pavers to get Mom a nice new patio to enjoy her birthday on.  She enjoys sitting there with her friends for lunch.

Since some of her friends are her age, and sitting there is not so private, we added a fence section and a hand rail.  And just because we were bored, the irrigation water line sprung a leak and while repairing that it was obvious that the days for the old line to the house was in bad shape.  Up went the old walk and the old lines.

January brought us the neighbors picket fencing no longer needed and in the way of their remodel

We now have our winter garden in a cute fence and mom does not want to see any more white picket fence paint.

By April, we were cleaning up a few areas and adding roses and more roses and...roses.

And a new driveway entry arch!

The Garden Shed

We had no plans to build a garden shed right now, but when you get a stack of 7 sheets of 1" plywood, needed bad edges cut off so we had a stack of 3 1/2 x 7 sheets. Two for the front, two for the back, one for each side and one cut in half for a roof.  Perfect!

We even had some antique windows to match the house... so why not!

First the shell

Then some trim to match the old house

A window ledge, a shelf inside and a cat door.
 Some paint, inside and out, and an unimpressed Camilla with her "Little Hoe House"  Painted HD oops lavender inside.

Wow, it has been a busy year.

Guess it is time to catch up on the blog.

May 2011 is kind of where I left off.

June was busy, a minor repair turned in to a redo of a room, dry wall repairs, new window casing, paint carpet, lighting etc

Also a fresh coat of paint and some beadboard for the kitchen.  As of today it still needs a tile back splash and some other trims.

The Forth of July brought a street party to the home next door

August saw me busy fixing the entry walk, adding a trash corral and clearing out a street planter and trees.

I had to use 16x16 tiles to cover the stump of a bottle brush tree, it had finally died so we could remove the stump and make a better access point to the deck and ramp.  This included breaking up an old sidewalk or two.

Mom fussed a lot about the redo of the front, but the neighbors are remodeling and moving their driveway.  Fixing that part of the entry makes it easier for her friends to turn cars around too.  And just as we were making the trash corral, the providers changed and we suddenly had massive bins.  The neighbors liked the bin corral design and are thinking of how to do theirs.

Of course all that sidewalk "urbanite" could not go to waste and is now the patio around our fire pit.

And then we were offered some junk plywood on it's way to the dump......

Friday, November 18, 2011


For the first time in decades, long before my parents purchased their house their garage has doors!

They are still in the process of being painted and we ran out of the specially milled ruff sawn lumber for trim.  An old building needs similar old looking lumber.  So that will have to wait, as will windows in the main garage.  Someday, in not too far of the distant future, it will be my photo studio with lots of nice north light.  The rest of the garage needs a TON of work, but it is all progress.

The neighbors all slow down at they drive by to look, I don't think any of them thought it would ever look this good.  Decades of 4 sheets of plywood, 5 months of tarps and still untrimmed...Doors!  Late in the day cell phone photo, I will have to do better shortly!

Looks different than 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

One Mans Treasure...............

One mans treasure is another mans trash.

In this odyssey of cleaning up my parents place, I have thought of this often, usually while hold some random rusted item. This week it has been the garages we have tackled. It was brought on by missing tools and hardware that we knew we had but just where did it go? First we cleaned out the storeroom and found many treasures, like wire cutters.

Most people think of their garage as a place to park a car, set up a pingpong table or do the laundry. Our garages have always been kind of a creepy mystery. I would poke my head in as a kid and look around, not sure what was going to jump out at me, knowing if I stepped all the way in past the leaning plywood sheet doors I would be covered in spiderwebs. And if my dad caught me, there was probably going to be trouble.

He was worried about the garages falling or me taking his treasures.

A few years before he passed, Dad decided I could clean up the far side of the garage, this was after I cleaned up the driveway and made it so a car could park there! He said there was nothing in there he really wanted other than a few things that he told me to leave those alone. I took load after load to metals recycling and the trash can. It was not perfect, but it was better. Over the past few years, that garage has filled back up with stuff. So this week we cleaned seriously. I used the old bent sheets of plywood to make a better wall between the two sides, they are up kind of temporarily so we can take down to fix the walls if we need too. We took down the wood storage rack he had built and tossed almost all the wood. No idea why he was keeping most it, but it was no longer worth keeping!

We also tackled the "good stuff" side of the garage. Mom was not sure she had been to the back of it. Dad even had a wall put up to keep the "good stuff" safe. I was looking forward to finding "the good stuff" I was thinking the TV show Pickers. Boy was I going to find some good stuff!

The good side of the garage is now empty.

What was the "good stuff"? I have no idea, I sure did not find it! Maybe it was the 6 5 gallon cans of Henrys road coating that are still sort of liquid, unlike the 1/2 full 55 gallon drum in the drive way. It might have been the 10 gallons of home brew weed oil or the sprayer. It could have been the 8 5 gallons containers of various paints, a couple seem to be water based the rest oil. I am sure it was not the 500 pounds of cement asbestos wall siding I will get to suit/mask up and hazmat package. Or the 100's of other cans of paints and petro chems that have to go to hazmat or recycling. Or the 200lbs of garden chem soil amendments in the rotten bags also for hazmat.

I did find some interesting old tools, most will hit ebay in the coming year. And best of all, the wooden swing seat I had in the tree as a kid.

But the real treasure? It has to be the empty garage that is going to become a photo studio.

I can see it now, freshly painted exposed beams and walls with a variety of vintage finds waiting to be used as props with the flowers and veggies from the garden.