Monday, August 15, 2016

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em.

Peeps--

I thought this day would never come, but the da&* pond is finished. El finito. Smoke em if you got em, and then take a tip from me:

Do Not Do This. Don't. Just. Don't. 

Let's say we did, then don't. Am I happy to have it in my backyard? Yes ish. I do love it. But it was soooo much work. Sooooooo much harder than the other stunts we've pulled since living in this house, and we've pulled a lot of stunts all up in this operation.

People told us not to. But we're hard workers! we said. We're no stranger to difficult projects! we said. 


The cost of having a pond (even a small one) put in by a contractor is insane. But now I know why. There's just so much to think about, from the digging and the leveling and the pond liner and the electrical and the filter and this and that and the other. Sigh. Having it done professionally is probably worth every penny, sad to say.

So I'm saying I like it! I'm crying tears of joy that it's done! But I wouldn't do it again. And actually, if we're gonna be 100% honest, I still need to get out there and bury the electrical, and we're also putting in some pond lights which I'm pretty excited about. 

 But now that the backbreaking labor is done-- 


Look at my lily pads!!  They actually have lilies. And they open at around 8 am and they close up around 5 pm and they are so nifty I can barely stand it.

In the small pond, we have a lily that is seriously two-toned:

Shut up!! Gah I love it so.

And we have lots of other water plants like water hyacinths and water lettuce and water callas and they're crazy expensive and I'll be seriously pissed if they can't withstand a Utah winter. But they should, so here's hoping.

And we even have fish! Goldfish. But fish!


This is me attempting to show you how our pond connects to our flower beds. And I dearly love that hibiscus in the corner there but it's gotten a little wild. Time to trim that puppy down.

You know what's funny? But not funny haha?

How many comments we got from the neighbors. Lots of very kind and encouraging comments from people we don't know very well, and then several mean jabs from people we do know well. That surprised me a little. 

I remember this time, when I had had it after a long hot day,


and I'm ashamed to admit that I just plopped right down on the lawn-- just sprawled out right there, and I put my face in the crook of my elbow and had a little cry. Oh yes, I did.

And a good friend was driving past, and I heard her yell out of her car, 
"You look like you could use a coke right now!"


And then I made our usual Mormon joke about throwing in a little rum with it (it never gets old)--

but that great friend brought me a milkshake. And I felt so much better. And yet dumb for being such a baby. 

But I tell ya, there is something about landscape work that just feels. . . overwhelming. 

I'm glad I did this now-- I took some photos of my flowers near the beginning of the season, and then I went out and snapped a few more this weekend.


Here's my one corner of my new flower beds back in June. . . 

and here it is now.


Gosh that alyssum is insane! And my dahlias took their sweet time but they're this close to blooming! And I'm happy. 

And since I'm feeling so gosh darn happy to not be sweating and swassing it up outside--


I treated myself to a sign purchase. Hee.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Two Steps Forward & One Step Back.

Happy Summer!! Woot! I know for most of y'all,  you're like, "Hello, summer's nearly half over duh!",

but for us, we've only been out of school prison for one week.  So again I say, HAPPY SUMMER! Woot!

If we've been friends for a long time, then you know alllll about my nerdy annual summer anthem. Oh.My.Heck. -- Your life is incomplete until you hear my 2016 anthem. You haven't even lived.

Listen. Love it.


How could I choose any other song for my anthem? I ask you?? Sigh. Gosh, let's listen again. Replay!

You know what I think is so funny, but not funny "haha"?


How hard all parts of yard work felt prior to all we've done this season. Now, what used to seem like a really big fargin' deal seems wimpy and small in comparison. Silver lining of this mess we've gotten ourselves into, I suppose.

So! Yard work extravaganza at the Tremaynes! Otherwise known as: "What the He$$ have we done? Part 2."  Ack, it never ends.

Last time we left off this exciting drama, the pond looked like so,


and my brand new flower beds (to get rid of all that extra dirt of course) looked like so.



Check 'em out now, as they're filling out. And as I'm filling in blank spots with clearanced perennials ($1 perennial geraniums? $3 gallon coreopsis? $1 dianthus?? Don't mind if I do!).





Now.  NOW-- get yourself a cold bevi and a donut, because let's talk about what happened in the front yard. The plot thickens. 

I still had more dirt from the da$% pond fiasco. Still. So I opted to continue the fence line flower beds. I was talking to a gardener extraordinaire friend, and she attempted to talk some sense into me:

"All your flowers will be hidden there."  She said.
"You should make a big dramatic flower bed down the center of your yard." she said.

Tonya dear, you are so, so right. I should have listened!! Why didn't I listen? 

Wait, I know why. I was already hauling dirt and sod day after day, and one more huge thing like that just might have pushed me over the edge.

So. . . 


I like what's going on here. I do. But I still wish I'd have gone with the dramatic look. In fact. . . can't believe I'm saying this. . .

but the more the years go by, the more I'm really into flowers. I'm going to be an 80 year old gardener lady with more flowers than lawn. And I'm totally okay with that. The other day, I went jogging with one of my running buddies who likes flowers too, and we spent nearly the entire 4 mile run talking about plants we like. 

I was born an old lady.  And look!! I actually have a hydrangea that's decided to bloom!


It's an Independence Day miracle! My other hydrangeas just sit there and do nothing. At least they don't die. But that's about it.

ANYWAYS--

So we're here. Perhaps next year I can go bigger and better. Now--

it totally doesn't matter, because it's over now, but I also opted to dig up all the lava rock we had in our beds along our driveway/up to the front door, and opted to plant instead. (see above, about how I'm an old lady and like flowers.)

It should not have taken this long to remove the lava rock, lay down some new weed barrier, haul in the soil, and get planting--


but holy freakity freak, it took me hours and hours and hours. If I recall, it was a week straight of just these beds. Good grief. I do like the flowers-- but it definitely doesn't make as big of an impact as I hoped. Not a biggie, but a tad disappointing for the effort.  Hmm.  I should get out and deadhead that dianthus.

I was going to talk about the awesome flowering pear trees I planted in the front park strips. But, no. A horrible windstorm came through and took one of them out--  I'm not through with all the stages of grief, yet.  I just. . .can't. Later, maybe. Just know that I had to replace one of them, and now I have one big tree, and one little weenee one. It looks completely ridiculous. Like "Twins", and one is Ahnuld, and one is Danny Devito. It's sad, really. 

So guess where we are on the pond, huh huh?!?! 


Totally not done. Sooooooo so so close. Maybe we can finish the flagstone work this week. Maaaybe. 


Please cross your fingers for us. And your toes. And your eyes. Now keep them like that until I say we're done.

Monday, June 13, 2016

When Life Gets Crazy, Throw In A Extra Project. Or Two.

The backyard/frontyard renovations are still ongoing, and yet. . .


as if we didn't have enough to do, as if I wasn't overworked, tired, and as if I hadn't spent a small fortune on landscaping items. . . 

then I went forward with a project inside the house. Why?  Why??  Because I'm crazy. And not  like "crazy haha". Crazy crazy. Cray cray. Insane in the membrane. ("Insane in the brain!")

It's a loooong story. But you know those projects, that you know need to get done, and you talk about them getting done for years but they just keep staying near the bottom of your list? 

You have those, right?


This is one of those for us. The hardwoods in our kitchen needed to be refinished when we moved in. 7 years later (how in thee world have I lived in this house for 7 years??), a leak in the dishwasher and a very swollen floor later, and we've FINALLY gotten around to doing it. 

I'm kinda sorta laughing at this "before" kitchen picture up there-- soo much has changed in here, like the paint color, that cabinet on the right has come down, etc., etc. And let's not talk about my cabs. Let's say we did.

And then don't. I am sooo conflicted about what I want in here-- I've wanted white cabs for years and years, and then I decide I'm totally okay with the maple, then I'm not, then I am. . . now I'm waiting patiently to see what happens in the exciting world of kitchen trends. . . 

we'll see. 

How in the world can bloggers on the interwebs afford makeover after makeover? Where is all this filthy lucre coming from? And how can I get me some?

 The best part about this is that I hardly lifted a finger to get it done. Annnd I'm super happy with the outcome. Gosh it's nice to pay good money to watch other people work really hard around you. It's so very choice. 

Let me spoil the surprise and tell you. . . 

I went with dark floors. (I'm whispering this in a creepy way.)


I went back and forth and back and forth. . . I honestly like the maple in here. . . dark is harder to keep looking clean. . . I'll see every speck of dust. . . 

And yet. Still did it. I just knew it would change the whole look of my house.

Everything got taped off and covered and there was dust everywhere and I couldn't cook for two days and we had lots of fast food and there was a lot of yelling at my kids on my part because "Dang it, son, I told you it wasn't ready to walk on, what are you thinking??"


And here it is stained, but not shellacked.  And my house was heavy on fumes and my island was covered in crap they kept pulling out of my pantry to do that part of the floor, and all the windows were open to get the smell out and it was hotter than Hades in here. . .


but it was worth it. Because I love it. I love it I love it I love it. The color is Jacobean, and I knew I would like it because Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick has that in her house, and I completely trust her because we all know she is the goddess of house decor, amen.


And of course right at this point, I made a comment to the Jeffro about the cabinets (AGAIN) and he said he just knew this would snowball and I'd make a comment about them (AGAIN). But I shall be patient. I'm not made of money, although I like to pretend in my head that I am.


So! The question on everyone's mind: are they hard to keep clean? Yes. Yes they are.  However--

I anticipated lots of dust, and dusty footprints. That's not happening. What is happening, however, is that my children are slobs. When they Cookie Monster down a taco in a horribly violent manner, as they inevitably do, I can see every single speck of cheese and saucy beef.

So I'm saying, I sweep a lot now. Because I like the look of a clean, new floor. Who wouldn't?


Annnnd. . . I have a lot of dark furniture. Shucks. My sectional is totally staying, though. But maybe this is my excuse to finally get me that new round table in the kitchen in a lighter tone. . .

As I said, I like to pretend I'm made of money. Let's not ruin the dream.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What The He$$ Have We Done, Part 1.

You know,

when the Jeffro first talked about putting in a pond, I thought he meant one that was like, this big (Imagine me holding out my arms in a big circle.) 

I didn't think he meant a massive, 3+ foot deep, we-need-to-rent-a-mini-excavator-to-get-the-job-done, type pond. 


I josh not when I say that I've spent my life working in the yard the past month, nay, it's been two months now, working in my yard.

Sorry neighbors for any unintentional saggy pants I sported during this time.  It happens. I don't mean it to, but it does. 

It dawned on me the other day, when I was hauling my 100th bag of soil/manure/mulch out of the car:

I'm a farmgirl. But let's go with "farmboy", because that's more fun. So I'm saying to myself, 

"Farmboy, polish my horse's saddle. Want to see my face shining in it by morning."

"Farmboy, fetch me that pitcher?" (The one that's right above my head within arm's reach but I'm too lazy and prefer you to be in kissing distance? That one?)

So I'm a farmboy/girl. 

ANYWAYS.

Let me tell you how this project has snowballed. It starts with the digging of a monstrous hole in the ground with said mini excavator,


And then things got really exciting and spicy. We found the phone line! The one that wasn't marked by Blue Stake! Gosh, that was fun. 
Jeffro and I will be in our rocking chairs on the porch staring at this pond (oh, by the way, the official name for the pond is "the da$% pond". Let's go with that from now on. We certainly do.), anyways-- Jeffro and I will be rocking along in our chairs, staring at the da$% pond, and we'll be 80 years old and we'll be like, 

"Remember when we dug up that there phone line? What a hoot."

Because you give everything 20+ years and just about everything that doesn't involve death or dismemberment is a hoot. 

So then,

poor little farmgirl me is left with is a massive mountain of dirt in my yard. Massive. This shall never disperse, mountain. Daunting mountain. Brokeback Mountain.

 And what does one do with a massive amount of dirt in the yard that must be moved in order to not kill the grass? (Plus I cannot even deal with leaving projects undone?)

(The mountain was bigger than this. He wasn't done yet in this picture. I exaggerate a lot, but on this I'm not pinky swear)

You take this backyard you just pushed forward and fenced in, 

and you make the flower beds you've seriously considered putting in all along the fence line, and dang it, you make it happen! Shovel after shovel and wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow-- it happens, dang it. 'Cause the grass don't grow well there anyway, and it's ugly, and it shouldn't be.


And my back ached when I would sleep for weeks and I would dream of shoveling and dumping and SHOVELING AND DUMPING and my hands have new calluses and my fingers look permanently dirty despite the use of work gloves, and I'm probably in the best upper body shape of my life because I'M A FARMGIRL, HERE.


Everything went by the wayside-- my house looks like crap, my nails look like crap, the house is a mess Jack, the kids are a mess Jack, you're a mess Jack. . .

(gosh I love that movie.)

But here we are.

Perhaps you're wondering,

"One small row of flower beds took you that long?"

1. Don't you judge me.
2. I had more dirt. Much more dirt. Thus, the front yard got involved too but let's chit chat about that over donuts next time.
3. Don't you judge me. You don't know! You weren't there! 

Meanwhile, the Da$% Pond:


 Shaping of the da$% pond is done. Plumbing is set. Supplies are purchased--

but there's a kink in the pond liner plans. But I can't go there yet. It's too soon.  The Jeffro is like, 

"If we could go back and decide on this again, would we move forward?"

Do you mean do the actual work again?? All over again??  Do you wanna keep your wife?  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Wall of Shame.

Bonjourno! How the heck are ya?  

We're doing great-- we're digging up the lawn to hide dead bodies er I mean to add some more hopefully attractive landscaping features these days.  Putting our backs into it. Throwing caution to the wind as far as keeping the pants appropriately pulled up. I mean, we're swinging pick axes out there-- we can't be concerned about propriety, people. C'mon. 

Okay. Before we get into a fun lil project I finished up this week, I have to pat myself on the back for a moment:

BREAD BOOT CAMP OVER HERE. 


I cannot tell you how many times I've attempted and big-fat-failed in the breads department. I was seriously skipping around the kitchen, grinning ear to ear that these even rose, let alone baked decently and tasted good.

It's the little things. Never mind that the neighbor boy asked for a slice and promptly told me he didn't like it. I said NEVER MIND! 

Gosh.

So, once upon a time, I had a wall that looked like so.  Remember? Maybe ya do, maybe you don't- 


And frankly I'm hoping you don't. It wasn't the clothes pin idea that I'm now embarrassed about-- that was fine. It was the vinyl saying above it that hopefully you can't quite make out. The picture was strategic! All you need to know is that I thought it was hilarious at the time and then came to my senses.

Sigh. I've grown up a little.

So, a lot of the clothes pins had broken over years of use, and it was just lookin' a tad . . . poverty stricken. Shabby. I took it down nearly a year ago and this strange wall that heads downstairs to the man cave stood there empty. I didn't hang any of my kids artwork or good grades-- they all went straight to the trash. I was totally fine with it but for some reason the dang kids didn't like that. Picky, picky.

I knew I wanted something a bit more. . .mouldy. Hmm. That sounds green, furry and nasty; surely there's a better word for more moulding. 

I knew I wanted the back of this to be V groove. (oh boy here she goes again talking up that stupid v groove).

I love this stuff!



It's basically larger slatted beadboard. I find it to be so classy, with a slight nod to a farmhouse style. It's very underused. AND speaking of that!

I've got a bone to pick with Lowe's. They don't carry this V groove paneling anymore. In fact, there's a half dozen things they don't carry anymore that I need, from moulding to hot tub products to closet organization. One time, I went there with a list of 4 items and they don't carry ANY ONE OF THEM ANYMORE. I NEED TO STOP YELLING. 

It was a very frustrating visit to my local Lowes. You've really let me down, Lowe's. You don't care, but I do. 

Go Home Depot! The end.

Anyways! Because I have the world's largest scrap pile, I happened to have a piece left lying around in the garage. Good thing I'm not picky about stuff, 'cause I may have been unhappy with the size otherwise.

I don't typically turn this stuff horizontally, so I's feeling pretty bold and frisky at this point.



So I snapped this picture, and then immediately noticed how absolutely disgusting my wall was. Don't you judge me! You try 20 different kids in a 48 hour period running their little fingers down your wall to the basement. See how your Wendy's Frosty wall color fares okay?

So I scrubbed the wall furiously,

and then went to 2 different Lowe's locations for some MDF. And they didn't have any. Annnnnd they told me the whole country wasn't receiving shipments of MDF right now and everyone was out. 'S what they told me for reals. 

So I went to the Depot a block away and picked up some MDF. That wasn't available. Anywhere. No way. No how. Except Home Depot has some, no problem. 

Holy crap Lowes you have let me down. I feel like a best friend has stabbed me in the back. Top of my crap list for you!


Ack I'm liking it so much more and I haven't even painted it yet.

Little paint, more wall washing (WHY? Seriously boys), simple string run across and some cute, petite lil clothes pins,


and boom, the kids spared no time to start hanging their crap up on the Wall of Shame. Done, and done.

Suck it, Lowe's. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Lotsa Goings Ons-es.

G'Day mate! How are ya? Say you're well.


It's beautiful weather here, I've got two projects going down inside the house, and a gajillion projects outside the house, and I'm feeling excited and spring-y and life is just good. Know what I'm sayin'?

Side note; have I mentioned I'm taking sewing lessons? Bless my teacher's pure, patient heart. I'm sure I make thee best stories for other, real sewers. "She did WHAT?"

I don't even know what I'm doing in this picture. I was really excited about this sewing pocket belt thingy we whipped up one lesson, and I was doing this freaky butt slapping dance while taking a picture of it--


which explains why all the pics I took of it are blurry. Hold the freak still, woman.

But back to the point! Life is good. Sewing lessons are happening. Violin lessons (about to enter my 3RD YEAR, people!) are still happening. My new nailgun is seeing lotsa action, and my days are full of fun 'n exciting stuff.

But can we talk about my backyard again? Pwease? Just as a refresher, we've really put our backs into this place the last couple years. If you'll recall,


we started here.

And then, we worked our buns off and got here.


Planters, pergola, and a firepit way back there that I was originally super unhappy about but I really don't give a doodoo about anymore. It is what it is; we use it. we like it. We haven't set fire to many things yet, so that's good.

Anyways, after a few years of deliberation, we opted to move our fence out to be able to utilize the space we have better.

So you can see our original fence on the left, and we were pushing it forward to the new posts on the right, see? Gaining quite a bit of footage on this side of the house, 


and enclosing our swings and garden on the other side, and really opening up the firepit/hot tub side. And that's all I want to say about that because I used to be excited about it but we upset the neighbors and now it's a sore subject the end.



Anyways!


Happier subject: my first wheelbarrow! That's something to be excited about. ("If we only had a WHEELBARROW, now that would be something!" name that movie.) Also, I finally caved and traded my pergola swings ropes with chains. Those ropes were just spiky, slivery buggers. 

We have soooooo many different ideas floating in our head about how to best utilize the space, make it less of a mowing headache, less of a water sucker, and enjoy the entire space better. But we aren't sure what should go where and if we'll regret more planter space.?. Ack I need someone to come boss me around! 

Can I ask you: what's your take on grass vs. planting areas? I do love to plant, really I do-- I'm an animal during the spring and early summer; you could pimp me out anywhere to dig and plant during that time---

and then. . . .

August hits and I want nothing to do with watering and weeding. Burn myself out every.single.time.  What's your thoughts? Deep feelings?  

What we definitely are going ahead with, as we've already gathered massive quantities of materials, is a water feature.



The Jeffro's sketch. I love it when he sketches stuff up. Sigh. A teeny waterfall into a pond with lilies and fish (I'm seriously trying to talk him out of the danged fish but his heart is set on it). Visible from the windows in the house, the pergola/deck area, and the road. I'm excited! We're excited! Now someone come boss me around some more. Gosh I hope the sprinkler adjusting won't turn into a nightmare.