Is It Too Early to Post Christmas Wares?


Just listed here.
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Side Yard Before/After

Our grass is growing in the sideyard and we finally got rid of all the dirt/gravel along the edge of the railroad ties (see the long pile in the far right?)  I thought I'd post some befores and afters to give you the full effect of the finished project.





Thanks to Mother Nature for providing warm weather and mostly sunny days, the grass grew well.  It took load after load of dirt/gravel in a wheelbarrow to remove all the piles along the driveway leftover from the excavator.  It feels so good to have that project done.  Now if we could keep the deer out of our tender grass, we'd be doing even better.
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Backyard Corner

This corner of our backyard has been a long time in the making.  Last night we finished it by putting railroad ties around the base of the oil tank (to hide the mismatched bricks and supports), and covered it all with black mulch.

Just to refresh your memory, this was the oil tank before we painted it.

Then, here it is after a coat of gray outdoor paint.

Here's the window before we mulched the dirt around it.

And here are pictures from this morning.  It feels so good to have this corner finished.

We're getting there....only the opposite side of the house to work on now and we'll be done getting the basic yard footprint finished.


Finn's Summer Fort

Finn is always building something, whether it's out of Legos or wood or paper.  At the beginning of the Summer, he started building a little house for himself.

He worked on it for hours and hours, tweaking it everyday, changing things, adding collections.

By the end of the Summer, he had created a little mosoleum on our back patio, full of wires, nails, wood, rocks, you name it: a Summer's-worth of time and heart from a 6-turned-7-year-old boy.

It was also driving me nuts.  It completely took over the area right next to the back door, and it was beginning to look like shanty-town.  I told myself that he could have it until school started, then we would disassemble the thing.

A week before school started, I knew it was time.  He was not happy about it.  He pouted and made silly faces when I took his last pictures with it.

Then I mentioned payment for helping destroy it and he was in.  He and Lucy helped me take it down, piece by piece, and this compact work of art filled the entire bed of our pick-up!  It cost $11 to get rid of it, plus a long drive to the dump, but I guess that's a small price to pay for hours and hours of enjoyment experienced by a budding carpenter.
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The Man-Cave Window

I couldn't find a good picture, but this shows the corner where Travis put in a window for his basement cave. 

First, he built a retaining wall around the crawlspace opening.

(The view from a distance).

Then he put in a window where the crawlspace opening used to be.  It helps the basement airflow, plus gives him alot of natural light.  These little changes are fun to make.
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Fixing the Side Yard

A couple weeks ago we had an excavator come loosen up the compacted dirt in the driveway along the grass.  We wanted to put in railroad ties all along the driveway to deliniate the driveway from the grass.  After Travis spent alot of time pounding away at it with a pickaxe and only getting one railroad tie in (plus getting a few blisters), we decided we had better hire this out.

So Byron the Excavator came over and for $60 he had the driveway torn up deep enough to put in the ties.  That could have been the best $60 we ever spent!

We decided to keep the ties parallel to the house (the house and the garage are not paralell to each other).  The string marked the line and it was pretty easy to lay the ties (easy for me because Travis just told me what to do to help!)

After laying the ties, we backfilled them, then took away all the excess dirt inside the planting area.  Then, we got it smooth, planted grass seed, laid out a cow manure mixture, then put on peat moss and straw for extra insulation and moisture retention.

And this is how the ties look now.  I like how they turned out.  (As a sidenote: this picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, and now the grass is starting to grow!  We weren't sure if it would grow with the freezing nightly temperatures, but it is finally growing!)

Our little bike-helper-expert-in-residence.

It's neat to see the transformation from this Spring, to Summer to now.  I'll try to dig up the picture of when we bought the house to show the full change.  I'm happy with how it turned out.  Next Summer the grass will be grown up to the ties and it will look even better.
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Just Listed


Just in time for holiday prep, get the Chevron Advent Calendar here.
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