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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby Wood Ducks

We have baby Wood Ducks!  There were at least 11 in the beginning, now sadly, we're down to 6 or 7.  Nature at work I guess.  It's fun to watch the parents as they guide the babies, allowing them to swim farther away each day and then silently calling them back.  It's fun to watch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The New Dining Room

Here's the new dining room with furniture in place.  Notice the copper pipe curtain rods my DH made for the room.  We love the "soft industrial" look and will like it even more as the copper tarnishes to a darker color.  
 See the new half wall on the right side?  The old kitchen steps used to be as wide as the opening, 5 feet at least.  After cutting them down both in length and width we had a drop off that needed closing.  Larry built us a half wall to match the other side of the opening.  We will likely put some kind of post up but aren't in love with the one on the other side so we'll wait to find other options.
 The chandelier will go when I find a replacement and the floor under the rug is the old and newly added concrete.  We'll live with that till next winter when we start the kitchen remodel.
The view out of this room is so much better than it was just a few short months ago.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Deck is Done

Finally it's finished.  We said goodbye to Larry and Domingo this afternoon and enjoyed rocking in our chairs this evening.  It's a good feeling but there's still work to be done.

Notice there are no barriers between the posts and railing on the deck?  We're thinking about what we want to put up, in the meantime we'll try not to fall off in between.   See the bridge that connects 2 levels on the side of the house?  That was Charlie's idea.  We like it a lot.

 We could have a dance on this side of the deck!
 We'll be staining the deck with the same stain used on the patio cover.  We'll wait till the pressure treated pine dries out before we start.

 New Dining room addition from the deck

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our big deck

We're adding a wooden deck to the backyard that starts where the stone patio stopped and goes to the other end of the house.  It's 12 ft. deep out the sliding glass door and then goes out at an angle at the pecan tree to 16 feet.  
 The framing and posts go in
 Flooring starts and should be completed by the end of next week.  We'll have to wait till the pressure treated pine dries out before staining the wood.  When we do, we're going to use the same stain we used on the patio cover.

The Entry Patio

Here are a few pictures of our entry patio as it existed when we bought the house.  It was painted concrete that was supposed to look like wood beams in between concrete slabs.  It had as many as 5 different levels and seemed rather small.  The worst part of it was that when the pecan leaves dropped and were wet, the area was very slippery.  
 The above picture looks from the front door out to the garage on the left and driveway.

 Here's my DH working on the headboard/old door using the patio edge to trim the door.

 This is the new patio.  Our front door is just visible on the left and Charlie is doing the last step of acid washing the stone.  He's evened out some of the levels and it makes the space seem huge.  We love the look of the stone and will enjoy how non-slippery it will be if it ever rains again.

Our Garden

My DH built our first raised bed garden container.  We got a great idea off a blogsite for a low cost way to make it out of cedar fencing.  The entire structure was less than $20 to build and is a perfect height for our first garden.  We've located in in the front yard because it's the only place we get full sun during the day.  I don't think the neighbors will mind.  

 My good friend Ann is the inspiration for this garden and she thinks I may have over planted the bed.  I have 6 tomatoes, 2 eggplants and a lemon cucumber in the space.  If everything lives, I'll likely remove a couple of the tomatoes.  They're all very happy in their new location and we hope to be eating great tomatoes in about 2 months.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Peaches and Figs

We're lucky to have peach and fig trees in our front yard.  It's fun to watch them blossom, and leaf out and the fruit to start forming.  I walked out front this afternoon to find 8 squirrels on the lawn near the fig tree.  I have very little confidence I'll get many figs or peaches this year with so many competitors.  

Fat Albert

The deck is going up but Fat Albert still comes.  He used to come when the Mertz's were here on a daily basis and they didn't mind sharing corn with each other.  Now that Fred and Ethyl are absent Fat Albert still comes.  The construction doesn't seem to bother him a bit.  Our biggest problem is that he's a quackless duck so we don't know when he's here.  We try to leave food for him all the time but the cardinals and other birds eat it too.  

 He's lots of fun to watch because he wags his tail when he eats

Patio Cover

We decided to add a patio cover even though we have a very shady backyard.  The shade is provided by giant pecan trees that shed many leaves and drop their pecans in the fall.  We thought it would be be nice to have an area that is sheltered form the rains, if they ever come, and the falling leaves and pecans.  

 Those big trees will be covered with leaves very soon.
 We did all of the staining before and during the constructions and love the big cedar beams that hold up the cover
That solid color on the ground you see in this picture is from some old carpeting we put down to cover the stone while we stained the wood.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Most of you know that I'd sneak a food picture or two in here somewhere.  My dear friend watched and photographed me while I demo'd how to open up a center cut pork loin, stuff it and tie it to roast.  Let me know if you want the recipe.

Salt Bread for Matt

Sea Glass

Just thought I'd show off some of my Santa Barbara sea glass collection.  I miss being able to walk the beach with Jenn and find treasures like the ones on these trays.  I've got lots more and am trying to think of creative ways to use them.  Any suggestions?

B,L & M come for a visit

It's spring break and our boy is home.  Yay!  We also get a visit from our good friends.  The boys take the canoe out and the adults panic because they're gone too long and of course have no way to contact us.  
 No reason to panic though as we have one Eagle Scout and one Wilderness Survivor in the canoe and they paddle back, upstream, returning safe and sound.

 Sitting in the back seat of a power boat is more my style of boating.

The Mertz's

Here's a couple of pictures of Fred and Ethyl our Egyptian Geese.  They stayed with us, coming each day to eat corn and hang out but left just a few weeks ago and we haven't seen them since.  Maybe the construction got to them, they returned to their native country after hearing of Mubarak's ouster, or maybe Ethyl is nesting.  We hope they'll be back.

The slider is in!

It took awhile to get here but they finally got the sliding glass door in.  It's a Pella and we can see the difference in quality between the door and the Home Depot stock windows.  Luckily we spent the extra money on the door as it'll get a ton of use.
 With the false wall gone, you can see where the old tile floor ends.  The new cement is the added square footage, about 50 square feet total.  We're trying to match the tile at this point because we're not ready to redo the entire kitchen yet.  Wait to see what we end up with.
 The patio cover is just getting started in this pic.  Notice the header board above the roof.  You'll see completed pictures later.  Also notice that we have a new closet.  Larry, our amazing contractor thought it would be a good idea to build a small closet in a dead space area just to the right of the rock wall you see.  Now we have a place for outdoor cushions and stuff.  We have lots of stuff!

Debbie Visits

We have our first visitor from the "old country", Debbie, my Library friend has a family wedding to attend and just happens to be staying at a "resort" about 3 miles away.  We had a great visit and hope I've convinced her to retire here!