The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – April 2018

Seeing as spring is trying its best to make an appearance, I’ve been thinking about what to *attempt* to get done this summer. Obviously the ditch in the back southern corner of the house is pretty important, as I can’t do anything else with the yard until that is in. But, here are some other things going on outside in what I am thinking would be a fun seasonal-ish topic: the good, the bad, the ugly.

The Good

The trees are trying so very hard to sprout some leaves. I’m not sure if they’ll be blooming much, seeing as it’s already creeping towards May and we still have bare trees.

The Bad

We’ve got a couple of areas of sadness. First, one of the fences seems to have had a disagreement with a horse.

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The post is broken off at ground level and not fixable. The boards are held in with peg things (I’m no expert on fence construction) and I can’t get them out without breaking them. I’ll have to figure that one out. But now we have an ugly, broken fence that I’m worried will damage the not-broken parts when we get a good gust of wind.

Next, the barn is going on 25 years old (as is everything on the property) but I think it was the most neglected over the years. The wind has been taking its toll on the doors.

I first thought an animal was to blame for the first picture, but I didn’t see the block there until I saw it up close. I know that getting this barn back to usable condition would really help the property value and potential sell-ability, but then again, I can’t muster the energy to think about how to fix it. It’s in rough shape. At this point I’m just waiting for doors to start falling off and siding to blow away.

Next, out here we have Junipers (super flammable!!) and Piñons. It’s important that we keep them trimmed (the ones close to the house at least), but we can’t trim the trees in the warm season due to some lovely beetles that easily spread. The Pine Beetles eventually kill the tree that they call home and it needs to be removed, but carefully, lest the beetles find new homes nearby. It’s a big issue out here, they’re killing trees left and right in some places. In our time here we’ve only had to cut down one tree. Unfortunately it’s time once again.

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It’s a shame because this is a pretty big tree, and since they grow pretty slow, I’m guessing this tree has some years behind it. Plus, it sits on an island in the creek bed and is just plain awesome. Sadly, it’s got to go.

The Ugly

While the barn is in somewhat rough shape, the chicken coop nearby is still in pretty good condition. One of the kids has been talking about wanting chickens and I think it would be a lot of fun. Sprucing up the coop will be a lot of work, but we are fortunate to have a good start. My plan is to work on it slowly and hopefully we’ll be ready for the birds next year.

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Next, we have an issue that isn’t new to us, as it was present when we bought the house, but it is freshly annoying every time I look at it. Did you know that birds really like styrofoam window trim under the stucco? Yup.

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I think the best thing to do is just take what’s left off and repaint. But that sounds very not fun, and it’s really not causing any problems other than it’s ugly, so we’ll probably continue grumbling about it for a while longer.

And last, but not least, my garden boxes are pretty darn ugly at the moment.

I need to clean them out, remove the lattice, make new/better anti-animal cages, set up the sprinklers, and plant. Luckily our seedlings are kickin’ butt and it looks like we’ll have a nice garden this year.

First Official Project: Complete!

I’ve long since been a builder of things like puzzles, shoe collections, tensions, drama, etc. But today I can add another item to the list! Shelves!

Since we got the kittens almost a year ago, it’s been pretty clear to me that I needed to come up with a better litter box/laundry/towel storage solution for the kids’ bathroom. I had a simple IKEA shelf tucked into the little cave-like area, but that only gave me a place for towels. So, when I finally decided to start actually getting things done, this was #1 on the To-Do List. Sadly, I don’t have a good before picture. I’ll have to remember to snap pics before I start a project in the future. But I do have an after picture! (Of course)

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So, four shelves, the bottom two are longer  in order to cover the litter box and hold the laundry basket. The rest is for towels and, naturally, my giant rubber duckie. (A staple in many homes, I’m sure.)

No, it isn’t a work of art, but I’m insanely happy that it’s done. Since it’s the first thing of this nature I’ve ever built, I know there are many things that can be improved upon and done differently/better. For starters, my next project involving large boards should also involve a table saw, so now that’s on the shopping list. Some gaps between board a wall are a bit cringe-worthy, but those three walls aren’t very straight, so the task was even more frustrating for my inexperienced self. Primed, painted, sealed, installed, and never coming out.

Onward to the next project!!

An Attempt At A Garden

These past few weeks have lacked a few things, namely time and good enough health to allow my attention to fall upon this blank page. Now that the spring break camps are over and I’m not running the kids around (as much), and also now that my latest cold from hell has mostly gone away, I’m finally able to write a little bit. I was hoping the last two forecasted sky rivers would help me out with a topic or two, but they both fizzled out- YAY!! Unfortunately, my current project still isn’t done and ready for a post, but I am almost there. I’ve decided that I’ll start the next inside project while I work on finishing up the previous one.

BUT! We do have a bit of progress with something! Seeing as it’s mid April already, we’ve got our seeds started for our garden! AND! They’re doing well! This really is awesome-sauce because I have a black thumb, as they say. I love plants, but I can kill a cactus in the desert, so….

Anyway, I had the kids choose a few seeds and help me plant. I know not all of them will do well in our climate, but I really enjoy the challenge of keeping plants alive, esp from seeds( …even though I’m not so good at it).  Once it warms up, we’ll be able to plant them the carrots outside.

Other than the plants, the garden also needs a new anti-squirrel device because the lattice currently on the planters is falling apart, and it doesn’t cover the top. I also need to find the automatic sprinkler- it’s hiding in the garage.

That’s pretty much what’s going on lately.

So We Got A Bit Of Rain

I had never heard of an “atmospheric river” until we moved up here. According to the NOAA:

“Atmospheric rivers are relatively long, narrow regions in the atmosphere – like rivers in the sky – that transport most of the water vapor outside of the tropics. These columns of vapor move with the weather, carrying an amount of water vapor roughly equivalent to the average flow of water at the mouth of the Mississippi River. When the atmospheric rivers make landfall, they often release this water vapor in the form of rain or snow.”

So, it’s basically a river in the sky, and of course what goes up, must come down, right? When one of these sky rivers comes our way, we know to be ready for wind and rain, and lots of both. Last year we had quite a few (the wind was scary even for me who likes the crazy wind), and this plus the large amount of snow we got last year helped our drought immensely. This year, eh, not so much. We had rain in November I think, and hardly any snow.

Enter March! We’ve had a few small bouts of snow, but last weekend, we woke up to a foot-plus of the fluffy white stuff. Finally! And then it melted- fast. Usually the snow here melts super slow, but this year it’s as if we were back in TN and it melts almost as fast as it accumulated. So now the ground was completely saturated and the creek was flowing, and then the sky river moved in. I woke up Thursday to this:

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As the kids would say, “R.I.P. driveway.” There are three pipes running under driveway right here, but we were unable to unclog the third. Still, good grief. I’d say it’s about 4 ft deep in the middle, and it was MOVING. Needless to say, the driveway is in horrible shape. On the plus side, though, the ground is so rocky here that only parts of the driveway are mush, other parts are very rocky, though not always small rocks.

To make a long story short, we have some pretty big drainage issues. We need to figure out these issues and then fix the driveway. We also need to come up with a plan for the culverts down along the road, but that is going to involve working with the neighborhood association, because they need to fix culverts and pipes on their end. Sadly, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, because since this past storm has done quite a bit of damage, they’ve already got their work cut out for them during the dry season.

My plans for the side yard include a ditch to divert the water around the house and into the creek, but that doesn’t solve all of our issues. I am, however, looking forward to not having a sizeable lake where I usually take the dogs out…

Evil Kitties v. Sucky Succulents

Ok, we’re going to start things off with a small project that has waited a large amount of time to get done. Upstairs in the master bath there was a built in planter between the huge tub and window. When we got the house, there was an assortment of cacti in said planter. Even though I am a fan of most green things that also double as air-purifying devices, I wasn’t a fan of these.

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So, they had to go! Except they didn’t. We did cut them down at the base, but we left the dirt and roots to sit. It became one of those “it’s not really in the way so I’ll do it later” kind of projects. Then, last summer, we got us a pair of super cute kittens. Once they discovered this super cool box of dirt, well, I think you can guess what happened. So now we had a stinky planter that really needed to go.

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How can you say no to that cute face? Let me tell you, it’s remarkably easy. They’re terrors, especially this one. ^^That’s Jimmy^^

Fast forward to today:

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IT. IS. DONE.

And it smells much better too 🙂

Now the bathtub that isn’t attached and that we don’t use can at least look a bit nicer until we redo the bathroom (5-10 yr plan). Yay for baby steps. I celebrated with a cookie.

Oh Look, We’re Aliiiiivvveeee!!!

In fact, we have been this whole time! Crazy, right?!

So, I’m going to try a wee experiment: I’m hoping to see how committed I can be to a project that doesn’t rely so heavily on my imagination. (Sorry, writing blog, it’s not you, it’s me. No really, it is. Shh, we’ll talk about this later.) Plus, it’s a bit of an outlet for my other plan, which is to spend a few hours a week trying to make the house into more of an awesome home for us. If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself, am-I-right?

So, we’ve had the house for 5 1/2 years now and lots of things have happened, but not to the house, unfortunately. The driveway less much less gravel, the little blue powder room has a new faucet, there’s hardwood floor in the master closet and what is my office. Oh, and paint! I’ve got the ugly walls on the downstairs painted, but there is still all kinds of ugly upstairs. I’m working on the kid’s bathroom but I’ll probably write about that project another time since I’m still not done with it.

I’ve made my projects list (and I’m adding to it often) and I’m planning on the best time and methods of completion, so now I just need to commit to adding things on here. Can I do that? Huh, I guess we’ll see.

New Carpet! And Paint!

Before we even received the keys to the house, we knew at least the carpet in the bedrooms downstairs should be replaced. We were thinking that may be a project for next year.

And then Jeremy bought a UV flashlight and looked at the carpet with a new eye…

What was a smallish project planned for next year became twice as large, and more important. This, coupled with a carpet sale at RC Willey, led us through their doors one fine day where we picked out some new Stainmaster carpets. We let the kids pick out their’s, and we chose a fun color for the playroom. Finally, about a month later, it is finally installed!

Let’s start with Liam’s room. Here is the before picture. The carpet wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t awesome either. The walls were a combination of ugly, ugly, and more ugly. Here is the before picture:

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I’m in the process of painting his walls a light gray, and he chose a nice speckled gray carpet. I am super excited to see his room come together, but it my be a little while before I can get the walls finished. Here is the carpet:

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Moving on to the girl’s room. It started with a combination of white and very like pink walls. The carpet was a horrid blue that looked as if it were original to the house. We called it the “crunchy room,” and on occasion the “shroom room” due to the mushroom growing in one of the corners when we got the keys… I did not even like to walk through this room, and the kid’s did not sleep in here. On to the pictures! Before:

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I painted the room purple on one side and pink on the other. The girls picked a grape colored carpet. I was worried about the colors clashing, and I guess they do, but in the end I really don’t care. The girls love it, and I love that the carpet does not crunch with every step. After:

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The playroom is kind of a weird room. We think it was originally designed as a home theater, but it is such a small room! The biggest downfall is that there are no windows, but I hope to get lots of new lighting in here to help. The carpet was actually not horrible, but we decided to change it to something more fun. And clean. The picture below is my best before picture of the carpet (‘best’ not meaning even remotely good, but I seemed to have missed this room while getting pictures of everything else…). What you are seeing is what the kids call ‘the secret passway’ between the playroom and Liam’s room. That gross chunk of green rug has been replaced with the same gray from Liam’s room. The smaller door on the left is access to a hall closet, we think to house electronics for the home theater. The old carpet can be seen at the very bottom. Before:

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We chose a nice green to go in here, and it is SO SOFT! I am planning on either painting a forest on the walls, or getting a large wallpaper mural of trees, I haven’t decided which. Also, I’m hoping to put a small stage in here, probably right next to the secret passageway. After:

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Last, but not least, we get to the master bedroom. This room was originally an exercise room, and the carpet stains seen under the UV light were… interesting. Before:

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I painted the walls a dark blue, and I was stuck on the idea of a light gray carpet. So, here is the result:

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Yes, the mirrors are still on two walls, and there they will stay until we are ready to undertake that enormous task of mirror removal and wall fixing. This will probably not happen any time soon.

I am so happy to have this project complete, and the house feels so much more comfortable! Now, if only we had some furniture…