Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dead Wood

When we bought our house I have to admit that having a deck was a selling point. I didn't give the up keep much thought; ever. I think the first owners of the house had it installed while they lived here before us. It was not brand new but new enough. We didn't do any preserving or much up keep and it shows. It's been through hurricanes, standing water, animals, carpenter bees, paint splatters, rats and bunnies gnawing on it and tons of snow, not to mention the scorching hot summers. I think the deck was well worth someone else's money. Now it's our turn to upgrade the yard and make it ours. After eighteen years, I think it's time.

So the weekend of July 4th we finally decided to do the deed. It was a back breaking deed, but it got done. We tore down the deck to parade rest (my husband loves that expression). There was digging, prying, hammering, sweating and swearing , but it got done.
This is the deck before the day of demo. As you can see the steps coming down into the yard had rotted away and my cheap solution was to use pavers stacked up to serve as the new steps. It's hard to tell from this photo, but the section of the deck we tore up sits up higher than the portion of the deck that is closest to the sun room door. Let's face it. It's a mess.
This the view from the deck after all the floor board were taken off. It took all morning. Then we took a break to top off our fluids, eat lunch and have a nap to recoup. The afternoon was spent taking out the bottom frame. What a job that was. We had to get a rather large sledge hammer to tear up the foundation boards.
This is the view from the part of the deck that is still intact. You can see part of the garden straight ahead. Notice the fence? We did that to keep the dogs out and so far it has worked really well. So as you can see everything is still in progress. We plan a small herb garden that will have a potting bench. A small fence has been put up since these pictures were taken. We still have to decide on stones for the new patio and rip up the other half of the deck. Weekends is the only time we have to work on this so it's going to be a slow process. I don't care if it takes all summer as long as we make some progress on it every weekend. We are planning on taking some of the foundation deck boards that are in good shape and making two more large raised beds for the garden and to make the potting bench. I hate thinking about the good wood being wasted so we have plans for it. I am excited that we are finally making progress. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Fashioned

...nope that is not referring to the alcoholic drink. It's referring to something that I remembered from my childhood. My grandmother lived on a very quiet street in Temple, TX when I was a child and well into my adulthood until she moved to another part of town to a much nicer house. I have some really great memories about the old house and her neighbors. It seemed to me as a child that everyone on that street was old. I mean really old. Of course this memory was from elementary school, so I guess everyone was really old to me then. I suspect those "old" people weren't really that old.

The woman who lived next door used to make homemade donuts and gave them to my grandmother for us when we came to visit. In turn, my grandmother would send over a small brown bag of her cherry tomatoes. Long after my grandmother passed away, I went back to the old house and knocked on the neighbor's door. That donut woman still lived there but now she really was old. I think she told me she was in her 90s. I am pretty sure that she has passed away by now, but I still have such wonderful memories of her donuts and how nice she was to let me come over and spend time with her.

The neighbors who lived next door to the donut woman were a married couple. They were so cute together and again were so sweet to me as a little girl. I don't remember too much about them except their names and how slowly they moved. They used to have a wooden screen door on the front door that would make the neatest squeak when it opened and closed.

Then there were the two old ladies who lived on the corner. I never knew their names and never talked to them but I would walk past their house on the way to the grocery store at the end of the street. My grandmother knew them and used to say they were two old maid sisters who lived together. The thing that I loved most about walking past their house, was their killer garden. They had the white picket fence on the side yard and there was all kind of green stuff growing gang busters there. I remember seeing them in the scorching hot sun in their plain long sleeved prairie dresses and their prairie bonnets on working their magic with a hoe. I don't ever remember seeing their faces. Their bonnets covered up their faces. I know they wore them to keep the sun off of them but I have never forgotten how cool and old fashioned I thought they looked. Does anyone here remember Holly Hobby? They looked just like her.

So when I saw this post from my blogger friend Paula, I had to do something quick to get some of these! Since Paula admired my dishcloths, I asked if we could do a swap and she said yes! I was so excited. The bonnets came in the mail a while ago. I should have posted this sooner but I have been just a bit busy with work, the garden and taking on a new responsibility and posting often got pushed off to the side. It posting this sooner did not lessen how crazy I am about the apron/bonnets. Wait until you see the pictures I took the day I opened the box. Please be gentle as you look at my pictures. Remember, you are admiring the bonnet not my bad hair...

This is taken in the bathroom so that you can see the hat. Not such a good one but the next one is much better.
I just love it. It gets the thumbs up from me for sure.
Paula exactly what I would like so she made me two bonnets. This one is the second one. Pretty cool? I am just thrilled with my new bonnet/aprons. I have to confess, they probably will never be used for an apron because I just love the sun bonnet look. If you have not read Paula's blog you really need to. It's cute and all about the country life she leads. I am always tickled when she has a new post.

Thanks Paula, for such a wonderful exchange. Please accept my thanks and my apology for not posting this as soon as I got them.