Welcome to my blog! If you enjoy my stories, please leave a comment. I love hearing from you!
Showing posts with label landscaping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label landscaping. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Tale of Two Tractors

I hope my horses are happy. I gave up my new front yard for them. We've lived in the middle of this old corn field for six years. Each of those years Hubby promised me a new front lawn. That lawn always gets knocked down a notch on the to-do list when those other random farm projects pop up.

This is it. This is the week that I was supposed to definitely get my new lawn. Guess what? Not gonna happen. But that's OK with me. We were going to do the lawn and the back pasture. Then some things happened that made us rethink the investment. We decided we should only do one or the other. I picked the pasture. Yep, me. My horses rank pretty high on my priority list. 'nuff said.

Hubby had already sprayed the pasture, killing all the grass and weeds that were growing there.

Here is Hubby on our tractor tilling all the dead stuff under and loosening the soil.

Hubby has a part-time job in the summer working for Mark's landscaping company in exchange for grass seed and fertilizer. It's nice to have friends with heavy equipment! This is Mark's harrow rake. He uses it to smooth the tilled ground.

Mark has a really nice tractor. I'd love to have an enclosed cab! When I sell my book, a bigger tractor is on my list. (I know... I dream big.) This is Mark using the harrow rake to smooth the pasture, getting it ready to plant.

Hubby took the tiller off and installed Mark's seeder. This is Mark on our tractor, spreading the grass seed and then the fertilizer.

The best time saver of all... This is Mark's straw blower. Hubby is just getting over a bug, so he gets to drive Mark's truck. A friend volunteered to cut open the bales and heave the straw to the blower. Now that's a real friend! The boss is operating the blower.

I am a safe distance from the mess, using my zoom while standing on the bedroom deck. It makes me want to gasp for air just looking at this picture!

So now the field is ready, but the weatherman said it will be dry for several more days... Come on rain!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a short update...

Remember that little rock steps project that Ali and I did? After we laid the rock, we landscaped beside it, underneath the steps to our balcony. One of the plants we put in that bed finally bloomed. My 3rd refurbished camera sucks, (do you hear the dissatisfaction in my voice?) so the color is off. The blooms are a very deep pink. I'm waiting to see if the whole spear ends up turning pink. I don't know if the pink part started out that way. We've had so much rain that I've not spent much time out there, and these little ones surprised me!
I don't remember what these are... I just liked them when I saw them at the nursery. The shot below makes me want to call them starfish flowers...

We've had Sadie for well over a year. I've tried and tried to capture this pose with my camera, but she always wakes and looks straight up at me! I was determined... So last night, while she was making those little 'I'm in such a deep sleep' noises, I grabbed my camera and voila!

She always covers her nose with her paw when she sleeps. Could this be why she makes those noises?

The baby chicks can no longer be called babies. It won't be much longer before we start getting eggs from them. Hubby has a portion of fence between the babies and the older hens' areas that he uses as a gate. Well, last night he not only forgot to shut it, he also forgot to shut the little back door on the big house! When he got up this morning there were dozens of young hens over in the the old hens' grass. They're used to him bringing food and calling them, so he just hollered to them. Sure enough, they came running through the gate back to their own neighborhood... except for one... All of a sudden one of the young hens took to the air, flew over the fence and landed in front of him like, "Here I am." He wants to know why he's got the fence.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Project - Phase Two

This is not a picture from space... This is our pool! Yuck! Living in the 'Land of Devil Wind' makes it nearly impossible to keep the cover on the pool all winter. But at least the cover is off now and the cleaning has started! I looks like a farm pond, don't you think?
OK, don't scream! This is really ugly...

Around the corner of the house is the new wood steps and the stone steps that we just finished. At least we have one entrance to the pool area that is not an obstacle course! This side was done... Then we put in the outdoor boiler system. They had to trench right through the area I had finished. There were stepping stones leading to the lawn area, surrounded by the crushed brick and a few small boulders. The pavers stacked near the pool used to be in front of the big wooden box that used to sit along the back wall of the house for storing the pool supplies.

There is a lot of dirt to smooth out before I replace the black plastic and landscape cloth. Fortunately I didn't have a lot of plants in place yet. Once the pool is cleaned and open, Ali will have something to do while I tackle Phase Two!

Oh my, it's hot! Broke 90 today!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

320 Pounds of Concrete!

The local weatherman has been having fun with me. I'm starting to get annoyed! He keeps telling me that storms are coming. I've been wanting to get the stones finished and move on to the next step of my project.

Ali and I went to Lowe's today and bought four eighty-pound bags of concrete mix, hoping to be able to use it someday soon. After dinner it still hadn't rained. I got online and checked the forecast... A slight chance for spotty light showers. I'll take the gamble!

Hubby is still on restrictions, but he offered to mix and shovel. Ali helped me get the heavy bags out of my car and into the wheel barrow. (Did I mention the project area is at the opposite end of the house as the driveway? And since it's rained a lot we can't drive around to it!)

We each had our job. Papaw shoveled the concrete a little at a time. I was on my knees with a small garden shovel, filling in the gaps, cracks, holes, etc. Ali used a bucket to carry the crushed brick down and smashed a layer of it into the wet concrete. It took all four bags to finish this part of the job. I still have some stones edging the other side of the patio that need mortared, but it will have to wait.

We've made it this far! Yea! Next comes the plants for the other side and staining the rest of the wood... But that will be a few days. I've promised Ali that, come hell or high water, the cover comes off the pool tomorrow! How does it look so far? The big dark spot is just some very wet mulch that was left in the other wheel barrow.
And remember the new wood steps? Makes a great spot to sit and sample the chives...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Step 1 completed!

Girl power! Never underestimate it. Papaw has been 'out of commission' for a while, so Ali and I have had to do the hard labor by ourselves. The heat has slowed us down a little, but today we finished placing the stones for the steps from the lower patio up to the landing. They are all leveled, interlocked, and packed in with clay.

How do they look?

The next step is concrete. We'll pack the edges and gaps and smash the crushed brick into the top of it to match the way we did the slabs. Then we'll smooth out the slope, and put in some plants and mulch.
There's still lots to do at the top of the steps. We've got to level and secure the deck that is presently just laid on the ground, add a couple of steps from the top slab to the pool deck, rebuild the wood walkway on the other side of the deck (spaces are too big between boards - it's a scavenged piece), and finally, redo the landscape and stepping stones where they dug through to install the pipes for our outdoor boiler last fall. Wow, that sounds like a lot, doesn't it?
Anyway, the pool cover is coming off tonight or tomorrow! A dip after our work today sure would have been nice!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby steps...

We got over two inches of rain yesterday, so the ground is still far too muddy to be working on the steps; but I had to make a little progress. Ali and I spent about two hours trying to edge the patio while walking around with ten pounds of mud stuck to our shoes! A lot of mud washed down onto the patio and had to be shoveled off. I should have taken a 'before' shot the way it looked when we started today.

The first shot below is from last week, and shows how the ground is up to (actually a little above) the patio level. Ali dug a trench on the right side to hold landscaping timbers as a border to the new shade garden we put in last week. To the left side, the mud had washed down about three inches deep next to the post. That's the area we concentrated our effort on today.

Ali shoveled the mud off the patio (again), while I dug out along the edge with a hoe. We filled the wheel barrow to the brim with mud! Yuck! It probably took three times longer than it would have if it was dry. The gooey stuff kept sticking to the tools. And us!
I found some pretty fossil rocks to place along the edge. Then Ali helped me pick out the perfect stepping stones to lead off the patio toward our fire pit. I think the rocks will stop any future mud slides from reaching the patio. I'll add a couple more later to cut through the garden that will trail down and across to the front garden. I haven't decided what color to stain the concrete. I'm thinking of doing something different. Our front porch is mustard yellow and the sidewalk and steps are kind of reddish brick colored. Of course, this probably won't be until the leaves are changing! I figure it will take me all summer to finish my plan. I don't work very fast in July or August. But anyway, this is how it looks now...Since it's on the west end of the house and is covered by the upstairs balcony, it stays shady until very late in the afternoon. This will be a perfect spot for Ali to sit and read. She'll have company too, because Sadie loves lying on the cool concrete. It's going to be such a pretty little sitting area. And if I lean over the balcony railing far enough, this is what it looks like from above...
It was a good day, topped off with a trip to Wilmington's Banana Split Festival! Ali is going home tomorrow to spend the night. She'll probably be blogging about the festival when she gets back Sunday. We had a great time!

Monday, June 8, 2009

progress report

Even with shade and a breeze, the humidity was unbearable this morning. A storm was rolling in and I wanted to get the new dirt covered before it was washed away. Ali and I put down landscaping fabric to help with weeds, and then mulched the slope under the steps. Ali also used the hoe to make a little trench to anchor some landscaping timber pieces as edging. Papaw overworked on the stones so we gave him the day off. Maybe tomorrow we can get some more into place before the heat returns.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Work a Little, Play a Little

G#2 (Ali) is here for the summer, and likes helping with the projects. Here Sadie is supervising while Ali learns the intricate fitting process of building a stone stairway. After a couple of hard hours, it looked like a good place to take a break...
Hard work does have its rewards!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Diamond in the Rough

How do you like my stone stairway?
Ok, I know it needs a little work... I didn't put in anything for scale. These rocks are huge! I've had them for two years now. (Freebies) The new steps I put in go from my deck down half a flight and up to the pool. The bottom landing will turn off to go to the lower level, where there is a waterproof bathroom for the Grands when they exit the pool. It is the last side to begin landscaping, so I don't have many pictures. I'll have to make a point of shooting the 'before' mess. That end has been a storage area for my boulder collection, etc. Grand #2 comes Thursday. I don't think we'll have it done...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

baby steps...

My asthma treatments are slowly working... I snuck outside today to help Hubby with the next step of my project. I wanted to concrete around the top slab so the sand base wouldn't wash out.

Hubby readied the site by clearing the sand around the slab. He then mixed up the concrete while I was a safe distance from the dust. (He's great.) That left me with an easy sit-down job. He shoveled the concrete mixture into the larger areas, so I could just use my little gardening shovel to fill the gaps. I then pressed the crushed brick into the top layer of concrete.
The crushed brick will soon replace the mulch under the steps. It will flow down around the bottom slab and on down to surround the stone steps to the lower level. I was hoping to open the pool this week since Grand #2 will be here for the summer. (she is a water rat-the one being flipped in the video) but we've got a ways to go and I hear the thunder coming closer. That's good news though... Hopefully God will wash all these little puffy things from my airspace and I can get some work done!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

farm fresh eggs & landscaping

I thought I'd add this to tonight's blog for you city folks... If you've never had farm fresh eggs, (and I'm not referring to the ones in the store labeled 'farm fresh') you should give them a try. I decided to have a three-egg omelet for dinner tonight. Out came the camera. I decided a little milk in the bowl and a shot of mustard would let you see the difference in the yolk color. I can't wait until the new hens start laying. We have twenty-five that will lay 'Easter eggs'. Their yolk is so dark it's almost the color of an orange. But the taste? WOW! Yes, this omelet was yummy.

The point of my shame... These steps lead from my bedroom balcony to a point halfway between the pool area at the corner of the house and the patio below the deck. Yes, we have lived here five years and still use planks to cross over the mud! We have had many projects that seemed to have pushed their way to the top of the list... i.e. chicken house, horse stalls, goat shed, pastures, front gardens, vegetable garden, raised melon bed, driveway maintenance, chopping wood, electric fences, gates and posts, sick old people... Now, Hubby finally agrees to help me build this steps.

Here's the plan I drew up tonight: a landing at the bottom, four steps up to the pool area, parallel steps going down to the patio area, boulders, blue ornamental grass and pink flowers fill in between the structure and lawn, slightly taller plants bordering the foundation with pink in-between, cedar mulch

Let me know what you think. BTW, for those that will ask how I did this: I used excel to draw the wood plans, then copy/paste to paint to add the finishing details. I don't need a landscaping program.