31 Days: Early Christmas

Two months ago, my sweet mom bought me an early Christmas present, I didn’t take a picture of it in the box or else you’d see it here. My sweet mom gave me a set of flatware, it’s beautiful and shiny and just the right weight. I’m a weirdo and pay attention to the weight of silverware in my hand, I like it be a little weighty, but not so weighty that it falls out of your hand easily.

When I brought my early Christmas present home, I took each piece out and admired it’s shiney beauty, then placed each piece into a large glass vase until I could fix the kitchen drawer that I would be placing my new beauties in. You see, my kitchen still has it’s original cabinets from 1957, with it’s original 4 drawers. Yes, there are only 4 drawers in the entire kitchen, and the top drawer that is typically used for silverware, is narrow and I was always jamming my forks into ledge right above the silverware drawer. Which caused a frustratingly large number of bent forks. A bent fork does not a well set table make.

Anywho, that ledge once held a pull out cutting board, or counter extension or whatever it is you want to call it. Either way, I never used the pull out cutting board because (1) it was nasty and (2) it was super unstable.  Here are the four drawers in my kitchen, you can see where the pull out cutting board once lived.

Also, never mind the nails sticking out of that third drawer. I haven’t pounded them back in so Bubba will get the hint and FINALLY let me go into debt for new cabinets. After four years, I don’t think it’s working.

The other day, as I pulled out yet another bent fork, I decided it was high time I give my shiny new flatware a home.  So, I pulled out my trusty saw, that cuts through old wood like “budda”, and I FINALLY got rid of that annoying little piece of wood that’s been reeking havoc on my forks.

And if I had taken an in process shot of the ledge cutting you would see that here. Instead I’ll show you all of the stuff I pulled out the drawer.

I can’t believe all of that was crammed into that itty bitty drawer, and by the way why in the world do we save those little cracker packs that come with take out salad? It’s not like we don’t have 5 different varieties of crackers in the cupboards. Anywho, after emptying out the drawer and finally cutting through that annoying ledge, it was time to scrub the drawer. Believe me, it needed to be scrubbed, this thing was nasty, and I give the cabinets a good wash down at least once a year.

At one point, I toyed with the idea of painting the old cabinets, so I experimented a little with this drawer. Then I got scared and decided I’d just deal with the old paint a little longer. Maybe I’ll get up the nerve again one day, we’ll just have to wait and see. But back to the dirtiness, see? Even after scrubbing, it was still looking a little less than hygienic, so I decided it was time to just give in and do the old lady thing, contact paper. I hate contact paper, but when you are dealing with old cabinets with splintery wood and chipping paint, and you don’t have the time, patience or gumption to fix the problem, contact paper is an easy solution. And it gave me enough confidence in it’s cleanliness to put my new flatware in it’s new home.

I still need to buy a smallish square container to put in the lower corner, but for now it works. And I get to finally use my Christmas present!!


New Floors

Way back in my post about my visit to the Abo Ruins, which by the way was freshly pressed (I’m still amazed that someone found one of my posts to Freshly Pressed worthy!) I had mentioned that Bubba and I would be ripping out our old stained carpet and replacing it with vinyl plank flooring. Surprisingly, there was minimal gnashing of teeth during this project.

Here’s what we started out with, I had started moving things out and thankfully remembered to take a sort of before shot.

I didn’t realize how beige my house was before seeing these photos. Maybe it’s time to put some new paint on the walls, and more substantial art above the sofa.

I’m almost embarrassed to show this shot, but I’ll show it anyways so you can see a contrast between the before and the after. Those spots you see are “signatures” left by the doggies, they’ve been steam cleaned and scrubbed to an inch of their lives, the carpets not the dogs. With each new stain, the carpets would get spot cleaned and then shampooed, to no avail. The stubborn things would go away for a little while, and then somehow reappear, I called them poop stain ghosts. Since they were haunting me. They are the reason the carpet had to go.

This, the dirt that lurked under the carpet was another reason I wanted to rip it all out. There’s nothing that says home like puffs of dirt coming out of ones floor!

See those ugly brown things? Those are linoleum tiles that were originally put in the house at the time of construction way back in 1957. I don’t even want to think about the risk of asbestos, ignorance is bliss until we all die of lung disease. Anywho,  the remaining tile around the perimeter was holding tack strips down. And underneath those ugly tiles and tack strips was crumbling  concrete.

*Commence gnashing of teeth*

After the tedious act of ripping out the old carpet, prying the tack strips and old tile off the concrete subfloor and finally patching said concrete this is what we had to work with. Yup, that’s a giant crack going down the center of the house, from the end of the hallway all the way to the end of the living room. We tried patching it with some of this concrete patch stuff that the nice Lowes guy recommended, but later found that plumbers putty worked just as well since the concrete patch got a little crumbly when it dried. But don’t take my word for it as I have no idea how the plumbers putty will hold up under the heavy foot traffic that we inflict on our floors.

And that scary looking black stuff is the adhesive from the original tiles from 1957, again, I don’t wanna think about the chemicals lurking within that mess.Thankfully, the sand that was trapped under the nasty carpet pad got rid of anything that was still adhesive-y.

After removing all the remnants of old tile, tacks, sand, and everything else that is nasty it was finally time to start laying down the vinyl planks.

We used Surface Source Vinyl Plank Flooring from Lowes, in Classic Chestnut. At first, I wasn’t too sure about the color, but at .88 a sq ft it was worth a shot.

So, we commenced laying of planks, the first row went down pretty easily. So did the second, third and fourth.

Then we got to that last row in the hallway and encountered some issues. The last row didn’t quite fit around the door frames as well as the first row did, and apparently someone *guiltily looks away* laid the first row of planks slightly askew. It was at this point I stopped taking pictures and started to worry. Thankfully, Bubba was there to help, and sawed at some of the frames a bit to get the planks to fit underneath, just as the instructional video suggests. But either the saw wasn’t sharp enough or the door frames were built of steele, because we were only getting a lot of dust and a major arm work out, but the planks still weren’t fitting underneath the door frame. It being 10 o’clock on a Sunday night, we couldn’t do a thing about it until Monday. So Monday after work, my sweet Bubba ran to the hardware store and bought an oscillating saw. After that, things went much quicker, and the gnashing of teeth finally ceased.

While we were sneezily pulling up carpet, prying away at those annoying tacks, and stressing over door frames, the rest of the house looked like this:

But amidst the chaos there were a few peaceful moments too.

Ahh, yes rest, it does a soul good. With those few moments of cuddle time on the couch we were able to find that final bit of energy to finally get it done. Plus, I was getting really tired of having to put shoes on just to walk through the living room and down the hall.

But not anymore! It’s so nice to have floors without disgusting stains on them! And all the dust stays on the surface just waiting for the daily sweeping or vacuuming. I thought the vacuum wouldn’t work so well on these floors, but it really does a better job of getting that dust and fur up than any broom and dust pan could.

Here’s another view, ignore the ugly Goldie chair, yes we are those crazy people that have a reserved chair just for our dog. I have been on the hunt for a couple of nice dog and people friendly chairs, but for the time being I just use a blanket to protect the hand-me-down that Goldie is so attached to.

 A close up, I have found that vinyl plank flooring is quiet and doesn’t have that plastic-y feel and sound that some laminates have. Plus, it’s generally cheaper than other hard surface flooring and super easy to install. This type of vinyl plank is floating meaning that it sticks to itself not the floor. I’ll have to do a how-to post about it when we do the other rooms in the house. Oh, and we liked this flooring so much we want to replace all the carpeting in the house with vinyl plank. Exciting stuff eh?

The many faucets of life…

Tell me, why is it so hard to get a post up? I think about blogging all the time, I take tons, and I mean TONS, of photos to include in these imaginary blog posts, and yet, very rarely do any of them come to futrition. Like my story of our faucet. You may remember a few weeks ago I had mentioned my longing for a new kitchen faucet. Well, I finally found the one, the perfect faucet. Just in case you forgot what the old one looked like and why I am so giddy about the newest here’s what we started out with:

Apparently, the installer of the last faucet wanted to make sure it never came loose, evidenced by the many layers of plumbers putty. After two hours of chipping away at the putty we were left with this :

And this:

Thanks to overstock, this beauty is now in my possession. So, our sink is currently looking like this:

Aww…much better and shinier. Here’s another view:

I love that curve, and the separate hot and cold water handles. As well as, the sprayer, it actually sprays and isn’t made of plastic!

Yeah, I know how weird it is to be this excited about a new faucet. But when you are dishwasher-less and end up spending most of your time at the sink, it’s so very important to have something pretty and functional to look at. Especially when your backsplash is old and the grout is dirty. I’m experimenting with different techniques to rid the backsplash of the many years of grime that have settled into the grout. Stay tuned for that update.

Also stay tuned for many random posts about some pretty random things I’ve been up to. All those photos I’ve been taking have got to be recorded somewhere right?

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbors Faucet

Our kitchen faucet is leaking, it’s been leaking for a good year and a half. It’s annoying, but I’ve put off fixing it because I want a new faucet. However my wine tastes and beer budget keep getting in the way of me finding that perfect faucet. So, on the back burner it goes.

The other night though, as I was shopping for that perfect faucet, it dawned on me that I have no idea how many holes our sink has. If you aren’t aware, you need to know how many holes your sink can accomodate. For instance, if you were to buy a faucet that required 4 holes, but your sink only has space for 3, well I guess you’ll be having to let go of that perfect faucet and exchange it for one that fits the spaces on your sink. But, if you were to buy a 3 hole faucet but have 4 holes, you can always cover the 4th hole that won’t be used.

With the thought of having to return a much searched for faucet that may not fit, I took a deep a breath and dove under the sink.

In my attempt to get under the sink, I realized I couldn’t. Not because of limited space, but because of all the junk! And even if it weren’t for all of the junk, I’m not sure I’d want down there anyways, it’s kind of scary, and dark, and smelly. And I’m not really sure what that fuzzy stuff is growing on the cabinet floor.

Everything had to come out, so I could investigate:

And when I say everything, I mean everything:

Don’t ask me why I need 3 Febreezes, I just do. If you lived in my house, with two stinky dogs and a man that occasionally has a certain odor, you would totally understand. Not that I don’t have my stinky’s every once in a while. But being the only one in the house that seems to be able to smell anything, air freshener is a must.

After taking all of my household cleaners and hoard of air fresheners out from under the sink it was time to scrub. I thought that scrubbing the offending area would take care of that old musty smell that is always permiating from that area. Wrong. After removing all my not-used-enough cleaners and hoard of air fresheners, and scrubbing I found this:

Water damage from a previous leak. I don’t know when the leak happened, or if it even happened while I’ve been living in this house, but there definitely was a leak at one time or another. And it definitely caused some damage. And a nice smell. If you can’t imagine, picture moldy wood, mixed in with the smell of rotten broccoli. Yuck-O!

Yeah, I watch Holmes Inspection, I know how scary moldy places can be. But I don’t have a crew of brawny Canadians to come out and fix the issue. Instead, I scrubbed, tried to ignore the smell and how disgusting the whole mess actually is. And put things back.

They aren’t put  back in a very organized manner, but it was 11 pm on a work night. I got tired. And made a pact with myself to either keep praying the new cabinet fairy’s come during the night and wave their little fairy wands and give me a new kitchen, or paint the ones I have until I have enough beans saved to pay for new, non-smelly, non-scary cabinets.

Ah yes, the joys of living in an old house with mostly original fixtures. Since buying the Yellow Casa back in 2008, I’ve had a wish list of upgrades I’d like to make to my little castle. If your curious, here’s what I’ve planned on doing, and some of what I have accomplished:

1. New Windows. YAY! We accomplished this little upgrade September of 2009, exactly one year after I purchased our little abode. What a difference windows that actually close can make.

2. New hard surface flooring throughout entire house. Carpet+2 dogs+2 humans with dirty shoes=really nasty flooring. We’ve tried shampooing, and spot cleaning, but it’s just not taking away the nasties. Plus, the carpet is starting to get that flat look.

3. Central Heating and Air. We currently use one wall heater in the front of the house and space heaters in the bathroom and bedrooms. It’s cold! And in the summer we use a swamp cooler. That works pretty well in the dryer part of the summer, but come the desert monsoon season, it gets pretty sticky.

4. Kitchen Cabinets, the origianl 1957 cabinets just aren’t working as well as they did in say, 1957.

5. Install a secondary bathroom. One bathroom works pretty well when it’s just me and Bubba, but when we have company a second bathroom would be nice. There’s a space in our garage that could work as a two piece bath. Now all I need is the plumbing run to that little corner. Oh, and walls, and tile, and a toilet and sink. Maybe that one isn’t exactly an easy fix.

6. Privacy wall in backyard. This one got done in May 2011, you can read all about that here.

7. Vent in bathroom. We got this installed in May of 2010, that made a huge difference in the way our bathroom felt. No more scary sticky things growing on the walls! (scary sticky things seem to be the bane of my existence, I encounter them at every turn!) You can read about that little project in this post of yore.

There are so many other things that I would like to do to make this little casa even sweeter, but I’m trying to focus on the important issues. The pressing things that need to be done, the necessary over the aesthetic.

Which brings me back the point of this post, the sink has 4 holes. Maybe I can get that faucet I’ve been coveting afterall. Is it normal to covet a faucet?

Happy Friday Everyone!

Slim and Trim

Actually, nothing is slim and trim around these parts, except maybe my wallet and the done category of my to-do list. But thankfully,  this past weekend I was able to mark off something from my to-do list, FINALLY! It’s something that’s been festering since I bought the house back in August of 2008 (has it really been that long now?!).

Can you guess what it was?

Probably not, there are a lot of items that still need to be checked off the ol’ to-do list out here. Here’s a hint…

Need some more help? Well, here’s what things have been looking like out here that past 3 years…

And here’s the same view on Sunday…

Yep, I FINALLY painted the trim and porch. I still can’t believe I put it off for so long. It took my entire Saturday, but it was well worth the pride I feel when walking under my porch to enter our humble abode.

Here’s some before and after shots to give you a  better idea of why this little paint job made such a big difference…

The after from the same angle…

She could probably use some caulking to fill in some of the cracks, and a second coat in some spots. But she still looks much better than she did before. It’s amazing what a little lipstick can do for a girl.

The paint is, Wild Sage from Behr (I think), I used a Paint and Primer in one, with a semi-gloss finish. Quite an impressive product, I loved the consistency of the paint, not too runny that it practically drips from your brush or roller before hitting the desired surface but not too thick that it dries out in the tray. (That doesn’t mean that I didn’t end up wearing it.)

I started the process by chipping away the larger and looser chunks of paint. Not too much scrapping though, the wood on my trim is so old it started coming off with the old paint. So, I had to resort to a little bit of sanding to gently remove the debris and chipping paint. Someday we will install new wood trim, but for now the paint makes for a happy but temporary fix.

Ahhh….much better. Now, I can ignore all the other things I need to do to the exterior while I bask in the glow of a newly painted trim.

*Note: I have not been comped by Home Depot or Behr for mentioned their products here on the blog. End Note*

Post One Hundred

Finally, the 100th post. Most people fall upon this milestone well within their first year of blogdom. However, I must be a late bloomer when it comes to blogging as my  post one hundred is falling 4 months after my first blogiversary. Which by the way, I nearly forgot about, and had to include in one of my monthly wrap ups. Unfortunately, those monthly wrap ups have also fallen to the way side. Consistency is boring don’t you think?

Anywho, to celebrate 100  well written and life altering posts (Har-Har), I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the milestones that occurred here at Casa de Yellow. So let’s revisit those bad photo laden and run on sentence  ridden posts shall we? (Not that you can’t find those in more recent posts.)

Way back in May 2010, this little blog that could was born. My first post extolled the joy that is Polyvore. Within this post I explained my plans for our living room, which at the time was Caribbean Sunset, a nice warm yellow tone. However,  that has recently changed to Oat Straw by Behr. It’s more of a tan with some nice grey undertones. Not as bright or jarring as Caribbean Sunset, but no less smile inducing. Here’s what I had planned for my living room in May 2010. Click the picture to see what I said about the room.

Apparently, my style choices have changed over the past 1 1/2 years.  Those choices now lean more towards neutral walls with pops of bright color here and there instead of bright walls with pops of color everywhere. I have found this change to be much more soothing to my style palette and my little eyes. Although, I still have an appreciation for color, and see nothing wrong with homes that still favor the bright walls. It’s just not for me anymore, or at least for right now. Whose to say that I won’t be repainting my walls yellow within a year?

After sharing the joys of Polyvore,  I finally talked about painting our one and only bathroom. This may not seem like a huge feat to some, but for me and Bubba it was a big deal. Our old bathroom was peach and minty green with hints of mold and water damage. So, after finally getting an exhaust fan installed to eradicate future mold issues, I was able to paint our lone loo, Cincinnatian Hotel, a pretty light blue by Valspar. Here’s what she looked like after I stuck a fork in her and called her done. (Please excuse the poor quality photo, this was taken at night with my simple point and shoot and long before I got my fancy schamancy camera.)

Not much happened in July 2010, just the usual inspiration pictures from the interwebs. I did try my hand at a book review without much ado (Woo-Hoo! Rhyming is fun!). August came, and finally something big and life changing happened…

That’s right, Bubba finally gave in and put a ring on it. Once I was over the stunned shock of being a betrothed woman, the wedding planning frenzy began, and then quickly fizzled. At first I was super excited about having a shin dig all my own. But then the stress started in, dates were set and then changed,  illnesses came and went and then came back.  All of August and September 2010 I was  laid up with a horrible case of bronchitis that caused me to lose my voice. Bubba thought this was hiliarious. Until he realized this meant he would be making all the phone calls to priests, preachers, and dressmakers. (Karma rears her ugly head! MAWHAHAHA)

With wedding planning going on, I really didn’t blog much, except to share some verses that were pretty poignant to me at the time. Actually, I still read through them. It’s like April from a year ago is teaching present day April. Those posts touched on subjects such as timing, waiting, impulsiveness, patience, and constant prayer.  At the time I was struggling with these issues, in fact I still do. So thank you 2010 April! Maybe 2011 April should leave some wise words for 2012 April.

The fall of 2010, marked a very short engagement to Bubba, teeny bit of illness and some wedding plans mixed in for good measure.  Bubs and I toyed with the idea of running off and getting married with just us. We also thought it might be nice to wait until spring had sprung to say our vows. But in the end, a quick engagement is what best suited us. After 7 years of dating bliss it was time to experience martial bliss. So, on December 29th 2010, we became Mr. and Mrs.

Getting married was stressful and if I could there would be things I would have done differently. But the man I chose to marry? I wouldn’t change that for the world. And I got to share our special day with some of my loved ones and lots of his. It really was a blessed day.

January flew by, and before we knew it we were in February. The month of love brought a new furry friend cuddle up with.

Goldie, the lovable yellow lab mix. In this post I talk about having her on a trial basis, but little did I know I’d fall for her loving brown eyes and sweet tail thumps “hello”.  I am proud to say that Goldie is now a permanent fixture in our home.

March blew in and brought with it more cold weather, and the hope of a green lush yard. Bubba and I ripped out our crusher fine in preparation for grass seed. So our yard went from this:

To this:

You can read about the beginning of the yard saga here and here. Sadly, after looking at these photos, I can see that the plants were in better health before any work happened. Wonder if it could be linked to some bad wood chips.

Here is my yard a couple months ago:

The grass that is 50% dead there, is now more like 75%. I’m hoping that by watering a little more and fertilizing it should come back. I may also over seed this fall. Here’s to hoping the dogs don’t completely destroy my efforts!

In April, things were still windy, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating my 30th birthday and taking a quick roadtrip to Arizona. Where I partook in the hype that is In-n-Out Burger. The verdict…meh. I much prefer the local favorite Lotaburger. But I’m not biased.

In May, I finally took the plunge and had our block wall stabilized and extended. In the lower part of this picture you can also see our attempts at grass seed.

June flew by, and I was working too hard to worry about maintaining a silly blog, there was a party to plan for darn it! But I did manage to complain about cheap mulch I paid a pretty penny for. Which still causes me grief when I’m stabbed by mysterious sharp objects every time I weed or clean the yard. Honestly, the stuff gives me the creeps and I fear it may be responsible for my dying established plants. GRRR

After the frustrations of June, July finally arrived! Which meant that it was finally time to party!

A great time was had by all. Even I had boo-hoos of fun! All that work and stress was so very worth it to be able to share my home with friends and loved ones.

After all the work over the summer, I wasn’t really up to much in August and September.  I spent my time trying to catch up on blog posts, general house maintenance and reconnecting with my old friend, Sir Sofa.

That’s my year and 6 month review, lots of big milestones happened over the past year and a half, our lone loo got a small makeover, I went from girlfriend, to fiance, to wife in less than a year, the backyard is slightly more grassy than it was last year, and we have our own little fortress of solitude in the back. Wonder what the 200th post will bring…

Wood you be so kind…

To listen to my little rant?

In my last post I mentioned a big reveal for the final work on my yard. However, the big reveal really is more of big let down. See, I got lazy and thought I could hire someone to do the remaining yard work for me. So, hire I did, I called a contractor I’d worked with one time before, he quoted me a fairly reasonable rate, so I set up a time for he and his constituents to come and complete the work I had started. The task: to spread mulch over exposed dirt along the perimeter of the backyard and front yard, and reuse crusher fines from the back and place them in a pathway  in the front.

I stupidly thought quality materials would be used, but that’s really my fault in not being clear of my intentions for the yard. From a distance it looks beautiful, and it probably looks fine to anyone else. But to me, I see things that I would rather not have in my yard. But more on that later…

I love the path, it’s exactly what I had in mind, and I got to reuse my old crusher fines.  However, the mulch isn’t quite what I had expected. Turns out the contractor got it from the City for $5.00 a load. Meaning that, the stuff that  has been spread all over my yard is shredded up yard waste from all over the community. The professional I hired did not share this little tidbit with me, until after it had been spread  and I complained about the quality. Oh yes, and after payment had been received. This sort of mulch is great if you’ve got a large lot and just need some cheap ground cover.  In fact, I think this is a great way of instituting the 3 R’s.  But (yes, I’m full of those aren’t I?) it just doesn’t work in our yard.  First of all, we don’t have a back 40 that needs cheap ground cover, secondly, the chunks are too big and too sharp for the brat dogs to play on, and thirdly, I don’t have the time or the desire to sift through a ton of mulch to remove unwanted materials.

I blame myself really, I didn’t ask enough questions, and I didn’t inspect the materials before they were used. It looks nice from a distance though doesn’t it? Until you get a closer look…

Notice the large chunks of wood and rock that is not original to my yard…

I mentioned the quality wasn’t quite up to my standards. Well, this is why…

Scary pieces of sharp metal, large pieces of ugly particle board, and various chunks of trash.

And it’s not only in my front yard, but also in the back…

Excuse my half dead Rosemary, but notice how thickly the trashy mulch has been laid down. It’s going to be a booger to pull up or even sift through.

And I should mention the dusty path that leads to…

A pile of discarded crusher fines! The plan was to use these throughout the yard but with every available surface covered with the trashy mulch, I really don’t know what to do with the extra crusher fines. And yes, I did ask that mulch be put on exposed soil, however, I underestimated how much crusher fine would be used in the front.

So, I’ve been sifting through the wood trying to sort good wood, bad wood, trash, plastic, and metal.

Here’s my sorting stations that have been started so far…

Now I’m left with some decisions to make, should I continue sorting and sifting, should shifting of the ugly mulch begin in preparation for the placement of prettier mulch, or should I start all over again and give it away to a mulch needing soul on Craigslist? I realize that any mulch will have some non-compostables, but should they be so abundant that they take up bulk of the ground cover?

And to top it all off, I’ve got a backyard party planned in less than a month! Invites have been sent so there’s no backing out now!

Chalk this one up to an expensive and time consuming lesson in home improvement.

May Wrap Up

I’m participating in a blog color story series hosted by Jules, of Pancakes and French Fries.  Each month, Ms. Jules will recap a month in the life of herself and her family using colors that have been previously chosen for that month.  For instance, May has been ‘Jacaranda’ , for those of you who, like me (live under a New Mexican rock) and have never heard of a jacaranda tree, it’s a lovely tree the blooms beautiful purple flowers. So, any and everything purple was photographed for May. June will be “Peacock”, so all things with a lovely blue hue will be captured on film..er…by digital camera.  You can find more details over at Jules’ blog home here.

I wasn’t able to get my color story for April prepared until mid May, so if you are interested, please visit my story here.

Unfortunately, May flew by, without much purple in sight ,which was a disappointment I had big plans for all of it’s purple-y goodness. The reason May flew by so quickly you ask? Well, I’ve been working on a little landscape “renovation” of my front and backyards.  I know there aren’t many shades of violet and lavendar in this lil project photo story, but you will see a few glimpses of my purple and blue Bachelor Buttons. That counts for a color story doesn’t it?

Here’s what she looked like before I started my endeavor:

Ignore the weed grass, that’s the cowlick of my front yard. And my car usually has a hubcap, Bubba was working on the brakes, stopping is a good thing!  Oh, and notice the purple bachelor buttons!

The yard after the first full day…

Not very pretty or inviting…

Here she is on the third day, apparently I was way too tired after the second day to take photos…

I decided a nice little path might make things more interesting, and say “Welcome”  instead of “Go away, I know who Jesus is!”.

The plan, to seed or sod or possibly cover with wood mulch, the dirt rectangle by the front porch and flower bed. And to place left over crusher fine for the path. Painting of the porch and garage border will come soon after all the heavy work has been completed. Stay tuned for my big reveal!

One more, very unrelated thing to the color purple or moving rocks,  May 21st marked my FIRST blogiversary! Yep, it’s been a whole year since I got up the courage and I started my ramblings here at my blog home. There wasn’t a party, but there was carrot cake, and yes, I blew out the candle and made a little bloggie wish. But I can’t tell or it won’t come true!

Fortress of Solitude

Just like Superman, I now have my fortress of solitude! Yep, that’s right the wall is complete! Granted, one wall is a row of block higher than I had expected, but that just gives me that much more privacy. Which is quite lovely considering we had zero privacy to start with. Here’s a little reminder of what the old wall looked like before construction began.

Notice the ugly chain link that was serving as a trellis? That would soon be going away.

Here you can see loose bricks.

And more loose brick…

This is my leaning tower of terror. See, how the wall curves slightly? That’s caused from an old tree that had grown right next to the wall, and had been chopped down many years ago. It’s stump had been left, leaving pressure on the old block wall, causing a weakness. But the stump had been there so long, it was pretty much rotted away and came out of the sand pretty easily.

Here you can see how low the wall actually was, we could look all the way down the street into all of our neighbors backyards. In some spots the wall was 3ft high, in others it was 4 ft. The perfect height for neighborhood kids to look over and watch you water your weeds. I’ll miss the kids, they really were sweet. But, I love the privacy!

The morning work was to begin, they pulled up, unloaded, and started tearing down the old tittering wall right away.

Our old  bricks were so crumbly it didn’t take much to get it demo’ed.

Did I mention the amount of supplies needed to get this job done? This only shows half of the stuff they actually used, since most of it was still on the truck. Dummy me, I didn’t get a shot of the truck with all the brick and toys.

Remember that old chain link trellis? Yeah, I was happy to see that go down. I may or may not have done a happy dance.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get my fortress completed in the two days we had hoped. Apparently, the old bricks they had planned on reusing were too crumbly to be used again. They had to buy more bricks, and put in more reinforcement.

But on the bright side, the dogs liked having new things to sniff over the weekend.

Here’s what the wall looked like after two days of their hard work, and my annoying picture taking.

My plants got a trimming too, I hope the poor little things come back. They were already half dead before my yard became a construction zone.

After keeping the dogs away from cement, that apparently smelled too good to resist, Monday finally rolled around. The poor guys worked another full day, but finally, after 5 full days yard-less, and 3 days of a yard full of brick layers, the fortress was complete.

The doggies love their new lookie-loo holes. The neighbors, probably not so much.

Did you notice the wall seems to have helped with trash being blown in from the street? Well, probably not, since you don’t live here, and don’t see it in person. But believe me, it’s really helped. We’ve had a few windy days since completion, and I’ve had a lot fewer McD’s wrappers tangled within my Rosemary. There was so much trash blown in on these windy New Mexican days, that I just couldn’t keep up with it. I typically pick up trash once a week, when it really needs to be picked up everyday. Apparently the “trashiness” of my yard did not go unnoticed, one of the wall guys politely mentioned that he had hoped all of their trash had been picked up, because they were unsure what trash was already there. Talk about an embarrassing moment. I foresee much yard work in the near future.

Speaking of yard work, last Sunday I went to Wally World with my lovely mother (not the fanciest way to celebrate Mother’s Day, but it suits us), and the good folks over at W-world had all potted plants marked half off! It’s like the little plant fairy’s knew we were coming. And they knew it was a deal my mom and I just couldn’t resist. Certainly a perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day with my gardening loving momma.

Three shopping carts full of plants later, 1 cart for my dear mother, and 2 for me. I ended up with 3 Spanish Brooms, 4 Snowball Bushes, and one green bush that I can’t remember the name of. Plus, several annuals that will go in pots in the front.

Yeah, we may have gone a little overboard, but boy was it fun.  And yes, I am the crazy lady that brings her fancy camera with her to Wal-Mart. You wouldn’t believe the odd looks I got while taking the photo above.

Well, off my fortress of solitude, to untangle wrappers out of my plants!

I need an Armadillo

Yay! We have grass! It’s not much to write home about, but it’s green! Which means a lot when you live in a water conservative desert city.

And not only do we have green grass, but the apricot tree is sort of coming back.

Never mind the dead branches in the middle, those are Annie Dog’s signature. (She likes to jump into the plants and trees when we aren’t watching.)

Speaking of dogs, the grass would be greener and more plentiful if it could actually be watered. Annie and her assistant Goldie, tend to enjoy chewing on hoses, and rendering them useless until being meticulously repaired by Bubba.

Here are the most recent victims…

Hopefully these poor unfortunate souls can be repaired and re-used in the front.

I know you can’t count them, but there are FIVE hoses there. Five hoses that watered the once pretty yard. Five hoses that only lasted a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of days, due to the rotten beastlys that I have chosen to share my yard with.

Numerous methods of curtailing the hose chewing have been attempted. We have used a quick connect, to remove the hose entirely from the yard, hence, removing any temptations from Annie’s habitat.This didn’t work, because it curtailed our watering habits since the hose needed to be brought in from outside the yard and connected to the faucet. Then,  we used a hose reel. This worked pretty well, as the hose lived inside a box, which effectively concealed and protected it from our canines. However, the tangled mess that became our hose was too hard to deal with. Frustration ensues…So to end the frustration, I am currently looking at some different watering options, but that’s a whole different post.

The hoses and sprinklers are not the only things getting injured around here. Friday while Bubba was trying to repair yet another chewed up hose, he cut through the hose and through his finger.EEK!

Three hours at the urgent care and six stitches later he was good to go.

Maybe it’s time to invest in one of these…


I love the pooch they have on their site…


That look of utter disgust is just hiliarious. That’s the look I want my doggies to make the next time they try to chew through an expensive hose. Of course, I don’t want them to get hurt, I just want to discourage the hose chewing and plant-eating a bit.

By the way, does anyone want two “free” dogs?