Thursday, August 29, 2013

Diggin' some holes

So this is where we left off with the deck progress.

The old deck and planter are gone, now we just need to get those holes dug for the footings.

So, naturally, we tried ourselves.  We went to the local rental place, which has everything you could possibly want to rent, and got ourselves a 12in, two person, gas auger.  We can do this, right?

Well the answer to that is a big fat NO.  J and I tried.  J and his dad tried.  It was a no go.  Why you ask?

Because of this bad boy.  Not the actual stump, but the roots that had been supporting the tree.  The have pretty much taken over the lawn and we were not able to get one hole dug.  We got close.  We got one three foot hole done, but that was it.

So we had to give in and bring the auger back.  That was $100 down the drain.  I felt pretty deflated at this point.

But we started looking around and found a local guy that said he could come out and dig the holes for us.  Unfortunately we had to wait another week, because he was on vacation.  Sad face.  That's another week of no work getting done and another week closer to J starting school.  I am starting to think this deck won't get done until next spring.  Super Sad Face.

But we waited and yesterday he showed up with this.

He brought the big guns, he brought the Mustang.  Now if that bad boy couldn't dig the holes, I don't know what could.

Here's a covert picture I got while he was digging the holes.  I didn't want to be in the way, so I just took pictures from the porch.

The first few holes were a breeze.  He would hit a rock here or there and have to get out and try to manually dig it up, but it seemed to be going well.  There were six new holes in the ground, but then I started digging closer to that tree stump that has caused us so much misery.  It was slow going and I was scared that it wasn't going to be going at all.  That would mean that we had six huge holes in our yard, a bill for the landscaping guy to come out, and still no deck.  I cringed the whole time he dug.

The first hole was done by the tree.  I was starting to breath a little sigh of relief.  But then it came time to to dig by the gas lines.  We called diggers hotline and had them mark (twice just for good measure) the gas and electric lines and I knew we had plenty of room (you need to stay at least 18in away from the gas lines to use powered machinery), but it still scared me.  Just one wrong move and we could have a gas leak or worse yet an explosion.  So I just held my breath and let the man do his job.

Now we were up to 11 holes and all was well.  That left the last two difficult holes.  Fingers crossed this worked.  My anxiety got the better of me and I had to go inside.  Damn anxiety.  But after only an hour and a half, we had 13 footings ready to be inspected.  Okay a few of them have to be finished a bit, but for the most part they are done.  We felt pretty silly for trying it ourselves.  But you live and learn.

Now the downside of having the tree stump and all the roots, the contractor had to use an 18 inch auger.  That's 6 inches bigger then what we needed.  But J assured me that it was okay and we would still pass inspection.  We would just have to explain to the inspector what happened.  But that's okay, we now had thirteen 18 inch that were 4 feet deep.

Now we have to wait for the inspector.  I'm really hopping that he can come out in the next couple days to measure and give us the okay.  Then we can pour the concrete and maybe start on some of the build by the weekend.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It's Official

We got the permit to start the deck.  It's kinda funny how you plan and plan, but it's just not that real until you have the permit in front of you.  Shit just got real.  So no more talking about it, no more dreaming about it, it's now time to DO IT.

We stopped by the local hardware store to get an estimate on supplies.

J's dad told us the deck was going to run us between $4,000-5,000.  I nearly fell off my chair when he told us that.  I know it's a big deck, but I was not expecting 4,000+ dollars.  Luckily, it wasn't even close to that.

It will only be a little over $1,700, which is great because we have about $1,500 saved up. So we won't have to pay too much out of pocket, which is nice.  I'm glad we planned ahead for this project.  And the best part is we get 11% back as a rebate we can use in the future, which we all know we'll use.  Our rebate was $200, yay for rebates.

So now the permit is up in the window.  That means we can go!

First the old deck had to be taken down.  This bad boy was obviously built without a city permit because it would have never passed inspection.  But that's okay, it going.

This planter also had to go. As you can see, it's filled with a bunch of lovely weeds.  The thing is falling apart and we want it gone.

So we started pulling up the deck.  I stopped only to take this picture, then I was right back in there helping J remove all the screws.

Here are the majority of the screws we pulled out of the old deck.

Once all the top boards were off we needed to figure out how to remove the support boards.  Luckily it was as easy as lifting it out of the ground.  The old deck was not built with treated lumber, so all the old supports were rotting away.

Now all the old lumber is stacked up next to the playhouse and ready for bulk pick up. 

Here is an idea of size of the new deck.  The steaks mark the outer perimeter.  It's going to be a big ol' deck but we have to make it this size to avoid the tree stump.

This thing has caused us more headaches then we would have ever thought a tree stump could.  As you can see, we drilled holes and then add salt so that it decomposes quicker.  My mom told us this works, hopefully it will.  I would love this bad boy gone, it smells like roadkill.  There is some sort of mold (or something) that is growing on it that smells so bad, the flies come from the most norther parts of the state.  It's BAD.  So the sooner it's gone the better.

So this is where we are right now.

Just an unhappy looking backyard waiting for a new deck.  I'm hoping that this week brings holes dug and the inspector to okay them.  Then we can be on our marry way.  Fingers crossed.


I'm having a giveaway over on my other blog, Three Fates Design.  Stop by to see how you can enter to win this awesome beaded triangle necklace.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 2013 Goals

Well another month has ended and another is beginning.  This is the last month of our summer before J goes back to class.  So it's crunch time.  Time to buckle down and get crap done.  So what are our plans?

1. Get the Plans for the Deck Approved

We have the plans all drawn out and an estimate on what it's going to cost.  We have a mock up of what it's going to look like in the backyard and we've had the utility company come out and mark lines.  So we're ready to go.  Now we just need to get down to the city office and get a permit.  Luckily, the permit can be issued same day, so we can start ASAP.   

2. Build Deck

Once we get the permit, the obvious thing is to get the deck built.  I'm hoping that we can get it finished in a couple weekends.  Hopefully once the inspector comes out and okays our post holes, we'll be on our way.  

3.  Fix Garage Door

This was on the list for last month and we didn't get it done.  So hopefully we'll make some time to fix this bad boy.  Then maybe it won't make a noise like the gates of hell are being opened up every time we open the garage door.  

4.  Paint Coffee Table

This was a goal for last month that I also didn't get finished.  But I'm hoping to get this bad boy knocked out this month.

5.  Put up Shelves in Studio

I would like to add some additional shelving to my studio so I have more room to work.  I'm hoping to get that room more organized this month.

6.  Pick Out a House Color

We would like to get the house painted this year still, but we have to pick out a color first.  So if we get the color picked out this month, we'll be happy.

So that is what we have planned for this month.  What is everyone else working on?


Don't forget to stop by my other blog and enter to win a beaded cuff.  You have until August 11th, so hurry.  :-)

Monday, August 5, 2013

July 2013 Goal Accomplishments

1. Paint the sun porch
Done and done.  Okay not 100%, but 95% done.  The outside door, patio door, and back door all need to be painted, but other then that, it's done.  Now it's time to decorate.  YAY! 

2.  Call Diggers Hotline
Done!  I called and they came out next day to mark the lines.  

3.  Clean out the little play house
Sorta done.  J has done a really great job of cleaning this out and getting rid of quite a few car parts.  Now to just finish and get this bad boy taken down.

4.  Draw up deck plans
Done!  We have the plans all cut up and even approved by J's dad.  Now we need to make that appointment for the city to approve them.  Then it's deck building time.  

5.  Cut up large logs
 They are cut up and sitting next to the little house.  I'm hoping that when the city comes to cut down the trees in the neighbor's yard, I can ask them to take the tree logs with them. 

6.  Fix the down spouts
All the down spouts around our home are about 2-3 feet off the ground.  We need to lengthen them so the reach the ground.  Right now if you aren't paying attention, you will run into them with your knees.  We also would like to put the ends that fold up, so it is easier to mow under them.  This will hopefully be an easy fix that we can knock out in a weekend.  

7.  Fix the garage door
Our garage door makes the most god awful noise when you open or close it.  J needs to realign it because it was not installed properly.  

8.  Find out about gas line for garage
J would like to install a garage heater before winter this year, but this requires a gas line to be run to the garage.  Hopefully after they come out and mark the gas line, we can call heating places and get some quotes.

9.  Finish coffee table
I would like to finish the paint on our coffee table.  I stained it last year, but would like to paint the legs a lighter color this year.  I'm hoping that this will be a simple afternoon project.  

So that's what we accomplished last month.  Not everything, but a good start.  What did everyone else accomplish this last month?


On a side note, I'm having a giveaway over at my other blog.  Check it out and you can win a beautiful beaded cuff.   

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Garden Update - July 2013

Well I've been slacking with posts again.  I mean this is the July garden update in August. Ugh.  I don't have much of an excuse except that I've been a busy girl.  I've also had a killer migraine that I wish would just go away, but I think it might be here to stay for a while.  Yuk.

But I do have a garden update (the sun kept going behind clouds, so some of the pictures are sunny and some are not).  You can see what the plants looked like a month ago by clicking here.  

First up are the broccoli and kohlrabi.  They are really starting to get big.  I'm not sure if the broccoli are getting big enough to produce actual broccoli, but I'm still holding out hope (they are in front).  Everything had to be started so late this year, that nothing is growing like it should.  But I'll keep holding out hope that I'll get some broccoli this year.  I hope to at least get some kohlrabi (the purple and green ones in the back).  Fingers crossed.

Then my sad looking snow peas.  Last month they were healthy and large.  Then I got too rough with them and broke two of the larger plants main stalk, which caused them to die and me to cut them down.  Sad face.  But I have gotten a LOT of snow peas so far, so I guess I'm happy.

My lettuce was attacked by something, but I cut it back and it's starting to grow back.  I've also started a third section of it and because it grows so fast, I'll have new fresh lettuce in a month or so.  Oh, and just to let you know, this stuff tastes amazing.

 My basil plant is still doing well.  I've cut it back a few times and been making and freezing pesto.
 It's yummy.  I cut it back the day before this picture was taken, so it looks a little small. 

I also added a Greek basil plant.

Some rosemary.  This stuff smells so good.  The smell stays on my hands for hours after I touch it.

And I added some sage.  I don't really use a lot of sage in my cooking, but I thought maybe I would try it.  Why not.  

My tomato plants and pepper plants are growing, but at a pretty slow pace.

The Juliet tomatoes are definitely doing the best.  But the colder weather is just not being very nice to them (It got down in to the 50s last weekend).  I have gotten two yellow boys, one black krim, and a ton of Juliets, so it hasn't been a total failure.

My pepper plants seem to be growing now, they just wanted to take their time.  They have buds on them, so I'm hoping to get something out of them.

The carrots seem to be doing pretty good.  It looked like something had gotten to them, but they are still growing.  These are going to be great.  I can't wait to see the purple carrots.

My parsley had started to flower, so I had to cut it down a lot!  But it's hardy and will grow back.  It always does.

The mint is crazy, like always.  I just cut it back and brought a ton of mint to work.  I've been enjoying it in my water with a little bit of lime.

I've also propagated four plants from this guy.  One plant went to a guy at work and another went to my MIL.  The other two will go up on the deck (which is almost ready to be started, squee).

And remember how I had to restart me cucumbers and zucchini three times because of the slugs.  Well look at where that little fresh out of the ground sprout is today.  In just one month, I now have three cucumber plants and two zucchini plants.

Okay, I bought two of the cucumber plants because I wasn't sure if I would get anything, but the one I started from seed is doing awesome.  It also shows me that when I start me plants from seeds I get nicer looking results.  I can't wait for these babies.  Oh the pickles I will make.       

So that's the garden right now.  It's not as full as it could be, but it's something.  The strange weather we've been having (or is it normal weather, I can't tell), has not been kind to my little plants.  Hot and humid one week and then cold and overcast the next.  With sporadic downpours here and there.

I'm a little jealous of the neighbors garden.  This is her first year with one, and it looks pretty nice.  Though she did start with much larger plants then I did, so she had a bit of a head start.  Next year will be better because I'll make sure to start me seeds early.  The plants I grow from seeds always do better then when I start with store bought plants.  And I feel pretty excited when something I planted as a seed grows into a large plant.

Check back next month to see what the garden looks like at three months old.