September 08, 2014

Project Deck......

I'm on a roll with my projects, especially these quick and easy ones. Well, this last one 
may have been short but it was one heck of a job. Who thought rolling deck paint on a 
5'x32' deck could be so exhausting.

The deck has really been neglected these past few years. It needed four boards and
 a facia board across the front replaced because of that neglect. After seeing a 
commercial for a product to restore a deck such as ours, I did some research, 
liked what I read then went out and bought 2 gallons for the required 2 coats. 
Randy replaced the worn wood and despite the expected 90 degree temperature 
expected that day I taped off around the bottom of each post and proceeded
to roll this special paint....the consistency of  heavy cake batter with grit.
Because of the thickness of the paint it was hard to get a lot of paint on the roller
and the wood was so dry it sucked up the paint so fast that the most area I could
paint each time was about 2 sq. ft. It took me 2 hours and I was totally
beat at the end. We had to wait 4 hrs. before doing the second coat and thank
Heaven for Randy because I couldn't have done another inch of it. 

 There is still a bit of touch-up around the edges left to do, then stain the posts
and rails in a cedar stain, but we're very pleased with the far. 
Have to see how it "weathers" winter. And....despite the grit in the 
paint, it's barefoot friendly. I couldn't have it any other way.

September 01, 2014

Project Back Porch, et al..........

I've been putting off any outdoor projects during the hottest part of the summer
but sometimes I get so excited about a simple renovation I throw caution to the wind
and turn my younger inner-self loose. My small back porch needed a new paint job,
new outdoor carpeting, the old rickety aluminum railing replaced or "sturdied" up
and the wood steps refinished. I knew just the person to call for help and all it
would cost me was half a dozen loaves of zucchini bread.
Day One. Since I had pulled a lot of the old carpet up the day before, Rick's first job
was to take down the railings so we could get the rest of it then cut and install the new.
We stretched, snipped, tucked and Rick stapled, and an hour later it looked like a
professional had done it. Then, while I made another run to the hardware for
stuff I forgot to get the day before, Rick went to work on the steps with the belt
sander. By now the temperature was well into the 80's, headed for 94 so we
called it quits for the day. Later when it had cooled into the 70's I grabbed a paint
brush and put 2 coats of Verathane on half the steps...they looked like new.


Day Two. It was my intention to put 2 more coats of sealer on the steps but someone
forgot to tell me it was going to rain that night and the un-sealed side got wet.
Meantime I decided that I might as well strip and refinish the metal front door
because the paint was cracking and chipping so Rick and I headed for the
hardware. The ill-fitting aluminum storm door was badly in need of something
and I thought paint might be the solution but the process was too time I bought a nice white vinyl one to add a little class to the place.
By late afternoon the weather had warmed up and my helper was no longer needed
so sent him off on his long weekend and I applied the first coat of sealer
on the other half of the stairs. Then I painted the frame and outside of the back
door and the frame of the "window wall" on the back porch.

Day Three. Son Randy took down the front door and set it up on the patio
so I could finish the stripping, which wasn't working so well in it's
upright position. Then he took down the old storm door and installed the
new one. What a big useability as well as looks. I
wish the windows were bigger in the new one but think that was the
reason the old one was so "loose and flimsy". Despite two short but heavy
wind and rain storms Mother Nature threw at us, I got the door done
and ready for primer the next day and Randy got the storm door changed
without the entry way getting soaking wet. By now my feet were
screaming "enough already" and my stomach was screaming "pizza", so
I tossed a pizza in the oven, poured me a glass of wine and put my feet up.

 Day Four. Made a run to the hardware store for a return, an exchange and a purchase.
Because I bought a new storm door I didn't need the paint or the primer for the old one.
Decided it would be too much white if I painted the front door white behind a white
storm door so exchanged it for medium grey to match the house. And I sure didn't want
to put the well worn brass knobs on the newly painted door so bought a new set
in satin nickel. Class all the way! I spray painted the door two coats of three and
it looked beautiful until halfway through the 2nd can it sputtered on the last panel
being painted. Damn! A couple of hours later I was able to smooth it out with steel
wool and spray the last coat.....after I exchanged the nozzle with the 1st can. By morning
it would be ready for the new hardware and installation, but now it's feet up and wine time.

Final Day. Randy hung the newly rejuvenated door back in place then installed
the new hardware...and it looks beautiful. The only thing left to do is replace and repair
the small piece of floor on the outside entrance. That will be Randy's project
because he won't know the problem nor how to fix it until it's opened up. So my
projects are done and I'm quite pleased with the results.
The back porch looks the same except everything is brighter
and we don't intend to put the railings back on the left side
because my gardening table back works just as good. 

 Front door with new storm door....I love it.

August 02, 2014

Going Back to Iris.........

I love the look of tall stately Iris in my yard and have decided to 
bring them back this Fall. I liked the Dahlias I replaced them with but
they were a lot more work, a lot bigger plant and a lot bigger mess. 
The best part is I don't have to dig iris every year. 
I've ordered my Iris and really had a hard time deciding among
the many beautiful choices. The bed I have for them is limited in size but
I think I'm going to find a second spot so I can add more colors. 

My favorite is the large red one called Dynamite....and I'm sure it will 
really stand out amid the others. I see I'll have the makings of a 
beautiful 4th of July bouquet...and it wasn't even planned.  

July 24, 2014

It's Blooming Weather...Part II..........

Now it's "this bloomin' weather", said with a bit of disgust. For the 
second night in a row the rain has overwhelmed my Hydrangea tree so 
in order to keep the flowers from possibly breaking off in the wrong
places I "pruned" a few and brought them in the house to enjoy.... minus
the ants and bees, thanx to the rain. They also have a wonderful 
light sweet smell that isn't so noticeable outdoors. 

July 22, 2014

It's Blooming Weather..........

 We've had such a wide range of weather and temperatures the poor flowers
aren't sure if they're supposed to bloom or turn brown and die. It's cooled
off enough now that they're finally coming out to enjoy the summer. The
only disappointment is my Begonia wall....the plants are just staying small 
and compact. The tallest one is 7" with tiny little flowers. Even the Lobelia
didn't grow and trail. I didn't do anything different, can't figure out why.

On the other hand, the Hydrangea tree is doing beautifully and will be a
spectacular sight when in full bloom, but right now it's full of bees and
I'm sure they're not all the friendly kind. 

The Gerbera daisies I bought this year are finally blooming but the three
I wintered over aren't.....yet. Good healthy plants, just no blooms. 

I think I over-crowded some of the planters. I didn't expect the zinnias to
get so big but I should have known better with the Dahlias, geraniums and
the white daisies. I can't remember the name of the tall spiky plant that
blooms purple, but I have four pots and they really bring in the bees too. 

 Then there's my maple tree....just showed up as a wee seedling about 3 years ago
and it's doing great. Hope to keep it potted and to no more than 6'. I'm sure it 
will eventually let me know what it wants me to do with it. 

Son says the Asian Pear tree is loaded again this year and it will be the usual
battle with the crows to see who gets to eat them. The bees and ants like them too. 
Need to throw netting over it but we both keep forgetting. 

July 21, 2014

Jammin' Without the Music......

Finished making year's supply of son's Raspberry Freezer Jam. 
This is just the first batch. Did grandson's supply of
Strawberry Freezer Jam last month. 
I'm officially done jammin' for the year.

July 03, 2014

238 Years Young.........

And Happy Birthday to Mom `n Dad
Always in our hearts. 
July 4, 1911 - 1985
July 4, 1912 - 1995

June 12, 2014

A Special Graduation Day..........

Congratulations to granddaughter Gena Lea Swanner. 
In a graduation ceremony June 11, 2014  at 
Virginia Union University in Richmond, VA. she proudly
accepted the High School Diploma she has dreamed of for 13 years. 

Those of you who know Gena, or have read her story, you know
it's been a very long road filled with too many roadblocks 
and potholes, but her grit and determination got her up, over
and out of each one she encountered. We are all so very proud 
of her, not just for what she has accomplished but for 
what she will continue to accomplish. 


June 09, 2014

Shut Up and Go To Sleep...........

        Last night was one of the those nights that as soon as my head hit the pillow and I turned out the lights my mind was off and running, recalling places, occasions and people I had once known. The harder I tried to clear my head the faster it raced and all I could do was hang on and ride it out. I was remembering people I had known through Rick's work, faces I recognized but whose names were long forgotten and contact lost.
        One particular couple we met in Gila Bend, AZ. in 1958, were our age and had also grown up in Boise. Tragically they lost a 6 mo. old child in a bathtub drowning and shortly after moved back to Idaho. We stayed in touch for several months but contact became further and further apart until one day we realized it was over. I don't even remember their names. It happens a lot when your job has you making major moves every couple of years.
        Another memory flash back really surprised me because the actual incident wasn't much more than a thought 50 some years ago...yet I remember it clearly. Rick and I were driving from Holbrook to Phoenix in 1960 and stopped at a restaurant/gas station in the middle of the most desolate nowhere I've ever seen called Rye, AZ. The place was for sale and the old guy was retiring....and Rick said we should buy it. My only comment was "NO" because I saw me in the kitchen (I HATE COOKING), the kids waiting tables and Rick sitting in the bar bullshitting with all two customers. It was never mentioned again but certainly well ingrained in my memory bank. (Out of curiosity I "googled" Rye, AZ and it's grown a bit but looks like it has the biggest junkyard I've ever seen. Not sorry I said "no")
        I briefly relived the 299 game that Kay bowled in a tournament at the Enumclaw Lanes in the 80's...which she will forever be remembered for but never received an award for. Can't remember the name of the game, only that you just got to throw 1 ball each turn...and something about the scoring. Anyway, Kay had about a 145 average but that day she threw 11 strikes in a row then a 9 count. She got lots of verbal accolades but not even a cheap patch or pin so show for it.
        I briefly touched on the motocross races the boys raced at the 16th St. track in Phoenix in the 70's. My 20th class reunion in `83. Rick's discharge from the Army in `54 and our driving 2 vehicles loaded with all our stuff on our move to Washington from Colorado. There was much more, my mind jumping around like a kid on a pogo stick. Maybe it was just reminding me that I still remember lots of the past even if I  easily forget daily things. Maybe it's to remind me to remember more than just the special things.....who knows. I certainly hope it isn't my life flashing before my eyes as a reminder of what lies ahead. Maybe it wasn't anything more than what it was....a tired body wanting sleep and a mind still high on a glass of wine.

May 16, 2014

Time for Spring Planting........

       Last Fall I made the decision to fill about half of the pots, planters and baskets I normally do. Clean up is always a hassle and finding places to store all the dirt filled containers...other than piled two high in a couple of corners of the patio....was just an ugly sight all winter. I found someone who wanted all the nursery pots I had, which open up a sizable spot in the garage but wasn't keen on having my vehicle smell like a compost pile, so I piled them back on the patio and told myself I'd take care of it come Spring.
Some of the plants for potting
         Spring arrived and I'm always anxious to get a few plants ready to pot after the last freeze, which is usually around Mother's Day. Still resolved to downsize, I headed for the nursery to check out the stock and decide what plants I wanted to try this year. Despite great care my Gerbera daisies didn't survive the winter in my bathroom so I bought 4. I hadn't planted poppies for a couple of years so I bought 2. Was disappointed with the Trailing Lobelia last year so went with Lithadora, I bought 4. I never tire of Geraniums, bought 4. Never used the tall white daisies before so bought 2. Bought 1 Early Girl tomato plant to go with the cherry tomato plant Rick and girlfriend Coral gave me for my birthday, 1 cucumber and 1 zucchini. Pleased with myself I loaded up and came home. 

Newly re-painted pots
         Drug out the pots, etc, washed off the collected cobwebs and winter yuk and decided they needed a bit of sprucing up so grabbed a can of spray paint for plastic and painted them. They dried fast in the 80+ temperature and it didn't take very long to fill them with the plants. I grabbed a glass of iced tea and sat down to admire my work and no matter how long I looked, the patio only looked half "dressed". I didn't plant a Begonia wall last year because I had so much other stuff but this year it was screaming for some color....and that meant another shopping trip....tomorrow. 

Pots to the deck and Begonia wall

        Tomorrow arrived right on schedule and since it was going to be another scorcher I headed out early to get some Begonias and the first place I went informed me that for some reason Begonias were in short or non-existent supply this year. It takes more than one "no" to dissuade me so I headed further south and got another "no". I was only a block from Walmart and decided to get one last "no" before resorting to a different flower...and guess what?....they had Begonias. Puny little things and only in red and yellow, but they wll flourish on my wall....I bought 6. I chose white Alyssum as filler and headed for checkout. I made it all of 5' before spotting the brilliant red Salvia which would look beautiful with the white Daisies or the gold tennis ball size Zinnia. Then there was the burgundy/deep purple Superbells, etc, etc, etc. I paid for my cart load and headed home

         By the end of the day the Begonia wall was in place, Superbells in hanging baskets, patio mess cleaned up....again. Today it's overcast and 20 degrees cooler to finish the potting. So what if I didn't cut back on plants as much as I had planned. It's my potting and I'll buy if I want to!

Blue Lithadora, Gerbera daisies in center and Geraniums. 
New flags....added a Washington flag for the first time.

First time in years the hummingbirds have stayed around, probably because they like the 
feeders  my daughter Jayne sent to me. I have this one on the office window and one on the 
kitchen window. Three pairs of Evening Grosbeaks have been hanging around about 
3 weeks, the last time we saw them was 2002. Wish the Flickers and Killdeer
would come back but they like less populated areas and we don't qualify anymore. 

Hot weather has really brought out the snowballs.
I love them in bouquets but this year they are 
crawling with ants. Time to put out ant powder.


May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day........

 Wishing a special day to all the mother's in my life. My daughters, 
daughters-in-law, granddaughters, great granddaughter, sisters, sisters-in-law, 
cousins, aunt, friends etc. As most of the world knows, this family has welcomed 
six new babies since last Mother's Day and three of them were to first time
 mother's so it will be a very special day for them.


May 04, 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again...........

In the midst of all this Spring rain we had a beautiful sunny cloudless day
with a record 90.2 temperature which dipped 25 degrees the next day, 
but it was enough to bring out the buds and blooms on much of the stuff
in my yard. Unfortunately it didn't occur to me to snap a photo then
so what you see was taken moments ago in the rain. Oh well!

My pink dogwood is so much fuller this year and the snowball bush is 
thick with unopened balls that will droop clear to the ground when
they open in the next day or two. I love the brilliant yellow of all the 
scotch broom in my neighbors fields...just not in my yard. The sparce
rhodies and lilacs of last year have doubled their blooms, so in the 
next few days my yard will be awash with color unless the rain 
predicted for the next week beats them up. I keep hoping each year 
will be different.....maybe this is the year. 

April 25, 2014

God Gives......and He Takes.

One of the saddest things about getting older is losing family and friends. 
This month our family not only welcomed the arrival of three new 
babies, but we've had to mourn the loss three members of our extended family. 
They will be greatly missed. 

My brother-in-law John was the ninth of ten children and
 the last surviving  member of the family. He was 84.

My niece Karen is the daughter of John's oldest 
sister, she was 71.

Walt (no photo available) was married to the daughter
of another of John's sister. He was probably in his late 60's.

Condolences to their families, with love and hugs. 

April 17, 2014

Look What We Started......

       In September 1953 I married the youngest of six sons and ten children born to a Polish Mother and a Spanish Father. In the next eleven years the Spanish side of my husband and I would produce seven children...while his Polish side came along for the ride. Meanwhile, three of the other five sons of this mixed race couple were also producing and the final total was twenty-six, give or take one or two. This pretty much laid out a picture of what was ahead for future generations, not so much how many they would have but the fact that several cousins would be pregnant at the same time. That's exactly what happened these past 8 months. Five of my granddaughters and a great granddaughter found themselves all pregnant at the same time for about a month before the first one was born. The sixth and final baby was delivered April 16th so now it's time to show off these sweet, adorable, handsome boys and one sweet, adorable and beautiful girl. My cup runneth over and will no doubt runneth over again since I still have a few grandchildren awaiting their turn and a bunch of great grandkids growing up. order of arrival......

        MAKOY was born on September 18,  2013 to my granddaughter Kasey and Trevor and joins a sister named Sevin. Kasey is the daughter of my son Richard and Andrea

        KAYCEN was born on December 30, 2013 to my granddaughter Kaytie and Cody and he joins a brother Cade. Kaytie is also the daughter of my son Richard and Andrea. The special thing a period of 18 months, Kaytie and Kasey both had their two children...making Richard and Andrea first time a year and a half. All planned I'm told!.

        LEO was born January 1, 2014 to my great granddaughter Lexi and Tyler and he's their first. Lexi is the daughter of my granddaughter Marisa and Roger, making them first time grandparents. Marisa is the daughter of my daughter Penny and Floyd, making them first time great grandparents. Whew!! (I had to read and re-read that several times to make sure I got it right). Oh...and making me a first time great great grandma for the first time.

       MASON was born April 2, 2014 to my granddaughter Krystal and Matt and he's their first. Krystal is the daughter of my son Ron...(and an Ex) making them first time grandparents.

       ADRIAN was born April 11, 2014 to my granddaughter Devony and Joey and he's their first. Devony is the daughter of my son Mark and Pam. Mark was amazed that his grandson was born needing a haircut, which they later combed into an Elvis do.

       KEEGAN was born April 16, 2014 to my granddaughter Ashley and Chris. she's Ashley's second child and Chris's first. Keegan joins a sister Kendall. Ashley is also the daughter of  my son Mark and Pam.

        It's been an exciting nine months for these families and now a new phase of life begins. I'm so proud of all of them, they are and will be wonderful parents. Love `n hugs.....Grams