According to Chloe

This is lettuce that came from our garden this past weekend. I spent nearly 5 hours weeding in and around the vegetable boxes on Sunday morning. In the afternoon I cut this head of lettuce to take to a BBQ at the Boyd's. When I brought it into the kitchen to rinse and wrap up hubby wanted to measure it. I know, I know. It was 18 inches though - and that's big for a head of lettuce.

In other news, our 4 year-old neighbor Chloe helped me water some plants last night in her Disney Princess swimsuit, faux pearl necklace, and plastic dress up heels. She was watering the roses while I was pulling weeds around them. I said, "Chloe, I don't know how I'll ever keep up with all of this weeding. They just grow so fast." She said, "They should put on flower costumes so they will be prettier and then you won't have to weed them."
I have decided that sometimes Chloe has good very good ideas.


Minnie Weekend

A few things from our weekend in Minnesota...
Grain Belt Premium and the new Target Field

Late night cheese curds and group hugs

Our very own Pudgie Pie Maker


Backyard Brick

In the beginning there was dirt, weeds, overgrown bushes and Arborvitae.
I wanted a bigger patio and the patch of dirt to the south of our current back porch was the perfect space for an extension. The only problem was a big old tree root.
Solution: Stump Grinder. Not super inexpensive, but very quick and effective.
I found the bricks on craigslist and had them delivered. They were removed from an old historic building in Pioneer Square (that's the story anyway).
I borrowed a tamper, used hubby's level, and got some great how-to advice from several friends who had already done similar projects at their homes.

I worked in sections big enough for the level to measure. This method worked out pretty well. The hardest thing when laying brick, especially if it's old and uneven brick, is that it's never going to be perfectly level or straight. The best way to keep it from jiggling around too much (yes, I think that's a technical term) is by pouring silica sand between the cracks and sweeping the sand across the brick so that it distributes as evenly as possible.
I still need to find a way to secure the edges. Several people have suggested pressure treated boards and I think that's what I'll end up doing. In the meantime, it's a little loose around the edges, but for now, I think it looks great!


With A Little Help From Our Friends

Since moving into our house our neighbors have commented on more than one occasion what great friends we have. This is probably because we had a 12 person crew on move-in day. A few months later, we had a four person crew help us rip out the 2 tons of juniper that had been invading our yard. Hubby has also had several weekend visits from friends who have helped him demo the basement, rip out cabinets, walls, ceilings, and the kitchen counter top.

It's true we have amazing friends. Still, sometimes I feel guilty when we ask for help on projects, like we did last weekend.

As we're prepping to paint the house, one thing that needed to be ripped out and replaced were the soffits. These are the boards under the eaves of your house that allow ventilation to get in and out of your attic space. Ours were basically rotten and needed replacing. So hubby borrowed some scaffolding, rented a nail gun, bought replacement soffits and solicited friends.

On Saturday morning, beginning at 9am, 5 friends showed up to take care of business. It was 9 hours of hard work in the blazing sun.

The results look great. The old soffit boards came out and the new ones went in. The crew made it look easy. So for all their hard work, we let them shower, relax, have a few drinks, and fed them all a big salmon dinner. It's not nearly enough of a payment for the work they gave to us. But someday, maybe, we'll be able to return the favors.

Until then, we know that we are very, very lucky.


Mad Wood Skills

I learn something new every day. A lot of the time that 'something new' is from my hubby.

This week we went to the hardware store. Something we've done a lot since buying this house. But it was the first time that I'd ever been with hubby when he was purchasing lumber.

Did you know that there's a trick to buying wood? If it were just me, and I had a list of what to buy, I would have gone in, piled the wood up on my cart, paid, and left. But it is not that easy. It's a process. As you can imagine, every board is different. Some are crooked and some have knots in funny places. So the trick is to stand each board up at about a 45 degree angle and turn it, as you look down all sides of the board to make sure it's straight and clean. After all of this you should have a pretty pile of wood. And we did. Now I know.

On Friday, a portion of the wood pile became a beautiful 10 foot outdoor dining table. I'd had this crazy idea that if we extended our patio by adding brick 12 feet beyond the currenty patio, it would be big enough for a huge table perfect for summer outdoor dining.

The boards for the table were 10 feet long. When hubby asked me one last time if I was sure I wanted the table that big, I said, definitely!
And then last night, after spending all day Friday thinking I was nuts for wanting such a huge table, he said to me, "This is awesome. Having everyone together at one big table is perfect."
I agree.


Front Porch Upcycling

It's still a work in progress, but I have to brag a little about my hubby. Let me start by saying, when we bought our house the front porch was blah. On the heels of the house repaint it was decided that several exterior renovations needed to be finished before the paint went on. This included a complete remodel of the front porch. I saw the plans. But when I saw the project in real life I felt so proud. I mean, I think my hubby is the bee's knees, but I'm also biased.

Before it's finished, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak of why I think my architect is so cool. The ceiling board, which you see in the picture below, is Douglas Fir. It came from the cabinets that he removed from the basement. How's that for some upcycling! I think it looks awesome.