Monday, May 22, 2017

A 'Hole' Lotta Diggin' Goin' On

When it rains all the time and then it rains some more, things happen. Such is my theory upon Scott's discovery of The Great Sinkhole of '17. He went down to check the mail Saturday (5/20) afternoon and couldn't help but notice the hole that had formed on the south side of the big clump of concrete, plants and dirt at about the driveway's mid-point. When the skies cleared Sunday, we went out to investigate.
An area about 4 ft. x 5 ft. x 3 ft. deep appeared in a space that had heretofore been an unexplained planting Clump. (Sorta half rock garden, half wildflower effort that turned into just another thing to mow around.)
The big fears included having the water line compromised or the culvert somehow circumvented. Scott probed the bottom of the hole, looking for signs of disaster. Luckily - it turned out just to be a section of soil that sank (perhaps encouraged by the groundhog family that lives nearby.)  He decided to take apart The Clump and use its dirt to fill the hole. I decided that my time would be better spent pulling weeds.
When I checked on him 45 minutes later, he had made great progress! He sheared off the dirt with the transfer shovel, collecting chunks of concrete along the way. The weeds and grass went in the hole, along with the dirt.
The plan for the big slabs of concrete included crushing them into rubble size with the sledge. This was later determined to be too much to tackle at the moment.
Small concrete chunks were chucked into the ditch next to the culvert on the south side of the driveway.
Tall weeds and grass were tackled with the scythe. Side note: another "found" tool, this thing is super sharp!
After about 3 1/2 hours of hard work, the hole was filled and The Clump was just a memory. (Plus, the cottonwood flowerbed was looking much better due to my expert weed pulling.)
I volunteered to serve as a passenger in the Ranger as Scott drove over and over the dirt to pack it down. I knew my body weight would someday prove useful!
At the end of a long afternoon, the tools were toted back to the barn and all was well. Another satisfying day of hard work. Good job, Scotty! He will continue to monitor the area and add more dirt as the ground settles.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Garden Gets Growing

The veggies are "in" and growing! With the time-consuming task of building the raised beds completed last year, planting was easy this Spring. All we had to do was wait for a day with more sun than rain (a seemingly simple thing that has been a challenge of late.)
The first step was to clean up the beds which were nearly overgrown by thick grass peppered with huge dandelions.
My feet are so tiny it's hard to tell how long the grass is. Suffice to say it was past due for a clipping.
On Saturday, May 13, we went to Home Depot with Mom & Dad Camp to select this year's veggies. We pared down our inventory, realizing that we over-crowded the beds last year. After a bit of discussion about what goes where, the planting began.
Bibbers had to be in the big middle of the action, of course. He always comes a'runnin' when he sees his Gramma and Grampa drive up.
These two "volunteer" carrots are now at home with our tomatoes and basil. We planted four cherry tomatoes, two Early Girl and two Big Boy varieties. It should be just the right amount of tomato-ey goodness for Marita and me (the two tomato eaters in the bunch.)
Mom was excited to find eggplant plants. She placed two in the bed between Scott's bell peppers and my rhubarb.
Rhubarb -- Eggplant -- Peppers
Carl was happy to have one entire bed to plant with two varieties of green beans. Bibbers was his special helper (or was he impeding progress?)
Scott and I checked on the garden on Sunday, May 21st. The five+ inches of rain we got during the week must have been what the ornamental corn needed to go ahead and sprout! It's at home in the north east bed with Dad's okra and some herbs. (Side Note to My Mommy Jolene - this is the Indian Corn you gave us at Christmas which I thought was just for decor. Found it in the basement, shelled it, planted it and here we go!)
Stay Tuned to Watch Our Garden Grow!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Corn Crib Comes Inside

While the blog has been quiet the past month, we have made progress on a long-awaited project! We've dressed up the exterior walls of the powder room with what Scott has dubbed "corn crib siding." This is a detail that we have planned to do since the remodel and we're quite pleased with the effect.
We had to begin at the beginning. The bright yellow (aka SW "Sequin") had to be replaced with a darker color. Once things were neatly taped off, the painting began.
We had nearly a gallon of SW "Black Bean" leftover from the remodel. (This color was used on the underside of the connector stairs.) I took it in to Sherwin-Williams and had it shaken - and it was as good as new.
The Black Bean is enamel paint so it's pretty shiny, not to mention really dark -- like a big bowl of hot fudge but not quite as tasty.
Meanwhile . . . we had to prepare the wood "siding." We used fir boards from Home Depot that are about 3/4" deep x 2 1/2" tall and 8-ft. long. The fun began with adding two coats of cherry stain to each of 64 boards.
Good thing we still have a workshop set up in the basement! It took a bit of jiggering to find enough horizontal surface to place the boards for drying.
Two 1x4s were added vertically to the corner.
As the width of each board were determined, a third coat of stain was added. Then, after a bit of math, it was determined that the boards could be applied evenly to the top simply by using a scrap of the same wood as a spacer.
 Here it is . . .six boards later...
 . . . and after 16 boards.
Some of the dark paint peeled as the frog tape was taken down. Scott touched up the bit that showed between slats with a little brush and a steady hand.
We've turned the corner on progress! The remaining boards have been cut to length and stained again for the third time; once they're dry, we'll get them up.  The next task will be sanding, and adding one coat of brush-on poly and two coats of wipe-on poly (just like all the other woodwork in the house.)
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Deer Party!

Nearly every evening, we enjoy watching deer congregate in the pasture south of the house. They converge from all over, following well-worn trails on the east and west. The deer are often joined by thirty or forty turkey. It's hard to sneak out and snap a photo ... any little noise will cause them to scramble but check out this pic from March 27th. Click on the photo to enlarge and count our furry friends.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Spring Walk-around

Here we are in mid-April, and my mother is chomping at the bit for a new blog post. Hi, Mommy!

Spring has definitely sprung at noTTafarm. We aren't quite in the mood to do yard work but we did enjoy a walk on the west trail this afternoon.
There's a pretty tree blooming at the bottom of the west slope.
Is it a crab apple? 
Of course, Bibbers had to walk along.
With all the rain we've had, our yard is sprinkled with mushrooms which seem to multiply by the hour. This bunch is near the patio.
Tulips blooming in the south perennial bed. 
The crab apple in the east yard never disappoints. 
It's beautiful again this spring!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Who's Ready?

We are Ready for our second year as gardeners! Are you ready to watch the fun? We've already started making plans, discussing what did and didn't work, and thinking about where to place what. Last weekend when we had a 60-degree Saturday, we pulled all of the snarled, dead plant carcasses out and hauled them to the burn pile. All we need is for Spring to officially get here!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Powder Room Pick-Me-Up Begins with Paint

Way back when we were in the thick of remodeling, Scott planted the seed of an idea for the Powder Room. The implementation of this plan is finally in place...and you'll soon see the results. But - the first step was for me to quell the wild idea of painting the powder room's interior walls. Over the past few years, I grew tired of our original paint ("Fawn Brindle" greige) and stewed about a replacement color for several months. Finally...we had a winner.
No - it's not wet concrete. It's Sherwin Williams 7670 Gray Shingle.
Just like old and my paint stick with roller at the ready.
Of course, buying a gallon of paint and taking a few hours to paint is never that simple. First, Scott decided to repair some flaws in the drywall (which took a couple of days.) Friday afternoon, he prepped the room further by removing all of the decor, the towel ring, the light fixtures and the switch plates. Then, when I thought it was finally time to paint, Scott insisted on taping off the wood work and steel trim and cutting in - very precisely, very slowly. Finally(!) 90 minutes later, I started rolling.
Without the wall sconces, the powder room was dark. Scott set up the trouble lights and we painted in the shadows. Spooky!
Ta Da!
Painted and put back together before the ten o'clock news. This room is the hardest at noTTafarm to photograph but trust me, it looks great. The tone of the Gray Shingle is very similar to the previous paint color but this more-true gray is a better match for the tile. Stop by and check it out!
Stay Tuned for More Powder Room Projects! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Nice Weather We're Havin'

Happy Friday from a February Paradise!
The groundhog has gotten his comeuppance. There's no way he's earned his keep after predicting six more weeks of winter back on February 2nd. Here we are on the 17th, enjoying another record-breaking day of 70+ degrees! 
A Beautiful Late Afternoon Stroll

We hope you are enjoying the weather - and if you're in the neighborhood this weekend, feel free to stop by and pick up some sticks (my euphemism for broken limbs, pine cones, dead pine trees, heavy trunks, etc. etc.)
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Quick Fix for Postal Problem

The little bit of snow we got in Omaha early this week didn't do much damage; schools weren't closed and travel was fine. The only casualty was our mailbox. Its pole was broken off near the base and its 2x6 structural pieces were splintered. At first, we assumed that the county snowplow was at fault but after finding a note taped to the now-upside-down mailbox, we had our culprit. Mail carrier Nate apologized for approaching too fast and skidding on the snow. He assured us that the U.S. Postal Service would be happy to reimburse us for the inconvenience. Scott called the number provided fifteen times on Friday before finally getting through to someone with the authority to tell us that our mailman could bring mail up the driveway until we could get our post repaired.
After lunch on Saturday, we went out to assess the damage.
It took a little prodding with the post hole digger before finding the original location. It didn't take long to figure out that the ground was too frozen to dig a new hole. We quickly came up with a good temporary solution that will work until warm weather returns.
Scott loaded the Ranger with three buckets of river rock and a bucket of sand to use to keep the post secure inside a galvanized trash can.
Who would think that a kitty litter box full of sand would freeze into a solid chunk when stored in the barn? Scott struggled to break it up with a shovel.
Once the post was centered in the can, Scott poured in the three buckets of rock. That post isn't going anywhere!
Ta Da!
Scott secured the World-Herald box to the post with a bungee cord and our little project was done! Please approach our driveway with caution when the road is snowy. If you hit that can with your bumper, you might have a problem (and I'm going to make you help pick up all the rocks that get scattered.)
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

The Eagles Have Landed

The other day, we noticed a dark "shape" on the south side of the neighbor's pasture; we assumed it was a dead deer. Friday afternoon when I drove by after work, the "shape" was being picked apart by a pair of Bald Eagles! They were back again Saturday at lunchtime, along with a few of their friends and an assortment of other birds of prey. Check out a few of the snaps Scott took from the property line with the telephoto lens:
It's too bad that it's so gloomy outside. The dark feathers against the dark tree background make the birds a little hard to see.
Scott saw a total of four eagles plus some other large birds we assume are turkey buzzards. These two are coming in for a landing near the carcass.

Even with the overcast sky, an eagle soaring overhead is an amazing sight.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!