Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beautiful Weekend in April

After all this rain, it was so nice to have sunny weekend to get up to the house and hang out with Nick and Jack. Nick has paintball guns and has been dying to use them and set up a course. His victim was his friend Jack who Casey just loves!
Trying to explain how it works to Jack. Why do they have to have the masks on when they are doing this? Casey seems to be trying follow along as well.

Okay they are ready to go out and kill Zombies!

We got there late friday night and watched "Zombieland" just to get them in the mood. They took some pallets and set them up in the trees as things to hide behind and they seemed to have a good time. The only work I got out of them was to have Nick use the string trimmer on some weeds up by the front gate. I used it myself to cut a path to my avocado tree.. the grass is about 3ft tall right now! Not sure how I am going to get the weeds knocked down hopefully I can do enough to mitigate the fire danger. (My dad keeps saying GOATS, but Casey is not a fan.. so no goats..)
The wildflowers are blooming and some of the seeds we planted in Feb are finally sprouting... it has just been too cold and wet to get them going but they finally are poking their "heads" up.
Here are some from my front yard:

There are others that I took a picture of but they are not too good.. the camera focused on the weeds around them instead of the flowers.
The previous owners left some bird houses in the yard and the birds are really using them! They are on the second round of babies for the year.
Not much to look at but the birds like them.
I worked on the tile for about 3 hours and made a little progress... man it is slow going! The stairs slope and pitch and are just not level so each tile is custom cut. I will get it done just no idea when! I got my fishing license and now are gear is up there so I want to go fishing sometime. Next weekend I am at my parent's so maybe the weekend after that...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back to life.. Back to reality

I am back from vacation.. it is Sunday night and I am trying to hang on to the "chill" as my son would say.

We went to my parent's house in Madera for Easter and had a nice time there. I stayed in the "guest house" (trailer) with my dog on Sunday night and a big storm blew in.. felt like a boat on the ocean! Wow.. who said it was spring?
Here are some pictures of Nick and my mom and dad (and sophie, who was really not liking me much...  I kept sitting too close to dad i think)
Nick reading the Rifleman Magazine

Mom and Dad

Dad & Sophie -ignoring me.. she wasn't asleep.. just being a snot

Monday - after getting my haircut I was off to the house....

I planted my little avocado tree and painted 2 more walls in the house on Monday afternoon/evening. My dog was with me but Nick went to Lompoc to see his girlfriend for a couple of days. So Casey watched my every move...

Extremely helpful as always.. making sure the goats don't attack

Tuesday I decided to tackle the tiling of Nick's bathroom which is part exposed plywood and crumbling linoleum. We bought some porcelain tiles that looks like slate and since I had done this before I was sure I could "knock it out" in two days.
Have you ever seen those remodeling shows that when they knock down a wall they find out it was the support beam for their roof? It was not that bad..but it feel that frustrating. First I cleaned off the floor and removed the old lino that was not sticking down. Under that I found some mortar patching that was used to slope the floor up towards the door and had to chisel it out. Then I started to measure and find the center point and a place to start.. hopefully something square or straight. Not happening at all.. not a single corner was square and not a single wall was straight. So I have floor that is not level, square, straight and the walls are not even plumb. My goal was realigned and now my only goal was to get the 3 steps from his bath up to his bedroom tiled... i got the backer board on (only dropping on my foot once) and realized that I was not sure how to finish the edges. So off to Lowe's again...(total trips that week was 4, $ spent,,, a lot!) Not going to bore you anymore with the details but by the time I had to stop on Weds afternoon to unload the garage and wash down the floor, I was only able to get the treads done on the stairs. Yep, I laid down 9 pieces of tile in 2 days...
Nick Stairs - Before.. no After shot yet

But all is not lost! Nick has been wanting to make the garage over and paint the floor with that special garage paint.  Here is the garage project, new floor paint and new racks.

painted floor

Finished with new racks
I have to say, this took time because you have to wash it and let it dry a day and paint and let it dry a day but the results were great and it wasn't very hard at all. We got something finished!!

Now for the fun stuff - I have been trying to get to different places in the area and this time decided to try middle bar. It was a mining camp on the Mokelumne River that has a sign from the main highway..I just decided to try to see it and avoid facing the tile job. The place is beautiful and I posted some videos on youtube but the trip there was very scary... it is a 1 lane road that is curvy and narrow. For 3 miles through the hills and you see signs like these.

friendly folks in the woods..
But when you get there.. oh my! Absolutely breathtaking...

I also had the wildlife encounters... 4 deer were sleeping under my trees and a turkey was "hanging" out in my big pine tree.
yes that is a big sparrow...

more deer
and finally....

Nick at the fire pit, texting... never stops...

Got to get back the real world now - got to pay the bills.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I have "maxed out" my vacation time at work so I am taking this week off. First I am going to see my parent's for Easter and get my hair cut.. then up to Mokehill for some quality project time.

My goal is to paint the living room... plant the avocado (mexicola grande) tree and get flooring down in Nick's room.

I have decided to try something a little different and put down plywood. The room is below grade and on a concrete slab so I need something that can be replaced in case of water damage. I was leaning towards hardwood but that is kind of expensive if it gets damaged. I saw a show on HGTV (one of my favorite channels) where these people with a big expensive house used plywood on the floor. It was stained and varnished and it looked great.. plus that would be easy to cut out and replace if it got damaged at all.

I need Nick to help do it though since I can move the furniture out myself. He will be there starting Thursday.

My family celebrated my dad's birthday up there and my dad and nephew were working on the play house. Here are some pics that my mom took of them:

Yes Denise, that is a hatchet in his hand...

Also here is a picture from my Moraga house-
Tulips in a container

Since there isn't any internet up there, I will not be online until I get back. I am off to pack and hit the road.

Everyone have a Happy Easter!