Saturday, September 25, 2010

Trying to Make the Garden Grow

            Last weekend I was up there mainly to clean up after the vacation and remodelling and to try and get the garden started. I have the drip irrigation working in the tree area so I planted an Asian Pear tree. I also brought in a bunch of soil enhancements for the veggie garden area. The dirt is so bad and filled with just the strangest things. We have found a bunch of terracotta tiles, that are not used in the house anywhere, so it is a mystery of where they came from. When I was putting down the soil amendments I saw something sticking up from the dirt and pulled out the longest nail... it is going to take a couple of years to get the soil right. 
         The front area is going great right now, the old lawn is starting to come back, so I am looking for an used lawn mower for it. I will not have all lawn though, still will keep the native wildflowers and I am going to add a tree. When I was planting some flowers in the front, I saw something out of the corner of my left eye. There was a small garter snake watching me from a clump of the grass. He was there for a while until I tried to poke him to see how big he was.
Here are some of the pictures:
Garden after putting soil amendments

Rusty spike in the garden area - 10 inches
Next weekend and for the following few weekends, I am getting the new floors installed. I went with a strand woven bamboo that is about as hard as cement, in fact only some of the exotic hardwoods are harder than it. It was a splurge, but since I saved so much on the remodeling job, I decided to do it. Half of the house doesn't have any flooring right now, just plywood subfloor so we really need it. I am excited but a little stressed because of the cost.. the original quote was way too high so they came back with a new quote that about 25% lower. And they are doing the installation!
My Aunt and Uncle from Oregon are coming to see my parent's in 2 weeks so Nick and I will be going to see them.  The folks and us are going to a Fresno State football game that Sat night so that will be fun. I will put some pictures up of that as well.
 Work is a bitch right now with my boss leaving and the political shuffling going on.. I hate politics and although I can play them if I want to, I am not in the mood anymore. (I became an expert at BEA... but decided it just took too much energy.) I will get through this and the house helps me calm my senses... the place is so pretty and so quiet sometimes it just makes you sigh with delight. See my cloud picture? Seriously you want to take pictures of clouds...
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Picture of the sky that weekend.. just perfect!

See ya - julie

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vacation - Fun Stuff Pictures

Besides working on the house (which I think is fun!) I did some other things with the kids. 
Nick and I went to Jacob's football game in Auburn and watched him knock over the defenders on the other team. I felt kind of sorry for them! 
Denise and I went to lunch in old town Auburn and walked around a bit... not a whole lot there except for restaurants. 
Nick, Ashley, Laine and Jacob spent the labor day sat and sunday with me up there at the house. We had a lot of fun... Jacob loves to follow Nick around and he took them on a little hike as soon as we got there. They brought up wood for the firepit where we had smores on Sunday night. Sunday is the day I took Jacob and Laine fishing in this little lake outside Jackson called Lake Tabeaud. (the locals say, "tah-boo") the lake is one that PG&E built for power generation and we started out fishing by the levee. Stayed there for a bit watching the fish jump and torment Jacob until we decided to try and find another spot. The lake has a picnic area we went to and walked around and met some more locals. They told us how to get to the "inlet" which is where the fish are when the water is so warm in the summer. So we packed up and drove for a few miles on this gravel road and found the inlet. There was another local who fished the spot as often as he could and has caught 70 fish in the last year. (You wonder why he didn't throw any of them back?) Once they know you are a local they will talk forever, just a different world. Jacob caught a fish and was so excited about it until I told him he had to clean it... which he and Nick did when we got home. Ashley turned a bit green and had to leave when they were doing that. Laine wanted to give it a try! Laine did fish for a while and then got bored so I let her use my digital camera to take pictures. It was really funny when I reviewed them because 17 were of her face, and there was a good number of my behind!! I am sure she was giggling like crazy! 
That night we had a fire in the firepit and made smores... that of course was a big hit! Just like camping. 
Here are some of the best pictures from the weekend:

Jacob's game - he is #94
Jacob's fish - Pic taken by Laine
Jacob fishing in the first spot - the fish were jumping but not biting sending Jacob into a frenzy of finding the right spot.
Laine Self Portrait #1
Laine fishing at the inlet
Nick working on the log rack he made me
Finished rack
Enormous praying mantis in the front "yard"
Dinner
Laine and Ashley waiting for the fire to get going
Firepit - view from deck
Smores
Smores and Jacob intently watching his marshmallow

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vacation Report - Renovation Update!

I am back in Moraga and was thinking about how to post everything about the vacation. The big project is the renovation that we did, taking down that closet to join the addition to the rest of the house through the hall. There was also time with Laine and Jacob where we went fishing and had smores and things... so this entry is just about the remodel.
Nick came up the first weekend to help me with the demo. The plan was to tear out the end of the hall, the mbr closet and the wall in the spare bedroom. He helped me get it down to the studs and then I got help from an "almost" retired contractor, Howard. He showed up on Monday and we tore out the studs and framed the walls. On Tuesday we framed in the new closet that blocked the old opening between the master and the tv room. Everything is done now except the drywall plastering because that guy had a death in the family. It went really fast and pretty smooth except for my injury...you know I have to get hurt somehow. Howard was showing me how to use the pneumatic hammer and had leaned a 2x4 up against the wall. I was sitting on the floor watching him intently and the vibration of the hammer knocked the stud off the wall and on to my head. At first I laughed it off and then I put my hand up to feel where it hit and there was a lot of blood. I think I was a little confuzzled, because I look at Howard and asked him if he was bleeding. I just wasn't believing it was me. He got a very concerned look and then we had to do first aid. I am fine.... but I bleed so much that after it all stopped and I looked in the mirror it looked like a slasher movie. Dried blood in my hair, down my neck to my chest and on my clothes. I even took pictures of the towels because I was just not believing it! And NO I didn't go to the hospital. After we finished for the day, I took a shower and went to Lowe's with a horrific headache. My mom was not amused but I was fine the next day and we kept working.
Here are the reno pictures, I will post other stuff later. (Remember to look at the video on youtube to see what the before looked like.)
nick helping to take out the closet
breaking through wall to other bedroom
Tearing out bedroom wall - Nick is good at demo!
Breaking out wall on the addition- you can just see through to the living room.
All walls down, studs still up and look at the mess! But I was very happy!

This is Howard helping to frame in the new hall wall.
All the studs are out and you can see what it is going to look like.
New MBR closet being framed in - blocking the hole to the other room.
The new hall wall where the closet was.