September 2010

Sunny left a comment on my paver post that made me laugh. She said “We have used the children’s old wagon from time to time when Mom randomly wants a large pile of concrete shards to go from HERE to HERE.” As a kid, I totally felt like that was the purpose of yard work- to keep us busy and fulfill our parents’ every random whim.

Well, now that I’m grown up (ha!), I get to be the parent. Unfortunately, I still get to be the kid too. I decided that I needed the huge stack of pavers to go from HERE to HERE, but I was the only one around to do it. Besides the animals, who are pretty useless when it comes to yard work.

There actually is a reason to move them, and it’s because I’m going to be hauling in a couple truckloads of compost, and I wanted to be able to back the truck up as far as possible to minimize wheelbarrow labor. Funny enough, about halfway through moving all the pavers, I wondered if I was spending more time and energy on the pavers than I would wheeling dirt a few extra feet. I’m going to go ahead and say no, just for purposes of my own sanity.

So the next steps are:

  • Haul in some compost and spread it on the dirt
  • Till it in and level the ground
  • Build the pathway
  • Plant grass!

PS- Why are stop-motion videos so fun?

When I’m not creeping people’s blogs to find books to read, I’m swiping them from people. Sometimes they know it, sometimes they don’t. In this case, my Aunt Soozie (good thing she doesn’t read my blog, or spend any time on the internet whatsoever, for that matter) inadvertently lent me this book. Trust me, I’ll have it back before she ever notices.

Anyhoo, it was kind of nice because I dove into this book without really having heard much about it (aside from the raving reviews all over the cover). I was immediately sucked in, mostly by the scenery that Sara Gruen creates. The details of Depression-era circus life were fascinating. It really seemed like she had done her research. Upon reading the interview with her at the end, I found out that indeed she had done a lot of research, and parts of the story are based on true anecdotes that she picked up along the way. Very cool, but also disturbing and very sad.

The actual story wasn’t my favorite part. I liked Jacob (the main character) and I loved how she went back and forth between him as a young man and old man. Aside from a few smart-ass quips, he’s basically a humorless character, especially in his youth. This made it hard for me to really fall in love with him, despite liking him for some of his other qualities. I thought Marlena was  a little boring, too. I wasn’t expecting such a romance story, but I guess that’s okay. I don’t want to say too much. Book reviewing is hard.

The bottom line is that I would recommend this book to anyone, if only for the things you will learn about life in the Depression and in a circus. It was easy to read and held my interest, and had me gaping in disbelief at parts.

Anyone else read this/ planning on reading it?

Step 1

Look in disgust at the rusty old shed that’s jammed under the eave of the garage.

Step 2

Decide it’s not that disgusting. Choose a new place for it that makes more sense.

Step 3

Level out the ground where its new home will be, using some stakes (or dowels) and some string (or yarn)…

…and a line level.

Look at that gloriously centered bubble!

Step 4

Do some digging.

Step 5

When it’s fairly level, spray it down and stomp on it.

Step 6

Put down sand as a base for the free pavers.

Step 7

Lay the pavers.

Please don't look too close. It may not be totally level. Hopefully it's okay because it's a flexible metal shed. Also, Stan, get off your butt and help!

Step 8

“Grout” with sand, rinsing and packing a few times.

That's more like it.

Step 9

Yank shed out from under the eave of the garage, drag it over and put it up on blocks, and spray the dirt and spider webs out with a high pressure hose. Get some spiders on you (and possibly in your pants… still not sure what that was. Eek.). Scour it with steel wool and wipe it clean with a rag, then spray again. Rip off old flaking shingles on the roof.

Step 10

Admire the clean shed.

OK, so she still ain't no beauty.

Stay tuned for the rest of the steps, coming soon in part 2! I mean it this time, guys. This is one project I WILL finish. Still to do:

  • Prime and paint
  • Re-roof
  • Fix hinges (that ugly door on the right is hanging on by a thread when it’s open)
  • Move into place
  • Anchor to the ground

Oh and to give you an idea of where it was and where it’s going, here’s a little diagram.

I could totally see myself doing this

(Found via Hooked on Houses)

I love her attitude. “Yeah, my friends think I’m crazy but whatevs.”

I periodically misplace my camera. It’s always somewhere in my house, or maybe my car, or maybe hanging from a fence post in the back yard. When that happens, you guys are stuck with “before” pictures taken with Photo Booth. Sorry about that.

Anyhow, here’s how the little corner office area has been looking. Not very organized, and not very office-y. (And yah, the pic is backwards because of the nature of Photo Booth, and because of the nature of me to not take the time to open it in Photoshop and flip it.)

My sweet parents had some extra shelves that they weren’t going to use (in Oklahoma!) so they sent them out here with some friends  who happened to be making the 1000+ mile drive. Their troubles were worth it in my opinion!

Where the red tree is, I was originally going to do something like this that I saw in (where else?) the Ikea catalog:

But I already had the tree from (where else?) a roommate past, and I figured that with clothespins it could make a cool little bulletin board of sorts. I already had all of the other crap too, and it was like Christmas going down in the basement and taking it out of boxes. Yeah, it’s all kind of a bizarre mish-mash of stuff that I’ve gotten from my grandma’s house and other relatives, but it was all free and has some degree of sentimental value.

Before I really start using it as an office area (or at least a mail sorting area and home base for my computer and shredder) it needs electricity. That’s on the to-do list! But it will probably have to wait until the weather turns cold, since the yard is being such an attention hog at the moment.

Also, I don’t really like all that black. What should I do, blog world? I think it’s a pretty cool little desk (although it’s not the most comfortable thing) but the black just sucks all the light out of that corner. Should I paint it white? White with blue handles? Should I paint the shelves? Here it is in context (an older pic):

I’m leaning towards painting it, but I’m just not sure what color.

Also, does anyone have a good mail sorting solution? Mine currently piles up on the table and pisses me off.

Meet Blanche.

She’s my new dog. Well, new to me.

Blanche came to me after her owners decided they could no longer care for her the way she needed. She’s five years old and so far seems very sweet, although she is very timid and a little sad. I can tell she misses her old family.

My brother found her on (local classifieds) and I had mixed feelings about adopting from there vs. a shelter. I’ve been looking on shelter web sites for months on and off, but no one really jumped out at me like Blanche. After my experience fostering Misty, I became a lot more passionate about adopting and rescuing pets instead of buying them. In the end, I decided that the bottom line was that Blanche needed a home and she seemed like a good fit for me. So here she is.

Of course, there is a force to be reckoned with.

What you lookin' at, punk?

Any fears of Blanche being cat-aggressive pretty much went out the window the second she came home. Jesse laid down the law immediately, and Blanche pretty much steers clear.

I think Jesse really might be interested in being friends, though…

… or maybe just stealing Blanche’s bed.

Any tips on getting a dog acquainted with her new home?

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