24 June 2014

Nearing Completion!

2014.06.24FrontHouse02
Work on my little house and yard is nearing completion!  It has been the busiest of months with contractors and family coming and going and spending every single spare moment working on big projects!  At the end of last week, the fence got put in!  I left enough space at the front walk way to put a nice arbor in eventually.  

2014.06.24FrontHouse01
The mulched beds around the house look so nice!  Such a wonderful change from the weedy overgrown mess that was here before! 

2014.06.24FrontYard01
I was a little anxious as to what all the neighbors might think of me putting a fence around the front yard, but so far, the fence has been the thing that has made people stop their cars, get out and look and then come find me to offer their complements on all the wonderful changes I've been making to the house and yard!  Whew!  The other thing I've discovered is that having the fence makes my big yard look even bigger!  I really am happy with how it turned out!  

2014.06.24FrontYard02
Looking at the house from the intersection corner.  Lots of grass!  Tomorrow, the yard gets aerated and over-seeded.  Aside from fixing the sprinkler system, because I keep putting new holes in it, the over-seeding is the last big thing to happen for the time being.  Though I do have some ideas for other things that need done, like repairing and sealing the blacktop driveway! 

2014.06.24FlagstonePath02
There was a little low lying, mostly overgrown flagstone path here that ended short of the driveway.  We decided to pull it up yesterday and finish it all the way out to the driveway.  We'd have finished it, but we put another hole in the sprinkler system here.  Drat!  My sprinkler guy either loves or hates me right now!  

2014.06.24FlagstonePath01
Here is a view from the other end.  This one pieced together beautifully!  Can't wait to take it all the way out to the driveway and get some impatiens planted under the aspen trees! 

2014.06.24SideSteps02

The side steps are nearing completion!  Jessie and David are leveling the pavers off as I type this!  There are a few "holes" to fill with nice pebble arrangements and then I will use polymeric sand to complete this and give it a bit more stability.  Very happy with how this is turning out, though it ended up being much more complicated to finish than I was originally intending!  

2014.06.24SideYard
A look up the side yard toward the street.  That little fence on the right at the step area will house the garbage cans.

2014.06.24Arbor
Now turning to look at the back yard.  The arbor is complete!  I'm really glad that I choose to paint it white as it fits with the house so much better!  Once we get the front flagstone finished, we'll finish getting all these pavers set.  I still have a load of flagstone left, so I'll put another path between the garden shed and the garden bed and then my oldest son has plans for the remaining flagstone!  

2014.06.21Agapanthus
I've been having fun planting the new garden beds along the back patio.  Blue flowers are surprisingly hard to find and I wanted things that would look nice for Jessie and David's wedding with it's blue and white colors.  I found some lovely agapanthus at the local Home Depot, so have added quite a lot of them.  They won't be hardy here, but we will enjoy them this summer!  I just hope they keep blooming for the wedding! 

So good to be down to the last few things.  My goal was to be done by the end of June so I can spend July tweaking flowerbeds and working on some other things for the wedding.  Looks like we will just make it!  

18 June 2014

Every Day ~ A Step Further!

2014.06.17FrontWalk

The landscaper has finished with most of what they are doing for me, namely cleaning out all the grass, weeds and unwanted shrubbery right around the house.  To me it was an overwhelming job, but in two days, they came in, dug it all out, laid new ground cloth and new mulch down!  It looks fabulous now! 

2014.06.17FrontOfHouse
From the street it looks so much fresher, not only due to the new paint and gutters, but to have all that weedy mess gone!  I'm hoping it will be much easier to care for now!  They also worked on the bare spots where the huge old cottonwood trees were removed.  They added soil to the low areas and seeded it with grass.  In a few weeks, I hope it starts to fill in!  

2014.06.17ArborRoseBeds
As you can see, I did decide to paint the arbor white!  Even with just half of it painted, I'm so much happier with it!  I'll finish that job this morning hopefully!  Then my youngest son will be here to help me get it finished and help with some other things! I was able to get the beds planted with the roses I purchased earlier in the season.  From this end to the left I have planted Boscobel (David Austin - DA), Evelyn (DA), a pink Rugosa Rose, and Climbing Iceberg.  In the other bed, I've still to find a climbing rose for the other side, but will hope to order a Zephirine Drouhin for next year.  I've also got planted a white Rugosa Rose, Lady of Shallot (DA),  and Sharifa Asma (DA).

2014.06.17Cauldron
Where we had the big old stump ground out, we discovered a few big tough roots off to the side that didn't get ground up.  Because they are beyond my ability to deal with, we opted to place my mother's old iron cauldron over that spot.  It's so heavy that it takes two of us to lift it even when empty!  She had my father drill drain holes in the bottom of it years ago and it always sat on the slope by our back steps filled with Basket of Gold.  It looked lovely in the spring.  For my daughter's wedding, I've filled it with pale blue lobelia and white alyssum and will add a white geranium to it as soon as I can get to the store to get one.  

2014.06.17BirdBathFountain
On the other side, I've placed my mother's old birdbath basin.  I'd love to get a little fountain to fit the small space on the back of it but am not having much success finding anything other than spitting frogs, which I am not fond of.  Now if someone would just make a nice little songbird that spit water, I'd be all set!  

Every day sees measurable progress!  

Still much to do.  The arbor needs painted, the rest of the flagstone needs leveled and the gaps filled, the main flowerbeds/garden needs weeded, the side step platform needs more dirt, sand and flagstone placed, and there is a small flagstone path between the side terrace and driveway that needs finished.  There are more flowers to plant along the same path and around the flagstone terrace on the side.  Then there is a pile of old gutters, shutters and other debris that needs hauled away. The sprinkler guy still needs to come and adjust the sprinkler system to fit the new garden beds and the fence installer should be here any day to put up the low perimeter fence around the yard.  

Right now it still seems like a long way to go, but when I look at where it was just a few short weeks ago, it's really amazing how far things have come!  Once it's all done, I'm going to do a post of before and after photos!    

17 June 2014

Progress!

2014.06.15PorchOasis01
The side porch has become an oasis of calm amidst all the work taking place.  The little wooden table looks so much better painted white!  Anytime I need a break during the day while I'm working, I come and sit here for a few minutes.  Most of the daily meals are being eaten out here at the moment as well!  It's definitely my favorite outdoor spot in the whole yard! 

2014.06.15LilacBed
My oldest son Jonathan and I, with a little help from his girlfriend Becca, were able to get the lilac bed and side steps framed in!  I planted three lilac bushes here, which I hope will grow into a nice hedge eventually!  

2014.06.16SideSteps
I finished the steps off with a mix of flagstone and pebble mosaic.  I'll sweep some polymeric sand in the cracks to give it some added stability.  The top section needs a couple more inches of dirt before I can lay the flagstone there.  Eventually, the garbage cans will sit just to the right and be fenced off so they aren't as visible.  

2014.06.16Arbor01
My daughter Jessie and I were able to finish the better part of the arbor yesterday!  We still need a little help from one of the taller sons to help screw the top lattice boards down!  For me, having the arbor up is the thing that really pulls all the work we've been doing together!  I'm so excited to be able to plant some new roses at long last!  It's a little late for planting roses, but I'm hoping that with some TLC, they will do ok.  

2014.06.16Arbor02
The one thing I'm not entirely sure of yet, is whether or not to paint the arbor white.  Eventually, there will be a pergola attached to the back of the garage (on the left) and it will be painted white.  I'm thinking the arbor will also need to be painted in order to match.  I am thinking it will look better with the house in the long run, even though it will take more maintenance.  And photos of roses always look lovely against white!   I'd love to hear opinions on what you think I should do with the arbor! 

Today the landscapers are here putting new mulch down around the house where they tore out truckloads of overgrown weeds and unwanted shrubbery!  They are also reseeding the lawn and fixing the bare spots.  The fence installers are due soon and will put in a two rail white fence around the perimeter of the yard.  Then the landscapers will be back to redo the area between the fence and the street!  Should all be looking wonderful by the wedding at the end of July!

15 June 2014

Remembering Daddy - Father's Day 2014

Climbing
When I remember my Dad, there are so many amazing things about him that it's hard to choose a favorite.  But mostly, when I think about him, I picture him standing on a mountain top overlooking the scenery with an enormous quietude.  

I'm not sure where his love of mountains began, but my Aunts and Uncles often told stories of how he'd go off into the small woods around the farm to watch the birds on the flat South Dakota prairies where he grew up.  From South Dakota, he moved to Princeton, NJ where he achieved his PhD in chemistry and married my Mom.  From there they moved to around the eastern U.S. based on what ever job he had at the time.  In the early 1960s, both my parents took up rock climbing ~ taking weeklong courses in the rocky hills of Wisconsin.  Then in 1964, they took a week long climbing trip to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming and from that point on, my Dad became a true mountaineer.   Here he is climbing  on that first trip to the Tetons on a practice climb.  

Hiking 1965 - Indiana
My Dad shared his love of the outdoors with my sister and I from an early age!  Here we are hiking in one of Indiana's lovely state parks in 1965.  

Canada 1967
In 1967, we took a family trip to the Canadian Rockies where we visited Banff and Jasper National Parks.  My Dad was smitten with those mountains! 

Daddy & Holly 1974
Every summer, we took many camping trips across the state of Colorado and beyond.  They were fun times!  I love this photo of my sister giving him some rabbit ears!   So many great memories of hiking, laying on picnic tables at night after the campfire had died down, watching the stars and meteors shooting across the sky, watching the wildlife, and waking every morning to my Dad getting the camp stove going to heat water for our morning tea! 

Myron Plooster in the Canadian Rockies 1978
In 1978, Daddy got to fulfill a long held dream of backpacking in those Canadian Rockies he had fallen in love with years before!

Canadian Rockies 1978

He came back with amazing photographs of the scenery and wonderful memories.

Myron Plooster - Canadian Rockies 1978
My Dad continued to hike and climb into his mid-70s.  For years he led hikes and climbs for the Colorado Mountain Club.  One of his life goals was to climb all the peaks that we could see from our house on the mesa east of Boulder.  It's a goal that I think he achieved!  Many of them more than once!  

Daddy birdwatching in Holland
In his later years, Daddy didn't do as much climbing, though he still did a lot of hiking and walking.   He returned to the bird watching of his youth.  He and my Mom both became master birders, traveling this country and world to observe the birdlife in various areas.  It allowed him to still be outside, enjoying nature.   

Most of my mental images of my Dad are either standing on a mountaintop, or with binoculars in hand watching the birds!  

My Dad was an amazing man.  Humble, possessor of a gentle and kind heart, soft spoken, and a heart the size of the mountains he loved.  I'm so grateful for all that he shared with my sister and I and for the many years we had together!  Miss him so very much.  


14 June 2014

Projects Galore!

2014.06.13KathySHeartDYBbyLisaPB
With all the things going on around my house and yard right now, stitching time is at a premium!  I need to tuck in a little more time for it as I'm in three round robins right now, one of which is just finishing up.  This block is Kathy Semone's block for the Hearts DYB.  She hopes to use her blocks in place-mats, so I opted to do all the embellishment with cotton embroidery threads and pearl cotton which will wash well.  French knots and bullion stitches take the place of beads and some embroidery thread spider roses take the place of silk ribbon embroidery.  I'm happy with how it turned out and hope that Kathy likes it too!  

2014.06.13HeartDYBforBarbara
Next up in the Hearts DYB is this lovely block from Barbara!  She wants the heart outlined in black somehow and the rest of the block to be done in flowers to coordinate with some other blocks she has.  I love the fabrics in this and have lots of ideas for it! 

2014.06.13ThearicaFansDYBbefore
The next block in the Fans DYB is this lovely block from Thearica.  She is asking for jungle themed colors and motifs.  The previous finished blocks are gorgeous, so I have quite a task to get this one up to the same level of work! I think a tropical hummingbird will be alighting on this block! 

2014.06.13OlaUTSrrBlkbeforeLisaP
I have an Under the Sea block in progress for Velia, which I'm not quite ready to show just yet.  But the next one arrived in the mail a few days ago.  This is Ola's block.  There is a lot taking place here, and some lovely work.  But the focus is all over the place, so I'm not sure just how I'm going to approach this one.  I have it pinned up so I can muse on it for a while.  I need to find a way to bring the block into a cohesive whole as I am the last to work on it.  I suspect there will be lots of seam work since very little has been done so far.  

2014.06.13SunriseRobin
Yesterday was a glorious day!  I was up with the sun ~ well, actually before the sun, but the sky was already getting light at 4:00 a.m.  As the sun rose, this robin sat in the tree and sang his heart out for over two hours!  He was accompanied by the cooing of the doves.  What a perfect greeting for a beautiful day!  

2014.06.13ComfreyBells
An early morning walk around the yard revealed these beautiful bells on the comfrey!  It's just been amazing this year!  

2014.06.13ArborWIP
I also took stock of all the projects I hope to finish this weekend!  First, there is the arbor that my youngest son Zach and I have been working on.  We got rained out on this and had to stop.  Hope to get it finished and up today!

2014.06.13StepsWIP
Next up is to finish placing all the landscape beams.  My garbage cans will sit on an extension of this area and on the far side will be another planting bed where I will plant some lilac bushes, which my yard is sadly devoid of.  We hope to finish the beams placement today.  Later today, the rest of the sand and soil arrive so I can finally get planting and finish laying the flagstone!   

2014.06.13TableWIP
This little rustic table has been on my porch and I've wanted to paint it for a long time.  I got the first coat on yesterday and hope to get the second coat on today!  It will look so much better against my freshly painted house! 

2014.06.13RedChairBefore
Another project I want to finish this weekend is the repainting of this little chair.  When I was a little girl, I had two of these and my kids used them as well.  We lost one in our house fire in 1999, but I was able to salvage this one.  It's a little worse for wear, a bit smokey smelling and sooty despite having been cleaned.  It needs re-glued once I get the paint scraped off.  I've got the paint about half scraped and hope to finish this and get it painted white this weekend.  

Did you notice the surface where the chair is sitting?  After not being able to hardly walk through the garage for most of the time I've lived here, I finally got it cleaned, organized and mostly painted!  

2014.06.13GarageOrganized
My goal has been to downsize much of the stuff that was out here and get it to the point that I can park my car in here, especially during cold weather.  A few weeks ago, my daughter hauled off a huge pile of stuff to Goodwill.  Then when the insulation crew was here, we had to empty it out so they could work on it.  It was a good excuse to get it in shape!  Most of it is painted, and my youngest son Zach will finish up the high trimming and the wall above the shelf at a later date.  But it looks so much better!  We still have quite a pile of empty boxes at the front, for my daughter to use when she moves out, but for the first time since I've lived here, there really is hope of being able to park in the garage!  

With all those projects to work on, I'd better stop here and get to work!  Have a wonderful weekend!

11 June 2014

Sneak Peek! (Almost Done!)

2014.06.10AlmostDone01
A little look at how my house is coming along!  The painting is nearly complete and the new gutters have been installed!  I'm loving how it looks!  

2014.06.10AlmostDone03
The side entrance here is the one we use the most.  The white paint has brightened up the previously dark porch and the green paint on the door shows off the brass door hardware that was hardly noticeable before.  

2014.06.10SAlmostDone02

And that bay window that was in such sad shape?  It looks glorious now!  The painter did a fabulous job of repairing the damage and making it look top notch! 

2014.06.08Flowers

Even the paint spattered roses and campanula along the front walk are looking happy with their lovely new backdrop!  

2014.06.08Peonies01
The peonies in the yard have been fabulous this year!  So glorious!  I had to make a spring header for the blog with them!  Now if I could only share their exquisite scent with you!  

06 June 2014

Painting Underway

2014.06.06PaintingExterior01
The house painters have been here all week trying to get my house ready to paint.  Being an old house, that wasn't maintained very well on the outside, it's been quite a job.  Endless scraping, caulking and fixing.  But this afternoon, they were finally able to start painting!  

2014.06.06PaintingExterior02
I'm so happy with how it's looking!  So crisp and fresh!  I've always loved white farmhouses with green  accents, so that's what I ended up choosing after long debate.  For a while, I thought I was going to go Nantucket gray and aqua, but those colors just didn't work in our strong Colorado sunshine.  

You can also see that the landscaping changes have moved around the house to the side yard.  Eventually, there will be a bed that comes out to that wooden stake you can see on the right, where I'll plant my lilac bushes.  I managed to take a tumble while we were installing the framework for the steps yesterday evening.  I'm grateful that there were no broken bones, punctures or even bruises to show for it, as I landed pretty hard with an armful of power tools!  Definitely stiff and sore today, so it's been a quiet day mostly inside today.  

2014.06.02BayWindowReDo01

The bay window on the front of the house was quite damaged from a poorly aimed sprinkler which had caused much of the wood to rot.  

2014.06.02BayWindowRedo
They did a fabulous job fixing it up.

2014.06.05BayWindowReDo

With some primer on, it looks even better!  Can't wait to see it all done!

2014.06.02Allium
The alliums are blooming!  I was expecting big white balls of flowers, but they are large flat plates instead.  Still beautiful!  

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