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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Projects around Our Old House and Big Boy Sandbox Toy

Yeah! It's a Saturday and we have nothing planned all day long ....  except of course, projects around Our Old House!

When working on our fence, we had a load dropped off of this fine gravel called screenings. The smallest amount they would deliver was 10 yards. By dump truck. We probably only used one or two yards of it while packing around all 38 of the fence posts.

No worry, because we had plans for the rest of it!

Yesterday, Steve's brother Pete came over with his handy garden tractor and lent us the use of it for the evening. In return we gave him a couple loads of the gravel for a project he is working on. (and some hostas I dug up that needed splitting)

Steve was able to use the tractor to level out the rest of the gravel, over our existing motorhome parking pad. He was able to fill in the low portions and make it more level than when we made it the first time four years ago.

He sure had fun... back and forth, over and over. He played with that thing for two hours, I kid you not! You could almost see his mouth going "VRRROOOOM  VRRROOOOMMMM"

We had to park the motorhome over on the side street so he could have room to maneuver in our yard. He did a wonderful job and here it is all complete, with the motorhome back in place. Good job, Steveio!

We also had a couple big mounds of leftover dirt from digging all of those fence post holes. So this was the perfect opportunity to scoop it all up and bring it up to the front yard. Sure beats using a wheelbarrow and shovel.  We had a low section on our front area that was not level and also needed some fresh dirt to grow some new grass. We sprinkled a bag of grass seed on it and we hope it takes off.

After powering washing off the tractor, Steve's brother Pete came to load it back up again... What a great barter / swap for the use of his tractor and we got rid of some of our excess gravel. Win Win!

We hit the ground running after coffee this morning and started in on painting of these ten solar lights that we took from bulky item trash pickup day. I mentioned them in yesterday's blog. There are ten complete lights that we got working and a few extra parts in case anything ever breaks from in 11th light.

I painted all of the caps by brush with two layers of Rust-Oleum gloss white paint, being careful not to get any paint on the solar lens or sensor eye that turns it on at dusk.

Steve spray painted the frame pieces after removing the glass lenses from each unit. We did not paint any of the stakes or long shafts that hold up the lights because we had something much more creative in mind

Steve drilled exact upright perpendicular holes in 10 different spots of our fence, carefully spacing out the lights around the entire back yard. The holes he drilled were matched perfectly to the diameter of the base right underneath the lamp frame. So omitting the shaft and spike, we only used the top lamp portion to mount on the fence.

Around the entire yard he drilled the holes for the ten solar lights. This was a fun project that only cost us a little bit of paint and some patience and creativity.

I can barely wait for this evening to see them all light up.

(on edit tonight... here are the lights and
the solar light on the flag pole too) 

The next project on our task list is one that I started writing about yesterday in my blog. On bulky trash pick up day, I had found these two bases for bird baths, minus the basins.  Steve laughed at me and said we already had a birdbath.  Yah... but he didn't have my next idea!

The other day, out came my paintbrush and two coats of thick glossy Rustoleum did the trick.

With me leading the way, Steve took them both out to the flowerbeds in the fenced in area.  He made sure they were level and set firmly flat on the ground.  He took a caulk tube of Loctite Power Grab adhesive and put a thick bead around the top of each of the stands.

Now for the magic!  I took out my two cactus gardens that I've had growing in the house all winter. The gray wash pan and was left here by the previous owners, and the white enamel wash pan with the red rim was being tossed out by our neighbor last year. I repurposed both of the pans into something useful, again,

In my last blog I showed a picture of this beautiful funky whimsical flower pot in the shape of a large coffee cup. I transplanted a big jade plant that I had into it with cactus dirt and gravel. I think it looks absolutely beautiful on our little red picnic table. We also have an umbrella that matches the same colors. I call it "Picnic Table Chic".

Once our projects were done, it was time to hop in the car and go hunting. What were we hunting for? My Mother's Day present! Steve asked what kind of a bush or tree or shrub would I like for Mother's Day this year. Past Mother's Days I got an adorable little blue spruce, and my elegant weeping cherry tree up in the front yard. This year I decided I would like a white lilac.

When I was a child growing up in Cedarburg, Wisconsin we had a large round white lilac and a row of common purple lilacs. You can see them in the background in this pic of myself and my big brother, Butch.

I have always loved white lilacs. I had planted one in our house at Oconto from a little slip that my neighbor gave me. It took probably five years before it took off and grew. It was such a tiny little thing. I never got to enjoy the blooms of that white lilac because we sold the house and moved away.

So it seems fitting that we should put a white lilac in the flower bed for Mother's Day. The trouble was, we couldn't find one!

We called every tree nursery in the area and nobody had them. We even called Lowe's and Menards and Home Depot to ask, but none of their clerks really knew it what lilacs they had and I think they were way too busy to check. We did manage to see one white lilac at Lowe's but it was a tall lilac tree that was some kind of hybrid grafted to a tall stalk, and it was priced at $80! It was supposed to get 25 feet high! Well, that's not what we had in our minds.

We were running around looking at other places we didn't see anything we really wanted.  Our last stop? It was good old Fleet Farm! I found a very nice white lilac bush with about 6 good stems in a nice cluster.  Sensibly priced at $15, but also the flats of white and red impatiens were on sale that I wanted for the front flower beds. There... my Mother's Day present was complete.

Steve spied a very interesting shrub called an Amber Jubilee Ninebark Bush. The leaves stay these beautiful golds and yellows all summer long, but looking like a plant in autumn. They bloom white clusters of blossoms in both the spring and again in the fall.

It looked very interesting and we decided we would take a chance and bring it home because it was so unusual. It was double the price of my little lilac, but I think it will grace the corner of our fence as you enter the gate.

After such a busy morning, and chasing around to five different stores in the afternoon, we came home and laid down for a late-afternoon nap. We slept till almost 5 o'clock!

I guess we needed it.

After a wonderful dinner of grilled salmon, crunchy steamed green beans and baked potatoes, it was time to sit out in the backyard for a while to watch the sunset.

But you should know by now, my antsy pants husband just had to dig the hole and plant his new bush!

Even the dogs decided it was time to relax and watch the sunset

and I got Steve to sit down in the lawn chair and relax too....


  1. Wow, what a busy day! Looks like you got a ton of things done though. Love all the ideas that you and Steve have for re-purposing old things into new and wonderful things.

    I love white lilac bushes too. I think we actually have some here in the park but the flowers aren't real big ones but they are still really pretty. I love the bush that Steve found.


  2. Gee,you two tire me out just reading about your projects....where you get all that energy I don't know but you're quite a team ! Great job !

  3. Your neighbours will never be able to say you don't take pride in your home. Great job you two.
    Happy Mothers Day Karen.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. A happy mother's day to you. That is an interesting looking bush. And the white lilac was a great choice.

  5. I love seeing what you two are up to....you are both so creative and talented. Great job!!!


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