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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Birthday, Patio, JAIL?? and Farmhouse Projects

 Our darling grandson Clayton just happened to turn 9 years old yesterday! He's growing so fast and that big head of his is filling up with so many wonderful brains and smarts and intelligence that he needed a new helmet for his mini bike. Grandma and Grandpa found just the right one to fit that bigger noggin!  

Drive safe, Little Speed Demon! 

Sadly, we had to stay socially distanced while giving him his present. We stayed outdoors on the deck, while he opened his gift as we wore our masks. We only stayed for a few minutes and then left. We didn't want to risk anything. Why?

Last Tuesday both Steve and I started feeling sick! Although we are both fully vaccinated for Covid, we both started coming down with an awful head cold, sore throat, low grade fever/chills, and all over lethargy. Our sinuses were on crazy overload, even though we are both on prescription Flonaise year round. 

We called the doc and decided we would just wait it out with over-the-counter meds. Nothing was severe enough to require anything more. We went through quite a bit of Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe both Day and Night formulas. Lots of Chloraseptic sore throat spray, boxes of Kleenex, Ibuprofen and Tylenol. It is now eight days later and we are just starting to get a little bit of energy back and most of the symptoms have subsided.

Before we got sick, we did start a new project on last Monday and worked on at partially through Tuesday before we were so exhausted we had to quit. Here's what we had started with. Outside of the She Shed door that leads out to the fenced-in dog yard, there was this little concrete patio area. It was tilted and sloped and cracked and not in very good shape.

When we bought all of the 16 x 16 paving stones for the new sidewalk on the north side of the house, we purchased an additional 36 blocks to cover up this patio area here on the south side of the house.

We stacked them in bundles of six in the garage, up on wooden blocks so we could scoop underneath them with the dolly cart for transport. Each paving stone weighs 32 pounds, so that is almost 200 pounds in each stack!

Last Monday, the morning was beautiful weather and it was a good time to get started on the project. We had gotten some pressure treated planks to close in and define the area that would need filler sand for leveling and laying out the blocks.

Our younger daughter Heather had an above ground pool in her yard. They had had a large load of sand brought in to level out their land. We needed sand and we knew exactly where to get it! We dug up and hauled out six buckets at a time in the back of our Saturn. Two loads were enough to level off and pack down to cover up the broken cement patio.

We were ready to start making sure we were square and right with the world. (that is Steve's saying)  The first three stones looked awfully good. Compared to what was there before, this was a great start!

Working carefully and making sure each stone is laid so the patterns do not repeat themselves, as well as making sure everything is level and snug and square together. Once all the stones are in place, we will sweep in the special polymeric sand that becomes activated with water. That makes a nice concrete join that prevents weeds from growing through the joints.

As we dumped out the third bucket, we found this great big huge hitchhiker! He was still very groggy from being woken up from his winter sleep. We let him sun himself for a while to get warm, but then I carefully buried him in a little spot over in the woods and let him go back to sleep. We are still having cold weather at night, sometimes down in the low 20's. No time for a little guy like this to be out hopping around.

We got 20 of the stones laid down but we were really tiring out. This was on Monday so we didn't know we were really getting sick yet. That was as far as we got, then decided to take a break for the night.

Tuesday morning we got up and went to it again and got another 12 stones laid. But we were exhausted and decided that was enough and we weren't going to push ourselves any further.  We did set the picnic table and benches into place, and then I went inside. 

I thought we were done for the day. As I got inside and put my feet up, I noticed Steve go zooming by the window and I saw him dragging something. I snapped a picture just as he went around the corner:

Sure enough,
 he had put his new grill out on the patio! 
What a guy.

That is as far as we got. Then we were sick.  We are going to pick up 12 more stones to finish the last area from there over to the corner of the building by the kitchen nook. (yellow marks) We totally ran out of steam. For now that is good enough.


We didn't do too much more for the rest of the week. We were pretty much down and out. Family celebrations were called off, an Easter visit with Steve's elderly father was delayed, and we just stayed home, curled up, alternating between dozing and eating and sleeping and feeling lousy!

Lots of chicken soup, hot apple juice with spices, some beefy chili and frozen fruit bars. 8 days went by in blur...  We did binge watch 4 seasons of Edge of Alaska! 

We started to get a little bit more energy back now this week. Steve decided we could finally add the little brackets to the screen door and get that mounted on the north entrance to the She Shed.

Before screwing the brackets into place, we ran a thin bead of caulking along edgess so daylight would not show through the cracks where it was attached to the door frame. I like that neat and finished appearance.  I held while he caulked.

Steve carefully pre-drilled and screwed in the brackets while I held them into place as level as I could, with added stacks of magazines underneath to keep it at the proper distance and centered on the door frame. I was also hoping no caulking would squeeze out and get down onto the black fiberglass screen material.  The magazines helped prevent that too.

Steve also pre-drilled and mounted the hinges right away to the door. I love these type of hinges, they are spring-loaded and make the door give a delightful "springy" twang sound as it's opened, and door can give a resounding "thwap" back into place.  The Sound of Summer. 

It didn't take long and we had the screen door mounted into place. This is the door on the north side of the She Shed by the pergola that leads to the garage. It matches the two other screen doors on the house, one in the front and one over on the south side. How cute is that?  Once the ivy and clematis vines start growing on the pergola, it will be a sweet little secluded entrance.

From within the She Shed we can have a door open on each side for air circulation moving through the room, as well as the three open windows along the west side.

This screen door looks out over the new patio 
and the fenced-in dog exercise area

This is the new one that we just put in by the entryway into the She Shed from the garage. This is also Binney's favorite spot to hang out on the ottoman to watch for the deer at night.


I made another cute little project and Steve was finally able to gather up enough energy to go out and mount it onto a tree for me. This is my repurposing of an old teapot. I painted it, and Steve made a little wooden circular plaque with a smaller entry hole, good for the size of a birdhouse. This wooden plaque can be popped back out to clean the teapot at the end of the season. He drilled two holes in the base and screwed it right into the trunk of a tree. I used a hot glue gun to attach the lid upwards on an angle, resting on the handle, as kind of a little awning over the perch area.

Yesterday I gathered up just enough energy to take one of my green striped chaise lounge cushions and recover it in some cute red and white printed fabric. One done, three to go.

Ohhhhhh I almost forgot!   

On Easter Sunday I got myself into trouble! Facebook trouble! All I did was post my cute little photo called Happy Keester with little babies butts painted like Easter eggs. I've been posting that picture every Easter since I started on Facebook back in 2009? I guess they consider that child pornography and I got thrown in FACEBOOK JAIL for 3 days!

I get to go back on tomorrow morning. 

Now it is Tuesday, and we are finally feeling a little bit better, but not quite back up to snuff. Steve had ordered some parts for the motorhome and decided it was time to get started. He will work on it a little at a time as his energy level increases. I wonder what he's up to?

I guess you'll have to find out in my next blog.


  1. I am glad that you are feeling better and hope that you just had a regular cold and not covid.
    FB has some strange rules. I have not been in the naughty corner, but I seem to have trouble with my marketplace ads. I tried to look for the old zinc canning lids, and was told it violated their rules. Also, I tried selling some chicken equipment - not the chickens, but they said it was against the rules.

  2. I like the look of the patio. Your handy mister is very crafty as are you with the teapot

    1. Oh, thanks, but we did the patio and sidewalk prep work, layout, lifting, and placements together! It's not his project, its our project.

  3. Glad to hear you are feeling some better. Even vaccinated we can get Covid, just a milder version.

    The two of you have done a really nice job of making your house a lovely home. Take care.

  4. I was wondering where you were when no posts on FB! Sorry to hear you were both ill!! Patio and doors are great.


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