Category Archives: Lewis projects

New Careers?

My husband and I have decided to consider becoming weather forecasters post-retirement. I say this because –

  • we FINISHED the demolition of the 2nd failed brick planter, AND
  • we also put a tarp over my cement mixer behind the shop that we use to mix Mel’s Mix (the special soil replacement ingredients we use in our raised bed square foot planters

Because of these two things, we can practically assure everyone that the 40% chance we had of rain tomorrow morning is no longer applicable.

If we HADN’T finished and the soil wasn’t covered up, we would have had a deluge. We have proved this several times before in the 30+ years we’ve lived here. :0)

I’m thinking of calling our local weather guys and girls and letting them know there should be a change in the forecast….

Here is the 2nd 8 foot x 1-1/2 foot demolished-waiting-for-spring-for-us-to-rebuild-the-planter.

We did the work today in record time because the plant roots remaining weren’t completely root-bound and also we learned the best tools to use and techniques on the FIRST failed planter we demolished.

 

I hope the other people who live in our area weren’t depending on it raining tomorrow…. :0)

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Planter Project

 

Yesterday I told you that the weather forecast was for good weather until Tuesday of next week, when we’re due for another ‘wintry mix.’  I was happy because we wouldn’t be rushed on our demolishing of the 2nd of 2 planters that were falling apart.

Well, when I checked today, the forecast is NOW for a 40% chance of rain TOMORROW – morning!  Arrrrgh!!!!!!

You can see where we are now. We just finished our errands for the day and are resting a bit before we tackle this again. Since there is a good chance for rain tomorrow, we really need to see if we can get the dismantling done today, including digging out the remaining plants, digging out the rest of the potting soil, knocking down and hauling off the rest of the bricks, and then wrapping the tarp around the soil and putting bricks on top to try to save as much of the soil as possible for the rebuild in the spring.

My nose is out of joint right now about this –

  • It’s Valentine’s Day and I was hoping for a quiet day, with some time up in my art room. (We got some jumbo shrimp at the seafood place on the way home today from taking our tax stuff to our CPA. I peeled and cooked it, and it is cooling in the back fridge – but we may be dozing in our recliners from sheer exhaustion, rather than enjoying it tonight.)
  • We are a bit ‘long-in-the-tooth for this project. It’s probably a good character-building exercise to do it ourselves, but it would be so NICE not to have to get the whole demolition part into two days…

Okay. I hear you. Enough with the griping and on with the DOING.

I’ll post pics later today – or tomorrow… :0)

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Part II of Brick Planter Redo

Awhile back I told you that two of our brick planters desperately needed to be rebuilt. My husband tried to dig out a hydrangea bush in one of them and the whole front of the planter fell down into the yard. We spent the next few days digging out the plants, shoveling the potting soil onto a tarp, hauling the bricks out of the way, and then wrapped up the soil as best we could to try to save as much as possible for the spring rebuild.

Today on the way back from errands, my husband said he thought we should take advantage of the spring-like weather today and start demolishing the second planter.

 

We worked for a couple of hours so far. We got a huge hydrangea plant out that was totally root-bound. We knocked off as much soil as possible and then wheel-barrowed the remains and dumped it ‘off the edge of the earth’ (past the edge of what we call the civilized part of our 8 acres.)

We’ve moved a lot of bricks and potting soil, but decided to admit we’re old and call it a day.

 

Tomorrow we’ll hit it again. The weather forecast says we don’t have bad weather until Tuesday of next week. I hope they’re right. We would like to get this part of the project wrapped up as soon as possible.

In the spring, we’ll rebuild the two planters. We already purchased the bricks. We’re not sure if these planters failed because the mortar we used on them was bad, or that they had enough water in them that didn’t drain out properly and froze, breaking up the sides.

We built 14 brick planters around the yard and only 2 failed, so that’s a reasonable amount of success. These lasted over 20 years before failing, so hopefully they’ll last until long after WE are gone.

Hopefully, more progress pictures tomorrow.

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Planter Project

The brick-lined rectangular slab on the right used to be a planter. We built it several years ago, along with 13 others, and all of a sudden it wasn’t happy, its sides bowing out a bit. One other planter just like it at the opposite end of the house needs to come down, too.

We weren’t planning to do anything about this until the spring. :0(

My husband decided he would dig out one of the hydrangea bushes in it, and the whole front of the planter collapsed, forcing us to get things to a reasonable point before our winter got serious. We lucked out, getting a few days of spring-like weather, so we knocked down the other bricks, hauled them to behind the well house where we stacked them up, dug out the potting soil and put it on the tarp to the left of the photo. We spent part of several days demolishing the planter. We’re a bit long-in-the-tooth now and sledge-hammering, shoveling, and hauling bricks tires us out pretty quickly.

We got to the bottom layer of bricks, but no matter what we used, they wouldn’t budge. This means we’ll do the brick laying to rebuild the planter ourselves, since no pro would touch it. We wrapped up the potting soil in the tarp, got another one to put on the top and held it down with bricks – to save as much of the potting soil as we can.  Just in time,  since the rains came and now we have the smallest rectangular ‘lake’ in the world – the bricks holding the water in on top of the concrete slab.

We bought replacement bricks several months back, so when the weather is cooperative and warm enough for the mortar to set well, we’ll try to demolish the other wounded planter and then get busy with the rebuilding. Since we’re now seriously heading into winter, this will probably be it on the planter project until the spring.

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Apologizing

SayingImages.com

My husband and I were raking rocks, picking up tools, hauling bricks, and wrapping up the potting soil for the planter we had to demolish.  My husband’s hearing is a bit challenged (I guess mine probably is, too), but I asked him, while he was raking rocks, if I should start gathering the tools. He gave me an exasperated look, stopped raking rocks, and started pitching tools into the wheelbarrow. I helped him finish that, hauled off some bricks, put away the tools, and came back and helped with the rock raking. We put some bricks on top of the tarp filled with soil and agreed that we would need to get a smaller tarp tomorrow to cover up the soil better.

While we were taking some pry bars back out to the shop, I apologized that I had made him angry. He finally said, “You wanted me to help raking rocks. THEN you decided to haul the bricks off instead of raking with me. THEN you wanted me to stop what I was doing and pick up tools.”

The fact that he was out there raking rocks and helping to get to a good stopping place on the planter meant more to me than the fact he got angry with me because he won’t admit he needs his hearing checked.  I DO value our relationship, and it IS more important than my ego or who was right or wrong.

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Frustrated

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I’m frustrated because it’s already Tuesday afternoon and my exercise plans are blown for the week.

I told you that I was going to do some combination of  DANCING exercise video, WALKING exercise video, the elliptical trainer, Wii Fit Plus, and yoga during Monday through Friday to try to keep moving, give myself a lot of variety, and try to increase my health and mobility.

THEN, our brick planter collapsed, sending brick everywhere.

We KNEW that this planter we built years ago and one other (both 8 feet long and a foot wide in front of our home at either end) were failing and would need to be replaced. We just didn’t plan on it right NOW. We figure the mortar we used was bad, since the other 12 planters we built are doing fine.

Once it collapsed, there was nothing to do but demolish the planter, haul the bricks over to a storage place behind the well house, shovel out the potting soil, and prep the area to rebuild it.

We’ve spent part of two days on it so far. We got down to the concrete slab we poured and the bottom round of bricks. We tried with a sledge hammer, pic-ax, and other tools to loosen the bottom round of bricks, but they wouldn’t budge. We have now decided to prep the area, raking rocks out of the way, wrapping up the potting soil in a tarp, and will re-brick the planter ourselves when the weather and temperature are good.

I’m about to go out and rake rocks. I’m not sure yet, whether we’ll go ahead and demolish the other planter or just hope it stays in one piece until spring.

I’m frustrated because I know this kind of activity doesn’t really take the place of official exercises. I can do a lot around the house or yard and not activate all the muscles that need it. Even raking rocks, wrapping up soil, sweeping, etc., isn’t the same as one of my more official avenues of exercise.

Tomorrow a carpet cleaning company is coming to clean our living room, office, and foyer. I’ll be relocating small stuff all morning in preparation for their work. Then, when the carpet is dry, we’ll be putting things back. A lot of labor, but –

I’ll just go with the flow and start my ‘official’ exercises NEXT week…

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Plans vs Actuality Update

Bubonik

We tried to go back out to work on finishing demolishing the brick planter after a late lunch, but weren’t making much progress. We decided to call it a day and hit it again tomorrow.

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Plans vs Actuality

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This picture gives you a BIT of an idea of what we’ve been doing since yesterday afternoon.

My husband went out to see if he might be able to dig a hydrangea out of one of two brick planters that are suddenly falling apart in front of our home. (We think the mortar we used must have been bad.)  We built 12 others that are doing fine.

He just started to use a shovel – and part of the whole front of the planter came down with a crash. I was planning to go to my art room to play, and suddenly we were going to the local hardware store for two tarps for the “demolishing-the-planter” project.

We spread one tarp out and held it down with some of the bricks that had fallen off the planter. We spent an hour and a half yesterday trying to dig the big hydrangea out of one end of the planter. My husband dug and cut and I threw bricks into the wheelbarrow and carted them off behind our well house and then stacked them up. We FINALLY got the huge ball and roots of the hydrangea to let go and then spent 10 minutes with both of us working together trying to roll the ball off the end of the civilized portion of our front yard. (The rest is woods.) We called it a day right before dark.

Today we did errands, came home and had our Nutrisystem mid-morning snack. I came in to work on the computer and suddenly noticed things were quiet. (I had again been planning to go upstairs and play in my art room.)

________________

I looked around and discovered my husband had gone outside to tackle the planter again. I grabbed some gloves and went out to help.

We had another hydrangea, and I suggested we use a pick-ax to break it apart a little at a time. That seemed to work much better. My husband wielded the heavy pick-ax, then I shoveled up the dirt and threw it onto the pile on the tarp. This allowed each of us a bit of time to rest between periods of exertion.

We now have most of the potting soil on the tarp. We’re taking a break, drinking water, and relaxing a bit.

We’ll go back out and see if we can remove the rest of the bricks and then do an extensive clean up. We want to leave the concrete slab as clean as possible, raking the decorative rocks away from the edges of the slab. We’ll use a leaf blower to try to get the remaining soil out of the rocks. We’ll wrap up the tarp, putting bricks on top to keep the soil intact as much as possible.

We have another planter to do, but I’m not sure we’ll get to that one now. We have already purchased a pallet (or whatever you call it) of bricks to use to rebuild the planters. If we can find an expert to do it that we can afford, we’ll do it. If not, we’ll get busy mixing mortar in the spring…

Maybe TOMORROW I can play.

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Kitchen Reorganization Project is Finished!

EMGN

I’ve spent about 3 hours cleaning out the four junk drawers in the kitchen. I finished – finally – and then fixed some lunch for us.

The drawer on the right is the original junk drawer, and is still the most averse to organization. I mostly took things OUT. The drawer on the left is now tools.

 

Drawer # 3 on the right is left-over tools, such as levels, stud finders, razor blades and holders, and measuring tape. The last drawer is my microwave steam cleaner, rolling-pin, extension cord and toothpicks.

Not perfect, but I threw away a ton of stuff, relocated things, and then reorganized what was left. We should have a much easier time finding things now.

I have officially called the end to the kitchen project now – at least for this Phase II pass.

I’ll decide the next project tomorrow.

Right now I may curl up in my chair and take a nap.

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Morphing Junk Drawer

Yesterday I cleaned out four more kitchen drawers.

We have always had what we call a ‘junk drawer’ in any kitchen we have. It’s the place we put nails, screws, twist-ties, tools, and other odds-and-ends We might need.

The problem with living in a nice home for over 30 years is that – unless one is a good housekeeper, which I’m NOT

ONE junk drawer morphs into FOUR!

(The one we had set up got too full, so my husband moved some stuff out of the drawer next to it and put the new junk in there. And then, the next, and the next….)

Now we have FOUR junk drawers in the kitchen –

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Drawer 1 – this is the ‘original’ junk drawer

Drawer 2

 

Drawer 3

 

Drawer 4

I know. We’re slobs. But we ARE trying to do better.

Today I will take EVERYTHING out. I’ll pitch a lot of things, relocate other things that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and then try to organize what we’re keeping.

I’ll try to keep it to TWO junk drawers.

Junk drawers will never be ‘neat,’ but we are wasting lots of valuable space.

 

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Happy New Year from Calvin, Hobbes, and the Lewises

We just put up our “Happy New Year” mailbox decoration. We made this Calvin & Hobbes design using our CNC machine and computer-guided torch to cut out the metal. My husband made and welded on the mounting bar, and then we marked both sides. I painted the sides using outdoor paint and then sprayed a protective layer of polyurethane to help it withstand the sun and weather as well as possible.

 

This is the back of the decoration. You can see the mounting bar clearly on this side.

Happy New Year!

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Did It!

Library Donation – We may add to this before we actually take it to the library.

 

Disabled Veterans Thrift Store Donation – We may add to this, too, but the foyer is now clear of the piles of books, clothes, electronics, etc.

So, today’s project is finished and I’m going to grab a cup of coffee, sit in my recliner, and dive back into my book.

Have a wonderful afternoon and evening!

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Sunday’s Project

Getty Images via FreeImages.com

I’ve told you that our son is home from Thailand for the first time in over three years. I can’t tell you what a wonderful time we’re having, with lots of good conversations, a few really bad movies, lots of laughs, hugs, and more.

One thing I wanted to do while he was home was go through the things we have that are his. I made sure he understood that whatever he wanted to store here, he could. I just wanted to know if there was anything he really didn’t need or want anymore that we could either sell or donate. It turned out there were a BUNCH of things that could go.

He brought things down from the guest room and up from the basement. He consolidated the things he wanted to keep in a big lidded tub in the basement. Yesterday I went through all the books, listing some for sale on Amazon and bagging up the rest to donate to the local library for their next fundraiser.

Today’s project is that I’m going through all the other ‘stuff’ he no longer needs or wants, listing things to donate to the Disabled Veterans Thrift Store. Our foyer is pretty full, although the picture I chose for this post is a bit of an exaggeration. :0)

We will end up with several large leaf bags of donation, so I brought one bag into the office to gather trash before I started on the foyer. Suddenly our son was here with a trash bag, gathering the trash! He’s a keeper, for sure.

I’m cooking for the holiday tomorrow, so I want to get this accomplished today.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day, too!  Wish me luck!!!

 

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Busy Day

Incredibly Cute Animal Pictures – pinterest

I have been going non-stop since we got up this morning.

Bad weather – in the form of cold front, cold rain, ice, sleet, snow, and flying hair balls is forecast for today-into-tomorrow. Since our driveway is steep and 650 feet down to the street, we tend to take ice seriously around here. Snow isn’t as much of a problem, but Arkansas tends to do ICE and THEN snow on top, making for a hairy situation.

The mailman came up the driveway today. We had received a BUNCH of packages and boxes as well as our regular mail, so we spent a bunch of time opening and organizing things. Then we went to the grocery store to get things we would be unhappy to be without if we get stuck on top of our ridge line. I got all the food put away while my husband took all the boxes and packing and burned them in the burn barrel. (It was raining, so we didn’t have to worry about having the fire.)

My husband had asked me to make pulled pork, so I spent about an hour getting a pork shoulder ready for the crock pot. It’s cooking now. Just as I cleaned up the kitchen, it was time for lunch.

I just finished cleaning out the refrigerator we have in the pantry and am now taking a break for a cup of coffee and my blog. It’s already 4:30!

I found more Christmas decorations in the pantry, so I’m going to open up the bags and decide where to put things.

A happy, busy day, and I’m feeling that someone sucked all the energy out of me. I’m going to regroup for a while and then tackle the fun job of looking at Christmas decorations.

I hope the weather where you are is good and that you’re having a great day.

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Today’s Project – Fridge One

We have a fridge like this one in our kitchen. I love it. It’s a side by side with an icemaker. The doors open wide and there is a lot of flexibility in how you set things up, what temperatures you want, etc. We got it about 10 years ago, so it doesn’t have a lot of the bells and whistles people have now, but it’s really good for us and I hope it lasts a good, long time.

The outside is a nice, glossy black that looks great when it’s spanking clean and gets to looking pretty sad with a gazillion finger prints on it, spills from something we took out of the fridge, water deposits of ‘something’ in the drain under where the ice comes out, etc.

Our problem is compounded because I have all kinds of ‘stuff’ on it.

 

 

I have all kinds of information regarding Nutrisystem – snacks, okay veggies, okay fruits, grocery list, etc. We also keep a record of propane tank readings monthly. We have timers, fridge magnets, reminders of coming appointments – you get the idea.

Today’s project was to clean the fridge – particularly the inside. It started with using up our supply of cut up celery and radishes ready to eat. I fixed that, and then was again aware that the fridge really needed some attention, and had been needing it for awhile. I’m fairly good about watching for expiration dates on things, but I tend to shove bags of lettuce, veggies of all kinds, cheeses, etc. into their places without cleaning the bin or drawer UNDER them much, and the stuff in the door is even worse.

I just finished the fridge in the kitchen. It looks and smells really good now. :0)

Tomorrow’s project will be the fridge in the pantry…

 

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Today’s Project – Scrubbing the Tiled Areas

We have about half of our first floor done in tiles – walk-in pantry, kitchen, dining area, utility room, and two half-baths. I have been working on this project all day and am about half finished.

I scrubbed all the counters, polished tables, cleaned window sills, harvested lettuce, put out a few Christmas decorations, etc.

 

This is the kitchen. I’ve scrubbed everything up top now, and the stove parts are in the dishwasher.

 

This is looking from the kitchen out toward the dining area. (You can see my lettuce plants in the background.)

 

These are a few of our Christmas decorations on the divider between the dining area and the kitchen.

 

This is the dining area and my moved-inside-veggie garden. I still have lettuce and some celery plants.

The next step in today’s project is to vacuum all the tile and then mop.

I’ll try to take pics of more Christmas decorations when the light changes.

I hope you’re having a good day, too.

 

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Today’s Project – The Entertainment Shelves – Is Finished!

I guess if you’re ‘regular folks,’ you might think that the shelves need to be cleaned out NOW. If you’re the Lewises, though, this is WONDERFUL.

 

We have about 1/3 as much ‘stuff,’ as we did, the shelves are clean, smell like lemon Pledge (Ahhhh!) and are organized. (The pic above is my husband’s side of the entertainment center, so he’ll probably do more rearranging, but now he won’t choke on the dust while he does it. :0) )

And this is MY side of the entertainment center. I now have things where I can find them. I found things I didn’t realize I HAD, and did away with more stuff I no longer want.

I’ve worked on this project all afternoon, so with a little nudge from me, we’re going to get fried rice from our local Chinese restaurant for dinner tonight!

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Today’s Project -11-29-2018

Sono Marin Cleaning Services

I WISH I had a cleaning service, like the one above!

I told you recently that we had decided to get rid of our DVD collection – or most of it, since I kept my prized ones, not completely trusting the Synology Storage System. We gave approximately 217 DVDs to the local library for their next fundraiser.  We’re trying to sell the ones Amazon would accept, though it made me feel older than dirt when ours weren’t ‘acceptable’ (even Blu-rays) most of the time, due to the publishing date being too old.

This left us with several empty shelves on both sides of our TV!

I’m working my way through them, cleaning and moving things around. Due to the fact that they have held DVDs jammed side by side for umpteen years ( I removed the strips my husband cut to length and screwed into each one to make the DVDs stand in the shelves correctly) – cleaning is a real trip – partially because, other than running the dustcatcher over the top of them, the shelves couldn’t be cleaned without taking all the DVDs off each shelf. Since I’m a slob – FAT CHANCE! So I’m choking on dust, then using a clean cloth and Pledge to get the shelves clean and wonderful-smelling again, and THEN rearranging things so that books on the same subject are together, for example. I’m also getting rid of a lot of things.

I’ve spent a couple of hours on the project so far.  I’m about halfway finished and am taking a much-needed break.

When I finish my husband’s side, I’ll take pics of the newly clean, organized shelves!

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Wonderful Way to Start a Day!

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I’m walking 3 inches (at least) off the ground this morning.

We received a delivery from Fedex this morning. The driver wasn’t our ‘normal’ driver, but a very nice young woman. She fended off Amber kindly when Amber was trying hard to greet her, wagging her tail, trying to knock her down, and trying to get into her truck at the same time. She reacted by laughing, immediately winning our feelings of relief and approval.

I got Amber and put her in the house while the lady got a huge box out of her truck. While my husband was wrestling with 60 lbs of dog food, the lady started to get back into her truck. She stopped, came back around and said something to the effect of, “I love all your artwork. I slowed the truck down so I could try to look at everything, waving at the two robots standing watch on either side of the garage door.

My spirits soared and I tried not to break my face as I grinned at her. I told her that she had made our day and thanked her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re never sure what the reaction will be. Some people probably look at our stuff and shake their heads or wonder why anyone would clutter up their yard like we do. This lady particularly mentioned the robot and owls at the bottom of the driveway and the flying pig hanging from a tree midway up.

When someone is this nice, giving compliments on our stuff when there is no need (such as our saying, “Look what we made!” and then them trying to come up with something similar to, “Well, that’s a lot of stuff!” – it brings real joy.

A wonderful way to start a day!

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Fishing for a Compliment…

Our fish aren’t very good conversationalists. They don’t want or give affection, give compliments or give out rebukes. I feel good, though, that their aquarium is now bright, shining clean. I changed out the decorations in the tank, too, so they have a change of scene, as well as new filters, plus clean and treated water.

About the only thing they DO is bunch up in the corner when they want to be fed, wriggling their tiny bodies and making a big deal of seeing my face, even before I give them anything to eat. THAT makes all the upkeep worth it. :0)

I’m feeling lazy today since I spent most of the day outside yesterday cleaning out and pruning the plants in our planters. I finished all in the front yard – we have 11 in all (eight 8 foot brick planters and 3 of assorted sizes), plus the planters on the deck yesterday. I’m a bit long in the tooth for that much work, but we had an 80% chance of rain today (and the forecasters were correct), and my body is in protest mode today.

Now that the project for the day is finished, I’m going to go do some yoga to see if I can get stretched out again.

Otherwise, friends (Lunch Bunch) followed by food and football!

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End of the Kitchen Drawer Project

Well, I threw away things, put extra supplies in the pantry, and reorganized the rest, having the things I use most often easily accessible now.

Our driveway beeper went off just before I took these pics. It was our wonderful Tri-Hill bug guy, on a follow-up trip to treat the outside of the house that he couldn’t do due to rain when he treated the inside recently. I found out that his last work day this week is today, and he has until Tuesday morning off!

While we were talking, I again noticed a BUNCH of frozen, dead foliage around the porch and in the planters, plus a gazillion dead ladybugs on the front porch. I was embarrassed that our outside was such a mess, so I’ll put in some time out there this afternoon. I’ll get rid of the poor ladybugs, cut down the dead stuff, and maybe get started on the leaves all over the front yard. I want to make mulch for the flower beds. If they’re dry enough, I might get started on that today…

I hope that YOU are having a wonderful last-day-before-Thanksgiving, too!

 

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Sand/Water Blasting and Bulldozing…

Sun Sentinel

Actually, although I DO sandblasting on glassware and tools in the shop, and water blasting on the deck, concrete, and more, I am using the kitchen sink and cleaners for today’s project of scrubbing out all our trash containers, putting in trashcan liners (as I SHOULD have long ago) and putting things back together.

I’m getting several messages from this project –

  • I’m spending much of the day doing something I COULD have avoided if I had put trashcan liners in all the containers when they were clean, umpteen years ago
  • Scrubbing out trash cans is a LOT of work
  • Putting the clean trash cans with fresh liners back gives me good exercise – particularly the ones that belong upstairs
  • We have a LOT of trash cans! Since I’m scrubbing them all, I’m counting – and we have 21 trash cans inside this house!

I have SIX remaining to scrub, line, and put back.

If I still have energy, I’m planning to clean out the double cabinet area under the kitchen sink. (Can you imagine – things tend to fall out of there whenever I try to get something!)  :0(

With these two projects for the day and my 35 minutes on my elliptical trainer, I can feel good about my activity level today.

amazon.com

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Sunday’s First Project

World Arts Me

It seems that everywhere I look in my house – or outside, for that matter – many things are calling to me, saying things like, “I’m choking on the dust!” “I’m going to fall all over you the next time you try to get something from this shelf!” “Hellooooooooo! Are you still there?”  “Feed me!” “Clean me!” “Water me!” “Cut me down!”  You get the idea. Most of the time I’m able to ignore things, but every once in a while, I feel guilty and attack something.

  • One day this week I finally cleaned our ceiling fans – we have eight of them inside. (I’m still ignoring the ones in the garage, porch, and deck, and I’m not even THINKING about the ones in the shop.)
  • Yesterday I cleaned the three-window-combo in our dining area, then ended up cleaning other stuff…
  • Today I tackled our “back” bathroom. This one is off our utility room. I use it daily after breakfast to dry my hair, put on makeup, etc. The cats also have their litter box there – in case a need arises and they happen to be inside and no one is reacting to their pleas to go out.

Since this bathroom is right next to the door to the garage, my husband and I put up 2×4’s flat on one wall, then painted them white to match the wall, then put up a gazillion or so hooks to hold our hats, gloves, etc. years ago. Later, we added a couple of short shelves, since the cabinet under the sink is small and we needed more storage space.

Since then, the shelves had become a catch-all for cleaning supplies, paper supplies, make up, an electric razor plus attachments for cutting hair, and more. All were studiously ignored, so there was a layer of dust on the top shelf, and there was so much on my make-up and toilet paper shelf that the things threatened to tumble off onto the floor if I wasn’t really careful when I picked something up.  Cleaning the actual shelf was impossible.

I decided to move a small table with storage under it and a drawer into the bathroom. This has been in our foyer for years and years, acting as a catch-all for books we’re going to donate, clothes we’re giving away but haven’t gotten into big leaf bags yet, and more. Everyone who comes to visit comes through our garage, so we were able to ignore this problem area, too.

 

It may be odd, but I have some wonderful art work by friends in this bathroom, as I get to enjoy them every day this way.

 

This is the sink that has a cabinet under it, but no drawer.

 

This gives you an idea of our storage system for gloves and hats.

 

This is the small table that used to be in the foyer, plus the cats’ box.

 

There is never enough room to store scarves…

 

And here are the infamous shelves whose items were threatening to jump off and dump themselves on the floor. I separated my makeup into things I dash on every day and other things for when I want to get more serious in the bag on the shelf above.  I put the back up stuff in a gallon storage bag, and the everyday stuff on a pretty dish I have. Now I can clean under things quickly. :0)

And why didn’t I do this years ago? One of the big mysteries of life….

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New Greenhouse Experiment

This is the greenhouse my husband and I built last year. I haven’t done anything with it during the summer because no matter what I did, as far as leaving the door open, running the exhaust fan on the other end, running a second fan on the table, it was over 120 degrees F. in there.

 

Now that it’s finally much cooler, I’m going to see if I can get some plants going and see if I can grow them through the winter!

I got a six-pack of Iceberg head lettuce today. I have some tomato plants still in various stages. I’m going to see if I can get some good suckers from them, and get both things started in the greenhouse.

I need to clean things out in there first. The rain comes in underneath, so the floor is pretty awful right now. I want to extend the heavy extension cord from the house to the greenhouse and get the exhaust and extra fan going, and get some pots set up with Mel’s Mix. I need to find my rooting medium and make sure I have plenty of water out there.

THEN I’ll plant the lettuce, and THEN I’ll see if I can find good suckers on the tomato plants. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, but if reading and enthusiasm will do it, I’m in.

I’ll post progress (?) reports to let you know how things are going. Fingers, and all other appendages crossed!

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Filed under Challenges, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Lewis projects, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Closet Purge/Reorganization Project Finished

I have now finished going through my closet with my hot weather clothes, all my shoes, purses, scarves, etc. For me, this is good. Before, my shoes were all over the floor, for example. To the right of the shelves you can see my scarves and a hint of my purses.

 

My shoes are actually in the shelves for shoes now!

 

Casual tops are on the top. Dressier (as far as I GET dressier) on the bottom.)

I’ve tried everything on and have brought a LOT of stuff downstairs and dumped it in the foyer corner until I start listing and bagging things for donation to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith. THAT’S for another day, though.

I’m going to go put my feet up and dive into another book. :0)

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Cleaning Out My Closet – Again

Due to the nice fact that I shed one size in jeans due to my efforts with Nutrisystem and exercise, I decided that today was a good day to go through my closet again.

The last time I did a good job was in the fall, so I have a full closet of warm/hot weather type clothing now. I’ve kept some of it because it was too small and “maybe” I could wear it ‘someday.’ I’ve kept other things because they were large enough to fit me.  Other things have just gone back and forth from the guest room closet to my closet and back again several times. I hate to admit that, but it’s true.

This time I’m going through everything thoroughly again, trying everything on and making the decision to keep it or donate it.

The fun part so far was getting rid of some now-too-large jeans and a pair of dress slacks that was new when Methuselah was a baby. (Do you get the idea I usually wear jeans?)  :0)

I brought down a big group of clothes I’m going to donate, but I got hot and tired and decided I would rest a bit and do something else, and then go back up for another session a bit later.

This time I’m not keeping something just because ‘it’s big enough to cover me.’ I’m also looking at the color, style, and deciding if I actually LIKE it or not. Imagine that! It’ll be a while before I can have JUST clothes I like, but little by little, I’m moving toward my goal.

I’m hoping that when I move the warm/hot weather stuff into the guest room closet in a few months and exchange it for the cool/cold weather clothes, I’ll be able to do the try-everything-on again job again and find more things that are actually larger than they need to be.

My goal will be to have a donation ready for The Disabled Vets Thrift Store by the end of next week. I’m also working on another donation for our local library, as well.

I hope you’re having a great Sunday.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, giving, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

The Insanity Continues

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Yesterday we had a pop-up shower in the afternoon. Apparently, this energized my husband because the rest of the afternoon into the evening was filled with outside work.

  • He announced that he had unplugged the hummingbird bird bath we made, saying it wasn’t working; no hummingbirds – or ANY birds – used it; and that it was making a mess on the deck. The fact that all of these things were true didn’t help with the disappointment when starting to dismantle it. I took the decorative stuff, bricks and rocks out of it, then unplugged the hose that attached to it. My husband then helped me dismantle the whole thing, saving what was reusable and putting the rest of the stuff into the burn barrel. He started the fire that got rid of the rest of the bird bath parts. Meanwhile, I decided to leave the ‘table’ we made for the bird bath and will put a large, low, round planter with saucer on it. I got a bag of potting soil from our stash and wheelbarrowed it over to the steps of the deck. I heaved the bag out onto a step and was bringing the wheelbarrow back to its place when I saw my husband looking into the trees on one side of our property. (I should have known.)  I continued the bird bath project, intending to trade out the good hose that went to the bird bath for the ratty one that hangs on the bricks beside the nook planter. I wasn’t making any progress, so I went to ask for my husband’s help.
  • He was standing with the chain saw in his hand, wanting ME to come help HIM. There was a tall, dead tree he had decided should come down. I pointed out that the tree would fall on the electric wires that run to the shop. He was unimpressed and undeterred. He was trying to cut a wedge in the tree, but the chainsaw blades seemed to be dull. We spent the next half hour or so changing out the blade and the blade holder in the hot shop. Then we went back out. When the wedge had been cut, I got on the back side of the tree and prepared to push. This came quickly, with the tree coming right down on the wires, but thankfully bouncing off without taking them down.

How is it that the person you love most in the world is also the person you consider killing from time to time?

I was hostile, but he was standing there, looking SMUG, saying, “I told you it wouldn’t be a problem.” This was only the beginning, since we needed to cut the whole tree up and drag it to our growing wood pile that we’ll burn ‘sometime when it’s safer.’ It took us another two hours for my husband to chain saw the tree into pieces and me to drag all the pieces and heave them onto the pile.

We limped back to the house, shed our yucky clothes directly into the washing machine and took showers. It took me a bottle of water, shower, and resting for about an hour before I felt human again.

Needless to say, the bird bath project remains unfinished. I do have plans to use some of the decorative stuff I took out of the bird bath in the aquarium next cleaning. I’ll enlist my husband’s help when we get back from the Breakfast Bunch to help me with the hose and the potting soil for the planter. I hope to plant some pretty flowers in it today.

And GUESS WHAT! – we have MORE rain in the forecast for this afternoon and evening…

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Lunacy

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Recently I told you that we found a wonderful guy who is coming tomorrow afternoon to clean out our gutters, install covers, PLUS give us an estimate for taking down parts of two trees. He’ll have his chainsaw in the back of his vehicle so he can do the tree work while he’s here if we like the estimate.

Yesterday I was sitting in my comfortable chair in the living room reading when I heard a strange sound in the back yard. I looked out to see our truck backed up toward the evergreen tree that has a huge dead place in the middle of it due to the power company clearing things for their lines, cutting stuff down in a really careless way.  My husband was up on a ladder, precariously balanced on the slope that runs down to the actual tree trunk, trying to tie a nylon rope to the dead part of the tree.

I screeched silently, grabbed my sweatband and sunglasses and ran out to the truck. I held onto the ladder while my husband got the line tied. The other end of the line was on the trailer hitch on the back of the truck. Amber was in the back of the truck, looking delighted.

We tried the technique several times before we finally pulled the largest dead branch off the tree. We untied it and rolled the whole branch into the easement behind the evergreen, across from the greenhouse and the ham radio tower. We were then able to use another tool to grab another large piece of dead stuff and pull it down.  We couldn’t get all of the dead stuff, but it looks a lot better than it did.  We’re all still alive and no one was hurt.

We still have the mimosa at the bottom of the driveway that suffered a broken branch. It’s hanging down halfway onto the driveway. I’m picturing the two of us tackling THAT, too, today, ahead of the handyman coming tomorrow.  To do this, my husband will have to stand in the back of the truck and try to use the chain saw on the branch. I’ll be in the truck – positioning it as closely as possible – and then dragging the branches across the road as they’re cut and tossing them down into the ravine on the other side of the road from us.

I’m thinking that this is a pride thing, where it’s better to kill ourselves than have to admit to someone else we’re too old to do it…

Please wish us luck.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Popeye

We changed our mailbox decoration this morning, taking down the Tazmanian Devil and putting up Popeye.

We really love to make these decorations. We choose the designs together. My husband changes the image into code that our CNC computer-guided torch can understand and follow, cutting out the design from various thicknesses of sheet metal. My husband makes the piece that attaches the decoration to the mailbox with two bolts. He welds it on and smooths out any rough edges.

We wipe down all sides of the front and back with PRE, a spray that removes any oil on the metal and allows the paint to stick better. We then attach the metal piece to a holder in the shop and use a transparency we made and an overhead projector to allow me to mark the bare metal with a magic marker front and back with the design as much as possible. I then paint both sides of the piece and the attachment piece. Finally, the piece is sprayed on both sides with clear protective polyurethane so deterioration will be slowed.

This piece is tall (about 3 feet), so we added a rod vertically to the back before I painted, to keep gusty wind from bending the piece. I try to paint it so that any rods and the attachment piece blend into the design on the back as much as I can.

In the background of this picture, you can see our 6 foot tall robot holding our address sign welcoming visitors, and one of the two owls we have on either side of the driveway. They sit on top of the gate poles. Everyone’s eyes glow as car lights hit them at night. Farther up the driveway is a flying pig hanging down, a guard dog with a rifle, and various other pieces at the top. :0)

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Filed under Art From Found Things, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art, metal art

Hummingbird Birdbath Clean!

With the combination of the occasional rain followed by really hot temperatures, our hummingbird birdbath water decoration became overrun with algae within a few days’ time. It was really awful, so yesterday I took everything out, scrubbed and hosed out the bin, the bricks that sit on the bottom of it, and all the rest of the stuff. I took a tool we made and unclogged the holes in the PVC pipe that runs the length of the bin, providing the spray. I brought a lot of stuff inside and scrubbed it in the kitchen sink with a variety of things that finally got everything looking pretty good again.

Then I felt under the weather most of the day, so I didn’t put the things back out. I did that a few minutes ago. I had to clean out the PVC holes again, but everything else looked much better.

We have a trash can on the deck under the bin and a pump in the bottom of it. This recycles the water. We have a garden hose hooked up to the pump. When the water goes below a certain level, the pump allows the hose to fill the trash can to the proper level again.

 

We made this because I saw a really pretty design on Facebook. Of course, we couldn’t really replicate that, so we did the best we could with what we had. Ours is deeper than the one on Facebook, so I put bricks and rocks in the bin for the hummingbirds to sit on while they bathe.

 

Last year we didn’t see any takers, but we’re again hopeful that the birds will find this cooling and fun. Even if they don’t, the water makes a beautiful, relaxing sound that WE can enjoy when our doors are open or we’re sitting on the deck.  I’m happy that everything is clean now and invite all birds in the area to come and take a bath!

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Ammo and Clothes Washer Pump

We order lots of things online, but we don’t usually get such an interesting combination in one delivery. Today the Fedex guy delivered 9mm ammunition and a replacement pump for our clothes washer.  Amber greeted him in the driveway having just gotten out of her pool. She jumped into the truck with him, making him laugh, even though she was dripping copiously.

We got a really good deal on 1000 rounds of 9mm ammo.

 

We didn’t get a great deal on the replacement clothes washer pump, but we needed it. Our washer has been sending us terse messages for the past couple of weeks saying it was unhappy. We got an “F02” which meant we should check the drain hose to see if were kinked or clogged, and a “SUD” which indicated that there were still suds in the rinse water.

We made sure the hose was fine. I figured out how to go ahead and use the washer, bypassing the error messages until the new pump arrived. It was delivered this morning, so when we got home from Lunch Bunch, we tackled replacing the pump. My husband found a video online that showed him at least the idea of what was required and how to attack it. In half an hour, he had the old pump off and the new pump on.

The old pump had a long screw and a penny in there which my husband thinks caused the clog to form. We don’t know when that happened, but the washer and dryer combo are 13 years old. We really don’t know how the washer was able to function at ALL with as much ‘stuff’ as it had in it. The washer is running happily now, free of clogs. It’s GOOD to have a husband who is good at diagnosing and fixing things.

Now I won’t have to shoot him with my new ammo! :0)

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