Tag Archives: Lewis projects

Before and After


The bricks have been moved from in the middle of everything, between the top of the driveway to the far side, between one place we store firewood and the end of the trio planters. (You can see the bare dirt rectangle on the ground where the stack of bricks was.) I used a leaf blower to clear the area as much as possible and then weed whacked along the edge of the planters on this side and the other side that faces the yard.

Looks a bit more like someone cares now. The rain spit on us a bit on our way home from getting some groceries, but let up when we got home, giving me the chance to finish this project. The rain is supposed to start again in about and hour, then continue throughout the night and into tomorrow. I’m doubly glad I got to a stopping point here.

I’m resting now and enjoying a cup of coffee and then will do my yoga practice for the day. (DAY 131 of yoga practice and I held the plank pose for a quick count of 45 yesterday.)

Stay warm and dry!

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Our mailbox decoration represents a return to our ‘normal” summer in Arkansas, rather than the cooler, rain-filled summer we’ve had this year. We’ve gotten quite spoiled, not fearing heat stroke as we mow, weedwhack, tend our flowers and square foot garden veggies.

All that ended about a week ago now. The rain stopped, the sun came out with a vengeance, raising our actual temperatures to 100 or more in the afternoons, and the heat index to surge even higher. UGH.

The only thing left in the garden now is sweet onions, weeds, and our two planters of tomatoes.

My husband managed to get the civilized part of our yard mowed, mowing right before dark one evening and then first thing in the morning the next day. I followed that with weed whacking right before dark night before last, and then finished it up last night and blew the debris off our sidewalks and driveway pad with our leaf blower. I was planning to use our push weedwhacker this morning in the area behind our shop and beside our garden, but we talked about it and decided I would really be risking heat stroke. I walk outside, with my headband on, and I’m instantly wringing wet. I think we will only do what is absolutely necessary until this “Punishment from Mother Nature” passes. We might even wait until fall…

I WILL pull the sweet onions and start drying them soon. I don’t know how much longer the tomatoes will make. Even with our irrigation system, the tomatoes are almost boiling on the vines. Happily, my elephant ear plants and phlox or doing well, even with the heat. I’ll try to get out and get pics for you.

When I get out there early enough, I’m still working on the refurbishment project of of our yard critters. Right now I’m repainting “Mama and Baby Snail.” I post a pic when they’re ready to go back outside.

Every summer I regret the fact that we ran out of money when we were building our home over 30 years ago. We managed the main house and the small shop, but we had to give up my dream of a pool. I taught swimming every summer from age 14 through college to help pay for my education. We live on top of ridge line, and had to dynamite several times to be able to have our basement, septic system, and the pool. We got the first two, but not the third. Every summer I dream of a beautiful in-ground pool. Of course, I also dream of Sven, the gorgeous pool man, coming to take care of it – and me. (If I’m going to dream, I’ll include it all… :0) )

I hope summer is being kind to you.

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Filed under Gardening, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Shovel Bird is Back

I brought out the second finished shovel bird and put him in place last night before dark. He is at one edge of the top of our driveway, ready to greet all comers.

It feels good to be getting our yard critters cleaned up and re-painted. Things were beginning to look at bit sad around here.

I hope he brings a smile to someone’s face.

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We are in celebration and rest mode here today.

Yesterday my husband triumphed over the problem we were having with the Vette. (The Service Department at the Chevrolet place had quoted a price of $450 plus tax for the new part and then $500 for the labor of putting it in. THEN they told us, after keeping the Vette there for two weeks, they couldn’t get the part. It had been discontinued.)

My husband found the part we needed on the net, if we needed to order it, and bookmarked the page. He also found a video, with lots of positive comments, on how to get the part out, rewire it, and fix the problem. He has worked all day for three days, ending up with two hands and one arm totally bruised, bashed, gouged, and a bit swollen, plus really sore ribs from trying to hang over one side of the Vette and work to try to remove 6 screws holding the part in. Once the part was finally out, the factory had sealed it. He finally was able to pry the top off and clean up the inside. He soldered the 4 wires, put the part back together temporarily, installed it in the Vette (NO problem going back IN) and tested. IT WORKED!!!!!!

Now that he is over the hump on the problem, (knowing it is solved, and for a total of $10,) my husband can relax a bit from his “do it or die” mode of the past 3 days. I convinced him to take today off and REST. He is so sore that he seems happy to do that. He’s in the living room, drinking coffee and watching TV now. :0)

He will need to get the part out, seal the box again, then reinstall it. He’ll need to reconnect the things he had to disconnect to get to the part. But none of this will be the pressure-filled, impossible position, HARD work he’s been doing. Then he’ll be able to move the Vette from the shop to our garage.

He told me again how much he loves that car. (We bought it years ago when finances were really tight. I really wanted him to have his dream car. The smile on his face made it worth whatever we had to do to get it.) He’s still smiling. :0)


Filed under Challenges, Lewis projects

“And the Beat Goes On”


I’m managing to do a bit of exercising while also running out to the shop several times a day to check on my husband as he works on his beloved ‘Vette, armed with bottles of water, bandaids, etc.

I’m happy to be able to tell you that he has finished the hardest part of the project. He has the part out, after making no progress at all the first day. The part is out now. He will pry off the top (the manufacturers didn’t intend for someone to take it out and actually try to fix it) solder 4 wires, put it back in (he says this won’t be difficult) and test it. If it doesn’t work, he’ll order the replacement part he found on the net. If it works, he’ll zip things up and we’ll celebrate.

Service dept – two weeks – one call – if they could get the part – $1000+. They told us the part had been discontinued and they couldn’t get it. So we paid them $85.00 for them looking and the information.

My husband – three days. Either $0 or $148 plus shipping and tax. Quite a difference.

The only downside – my husband’s ‘fix it or die’ attitude, no matter what he promises. He is going to Lunch Bunch with me in about an hour. Both of his hands and one arm are really bruised, scraped, gouged, and pinched from his hard work to get the part out. It looks like he was in a bad accident or ran into spousal abuse. I’m glad we’re almost to the end of this.

Meanwhile, to maintain sanity, I have managed to do a session of yoga each day. I didn’t do my weights. I’ll pick them up again on Monday and see if I can do the exercises I found Monday, Wednesday, and Friday along with the yoga.

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The Internet is a Wonderful Thing


Several years ago my husband bought our 2003 Corvette on eBay. Yeah, that’s right. Nuts, huh?

He flew to Kansas City with a cashier’s check, a letter from the lady at the bank, and her phone number, in case it was needed. He drove it home.

He has smiled ever since.

He LOVES this car.

Recently, we started having messages pop up on the dash, indicating all kinds of problems, including “check engine,” for which we called, made an appointment for the Chevrolet Service Department in Fort Smith to look at it. Two weeks later, they finally called, said we needed a new ‘whatever module,’ and it would be $450 plus labor, but they couldn’t get one. The part had been discontinued.

We brought the Vette back home yesterday. My husband got on the net and was able to FIND the part we needed – $148.00 – but even BETTER – found a video by a guy who showed how to FIX the module we had! My husband had the tools needed, and he decided he would try to follow the video. There were about 100 comments from people thanking the man for making such a good video and helping them fix the problem.

So the Vette is in our shop now. This is a fix that does NOT require the whole front end be taken off, but my husband said it may take some time. I made him PROMISE to take lots of breaks, drink water, plus come in and rest from time to time.

Even with that promise, having lived with the man for 52 years now (and loving him longer than that) I know he’ll decide to act like he’s still in his 20’s working himself into exhaustion unless I play bad guy.

I will go out and keep checking on him. I’ve taken him a bottle of water this morning and watched as he turned on the a/c in the shop. I will check on him again in about an hour before I leave to get a haircut, and then I’ll insist he come in for lunch and a rest. Then I’ll go out there with him and start cleaning another yard critter.

I’ve told him that he gets no rewards for how quickly he finishes the job. HOPEFULLY, he will do this fix as if it were a hobby, rather than a matter of life and death…

He bought several Chevrolet manuals when he bought the car, but they weren’t much help this time. We’re grateful that he found the part, if needed, and hopefully a way to fix the problem – thanks to the wonderful man on the Internet.

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“Emu” Refurbishing Project

If you look carefully here, you can see 4 “emu” planters. (We actually have 2 more on our deck, but that will be a different project.) We have faux terra cotta flower pots that fit in the circle parts of the birds.

There is a combination of dirt, mold and ‘whatever all over them. It will take quite a bit of cleaning before I can even THINK of starting to repaint them.

There are detachable heads, necks, and then the legs come off the circular part that holds the pots. The wings and tail feathers are welded onto the circles. Googly eyes are glued onto the heads. Some of them have plain ‘head feathers,’ and others have beads glued onto them.

You can turn the heads so they “pose”. Usually we turn them so they all look toward the driveway – all looking at whoever is driving up to see us.

It will probably take several days to clean them. I’ll take pics of them when they are back in place beside the driveway.

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Sassy “Belly Vested Whapadoo”

This “refurbishment” (Is that a word?) took a lot of time and effort.

While I was cleaning him, his head fell off! My husband welded it back on, but that added to the difficulty of trying to refurbish him, with huge black ‘burns’ around his neck.

I managed to clean that up, as you can see here, and then I put styrofoam stuff in a gap between the two layers of his ‘neck” to discourage wasps from nesting in there. Finally, I added a bandana.

We used to have him wired to a tree. We moved him to this spot, putting his tail feather between the spokes of the tower. This should hold him nicely.

I’m glad to see him with his ‘sass” back.

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Refurbishing Progress

I’ve been working on the “Belly Vested Whapado” bird for several days now. He’s finally finished and will find his spot in the yard later today. We’ll have to tie him to something wherever he lives, because he needs the extra help, but I’ll take some pics and post them later.

Next up will be a set of 4 “emus’ we built to hold planter pots. There are actually 6 emus in the set. 4 live together to the side of the driveway and and there are 2 more that live on our deck. We haven’t brought the other 2 in yet. Pics to follow on these, as well.

There are some yard critters that I plan to refurbish in place. One is the robot who welcomes people to our home and holds our house numbers sign. He weighs 200+ pounds. I’ll do him in stages, first cutting the greenery away around him, then using a mold remover to get him clean, and then bringing a large can of white paint and a brush to the bottom of the driveway in our truck. I will also use rust preventing spray paint on him, masking areas carefully.

I noticed the ‘Mama and Baby Snail’ that live on one of the brick planters needs to be repainted, and a shovel bird that perches on the edge needs work, too. Right now I am refusing to even THINK about the ‘Flying Pig’ that hangs over the driveway. :0)

I’ll go out to the shop soon and take some pics.

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“Cleaning Robot” Feels Better Now

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Refurbishing Progress

Our “cleaning robot” is finished and ready to be put back in place. We will do that later and I’ll take pics for share with you.

Meanwhile, I’m now working on TWO pieces simultaneously.

We call this the “Belly Vested Whapadoo”

As you can see, he needs a lot of work. My husband came out to give me moral support. He steadied the ‘bird’ as I started the cleaning. All of a sudden, his HEAD fell off!

While my husband reattached the head, I switched to another piece. It was a smaller “shovel bird” that we use as a bird feeder in the front flower planters. We also drilled some holes in the shovel for better drainage.

I got about half of the shovel bird piece painted yesterday. I’ll finish that today, and then get started again on cleaning the Whapadoo.

Pics of the “Cleaning Robot” to follow.

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“Cleaning Robot” Refurb Project

We call this yard critter our “Cleaning Robot.” He is ready to clean up any spill with his fireplace broom and shovel dust pan.

He has the usual fading or peeling paint, but he was also injured this past year, falling over and having his head break off. My husband did a quick repair, welding his head back on, but we didn’t take the time or effort to do anything cosmetic.

This morning I thoroughly cleaned him, threw away the completely faded and now brittle “red” bowtie, pulled off his discolored eyes, etc.

I painted the first coat, but am considering some color changes that might mask some f the weathering damage better.

Our humidity is still really high, making our rather moderate temperature of 88 right now feel like you’re swimming through pea soup as you walk around, so unless it rains, the robot will have to wait until tomorrow morning for more work.

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Thoughts on a Sunday 6-6-2021


Our weather can’t decide if it wants to rain or let the sun come out. When we awoke this morning, it had rained very recently. Now the sun is peaking out a bit. We’re due for scattered showers from now through Tuesday, at least. We’re starting to get used to trying to get things done between storms…

THANK YOU to the people who have looked at my new site on Etsy HandmadeHavenByLinda and have written to make suggestions. Fresh eyes and new ideas are priceless. I appreciate your help. :0)

I’m gearing up to

  1. finish clearing off the last of the greenhouse. We have one long, heavy 4×4 remaining. My husband has been carrying one at a time out to the shop to remove whatever is still attached and save the wood for another project. With the price of lumber now, this is a thing for us. Also remaining out there is the black plastic we put down on the cleared space that was supposed to keep weeds from growing inside the greenhouse. This had limited success, and was also invaded by fire ants. I will go out armed with Eight Bug Killer and will carefully try to gather up the plastic. And finally, I’ll use the weed whacker to neaten up where things had grown up.
  2. It’s time to refurbish the metal critters we have created over the years that are all around our yard. We are taking them out to the shop, where I will clean, repaint, replace parts, etc. before we put them out again. The sun and rain and whatever are hard on things, so it will take a bit of effort to restore them to their former ‘glory.’ First up is our “Box Turtle” –
This is the way he is supposed to look. Right now he’s VERY dirty. Some of his paint is peeling, and at least one of his eyes has fallen off. I’ll try to take pics as I go to share with you.

Have a fun Sunday!

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The Porch Repair is Finished!

Safe Elite Transformations 479-849-0520 started work for us on the Friday before Easter. I found them through Home Advisor. Cliff called right away, made an appointment to come look at what we needed, gave me a price for replacing the porch ceiling, repairing the roof soffit where squirrels had gotten in and were wreaking havoc – chewing wires, chewing a hole through the ceiling, etc., plus hanging a new shutter we had bought and needed installed on the 2nd floor of the outside of our brick home. He told me when he would call with a price, and he didn’t keep me waiting. I accepted and the work began without delay.

They quickly tore out the old sheet rock. They were careful removing our fluorescent light fixtures and ceiling fan. Cliff told me he appreciated the good job I had done getting everything on the porch out onto the deck. They got the new sheet rock up in a day, I think. They were very careful on the mudding and taping – even tearing one part off and redoing it because it didn’t meet their standards for excellence. Their ‘texture guy’ came and did a beautiful job of adding texture to the ceiling before painting. It really is an art.

Here is a picture of the finished ceiling with the fluorescent fixtures and ceiling fan back up.

We expanded the contract – at my instigation – to include painting the rest of the woodwork on the porch. I knew – having painted it before – that you have to use roller AND brush and it takes forever.

So now I feel we have a new porch. The only exception to that is the floor, which will address at a later time. The guys spent a long time on cleanup, cleaning our brick as well as possible, our painted door, and especially the floor, which two of them mopped at least a couple of times. They were careful to take all the trash away. There is no sign of anything in our yard or on the deck that a work crew was here.

My husband and I moved the table back onto the porch after they finished last night, and hauled 4 long pieces of painted wood from the previous ‘fix’ that we might use for another project to our shop.

This afternoon we will get our power washer out and I will try to get chairs clean. We have 4 that go back on the porch and another 5 that live on our deck.

I will go through the rest of the stuff on the deck, cleaning the things that hang up, creating a pile to go in the donation pile, and throwing away some things.

I feel I have a new porch. The Safe Elite Transformations guys are good people and hard workers. I can’t say enough about how nice it was to work with them, their competence, their passion for excellence. No ‘ranking’ is high enough. You will be lucky if you get them to do work for you.

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Thoughts on a Monday 3-15-2021


So far I’m feeling a bit frazzled today.

We are just back from taking our Honda Ridgeline truck into the dealership because a couple of lights started showing up on the dash this weekend. We looked up the icons and couldn’t make much sense out of them, except one had to do with emissions, so we thought it was important that someone who works with Hondas all the time and knows what they’re doing should look at it. They will call us when they have an estimate on fixing the problem. We have been running from one thing to another lately that needs repair or replacing, so we have had to spray money in all directions – a bit stressful. So I’m hoping that THIS time, we’ll hear some good news. I’ll stay in close proximity to the phone so that I won’t miss the call.

I wasn’t sure where the dealership was. I followed my husband – a nerve-wracking prospect – so the trip seemed to last forever. We’ll go back together to pick up the truck when it is ready, and I won’t have any trouble getting back home.

My husband is building a new welding table out in the shop. He found one online that would allow the table to be tilted and turned, giving him more flexibility and ease of working on his projects. The trouble was, the table cost over $2200! He looked at it, deciding that he could build one. He ordered the table top online. We went to Davis Iron in Fort Smith and bought the heavy square tubular metal he needed, and then went to Harbor Freight to get some really heavy duty wheels. He has been working on the project for several days now, and is at the point where he will paint the metal support for the table.

The bolt at the top (to the left of the table top) can be loosened, and then the table top can be tightened to any angle desired. The top can also be turned so that he can work on long items. He can roll the table around, or store it out of the way. He also MADE a breaking mechanism so that the wheels can be locked so the table doesn’t roll while he’s trying to weld something.

We have a nice, sunny day today (AMAZING!!!!) – so he is trying to get the metal support for the table painted today so it won’t rust.

Once we have paid for whatever the truck needs, I need to call the propane people again for help with the pilot light in the shop’s heater, the Window World people to see if they have been successful on making our replacement windows, the property tax people to see if they have sent out bills yet, and finally (I hope!) a contractor who can help us repair or replace the sheet rock on our porch ceiling…. 2021 seems to be an unending series for us. Our son, who lives in Thailand, said when we chatted briefly this morning, “I hereby declare a moratorium on things developing problems.”

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Thing One and Thing Two

New Animalbook

My husband and I got a couple of things done yesterday that had been weighing on us.

THING ONE:  We finally drilled holes in the pvc pipe that runs along the back edge of the brick planter we had to rebuild recently, so that the elephant ear plants I put in there could get some water. The only problem, though, when we got that done, was that the irrigation system didn’t turn on when it was supposed to.

The brains for it in the well house showed that one of the power failures lately got it. It though it was 11:00 at night in January in 2007. :0)

I managed to find the manual for the system – HOORAY for me!


when my husband got frustrated, I was able to reset things so I could reprogram the system. The first time I tried, I messed up; but the second time it worked! We went around the yard adjusting the Station 1 planters and then moved to the back when Station 2 started. YEA!!!!!

THING TWO:  The second thing was our supplementary driveway alarm had failed. My husband ordered a new one. When it came, he painted the part we attach to a tree in camouflage. That was as far as the project got until I remembered it yesterday while we were waiting for the irrigation system to turn on.

He got the part from the shop, attached it to the tree, and we tested it, having it working just before we worked with the irrigation system!  ANOTHER YEA!!!!

I love days where we can do something that stays done awhile. :0)


Filed under Lewis projects, Thoughts on a ________

Crawling Out of the Clutter

Levine Homes

For some reason I cannot explain, I like to PAINT earring pieces upstairs in my art room, but I like to put the earrings together, put the labels, on put them on cards, and take pics in our office downstairs. I really don’t have a good place to work down here, so I end up working on top of PILES of STUFF.

It started out where I had a few different kinds of findings, labels, earring cards and tools I kept these in a neat wooden ‘thingie’ I found at a garage sale. Soon my supplies overloaded its capacity and things hit the fan after that.

This is the wooden ‘thingie’ I love. I will still use it for some of the supplies.




Now that you are thoroughly appalled by my chaos, I’ll tell you that I have a PLAN on how to make order from it.




I have this nice tabletop file cabinet that I haven’t been using for awhile now. I have cleaned it out and plan to use it to make some sense out of my jewelry making supplies. I am hoping that between this and my wooden ‘thingie,’ I can access my stuff easily and have it not under foot while not in use.

This is one of today’s projects.

If I have some success, I’ll take pics and share them with you.

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Water Pressure

We suddenly had very low water pressure several weeks ago. We discovered that the booster pump and motor in the well house (that control the added pressure we need on top of our hill) weren’t working. We spent quite awhile getting the booster pump and motor unattached and off the wall and called about trying to get it fixed. (We still had water, but just about 1/3 of the usual pressure).

As usual with our projects, the place we took it for repair LAST time had changed hands. Happily, the new owner agreed to see if he could fix our stuff. We left them with him in Fort Smith.

We waited and then finally the man called, saying the pump and motor were toast. They don’t make what we have any more, and no parts are available to replace. We gave him the go-ahead to order a new pump and motor – as close to what we had as possible. We picked them up in Fort Smith yesterday.

We spent from about 12:30 until 6:30 or so working in the well house and the shop on the installation. Of course, the new stuff couldn’t sit on the old mounts, so we spent a long time making a thick metal ‘shelf’ on which the assembly could sit.  When we got it made, we painted it so it wouldn’t rust. We took all the old attachment stuff to Yeager’s, trying to get new parts. We brought it all home and worked on it while we continued to wait for the paint to dry. (Even in the shop with the heat on, it takes a lot longer for paint to dry.)

We got the shelf mounted and attached the new pump and motor to it. We finished about 2/3 of the attachment yesterday, but discovered we didn’t have enough parts to finish.

Today – armed with gel with Arnica on my back and Tylenol – we’ll go to Yeager’s again for the parts we need to finish. I’m hoping that by the end of the day we’ll have our usual water pressure in the house again – a true luxury.

If we are successful, I’ll celebrate with a nice, hot shower!



Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects



I can finally declare victory for the day in the project of shoveling the saved potting soil back into the newly rebuilt planter!

I had just hauled the bricks that held the edges of the tarp together to the area behind the well house when my husband fell. (He is doing better – though his leg is pretty skinned up and we found a new little cut on the bottom of his big toe). He has rested this afternoon, eaten, had cold tea, read a whole book, and is now thinking about taking a nap.)

I decided – since the weather forecast is for possible rain tomorrow morning – that I wanted to get the potting soil into the planter by the end of the day. It took several short sessions, with lots of panting, water drinking and resting in-between, but I did it. I had just taken the tarp out to our burn barrel and was walking back to the house when my husband came out with both doggies.

He didn’t know I had been shoveling, and so was properly surprised that the job was done. The tarp you see in this picture is now gone, and a bare spot on the lawn is all that is left of the ‘save-the-potting-soil’ project. I still need to weed whack, since we couldn’t do a very good job without damaging the tarp, and I need to add a few more bags of potting soil to top off the planter, but basically it is ready to plant!  We have leftover bricks from the project, but we’ll decide what to do with them later.

I’ll take more pics when we’ve found some good things to put in the two planters.


Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

And a Miracle Occurred

About 30 years ago, my husband and I, with the help of our then 10-year-old son, built a bunch of brick planters around the house. We did that because we live on top of a ridge line, and there is basically very little ‘soil.’ If you try to dig a hole, you hit rock almost immediately. The only soil we have we had trucked in when we built the house so that we could have a lawn. We ended up with 14 brick planters of many shapes and sizes around the house so that we could have bushes and flowers.

At the end of the winter, all of a sudden the planters on either end of the front of the house collapsed. We’re not sure why. Maybe the mortar we used on those two was bad. Maybe the hydrangea plants’ roots undermined the strength of the bricks. For whatever reason, a whole section of each planter came down.

We spent a lot of time and effort knocking the rest of the bricks down and hauling them behind our well house. We got down to the last round of bricks, but even with a sledge hammer, couldn’t budge them. We cleaned up the area as much as possible, shoveling the potting soil onto a tarp and then wrapping the soil up, hoping to save it.





Either end of the house has looked like the photo above, with the bottom round of bricks on the slab we poured, waiting for the rebuild. We looked and looked for brick layers, but everyone was busy. This is too small a job for most workmen. But we HAD the bricks, we HAD the mortar, and all we needed was someone who knew what they were doing to put in the labor to do the rebuild. After calling and talking to a LOT of people, we finally had one man who would come up and give us an estimate for the two planters. His estimate was $700.  We gulped, thanked him for his time, and proceeded to build the planter on the far end of the house ourselves.

We knew we were in over our heads, but we decided that we would mix up ONE bag of mortar and see how many bricks we could lay. It turned out that we could do one round of bricks per bag of mortar. So we used one bag each day, laid the one round of bricks, and cleaned up, doing this for 5 days.



I’m embarrassed to show you the job we did, but it DOES hold the potting soil, which we shoveled back into it from the tarp.  We cleaned up the area around the planter as best we could. My husband modified the irrigation system pipe, wiring the ends of it to rebar at opposite ends of the planter.

Happily, I learned of a local brick layer on Facebook recently. It took us a long time to finally get him out here, but he came yesterday and gave us an estimate on rebuilding the second planter for us – one that we could afford – AND he would come today at 8am!

He didn’t actually come until 9:30 this morning. I had all but given up, but then, suddenly, he was coming up the driveway. I made sure he knew where bottles of cold water were, where a handy bathroom was, and got our wheelbarrow and a cement hoe.  He started to work immediately. We went to town to get one more bag of mortar so that he could finish the job, and he finished right around 1:30 this afternoon.




As you can tell from this photo my husband took, Jose did a really nice job. He cleaned things up well, too.

His name is Jose Aguirre. His phone number is 479-285-3665.  He can do new construction or repair things done with stone or brick. He is a nice, hardworking man who faced his intense dislike of our steep driveway, driving up here TWICE for the job. He really thought his vehicle wouldn’t make it, but it did. He also had trouble going down, skidding on the gravel at the bottom of the driveway. I suggested that he slow way down toward the bottom, EASE onto the brakes. I could tell he was dreading driving back down again after finishing the job, but he handled that, too. :0)

I got a bunch of his business cards. I will distribute them around Greenwood wherever it seems good. I will also write a blurb on the Greenwood AR section of Facebook. He is honest, trustworthy, hard-working, and does a beautiful job. I highly recommend him.

Tomorrow my husband and I will shovel the potting soil into the rebuilt planter and my husband will make a better irrigation pipe for this planter, too. THEN, maybe next week, we can have the fun of seeing what is available at the nursery to plant!




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Pantry is Finished!

It’s far from perfect, but MUCH cleaner and more organized than it was. It was almost like a treasure hunt. I found things I didn’t know I had!


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Another Compliment!

I’m not sure what is going on around here, but my husband paid me another compliment yesterday. We were getting ready for bed and suddenly he stopped and said, “You know, when we built this bed frame however many years ago it was, I ‘went along’ with your idea of decorating the headboard with stones, but I really wasn’t wild about the idea. Now I think it’s the best thing about it.”

About 10 years or so ago, we wanted to replace our bed.  We hunted for bookcase headboards with frames all over. Apparently, as we find so many times, we are not in step with the current fashion. Apparently NO ONE wants a bookcase headboard where they can actually read in bed anymore. We explored having one custom made and our teeth dropped at the prices. We decided to make a headboard and frame ourselves.


My husband is really good at visualizing what he wants to do and then making it happen. I’m more the ‘go-fer,’ assisting his efforts, running for parts or tools or whatever, holding the other end, etc. When we got to the part where the frame and headboard were together and stained, my husband said, “It’s done.” As usual, we disagreed. I wanted SOME kind of SOMETHING that we could decorate it with to make it OURS – to make it UNIQUE.


To kind of offset all the switches (controlling reading lights, fans, electricity to end tables, electric blanket controls, etc., I suggested we make ‘frames’ on either side of the main panel filled with River Rock. I liked the idea of adding the color, texture, and a bit of 3-dimensions. After looking at me a minute, he said, “Okay,” and helped me with the project, but with a decided lack of enthusiasm. I liked the idea enough for BOTH of us. :0)


To balance things, I added some river rock to the panels on either side of the bed.

It has been, as I said, 10 years or more since we built the bed frame and headboard. I’m still surprised that he suddenly told me yesterday that this has grown on him and now he likes it.

Maybe it’s something in the water. Maybe it’s the fact that I accepted when he asked me yesterday to spend another 50 years with him. I don’t know – but I love the compliments and hope they continue. :0)


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A Productive Day

Animal Wallpapers – Desktop Nexus

We got up this morning, intending to start rebuilding the second brick planter, but looked at each other and decided we felt too old and creaky. We agreed to think about it tomorrow – like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. :0)  We went grocery shopping instead and plan to take it much easier today.

Yesterday we accomplished a lot –

  • We figured out why our irrigation system wasn’t working in the back. After my husband looked at the switches and the control box in the well house, he followed the hose from the well house to the ‘tree’ of hoses that go to the back.  He found a “monster” kink in the main hose. We don’t know HOW it became kinked, since that is in the woods and not mowed, but he was able to splice the hose where it was damaged and the water flowed again!
  • Oh!  I have to pat myself on the head a bit. My husband asked me to reprogram the control box. I looked and looked, but couldn’t find the paperwork on how to do it. I finally went out and pushed buttons, hoping a main screen would come up. It did! I was able to reprogram year, month, day, time, and watering durations for the front and back!
  • I mixed up a 2-gallon canister of KilzAll and sprayed all around our garden and around our shop – hopefully murdering lots of weeds.
  • We cleaned up the work area around the first planter we rebuilt. We had extra concrete to shovel, bricks to haul away, etc. I took a chisel and a hammer and cleaned up the front of the planter as much as I could. I have to tell you, it looks pretty bad. It is sturdy and it holds the potting soil, so we’re declaring it a win. We’ll attach the PVC pipe set up for irrigation and then it’s finished. We’ll try to do better on the second planter. AND we keep reminding ourselves that we’re not having to come up with $700!

So – a much more laid-back day – probably with a bit of weed whacking will suffice.

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The Character-and-Planter-Building Continue

Yesterday’s session was hard because we had to haul a lot of bricks over to the site, gather all the tools, run the water hose, etc. Today’s session was harder because we put too much water in the mix, resulting in mortar that was waaaaay too thin to use. We got back in the truck and went to town and bought 3 more bags of mortar.

We added about a third of the second bag to the mix when we got back and then it was usable. We need five rows of bricks for the planter, and today we finished the third row. We washed everything and came in with red faces, huffing and puffing, in need of cool drinks.

We’re hoping to finish the first planter tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon and evening and into Sunday rain is forecast, so once we finish the first planter we’ll take a bit of a break before starting the second.

No one would think these were done by a professional, but the bricks we laid yesterday were nice and solid. As long as they’re sturdy and hold the potting soil, we’ll be satisfied.

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It’s UP!


My husband found a nuts and bolts bin like this at an auction Thursday. It’s big and heavy and GREAT for organizing the gazillion sizes of nuts, bolts, and other thingies needed to make things in the shop. The picture above looks like what he got, but add several years, dings, and a lot of dirt and labels that need to be taken off as my husband arranges things the way he would like. He got it for a good price, though he had to wait a LONG time for it to come up for bid.

I thought he might add heavy-duty casters on the bottom so he could roll it around. OR, that he would make a base that it could sit on against a wall. He decided that he wanted to mount it to support beams on one wall of the shop. Since we had some trouble getting it out of the back of the truck and onto a dolly to move it into the shop, I knew that this would be quite a job.

He spent much of yesterday making a heavy metal mounting ‘shelf’ for the bin to sit on and welded it onto one of the horizontal support beams on the wall. He also made some metal straps for securing the top of the bin to another horizontal beam up higher.

Soon after we returned from getting rid of our metal scraps this morning, he headed for the shop. I didn’t want him to try to do this project by himself, so I went out to the shop soon after. An hour and a half later, we finally have it up on the shelf with a strap securing the top. He has more securing to do, but the big, difficult part is done. In my next life, I’m determined to come back as a man with lots of strength and a lot of know-how on project stuff, with the vocabulary that goes with it. I really wish I were a better helper in projects like this. I do the best I can and am very thankful, though frazzled, when the job gets done and no one is hurt.

We’re about out of wall space in the shop now. We are both very pleased to have a good, dry place to work with good lighting, heat or air conditioning if needed, the tools we need and enough space to do our projects without having to move a lot of stuff. I’M glad he has the smarts to decide to do something and then figure out a way to get it done!


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Kitchen Reorganization Project is Finished!


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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Project for the Day is Done!


The bins in the basement are empty. The Christmas decorations are now down and stored in ONE large lidded bin. The bin is now stored under the stairway.

I still need to make a list of the donation for the Veterans Thrift Store, but I can do that tomorrow. We won’t make the donation until after the first of the year.

The spaghetti sauce with meat is simmering on the stove. I have a cup of coffee and my book.

All in all, a great day.

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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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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.


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The Insanity Continues


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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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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