A Whole New Yard

October 1, 2008

Cara the landscaper came by with her crew today.  Dee Dee hired her (thanks again!) to come by and make our front yard look presentable.  Cara had tons of suggestions and we told her to do whatever she wanted.  She pulled up all the boxwoods lining the walkway, removed the abundance of weeds around the driveway and the east and west wings, cut down a bunch of dead tree branches, and even piled up all our yard waste that has been sitting in the backyard.

I am so happy with how the front yard looks – it is like a whole new place.  It seems massive compared to before.  And the house now has much more visibility from the street – it has a lot of character, I want to show it off!

 

Before Cara the Landscaper...

Before Cara the Landscaper...

 

and after.  What a difference!

and after. What a difference!

 

 

Boxwoods are not match for a chainsaw

Boxwoods are no match for a chainsaw

Almost there…

September 28, 2008

The weather this past weekend was rainy and miserable.  We didn’t let that stop us – we only had 17 posts to put up and weren’t about to let some crummy weather get in our way!  By Sunday afternoon we had all the posts set in the ground.  What a wonderful feeling to finally be done with the posts.  We finished with the posts early enough to start putting up panels.  Next weekend I think we’ll be able to finish the fence entirely – especially if we have help again.

My Mom and Dad came over and helped out again – they put up a bunch of beams together and then split up to tackle separate projects.  My Mom worked on clearing back the bamboo again and my Dad worked on removing wallpaper inside.

One day this week Dee Dee’s friend Cara is coming by to work on our front yard.  She has a landscaping company and Dee Dee has hired her (thanks Dee Dee!) to tackle the yard.  She is going to remove the boxwoods lining the walk, cut down dead branches on the big willow oaks, get rid of all the weeds, and generally make it a much nicer place.

Looks very fence-like

Looks very fence-like

 

A shot of the finished french doors - I don/'t think I/'ve showed this yet

A shot of the finished french doors - I don't think I've shown this yet

 

wallpaper removal at it's finest!

wallpaper removal at it's finest!

Lots of Help this Weekend

September 22, 2008

We had lots of help this weekend.  Both of my parents came over to help, as did Miriam’s Dad.  Brian came by on Sunday with his power washer and cleaned off the front of the barn and washed the moss off of our front porch.  My Grandmother even stopped by!  My Mom, Dad, and Brian put up a ton of beams on the east side of the yard – the entire side is done save for two sections that are longer than the 8′ beams we have.  We’ll have to go get some 12′ beams from Lowes.

After the beams were up my Mom did some lumberjack work and used the Alligator Lopper to cut down the bamboo stumps.

Miriam and I got all the posts in across the back of the yard and most of the posts up around the driveway.  We got the big 6″x6″ posts in nice and deep – these will support the driveway gate and the walkway gate.  I figure we have about 18 posts left to put up down the west side of the yard.

Look at all those beams!

Look at all those beams!

Brian and the power washer

Brian and the power washer

This part of the fence was very difficult

This part of the fence was very difficult

Miriam's dad is handy with the post hole digger

Miriam's Dad is handy with the post hole digger

My Mom with the Alligator Lopper and my Grandmother

My Mom with the Alligator Lopper and my Grandmother

Brian and my Dad hard at work

Brian and my Dad hard at work

Bamboo is disappearing!

September 10, 2008

Machete!

There was a lot going on today.  First item on the list – the bamboo is being removed!  Ed said that he could have the yard cleared of bamboo, branches, firewood, etc for $800.  He had a couple of guys out today taking care of business.  I expected them to have chainsaws to cut the bamboo into smaller pieces… instead they had machetes.  Looks like a lot of work!  The loaded about half of the bamboo into this little cart.  It was really quite an impressive sight.

All this was cut and loaded by hand

All this was cut and loaded by hand

Bamboo removal

Bamboo removal

Brick is almost completely cut through

Brick is almost completely cut through

While the bamboo was being removed outside Ed was inside removing our walls.  The hole for the french doors is almost complete.  They removed the interior wall layers – plaster, wallboard, studs, and cinderblocks.  All that remains is the outer layer of brick.  They cut through the brick on all sides but the bottom.  Tomorrow they will knock that out and stick the doors in.  To support the weight of the wall/roof above the doors they put in a steel lentil and a large concrete beam.

those wooden beams are temporarily holding up the ceiling in this room

those wooden beams are temporarily holding up the ceiling in this room

The concrete beam used to support everything

The concrete beam used to support everything

In the basement of the barn (where Jingles used to live…) we found a number of old doors.  We’ve been working on fixing them up for use in the house.  I think they’ve been out in the barn for a long time – the wood has expanded to a point where most of the doors no longer fit in the door frames.  Not really sure how to fix that.  Maybe they’ll shrink back down?

Old door, very dirty

Old door, very dirty

Hard to see in this photo, but the door has a really nice wood grain

Hard to see in this photo, but the door has a really nice wood grain

FYI, you can click on any of the photos to view larger versions.

Yard Almost Clear!

September 2, 2008

After four days of work the perimeter of the yard is almost clear of all bamboo, poison ivy, and other debris.  Today we found a pile of firewood that termites had almost completely turned to mulch.  It was too

what used to be firewood

what used to be firewood

tough for a shovel and too heavy for a rake.  We also found “buried treasure” – about twenty slabs of paving stone buried along the fence line.  Each stone weighed at least 50lbs… why on earth would anyone have buried that?  It looked like someone dug a hole, dumped them in, and then covered them with dirt.  As time went on every stone became entangled in the roots of nearby trees.  It was not a fun thing to unearth.

I think we both came in contact with massive amounts of poison ivy today…

It's a jungle out there!

It''s a jungle out there!

Bamboo Mountains

September 1, 2008

The bamboo cutting is coming along really well.  It’s about 95% down.  Cutting down the bamboo has led to a new problem – what do you do with mountians of bamboo?  It is taking over the yard.  Once cut down it takes up 10 times more space than it did when upright.  I wonder if bonfires are legal?

just the tip of the iceberg

just the tip of the iceberg

is this bad luck?

is this bad luck?

Bamboo madness

August 30, 2008

Today we started removing the bamboo… lots of bamboo.  We are using the “Alligator Lopper” – a chainsaw for people afraid of splitting their head open.

We have to get rid of the bamboo so that we can build a fence for the dogs.  In addition to the bamboo there is ample posion ivy, piles of rotted firewood, a brick BBQ (falling apart), cinderblocks, and what looks like hay.

Speaking of hay, at settlement we got to talking with the previous owners.  They told us that back in the 40’s the family living here had a pony named Jingles.  Jingles lived in the lower level of the barn.  The little girl in the family would ride Jingles to school.

Jingles' home

Jingles lived here

Brick BBQ

Brick BBQ