Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 115 - April 29th

These pictures make us happy :)

Let me explain: way back when we first started looking to move - late 2003, early 2004, we came to this development. The streets were laid out, the properties roughed out. I think maybe one or two houses had been started at the other end. We liked it and the price was right. We had some "requirements" - like we didn't want neighbors behind us - we wanted to back onto the greenbelt. We got on the waiting list.

We got the call that four properties on the green belt had opened up and we were first on the list and could choose which one we wanted. We looked at each one, carefully weighing the pro's and con's. We settled on this lot we have now - with a huge slope in the back - one of the biggest in the entire development. If you don't know, I have a degree in Architecture. So I tend to visualize a final result when the ground is just dirt, rocks and weeds. And when I looked at that hill behind us, what I saw was a series of terraces with the lowest one being the widest and hosting fruit trees. I didn't know how many, I didn't know dimensions, I just knew what WAS. That was March 2004 or so.

I didn't actually build those terraces until the summer of 2005 - an intense summer of a lot of yard work (and a lot of $$ expenditures!). We planted the fruit trees in early 2006. The big trees were plum, apple and pear. You can see them when they were first planted here. Last year, when they were two years old, we got a couple of apples.

Well, look at them now! The pear and apple trees are what these pictures are of! Lots of blooms!! The plum tree only had a few, but we should get an abundance of pears and apples this year. YAY! It's been five years since I first had that vision of heavy laden fruit trees and this year it looks like it will finally come to pass.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 114 - April 28th

During the day it was pleasant, albeit a little chilly. The kids played a lot outside. We have two damaged hula hoops they modified into an interesting tug of war kind of game. Here's Maranda and Sophia having fun - Alexander is also playing but I couldn't squeeze all three in the picture.

Day 113 - April 27th

Peter was tasked with cleaning the chalkboard. I thought it was cute, so I took this picture.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 112 - April 26th

Lydia heading out to take more of her wonderful pictures :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day 111 - April 25th

While we were at day 2 of the homeschool conference, the post person delivered a big package from for Jill. Peter got so excited, he escaped. He calls delivery people the "box man" or "box lady". Picture was just too cute.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 110 - April 24th

Another iPhone picture. Jill and I are at a home school convention all day today and Saturday. Over lunch, we took a wonderful walk along a path near a stream-river thing. I snapped this picture as we crossed a bridge. Underneath us, we could see about 12-15 trout-like fish. The iPhone doesn't have a polarized lens, so the pictures didn't come out of those guys. But that was nice - they were big!

It was really nice spending the day together. And having a day off from both jobs - it's been a while.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 109 - April 23rd

This interesting picture I took tonight at work with my iPhone. I like it's picture quality!

Day 108 - April 22nd

Another day I was unable to photograph anything. So I'm again relying on Lydia :) She took this photograph of our flowers up front.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 107 - April 21st

So yesterday I mentioned the peonies and how happy I was they came up this year. Another "rescue from the bargain bin" has been our carnation plants. Doesn't he look happy in that photograph?

When I first started dating Jill, the mutual friend who introduced us, Sharon, pulled me aside and asked if I had gotten her flowers yet. Being profoundly clueless at the time, I wondered "Why?" but decided to follow her advice. She told me Jill's favorite flowers were carnations.

So they were and so they still are. And Sharon gave wonderful advice :)

We had three big ol' carnation plants from a couple years ago that were amongst the victims of the snow. So when I saw these six plants sitting in the garden centers clearance bays (their sins being their blooms were no longer perky), they appealed to me. And the price of $2 each REALLY appealed to me. So I bought and planted.

Five of the six are doing wonderfully. They have new flowers and smell wonderful. The sixth is doing well, just no new blooms - but I hold out hope! I love bargain bin rescues!
On another note, I saw something last night at Fred Meyer that tugged at my heart strings. I see a lot of tattoo's and piercings and very little of it bothers me (except in the center of the lower lip - for some reason that one bugs me). But I saw a tattoo last night on the back right shoulder of a mom and it choked me up a bit so I wanted to share it.

It was a tattoo of a tiny foot with the little boys name under it and the date of his birth ... and the date of his death just a few weeks later.

For those that don't know, our lost one we named Charlie. We don't talk too much about that, but that tattoo brought up some mighty powerful emotions in me.
Ah yes, and I forgot to mention a little update. Back a while ago, I posted pictures of Alexander's fish, Fin. Unfortunately, Fin "moved on" and is no longer amongst the living fishes. We had bought four more little fish and also unfortunately, one of those isn't doing so hot either.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 106 - April 20th

A picture taken by Lydia of work by me :) Yesterday, I worked the day shift and got home with a few hours of sunlight left. So I decided to replant the area in front of our fence - it was largely killed by the snow. I planted quite a bit - three lavender plants, two roses, three hosta's, several perennials, several groundcovers, several ornamental grasses and some more.

Lydia took this nice picture of one of the corners.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 105 - April 19th

Last day of enemies of the lawn. Clover. 'Nuff said. I could take 40 pictures in my backyard and never photograph the same batch twice. Ugh.

But here's a picture that makes me happy. I LOVE Peonies. We had two very healthy, happy bushes in our first house. I bought two very sad looking ones in the "super clearance" bin at our local store last year and planted them - they were on their last legs and within days of me planting them, they withered. I thought I had wasted my $4 :)

Lo and behold they BOTH sprouted this spring! YAY! Take that, super clearance bin!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 104 - April 18th

Today is my wonderful sister's birthday. Happy Birthday Laura!!! I still fondly remember when she was born and a little girl. Some of Jill and my first dates often started with us picking her up from her preschool.

Unfortunately, I couldn't think of many Laura-like pictures to take. Unlike my industrious sister and her husband, we have not planted a garden. And when we do, it will pale in comparison.

I did take a picture of Day 4 of Lawn Enemies. Moss. If you don't live in an area where moss just spontaneously grows...everywhere...consider yourself lucky. I firmly believe we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. But that greenery comes with some prices. So we live with moss. At least it's soft. But it does smother the grass, which is a shame.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 103 - April 17th

Day 3 of "enemies of the lawn". There are actually three enemies visible in this photograph.

The first and obvious one is what wikipedia calls a "gastropod mollusk". Commonly known as slugs. These are little ones that were astoundingly easy to find. I wanted to find one of the big 5-7" banana slugs, but I've done a fairly good job lately of...extermination. These suckers are the reason we have yet to grow some types of vegetables. Little carrot babies come poking out of the ground - next day are gone.

The second one is just visible in the background - it's some weed that pops up everywhere with a little white flower on top. Fortunately, they have very shallow roots and pull up easily but they are prolific.

The third is a more insidious one and threatens about $15,000 in landscaping. And there's nothing I can do about it. Weather. Those gastropods are sitting on top of one of my concrete retaining wall blocks. I have a LOT of those in my yard because of the way I've done things. And they are falling slowly apart. Funny how concrete the Romans put down is still there, but concrete blocks barely three years old is fraying at the edges. Eventually, it will all be piles of gravel as the whatevers in the blocks break down. Some have lost a centimeter already off their corners.

Oh, you know how a lot of videos or pictures say "no animals were harmed in the making of this picture" or something similar. I cannot say the same about today's picture. Slugs rarely, if ever, survive an encounter with me. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 102 - April 16th

I'm going to do a series of "enemies of the lawn". Today's also includes two cute kids playing in the beautiful sun - Sophia is singing loudly a song she made up called "It's Sunny Today" - I know, odd for those that don't live in cloudier areas :)

Todays enemy is snow. Well...not exactly. It's really crappy developers. The developer who did our property put about 1" of good topsoil on top of about 3 feet of crap fill put on the original grade. The fill is a little bit of dirt mixed into rocks, it appears. And is hard stuff.

So when I shoveled that intense snow this winter (see a picture below), I didn't realize the snowmelt would not soak into the topsoil but instead go down about an inch and then drown the roots. Plus, the enormous weight had already crushed the grass, exposing the tender hibernating roots. I have these large, dead expanses throughout my front lawn. If I had the money, I'd rent a sod cutter and rip out about the top six inches of my entire lawn and replace it. But, alas, there are other, higher priorities.

Here's a picture of the snow from a few days before Christmas:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 101 - April 15th

Happy Tax Day. I took a photograph of one of the many things in my yard I'd like to eradicate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 100 - April 14th

Day before tax day and my one hundredth continuous picture of the day :) YAY!

I needed to cut my hair over lunch, so I snapped this picture of the implementations of hair doom on my bathroom counter before I started.

You know what's a hard picture to capture? Taking a picture of yourself looking in a hand mirror at your reflection in a wall mirror. I just deleted them off the camera - they turned out really awkward! Next time I might try using the camera remote while the camera is attached to a tall tripod - then I won't get the "down the arm" perspective of trying to hold the DLSR and a mirror at the same time.

Day 99 - April 13th

I got a package today. It had something I've considered for a LONG time. I am still as giddy as anything. It is really fun!

I didn't transfer over my SIM from my other phone, so if anyone has text messaged me, those are not over on this phone and you will have to send me another text message at some point so I can add you to my list. I'm trying to update everyone, but I may miss a few. If you need my cell number, email me :)

For some reason, all the pictures I take in the dining room under the CFL lights end up with an amber cast to them. I try fixing it in Photoshop, but it doesn't look right, so I left it. Strange! Next time I take a pic in there, I'm going to make sure a USPS Priority sticker is in the picture off to the side - they make excellent color balancers and then I crop them out.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 98 - April 12th

Easter! Here's the family (I forgot to get someone to snap the picture of the whole family, so I am not in it!).

And here's Jill and Maranda performing. I had to use ISO 1600 setting because of the darkness, so there was some graininess.

Day 97 - April 11th

Last night, we went shopping to buy plants to replace more of the ones destroyed by the heavy snows. We filled a whole cart with them. This is a picture looking top down at the cart.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 96 - April 10th

Lowe's on my way home from work last night at 11:25 pm.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 95 - April 9th

Ants. Lots of ants. The kids spilled something on the patio and the ants swarmed it. Lots of little, tiny ants.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 94 - April 8th

I was jammed today and didn't get any chance to photograph - but Lydia did again. This was one of my favorites from her batch today - it's beautiful!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 93 - April 7th

One of my favorite bulb flowers :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 92 - April 6th

Another wonderful day. After work, got quite a bit more done on the table. Outer edge of the table is complete. Then I mocked up the seats. Why? You may not know this, but I'm making this thing up as I go along. I found some similar plans, but the whole thing is really my custom design.

And I had only the vaguest idea of how I was going to do the seats. So, I began experimenting with scrap lumber until I finally settled on some dimensions, then cut the scrap lumber to size and did this mock-up. I was happy with it. Had Jill test it out. She was happy with it.

So then I cut all the exterior pieces (the interior seat pieces will be custom fit to each one to make certain they line up). I also cut all the bottom supports and the 15-1/2 inch high vertical supports. Then I varnished them all except one side. Tomorrow, I'm hoping the varnish will be dry over lunch so we can flip the table over and attach both the bottom supports and the vertical supports. Then I'll varnish anything I can (some of the lumber is still wet from the store and needs to air dry for a couple days).

By the way, lumber is expensive. That's $147 in lumber leaning against the house - five 2x6's and 8 2x4's. Yikes.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 91 - April 5th

Such a gorgeous weekend!! The love of my life decided to grill some Kielbasa, so I was snapping a few dozen pictures of her and she was laughing. I chose this one to share.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 90 - April 4th

Ninety days in a row! Woohoo!

Today was a beautiful day AND I had the entire day off. Quite a rarity. I worked outside mostly. Purged the herb garden of all the herbs the snow killed and then supplemented the soil with new soil and planted new herbs - including curry. Never tried that before. I cleaned out the front gutter - it was full of leaves.

And I worked on the picnic table. I like the progress I made. I have to cut each piece to size, attach the metal brackets on the bottom, varnish it and then let each piece dry before I can attach it. I also bought a hand electric planer today and it worked wonderful on trimming some braces that stuck up too high. Of course, I had to varnish those too - and let them dry.

The top picture is of a green frog I found in the herb garden. Peter chased it all over! I made a video of one portion of it with Jill's camera. It's here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 89 - April 3rd

Lydia, our 11 year old, has a good camera eye. She's been taking some wonderful outdoor pictures lately and she took a whole bunch today because it was a nice, sunny day. It was tough to pick my three favorites, but I really did like these a lot. I'm going to set her up with her own Flickr account tomorrow so she can share a wider range of her skills. The bottom picture is in the same bird bath I took an earlier picture in, but I think she did it better :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 88 - April 2nd

I modified this picture to cut out their faces, since this is the Internet and all, but these are two good friends who are both pregnant. J, on the right, is due May 20th and it's her fourth - and first girl. C, on the left, is due in August and it's her third - and first boy.

I just love pregnant belly's! And I've been wanting to take a picture of their two belly's together for a while. Neither me nor they realized how much taller J was than C!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 87 - April 1st

Taken by Jill of the boys in their matching PJ's!