Sunday, March 27, 2016

Garden Wall & Gate

Since we are way behind on posting some projects, we'd thought we would catch up on a few and get back up to speed again.

Early last fall we built a garden wall and gate on the west side of the house, between our house and the neighbor's fence. Zachary laid 2 runs of concrete blocks with mortar. After they set, he skim coated the walls.

Once the skim coat had enough time to cure, about 2 weeks, he painted the walls with a exterior primer.

After the primer was dry, the finish color went on. We went with a beige, something neutral enough that would coordinate with whatever the color the house will be in the future.

He built a wooden gate and mounted it on the walls, along with wrought iron planters that we have had following us around for a few years. I always liked them, just didn't know where to put them. The walls seemed like a great place for them. I thought about putting real plants in them, but knew it would be a hassle trying to keep something alive in a small pot and also risk staining the walls, so we just went with some artificial greenery.

Monday, February 29, 2016


Zachary has been busy in the shop with projects lately, with fresh dustings of sawdust weekly. Many projects to post about, soon of course. :-)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! After going to bed well before mid-night the night before, we started the 2016 with sea side donuts from Thomas Donut Shop. An excellent resolution. And maybe to blog more. :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Spent some time at Pine Log State Forest yesterday and found some spooky autumn Cypresses along the lake. Not much for fall trees color in Florida, but Cypresses offer their own kind of beauty.

We actually prepared for Trick or Treaters this year. Last year we were surprised by a couple and had to turn them away. :-( We never really had them before where we have lived. We had 3 sets of them this year. We will be having candy for lunch for days.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


When we got home from our trip last Sunday, the yard and lawn was looking a little shaggy, but not too terrible. Our creek bed and banks had exploded in growth and was a couple feet high in places. 

We have been battling overgrowth in the creek since we lived here and this spring we decided to keep the banks around the creek where it is narrow mowed. When we got back from our trip, we were on the fence about letting it grow and try again next winter or attempt to reclaim our progress. Today we decided to try to take it back again.

We got a good foothold again. We have some more to do to get it back where it was earlier this summer, but that will be our project this week.

I have had a growing urge to do some painting again for some while, so today I actually broke out my watercolors and did 2 quick studies of lavender and black-eyed susans. Watercolor is a tricky medium and I have some practice to do, but I did enjoy myself. I need to let my artistic side out more. I haven't touched watercolors since college.

I am not too happy with the black-eyed susans, I think I rushed the color layering and didn't let it dry enough in between. I like the lavender blossoms though, the stems were more of an after thought.

Posted on the gallery wall of the fridge.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Head North

Late Sunday we got back from a whirlwind trip up north. While it was a mostly work trip for me in Wisconsin, we managed to squeeze in time seeing friends and family in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. We took off in the wee hours of July 2nd and headed for Holland, MI for a weekend with the Hilldores.

Prior to leaving, we made arrangements for the neighbor to look after our cats and the mail. We also set up a web cam to look in on the cats while we were away. We felt a little guilty leaving them for 18 days and felt slightly better we could see them lounging around the living room while we were away.

Laying on the guilt pretty thick
We had a wonderful time in Holland with Ben and Amanda and the kids. It was relaxing a holiday weekend filled with games, a picnic, catching up and playing the with kids. (thanks for putting up with us!) Zachary picked up a RC micro quad-copter at a hobby store to drive our cats crazy.

Neighborhood Picnic

Playing in the lake

After the weekend we headed to Wisconsin for me to start my office visit for work for almost 2 weeks. The upper midwest summer weather was a welcome treat compared to Florida summer weather. We got to wear pants and light zip ups at times! While I was in the office, Zachary kept busy helping my parents with random projects at the house and the farm. (thanks Mom and Dad for putting up with us also!)

The weekend gave us a chance to take in the Iola Car Show, to see show cars and eat deep fried cheese curds. Got to catch up with our friend Kate at the lake and grilled out and boated.

Show cars:

Piggies in motion at the farm

Still life with Cows

Parents' Farm Garden

My dad's project Model T that Z helped with


Cloverleaf Lakes Boating

Speaking of foods, we also took advantage of being in proximity of Luigi's Pizza and Simon's Cheese and filled up on favorites. Yum...

Also got to see 2 of my brothers and their families and caught up on the goings on, and my Uncle Bob and Aunt Becky and cousin Kelsey too.  We didn't get to see everyone this visit, but hope to see them the next time we are in town. Summer is a busy time of year for everyone.

My niece Sydney showing us her show cattle for the upcoming county and state fairs
After finishing up work stuff we headed to Illinois to see Zachary's mom and Bob and the boys. It was fun to catch up and give the nephews some pointers in Minecraft.

On the way home we broke the drive into 2 days and stayed a night in southern Indiana. We both agree the states of Indiana and Alabama are way too long to drive through. It felt like we were in Indi-bama for most of the drive with a blink through Kentucky and Tennessee. Pulled into our driveway Sunday night, July 19, to 2 cats happy to see us. Its good to be in our own bed and not living out of a suitcase anymore. Long drives like these makes us really appreciate Rest Areas that are along the interstates. We stop at nearly everyone, to stretch out every 80 or so miles. They are generally clean and tidy, and gets us to switch driving more often. More pleasant than most gas stations and you can take your time and relax.

Tennessee Rest Area I believe


Shell Island

In June we spent a day at St. Andrews State Park and Shell Island. St. Andrews is just on the east end of PCB and we still hadn't visited Shell Island since we moved here, so we hopped on a shuttle from the park. Shell Island is a undeveloped barrier island between St. Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a short 10 minute shuttle pontoon trip from the park. 

While waiting for the shuttle we wandered around the pier, which was busy with fishermen and sightseers.

The Shell Island beaches are a little more natural than the groomed ones in town, with more vegetation and random things washed ashore. It was quite windy that day as well, red flag day, so the surf was strong.

Found a washed up tree trunk that lead to interesting detail photos.

While there was a few more shells to be found here that the normal beaches, I think the pro beachcombers probably find the more fascinating shells early each morning. The sand is a little more coarse too.

The leeward side of the island was less windy and calmer waters, as is shallower and has cove made from a rocky jetty. It is quite popular with boaters and snorkelers

What is an little oasis without a pontoon selling ice cream and snacks? Of course we bought a Klondike bar.