Posts Tagged ‘Backyard’

Parking Pad One Year Later

Mom added extra bricks around the perimeter of the pad we put in.  They’ve since sunk into the ground, and they definitely add a rustic quality to it. ūüėČ

I cleared out the back patio as well, hosed down the coolers, patio and folding chairs.  Just gotta prep the grill and we’re ready for take off!

Wish list: install the shade sail and patio bulbs. Maybe in August. 

Next Year: Trellis for grapevines so they don’t take over Ms. Jean’s chain link fence.


Tapchan at the Ready

(Re)stained, sealed, delivered – it’s mine!

Counting down to the 2016 Summer crabfest…which means mom is freaking about about the backyard. Power washing, leveling the yard, cleaning out the gutters, do we need to paint the roof? How is that compost soil coming along? We’re going to need chairs. Lots and lots of chairs….

Well, it gives me a chance to put in some much needed house work.  I’ve been rather neglectful of that lately.

Restained and sealed the front porch rocking chairs as well.  Floor could use another coat, guess that’ll have to wait until my brother gets here in August.  Until then, we literally have:

2 rocking chairs, 1 church pew (seats 2), 2 directors chairs, 2 black ikea folding chairs, 2 rattan folding chairs, 4 new folding lawn chairs, 6 vintage metal folding chairs, 2 stools, 6 dining room chairs, 2 living room chairs, and a sofa that seats 3. In the basement – a vintage beast of a couch that seats 3, an horsehair sofa that seats 3 and a love seat that can seat 2.  In the backyard, I have 2 white plastic lawn chairs and 1 recliner.  Are you keeping count?  Because that’s 44 seats.  And then there’s the tapchan.  That seats 4 comfortably.  

Upstairs, I have two vintage molded wood chairs and a sewing chair.  Oh and a yoga ball.  I think we’ll be fine.

First Fireflies of the Season!

Trust me – they’re out there. Didn’t do a great job catching them with the camera, but I just mowed the backyard for the first time in months and they’re here! 

We also have a robin nesting under out back patio.  The fourth one in four years! And I was even able to save this one from being knocked over by accident.

Now if I can just get these Tńę plants to grow….  

Then I’d really feel unstoppable.  Happy summer nights!

Harvest Time!

After basically a month on the road, I returned to a very neglected backyard.  Well, after two hours on a glorious Sunday morning, things are back in good shape!

Cleared out the basil – I had green, Thai and purple basil this year.  And I planted carrots for Kaipua.  Kale was the gift that kept on giving this season, but I think this should be the last yield for the year.

I’m especially proud of my carrots, given its just my first year.  I only pulled one up, there’s a bunch more in the ground that I’m letting sit for now, and will just glean when I need/want them.

Tending the garden is always a rewarding experience.  Just wish I had more time to do so.  A few tomatoes still on the vine, a second crop of grapes as well – and two bell peppers await!  A perfect Sunday morning.  It’s good to be home.

My Children Did It: Parking Pad Edition

So some of you may know about the parking pad saga.  Let’s start with a quick refresher:

  • No off street parking, so Mike pulled out the dying boxwood, tore down the chainlink fencing, et voila! Off street parking.
  • Neighbors on both sides of me put in non-pervious pavers, basically cement, directing all run off towards my property.
  • I’ve kept it bare/grass to encourage drainage, and it is only really a problem one week out of the year.

Enter my brother. My amazing brother who always seems up to some ridiculous housing project when he’s in town.  How hard could it be? What could possibly go wrong?  So off we were to get materials to dig a whole and lay brick pavers.

Step one – get brick.  Thanks, Craigslist!  And Steve…and Alisha…and Stu…who helped me collect these!

Step two – dig a hole.  I don’t recommend doing it on the hottest day of the year, but how were we to know the weather gods would be so cruel?

Step three – lay fancy fabric stuff to prevent sinkage, we also used edging to “lock” the pad in place.


Step four – put the paver base in, even it out and tamp/pound it as flat and even as you can.  Not as simple as it sounds, but a fairly forgiving process.

Step five – lay the brick!  Surprisingly the easiest part of it all.

We decided to do most of this at night…so it’d be cooler and because it was going to start raining.   

Step six – pour fine sand into the cracks to help bind the whole pad together.  About that…I just haven’t gotten around to it.  I know, no excuse now, it’s been a couple of months, but it’s functioning fine.  Maybe I’ll do it this fall before the first snow.

I wanted it to be as porous and non-invasive as possible.  Almost like it’s always been there.  So here is the semi-final product!


I overheard my neighbor tell my mom that she thinks it looks great.  My mom just kind smiled and said, “My children did that.”  Which communicates two things, to me: parental pride and resignation.  I don’t think it’s what she had in mind, but in the end, it’s functional, and it was done by her two crazy kids.  Just like that ash tray I made her in kindergarten.  Except for the fact that she doesn’t smoke, I know she was amused by the effort and product.  And I now have a parking pad!


Natalie Visits Ricardo The Avocado Tree


She grew Ricky from pit and now he towers over 10 feet tall!  Who knows if and when Lucy and him will cross pollinate and bear fruit, but they are well and healthy.

House (Ar)rest

So, I’m a bit concussed. ¬†I was a little too ambitious on Sunday while surfing in San Diego’s Tourmaline Beach.

ANYHOO РI was told to go home today and rest after calling my boss by three different (wrong) names, stuttering through a training session and by entering expense report numbers backwards, leaving quite a mess for the finance team.  But do I EVER listen?  No.

I did go home though, eventually. ¬†The doctor said to turn off my mind. ¬†Specifically, to sit in a dark room and try not to think. ¬†HA. ¬†Other than sleep, what else does one do in a dark room?! ¬†His response? ¬†“If you had a sprained ankle, you wouldn’t jog. ¬†So don’t exercise your brain.” ¬†Which of course meant, go run all the house errands you’ve been putting off doing. ¬†Starting with the backyard…..

Today I learned that the backyard is actually covered in a grass called St. Augustine Grass.



How my mother knows these things is beyond me. ¬†But there you have it, I have tropical grass in my backyard that is a medium to high maintenance grass. ¬†I don’t do anything to it but mow it from time to time…so that’s low enough maintenance for me!

Also, grapes are growing! ¬†There are a few more clusters than there were last year, which is another marker for success for me. ¬†They’re not table ready, nor will they be wine ready, but one day! ¬†These are my Edelweiss variety:



And, as I was pruning the vines, I harvested some leaves for dolma. ¬†Since I’ll be leaving for World Cup next week, I’ve pushed up my summer get together to this weekend. ¬†If all goes according to plan, I should be able to have about two dozen stuffed grape leaves for consumption of a lucky (read: brave) few.


And that about sums up my afternoon/evening. ¬†Since I was on “house arrest,” I got to catch up on correspondence, chat with some friends around the country and world. ¬†Change my sheets. ¬†Play with the turtle. ¬†Skipped out on DC Shorts judging and meeting up with a friend in town from Chicago (shout out TJo!), but I guess sometimes you just gotta harvest your grape leaves, sit in a dark room and play with your turtle.