Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dances with bees

"They surrounded me like bees; they were extinguished as a fire of thorns; in the name of the LORD I will surely cut them off." Psalm 118:12

Lately, we have been focusing so intently on the ground that we hardly ever looked up. Until, that is, Eric got stung by a bee in the front patio area. After looking around to see where it came from, this is what he found. The neighbor's DH estimated this as a three-week construction project.

What to do now? Counter-attack!! So begins Eric's dance with the bees.
First weapon of choice: diesel fuel. Works great for killing bees; however, leaves an awful mess on the house. And the smell is not so lovely, either.

After awhile, Eric switched to Simple Green just to clean the house off.

In case you're not familiar with this dance, here's a few moves for you to practice at home (ha, ha, ha).

Have you got it? It really is quite simple - you just let the bees lead!

Where was I during this dance? In the vehicle, of course! In one of the photos you can see the side mirror of my Jeep.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sown on the good soil

"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty." Matthew 13:23

Please excuse my absence of late; however, we've not made much progress on the patio this week. But our garden is coming along quite nicely. Click here for a before shot.

The rhubarb adjusted to its new home right away. Once new buds were formed in the center, they took off like crazy! New shoots in every direction!! Rhubarb pie is right up there with gooseberry pie - love that tart, make-you-pucker sensation on my tongue!
Runners are good thing for straw- berries. You can see onions popping up all around. If you double click on the photo, you'll see little, tiny berries near the base of the plant. This year the crop may not amount to much, but next year we hope to have lots of sweet fruit!


Italian parsley.



Potatoes, garlic, and elephant garlic. Those potatoes took off about as quickly as the rhubarb. From the looks of it, we're going to have a bumper crop!!(PS - The background is our no-grass, weed-infested yard. Since moving here one year ago, we've mowed three times!)

Here's the whole shoot 'n shebang! I'm standing over the rhubarb looking past the tomatoes & peppers toward the mustard at the far end. In between the tomatoes and peppers, we planted marigolds & nasturtium. They are finally starting to show themselves.

All in all, I think we have a pretty good garden going. Especially since gardening is not our number one priority right now.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Starting to see it now

"And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions." Joel 2:28

Can you envision the patio? When it's all said and done, we'll have three levels.

1. Even with driveway and the top of the bottom row of timbers.

2. Two timbers higher (in the bottom left corner of the photo and middle level at the back of the photo).

3. Again two timbers higher (the front step and area around the trees).

Right now, the timbers are just sitting there. We decided to dry fit everything before we started pounding rebar again. And I'm glad we did because we soon learned that each of us had a different plan in mind! (My plan won out!)

We saw this after we laid and removed one of the timbers. Each time we lay a timber, we need to level it in all directions. This means pounding it quite a bit which leaves an impression if we remove it later. The wood grain was so obvious in the dirt. Interesting, huh?

Can you guess what this is? It's a root - and I think it's an Oregon Grape. I say that because this area was once infested with Oregon Grapes. I liked how the red and orange swirled together. Quite a contrast against the dirt.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting it right

"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:10-11

After we got the new front steps figured out, it was time to start laying the rest of the timbers. In this photo, Eric is using a string to determine the wall which runs parallel to the house.

Marking possibly-changing boundaries.

Digging rock-invested dirt.

Chopping never-ending roots.

Wait a minute.

Isn't there an alternative ending to this story?

"Just then, Prince Charming rode in on his trusty orange steed and saved the princess from the exhaustion of physical labor."

Ahhh...that's more like it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Building the foundation

"Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work." 1 Corinthians 3:12-13

Remember seeing our gold, silver, precious stones, and wood? Today I'm going to elaborate on wood.
After playing with Legos, we're ready to build the walls!!!

New front steps: once we placed a few timbers at the correct width and height,Eric cut the timbers with the chainsaw to stagger the seams. A warped timber made a great work surface.


Maybe the chainsaw didn't work as well as we had hoped.

On to Plan B.

Do we have a Plan B?

Now we do! And Plan B worked like a charm!!
(Landscaping can be an expensive hobby.)

Ladies, this was the scene after we quit for the day: filthy, dirty feet!

Mind you, I was wearing shoes AND socks the whole day.

Bath time lasted a few minutes longer that night. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Building the walls

"The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Before we started carrying 8' timbers to the patio area, we thought it wise to determine the layout. Being the visual learner that I am, Lego blocks worked great for this. The longer we worked at putting these blocks together, the more we realized the layout was not that difficult. Most likely, the plan would change as we went along anyway.

(Even though my son is now 19 years old and no longer living at home, I have always kept his Lego blocks. They are such great toys allowing kids to be wildly creative!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Back to the patio

"Though your beginning was insignificant, yet your end will increase greatly." Job 8:7

Back to the patio. We still have a great vision for this project.

Even though we had more dirt to remove, we decided another raised bed would have to wait. For now, all the extra dirt was piled where the holly tree stood.

Up until now, the boundaries of the patio have been cut in roughly. It's time to be exact. We purchased a can of orange marking paint and went crazy marking the boundaries and high/low spots - digging out and adding dirt where necessary.

Next step: drainage from the driveway.

Using the backhoe saves us so much time now. Before the tractor, digging this trench would have taken several days, at least. The rocks in the soil would have given us quite the workout. However, Eric was able to dig it in just a few minutes. Every time we use the tractor, we are so thankful God allowed us the means to purchase it.

Tools of the trade: 100' length of drainage tube, connectors, junction boxes with grates

Looks good!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A day with Dad

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you." Philippians 1:3

Recently, Eric and I were fortunate enough to enjoy a day with my father. He's never been to the NW, so decided to make it a road trip. That was perfect since he's a huge fan of nature - he could see the sights and get lots of pictures. The trip out was a four-day trek which means the trip back was also a four-day trek. Having ten days vacation, that left 1 1/2 days with us. But that was perfectly fine. I'd rather have 1 1/2 days than none at all. Besides, he'll be back. Right, Dad? Below are a few snapshots of our time together.
First things first.
They thought it wise to make sure the tractor was working properly.

Removing a tree stump seemed to be the best test of the day.

Whew! That was hard work. Better take a breather.

Day two.
We started our ventures at Snoqualmie Falls with breakfast at the lodge. Then we trekked from the top of the falls to the bottom. Views are spectacular from either viewpoint.

Off to the piers of Seattle and Pike Place Market.

You can't go to Pike Place Market without stopping at the world famous Pike Place Fish Co.
And you can't stop here without buying.

Because watching them throw (and catch) the fish is the most fun ever! If you are even remotely close to the market, you must visit. Hearing these guys chant back and forth is quite amazing - loads of fun. Even if you don't buy, they'll throw so you can get a picture.

Fresh flowers from the market.

We watched her put the arrangement together right in front of us.

Only $15, too! What a bargain.

They found a nice home on the table on our deck.

A view of the port, as we drove home.

And the
of course.

We did
not visit
the Needle,
but who
comes to
and does
not get a
at least?

Dad, thanks for a great visit. Love you.