February Flew By

Last month started with the MR’s birthday, and a visit from our sweet girls and ended with a quick trip to Oregon to see them in turn. Two visits with our kids in a month is rather delightful.

Sandwiched between those was a lot of rain, a lot of snow, and a lot of crazy. In Winter Wonderland I shared the joys of snow outside and a cozy fire inside which led to questions and a whole blog on the History of Our Fireplace. It’s gone through a lot of changes over the past five years. Remember the conversation pit and the green carpet?

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When a Tree Falls in the Woods, I asked that it stay off our driveway. Me and the MR worked up a sweat clearing branches, small trees, limbs, and debris from our only way out.

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Of course that wasn’t the end of travel woes. All the snow and rain—it’s been the wettest February on record in Seattle since 1961—caused part of the road up our hill to collapse into a steep ravine. (Check out Winter Storms & Prepping for Spring.) They are working on it, but for now we have another one lane road to navigate on the way home.

With the power out, no TV, trapped at home, that gave me lots of time to knit, right? What should have been a good thing turned into trouble when hand-dyed shade variations showed up in a big way on my fingering-weight cardigan edged in lace. I’m still mourning the loss or maybe pouting is a better word for it. This is one time when Following the Rules would have paid off in a big way.

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On the positive side, How’s That for Color? featured our picks for new carpet in three of the bedrooms. Baby Girl has a ton of stuff, so her bedroom will have to wait until she totally moves out. One of our color choices is in production and should be available in mid-March, so we’ve had the rooms measured, made a down payment, and are just waiting a few weeks to schedule installation.

For me, The Best Part of Winter is getting up before the sun. I could probably do it during the summer, but 4 am comes awfully early. I love watching the everchanging sky in the mornings.

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With more snow this week, enough to delay schools but not enough to keep us trapped at home, I did notice how pretty the front doors are with their mountains backlit with real snow.

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Cocoa agrees with me, of course.

For March, I’m hoping for fewer storms and a better attitude. While there’s nothing I can do about the first, I’m working on the second.

How was your February?

 

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Winter Storms & Prepping for Spring

The snow and rain this past month has brought its share of headaches. 

The MR spent a few days straightening posts and redoing the netting over the orchard. The weight of the snow had caused it to collapse. 


We got by with just a few broken branches. Taking a closer look, the MR noticed that the critters who tore up our grapes last fall had also damaged the vines. He took the opportunity to remove the bottom wire of the grape trellis, so the grapes wouldn’t hang on the ground. 

Although it snowed every day last week, it was sunny by afternoon. So the MR did some careful pruning to the fruit trees and bushes, fertilized the trees, and applied a dormant spray. The orchard is ready for spring. 

He also began work on a French drain for a low spot in the driveway which sports a puddle half the year. In his preliminary digging he came across a large rock just shy of 12-inches deep. After a lot of hard work, he decided a 10-inch drain would be the better choice; it’s on order. 

The big news isn’t on our property; it’s on the one road leading to the 60-plus homes on our hill. With the heavy rains this month, the road began collapsing into a deep ravine. I did mention that this is the ONE and only road leading up the hill, right?



The county has added some drainage, filled in, and paved over the uphill shoulder. During the week, they posted half hour waits, and this past weekend it was one hour waits to get through the construction zone. 


I’m hoping we’re safe for the moment and thankful that no one has been hurt. Over the weekend, the county was taking core samples. Maybe they’ll show that our hillside is going to stay put. 

Any storms headed your way? How are you preparing for spring?

Celebrating August

It’s been a pretty awesome month with family and friends and a lot of sunshine.

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We celebrated Milestones with the girls.

Anniversary Canvas

Dealt with a proliferation of broccoli and cucumbers in Ain’t It Funny and saved some Herb-alicious goodness for the cold days of winter.

Rosemary Cubes Closeup

We did a little shopping and Super-Sized a rug, Problem Solved with a new floor lamp, and Added a Little Drama with some new nightlights.

ALD Light on Maple at Night

The MR has been busily remodeling the guest bedroom bath. I Teased You with a glimpse of tile, shared the newly glorified shower Somewhere In the Middle, and showed you Bit by Bit how it’s all coming together.

New Shower

I dreamed a little about a backyard waterfall—Just Imagine, and dreamed too of winning a Fitbit challenge against my 22-year-old. It’s just A Little Friendly Competition, but I have been getting in more steps lately. I think I’ve won one challenge in the last three weeks. I do have a few years on her and tend to go to bed before my Sweet Miss. Who knows, maybe I’ll actually lose a few pounds.

The MR has picked up the new sink/counter combo for the guest bathroom, and I do have plans to make up those new throw pillows I bought the fabric for way back in June. We’ve done a little shopping, a little planning, Baby Girl is moving back to school in a few weeks, and I have a few surprises to throw your way. September is always a good month.

How is your fall shaping up? Are you in the full back-to-school mode?

Sweet Surprises

Spring in earnest has arrived at our house. We came home late last Wednesday from eight beautiful days on Maui and woke the next morning to a front lawn dotted with purple azaleas.

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Not black dogs—that was purple azaleas.

SS Bogart

What you didn’t hear that buddy? I said purple azaleas.

SS Azaleas

Sometimes you guys don’t realize what I go through just for one picture.  The azaleas are quite pretty.

SS Azalea CloseupBack when we were adding all the new landscaping last spring, I had no idea that all those sweet, little bushes would turn out to be azaleas decked out in purple each spring.  We were https://bigwhitehouseonthehill.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/making-a-statement/ and let the landscapers have free reign.  They did well.  Me and the MR were talking about adding in some annuals like last year.  It might be too early for the new guinea impatiens that brought such nice color.  The deer did really like to nibble them, so maybe a less tasty option would work better.

The original owners lined the drive with barberry and candytuft.  Over the winter, it gets a bit scraggly-looking, and I wonder why we don’t just pull it out.  But on our return home, it was in full-bloom.

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It looks lovely in all its glory and adds a bit of brightness along the driveway.

SS Candytuft Edging Drive

I think a little hint of white in our new planting beds might balance things out.  Wait and see.  I moved a little dirt and sorted out the worm bin, while the MR sprayed weeds, mowed the lawn and the meadow, used the weed eater in the orchard and the steep hillside, and power-washed half the deck.  OK, so he tends to be a little more driven than I am. Our yard thanks him, and so do I.

How’s your yard looking this spring? Any wonderful surprises?

 

 

Country Living

City drivers complain about traffic, potholes, and construction.  While we have to deal with some of those, we have some added problems out in the country.

Me and the MR came home to this lovely sight last night.

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When you and the deliveryman are the only ones to use your driveway, you get to clear it.  While the chainsaw isn’t working, the MR used an ax, a saw, and some elbow grease to get us both home.

With trees down, flooding in the valley, roads closed, and many people without power, I’m thankful we just had a little road work to take care of.

Winter storms getting you down?

 

September Potpourri at Our House

You never know what you’ll read about when you stop by here. In September we covered plants, gardening, maintenance, knitting, harvesting, winemaking, decorating, and moving on. Sometime I wish I were a little more focused.

We’ll get knitting out of the way, since that’s the MR’s least favorite part. Sometimes he just skims those posts, but they really speak to truths that relate to other areas of life. Knitting Weather talks about learning something new. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a class, or listening to a podcast, we can all benefit from another’s expertise. The Power of the Block encourages you to take that extra step that turns something from good to great.

Honeycomb

We all want to finish well in knitting and in life.

There’s nothing like homegrown produce. We enjoyed Tons of Tomatoes on our trip to Chelan in quick and easy pico de gallo. They also attracted a ton of fruit flies, but that’s another story.

big tomatoes and romas

In other harvest news, we’re trying our hands at The Age Old Art of winemaking. After letting the “must” froth for a few days, we ran it threw the juicer. That may not have been the wisest choice. We had seeds flying everywhere and some fairly thick wine.

But we had this whole plan. The MR ordered pie weights, since we didn’t have enough wine to fill our container.

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We boiled the weights, while we were removing the skins and seeds from the must. Then we put them all in our special jug with the cool valve on top.

wine in jug

Sometimes things just don’t work out. It was time for Plan B. The MR drilled a hole in the lid of our old jug, and the wine went back into the 2-quart container that we started with.

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The directions say you don’t want any air in the container, so we made sure it was good and full. So much so, that the gas valve on top was filled with wine by the next morning. I don’t think they meant that full, so we drained off a bit. And now we wait. In another nine months, we’ll see what’s what.

I talked about The Beauty of Form and The Beauty of Wisdom—sometimes I get on this weird repetitive kick. No, I wasn’t talking about myself, I was talking about plants of course.

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The MR planted some Russian sage along the base of the retaining wall across the stairway from this beauty. Next year, we’ll have flowers and plants to soften the edges and start taming the overgrown hillside.

Rain can be a major pain. We had A Gully-Washer early this month requiring plenty of raking.

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Rain also seeps into all the cracks and crevices on the deck. In order to ensure Firm Footing, we had the deck recoated and those soft spots fixed while we were on vacation; my apologies to the housesitter. We did get back in time to chase the dogs away from newly painted stairs. Just look how the deck sparkles in the sun.

Deck corner

Our Baby Girl has left us for the joys of college, and we’re all entering New Chapters in our lives. I know she’ll be learning amazing things this year.

BG in the car

And me and the MR we have big plans, too. While I didn’t talk him in to buying a Lake House, I just might talk him into some new deck chairs. These adirondacks were so nice to lounge on in the afternoons.

Adirondacks

They might be a bit too traditional for our place, but we’ll find something. I’m tired of moving chairs from one side of the deck to the other all summer chasing the sun or escaping the heat, depending.

What were the highlights of your September?