I Got A New Way To Walk…Walk, Walk

Walk way that is!  Darling Hubby and I finished redoing our front walk this weekend and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  The old one was a crumbling concrete mess and looked down right terrible.  Here is a picture that was taken in early 2004 (before we sided over that hideous yellow color) that shows an already crumbling mess…add 5 years to that and you can imagine what it looked like a couple weeks ago before we broke it all up.

Before walk way

When we first moved into this house in 2003, there were 3 very large stone slabs laying between the driveway and the neighbor’s fence.  They served no purpose, aside from giving the old neighbors ramshackle fence a little more stability at the bottom…lol)  I don’t even think I have a picture of them…they were that insignificant to us.  When Darling Hubby and I started discussing options for repairing the front walk way, I made mention of the 3 stones and when we took measurements, we found they were practically perfect for the space.  They were a little smaller width wise, but it was only a couple inches and we decided to take out the bricks and other stones that made up the side walk way that led from the driveway to the main walk way since it wouldn’t match up well.  We’d planned to just lay the stone slabs flat and basically replace the front walk, but my friend Rose gave me a good idea to make them into steps.  It actually turned out better to make steps since the last stone was a bit longer than the concrete slab the construction guys poured when our sidewalks and curbs were replaced in 2007.  We had no good way to cut the stone slab to make it even so overlapping worked out well.  Plus it will keep the rugrat kid from down the street (who can’t be but a year or 2 older than Bug), who often has no adult supervision, from riding his wagon down my walk way…he attempted that once but quickly moved on when he saw me watching him from my front door…he hasn’t set foot on my property since.  Anyway, we ended up using the bricks from the side walk way area to make the steps…nothing goes to waste around our house!  lol

Here’s the finished product!  We added top soil to make things even and planted some grass seed.

Bottom view, trellis

We will eventually get some new solar lights to put along the sides.   The new steps look nice next to our newly redone flower bed.  There were some scraggly looking roses there before and we took them out last month and planted some mini blueberry bushes and some irises.  It looks so much nicer.

Side view

Here you can see the side walk way area.  This used to have bricks laid out there, but it was starting to heave, even after I relaid them a couple years ago.  We reused the trapezoidal stone block that was there previously and plan to get some stepping stones to place there rather than making a full walkway.  I’m thinking something along these lines.  They are made from recycled rubber.  I like reusing and recycling!

side walk way side view

Here is a picture of the fence area where the stones used to sit.  I cleaned it up and extended the brick lined flower bed that we put in after the new neighbor replaced the fence last year.  I planted some wild flower seeds and some cosmos seeds that I got free in the mail from somewhere.  You can see my container garden with my potatoes, carrots and spinach.  The wooden post that has the bamboo wind chime hanging from it was once part of the overhang that extends all the way back to the garage.  We only use it for storing our garbage can, some firewood that’s drying and as the uprights for the “fence” that I put across the driveway to contain Bug and the dogs to the yard.

New flower bed

In addition to finishing the walk way and creating the new garden and planting seeds, we replaced our outside water spigot.  Shortly after moving in we replaced the old existing water spigot with a frost free one.  Last year it started spurting water out of the top whenever it was turned on.  It wasn’t bad, but this year it started getting really bad.  It made a huge mess when you needed to water anything and I dreaded using it.  Of course, it wasn’t an easy fix.  There was a lot of grumbling at it and some quick fixes, but in the end we have a spigot that works and it no longer wastes water!

You may be wondering what Bug was doing the whole time we were working.  He was either inside playing or  in the yard playing while the stones were moved and he did help a little when we were putting down the dirt and grass seed.  For some of the spigot work he was running around shoot the dog with a water gun.  Don’t worry, Max isn’t mad that he’s getting all wet…

Water gun 1

In fact, he LOVES getting sprayed and shot with water!

Water gun 2

Water gun 3

He even waits patiently while Bug pumps the water gun back up.

Water gun 4

We didn’t let Bug help or be around much for the moving of the stones.  Since we didn’t have much in the way of equipment that could easily lift and move three several hundred pound stones, we improvised and didn’t want him getting hurt accidentally.  For the first 2 stones we employed the Egyptian pyramid building method of putting the stone on a sheet of ply wood and using rollers to move it down the driveway.  It actually worked pretty well, considering.  For the 3rd stone, we borrowed our neighbor’s father’s dolly which was much easier.  lol  It’s actually great that we have neighbors who will let us borrow things.  For this job alone we borrowed a sledge hammer, a pry bar and the dolly…all of which we returned, promptly.  Good neighbors always return things quickly! lol

Overall, I’m very happy with how things came out.  I only hope that our grass starts growing soon.  It’s done nothing but rain and rain and rain (severe thunderstorms nightly) and it’s starting to wash away some of my dirt…I shored it up with some bricks today.  Hopefully it will help keep the dirt in place.

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Ice Storm 2008 Photos

Parts of the Northeast was hit by a pretty nasty ice storm Thursday that brought down branches and powerlines and damaging many homes, cars and other property.  We were lucky here in the Sarandipity house.  We briefly lost power during the night and again around noon on Friday and other than a couple times of the lights dimming, we’ve kept our lights and most importantly, heat.

Some friends of mine, however, were not as fortunate and have only just regained their electricity.  Others are still without power and are staying with family while they weather the storm, so to speak.  According to the power company, they don’t expect those people to have power until Tuesday or Wednesday.  I don’t know what we’d do without power in the freezing cold.  We have hot water heat and I’m scared to even think what might happen if our house temperature dropped below freezing.  Thankfully we do have a wood stove that would help keep it somewhat bearable in here.

At least one tragedy has come from this storm with the death of a couple in their home after carbon monoxide fumes from an incorrectly ventilated generator filled their home.  My thoughts go out to their family.

Despite all the destruction this storm brought, it did bring with it lots of beauty.  Here are a few pics that Darling Hubby took Friday morning after he returned home early from work (after heading it at the regular time) because the power was out at the lab and they didn’t expect it on until late afternoon.

Ice on my bird feeder.

Ice covered bird feeder

Ice coated branches.  This tree has branches upon branches of tiny branches and was heavily coated with ice.  By early morning, at least half a dozen branches had fallen.  This is actually a picture of one that was caught in the tree after it broke.

Tiny ice coated branches

Tiny icicles on my clothesline

Ice on our clothesline

Ice coating the few remaining leaves on my rose bush in our front yard.

Ice on our rose bush

Icicles hanging from the trellis over our front walkway.

Icicles on our trellis

Icicles hanging from the wooden fence in our front yard.

Icicles on our fence

These last three are the view of the moon through ice covered branches.

View of the moon through ice covered branches

View of the moon through ice covered branches 2

View of the moon through ice covered branches 3

I hope that things can go back to normal as soon as possible for every affected by this storm.  I know for some it will be hard, there will still be damage after the power comes back on, but eventually things will be back to normal.

Crazy Weather We’re Having

Rain and snow and cold in October!  That’s just not right.  So much for all this “global warming,” right?  Yesterday it rained and rained all morning (my backyard was a lake) and by afternoon it was raining and snowing at the same time.  It was strange.  The flakes were big puffy ones, too.  I’d kinda hoped there would be snow on the ground this morning so Bug could go out and play in it (Mommy kinda promised he could) but the ground wasn’t white when we got up this morning.  He’s a little disappointed, but he’s having fun playing in his “rocket ship” he made with a blanket on the couch.  lol  Anyway, he has the start of a cold, so I’m not too sure we would have gone out or stayed out long had there been snow.  Just a little bit ago, when I took the dogs out it’s doing this sleety, rain, pellety thing.  There will be snow eventually…When I called my mom yesterday she said they already had a foot and a half of snow…and that was at noon.  Course, they live on a mountaintop…I’m sure that had a lot to do with it.  lol

We still haven’t turned on our furnace, yet.  I’m still trying to make it until November 1st.  Only 3 more days.  I’ve been burning fires like crazy (and sitting directly in front of them) to keep the house warm enough and it seems to be doing the trick.  I keep it going during they day, we stoke it good before bed and Darling Hubby gets it going again in the morning before he leaves for work.  The house is kinda cold, but for now it’s dealable.  I just need to figure out where the draft is coming from when I’m sitting on the couch.  We pretty much live in warm pajamas, sweatshirts, socks and slippers.  Blankets, hot tea and hot chocolate with marshmallows are wonderful, too.  I’ve broken out the flannel sheets and extra comforters.  We broke out the winter coats, too.  Even my little dogs have been wearing their sweaters to keep from freezing (although they shiver when it’s 90* so I’m surprised they aren’t ice cubes…lol)  When Bug gets his computer time in the office, which is the room farthest from the fireplace, I cocoon him in a big fleece blanket with only his head and right arm out so he can see and use the mouse.  lol  He may look funny, but at least he’s warm!

Since we’ve been cooped up inside a lot, I’ve been working on crocheting.  I’m working on a Gatsby Sweater by Peter Franzi for Darling Hubby from the Son of Stitch and Bitch book.  It’s coming along nicely…this time.  This is actually the 3rd time I’ve started this sweater since July.  I kept having issues with it looking like a rhombus rather than a rectangle and with having either too many or too few stitches.  I’ve been doing better with counting and I think I might be able to get away without blocking it as it’s pretty rectangular.  I have 19 of the 25 inches for the back done and then I can start the next step.  I’m really hoping that I’ll get it done soon so Darling Hubby can wear it.   I’m also hoping that it’s not going to be huge.  It looks enormous!  lol  But, I’d rather it be big than too small.

Well, I’m off to curl up in front of the fire with a ball of yarn and a crochet hook and get that sweater another few inches closer to being done.

What’s in a Middle Name?

I was tagged by my good friend Annie on this middle name tag, so here goes.

1) You must post these rules on your blog before you answer the questions.

2) You need to list one fact about yourself using each letter of your MIDDLE name. If you don’t have a middle name use your maiden name instead.

3) When you are finished with your answers, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name.

ELIZABETH

E – I like helping to save the Environment. I use cloth bags at the grocery stores most times to cut back on the number of plastic bags my grocery store seems to go through. I hang dry my clothes to cut back on the amount of natural gas I use (this also cuts back on my gas bill) and I recycle, even when it seems a little silly. I recycle every scrap of cardboard, every tin can, bottle, and jar I can. We always take our soda bottles and cans back for the refund.

L -I’m a Listener. Just ask all the girls who worked for me when I was still at the library. One girl, Rory, called me her bartender as I always had an ear to lend and if I had a helping hand, I’d lend that, too.

I – Easily Irritated – Sometimes little things just irritate the crap out of me.

ZZodiac. My sign is Cancer. Yep, the crab. Have you ever noticed that the symbol for Cancer looks like the number 69 backwards and on it’s side? Just putting that out there…

Cancer sign

AAtheist – Not many people know this about me as I don’t go spreading it around, but I’m not a big religion person…never really have been, even though I was raised attending a Baptist church. I’ve read the stories in the bible and to me they are just that, stories. I’m more of the scientific believer that the universe, the planet and plants and animals were created naturally through evolution rather than believing that an invisible being created everything in a week. In my mind, this just doesn’t seem possible. However, I want to say that I am very accepting to what other believe, so if you do believe in God then fine. It if brings you comfort and joy then I support you in your decision. I don’t mind when people ask for prayers for loved ones in their life as this brings them comfort. I am just not the prayer type. Don’t get me wrong, I am respectful of others who practice religion, like bowing my head at meals and in churches for weddings/funerals. I am just not accepting of those who feel the need to push their beliefs on me, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons that feel the need to interrupt my peaceful Saturdays and littering my doorstep with their literature (which does make good fire starter.) I hope this doesn’t change any feelings that my friends have toward me as it doesn’t change my view of others. I kinda feel better getting that out there.

B Books, I LOVE ‘EM! Sometimes I just need to curl up on the couch with a good book for much of the day. I’m almost done with High Noon…I’m not sure what I’m going to read after that…I’ve got so many choices.

E – I love to Eat, espcially junk food. It’s a wonder I don’t weigh more than I do.

T Television…I’m addicted. I watch too many shows. I even DVR my soaps so I can watch them later.

H Hobbies – my favorite crafty things to do are Crochet, Scrapbook, Knit, and Quilt/Sew

Ok, there you have it. There’s my list of things according to my middle name. I really hope I haven’t offended anyone with it…If I have, please tell me. I don’t want to make waves and loose my readers…what few I have… I’m not going to tag anyone cause, well, I’m just not going to…I leave it up to you if you want to continue on the middle name goodness.

I Swear They Must Get A Commission!

We did our grocery shopping today and, as usual, we bought a lot of stuff. While we were checking out, we had a bagger. I swear that our grocery store baggers get commission on how many of their cheap, tear the second you put more than 3 small thing in them plastic bags. The bagger we had put our gallon milk containers each in a separate bag and then grabbed our apple juice containers that come with built in handles on the top for easy carrying and tried to put them in bags, too. I stopped her and said, “you don’t have to put those in bags, they already have handles.” You should have seen the look on her face. She looked utterly appalled that I said anything to her about the way she was doing her job. I just smiled and considered saying something about “let’s save the environment here,” but I didn’t. I didn’t even say anything to her as I reached passed her for the 6 packs of Pepsi and the case of root beer and just put them in the cart (and without those little orange “I paid for these items” stickers on them. OH NO!!) And, to top it off, she put hot food (I was getting something from the hot buffet for Bug to have for lunch since it was getting late and he was getting hungry (and pretending to chow down on the sales flyer, which was really cute)) right on top of my ice cream! Who the hell trained her? Cold stuff goes with cold and hot with hot! Most occasions I just want to bag myself or have Darling Hubby do it, but now the store has pretty much instituted the “you will have an incompetent bagger program,” so they are usually there.

I’m considering going for those reusable canvas shopping bags. It would be so much more eco-friendly, I wouldn’t have a ton and a half of plastic bags floating around my house and I probably wouldn’t have to worry about the bags tearing while walking to the house from the car leaving my grapefruit rolling down the driveway. Granted, I do use those plastic bags for small garbage pail liners and for emptying the kitty box and things like that so they do get reused a little, but I feel I would be doing my part to save the environment if I stopped the store from handing them out like they were water. I swear, on a $150 shopping trip (minus the things that I prevented her from bagging, I must have had at least 15-20 bags each with like 2 things in them. It says “EZ10” on the bag for a reason!

So, if you have gone the route of putting a stop to piles of plastic shopping bags leaping from behind your toilet or sneaking their way out from under the kitchen sink, let me know what you’ve used and your recommendations. I’ll appreciate it.