Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nature Walks and Family Visits

Time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it?  I apologize for the absence here on NPD, but I'm not sure where the time went!  I have been creating, visiting with family and friends, and enjoying a milder than usual Fall here in my part of the PNW.

I built that table just in time for company!  My brother came out for an early Thanksgiving in mid November, and we had a great time catching up, touring the area, and I got my crash course in "iPad".

Our first full day together we ventured out into the woods via the trails behind my house.  It was a little rainy, but not too cold.  We walked and walked, spotting mushrooms and little picturesque openings in the trees.  All of the plant life looked as if it had been carefully placed there in perfect order.

Later the sun came out through the fog and our walk back was even more picturesque!

I especially like this photo he took of me walking down the path.

I saw this interesting old stump that has been eaten away by woodpeckers and weather over the years, eventually forming into an amazing natural abstract sculpture.

It was a great time and a long awaited reunion.  Now all but one sibling has visited the NP pad.
I am so glad I have this blissful area to share.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Reclaimed Wood

Another fun project I have been saving wood for.  This is my new kitchen center / eating table.  It still smells a little of wood stain and saw dust as I just finished it today.

I have been saving the reclaimed wood for years - - as I knew it would be something special once I thought of it!  The top of course is a new piece of pine.  I didn't have enough of the reclaimed wood for a top and wasn't going to wait another couple years till I did!

This is basically 2x4's, 2x6's and a couple of odd pieces on the ends which I found on the beach.
I really like the upper pieces of 2x6 under the top. 

It's a super basic design that anyone could do.  I don't have a skill saw so I couldn't make indented cuts for a flush fit, but actually, I like it rough looking like this.
It's the perfect height for me to sit at with my stool.

So here's where you'll find me for meals, binoculars close at hand for bird watching!

Total cost $32.  $24 for the pine and $8 for a box of wood screws.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bathroom Repairs

 Now here's a subject we mostly don't want to see or talk about until we need to fix something - then we're googling all over the place looking for answers.

I haven't posted any repairs lately, because, well, thankfully, I haven't had to do any!  But this one has been rolling around in my head for a while.

I have had some kind of leak from my toilet or the incoming water valve or maybe just from the tank sweating.  It was a mystery, but the floor was obviously showing signs of water absorption.

I called a friend to see if he knew of any carpenters in the area who could take a look at this.  He said he had done repairs like this and would be happy to inspect it and see what we should do.

Here are some before photos:

Actually I have seen worse than this, and it wasn't getting any worse - but I was sure there was some kind of monster under there.
My friend poked around and discovered some dry rot, but nothing was moist any more, so whatever it was wasn't happening any longer.  He offered to take the toilet off, inspect further and put on a new seal.  He also had a great idea for a plate of sorts that would level out the floor so the toilet sat level.

Gotta love the mind of a repairman.
This is made from a sheet of plywood that is stained.  Perfect fit!

For those of you with an older mobile home, this is a great fix as long you do not have major dry rot underneath your floor.  I once saw a similar fix with a steel plate.  This will probably last another 10 years.

Total time four hours.  New seal, bolts, plywood just under $40.
So I only got to play assistant on this one, but I am grateful that I was not the surgeon this time!!!
And so grateful for good friends!!  :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Summers End

I haven't taken a vacation, let alone an over-nighter in seven years!  Some of that was due to low funds in the beginning of my New Pioneer adventure, later it was an unreliable vehicle that left me leery of going too far.  But in the past two years I have had a reliable new car and enough money for at least an over-nighter - some place.  However other things had to line up as well - like two days off in a row, near perfect weather and not during a holiday.  

Finally this month it all aligned and I was off to drive the "loop" as we call it out here.  It all happens on highway 101 and goes all the way around the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state.

I left from my place in Lilliwaup on the Hood Canal at 7:30am and headed north through Sequim and Port Angeles.  Then there's a lovely drive around Lake Crescent.

Next stop is Forks, filled up the gas and another quick 30 minutes to Ruby Beach, totaling 4.5 hours drive.

 There is something magical about Ruby Beach!  It has the coolest rock formations, pebbles, wildlife and spectacular views.  The sun was shining brightly and after the fog burned off it was 76 degrees!

Next stop just south of Ruby is Beach #4.  I do not know why they call it that.  It too has some fabulous rock formations and views.

Then it is back on the road for another hour and a half drive inland around the Quinault Indain Reservation, then out Moclips Highway back to the coast.

I reserved a room for one night at the cozy Sandpiper Beach Resort.

This was the view from my cabin.  I sat out on the deck till after sundown.

 Finally I got to see the sunset on the coast.  What took me so long, who knows, but I won't wait this long ever again. 

As a PS, it's only another 2.5 hour drive home from here around the southern end, through Aberdeen, then east to Shelton and back up 101 to home.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Those Final Projects

There's a section of my yard that you can't really see and I rarely visit there, but there it is and something needed to be done about it.  I had built a retaining wall of concrete blocks and planted a few things up top and called it good.

Recently I was inspired to make a few adjustments (of course that only came after some work I did on the hill which opened up the sunlight to this area.).  Below is the "before" picture.

 I moved the flat wall out into a curved shape, filling it in with some excess dirt from another area, and then designing a mini labyrinth - of sorts.

Below is the "after" photo of the blocks moved out.

(Ignore that 1x2 in the foreground, it is marking the property line).

I went on to adding some chives and other plants that I knew would do well in this spot and don't mind getting moved around.

 Photo from the top.

 I wanted a small path and am filling it with rocks every chance I get to the beach.

I will be adding more ground covers to this area next.

There's even a little bird bath in case the wildlife back there was feeling left out.

One last thing I needed to do was to paint an L shape section of the back of the house that no one can see - except me of course.  So I got that taken care of as well, since I was working back there.

Below are the before and after shots of just one section, I don't have after photos for the rest of the area and of course I have already stacked up the project wood there.


 This is what happens when the ex husband leaves the house unfinished and the pioneer woman is forced to figure out how to finish it - with no funds and what's available.  But I digress, and that was 8 years ago.  
Not bad considering I pieced together these odd siding panels before I bought a compact miter saw!

That's it for the summer to do's around here.... I think!  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pileated Woodpecker


I see these majestic birds from time to time here.  They are quite agile and fast for a bird their size, darting in and out of the trees, they look like a space ship or some other animated creature!

This Pileated Woodpecker has been a frequent visitor to the many dead trees and stumps around my place this summer.  I finally got a chance to get a few photos of him, but he moves so quickly it is hard to focus on him.

Then he's off again.

I was fortunate enough to get a very brief  (only 14 seconds!) video of him in this area of my yard.  The photos of him on the trees were too blurry as the point and shoot couldn't keep up with his quick moving head and body.

So here's the video:


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tree Falling

 It's never easy to make a judgement call on tree removal, at least not for this tree hugger.  But the years were passing and the tree was getting bigger, so I had to decide.  

It's a lovely cedar, not very old, planted about 15 years ago when the first owner cleared the place and put the mobile home in.  However, it's base is only about 8 or 10 feet from the septic tank.  

I had done my research and asked a lot of experts whether it was a threat.  The rule of thumb is, nothing should be planted closer than 30 feet from a septic tank or drain field, period.  

I live in a development with good rules.  I had to apply for an architectural approval to have the tree removed, as well as ask the neighbors if they minded - since it was very close to them.  
I got the appropriate paper work and signage and set the date.

It was an easy process.  Basically it was limbed up, tied to another tree, cut and down she went.  Cut up for firewood, limbs hauled away, all in about an hour.

Just that fast.
There was a lovely scent of cedar through the air for days.

So the view of my place is a little more open from the driveway (this is a wide angle point and shoot by the way), but the important thing is that the threat is removed and a clean slate has been created.

A few days later we surveyed the property lines and everything is marked clearly now.  My next steps are to think about aesthetic looking fence options to divide the properties.  I might also like to install an arbor or trellis as a privacy screen.  Maybe wisteria, or clematis.  So much to think about!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vintage Bike to Yard Art

We've all seen this done with old bikes, converting them to fabulous yard art.  The trick is in finding one in tact.  Luckily for me, I already had this one.  It was originally blue and white, and actually worked.  I know, some of you are cringing at the thought of disabling a working bike.  But seriously, it wouldn't work where I live, too many hills.

I had it parked for yard art for a couple of years, moving it from time to time.  I never quite got the right place.  But what was really happening was that it needed new color!  
I saw a great photo of a bright yellowish orange bike online, with a front basket full of orange daisies, wow, I thought, stunning!

So I got the only yellow spray paint WalMart had that week and wala - here is my bike to yard art make over.  
Next spring it gets flowers in the basket.

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