6 Months of Yardwork and Our Staycation

Ah, a sigh of relief after a relaxing vacation. Just kidding. It wasn’t very relaxing but still quite nice. And it was a staycation, a vacation where you don’t go anywhere which normally makes me cringe but thought I’d use the term anyway. As some of you readers already know, we completed the backyard project of regrading and adding tile to help the water issue in the basement. This meant tilling up part of the backyard directly behind the house (not the new stuff we just grew…it’s a big backyard) and the side of the house.

Above all, this means we are finished with outdoor projects this season. Nothing else until spring, big project-wise. Henry has a problem staying in our yard when the neighbors are out-he’s a social butterfly, a 60 lb. sheepdog butterfly so we’re reusing the cutesy fence until we can get a better one in the spring. Painting and getting that up is on our plate for next weekend (sorry to say probably no Junk Bonanza this year for us)…then the following weekend, I can’t wait, are the Cannon Falls (MN) city-wide garage sales! After that, garage “saling” is pretty much over for the season.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to what I was saying about the vacation…we didn’t get to plant anything, make the paver walkway or put in the rain barrel and chain last week like I mentioned in the last post. That’s ok with me.

Some before shots….

The section we had to regrade and tile last week.

Side of house before (one part we worked on last week). There is a large tree stump and several small hidden stumps in there.

What it looks like today…

To regrade this part of the yard, we took the dirt and moved it towards the house to create a slope so that the rain water would go away from the house and not in the basement. Under the dirt, by the patio, is tile to reroute the water to the street which is connected to all the downspouts in the back and side of the house and garage. Just need the grass to grow. See the pics below for more of the steps on how we got to this point.
We took all the lumps and bumps out of the yard. Thought we'd find a body for sure in some spots but nope.
Excess tile on the right. Doing this project ourselves saved big money.
Front and side of yard. The water will stream out of the tile to the street from here.
The other part of the backyard finished a few months ago. Nice and grassy now. As is the side of the garage with nothing in the way like the old clothesline, stumps and raised dirtbeds.
The strip of dirt is filled in with grass today.
Just a little of the "jungle" left on the side of our property. That will get cleaned up next spring.
Lots of watering going on today.

*I’ll share the after photos when the grass has filled in…if it in fact does. Want to see more of our yardwork over the last 6 months? Check out this link about repairing the window well, this one to see how we worked on the yard by the garage and behind it (ie the other section of the backyard), or check out the posts in the category ‘backyard’ here.

This concludes nearly 6 months of outdoor work just to get the space to a blank slate without rocks, lumps, roots, dead plants, dying trees, dying limbs, lots of broken and/or tacky yard decorations, a very low clothesline in a very bad spot, and cutesy fences/arbors that made the space seem tiny. All gone. It feels pretty good to have that done and know that what awaits are our personal touches. (Haha, I said personal touches and almost made it through without thinking dirty thoughts. 30 has made me more mature.)

Garage sale find just in time (the hand seeder sucked)

When we moved in, the yard was overgrown and behind in maintenance for oh, say 20 plus years and weedy, think Grey Gardens-esque. It now has grass as far as the eye can see and is much more open and fresh. You just want to run up and down the yard like a weirdo with a few whirls and twirls thrown in (that ends in pain with me hurting myself)…but you’d be stuck in the mud at the moment. True story.

Root digging, rock/stump removing fun
Goodbye, yard.
Digging the trench for the tile after regrading and cleaning out the debris from the dirt.

We’re patiently (not me so much) waiting to see if the grass sprouts. It looks a mess and is ridiculously hard to water. We can run only one sprinkler or hose at a time. Come on, rain!

And yes, we did it ourselves (mostly Greg on this one). Some people we talked to made it sound like we were crazy to tackle all this on our own. Like we hear with a lot of projects. It’s called we’re poor, cheap and we like doing it. Greg knows what he’s doing all most of the time and what he doesn’t I seem to somehow. Go team Witkamp!

He says he wishes he could do this kind of work all the time. He also says he wants to be a spaceman. That’s Greg. We enjoy being together so much that we wish we could afford to renovate houses (some say “flip”) along with the furniture salvaging business full-time.

We worked on some furniture over this staycation. (I’ll show and tell in another post.) An awesome, free, vintage couch was on the curb so we grabbed that guy up. I have yet to dip my foot in the upholstery pond and in true Annie fashion (it’s actually the opposite of what I would do and I don’t know why I’m saying otherwise), I want to tackle this couch for my first run. It is a horrible idea, I know. I’m also considering taking it to someone who knows what they are doing or at least getting a quote. But you see how well it fits in our only vehicle. Like a glove. The one OJ Simpson had tried on in court anyway (ahem). I’d like to see the couch in our place with a newly painted body and snazzy fabric. Haven’t a clue what to put on the 7 foot beast.

Made me miss my grandpa

We went to a steam and gas engine show/flea market around Labor Day but didn’t come home with anything. It was pretty well picked over by the time we arrived. We also missed the big event in town, Defeat of Jesse James Days. Not the traffic. Running errands definitely proved tricky but we just avoided crowded streets.

Garage sales were everywhere this past weekend and we did grab a few things that will end up in the store and for our own use. Like that grass seeder and clothing that yours truly will actually wear this fall. I’m into fall. Fall is my buddy. Best season ever. To live in a place that has fall-like weather all year long is a dream.

And yes, my 30th birthday was great. We didn’t do what we thought by taking a trip to see home reno showrooms and the like but we had sushi, watched a movie and had a wonderful time after a long day outside. Thank you to family and friends for those birthday wishes!

But, and if you follow our facebook page you might know, this staycation was not without its problems. Greg’s paycheck was delayed a day throwing off the budget for the yard (the first time in 4 years of course), my other blog (the food and recipe one) went down on Labor Day and I didn’t know for 4 days (still working on that issue which involves transferring my domain to a new account, getting a new host-for this blog too- and a bunch of fun things we get to address with that this week). For some reason getting this post up has taken 10 times longer and it no likey me adding pictures. Making for a long afternoon.

The USPS (I’ve had hundreds of problems with them) broke one of the gifts my parents sent me for my birthday. The carrier (not our normal one I know because she was on vacation too) wedged the large box in the mail slot so that when we opened the screen door (not touching it at all), it shook lose and fell 5 feet to the ground. All but one mug was broken so we called and called and got nowhere because they couldn’t be sure they weren’t already broken…no, I bet that stupid placement of them wedged in a slot too small and the 5 foot drop had nothing to do with it. There was a step right next to the slot where rational people would have placed the package-steps where packages are always put, at the front or back door. Doh. I’m drinking from the uninjured mug right now and singing “you’re a survivor, you’re gonna make it” like Beyonce. Until I dropped it. Kidding, today I’m kidding.

Here's the before...reveal to come next post

I can’t wait to share the cabinet and side table makeovers finally finished over the break. Next time. Please excuse any facebook page rants about transitioning from one web host to another or general wordpress/technical aspects of blogging complaints. I am human. Greg’s a spaceman. Henry is a huge butterfly. Those are the lessons of the day.

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