After the fire

by fourteenergirl on June 26, 2016

in Just Stuff

So, last week we were busy waiting. Waiting to hear if we’d be evacuated. The Sherpa fire raged west and north of us and everyone in that direction – farmers mostly – were already evacuated. As I headed home on Friday, we were already packed up and ready to go at any time. I snapped a few photos. We could see the flames burning along the ridge about 20 miles in the distance. Later that evening, I snapped some photos of the sun pushing through the smoke. It was eerie and quiet and everything smelled of smoke.

We set our alarms to check the phones for alerts a few times through the night. We stayed close to home all weekend, hunkered down and ready. Watched way too much Netflix. We weren’t even trying to paint the patio furniture or do more work on the back yard project. We did trim the tree in the front of the house as it had branches hanging over the roof. When the helicopters and planes are flying low and loaded down right over your house, you kinda get weirded out.

But, we’re safe. The danger has passed. We are grateful for the firefighters and others who protected our little neighborhood. Some photos for you to see below.

Smoke from the Sherpa fire

Sherpa fire coming over the hill

Sherpa fire close to home

Sun burning through the smoke


Wine in the Sunshine

by fourteenergirl on June 11, 2016

in Just Stuff

The May grey has launched us firmly into June gloom around here. Clouds, clouds and more clouds, so last weekend we escaped up the hill to the Gainey Vineyard member event. You’ll remember last year’s event. This time, we took things more mellow. No bouncy jeep tours, but plenty of barrel tastings inside in the cool, dry tasting room and sunshine outside where the band played.

What’s a barrel tasting you ask? It’s where you get to taste the wine before it’s really ready. Sounds weird, I know, but some of it was amazing! For the wine snob, it’s a way of knowing what the wine is going to develop into and for the wine merchant it’s a way to sell futures. Just like in the stock market. You can buy the wine before it’s ready.

We had someone else take two pictures of us in the tasting room, but either the photographer or the camera was wonky (musta been the wine) and both photos came out blurry. Darn it.

They gave us a lovely basket with bread, wine, and cheese and we snacked, sipped, and savored before heading down the hill and back into the gloom.

Gainey member event

Gainey vineyard


Gainey barrel tasting

Gainey barrel tasting

Gainey band

Steve at Gainey event

Basket at Gainey event

Me goofy shot

Even the dogs enjoyed it

Gainey sunshine


Chalk Painting in Santa Barbara

by fourteenergirl on May 31, 2016

in Just Stuff

The iMadonnari chalk festival was this weekend, and with the light rain the night before, there was no more deck finishing work we could do, so we headed out to have a little forced fun. The artists will work on their chalk painting all weekend, in many cases. This blog post is all about the photos, folks.

Madonarri SB

Madonnari SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB

Madonarri SB



Bloggable moments with chickens

by fourteenergirl on May 30, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

So the neighbor’s chickens get out (or are let out?) of their coop pretty regularly. You’ve seen the rooster on the fence and he’s even dropped over to wander around the yard once or twice.

This week, we came home to find one of the hens wandering our backyard.

Hen in the backyard

Again, I don’t mind chickens. Would love to have them myself, but I don’t believe that farm animals should be living in this close proximity to people. Just a personal thing, I guess, plus┬áthe noise is annoying.

With her visit, however, was there is another reason not to want chickens in your yard.

They’re darned destructive!

In her very normal chicken way of scratching around for seeds and things to eat, she managed to toss nearly all of the mulch out of my beds into the lawn. She scratched big holes and dug up several plants.

Hen loose

When she saw us in the backyard, she began running all around, looking for a way back to safety. We gave her a ladder to climb.

Hen ladder

She hopped up on the steps but couldn’t quite figure out how to keep going up and over the fence, so she hopped back down.

Hen ladder

Emily got involved too. She wasn’t quite sure what that thing in her backyard was, but she was very curious.

Emily watching the hen

She got closer and thought about her plan of attack.

Emily chasing hen

And then the neighbors came by to get her. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have let the cat get the chicken – Emily might get hurt and the chicken wouldn’t be any wiser. After a couple of visits and a near cat encounter, she hasn’t dropped over the fence, so I’m hoping she learned her lesson that the grass might be greener, but it’s way more dangerous on this side of the fence.

Now, to put all that mulch back – sheesh!


Backyard reno continues

by fourteenergirl on May 22, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

In the continuing saga of the backyard renovation, we have planted little things called isotoma in between the rocks and we mulched. We planted shasta daisies (a long time favorite of mine) at the entrance of the outdoor sitting room and sprinkled thyme seeds on the elevated portion. We’re waiting for them to really show themselves and be lovely but so far it’s just little pops of green through the dirt which seems positive but could be weeds or grass too, so time (no pun intended) will tell.

Backyard reno

It looks rather nice. Needs the furniture and firepit, but that’s coming. That low purple flowering bush is a sweet pea bush and I never knew such a thing existed.

Sweet pea bush

I like the little guys. They’re cute.

Now, it’s one to the next phase of the project which is to refinish the deck. The deck is now very scratched and rough looking, quite dreadful actually. Looks like we invited over a hockey team and let them play on the boards.

See the deck behind these brave plants that are trying to hide it’s ugly.

ugly deck

It’s really beat I tell you.

So while I’m working on other stuff (like sitting here all clean and writing a blog), Mr Man has started the re-staining process with the steps to the hot tub first.

restaining the deck

This is Sunday and we’re hoping to get out of the house to play a bit later – after laundry and all that weekend jazz gets wrapped up. It’s been a nice, loving, quiet weekend.


Emily is cuter than the rooster

by fourteenergirl on May 22, 2016

in Just Stuff

I thought I’d follow up yesterday’s rooster show with one from Emily, who is hands-down far cuter than the rooster.



Every morning the rooster crows

by fourteenergirl on May 21, 2016

in Just Stuff

I love chickens, I do. They’re delightful. Roosters, not so much and yet we have to live with this one because he lives in the yard behind our house. He crows every morning and likes to get on the fence between our yards so Everyone can hear him.

Oddly, he crows all day long and at dusk too. This is just one of the roosters in our neighborhood. This guy likes to get into crowing wars with the rooster one yard over.

Yes, I could report them to animal control but then what would happen? This proud noisy guy would end up with all the other roosters in the yard by the dogs up for adoption.

You think this is noisy, you should hear that yard where I think they have dozens of rooster all doing their darned best to be a good rooster without a flock of hens. Poor guys.

So, no I won’t be reporting these folks. They probably just ended up with a surprise when they got some chicks. It happens that way sometimes. It’s not his fault.

I just wish he’d learn that weekends are for sleeping!



Patio is in, planting has begun

by fourteenergirl on May 8, 2016

in Home

So, this is Mr Man’s idea of taking a few days off to spend with me – we worked our butts off building the patio. *sigh* All I know is this: when we’re done with this outdoor living space project we get to play for the rest of the year. No more house projects. He promised. I can’t wait.

Until then … we still had some rocks to plant.

Planting rocks

Then we watered the whole thing down – mud everywhere! I pulled the tweener bottle palm off the parent – it had been threatening to fall for a long time. They sprout and grow like leeches and then fall off. So, we planted it in the first planting zone.

Tweener bottle palm

Poor thing even looks like surly teenager.

Next up was moving a twin palm that had been stuck in the deep shade in a corner of the lawn where it was languishing. Steve also moved one of the black-tipped succulents that was threatening to outgrow it’s pot in the front of the house.

Twin palm

The next morning, Steve decides that the sloping problem needs a retaining wall, so he built that …

Retaining wall

… while I tackled the groundcover planting.

Planting groundcover

I made good time getting all the plants in. I amended the soil as I went. It was a nice sunny day.


Doesn’t the retaining wall look great? We cleared all the tools out of the way and turned on the sprinklers to get the rocks settled and the plants a good start.

Watering the patio

Then, it was time for a wine break in the shade. We watched the plants settle and the sprinkler make mud and we opened this bottle of yumminess:

Wine break

Look at the legs on this glass! They come down and rest on the wine but don’t absorb. Next it’s time to mulch everything.


It’s getting there … next up, flowers. After that, refinishing the deck. After that, putting up the sails to cover the living room area. After that, furniture.

Still a long way to go. Our goal is to be done before July.


Finally! Two By the Beach and Cupcakes

by fourteenergirl on May 4, 2016

in Just Stuff

It finally happened. Mr. Man got so, so tired carrying all those rocks last weekend that he could be convinced to come with me to the beach and sit.

Yes – sit.

In a beach chair which has never had his butt in it. (I’m the one under the towels – it was cold!)

Beach sitting

With cupcakes.

Beach cupcakes

I have photos to prove it.

Steve at the beach

Then we went home to sleep. After all those rocks and all that work, we were exhausted!



Tearing things up and building something new

by fourteenergirl on May 3, 2016

in Home

In the continuing story of the backyard reno, the gorgeous Sydney Peak slate patio stones were delivered.

Slate patio stones delivered

They couldn’t fix the palette, so they delivered it just as crooked as we bought it:

Patio stone palette

We had a contractor remove 2/3 of the sod in the backyard to give us a clean slate (so to speak). Then, we planted┬áthe first stones – one on either pathway and one loosely in the center.

Stone patio start

Now, I say ‘we’ here but I’m really not 100% helpful. I still can’t carry anything and, to be honest, even if I could many of those stones are far too heavy for me to consider lifting. That means I am:

  • fetching and carrying
  • opening doors and gates
  • hydrating the husband who is carrying stone
  • shoveling dirt

It’s a dirty and messy effort. The dust inside the house is phenomenal (we should learn to close the sliding doors, but we can’t seem to remember). We slowly put the jigsaw puzzle of stones together.

Stone patio pattern

Then, we realized we had a lot of really big stones left. We thought about selling them, but instead decided to make the patio bigger by adding them around the edges.

When we plant (lay?) a stone, it looks a lot like we’re outlining a spot to bury a body.

Planting stones

After about 8 stones, we got the rhythm of it and it moved along a little faster. Every stone is a pain in the arse, however. Neighbors stopped by to see what we were doing and popped into the back yard to lend us tools. We promptly broke the dolly and had to buy them a new one, but we’re still using the repaired one.

Emily seems to approve of the work. She likes sitting on the stones in the evening because they warm her butt.

Emily stone patio

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