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 the 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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We have now entered wine snob territory

by fourteenergirl on April 23, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

It’s official. We’ve entered wine snob territory.

Before I tell you how we arrived so suddenly at this place, I have to explain a little something. We, like many people here, are members of wine clubs. A California wine club comes with benefits. You give them an email address and your credit card number and you get invited to fun parties and you can take your friends and taste for free – it’s totally worth it.

Our crack dealers vintners even share helpful and informative news about your wine. They tell you how it was grown, how the weather affected the taste, what exceptional things to note about your wine. Plus recipes that you can cook up to pair with each of your wines.

Wine recipes

By the way, we are totally making this seafood bake with fresh seafood from the market on the harbor. It looks fantastic!

The most important benefit, however, is this one: boxes and boxes of lip-smacking wine come TO YOUR DOOR every month.

Case of Carhartt wine

Case Gainey wine

Case Hearthstone

We are members of five wine clubs. Not kidding. Five. That means that we have a lot of wine coming in and since we haven’t been able to drink lately, it’s started piling up.

The wine cabinet was full and the counter over the wine cabinet was stacked with bottles, things were starting to get out of control. We started stacking the cases of wine in the garage.

Our California house is not big, but we’d always wanted a wine fridge. Except where to put it? We had to get creative. So, we stood in our garage and contemplated things a bit. We measured and moved things to find a spot.

Empty space

Then Steve ordered a wine fridge online. We installed it this morning.

Wine fridge

So, the wine fridge is now installed and rapidly cooling 24 bottles of wine. The kitty water fountain has been restored to it’s original place and we can’t wait until they discover the changes – that should be loads of fun.

Wine fridge installed

It’s fitting that the watering hole for the cats is right next to the human watering hole, don’t you think?

Now, where the wine bottles WERE stacked two deep, there is now a little room in the booze cabinet:

Room in the booze cabinet

So, who’s going to come and help us drink up some of this wine?


On the trails again

by fourteenergirl on April 22, 2016

in Just Stuff

This week, I braved the preserve that’s close to our house as my first attempt at walking off sidewalk. I skipped the uphill bits and any place where climbing over logs was necessary – I stuck to the easy trails in short.

One of my favorite signs in the world:

My favorite sign - trail sign

I took my time. Didn’t rush things. As you can see, the trail is nice and wide and mostly flat – all good for recovering walks! It was great to see how clear it was. I could see all the way to the channel islands.

Flat trail

I’m really glad I’m not allergic to whatever this yellow blooming weed is – it’s everywhere!

Yellow blooming weeds

Finally, I get to why I did this trail – the gorgeous coastline. The waves. The sound is so restful and healing.


You just can’t beat these views.

Santa Barbara coastline views

I wasn’t kidding about those yellow blooming weeds – everywhere! So tall too.

Santa Barbara coastline walk

I finished the walk in about an hour. I didn’t do all of the usual path, but enough to really help my body get moving again. Then, I had a couple of tacos and headed home. Shower. Bed. It took a 2-hour nap to recover, but it was worth it.

My healing continues …


Whack-a-mole Emily Style

by fourteenergirl on April 17, 2016

in Just Stuff

So, I told you about the moles in the back yard, right? Well look who has taken up the game of whack-a-mole:

Emily hunting moles


Once the mole popped up, they both looked at each other unsure of what to do next! Can you see the mole?

Emily and the mole

Since they couldn’t figure out the next step after staring at each other for awhile, the mole went back to digging and Ems thought it was a good time for a snuggle with Mommy and a treat:

Done hunting

All of this effort must, of course, be followed by a serious post-hunting nap:

Post hunting nap


Let the back yard reno continue

by fourteenergirl on April 16, 2016

in Home, Just Stuff

In the continued saga of the back yard renovation project, look what we picked out and bought today.

A pallet of stone

Those are blue-grey stones that we’re going to use to build a patio in the lawn, right here:

Patio here

In the space right off the kitchen (sliding door on left) and we’ll have some comfy chairs and a fire pit there. I want ZERO yard – just a big party, resting, enjoying space.

If you remember, a few weeks ago we removed all the rocks from around the deck, replaced the weed blocker and replaced the rocks. We added lights under the trees so that at night the back yard looks ah-mazing! We built a stone wall because the previous wall was made of flimsy logs and looked trashy.

Here are some shots of the gorgeous wall in both directions:

Rocks are back


Wall is finished

We still have a long way to go – the deck has to be refinished because it’s all dingy and we’re putting up some sun shades (we’re thinking of big sails in keeping with the sailing theme and for air flow) over the patio area, but one step at a time.

I am still on the path to recovery. Walking farther faster now. Driving a bit – to see friends. I still hit a wall around 5 p.m. if I haven’t had a nap, but that’s to be expected. I can’t lift anything heavier than a full glass of iced tea so Mr. Man has been the total hero with the yard work.

I’d also like to introduce you to our new guests – a family of moles.

Moles in the yard

Well, that’s where they live. We saw one of them this morning as we had a smoothie for breakfast. He’s got big front teeth and likes to toss dirt. Emily is FASCINATED with them and stalks them all day long if I let her. Not sure how they’re going to take to the stone patio but for now, they’re kinda cute to watch.