Smokey House Rehab (Part 5)

I know it’s been a couple months since I posted an update on the Smokey House Rehab, but that’s mainly because there’s been nothing to update you about.  The rehab has been on the back burner because of all the wedding madness, and we’ve finally gotten back into it.  The last time we attempted to fix it up ourselves with no help from professionals, it was 100° outside with no working A/C, which made it about 110° inside the house.  We were trying to put up a very heavy light fixture in the house and it wasn’t cooperating, and that pretty much pushed us past our breaking point.  We decided that we wanted to hire some help instead of doing it all ourselves, because we were just getting too burnt out.

We had several contractors/handy men/painters come and take a look at the house to give us quotes, and then once they left, we never heard back from them.  What’s the deal?  People don’t want work?  Finally, we found an awesome painter that has been doing an amazing job so far.

So far he’s painted all the bedrooms, the hallway, the bonus room, and the stairway going up to the bonus room.

We chose Mushroom Bisque as the wall color, and we couldn’t be more happy.  It’s a good contrast with the white trim, and it’s a nice tan color without being too peachy, as some tans can be.

I spent Sunday afternoon cleaning the kitchen……again.  This kitchen is seriously my nemesis, but I think I finally conquered it!  Our painter is going to be painting the inside of the cabinets to try to get rid of the smell that is still lingering from the previous tenant who smoked heavily in the house and somehow got this kitchen dirtier than anything I have ever seen.  We’re going to be replacing those awful green counter tops and that dirty sink and faucet, as well as installing a pretty, modern, tile floor.  It’s gonna look like a brand new kitchen!

After I was satisfied with my cleaning job in the kitchen, I got started on the weeds in the front yard.  There were certain sections of grass around the walkway that had weeds that grew like they were on steroids.  The rest of the grass would be a normal length, and these weeds were 2 feet tall!  So I pulled them all out……in the rain.  We had a landscape company come out a few weeks ago and completely demo the entire backyard, which was previously covered with thick weeds and vineage (yes that’s a word, even though my spell check doesn’t think so).  They removed the tree stumps from those huge cedar trees and dug out all the weeds and about an inch of top soil to get rid of most of the roots.  Then they spread seed and covered it with hay so that the seeds would be able to germinate more successfully.  Now we have pretty little shoots of grass poking through, and in about a month it’ll be a pretty grassy backyard, instead of the forest it was when we started.

Steve spent the day pressure washing the outside of the house and the deck, and what a difference!

It’s amazing what some high-pressured water can do!  You can actually see the grain of the wood now instead of a thick layer of greenish black algae, or whatever that stuff is.  We’ll be sealing the deck once it’s completely clean so that it’ll last for several more years.

Next time we go to the house, I’ll be sure to take a picture of the backyard so you can see the difference from when I posted this picture:

First Mow of the Season

Steve mowed our lawn today!  The first mow of the spring season.  Living in California my entire life, until 2 years ago, I never knew that you didn’t have to mow your lawn all year round.  From what I think I remember, you normally have to mow your lawn in the winter in California.  Or at least, I can remember being woken up every Wednesday around 7:30am from the gardeners mowing our large backyard.  We had an abnormally large backyard for the San Fernando Valley.  Almost an acre to be exact.  You can’t get a yard that size anymore.  Luckily my dad bought the land in the 80’s, when land was still relatively inexpensive, and built our family home.

Over here in Tennessee, you don’t mow your lawn in the winter.  How convenient!  The grass just doesn’t grow when it gets to a certain temperature (a temperature it never gets to in CA).  I’m sure many people who don’t live in sunny CA are rolling their eyes and thinking “Duh, where have you been?”  Well….in CA, that’s where!  I’m just learning about the different seasons over here in the South where there actually ARE seasons.  Ahh snow, how I love thee!  Autumn, you are gorgeous too!

Our grass was getting pretty long.  I picked up the dog poop yesterday and could barely see it through the forest of grass!  And let me tell you, the dog poop is usually not hard to miss with our beasts of dogs!  It’s like picking up human poop out there!  Sorry if that was a little bit too much information.  It’s just that I hadn’t done it in a couple weeks and I was pretty much up to my eyeballs in poop.  It was not a pretty situation….nor a pleasant smelling one either.

Steve loves our riding lawn mower.  Sometimes I like to mow the lawn too, since that thing is just so fun to drive, and I have to put up a pretty good fight for Steve to let me take the reins….or wheel as it were.  (By the way, those brown patches on the right are courtesy of our dogs.  They enjoy relieving themselves in the perimeter of our patio, which completely killed the grass there, and it’s now completely hard, compacted dirt.  We’re contemplating if we should just leave it until we try to sell the house, or if we should put sod in and try to fence off the area until it has grown in.  Suggestions?)

We even got a free pressure washer with our mower when we bought it!  That has really come in handy since we have dogs with muddy feet that like to stain our concrete brownish red from the clay dirt on their paws.

We actually got an upgraded pressure washer because they were out of the one that was supposed to come with the mower.  Score!  That reminds me, I really need to pressure wash the patio before Elizabeth’s bridal shower next month.  Put that on the “To Do” list.

This is courtesy of Camelot this morning.  I had the dirt and Miracle Grow mixture all nice and leveled out yesterday in my raised vegetable/flower bed, and this morning, after leaving Camelot alone in the backyard for a couple hours, I found this lovely sight.  At least I hadn’t planted the seeds yet!  Then I would have probably been alot more upset.  Luckily this is an easy fix.  We’ll be getting a little fence to go around the vegetable garden so this won’t happen again.  Camelot usually doesn’t jump small fences (or baby gates) unless there’s a thunderstorm and he’s trying to get to us because he’s scared.  The little pansy.

Look at this boy.  He doesn’t exactly scream “ferocious” with this face.  He likes to put on a mean front if you’re a stranger ringing our doorbell, but inside he’s just a pansy boy.  Your secret is out, Camelot!

I installed these stone tiles that lead to our hose today.  We still have to put either mulch or gravel in between them, but at least part of it is done.  It always gets so muddy back there, and it’s such a hassle trying to get the hose out, so hopefully this will help.

I also dug out several of our dead bushes in the front (Steve helped) and raked the old mulch into piles that have yet to be disposed of.  See, we didn’t have any heavy duty trash bags to dump it into so we just had to leave it there over night until we could get said trash bags.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  My beautiful peonies will go in this large spot in the front.  I can’t wait until they start blooming!

Another accomplishment today was putting the bricks and top soil around each of the two trees in our front yard.  I think it looks so much better than before!  Unfortunately I didn’t take any before pictures, but just imagine that those bricks aren’t there and that the roots are sticking out of the ground.  We still have to put some mulch on top of the soil, but it already looks 100x better than it did.

Did I mention that I love spring?  Look at these blossoms!  Gorgeous!

I love when the earth comes back to life after a long flowerless winter!

I think this deserves to be framed.  God’s creation is so pretty!

This tree is a thorn in my side……except in the early spring when it looks like this.

Oh glory, if only it could look like this all year round!  Except during the spring, this tree is exceptionally ugly!  It hardly produces any leaves, and the branches hang downwards like a frown.  We were planning on ripping it out and planting some rose bushes or something with a little more color, but then I saw the blossoms.  Oh how these blossoms nurture my soul!  I’m sure in a couple months I’ll want to rip it out again, but for right now, it’s just so pretty to look at.