Is it beer yet?

Months ago we researched different climbing vines and discovered that hops, as in beer hops, makes for a pretty vine. Because of its deciduous nature, we planted it with our old decorative trellis which looks good with vines in the spring/summer/fall and will still look good bare when the vine has to be cut back for winter.

The rhizome was purchased online and arrived in an envelope with some instructions. It basically looks like a stick and there was some doubt it would actually do anything or if it was even alive still.

Here is March 15:

hops 1

And then April 15 and May 15. It’s growing good!hops2

So the big question for Mike is… when do we get to make beer?


Before + After | Back of House

Just as I promised, we painted the back of the house first so we could enjoy a little slice of pretty while enjoying the warm evenings. You have to start somewhere, right?  The garage and remaining house will be following soon. Yay!

The house was in deplorable shape before we moved in. The back right corner was so rotten that we still don’t know how it was standing. It was missing siding, the huge floor joists were sitting in dirt and completely rotten and the walls had nothing left. I’m surprised a family of racoons didn’t just walk in and make it their home. A lot of sweat, cursing and work went into getting this section of the house back to acceptable. The corner of the house had to be jacked up, Mike scooted on his back into a 10″ space, and there was a lot of pacing by me while wood groaned and the guys (Mike and Quetz) worked to get everything in place. I’m grateful it’s done.

We originally had hopes to shuffle the original redwood siding from the hidden north wall and use it to redo the missing corner section, but it was all too far gone so Mike did a nice board and batten accent instead which I love!

back house before

house back after

Some side notes:

There was a vent pipe in front of the laundry room windows (which cranks out mind you). Because pipes in front of windows is always attractive.  😉

Because the house was so off-kilter the old back door would not shut and lock so Mike ran a large screw through the door/jamb, so to gain access in the morning, he’d remove the screw to open and the add it back in to lock it up for the evening. We were keeping it classy. The new Dutch door is dreamy! (and no screws needed)


This solo eucalyptus was not all that special, but during the earlier months of the year it surprisingly gave us a large amount of welcomed shade on our driveway and house as the sun set.  The tree’s demise is because the land across from us has big development plans, and we knew that the plans would not include the existing trees, but it was a bit of a surprise to see it go so early in the process. Oh well.


Some gardening…

I’m chipping away at some of the gardening – finally! Yesterday I (semi) completed the front walkway area, the patio planters and some other little things here and there.

Here’s the front; before, during and after.

front plants


We inherited a messy mish-mash of acacia volunteers that were tossed and calla lilies that had no business being in full sun, so I transplanted them in the back.

I was initially very excited to begin planting this section, but quickly found even this small area daunting. So, I slowly chipped away at it by first purchasing the big evergreen bushes as the anchor. Once those were planted, I could envision the rest and finished off the bulk of it yesterday.  It’s a very pretty mix of green and white flowering plants with one big special pink plant at the end. Just out of the photo is still an empty area on the end where I plan to plant a tree. I struggled with what kind but we finally decided on some sort of fruit! A little unconventional for this location but I think it will be fun. I’ll keep adding plants as I see fit, especially bulbs for some spring surprises next year.

Chairs, soil, plants and paint

Another busy day today! Mike’s been working hard on the closets and I’ll have some update photos soon. And while he was occupied with that big task, I zipped around and made some purchases.

Soil and flowering plants for the patio pots.

Big evergreen shrubs for the front and side of the house.

White exterior paint! Please don’t laugh, but we don’t have the time or energy right now to paint the whole house so we’re just painting the back so when we’re enjoying a nice shady rest and a cold beer, we can smile and pretend. I’ll share photos just as soon as I have it done.

And lastly, I was just heading back home from my travels and passed these two cute little chairs in front of an antique/thrifty kind of shop. I said to myself, “ah they’re probably expensive”, but convinced myself to turn around and take a look. To my great surprise they were $22 each and in fairly sturdy shape. Sold! Our current antique dining table now seats six!

photo20 photo21


Many of you have commented about my silence and I sure appreciate the love and loyal following! We are budgeting each and every project so we’ve had a little lull in activity. Plus we’ve enjoyed a little break. But we have some good stuff coming up and we’ll be pulling on our grubby clothes and doing another push soon.  On the docket in the next few weeks…

  • Installing a washer and dryer and hopefully completing the laundry room walls before.
  • Begin installation of the bedroom closet. Yay!!
  • Possibly our new handmade dining table.
  • Installing our bedroom ceiling fan and front porch light.
  • And hopefully some plants in the front and back.

There are a lot of maybes, so if it’s not all done this month, it will happen in the following. In the meantime, we’ve been doing little tasks around the house.

Mike planted his beer hops rhizome which is sprouting! The very fast growing vine is quite beautiful and will quickly climb up our spiral trellis near the front door. I took before photos which I’ll share with you once I have some good after photos too. It will look like this:


Mike also planted two large trees at the top of our driveway, so if you drive by and notice something slightly different; that’s it. When we purchased the property, there were a few potted trees tucked on the side of the house and hidden in the weeds. The previous owner had good intentions to plant the trees but never did and they sat for several years. Their roots seeking out a home through the bottom of the black plastic container and rooting deeply into the ground.  With a little care and some luck we hope these trees will survive the “transplant” and thrive. They are a very big welcome to our blank slate. (I attempted a photo just now but it’s raining and the pic looked terrible. I’ll give it another go soon when they leaf out completely and there’s sunshine.)