Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012 & Grove of the Patriarchs

It started out with a Friday off for Hubby. We worked on the deck Friday and half of Saturday.

Saturday afternoon, we did yard maintenance.
Sunday we planted trees and set mole traps. Went to see a movie.

Observed owl babies on the west side of the property that evening.

I need to add better pictures and video from Mark.

Monday we went to check out the Packwood Flea Market. Supposedly the biggest in the State. Not impressed. It was like an overpriced garage sale. There were a few folks that had specialty items but not many. It was one of those things like the SeaFair - you go just to check it out and then never go again.
We dined at a place called Cliff Droppers. They serve burgers and shakes, fries and beer. It was nothing super special. Good burgers, ore-ida  tasting fries - which are good but, I prefer homemade-style if I am out to eat. Shakes were YUM! Service was fantastic! Decor is ski-tastic. I would give it a 4 out of 5 and would recommend it.

We tried our luck to see if we could go back home via Mt Rainier National Park. Most passes are still closed till June. We got conflicting messages as the Park website stated all except Chinook were open, the roadsigns said most were closed and chains were still needed. Well, only Chinook was closed and chains were not needed on the Stevens Canyon/Longmire roads were clear.  Looks like the park website is the best info. So, that is the way we went.

We visited the Grove of the Patriarchs this time. 

lichen @ the Grove of Patriarchs
Salmon-berry bud @ Grove of Patriarchs

Grove of the Patriarchs

This trail is moderately easy. It is not handicap accessible. It is about 1.5 miles long. There are some stairs, inclines and a suspension footbridge. The cedar loop trail on the island is a raised boardwalk with seating. There are informational signs along the way.
This is a nice light hike for those who are able of all ages.

my kid on boardwalk in front of Big cedar @ Grove of Patriarchs

Suspension foot bridge to the cedar Loop Trail

The Grove of the Patriarchs is a beautiful, ethereal place to visit. 

On the way out We took the South road through Paradise and Longmire.

The roads were still lined with waterfalls but, this time there were more and they were on full force. We passed a cliff of mud and rock and our stomachs flipped when we heard a strange rock-slide noise.

There were huge slabs of rock that had come loose that had not been there last year.

Through the higher elevations we encountered massive snow packs. With the rain and mass, we were both quite nervous through Paradise area.

Paintbrushes @ Stevens Canyon

Reflection Lake May 2012

We drove past Reflection Lake. Click here to see Reflection Lake in Late August of 2011. Here it is late May 2012. Just got the road because the snowbank is about 7 feet high. Rainier would be to the left out the passengers window.

On the south side of the mountain

Waterfall near Longmire

 It was a beautiful and peaceful drive as any campers that were there for the weekend were mostly packed away and headed home.

skunk cabbage near Longmire

 Some of these photos and others not seen here will be made available in my shop. Click links on page to go directly to my Etsy or Zazzle shops.

This Memorial Day we remember and honor all the people who died in service to defending the United States of America. Without their sacrifice and dedication to keeping our nation free and defended, these beautiful parks may not have been preserved for generations from all over the Earth to experience. The beauty and preservation of these National Parks stand as an honor to the lives past. present and future, that were sacrificed to make our lives free and safe.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Finally Spring 2012

So, it has been an very LONG TIME but, spring is finally here in the west Cascades (at least in my micro-climate).

The flowers are blooming. My girl loves to pick the flowers. She collected a variety of blooms from the yard and placed them in a bowl for Mother's Day. 3 rhododendron, dandelion, pansy, petunia, cherry, camillia, and buttercup.

I had started seedlings indoors and set them out a few weeks ago. 2 days later they were GONE!
Slugs had feasted!

My daughter and I now go slug hunting in the evening and feed them to the chickens.
To battle slugs I put out more beer traps and sprinkled the soil with coffee grinds. We will see how that goes.

My new seedlings just will not be big enough in time for our very short growing season for summer vegetables.
I broke down (not really) and went to the store and bought some transplants.

Three fruit trees are still in pots. Although, they are in big pots!

I did some clean-up on the blackberry patch.

Re-designed my herb garden. inspiration from the chickens and the dog who decided an un-planted basil patch would make a great ball burial plot. Painted rocks for herb signs 'cause there is no shortage of rocks!

Cleaned out the foundation beds and planted some hardware store clearance.

Working on re-locating the calla lillies into the rock wall bed. The large tropical looking foliage does well with the big rocks.

Here is a collage of a few things in the garden.

Oh yeah, the orchard trees are blooming. Even the big apple that is still on "crutches" and the little apple(?) stump we transplanted from the meadow.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Here we are after a year in the house, finally getting around to the deck.
It has been needing replacement from the start. But, as thing go, priorities must be made.

Here is What it looked like in June 2011. Looks OK but, there are many loose and rotted boards. Supports (which are too few) are unstable. The plants are growing crazy all up under there.

june 16 2011
june 16 2011
I did end up removing the plant-life over the next few months.

Here we are a year later and we can finally get to it.
A gorgeous weekend grants opportunity.

Day One Saturday 12th May 2012

Today we get started on demolition. Actually, he, as I am still recovering from illness and tire easily.

Notice how the lower deck slopes to the grass and center?

Here are some pics of the rot and poor craftsmanship.

And, Oscar keeping company

Day 2 Sunday 13th May 2012

Hubby gets busy on the rest of the deck while I mow the lawn.

Main task today finish lower deck removal and remove upper deck.

Day 3 Tuesday May15, 2012

Nothing much. Hubby works a little on cleaning up wood pieces and de-nailing.

Day 4 Wednesday May 16, 2012

Hubby continues dismantling the rest of the deck. Now only nail removal and clean up left.
I work on the foundation garden. (in another post).

Day 5 & 6 Thursday & Friday May 17 & 18th, 2012

Clearing debris and removing nails is the theme these days.

Day 7 Sat. May 19, 2012 


Haul 1000 lb of debris to the transfer station ($100).
Flip the deck direction because the stone retaining wall.
Re-learn and re-learn (squared) the Pythagorean theorem for an hour. 
Finally square the placement of the corner blocks.
Clear the foundation for the blocks, lay base and place them.

playing with special effects - I have twin hubbies and kids :-)
Materials purchased today
Deck-Bloks 32  = $205
24 treated 4x4x6 posts = $158

Day 8 Sunday May 19, 2012

Enjoying the petrichor!
Placing of the blocks is the hardest part. It is the foundation and has to be right! So stressful. But, once that is done, the lumber part is actually enjoyable for us.
Rain is in the forecast for the week so...
you may not get an update for a while.

Days 9 & 10 May 25 & 26 2012 

Day 9 Friday -

Mark took a 4 day weekend
After we dropped off the kid at the bus stop, we went into town to have a nice quiet breakfast and run errands.
We got back at about noon and worked on setting the blocks. Mark fired up the grill and a thunderstorm started brewing. Our 1st thunderstorm here. This is a rare occurrence here in the foothills of the west Cascades. But very cool to hear the thunder booming through the hills and the occasional lightning. It lasted for a good hour and brought in some cooler air off the mountains.
We finished up leveling some ground and will finish tomorrow.

Day 10 Saturday - 

I am still aching from yesterday's work. But, finally finished up squaring and leveling the blocks shortly after lunch. Mark worked on demolishing the wood shelter. Wow does it look better without that thing there.
He will finish the rest later. It was not too bad. Just in the wrong place and the wrong height and the cedar shingles were all rotted out. Some of the posts were also rotted at the base because the posts were set in concrete below the soil and water level.
new toy - mitre saw
We had to go buy a miter saw since our electric circle saw plate was bent and doesn't cut well enough for building structures (although its fine for throwing up a fence or making raised bed boxes). The table saw just doesn't cut it for good post cutting. We will include a review of our new toy in this post later.

Since the forecast calls for partly cloudy and rain possible Sunday-Tuesday, we HAD to get the mowing and edging done! It took us the rest of the afternoon into the late evening to get it done. Looks great.
The rest of the weekend was a break from decking.

Day 11 Friday June 1st  -

Now, with laser level on board we cut the posts.
Hang the thing on the house so that the laser is where the height of the posts should be. Then level it and Buzz all the beams and mark them when they are level.

Day 12 

Installing brackets and starting to hang face board.

Day 13

Finished nailing in al the brackets. Finished hanging end boards. Leveled and re-leveled posts. We had to move the south 5 based back 2 inches. Mark did an awesome job of doing the cross supports while I took another run to the Home Improvement store and measured and marked the post locations.

Day 14 & 15

We worked a bit on the corner posts. and more support angles. Ya can't have too much support!

Day 16 & 17

Finishing up railing posts and laying the deck boards.

Day ... Whatever

Ok. I say "day whatever" because, well ... It is day whatever!
There have really been no dedicated teamwork days on the deck in a while. Hubby left for a week business meeting and I worked on some measurements and the railings. We went to my Sis' house for a weekend and when we returned, it was birthday party planning for the daughter.
Mark worked on things here and there and I worked on things here and there.

Here is our latest big accomplishment.
Stairs! I measured and marked the stringers and Mark Cut and hung. I love the custom rise / run. I did a comfy 5" rise and 11" run. He did the posts and attached most of the steps.

The neighbor dog has been watching us all day, anticipating the steps being done so he can finally get up there!

After Mark got the steps up, the dog looked up at the deck and "asked" permission to get up there. He granted and I took this picture of a very happy doggie finally able to get up on the deck and wait by the back door.

Now we I have to get the "balusters" done.


Got the last rails installed last Saturday! (August 4th)
Yes, there are details left to do like staining and a table set, and decor. Need to make a gate and install it at the top of the steps as the dog is here-forth banned from the deck and is back to lounging under it on the concrete pad. But, Yes, it is done. I did not post sooner because my sis and her fam come up for a visit the same day and well... blogging is the last thing on my list when I have an opportunity to have some girl time with sis and love on my precious niece! Here is is in all it's glory. It is so nice to be done and enjoying it!

I really love how the Hi-5 railing came out! VERY time consuming and difficult to paint but worth the end result. It is galvanized so had to prime every last inch in primer for galvanized metal, dry for a week, paint in hammered copper paint 3 layers with 7 days between each layer (fudged a little on that part).  It looks awesome in torch light at night.

 The view is minimally obstructed and still provides the 4" space building code.

Steps are great with a 5" rise and 11" run - comfortable for the knees. I am kinda proud of these since I measured and marked them and they actually turned out great!

A little of the construction detail. We went above and beyond minimal code. Used the Simpson strong tie brand super coated, hurricane code fasteners for this thing. Cross braced everything for extra peace of mind and stability.

 Lots of blood, sweat and tears but worth it in the end. And no, we are not for hire. Build your own deck!