This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing blogging...so I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What I Have Been Up To....With Some Cute Grand Son Stuff Too...

Yesterday, I posted the update on Dad... today, I want to share what has been keeping me from visiting all of my wonderful blogging friends and regular posting...

I had started on my annual SPRING CLEANING some months ago, but it was temporarily postponed with my husband's sudden retirement in late October.  Since then, we have been on a non-stop mission to get our financial ducks in a row, and adjust to being home during the day, together...

Amidst all of this chaos, we also have an ongoing, annual challenge of securing some privacy in our back patio, which borders the side street and sidewalk.  For the past five years, after each winter, due to frost or heavy winds, we have lost all three of the plants we have had to plant each year.  Part of the problem, was the over pour of cement on the footing wall of our six foot wrought iron fence.  The roots get root bound from not being able to spread out due to the cement.

I have this dream, of enjoying our spa, and lying around enjoying the sunshine, or just sitting and reading.  We may even want to dine outside, without every passer by stopping to comment or visit because they see us outside.  I like our neighbors and all, but heck, a little privacy would be nice, on occasion...

Since summer will soon be here, I had to finish my garage cleaning before it gets too hot.  Also, if we are to do any planting, spring time is the optimum time to do so...

First, I suggested to my husband we get a privacy/wind barrier made from Alumawood for the south end of our patio. This solution would prevent us from planting for our privacy, because the Alumawood would give us 80% more privacy and block the gap in our fence. In doing so, we would have to walk around the pillar of our back patio, to get to our side gate or the hose.  Since I do all the gardening and watering, it would only be an inconvenience for me.  We have a meandering sidewalk on that side of the house leading to our back patio, also connecting to our front patio.  I figured we could just do stepping stones from the sidewalk around the pillar, leading to the patio.  I thought it was a good work around solution...

My husband was not enthused.  He wanted a door.  So when one of the construction guys came to give us the estimate for the Alumawood privacy slats, my husband wanted a separate estimate for his idea of what we should do...  Of course, his was more expensive, so that idea was scrapped.

I got another guy to give me an estimate and his price was half as expensive as the first guy's.  We were all excited and told him to proceed.  He calls us back and tells us he is unable to get the 3" slats in beige as we had requested.  He announced it would have to be a dark brown color and only 1.5" slats for the lower price, otherwise, for the beige color and size slats we wanted, it would be twice as much.  So that plan was tossed...

I came up with an idea to transplant the two remaining Xylosma bushes, to another part of the backyard, and plant White Bank Roses in three pots, instead of planting them in the ground.  These roses will take over the fence, IF they survive the heavy winds so prevalent in the foothills where we live...and give us the privacy we are striving for.

Here is the before and after pictures:

This is how it looked one year ago after the three Xylosma bushes were planted.  See that big open space? That is the privacy we are hoping to gain... See where the sidewalk joins the back patio? This is where the Alumawood would be, from the pillar to the side of our house, blocking access to the patio from the sidewalk.  After removing the bushes, we would have room to put down stepping stones to walk around the pillar to get to the back patio.

This is the two bushes remaining one year later...the third one died.  See how wispy the bushes are? Way smaller than they were a year prior.

These are 24" pots... each with three 5 gallon White Bank Roses. This particular type is a climbing, miniature rose with a soft, sweet scent and tiny thorns. I am doing extra watering each day since it is so windy this past week, to prevent them from getting dried out. I have prayed and blessed them, so hopefully, they will survive....It will be so beautiful and private if my plan works...and weather permits...

The area to the right of the pillar would be where the Alumawood slats would have been, blocking people from seeing into our house, but still leaving the area to the left of the pillar open, which would need to be dealt with by planting the climbing roses....

I have neighbors who have the same roses covering the length of their fence. The roses grow thick and are green all year around.

Won't it look nice on our fence?  It will definitely give us the privacy we want.

The nice gardener man suggested we use large redwood bark chips to keep the plants moist and help with better drainage.  The bark would also help keep the plants warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.  I had my reservations as I was concerned Izzy would be attracted to the bark.  We compromised and did not put the bark around the base of the plant, instead, we buried it in layers under the planting soil....

Last night I discovered Izzy had dug up several bark chips from two of the pots... So now, I must either get chicken wire to put around the pots to protect them...or implement the "LEAVE IT" command is short order!

I let her know I did not like what she did and she got a major time out.  After an hour, I opened her crate and she showed me she felt so badly, she stayed in her crate all night long... Today, I have been watching her like a hawk.  If I hear her go out the doggy door, I am right behind her.  When she shows an interest in the pot, I firmly say, "LEAVE IT!"....and she leaves the area immediately.  I still think chicken wire might give me more peace of mind...but she needs to learn to leave it alone.... ANY SUGGESTIONS???

The gardener relocated the remaining Xylosma bushes to two separate locations in the back patio..
hopefully, they will acclimate and be happy where they were planted...The winds have been fierce the past couple of days...He told me to give it an extra watering by hand and to spray it with Miracle Grow a week apart.  (Try spraying anything during strong winds!)  He filled our fertilizer unit with liquid fertilizer to give everything a jump start... Really nice guy with reasonable prices. I think I have found myself a new Gardener.

I am still in pursuit of lowering our monthly utility bills.  We reached a solution with our DISH network, to return one our DVRs which is capable of programing with two separate televisions.  We have three TV sets.  The one we are returning is the old one, which was replaced with a new HD DVR.  They gave us a free sports channel and some free pay channels to stay with them and not go with DIRECT TV.  They were to send us the replacement (one-TV DVR) and we would call when we received it, they would schedule a tech to hook up the new one and box up the two-TV DVR receiver and return it to DISH.

We received the replacement one TV DVR, called, the tech came out, only to discover they had sent the wrong receiver. It was not a DVR.  So we had to send it back and wait for DISH to receive it and then they would send out the correct one-TV DVR receiver.  Hopefully we get it soon so we won't be charged the higher price.

Our Internet/land line provider offers a price lock to new customers for five years for both Internet and land line.  It would save us over $30 a month, but because we are current customers, we don't qualify for the deal.  I find that ludicrous!  They should also reward and take care of their current customers, so they keep their customers!  I have been calling talking to various managers, trying to convince them to give us this deal...wish me luck...

All this phone calling, besides giving me cauliflower ear lobes, takes up a big chunk of my day and is extremely frustrating!

On a happier, cuter note, allow me to share some recent photos of my grand son Jacob...

Jacob's first trip to the beach with Mommy and Daddy...I just LOVE that smile on his little face!

In case you can't read the writing on his shirt, it says, "What happens at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's"  They are preparing to come visit us Easter weekend...I can't wait!!!


Since sprouting his two bottom teeth, he may be preparing for the top ones...he loves to chew on the hard side of his Binky...


He is a travelin' little man running errands with his Mom and Dad...so he grabs some "shut eye" whenever possible...  By the way, check that  big 'ol "bear paw" of his in the lower left hand corner!

Cute story about my six year old grand son...the other morning, while folding laundry in her bedroom, he comes in and announces to his Mom, "We have a problem!".  She asked what it is and he tells her he wrote her a note about it, but she was not allowed to read it until he left the room.  She thought to herself, he must be mad at her or with his brother as she took the note from him.  "Don't look 'til I leave Mom", he warned her... As she opened the note, it read, "We are out of hot dogs."

As she told me, we both laughed because turkey hot dogs are a main staple of his preferred foods.  She called to him, announcing she had read the note.  She informed me they did have hot dogs.... "No we don't Mom, I checked".  She asked if he looked under the cheese...when he did, there were the hot dogs.  With a huge smile, "Thanks Mom!  Our problem is solved!"  What a character he is!

Today I spoke with my 8 year old grand son.  He was creating "bad guys" with his Lego blocks.  He invented a really bad guy, he called, Project DB (for death bomber).  He described how his head was a gun and and his arm was " very extensional" .  For Christmas, we gave each of the boys a $25 gift card, so together they could purchase LEGO STAR WARS for Wii, so they both could play the game.  It just came out last month, so they were able to go buy it the day it went on sale.  My daughter says they have been playing it every single day...after homework of course....

I asked the 8 year old, "Now you realize it is OK to want to be the "bad guy" for pretend, but not in real life, right?" 

"Yes Grandma, I know all about that... Mom and Dad already told me."

Just checkin'...

5 comments:

That corgi :) said...

how fun for Jacob/family to come on a road trip to see you in just a few short weeks!! I know you are looking forward to that!! he is so cute!!

LOL about the hot dogs; son when he was three years old lived on hot dogs morning, noon and night, so I know how important it is to have those available!!

and Legos are so great for the imagination, didn't realize they even came with Wii!!

LOL with Izzy! hoping she gets the message to leave things alone!!

betty

Thisisme. said...

I did smile when you were shouting at Izzy "LEAVE!!". You are going to have to concentrate on that for a while methings, until she gets the message. I really do hope you get the privacy business sorted out. It will be lovely for you to be able to sit out there and not be overlooked, and how wonderful to have your Spa! When hubbies retire, a major adjustment is usually required and sometimes it is NOT easy!! Little Jacob is a cherub!! Bet you can't wait to see him at Easter. He's gorgeous. Have a good weekend, and don't go overdoing things!!

Pat said...

As far as your roses go, have you tried plant fertilizer, like Miracle Gro, for roses? Maybe that will help them grow faster.

I loved reading the stories about your grandchildren! They were so cute!

Bee's Blog said...

Adjustment takes a great deal of skill no matter how much one loves one's mate!

I understand your dreams - privacy is everything no matter how much you like your neighbours.

Glad to see that you're some cute stuff as well as trying to deal with hospital procedures.

gayle said...

Oh Donna I am so far behind! Just getting caught up with you! Love the storys about your grandchildren and the pictures of your little one is so cute!

You have a beautiful patio area!