Catching Up…

//hangs head in shame//

I know…Slack. Sorry. Seriously.

Just me in the hammock swing...

Just me in the hammock swing…

Work? OMG! Work has been a bear (but still somewhere I enjoy going each day…really)! I was able to get two additional positions added to my Transport Department, and after two months of meetings? It was determined that a second Courier was needed in my original department to pick up all the extra stops we’d acquired. This left an additional position open for Support Service Associate, because we promoted from within to fill the second Courier position.

Then there was building/re-building the new route and existing route, a bunch of interviews to hire for the available positions, budgets, new route runs (for me as a ride-along), and annual evaluations.

That was just work… (And as you can see, above? I am using my zen garden to my advantage!)

Where to hang your personal swing?

Where to hang your personal swing?

On the personal front?  We dropped another beam between the two horizontal planks on the hammock stand to accommodate my single rope swing.

I took a four day weekend over the Memorial Day holiday, and ended up doing some maternity shots for Johnny’s daughter.

The garden is going bonkers (YESSSS!) and we’ve got plants blooming left and right. I plucked my first blackberry off the vine today. *pucker* Needs more time! SOUR!

I submit to you a visual journal of the last few weeks in the yard:

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I was also asked to submit my “journey” for a web site for real people who had real results in their weigh-loss adventures, and I will be sharing more about that in a future post.

It’s been busy, but life is good!

Until next time…

Waiting For Pandas and Gazebos…

Another picture heavy, word light post.

I was hit with a pretty decent sinus infection earlier in the week and it killed my creativity, in that all I wanted to do was sleep…and sleep I did. 🙂

Our Alphonse Karr bamboo arrived and I got it planted:

I told Johnny to be on the lookout for Pandas, because, as we all know, Pandas love bamboo. I found a garden flag that illustrates this:

Pandas LOVE bamboo! Just sayin'...

Pandas LOVE bamboo! Just sayin’…

So Tropical Storm Ahhh-nahhhh let loose like crazy right after we got the veggies planted last Saturday… and sadly, I don’t have any pictures of it, but we did plant a few cantaloupe, 3 bush cucumbers, 2 Roma tomatoes, 2 Mountain Pride (?) tomatoes, 3 jalapeño peppers, 3 zucchini squash, 7 yellow squash, a row of English cucumbers from seed, a row of carrots from seed, and two rows of radishes from seed. All of which went into the ground two hours before Ahhh-nahhhh dropped several inches of rain into our garden. Fortunately, there were no fatalities; but there was a damaged lupine plant. I’ve been trimming dead leaves and cone flowers for a week, now.

That said, Johnny and I got the foundation posts for the gazebo we want to build.

This will replace the 10×10 foot EZ-Up tent that sat on the former 16’x16′ deck that we tore down several weeks ago. Can I just say that 6x6x12 posts are heavy as hell? If it weren’t for my hero, our Kubota tractor, I think we would have been hiring a contractor to come do the work. I’m only a little bumped up and bruised, but all four posts are in the ground and concreted in:

My Hero!

My Hero!

Our tractor was able to move all four posts and four 60# bags of concrete with no problem at all. AND was able to place the four posts into the ground.

After the first hole was dug, Johnny used the backhoe to dig the second hole…and found the wiring to the shed, as well as a drain line and snapped the wiring. He said he knew it would be close.

Fortunately, he is an electrician and was able to get the main feed for electricity to the gazebo-to-be wired. When life hands you lemons, and the like…

Those damned posts were heavy…after Googling the average weight of pressure treated 6x6x12 beams, I can understand why I am sore. Fairly dry, they average 125 lbs. Again, thank goodness for our Kubota!

Below are the posts going up. We are done until next weekend.

First board attached.

First board attached.

Ideally this will have the same type of cut on the extending lumber that my hammock stand has, as well as some additional accents. (See the image on the left…it is going to be a common theme in all the new “construction” going into the yard.

There will also be a three to four foot wall

From Lowe's web site, but I was loving the beams on the roof-line...

From Lowe’s web site, but I was loving the beams on the roof-line…

around three of the four sides, with a “bar” to set drinks on, as well as bamboo roll-up/down shades for privacy and some shrub or dwarf bamboo to block the view of the shed.

All in all, it’s been a productive weekend. I’ve researched more bamboo (because pandas LOVE bamboo, as do I), a papasan chair for the cooler months in the gazebo, as well as new patio furniture:

"Belize" at I want this BAD!

“Belize” at I want this BAD!

So with all that said, I am finally going to relax with an adult beverage, and some grilled shrimp and veggie kabobs and then go hang out in the hammock with my Sweetie. 😉

Until next time…

The Hammock Arbor…Part One

You, too, can have one of these. Be prepared for heavy, arguments, and possible divorce. ;)

You, too, can have one of these. Be prepared for heavy, arguments, and possible divorce. 😉

Holy Moses! I don’t know about y’all, but I think I’m getting WAY too old for this manual labor crap…

My hammock came in yesterday. I had hoped to get off of work super early to get home, go get supplies and build the arbor, but it rained. And rained. And rained some more. It stopped raining after I got home.

Soooo, this morning, after being a little slow going, the hubs and I got up and headed out to our local Builder’s Discount Center and got what we needed to put this project together:

  • Two (2) 6″x6″x12′ beams (he would have preferred ten foot, but they were out, and we can find other uses for the two feet extra from each beam;
  • Two (2) 2″x8″x16′ boards;
  • Four (4) 1/2″ carriage bolts, 10″;
  • Four (4) 1/2″ nuts
  • Four (4) 1/2″ washers;
  • Four (4) 1/2″ lock washers;
  • bolts washers n clipsTwo (2) 1/2″ Eye bolts with nuts (10-12″- we used 12″ because they were out of 10″;
  • Two (2) 1/2″ galvanized washers;
  • Two (2) Safety Snaps;
  • Two (2) 60 pound bags of concrete mix;
  • Deck screws (8×3 #2) as many as you need.

We started the project at noon. Thank goodness we have a tractor with a front end loader, because that’s how we got those heavy-ass beams from the back of the truck to the site. 😉 And then to where they needed to be by the holes. And how the entire assembly got flipped, then flipped again and into the holes. If you have 2-3 able bodied people, you can do this without a tractor, but there was only one almost able-bodied person, and that was me, ha ha. Like I said…I’m seriously glad we have our tractor. That crazy thing has paid for itself a few times over.

Probably good that we got all that rain; the soil was workable.

Probably good that we got all that rain; the soil was workable.

Once we got the lumber where we needed it, Johnny used a circular saw to trim the beams to ten feet. While he did that, I got the post hole digger and started in on the two 2-feet deep holes. We set them twelve feet apart.

It took a little while for me to get them deep enough, and even though I lift weights, I was no match for a post hole digger. I really hate that thing. My shoulders hate me as a result, ha ha… It took a lot longer than I thought it would, and while I thought I was in fairly good shape? I was panting like a dog by the time the first one was dug.

Trimming to the correct height.

Trimming to the correct height.

Once both holes were dug and both beams were cut to size (Johnny actually cut one about six inches longer than the other because he took the slope of the ground into account; it’s good to have a smart spouse) we moved the beams to the holes.

Then we grabbed the 2x8x16 boards and cut our angles. I want  a nice Asian/tropical look for this overhaul, so we measured two inches down and then cut a 45 degree angle on each side of both boards once they were measured down to about 14′ 2″, which gave us a one foot over-hang past each beam.

Once we got the first board fastened to the top of the two beams using the screws we picked up, we had to lift and flip the whole assembly, attach the second board, then flip that puppy back to its original position. I think I may have mentioned just how thankful I am that we have our little tractor with the front end loader. It would not have happened, otherwise…

At this point, we drilled the holes for the carriage bolts and figured we’d do well to just get the whole thing into the holes and fairly situated before attempting to install the bolts.

Sadly, I couldn’t pull the rope and take pictures of the process at the same time, but that front end loader got the job done. We shifted the posts and I wiggled those heavy boogers until everything was fairly level all the way around.

I filled the holes with concrete, watered them in, wiggled the beams a bit, poked the shovel around some, wiggled some more, added more water, and Johnny ensured we were level across the board.

Here is a slide show of all the pictures I managed to get during the process:

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Now all we have to do is wait until tomorrow, when the concrete has done its thing, the beams won’t go anywhere, and we can put the eye-bolts in and hang the hammock.

I’ll post part deux tomorrow when we’re finished.

Until next time…