Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Great Wall of B

Several years ago, I showed my husband these pictures of a stone wall from Southern Living magazine.  I loved the stone steps.  
We had an area we "climbed" up everyday to access the backyard.  It was screaming for this kind of set up.  

Southern LIving

Southern LIving

We spent several months driving around the area looking at several stone walls.  In peoples yards, in apartment complexes, fast food restaurants and in businesses.  
My husband saw the photos, all those stone walls and was radically inspired.

We finally got some financial quotes about recreating the look.  The price was always out of our reach.  
In a moment of clarity (or insanity) my husband declares he can build it himself.
I would like to share, up to this point he had never built a stone wall.  He had never built stone steps either.

Over the next several months (seven, I believe) he proceeded to take my idea and create his vision.  First, he leveled the yard and laid a concrete footer.

He cut into the "climb up" area and poured  concrete steps.

The wall kept growing and growing.

We rounded the corner of the patio to follow the curve of the wall.
Our dog is probably wondering, "Where in the world did all the grass go?"   
It just so happens every time it rained, all the top soil would run like a red river straight into the pond.  I can imagine the experienced neighbors hanging their heads thinking, "Where's the wheat straw to hold everything in place?"  I bet that pond has some of our best soil sitting in it.  I've been so tempted to dredge it all back out... perhaps one day.

After the footers and the concrete block wall was laid, it came time to cover everything with manufactured stone.

Now you have to understand, my husband is like a hound dog hot on the trail of a raccoon when it comes to searching out deals.  He found a place that had leftover stone from large jobs.  He scooped it up at a fraction of the original cost.
Every stone was hand cut to fit an exact spot.  Bit by bit the wall gets a stone facelift.

Then, he looks at the back of the house and feels like it needs a flower bed.  He asks me if I want one.  "Well, Yeah! Sure!", I say.  See the concrete blocks to the right?

Beautiful, isn't it?  Wait.  We're not done.  Not yet!  He envisions a water fountain as a focal point at the top of the stairs.  And since we had three or four children living at home at the time, what about a fire pit so they can roast marshmallows from time to time?

He commences with the fountain.  My request?  Can we top it with a pineapple to show hospitality?

Now it's time for the fire pit.

This was taken early fall when New-Man Colson was simply called Man-Child.  And yes, we use to call him Man-Child.  You can see the fire pit past his shoulder.

I know I can be a little odd at times.  But I can sit on the patio and stare at this wall for hours.  I call it "The Great Wall of B..."  Not because of my first name.  Our last name begins with a "B" too.  At times, I call it "The Great Wall of Richard".  Every piece, every placement, all the colors, shapes...  I just love it.   What a He-Man!

We are downright proud!
I hope you always feel welcome on 
Whippoorwill Road,

Monday, February 27, 2012

Going to the Dogs

This is our nasty dog.  That's what I call him, "Big Ole Nasty Dog" (B.O.N.D.).
He's friendly, laid back, respectful and very discreet with his business.  He also has a skin condition, is afraid of thunder, can't swim, does not like eating in front of people and at times is a little anorexic.  He's extremely camera shy.
He's not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to canines.  He doesn't run, never chases a ball or squirrels.  His usual facial expression looks like one perpetual "DUH".
He's our "gentlemen" dog though.  We love him.  When we give him a bone biscuit, he carries it in his mouth for a time, like it's a cigar.  Sometimes he'll bury it.  Other times, he gently lays it on the ground and then takes his time to eat it.

But, if he sees me pointing the camera at him, he'll stop in his tracts, turn around and walk away.  In order to let him finish this treat, I had to look the other way and put the camera down.
He is one sweet dog.

This, on the other hand, is my Elder-Son's dog.  He totally the opposite.  
Sharp as a tack, quick, intelligent, loves water.  Thunder?  What thunder. He doesn't flinch at any sound.  His coat is shiny and soft.  He never turns away from anything, no matter what you point at him.  And his appetite?  He'll eat anything you throw at him.  No, seriously.  We use to have to throw food to him because he loves food so much, he'd snap your hand by accident to get to the treat.  If my son points him in the direction of anything and whispers a magic word, this dog will go after it.

When they're together I call them several names:  Hounds of Hell, The Beasts, Nasty Animals, just to name a few.
Since they look so much alike, let me clarify.  Our dog is on the left.  My son's dog on the right.
Our dogs' eyes are kind, clouded over with kindness.
My son's dogs' eyes are bright, alert and wary.  He can read your body language fluently and almost read your mind.

Our dog waits for you to hand him food with a fork or spoon.  Or he gently takes it from your hand after he sniffs it thoroughly first.

My son's dog is quivering. He is just about ready to pounce.  He can't wait to get the food.
You toss it.  He'll get it every time.  He never misses.  We can't hand it to him on a spoon or fork.  He would clamp down so fast, he might chip a tooth.  We have to say firmly, "Gentle, Gentle" when we give him something out of our hand.  Even then, you may want to use caution.
If we tossed food to our dog, it would hit the ground and then he would look up with a blank expression.  Something like, "What am I supposed to do with it now?"

My son's dog has used this expression to back grown men against a truck.  It's the look that once caused our package delivery men to carry a baseball bat and dog treats.  That's all better now.  Here he's just opening wide for a morsel while our dog calmly looks on.  

Then I had the bright idea to get New-Man, Colson and his girlfriend involved with the dogs.  Our dog calmly stands there with one eye on the camera.  My son's dog is shaking, can't take his eye off the dog biscuit and then... he starts drooling.  All over them.
I love the expression on Colson's face when he realizes where that cold, wet feeling is coming from.

She's such a sport.  Instead of getting up, screaming, she hung on.

Once my son's dog gets the biscuit, he's off.  Leaving both of them thoroughly slimed and grossed out.

Love from Whippoorwill Road,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

For the Record

I would like to formally say...

...I am keenly aware that our furniture...

...and our carpet color...

...are totally outdated.

These colors are so old, they are ugly.
 I mean, who has a burgundy couch anymore?
And an emerald green carpet?  Please!

Plus, yellow walls in the living room, navy walls in the formal dining room 
and a forest green kitchen with black appliances does not a showroom make. 

I would also like to state for the record, that we bought the house this way and have not painted anything except the master bedroom and several bathrooms.
I actually liked the colors the former owners chose.  To me, it was better than inheriting a bland beige interior.

And as far as the sofa goes, it's just not the color but the fabric is beginning to shred from 15 years of daily use!

The only good thing about having "old" stuff is that you're free of worry.
You don't have to worry about scratches, dings,  or the occasional spill.
I use to get so stressed about stuff like that.  I didn't want the furniture to get damaged or the floors to get "ruined". 

Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in taking care of what you have.
But eventually, no matter how well you care for them most things age, fall apart, become threadbare and go out of fashion .
Most of my home has reached that point!

So, as I grow more acutely and painfully aware of this, I am faced with a dilemma:

1) Do I purchase all new furniture and have to worry about the Buns nibbling on the fabric or sampling the wood?

Once again, for the record, thank goodness we didn't opt for a puppy or a full grown indoor dog!  Imagine the chew marks, the "accident's", the mess of an upset tummy!  No thanks.  Rabbits don't vomit, hardly shed, don't make noise, and potty train themselves.  

2) How do I change this without acquiring debt?
Who wants that added burden?  Especially with the economy so questionable.
With a daughter in college and a son about to enter college, what's a mother to do?...

Absolutely, nothing. 
Not now, anyways.  

The sofa is still comfortable, especially for lying down.  The carpet must have been from a great manufacturer and high quality because even though it's close to 20 years old, it has yet to get worn down or show a path.  Plus, being dark green, it's very assertive at letting us know it's time to vacuum.  No hiding dirt here.

So, in the meantime, we'll just keep relaxing and taking it easy in our  "vintage" home. 
There are bigger things to fret over than furniture and floors.

Just keeping it real on Whippoorwill Road,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Thrill of the Hunt

See this beautiful girl?
We hunted hours yesterday in a mall for 
certain needed attire.
The only thing we came away with
was very sore feet.

This elder-son of ours was here last night.
He likes to mess with his big "little" brother.

Last month, he hunted and bagged his first wild boar.
Elder-Son brought home bags and bags of defrosted pork that wouldn't fit in his new apartment's fridge and freezer.
(Three pork loins, 5 bags of smaller cuts and two summer sausages)

This is my sister and her husband.
They are the parents of Man of Steel, Grayson.
We were off early this morning to hunt and bag something for ourselves as well.

 Where else?  
In a club featuring the name of a well known hunter.

We stalked out our prey early.

Got front row seats...
Then... the hunting began!

This precious goat cart got away!

So did a few other items we were interested in.

We left empty handed.

Remember that wild boar?
I had to cook it all when I got home.
Hours and hours of cooking.
Yay for me! 

I have no idea what I'm doing.
None, whatsoever.
Three roasts in the oven, two skillets on the stove...
and if I could have found my old crock pot, I would have used that too.

A couple of pieces came out rubbery.   
I overcooked them.  
Gave those to the dogs. 
The rest came out delicious, so says New-Man, Colson.
Now, it's time to get out of the kitchen, have a glass of wine, relax and put my feet up. 
Next month we go hunting again for the kind of prey that requires no culinary skills. 

 FromWhippoorwill Road,