It's the prettiest time of the year but also the most work. Why, oh why we don't just let the blackberries take over I'll never really know. I think having a tractor just makes you want to rip up and flatten things. Which sounds easy, but while ripping stuff up is a snap, cleaning up the mess is donkey labor. Hee Haw.
Then what? Why, you grow grass, of course. Which is dandy until you try to rake it all up. Evidently Washington grass is too heavy for a lawnmower to shoot into an attached bag. So, we rake. We're gonna get to old for this, then the blackberries will have to repossess what is rightfully theirs.
Meanwhile, here's a look at the state of our so-called yard. (For "before" pictures, scroll to the bottom of the page to see what the place looked like when we bought it.)
Greetings from somewhere in the American Southwest. If you live in the northwest, the rule for many is that the minute you retire you buy a motorhome and start “snowbirding” to Arizona. Fred retired in April (I beat him by a couple of years).
Before the obligatory southern migration, we did some major projects around the property, particularly pulling stumps, clearing land and installing drainage. We finished the house two years ago November, and while the inside is pretty cozy, visitors will tell you to bring mud boots in the wet season and something to keep the dust out of your eyes in the dry season. There’s a bit more landscaping, if you’d call it that, to do.
Fred asked me to keep a blog about building the house. For context, he was still working 10-hour days, four days a week at the Seattle Center. We were living in our barn. He spent a lot of time driving.
This meant I was on point to keep an eye on the building process. And by keeping an eye, I mean taking a lot of pictures, asking a lot of questions, and making a ton of tiny decisions.
The entire project is written up on my old web site, here.
Here are recent photos. I happened to take them during the eclipse, adding a nice touch of mysterious lighting.
We clear a lot of brush and dead trees. So we have a lot of bonfires. And what's a bonfire without a party? Exactly.
2007. Just before the housing market crash. We found the perfect place to build our dream home. Nearly five acres. Infrastructure in place, including a small tool shed and a concrete pad with water, power, and septic hookups for our RV. The price was OK for the time.
Our realtor was a close friend, Patti Daniel. "It's perfect!" I blurted upon seeing the listing . "What am I missing?"
"Nothing. If that's what you want. It is, however, at the end of a mile-long dirt road. Some people might not like that."
She got the paperwork going, and soon we had our weekend and maybe-someday home place. (It took years to decide if we'd actually build here.)
These photos show what the property looked like before we added the shop, house, and garage. The only original building on the property, the toolshed/"parrot room" evolved into the "cabin," which has served several purposes over the years.