Notes + Photos From The Backyard: No Bad Stuff, Only The Good Stuff

SITTING OUTSIDE ON OUR DECK late in the afternoon I heard the neighbor girl + her friends playing on the neighbor’s deck.  The girls were all around age 5 and they were chanting:

“No bad stuff… No Bad Stuff… NO. BAD. STUFF.”

They were loud. They were serious. They were coloring.

I started laughing to myself because they reminded me of a boss I worked for years ago.  This boss, a woman, would breeze into my office and say: “tell me the good stuff, only the good stuff.”

Let’s say she was singleminded in her pursuit of demanding creating a positive workplace.  For her idealism I admired her.  HOWEVER one does have to occasionally face reality and deal with complex, not-so-happy issues which, it’ll come as no surprise to you, this boss had difficulty doing.

Can you imagine? 🙄

THE FOREGOING IS MY STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS way of getting to what I think you, my little pudding cups, might find of interest.

Last April I decided to take a monthly photo late in the month of the same scene.  It shows part of our backyard [+ a little of the neighbor’s backyard].  I’ve no story to go with the photos, no particular reason why I started taking the photos.

I just did.

And now, as an homage to the determined little girls and my positivity-crazed former boss, I’ll end this post with four months of photos of our backyard in which you can see that things change, but remain the same.

From my point of view there’s no bad stuff in these photos, only good stuff.  I say this  because nature does what nature does. N’est-ce pas?  And it’s up to us to take note, then do our best to adapt to what is.

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

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A Photo Story: The Tale We Have Here Is Something Quite Dear

After writing in my previous post about the ridiculous absurd time-wasting hassle of buying bags of stones, I thought I’d take a few photos of our backyard showing you, my gentle readers and curious lurkers, where the aforementioned hard-won stone is. I took the photos while standing on the deck above the yard and they show the stones + something unexpected.

This photo shows how the stones edge the planting bed creating a clear dividing line between mulch and grass. Not too exciting perhaps, but there is more, and unless you’re a Hard-hearted Hannah [the vamp of Savanah], you’re going to like it.

This photo gives you a better idea of the length and width of the stone edge dividing line. It also shows you something unexpected. Look closely in the middle of the photo, kids.

Do you see who’s lounging under a bush?

Yes, it’s a sweet little fawn whose mother has left it there, knowing it’d be safe and hidden from view from most predators. I could only see it because I was above on the deck looking down onto it [and Zen-Den pointed it out to me]. Now isn’t that dear?

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Happy Tuesday, everyone. May something dear, or deer, happen to you today!

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A Bedroom Transformed: Goodbye Ceiling Fan, Hello Chandelier

THE CHIT CHAT PART

I enjoy looking at shelter magazines and interior design websites and home decorating projects on IG.  When I began to notice photos of bedrooms with chandeliers, instead of ceiling fans or ceiling lights, my curiosity was piqued.

Why, you ask?

Welp, after 20 years of looking up at a large white dusty boring ceiling fan in our bedroom, I was ready for a change.  I never liked using the thing, especially at night when rotating fan blades above my sleeping head worried me.

Made me fretful, they did.

So I decided that we’d replace our dodgy old ceiling fan with a pretty, useful chandelier that’d hang from the spot where the ceiling fan had been.  Here are a few things we learned along the way with this DIY project.

THE INFORMATION PART

√ A rule of thumb about the width of the chandelier: add the length of your room [in feet] to the width of your room [in feet], then use that number in inches to determine the size you need.

For example our bedroom is 17′ x 13′ so I added 17 + 13, which meant that we needed a chandelier around 30″ wide.

√ The chandelier we picked was 26″ wide, smaller than recommended, but for a good reason.  Keep reading.

√ We have a sloped ceiling in our bedroom.  We had to choose a light fixture that was sloped ceiling adaptable.  Not all light fixtures are.

√ A rule of thumb about how far down a chandelier should hang: the chandelier should be between 8′ to 9′ off the floor.  This is accomplished by allowing the light fixture to hang from a chain from the ceiling.

√  The trick here is that depending on the slope of your ceiling and the height of the chandelier, you have to allow for enough space above the top of the chandelier for it to hang down on a chain.

In our case because of where the junction box was in the ceiling we couldn’t have a chandelier that was taller than 25″ because there wouldn’t be any space for it to hang down from the ceiling.

√ Thus we picked a chandelier whose height allowed it to hang down from the junction box in the sloped ceiling, even though it meant that the width of the chandelier was a bit too small according to the rule of thumb.

In other words, we thumbed our noses at the rule of thumb.

THE GOOFY PART

As is the way with any home improvement project we tackle, there was a problem.  One of the globes for the chandelier arrived broken.  Thus we had to email the company and wait for a replacement globe, crossing our fingers that it’d be the same color as the other four.

It came within days, was the right color, and looks perfectly at home with the other shades so all is good.

However, keeping in mind that I can be a silly person, while waiting for the shade to arrive, whenever I walked into the bedroom I began singing the following lyrics to the tune of One Toke Over The Line:

One bulb over my head, sweet Jesus
One bulb over my head
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.  

Awaitin’ for the shade that goes on, sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the shade is delivered on time
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.

THE END

On A Pretty November Day Chatting About Outdoor Furniture While We Wait*

AFTER A WET and thoroughly disappointing October, we’ve finally gotten to the pretty days of autumn.

The sky is clear blue with a few white puffy clouds, the leaves on the trees are gloriously colorful shades of gold and rust, and the daytime temps are in the 60s F.

I like everything about this scenario, so color me relaxed and happy in spite of what is going on in the world.

Nothing has been as I anticipated it would be this year, so why not have a delayed autumn? Maybe even a late winter, too? 

• • •

WE’VE BEGUN TO carry some of the outdoor furniture inside, storing it in the basement like we do.  Instead of taking one day to move all the outside furniture inside, we’ll do it in dribs and drabs.  Rather like the way in which leaves drop from the trees in the fall.

We’re also talking about taking the bold step of ordering some new outdoor chairs and a rocker to add to our outdoor furniture collection.

I only mention that we’re thinking about doing this because the estimated delivery time for this type of composite Adirondack-style furniture is 3 months [or more].  Therefore, if we want these items by next spring [or summer], we must order them soon.

In other words there will be waiting involved;  and isn’t waiting the subtext of 2020? And today?

• • •

* It’s up to you, my gentle readers, to decide whether the wait mentioned in the title of this post is for furniture delivery OR for the polls to close today ending [I hope] this dreadful presidential election. Comment as you see fit.

The One About The Deck Stairs Betraying Us [No One Was Hurt]

CLOSED FOR REPAIRS… hopefully sometime in the next year, but who knows?

• • •

Our deck is 21 years old and we need to replace it.  To wit the top section of the wooden stairs have fallen apart.

Dramatically, in fact.

You see, the top section of the wooden stairs gave out as Zen-Den started to walk down the stairs to join me on the terrace below.

I saw it happen.

Fortunately Z-D is fast on his feet which is kind of amazing for a chubby older fellow, but there you have it.  He didn’t get hurt.  He used to be athletically-inclined, played team sports, so maybe those experiences helped him in the moment.

Still, unnerving.

  • Did I mention that the deck is 8-9 feet above the ground below?
  • That Mr. Man jumped about 6 feet down to the ground as the stairs gave way underneath him?
  • And that the look of amazement on his face was one for the ages?

Like I said no one was hurt, but now the long tedious process of finding someone reliable to replace the steps, and the deck, has begun.  Spring 2021 seems to be the earliest anyone can get to us.

Of course it is.

Nothing more to say here except stay safe, kids.  When things fall apart may you land securely on your own two feet.

• • •

Questions of the Day: Does anyone have any experience with OR advice about having a deck replaced?  Did you go with wood OR composite?  Did you go with a dark stain/color OR a lighter one?  Did you pick metal posts OR wood or composite?  How did you decide who would build the deck?