It's a Variety Pack: Outdoor Version

Monday, July 9, 2018

And as a companion piece to the Variety Pack:  Indoor Version, here is the outdoor as promised!

hot pink peony flower in bloom
One of multitudes of peonies this year....oh boy, was I a happy camper, myyyy goodness.
So the grass.


broken backyard walk
We gotta take care of the "walk" this year.  (Babe?  Babe.  Sidewalk.  Let's chat.)  But uh, weeds.  Minimal grass.
I worked so hard last fall.  So hard.  With the compost and the seed and the fertilizer and the research.  And the research.  And yet, it didn't seem to make a difference at all.  Like at all.

The back is super weedy.  Like it almost seems as if it's weedier than it was.  Which is totally and completely not fair.  After all the work I did.  The grass seed has definitely not overtaken and choked out the weeds.

The front looks the same as it always did, sparse and thin.  Sad.

I'm sad.

Sigh.  I'm not sure what to do.

Mike would broadcast an icky chemical laden weed killer over the backyard but I just can't.  That stuff is so terrible for the planet, for us, for Finn.  I guess we live with the weeds until a solution is found.


In more fun news, I stopped by to see Twitchy the Pallet Guy.  Well, not really, I stopped by his pallet place.  If you recall, I made those grill lid propper-upper-thingamajigs for Mike but they have since become over-charred.  Time to make new ones!

Missing his omnipresent can of Monster, maybe because it was late late afternoon, Twitchy muttered around his story of the day while wandering aimlessly as he does then casually pointed at a pile of four by fours saying hey, take 'em if you want 'em.

Don't get me wrong, nice guy.  Quite a character study, it's funny.

At first I thought ehhhhh, what could I use them for?  Ehhh...Well oh ok fine, I'll take a few, why not.

As soon as I got home, literally right as I walked out of the garage it hit me:  edging.  Free edging!  Woo the heck hoo, my friends.  And after testing a few pieces to make sure they passed the decent looking muster test, I piled right back into the car to go get more.

4x4 edging
Which was the smart thing to do as when I swung through the very next day to grab oh just one more please having given one to our neighbor to the east, they were long gone.  As if they had never even been there.  Poof, like magic.  Like my timing had been.

So I dragged all the broken sidewalk concrete clump edging out we had deposited and plopped the 4x4's out front.  Pulled out all of Mike's hard handiwork, all that cut pallet edging that looked so cool, yes it  t o t a l l y  broke my heart the whole entire time, and dropped down the wood.

4x4 edging up front
Grass.  Sigh.  Early spring here, that's my lame excuse.  Regardless:  free edging!
I saved the pallet pieces though, or the salvageable ones anyway.  I'm such a sentimental dork.  Besides, most are still useful.

As a matter of fact, after lining everything in the backyard with the 4x4's, I decided to bang in some of the little pallet pieces along the thin slip of planting area between the patio and fence.  See?  Useful!

fixing edging
Useful!  Yay!
Every year I pile up more wood chips along there and every year, they insist on laying out on the patio instead, making the patio a huge wood chip/dirt mess, as seen above, spreading like stubby tentacles across.  I figured this would contain them and lo, I was correct.

pallet pieces for edging
Now that looks nice, doesn't it?  I'm going to do this up front too in areas.  I think.
Man, the ferns this year, finally!!  Finally they are coming in.  Taking their sweet time all right, hey whatever,  it's cool to see them big and feathery and big and leafy.

ostrich ferns growing
Raawwrrrr, ferns everywhere!  Heh, nice.
It may be time to start thinking about thinning the plants my mom's friend generously shared with me which I never thought I'd need to do but holy wow, it's like a jungle back there, they're doing so well.  I'm beyond thrilled for sure.  Seriously, what a gift.

backyard landscaping
They're huge!  I kinda wish I could dig up and rearrange a bit.  Can I?
Rrrrrt, tangent....getting back to the free 4x4 edging though.

Some pieces had holes drilled partially through and since Finn is a giant German wrecking ball out front (his dad generously lets him out there, or crazily), I picked up two foot wood garden stakes* from Menards to keep the hunks of wood from tripping up his menacing ways.  Aka, keep them in place.

spiking 4x4 edging
Needed to drill all the way through some and make holes in others.  No problem.
I didn't use the full two feet as I figured it wouldn't make much of a difference either way.  If Finn knocks one hard enough, it'll break however long they are.

spiking 4x4 edging into ground
Bam bam bam.  Aggression relieved.
Plus I didn't want to be out front for too too long lest I be spotted by Pete the Sweeper, have him toddle over and blather incoherently about block party planning, hassle me about doing "guy work."  That's mean.  Sorry.  But true.

Thankfully the hunks of wood have remained steadfastly in place.  And they look nice too.  Yay!

So I started stripping the deck.

Yeah I said that.  Stripping the stain off the deck.  I'm so irked.

On the plus side, there's stripper that removes stain.*  Does it strip regular stain from furniture? Iiiii dunno but I'm surely and absolutely curious.

deck stain stripper
Yep.  Lookin' good there, deck.  Jeez louise, not.
But yes, stripping the stain off the deck like a crazy person.  Because it totally failed.  Didn't even try to make it through the winter.  Or even a few months, ugh, I have such a headache.

Now.  I'm not 100% on if it was the Paramount stain that failed or if it failed due to remnants of the waterproofing sealer I thought was long worn away.  Or if it's because it's pressure treated.  Or if I goofed.

The more I poke around the interwebs though, it seems this is an incredibly common problem and therefore an enormous pain in the a** for everyone.  Doesn't mean I'm any less irked.  In fact, I'm more irked that manufacturers don't bother to make products that work, in reading up on them.  Ok, granted, it's a tough task.

Still.  A few months later and it's peeling?

Here, this is helpful.  And so is this when it comes to pressure treated like we have.

Shoulda bit the bullet and done a penetrating oil.*  Sigh.  I didn't want to have to keep everyone off the deck for several days though.  And many are not PC nor green nor environmentally cool.

So this is a huge pain in the a**.  And I'm clearly eyeball-deep in research again.

And so the stripping.  A** pain.  I mean, the process is not difficult, it's just damn freakin' slow going and I'm literally hand scrubbing the deck on my hands and knees.  I know.  It's nuts.  But I'm so mad at how terrible the deck looks, I can't leave it.

applying deck stain stripper
I'm assuming it's bad that the stripper soaks right into the wood unimpeded.  Like vrrooot, slurp.
I got close to halfway done on the floorboards, picked up a Cabot semi-transparent stain,* and then it got hotter than hell outside.  And it still is so the project is in limbo.

I'll have to do some sanding too....ugh, my head.  What a pain.  This Cabot better work or man, plew, my head will shoot off like a rocket.

stripped deck boards of stain
Parts of three boards done.  It does come off quite readily; that's disturbing too.  Who wants to help?  Anyone?  Hello?  Is this thing on?
I suspect this resolution is a rest-of-the-summer task.  And I shoulda done this before the plants got big.  So many shoulda woulda coulda's.

I require some headache medicine, hang on....

Gulp.  Ok.

But right, now I'm contemplating the oil thanks to myself and maybe I'll use the Cabot up front.  Hm.  Waffling all over the place.  Though one article above says this Cutek is the sh*t but $150 for one gallon?  One?!  I will think hard on all that. the day I started stripping the deck, the lil' spigot extender, flippy back and forth between two hoses thing cracked and blew out.  Water everywhere.  So I got something that promised it would never leak, a Ray Padula Thumb Control Deluxe (oh deluxe) Y Hose Splitter.

hose splitter
Pretty crazy looking,  huh?  I was tired of things not working and went for overkill.
Until it leaked because the small hose connector parts inside the springs loosened.  Eye roll.  Heh.

Between days of ridiculous heat there was one where it was briefly less scorching so I added some more shelves in the garage.  Realizing right as I got the first one up that oh, duh, now the door won't swing completely in anymore.

garage shelves
More shelves.  Thumbs up.  Mostly because I had leftover trimmings from the basement closet.  Why not, right?
Ah well.

Shelves are good.

There's other stuff but I see I've dribbled on and on and on.  So I'll be back with more.

What's for dinner?  Good question.  How about this one:  Oven Baked Pork Chops with Potatoes.  Damn it's super easy, like almost too easy proportionally for how good it is.  It's a hit in our household so I assembled it as a freezer bag meal (sans potatoes, eh, didn't seem right) for my folks while my mom is recovering.  It was a hit there too.

And hey, don't forget, if you need ideas for baked goods, come on by Flaky Bakers!  Ridiculous amounts of good stuff going on over there!

And happy happy happy birthday to Mike!  I love you lots and oodles and tons and forev's, babe!  xoxoxo

*The garden stakes, deck stain stripper, deck penetrating oils, and Cabot stains are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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