1 Day 1 World Project: 10:00 am – 11:00 am

1D1W 10a

One year ago this little corner space beside our driveway was buried under pieces of old asphalt, granite boulders, tree trunks and some pretty big excavation equipment.  Bringing some life back to the bed has been an ongoing project and we’ve slowly filled in the soil with new plants that can survive this hot, dry space next to the road  but I was sure the old spring blooming clematis was gone forever.  It looks like Mother Nature had other plans though and over the past few months small shoots have reappeared in the shade of a big telephone pole.  Thursday morning one big bloom opened and I don’t care if it is a little confused about the seasons, it made me smile.

There are still two more weeks to join in the fun so if you have a photo or story to share about your 10:00 am hour I’d love to see it!   Please tag your post 1 Day 1 World Project for easy reader searches and/or link your post in a comment below so we can all enjoy the view. Together we’ll build a virtual 24 hour day filled with images from around the world.

If you’re new to the 1 Day 1 World Project please take a look at my introductory post here.  This 10:00 am post will remain open for submissions until the end of Saturday, October 11th and a new post for the 11:00 am hour will open for entries Sunday, October 12th.

For a look at 10:00 am around the world visit the links below!

My Life Lived Full

The World Is A Book…

Priorhouse Blog

Travel Words

Sukies Original

Our Landscaping Project: Progress Update


Writing an updated post about our big landscaping project has been on my to-do list for several weeks (months) but hey, life is busy and I rarely make it to the bottom of a list.  I didn’t think I would be posting anything today but when I saw that the Daily Prompt was Progress I realized I was out of excuses.  Here is a look at what we’ve been working on this fall.

I know my last project post said we were postponing painting until the end of September due to weather but our surprise stretch of heavy rain was followed by weeks of unusually heavy fog and as a result we couldn’t finish painting until early December.  I couldn’t believe how much moss grew on our roof in just one week.  The short days and cold temperatures left a very small work window in each day but Hans kept going as long as he could and I’m happy to say most of the body of the house is a clean, fresh gray and our newly trimmed windows are sparkling white.  Our front and back door will soon be a beautiful navy blue and the porch is complete with a new set of stairs connecting to the driveway.

Our drafty old car port is now officially a garage with insulated walls, garage doors on the front and double sets of French doors on the back opening to a patio.  We still need to paint the interior walls, hang shelving and apply frosted panels to the glass for security but it feels great to have a covered place to park again and somewhere to securely store all of the outdoor tools.

Most of the landscaping is finished in the front and you can see John’s favorite little sub-alpine fir-tree at the top of the pictures above.  This tree was harvested by permit in the Cascade Mountains and will slowly grow to a relatively small 20 feet.  It’s planted off the front corner of our new porch to add a foundation point and a little screening from the street.  We spent another very wet Saturday driving from nursery to nursery picking out the last of our plants and one October weekend was the time to get the fir, 12 compact laurels for our new hedge and several flats of heather, bergenia, dwarf mugo pines and viburnum.  We selected winter, spring and summer blooming varieties in hopes of some year-round color and I can’t wait to see the full effect as everything settles in and starts to grow.

The side yard was an unplanned project but when our excavator said he could clear the brush and boulders so we could access the back yard without going through the garage we said “ok”.  We were able to reuse the huge granite boulders in the front yard as focal points but we didn’t have time to figure out a permanent landscaping solution for the newly cleared side of the house.  As a temporary fix I ordered a few yards of crushed rock to spread along the side of the house and under the front porch for the winter.  I though sod was heavy and now I know 8 yards of crushed rock is heavy too, especially after a rainstorm.  We have a little more to shovel but the mini-mountain is almost gone…

We have a good list of details to finish in the spring when the weather warms and a winter worksheet that includes more lighting and new door hardware but I am really happy with our progress so far!

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Four

Our Landscaping Project:  Weeks Five and Six

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Layers. Layers can reveal, conceal, and make something more complex. They can vary in size, texture, color, or functionality. Each layer can have its own story, meaning, or purpose. They can overlap, blend, or be distinctly separate. A layer doesn’t have to be a part of a single object but can even be a slice of a multifaceted image or scene.

Sara Rosso – The Daily Post


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted an update about our front yard project but we are still working hard and I’m happy to say we have a good chance of finishing by the end of the year.

Happy was not one of my words though when this load of sod arrived by flat-bed truck in early September.  My worries increased after I asked the delivery driver how long he thought it would take us to lay the rolls.  He told me we should be able to get through the pallet in about four hours but we’d have to move fast.

We had one very long, dirty evening to lay all the sod in our newly terraced upper and lower front yard and I couldn’t believe how heavy  every single roll was.  The layers looked kind of pretty before we started, which is why I took this picture, but after the first few minutes all I wanted to do was turn my back and walk away.  Sadly that wasn’t an option.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Layers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated

Saturated 2

Every year I find at least one place to plant this combination of ferns and red begonias.  I enjoy almost every color variety of begonia but non stop red has claimed the top spot as my favorite with the maidenhair fern.  This pot spent most of the summer in a shaded spot by our back door but it had a week in the sun while we prepped the house for painting.  A few of the leaves have some sun damage but the plants are still healthy and will keep going strong until the first frost.

Planted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Saturated

Our Landscaping Project: Weeks Five and Six

Weeks 5 & 6

We have been so busy working I missed my update last week so this is a combo post showing our progress through weeks 5 and 6 of the big Landscaping Project 2013.  We have had some long days and a few scheduling setbacks but several big items on our renovation wish list are complete and we feel like some good work has been done.

The early part of last week was spent cleaning very dirty siding and prepping the house for new paint.  Ryan was a great help with the scrub brush and I developed a love-hate relationship with the power washer.  I’m in awe of how much dirt and grime can be hosed away by the washer but when it blows back on my face I am not a happy cleaner.

The new front porch is built, sided and primed and Heidi the Wonder Lab has claimed her lookout position right where the stairs will be.  Heidi is my brother’s dog and when he is here building, she is on the job as site supervisor. 🙂

With the local power company returning to take down one last Cedar Tree on our property line and a record-setting rain storm at the end of our driest summer in over 40 years we had to reschedule our plans to paint until the end of September.  My fingers are crossed for a late stretch of summer weather…

After a full Tuesday at our day jobs John and I had two hours to lay sod for the front lawn before it was too dark to see anything.  We were stiff and sore the next day but the new lawn looks so much better than the rough dirt that we agree, the extra effort was worth it.

This week we will fine tune the watering system, plant our remaining plants in the holding zone, make a shopping list for more plants and finalize the lighting plan.

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Four

Our Landscaping Project: Week Four

Week 4 Effort

We are wrapping up week four of our big project and have reached the inevitable plateau that comes after initial excitement of breaking ground meets the sweaty reality a lot of work still left to do.  The heavy equipment is gone and the days of huge changes are (hopefully) behind us leaving lots of hard work and effort in our future.

My brother Hans is staying here with us during the week building the front porch with a little help from Ryan in his last weeks of summer vacation.  We asked the excavating company to remove and haul away the old porch while they were here four weeks ago leaving a scary 10 foot drop for anyone brave enough to open our door and look down.  Inside the house we have furniture, blue tape and a skull and crossbones sign across the threshold to prevent our guests from taking their last step…

We’ve planted about half of the potted nursery stock waiting in the backyard and even though it is mid August only one looks like it isn’t going to live through the move from pot to ground.  This is a tricky time to plant here in the PNW but I thought with a lot of water and the promise of a few cooler days ahead we should be ok.  So far, so good.

Now comes the part of the job I have been dreading.  I really don’t like spiders and the ugly, dark brown exterior of our house is full of them… The past two days have found me outside clearing cobwebs and getting ready to pressure wash off the remaining dirt, needles and mildew before painting.  It is hot, dusty work and because I’ll do almost anything to avoid spiders jumping in my hair I’m covered head to toe in long sleeves, pants, gloves and big hat.

A new watering system is ready to install and If we keep on schedule the rest of the week should include priming the new porch walls, installing window trim and, cross your fingers, paint.

The best word to describe this past week is Effort and as luck would have it this is also the photography challenge for the latest Daily Prompt:  Secret of Success.  What I really want to be doing tonight is relaxing on the back porch with a cool beverage enjoying the end of summer but there are more spider webs to blow away and a lot of pine needles to brush before the day is done.

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Three

Our Landscaping Project: Week Three

Project Week 3

Week three was filled with more shopping trips for plants and materials, a lot of dirty/dusty work framing the new front porch, some time posing next to big equipment that doesn’t usually decorate our front yard, and a few new plants successfully placed in the side yard.

The caution tape is down signaling our new driveway is ready for cars and trucks and we can finally pull into the garage (no longer a car port) and close the garage doors.  Hooray!

Next week brings more planting, a finished front porch, selecting materials for the fence, a watering system and prepping the  house for new paint.  Wish us luck!

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my earlier posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

Our Landscaping Project:  Week Two

Our Landscaping Project: Week Two

Garden Week 2 Collage

Just in time to escape the dusty excavation mess John, Ryan and I spent a few days away from our project shopping for new plants and stone steps.  We found most of the large plants on our list at one local nursery and thankfully their delivery fee was reasonable because there was no way the trees were going to fit in our Subaru.

The next day found us an hour outside of the city looking through a stone yard packed full of an overwhelming assortment of colors, textures, sizes and shapes.  With a map in one hand and coffee in the other we walked across the property to the farthest corner of the lot looking through pallets and piles of stone for dry stack steps.  Cowboy Coffee  Quartzite was the perfect color and size for our project and as an added bonus I really like the name but wow, five of them together weighed over 3,600 pounds.

Our new steps and terraces were installed Monday and we hope to plant the largest Vine Maples along the side yard in a few days. As soon as a new watering system is ready to go the rest of the plants will leave their temporary location on the back patio and settle into our new front yard.  This summer brought the Seattle area a record-breaking stretch of dry weather but I’m afraid our luck won’t hold and I can’t help worrying one rainstorm will turn the newly spread topsoil into a river of mud if we don’t plant it soon.

The new driveway will be ready for cars by Monday so front porch construction should start next week and I plan to post pictures of the building process as well as a peek at the new driveway and garage doors for my week 3 update.

If you are new to Northwest Frame of Mind and want to follow this project from the beginning please take a look at my first two posts in the series:

Daily Prompt:  Weekend

The First Days Of Our Landscaping Project

The first days of our landscaping project

The Yard Before

About six weeks ago I posted an overview of our big 2013 home improvement projects in response to the Daily Prompt:  Weekend.

If you have read my About page or Hello widget you can see I mention right away we love gardening and remodeling our home.  In fact one of the reasons I started this blog was create a space to document and share a few big home improvement projects that have been slowly working their way up our to-do list.  When we bought this house four years ago it had a lot of features I was happy with (location, space and privacy in the yard) and two major ones I wanted to change right away (dark brown paint and a rickety, narrow front porch).  In our first year we put on a new roof and finished two interior rooms but the really big items on my “must have” list have had to wait… until this weekend when they finally reached official planning and scheduling status.

Our project got a jump-start last summer when the Utilities District let us know our large Cedar Trees in the front yard were too close to the power lines and needed to come down.  They gave us a fair amount of money to use towards replacement plants but losing these trees meant we had to rethink the entire yard since what was once an established shade garden is now sitting in full sun.  We talked through our ideas over the winter and this spring hired a Landscape Architect to help us with a new comprehensive plan.

We are also working through the measurements for a new porch, deciding on door styles to convert our car port to a garage, selecting more decorative window trim and finding the perfect house colors.  It is going to be a busy summer but I can’t wait!  Every few weeks I plan to post photos, including some really awful before shots, and if all goes well we will have a finished project with a lot more curb appeal by fall.

I can finally report (de)construction began this week!  I will post updates every week in at least one of our three in-progress categories:  front yard. deck and driveway, paint and trim.  This is a big job, wish us luck!