In Tune With June – 2017 – Backyard Blues

We have lived in our house for 21 years now as of Flag Day (June 14).  The house was built in 1955 by the original owner and he used redwood to build it so we have been told that it is very well constructed.  We are the second owners.  About a year after we moved in we were able to participate in the Airport Noise Abatement program and got all new double paned windows, sturdy doors throughout the house and insulation in the attic for free.  Living smack dab between the airport and the train, those improvements helped a lot.

Over the course of the last 21 years we admittedly did very little ourselves to the house, inside or out.  We did paint both bathrooms and all three bedrooms (the kids rooms we did a couple of times) but that was years ago.  We had a leak in the kitchen so we patched the roof over that area but other than putting new sheet rock over the bad spot on the ceiling we haven’t done anything there.

In January of 2015 we had to replace the back fence.  You can read about that here.  Last May we took the plunge and gave the outside a face lift.  You can read about that here and here.   Then in November we tackled another major hot spot, the front bathroom and went from this:

To this:
The next big inside project will probably be the kitchen but that is going to be HUGE so we have to build up our savings again (or win the lottery) before we can tackle that.  
Less expensive and maybe even more irritating to me is our back yard.  We have never really utilized our back yard to its fullest potential, especially now that the kids are grown and don’t “play” out there anymore.  (Heck, they don’t even LIVE here anymore – LOL).
When we did the siding and roof we were able to clear off the back porch and turn it into a nicer place to sit: 

This is what the backyard looked like then.  You can still see the top of the back fence.
This is the corner of the porch now.  You can see the blackberry vine starting to come over the edge.

It looks like a wheat field and the top of the fence is disappearing.

There is massive overgrowth of I don’t know what all.  It was getting so bad that I could hardly go down the back steps to the garage without getting attacked.  (What was that horror film called?  Children of the Corn???)

Finally I decided to take measures in my own hands and spent a day at least clearing the area by the steps so that I could walk out there without fear.  As with most things I do, I threw myself into the project with determination.  Four big garbage bags and a very full green refuge bin later…
This is all I was able to clear before I stopped.  I was out there for about four or five hours.  The area is maybe six feet around.  
I was not very smart because it was a hot day so I was wearing shorts and a tank top and got scratched pretty good from the thorns on the blackberry vines.  Also, I could barely move for two days because I was not used to all that pushing and pulling and bending.  Ibuprofen was my best friend.   
However, it’s been a few days now and Bill just took all the garbage bags to the dumps so I think I’ll have another go at it.  This time I’ll wear better protective clothing and take a couple of breaks.  Our goal is to get it all uprooted and down to dirt.  Then we’re going to do something so nothing will grow back again (? cement? rocks?).  I am definitely not a gardener but I do have visions of some chairs and maybe a fire pit.  It is a huge backyard and has lots of potential.  
We would hire a company to come and do it (and actually have had it done twice already although not to the bare bones) but after spending so much money last year, we are looking for more inexpensive ways to go for some of this stuff.  Ibuprofen is much less expensive than a gardener 🙂
I’ll keep you updated as to the progress.  How about you? Any big home improvement projects planned?  Got a fire pit?   


from Blogger


About scr4pl80

I'm a 60-ish, married, mom to 3, creative soul.
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11 Responses to In Tune With June – 2017 – Backyard Blues

  1. I have to admit that I do not miss yard work at all! I love your back yard, though–what a quiet oasis! Clearing had to be back-breaking work. Your bathroom is gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Never ending battle with that backyard! The spot I cleared is already starting to grow again. I HATE it! It is top on my list to get something done about it, as soon as we have the money! Thanks for stopping by Dawn.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Erika says:

    Loving that bathroom! We’ve been doing small fixes around the house, but no major overhauls. I do want to redo our bathroom sometime when money frees up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Yes, Erica I was surprised at the cost. I was thinking that we could get by with just replacing the tub with a shower, redo the floors and some painting but turns out they had to gut the whole bathroom because they had to redo pipes and electrical outlets since they were no longer “up to code.” Fortunately our contractor was VERY easy to work with in regard to financing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure where you live. Is grass and mowing an option or wouldn’t it do well? That is one incredible job to clean up. You’re lucky ibuprofen worked!

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      We live in San Francisco Bay Area. Yes, grass and mowing would work if we were so inclined. We are not, obviously. Our front yard has grass and we mow that regularly because it is a much smaller area. With the drought we had last year gardens and grass were last on the list to get water. I hate gardening and hubby’s back won’t allow yard work anymore so I want something in the backyard that is VERY low maintenance and that we can use to a better advantage, like backyard barbecue parties and sitting around a fire pit watching the stars at night. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Kate!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that sounds wonderful! Maybe pavers? My stepkids all live in Denver and they don’t really have “good” grass. There are water restrictions and if you want to have any “green” grass you have to have an automatic unground sprinkling system. They work on creating spaces that don’t require a lot of water.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the American raised porches – not very common over here.

    Good job on manual labour! You will defeat that overgrowth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Thanks! I did another patch yesterday and tackled that vine that was growing over the porch. Little by little I will prevail (or, alternatively, I’ll shame my husband into going and getting some big power tool to clear it all in one fell swoop!) Either way, win for me! I love our porch and am looking forward to being able to sit out there in the warm summer evenings! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alyssa says:

    Hey! Our houses were built around the same era. Nice job on the bathroom renovation! The kitchen is a scary one to tackle. I feel like I’ll dip my toes in and then run away each time I attempt anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • scr4pl80 says:

      Yes, the kitchen will be a big thing. I need to wait until I am no longer having to work in it and then we can really make some changes. Thanks for stopping by, Alyssa, we can cheer each other on with our changes!

      Liked by 1 person

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