Tuesday, May 24, 2011

House and Yard Project Updates

The last week and a half has flown by! When we weren't at our jobs working, we were busy working on projects around our house and yard. Since we'll be heading back home for Memorial Day weekend, we knew we wanted to get some outdoor and indoor projects completed in order to truly enjoy the start of summer when we return (not to mention being ready to host our first big party - pub crawl - since we had Mia!). So here's a quick recap of the big changes we made at our place.

1) Last weekend David rented a BIG tiller and dug up a large chunk of land alongside our back deck. We expanded our normal veggie garden area, plus added in room for 8 grape vines! We planted 8 cold-hardy Marquette vines, which, if we're still here in 3-5 years, we will be making WINE from! We also planted our entire veggie garden and set up a play area for Amelia, which resulted in us being outside for almost 12 straight hours. We found the play set for Mia on a garage sale in our neighborhood for $40 - it didn't want to come apart, so David had to strap it to the hood of the Xterra and drive it home. Needless to say, Mia LOVES the slide. We also had a sandbox/wading pool that we purchased online last summer (using a gift certificate I won on Angela's blog!). It's in the shape of a butterfly, so one wing holds the sand and you can put water in the other wing (or use that wing to cover the sandbox part when not in use). It also has an umbrella for shade, which is critical for our little red head. I'm really excited to put it to use this summer.

New view of the backyard.

The vines - not much to see at this point.

One vine up close.

Veggie garden.

Mia's personal playground.

2) This past weekend was wet and stormy, so we spent a lot of time indoors (except when we went out Saturday morning to check out the city-wide rummage sales - lots of good deals for a grand total of $10.75!). We decided that we needed to finish up a couple of projects so that we could move on to the more exciting projects we have planned for this summer (painting, painting, and more painting!). David has been working on setting up a wine cellar in our basement, but it hasn't been coming together like we had hoped. We have an area under the outdoor cement stairs leading to our main door that hasn't been in use for the past 6 years that we've lived in our house. Why? Because it was full of dirty, gross sand, and LOTS of spiders! After the recent basement flooding we experienced this spring, we decided to clean it out and try to find a purpose for it (this was after my dad was up and suggested that it may make a good wine cellar). So, here's what we were dealing with:

This is all of the sand that we pulled out of the cellar!

Unfortunately, after multiple rounds of cleaning and attempting to seal the cinder block, we still had some water leaking into the space. Meanwhile, David had found 2 awesome handmade wood wine racks (7 ft tall, 3 ft wide, each holding 160 bottles - so enough for 6 linear feet holding 320 bottles!) on Craigslist. Although only one rack would actually fit in our cellar space, we purchased both (we didn't want to separate the set, plus we figured we could use them both eventually). Since we were still having water problems, we really didn't want to risk ruining the racks (or, god forbid, the wine they held!), so we came up with a new plan. Unfortunately, this plan was devised about 3 1/2 hours before we had company coming over for the evening, so we spent Saturday afternoon scrambling around our basement, reorganizing the entire area in order to accommodate the new wine racks, plus still make use of the cellar area we had cleaned out. Luckily, we were able to get it all done just in time to clean ourselves up before the company got there! Then, we were able to use our new wine space to bottle the latest batch of wine - a blackberry merlot that is probably going to be named Rapture Rose' or Rapture Red, since we bottled it on the day of the proclaimed "rapture." Then we tried out our new zombie apocalypse board game with our guests!

(Note: there aren't any pictures of the cellar, suffice it to say that we moved one of our plastic storage shelves in there and stuffed a bunch of stuff on it that we don't frequently use - so at least it now serves a purpose and isn't just holding dirty sand!)

3) The rest of our weekend was spent starting ANOTHER batch of wine (a Cabernet Sauvignon that will be the first batch to go in David's brand spankin' new French oak barrel!) and cleaning out our full tile shower, ripping the old, mildewy caulk out, and finally (last night) redoing the caulk. It was a busy 2 weekends, but well worth it to get so much accomplished! Now we can relax going into our holiday weekend.

Mia update: We decided that she OFFICIALLY became an all-out toddler this weekend. She is a force to be reckoned with...


David said...

It almost looks like my head is coming straight out of that bucket in the bottling picture. Nice camera work.
I wouldn't say there were LOTS of spiders in the cellar. Just LARGE ones. They are planning a retaliation.

J-Funk said...

WOW I can't BELIEVE all the stuff you've accomplished! What do you do with Mia when you are doing all this stuff? We don't get ANYTHING done on the weekends. If I get to spend an hour napping I'm totally thrilled!

Mandy said...

We switch off watching her and working, she plays nearby, she "helps" us out, or she naps! :) It's not easy!

Uncle KT said...

Love the look of those wine racks! Very neat. Good thing that whole Rapture thing didn't work out--or you wouldn't have had time to enjoy your new wine!

Uncle KT said...

Mia is so cute on the slide!