The Great Sand Dunes

This weekend we kicked off the camping season at the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It’s only a 4 hour drive from Denver and has great campground accommodations. Although the wind was pretty brutal from 10am-8pm we were able to secure or tents and venture off to do some fun stuff.  We visited the Colorado Alligator Farm and a UFO observation point. It was a great weekend and I am very excited for the 3 other trips we have planned throughout the summer!

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the dude and i on top the dunes
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he hiked barefoot!
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none of us wore shoes
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a view from the top
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enjoying the view with some coffee
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roasting wieners
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dusk campsite
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roasting dinner

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The Best of Vladimir

With deep sadness I am writing this blog post for Vladimir.  We said goodbye at the vet after he had a stroke due to HCM on April 6th, 2016.  He was 6 years old, going on 7 on July 27th.  He was my first sphynx cat and the sweetest boy.  He would let us hold him for hours and kiss on him.  He was the friendliest little fella, he would try to befriend anyone that came to our house, whether they wanted his friendship or not. He was simply – the best. His little mannerisms and chirps were hysterical and often times he would have a conversation with you mewing and chirping in response to questions. He LOVED food and would do anything for some TREATS! or a small bite of whatever anyone was eating.  His favorite music was by Neil Young and Queen (“Best Friend”).

He was diagnosed with advanced end-stage HCM in May of 2015 with 3 months to live.  He made it 8 months further than that with the best quality of life we could have ever wished for.  I never even knew he was sick (aside from paying the medicine bill)!  He was just such a huge part of our lives and our home.  I don’t think one day passed that neither Rob or myself didn’t talk about how much we loved him.  I just can’t believe he is finally gone and will never be here again to sit on my lap or cuddle with me while we slept.  There is a huge hole in my heart and my home right now.

I thought I would share my favorite photos since he did have so many fans.

 

Oh Vladimir, life just won’t be the same without you – I hope there’s unlimited treats in kitty heaven.

 

 

What do you grow in your garden?

For the first time ever, I have space for a garden!  So of course, I’m embarking on full homesteading! My dream come true – You know two summers ago I got to help my buddies at IGLOO – Sustainability Group plant their garden so I’m so excited to have my own! Here are the tentative plans for this upcoming season.

Space: 

We will locate 2 – 4x8ft garden beds on the west side of our house which gets full sun exposure.  We also know this part was used as a ‘garden’ before and was not used for some weird renter parking lot*.  We also know that if we have success and want to expand forward we can do so on this portion of the house.  Further, I HATE grass – so using the space would be not only beautiful, but help make less wasted lawn space. Sorry Lois, I know you are sad you raised someone who doesn’t love a green grass yard as much as you ;).   *see photo below

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What Will We Grow?

Cold Season Crops:

Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Broccolini (tiny broccoli!)

Warm Season Crops:

Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, Chives, Rosemary, etc. herbs.

Materials:

We are going to be using Douglas Fir wood for the beds (not Cedar due to small savings in cost).  Yes, we will probably have to replace these in 5-10 years, but oh well – who knows what our garden will look like in 5-10 years anyways.

We are going to install a drip irrigation system on each bed that will be attached to a spigot timer.  We will also install some PVC frames for UV/Shade/Hail protection covering. Since it is Colorado this is a must not only for our location of the beds in full sun, but also for those freak hail storms that can ruin months of work in one afternoon.

We plan on getting underway with the garden on April 30th so expect a mapped out update for grid placement in the beds before then!

Of course I’ll also start my SCOBY/Kombucha up again and possibly dabble in some mushrooms if not too intensive.

Some other cool things will be all the canning, cooking/recipes – that will follow this summer/fall.

Anyways – any tips or advice to this newbie are MORE than welcome. Can’t wait to share what I discover.  What do you grow in your garden?

 

 

 

Farm House Update: Week 3

Well, we are 3 weeks underway of getting the farmhouse – livable.

Here are the things we have done:

  1. removed all bathrooms that were not supposed to be there
  2. re-did the main bathroom on the first floor
  3. removed all debris from the yard/house
  4. starting painting
  5. hung window treatments
  6. got all new appliances
  7. installed new well system
  8. installed washer & dryer
  9. repaired all rusted windows
  10. removed paint from all window sills
  11. installed new furnace and water heater

It’s been A LOT of work.  Thankfully, Lois has been a huge help with most of these items – the yard looks 1000% better due to her. On the days we were able to tackle things together it felt like we got a lot more done than I would have ever imagined.  My Pops has been a major help in figuring out what we can/can’t do electrical wise and prepping for Connelly Power Co to jump in on some things.  We still can’t live there until we resolve the electrical issue for the water pump/well system. That is the most frustrating part, since we really can’t live there without water, but everything will be easier to work on, continue to deal with once we live there.  Right now, every moment over there has to be utilized 100% so I think I speak for everyone, but I’m tired.  I love working on the house and it is really rewarding and exciting, but it’s just hard to not have a bathroom to use there, or water to use – and it’s hard to drive back and forth to our apartment in Broomfield (30 minutes away). Eh, but why am I bitching? I fought super hard to do all this – just at a different pace I think, but oh well in a months time or less it won’t feel ‘so close, yet so far’.  Plus, a lot of the things I had planned on spacing out over 2 years will now just be done. So when we do move in we can literally just start enjoying it instead of prolonging some of this fun.

Moving forward I’ll being doing more ‘before and after’ shots on our progress – now that there are some really impressive ‘afters’!

Thanks again, Lois, Pops, Uncle Mark (MD Services – my HVAC/plumbing hero), Aunt Lori, and everyone else in their virtual support so far in helping us get this fixer upper livable!

Here are some photos of the recent happenings:

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Lois cleaned up the front yard and what a difference! So clean and pretty!
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just some of the yard debris we cleaned up – broken glass/car parts?
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it’s the simple things although it is still un-used due to no water at the house. 

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Leopold was in love with the house – and so cute on his house tour.
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A sight for sore eyes – new well jet pump and tank (note no longer in the crawl space under the stairs).
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‘oily beau hunk’ installs my cellular ikea blinds also Sixteen Candles joke. 
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new washer and dryer – thanks pops and cym! 
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window sill- i’m blue da bo dee ba de dow….. 
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look at the sexy new copper plumbing for my washroom…. rawwwr!
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before: yard cage for former tenants that didn’t pay rent…..
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after: bunny coop/chicken larvae den removed. just a nice space for appropriate plants.

 

 

Night of the Living Demo

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Well, it’s demo city over at the farm house. For starters we had to remove so much crap/trash the former owners left as well as just tear out some disgusting bathrooms and ‘enhanced features’ that were growing/rotting/squating all over the property.  That 30ft roll-off was packed to the gills. “Don’t let it go over the top!” Lois said 10 million times. And by jove we didn’t let the trash go over the top.

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Since I decided I would do a little refresh on the bathroom, things have gotten out of hand.  There will be a true transformation post about the bathroom in about a week, by the way.  This is a photo of me in my gas mask as I sanded, poured Xstripper all over the cabinet and tried to remove 5 layers of paint. 2 base coats were lead… AWESOME.

Here is the before of my ‘en suite’ aka the corner of a bedroom. Notice the lovely blue color scheme. The creepy  bathroom  was added into this bedroom in the 90s.  There was no water-proofing, no prep, and no attention to what a bathroom that is not supposed to be in a bedroom would do long-term.

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The hardwoods have massive holes in them from the shower drain and the toilet fitting.  Not to mention they are all warped and swollen from years of being under peel-and-stick linoleum. The plaster wall is ruined due to the hammer hole plumbing insert method they used.  It is the epitome of what someone who had zero money and had just enough knowledge about something would do. AKA homeowner’s special.

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Here is me in the bathroom again, because I worked on ‘refreshing’ the room with some new paint, I also decided we needed to redo all the caulking which led to sanding down the rusty window and repainting that too.  In fact, there was so much cleaner used it lightened my hair substantially lol 😉 26011364146_93c8378ac4_z

Ah and now the piece de resistance! The downstairs bathroom…. One of the creepiest, ill fit and just disgusting bathrooms I’ve ever seen, let alone owned.  Lightbulb in the shower? CHECK. Carpet? CHECK.  The well system is actually that cut out hole you see in the right of the bottom right comparison photo.  You could sit on the toilet and work on the well system…. efficient for sure…. That well system will be moved out into the new utility room now that the bathroom has been 86’ed from the layout.  Eventually we will put another bathroom in the basement where there is enough space to actually have one, but for now just having the appropriate space to work on the well system or that ejector pump.

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We still don’t have running water at the house, but hopefully that will be fixed very soon.  Thanks former home owner for breaking the pressure switch and jet pump the night before closing! Appreciate you!

Then on to electrical work to see what fun we can have next!

More updates to come… and more before and afters of the yard… DUN DUN DUN!

The Farm House

Two weeks ago, I bought a farm house in the city!  It was probably the WORST contract/home buying experience in the world.  It seriously barely happened – between issues with the water and roof (contingent to the loan) and the very very meanly aggressive selling agent it was a doozy.  To give you more of an idea of how things went down, I ended up paying for half of the roof to be replaced and walked out of the inspection objections with a HUGE $750 check to buy a reverse osmosis system for the kitchen.  Both my lender and my real estate agent were my saviors in this – they really had to work miracles on this one.  But! It’s actually mine and the dude’s now!

Well obviously, the dude and I AND everyone else I know loved the house and felt it was worth the struggle and fighting.

Some of the perks!

  1. huge windows in living/dining area
  2. .4 acre plot of land
  3. huge garage
  4. 2800sq ft to grow into
  5. pool table! (haha)

Now I got a great deal on this place, but it is the epitome of a fixer upper.  It wasn’t neglected to the point of being condemned, but you can be assured that most everything was done sooooo wrong it’s almost impressive. But, I guess that’s what the dude, family, and friends are for 😉

The to-do list:

  1. new furnace/water heater
  2. rip out some scary bathrooms
  3. new soffits/fascia/gutters
  4. re-finish hardwoods
  5. paint everything!
  6. clean all the stuff they left me on the property
    1. rotted out chicken coop
    2. weird wire cage (possibly used for tenants late in rent?)
    3. yard work that’s been neglected for a long while
    4. tons of garbage (wood/snowboards etc see photo below of garage)
  7. electrical work (what I can’t keep splicing into extension cord wire to power the garage?)

Okay now that all the fun stuff is out of the way – let’s look at the pictures!

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