Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How we spent (most) of our Memorial Day weekend

The past two months have been doozies. Bernie was mostly out of town, and was terribly ill while he was gone with fever and a respiratory infection. He was barely well when I came down with my own sinus infection.

Let me just say that every "tried and trued" home remedy was tried (honey, apple cider vinegar, lemon, steam, Vic's rub on feet, neti pot, vitamin C, chicken soup, onion, teas, silver to name a few plus some over the counter meds). 

Two weeks of losing my voice and getting little sleep was enough for me; off to the doctor I went knowing full well that antibiotics will not address a viral situation.  The doctor admitted as much but said at this point the infection was also bacterial and antibiotics should fix it.  It would take a full two weeks for a full "fix", in the mean time it should get better daily. 

Feeling totally exhausted: just part of the deal.

OK then...

Rest would be really good except that we had a window of time to re-do our deck. 
Resting up can wait?
Would you believe this is what our deck looked like less than two years after the last time we stained it?
This go around would be our third re-stain in five years.
Each time Bernie had power washed, sanded to clear wood, administered two coats timed with enough time apart on days when the temperature was just right.
After the second try didn't even last a year B*hr stain became a dirty word around our house.
The stuff peeled off wood like a bad sunburn peels off us really white folks after a day at the beach.

The stairs had barely a speck of the old stain left.

The previous two times we had left the railing in a clear finish.
The deck is redwood, the railing a cedar.
The two tone look kind of bugged but the thought of sanding the railing and painting each of them was a bit overwhelming before.
This time we decided to do it all.
With Fl*od brand this time; hoping their reviews are accurate as I really don't want to mess with staining railing ever again.

After power washing every thing and waiting a day, Bernie then tackled the horizontal sanding with this beast, then he did all the vertical surfaces with a power hand held sander.
I stayed away knowing the dust would really make my sinus issues worse.
I would paint all the railings later while Bernie manned the big surface rollers.

The deck is made from solid 18 foot long clear redwood planks.
You can't buy those any more.
We are really hyper about giving them proper care against the elements of snow and heat here in Utah.

Why the original owners didn't do the railings in redwood too...who knows.
Now we had to decide between semi transparent and solid stain.
After much thought we went with solid.
Then we had 52 colors to chose from
None of them were exactly what I wanted of course.
I was looking for something not too red, not too yellow, not too blue, not too grey, not too pink, etc etc.
Something that would work with the almost burgundy colored house bricks...
Not match, not too contrast-y...
In the end we went with a color called Cedar.
Which, as it turns out, looks different in morning light vs. sunset light.
You know what I mean?

Happy to have it done!

The brick & paint combo/contrast depends totally on the time of the day.

I. Am. Happy.
I sincerely hope we can just roll the horizontal surfaces every year from here on out.
Sanding...even with all the doors and windows shut the dust still got inside.
 I am now faced with dust on every surface in the house.
How is that even possible?
(Hint:  Turns out that we are currently in a high tree pollen season here.  I thought it was kind of weird that the "dust" was a yellow-y green instead of the sanding dust color.  Guess all things considered it was the perfect time to be sanding since everything would need dusting anyway!)

Now we can sit back on the deck and just admire the garden.

(OK...I admit it...I can sit on the deck for about five minutes before I have go take a closer look at what is blooming!)

This is my first year with peonies...


The oriental poppies are just starting to burst open.

The self seeded columbines are wonderful.

They come in so many colors!

As does the Japanese Painted fern...

Coral bells...


and more iris...

Every day a new iris "flag" unfurls in the garden.

A stroll though the garden with a cup of coffee to see the new blooms is such a treat each morning.

Our son's iris collection is outstanding and happily his are ready for dividing and sharing so next year we will even have more iris!

Oh and the flying jewels are back.

The pollen on the tip of the bill is so cute.

We have three kinds of hummers zooming though the garden right now.

(For some reason I find taking hummers photos in flight harder with my DSLR camera than I did with my little point-and-shoot.  Stay tuned as I figure out how what I am doing wrong...)

Part of the hummer fun is watching the hummers regularly swoop in to look the cats straight in the eye, like ten inches away.
Hummers must be pretty smart to realize that a cat on a four inch wide rail will be unable to do much hunting wise.

The birds also regularly hover right outside our kitchen window, looking in on us just inches away from our meal as they enjoy theirs.

We worked most of Thursday, all of Friday and Saturday.
Sunday...we rested.
And headed out to the back country.
I'll share what we saw there later on.


Sara said...

Jill, your deck looks great and your garden blooms are gorgeous. Hope your sinuses did not suffer a setback, though sounds like you avoided the worst part.

Dolores said...

Hope you're feeling better soon. Love those irises. I feel for you on the deck stain issue - we've gone through it too.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Your deck is looking great! What a timely post. We are re-doing 'my front porch'...the sanding has just begun! I have been putting a seal coat on every year...but these last few years it has not looked so pretty (peeling like crazy)...so it's time to start over. I'm not going with the product we have been using previously...nor will we use B*hr (after your review). Who knows what we will put on? Hope you are feeling 100% soon...especially with all the resting you have been doing. :)

ellen b. said...

Everything looks fabulous at your place the deck, stairs, railing and blooms! Lovely.That was a lot of work!

Anneliese said...

Your flowers are beautiful! Love the photos of the promise of peonies.

Pondside said...

That is a HUGE job. I remember deck-staining on a previous house. We did it three times in seven years. I was very, very glad to sell the house!