Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Backyard Rocks! (See what I did there?)

Sometimes you need to take the opportunity to fly in the face of convention and ignore the Super Bowl.

Walks, and "borrowing" the neighbors rock hill are a better use of time.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Homestead Adventure

Wayward and distant adventures have been far and few between.  Life, work and responsibility has certainly gotten in the way.  And this winter has been much colder than those past, so our adventures consist of our daily walks. 

This winter has boasted more frequent rain storms than those past, so at least our daily jaunts down the road have yielded some incredible sunsets.

And we were greeted with a light rainbow one morning.  (It is to the left of the saguaro)

Once the nights are consistently above freezing in our camping spots, I'm hoping to drag the Adventure Husband away from his project car to get out - get away and most importantly get some forest time in. 

Until then, this will do.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Bringing life back to the dead

For a while, I had it in my head that I wanted to paint skulls.  Morbid? Nah.  The desert is full of dead things.  So I put the hubby on a mission: bring me home cow skulls. 

Elly was super excited that dad brought home jerky.  I picked one with sheaths, pulled them off and soaked the skull in a bleach/water solution for a week.  Tutorials online suggest using a peroxide mixture but bleach was easier to procure.  Besides, I knew I was going to basecoat the skulls an off white as opposed to stay with the bare bone color.  The sheaths got a few good coats of clear coat.

Next: tape, newspaper and paint.  I chose a dark turquoise spray paint.

Pulled the paint off and was thrilled until I (unsurprisingly) noticed that there was bleed through onto the white.  I thought my solution would be to tape off and paint a line of copper color (acrylic) to cover it.  Except that bled through too.  I ended up having to free hand anyway. 

It was rough watching me paint.

I stripped some copper wire out of scrap wiring from an old project and the hubby and I wrapped it around the horns.  Another quick coat of clear and wham! I LOVE IT!

I'm already soaking another skull.  I plan on hanging them under my covered patio.  Until the next one....

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Flagstaff/Sedona Camping

I finally convinced my good buddy Jeff to take a bunch of us canyoneering and repelling.  We mustered up a good group of cohorts and headed off to the Flagstaff area for the weekend.  We set up camp, had a good meal and great conversation and enjoyed perfect weather.

And then I got altitude sickness. 

Everyone (but Mike because he's afraid of heights) took off to Illusions Canyon at first light and I went back to sleep.  Hours later, still fighting nauseua I woke and Mike and I enjoyed the afternoon just playing in the woods with the dogs. Even with the sickness, I still needed a weekend away to commune with the trees. 

The crew was late, and I got worried, but they were fine.  Exhausted, beat up, but fine.  The canyon proved harder and more advanced than originally thought, but Jeff said everyone did amazing.  Unfortunately, it'd be a bit of a lie for me to put up photos of their adventure, I'll have to pressure Mandy to do a write up.

But stay tuned, because I'm already hitting Jeff up for take two, so I can go.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Adventures in Do-It-Yourself: Oak Wall Edition

When we bought the house, it had two walls with hideous wall paper.  I had a wallpaper party and we tore it down.  Only to be faced with two amazing examples of horrible dry wall.  Hmmn...originally I wanted to paint both walls a turquoise color.  That was out of consideration unless I wanted to skim both walls.  What else?

I have been eyeing the reclaimed wood walls on Pinterest.  Most people use pallet wood.  The hubster was not keen on pallet wood - fears of bug infestation.  On a whim, I checked Lumber Liquidators site for unfinished flooring.  Bingo!

We took advantage of Labor Day sales and snagged 180sqft for $190.  It's unfinished and extremely imperfect white oak.   If you're considering this for flooring, be advised that it is a lot of small pieces, so your floor will look busy.  But it works well for a feature wall.

First thing first  - every board had a number written on it in pencil, so a sanding was in order.

Once sanded, I had it in my head that I didn't want to stain them, or paint them and I wanted the wood to look older. So we burned them.  With a torch.  In the garage.  Safety first kids! (Disclaimer, burn things away from your home.)

Prepping it (see above) took much longer than putting it up.  With minimal tools (hammers, nail gun, stud finder), the tongue and grove went up smoothly.  In one weekend, we had the whole wall up.

I am insanely happy with how it turned out.   I still need to go out and buy new outlet covers and put a coat of clear poly on it, but the wall looks amazing.  I was nervous to burn every piece, thinking it would be too dark, but I love how it turned out.

Once winter hits, we'll replace the patio door and put the remainder of our wood up on that wall. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Waterslide Fun 2015

It's that time of year again, where the adults and dogs highjack the rented water slide to play.  Its been brutally hot this week and we've been looking forward to this.  The slide this year featured a twist at the end that was quite fun.  The dogs had a blast.

The slide had a leak so Elly and the other hounds found comfort in the shady mud.

Elly was kind of a kill joy today but Rommel made the best of the slide and the wading pool at the bottom.

 Our pitbull friends were self sufficient and were able to make their way up the ladder without aid.

At several points, Elly got lippy and hollered at Rommel.  She wanted him to play with her in the mud, he wasn't complying.  This shot made me laugh.  He's looking at me like "what is her malfunction?"

And without further ado, a video of our fun:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Monsoon of the Year

The last few monsoon seasons have been mediocre.  Last night topped every storm I have ever experienced.  60+ MPH winds tore through the area.  I wasn't sure that our American flag would survive the storm, but good ol' American craftsmanship prevailed.  It rained side ways and instantly filled every wash. We were land locked by our terrain.  Washes on both sides of the house over flowed, trapping us.

Our shared drive flows during an active rain storm.  Apparently so does our actual driveway, as seen on the left.  And a small lightning tail peeking through on the right side.

 Once the storm pushed north, it was safe and dry enough for me to step outside and try to capture the amazing light show that was going on.  I took hundreds of pictures and wound up with 3 usable ones.  I really need to invest in the timer/remote I've been eyeing for my camera.  It would've made the process easier.

Photographing lightning is tough without proper equipment.  This storm made me realize how badly I need some camera additions.  I LOVE STORMS!

My favorite shot of the evening:

The storm pushed north and slammed Phoenix.  Within an hour, the washes went down, but my road was full of storm debris.  Friends lost trees and had damaged cars, so I think we fared well.

Bring it on Arizona, I want more storms like this!