Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The GREAT outdoors

I don't know about you, but when there's a nice day outside, it's very hard to stay inside especially this year when it's been so cold. Gosh - we had SNOW on Sunday morning and yesterday the temperature was 26. That's just too weird.

So I apologize, but today's post is all about being outside but there's an element of quilting later on!

I love our backyard. We decided when we moved in (many years ago) to rip up the grass (both front and back) and do other things. Granted, the people before were really the ones that started it all - we just made it better! The gazebo was here, the shed was here and there was a small pond. We enlarged the pond, ripped up the grass and installed a deck and flagstone.

This year, we replaced the deck surface, removed the hot tub (whose dumb idea was that anyway - no names are being mentioned here to protect the dumb person!) and the fence was replaced. The nice thing? It all gone done in March so when the warm weather came, the backyard would be ready to enjoy.

Yesterday we did have to stay inside in the morning which was good because I had a lot of paperwork to do, but the girls were not happy. Yesterday was the day to have the pond opened.

There was a lot of debris in the bottom of the pond - just the roots for those reeds alone was going to be an issue. And there are quite a few lilies in there.

The pond survived the winter
 The plan was to remove all the debris, clean the pond liner and fill it back up.

The new fence

And then there is the girl's swimming pool. We can't forget that. This was empty in March, but it got filled with all the precipitation from April.

The swimming pool

The swimming pool was used to house the fish while the pond was cleaned. The girls were NOT amused when they learned that the fish were in their pool.  I didn't get a picture of the fish in there, they had moved them back to the pond before I could snap a picture.

Swimming pool doubled as a holding tank for the fish

I knew that a few fish had died over the winter. Well, more like the spring as we had the freezes and thaws and the fish would get trapped. Nothing I could do about it - if they didn't go deep, that was their fault.

After the pond was drained, we evaluated the situation. The bottom was a mess. A MASSIVE tangle of roots. MASSIVE. And with the debris, it was about a foot deep if not more. They did their best to cut it out but the pond will have to be emptied again next year and the same process again. I think they managed to get the reeds out (mostly) and everything got trimmed back as low as it could go. The lilies are already starting to grow so they better pop up fast to provide some shelter for the fish from the herons.

There are normally lots of fish babies in the spring, but we didn't see any. I haven't seen any either in the last couple of weeks. In total, there are about 12 fish left. Which is fine - they are just 49 cent goldfish. Some of them are bigger than others, but we're doing good. Too many fish is NOT good so they seem to control their own population and I don't feed them anymore.

Filling up the pond

As the pond filled, there was still a lot of debris floating on the top and I need to get the skimmer out this morning to try and remove some more.

The waterfalls (3) are running nicely and look at this gorgeous water feature!!  Oh, I should mention that there were a number of rocks in the pond that had fallen in over the last couple of years as well as one of my wrought-iron herons. Gosh, I didn't even know it was missing!!!  Unfortunately, it was tangled in the roots and it wasn't coming out yesterday. Maybe next year!!!!

The pond is OPEN!

There's NOTHING more relaxing than sitting outside with the waterfalls running, the wind in the trees (hopefully nothing more than a slight breeze), the wind chimes tinkling in the background and let's not forget the rambunctious dogs ripping around the deck. I'm in heaven which is why I didn't get a lot of inside work done yesterday.

However, I did take my iPad outside and after I cleaned the grit and grim off the table, I had my snack and watched the videos on how the computer works on the long arm. So I didn't totally slack off!!!

A relaxing spot
 Here's one last shot of the backyard. It's a bit dark - oh heck - who cares!

The backyard

The computer thing doesn't seem to be that difficult to learn so I hope to get my butt down there today, but it's going to be equally nice today! As long as the machine is assembled correctly, I don't think there is going to that huge of a learning curve to get back up and running. ACK!!!  I'm in trouble. I'm going to have to set up a sewing machine on that deck which is HUGE.  I have several non-fiction books which are going to be due soon, so I started both of them yesterday. For someone who doesn't watch TV, I'm fascinated by books about TV series. Well, the ones that I used to watch, like Frasier. I loved that show and this book talks about how the show was created and the cast was selected. I love stuff like that. The other one is about quilts around the world and is very interesting. So I switch up the books and the location to read!

Before I go, I have to mention the food situation. I'm in trouble! I'm learning a whole lot. When I was at the retreat, I did have a few things that I normally wouldn't eat at home. A few alcoholic beverages, more bread than normal (which I never eat) and sweets like brownies and ice cream. While I didn't really gain any weight (I weighed myself yesterday and I'm the same or slightly down a bit from before I left), but I felt awful. Bloated and full and just not happy. That's from eating NON-healthy food. OK - M - you can gloat now!!!!

I've been drinking lots of water first thing in the morning to flush all the bad stuff out and back to my healthy foods and I'm feeling like a million bucks. But where I'm in trouble is finding enough stuff to eat in a day.  I'm 2 pounds under my desired weight and I don't want to lose any more weight. But do you know how hard it is in a day to find enough healthy calories to eat? Most of the stuff that I used to eat is loaded with sugar or fat. Now that I've greatly reduced both of those items, it's hard to find something to snack on. And I'm not hungry which doesn't help when you have to eat. I went to spin class this morning (first time in a long time) and that means I'm going to have to eat more today. What to eat???  I'll be searching the internet for some good options.

I'm not sure why the whole lifestyle eating thing worked so well this time. I would guess that it was the decision to give up sugar. Without doing that, it would be easy to eat enough calories, but the WRONG calories. Everything and anything packaged is loaded with sugar and fat. So, time to get back to clean eating.

On that note, I've got a ton of e-mails to go through, classes to prep, quilts to design and I NEED to get to the long arm.

Have a great day!!!


BTW - I think the girls have a different take on what happened in the backyard yesterday. You can check out Lexi's blog here.

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