Saturday, March 28, 2015

More Projects at Home

Mike took 6 days of vacation this week.  We did a few fun things, like the Butterfly Garden, but it was a week of work.  We had a huge load of stone delivered and got that spread out to expand over parking area.  Parking has become a problem.  We have a two car garage which currently holds supplies for many projects we are in the middle of completing, so everyone parks in the driveway.  There are currently 6 car owners that need spots, plus assorted friends and visiting family members that need occasional spaces.  We spread the stone to create a total of 9 parking spaces.  It's a relief to have adequate parking in our drive,  Parking in the road is frowned upon in our area, except for special events.

We hauled some of the crushed concrete down the hill and spread it out to create a large seating area outside the lower screened porch.  Mike and I purchased and moved stepping stones that were laid to create seating areas for lawn furniture.  The stepping stones make the lawn chairs more stable.  We made one area around the small fire pit and a larger area for the picnic table.  Joe and I are planning on making some padded wooden benches to put up against the retaining walls that form a square corner on one side of the area.

Mike also decided to take out a couple of trees in the backyard.  One maple was rotting from the middle of the tree.  I was a little nervous that it would land on the house, but Mike researched the job and pulled it off.

Joe came home from school early that day.  He helped haul branches with some assistance from Madz, Paige and Alison.  They got all of the small stuff burnt up and then decided to take down the mulberry tree.  We never got any fruit off of the tree and it would drop berries into the pool that Mike also bought this week.

The mulberry tree took out part of an old privacy fence that we had considered using in another area of the yard, but it wasn't too big of a loss.  I am so thankful that both trees are down and there were no major mishaps or injuries.

We finally found a piano tuner and had him come to the house to tune our piano yesterday.  Unfortunately, he had bad news to deliver.  The piano has problems that would make it very expensive to tune and the piano is not worth the necessary money.  I'm disappointed.  We're checking the newspaper and online for another piano to purchase.  I'm not going to consider anything that hasn't been tuned in the last two years.  We don't need to move and dispose of another bad piano.

After the disappointment with the piano, Mike suggested that we go to some of the Amish meat shops that we have heard good recommendations.  We went to Bullseye in Vandalia where we purchased some ground round, dried fruits, rye flour and other yummy things.  Our next stop was Shelton's Farm Market in Niles.  We got a good deal on Rib-eye steaks, some ground beef, vegetables, mushrooms, dried fruits, and a lot of apples. 

Mike was sure that there was a meat market in Buchanan about which he had heard great things, so we googled "Buchanan meat market" and discovered Lowery's Meat Market.  Wow!  It was packed!  There were at least 6 people working behind the counter helping customers stockpile meat.  The prices were amazing.  We bought cheddar brats, jalapeno-cheddar brats, Italian sausage, Polish brats, pork loins, chicken, and breakfast sausage.  On average, the prices were about 1/2 of what I pay at Walmart or Meijers on sale.  I hope it's good meat, because it would be worth driving there to stock up once a month.

Today, Mike took Madz to a cheer competition in Lansing, while I take the girls to 3 hours of dance classes.  It's been great having him home. Major projects were completed, we had some fun, and he helped with running around during his vacation.  Next week when he goes back to work, he can rest a little.

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