Monday, July 1, 2019

Befores and Afters.........

My last post was on May 17th! What happened to the days? They just sped by!

My last post as you can see here was about being lazy and lethargic. I must admit, I continued that way for quite awhile. It was fairly soon after my colonoscopy which was May 8th. My upcoming surgery was set for May 20th. I just had no energy! And..........we had started so many projects in our yard, that I showed pictures of in that May 17th post. I was overwhelmed. But you gotta start somewhere, right?

Not a good time to start yard projects, when surgery is only a few days away! But I wanted them done!  I figured the only way to get them done, was to at least start on them............. (I must admit, I had to crack the whip a little bit............)

My surgery went fine (gall bladder removed).......... and for two weeks I was pretty sore.... but I did manage to get outside and at least be the "director" of hubby..... to get things started. So as the last post showed, we/hubby started preparing for the fountain setup. I had bought the fountain probably in February or March and was really itching to hear that little trickle of water!

Burying the electric cord was quite a process. I had thought we could just run the cord along a cement curb that ran along our yard over to the house, and then run it along the bottom of the house to the plug-in. But no, hubby thought running it through a pipe and burying it would be better. Of course it WAS a better way....... but much more work! And I couldn't do any digging, etc. so it was very frustrating.

To make a long story short, here are some before and after photos! In the two weeks after my surgery, I managed to overdo it many days! I didn't "undo" anything done in the surgery, but came close one time....was VERY sore the next day.. so I learned I'd better slow down. Hubby was great at getting most things done, with me being the "overseer"............... but I still spent days dragging bags of potting soil, moving plant pots, planting flowers, dragging furniture around, carrying rocks and boards. (I was NOT supposed to life more than 10 lbs.!!). 

AFTER - below - clean! now weeds, pipe all buried, and fountain set in place. We still want to put a truckload MORE of gravel in this back graveled area, with ground cover first, then the gravel.

We also did some work in our front yard. We/hubby filled up the old flower bed that is along our front walkway, with some really pretty river rock. I helped by laying down the ground cloth underneath it. We also put some bags of smaller river rock in a trench that hubby dug along the top of the wall, so that mowing would be easier.

This area along our walkway is covered. There used to be a raised bed there, but we moved all the dirt and all of the rocks to our back yard. We would like this to be a "porch" area. We are in the process (another project!) of finding someone to build a small deck along the front of our house, about halfway across, so some of this rock will be covered, but at least what we did will keep the weeds controlled.

I've already drawn up the plans for the deck (a project I did while recouperating from the surgery). 

Hard to see from these photos, but the above photo is the 4 foot high rock wall that we had repaired in 2017 (after our huge tree fell over in a high wind and cracked the wall). The smaller round rock looks really nice. I may plant a few things there, but may just want to keep it clear, for easier mowing.

Above, I wanted this flower bed enlarged where we planted the Quaking Aspen and shrubs, so I spray painted a line and hubby (bless his heart), dug it out and I went and cut out all the tall grass (or pulled it out, which I wasn't supposed to be doing)..... so now there is a larger dirt area. Right now, the bags of bark mulch are laying there, ready to be put in the beds. 

The "Iris bed" on the other corner of our yard, was also dug out (by dear hubby) so now the roses are more in the open. The Irises were overtaking them! I also cut down many of the Iris leaves to give room for the sun to get to the roses, and I'll be thinning the Irises this Fall. Another bag of mulch sits there, waiting for me to dump it in and spread it. I can NOW lift more than 10 lbs.!

Since this above photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, the roses have gone crazy and are blooming like crazy! The rose on the left was a dead root that our neighbor had thrown by his garbage can, and it sat there last summer out in the heat for 2 weeks. I asked if we could take it and plant it and see if it would grow, and he said YES, so here it is. It's blooming as I write this (below).

Bag of bark mulch, waiting for my attention!
Here are a couple of current (taken today) pictures of our front yard. The Quaking Aspen is growing like crazy! We just planted it last year and it was about 5 feet tall with a very spindly trunk! It must love this climate and soil!  

And the little Johnny Jump Ups (my mom called them - tiny pansies) love their home under the Quakey. They came up all by themselves from last summer and were buried in the tall grass. I've nurtured them to where they are now.

See that bush to the left of the Quakey trunk? It was a Snowberry bush I bought 2 years ago for 50 cents at an end of summer sale at our local Bi Mart. The temperatures were in the hundreds and everything was wilted and almost dead. It is beautiful now and almost as tall as I am!

I know my photos are kind of all over the place on this post. It's hard to organize them as have all been taken at different times in the last few weeks.

Here are some final "afters" of our nice "patio area" out in our back yard now. I've planted a few marigolds and a daphne around our fountain (which by the way, we absolutely LOVE)..... and some more pots of flowers line the fence. I didn't plant any veggies this  year, just too much going on in my life. 

My hubby found these two adirondack chairs at a local thrift store. I'm going to paint them either dark green or a pretty aqua color.

The pink flowering bush behind the fountain, we transplanted from a tub. It is some sort of "bush geranium" and it loves it there and is growing huge! It's also a perennial and comes up every year.

The fountain at night.......... looks so pretty.
These below photos were taken yesterday on my birthday!  Hubby gave me two more cedar planter boxes.... so now I need to find more flowers for them.

Me amongst the flowers! The thing hanging on the fence over my head, is a pallet planter that my hubby found at the thrift store. All of $3.00! It has an area to plant some small herbs or trailing flowers (another project for me) and I'm going to paint it a distressed looking vintage white (very soon!).

Our cat, Maddie, seems to think this is her own personal lounging bed!
I think that about covers our finished projects for now. As you can see, there are more projects for the summer and I want to plant a few more flowers, even though it's July! I remember one year, many years ago, due to a move, I didn't get my veggie garden planted until July 15th, and things grew very well and fast..... so I guess I do have time to plant a few more flowers for color.

What would you suggest for those planter boxes? I want color for the rest of the summer!

Our biggest other project, is getting a small deck built along the front of our house. I figure it will be about 6 feet x 12 feet (depending on the cost). It may end up having to be smaller. We want a raised area to sit, and also want it extended away from our little tiny "stoop" for safety reasons. Can't have people falling off (myself included)!!

I'm feeling more myself now, able to lift and bend and move things, so I'm ready to tackle more yard work and projects. It's always ongoing. Also, we haven't even begun to tackle our back lawn area. I think it's going to end up being half grass and the rest river rock, with some paths and raised beds, and maybe a couple of raised vegetable beds. That's another story............for another day.

Until next time... and I hope it won't be so long before the next post!



  1. Marilyn it looks beautiful. What a lot of work but so worth it. I hope you do take care of yourself so you do not undo the surgery. I know it is hard to do. Wishing you a wonderful 4th.

    1. Kris, I am much better now and made it through "doing too much too soon"!!! I had a very quiet 4th, except for all the BOOMS that went off that night and scared my cats to death! Have a wonderful weekend! xoxoxo Marilyn

  2. Oh my Marilyn! All the WORK you have done! It is amazing to see, but you know, just seeing that beautiful smile on your face sitting in your chair and listening to the fountain, I know you are thrilled beyond measure to have gotten this little space all fixed up and such a happy place for you to be!!!! It all looks so amazing! I loved seeing all the plants you have put into the ground and how they have grown, and WOW that rosebush that your neighbor threw away! That is amazing that it survived and is flourishing! So exciting! It sounds like more exciting things on the way with the new deck in the works, that will be such a blessing for you too! I just hope you didn't overdo things after feeling so much better after the surgery. I will continue to be praying that the Lord helps you to recover quickly from the surgery and for quick healing to take place!

    And... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Those planters are amazing, truly your husband blessed you with such a beautiful addition to your garden space! Hmm.... if I were to plant anything in those beautiful raised boxes, I think I would do a mix of tall, medium and short plants. You might even go to a local nursery, show them the picture of your box, and see if they can help you with what would work well in your area. I love petunias, vinca, zinnias and daisies, but it would also depend on whether you want annuals or perennials. It will be fun getting them planted, for sure!

    Hope you get to celebrate your birthday all week, and wishes for lots of love and joy in your heart all week long! Much love to you sweet friend... such a joy for me to see such happiness on your face in those pictures :)

    1. Hi Marilyn! I'll answer here but also sending you an email. I'm doing great now and my surgery is behind me and I'm pretty much back to being able to do everything (even eat!). Hee hee........ yes I'm loving our back "patio" (gravel) area now that the weeds are all gone! Love the fountain and all the flowers, and I'm hopefully off to the nursery this weekend to get more flowers! Can't believe it's July already, but they'll still have about 3 months to grow and bloom. Hugs.. Marilyn

  3. Oh Marilyn! I am LOVING so much about this post! For starters, you look wonderful! Not just physically, but there’s something else going on within you that shows you’re happy and that you have much to look forward to. Perhaps it’s having the surgery behind you, or seeing how lovely your garden is, or knowing there’s still some things to do which is just another way of saying you have something to look forward to ( when are we ever done?!lol).

    I have to admit the thought of you carrying bags of dirt after your surgery did NOT make me happy, but it seems you’re none the worse for wear. Just take it slow please. The yard isn’t going anywhere ;).

    As for the planter, I just said to a friend yesterday that if I buy any petunias nextt year to shoot me. Seriously, they’re way too much maintenance so even though they’re pretty and I was tempted to suggest them I’m going to go in the opposite direction and say avoid them. Maybe geraniums or sun impatiens? Whatever you choose it will look beautiful and provide you with a gorgeous space to unwind and enjoy the fruits of your VERY HARD labor.


    1. Oh Doreen you are so nice with your comment! I will write more in an email to you. Suffice to say, I made it through my recovery and "overdoing" it without being the worse for wear! Yes.. I'm am so loving my flowers and "weedless" back patio area. Still wish it was just cement, but I am happy at least, with no weeds for the time being! Hugs.. Marilyn

  4. I know you must be glad to have that surgery behind you. I felt so much better after I had mine out. What a lot of work you got done. Enjoy that fountain. xo Laura

    1. Thank you Laura! I am feeling much better and notice a few improvements in my health and diet with that gall bladder gone! Plus lost 10 lbs. which has been a real bonus! I truly am really enjoying our little oasis area, fountain and flowers and tend to go out and sit there more now, with the fountain and water sounds. xoxoxo Marilyn

  5. Marilyn, your yard is looking very pretty. You have accomplished a whole lot. I'm glad your surgery went well and that you are springing back. Thanks for your visit and your sweet words. I love to decorate so I guess that is why I do it often! You are looking good sitting in your garden along with the other pretty flowers!..Happy 4th..xxoJudy

    1. Thank you Judy! I am back to normal now and enjoying the yard and flowers and fountain. We are in the process of putting down some bark mulch. Alot of work but it looks so pretty! Always so much to do. I guess I enjoy "decorating" my yard more so than my house! My house has always been just "comfortable" and bits and pieces of things I get here and there, never any grand design plan. I had a quiet 4th, except for all those loud BOOMS that went off for an hour that night and scared my cats to death! Nice and peaceful this weekend which I'm loving. Take care! xoxo Marilyn

    2. Thanks for another visit, Marilyn. I am enjoying the zinneas. i don't let Robin out in the yard by herself as she is so little and could squeeze through the wire fence if she tried hard enough, so I sit on the porch and she sits in the sun and we both enjoy the garden..Happy Wednesday..xxoJudy

  6. What a lot of work you have done! There’s always so many projects to do and new ones replace old ones! Your yard is pretty and you look right at home sitting there!

    1. Thank you Cathy! I'm loving my "yard" and fountain and like you said, there's always another project that I create! You get one done, and then make more work with another plan. I can't seem to stop! I still need to get those flowers to plant in my new planter boxes. Well.. I'll be done I guess by the time Fall arrives! Marilyn

  7. I feel the same way, Marilyn. I had not posted for some time either. I am so happy to here how well your surgery went...and your before and after pics are inspiring. Take care and happy 4th! Happy Birthday too :)

    1. Thank you Carrie. I always "think" of what I want to post on my blog, but sometimes don't ever get around to actually doing it. It gets to be overwhelming as I write way too much! I like your short and sweet blog posts and I keep wanting to make one that is short and sweet! "Short" doesn't seem to be in my vocabulary! Thank you for the birthday wishes. I had a nice one, and enjoyed a quiet 4th, and this weekend is looking to be kind of busy with more projects! Take care! Marilyn

  8. Lovely to see your pretty smile. Your transformed yard is gorgeous . . . Lots of hard work and well worth it. Here's to healthier days ahead, so glad your surgery went well.

    1. Thank you dear Connie...... I'm loving the flowers and our fountain. Well worth the effort, and I'm feeling pretty much back to "normal" now and can do all the physical work now that I need/want to do. Now if my back and hip would just cooperate! I didn't plant any vegetables this year.. just too much going on. I do miss it though, but am enjoying the plentiful raspberries that my bushes are finally providing to me! I would love to get some blueberries but our ground in the back yard is like cement so really almost impossible to plant anything, except around the edges. I loved your last post of your 4th of Julys and your beautiful little farm! Hugs to you.....Marilyn

  9. Wow! You have accomplished so much, Marilyn. You and your hubby make a great team. I love the fountain, and all the other charming decorations you've added to the garden. You've truly created outdoor "rooms". It all looks great. I know you're anxious to do more, but when I see how much you've done since moving into your home I'm amazed. Especially in light of the fact that you've had health issues. Glad your surgery was a success and that you're feeling so much better. Hugs, Nancy


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