Monday, November 1, 2010


well it only took a year but we finally finished it. and we managed to use all the concrete we'd collected. it was only fitting that i threw my back out at the end. but it was worth it! wait, no it wasn't! so here's to all the new beach we gained!  nacho couldn't be prouder. and that's 28 for those of you curious. 45 in all between the beach, the berm and the sitting wall. we figured, this is the equivalent of building your own sea wall BY HAND!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

how do you make a gabion?

buy a lot of hog confinement wire from Tractor Supply. some times, just buy them out completely. they come in 16ft sections so you might want to cut them in half at TS so you can haul them in the back of THAT NEW TRUCK THAT YOU NEVER ASKED YOUR WIFE IF YOU COULD BUY!!! no photo needed cuz said wife is so over that truck!
hire some hot chick (hey maybe that wife) to man the John Deere so you can bend them into place. drive the JD over plywood set to create the bend.
said truck can be seen in the background. that's all the coverage it's every getting here! but said wife is so over it.
Take another piece of plywood, and, from the front, bend the front of the panel up to a 90.
and you're done! one of 2 sides
wash rinse repeat 80 SOMETHING MORE TIMES!
or until you run through the most recent batch that you bought TS out of. in that case proceed to the other TS and buy them out too until you've made like 50 of these! tops and bottoms are made from additional panels and it's all just wired into place with a roll of heavy gauge wire like they use for securing chain-link fencing to posts. at this level, it was actually cheaper for us just to buy the big roll of wire and cut it into strips for securing the panels & tops/bottoms together.  we went through 3-4 rolls of the stuff, but we never seem to run out of uses for it (some of you saw the Bug's Life costumes several years ago)
Why Would You Build Them Yourself?
as i said in my previous post, it really is cheaper and you can customize these to any size you want. most of ours were something like 6ft long, 4ft deep/high, and 2.5ft wide (i'm sure i'm off on that and nacho will quickly correct me). but the ones we used for the Sitting Wall, were half that height. so it really gave us some flexibility that we either wouldn't have had or would have paid out the nose for. nacho's research came up to about $80 a gabion (i have no idea the size) and this was WAY cheaper - plus it was kinda fun to keep buying TS out of this stuff.

flintstones meet them flintstones

as usual, late posting this but i think i have an acceptable excuse this time:  EXHAUSTION!!!  3 weekends ago we decided to give the beach wall a break and move our attention to the north end of our property, where the yard meets the beach. over the years, i've done 2 things here: planted a vegetable garden on the end closest to/against our patio/sea wall and planted tons of lillies on the other end (aka transition area). the idea has primarily been that the lillies would be a hold for when we flood. the truth of the matter is, they take a heck of a beating when we have beach floods - floods that don't make it over the berm and surround the house. we had 2 of those this spring/summer and my lillies did their job but they really started to suffer. at one point, i had to go next door to Ray's and pull some from the water. they'd been dislodged by the wave action we get when we have a beach flood.
so many weeks ago, on one of the design blogs i stalk follow, i found a family that had dedicated a section of their yard to a tortoise habitat. their goal was to not only provide a great living space for their pet but to make it architecturally interesting. and what did they use to make this possible? say it with me people:  GABIONS! guess who has a little experience in this area? i ran this by nacho as a great solution to the transition area and added it would make for a neat sitting wall just as the Tortoise Family had done. nacho agreed and so it was done.  we spent 2 weekends making this happen.
Sitting Wall
this is the best Before picture i have. you have to focus on the area to the left where you see the lillies and rock.
and now

Garden Wall
but we didn't stop there! after creating something that nice, it was hard to look at this
and say, "eh, just leave it". so we didn't. the 2nd weekend was spent pulling these temporary gabions out and redoing this section of the wall. it was well worth it don't 'cha think?
and so overall, we now have this!
i'd love to tell you we are all done, but remember, i said at the beginning that we decided to take a break. this past weekend while I was in The Motherland, nacho built the remaining 4 gabions to complete the Beach Wall. i'll post that work in it's entirety when it's done. 
and the last thing i'd like someone to figure out, is how much concrete do you think we've moved in all of this? we estimate, when done, we will have filled 49 gabions, give or take. the "Sitting Wall" ones are not as tall as the Berm or Beach ones, but i'd actually hate to know the exact amount of concrete we've moved, cuz you have to realize we've done most of it by hand. yes, we're crazy.
oh and the innevitable question that always comes up: can't you just buy those things? yeah, no telling what it would cost us to fill them, but nacho said it'd run us $80 minimum just to buy the cages pre-made and the wire is not near as sturdy as the wire we used in ours. perhaps he's embellishing so i don't kill him for making me do all this work!

Monday, September 27, 2010

hose head

i've decided to start my midlife crisis, so i went on my first motorcycle ride ever on Sat. big thanks to Tucker and Moser for taking me along.  and thanks to Dykstra for putting us in the loop on this one. it's a really interesting story how the Road Apples came to be.
so this was the welcome sign at Stop1 in Tiskilwa.

and this was my escort for the day
when life hands you lemons, find a hose clamp!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

heart and sol

only Nacho will know what that title means (and maybe SilentG) but congrats to us for surviving yet another year together.  and what a year it's been.  i couldn't be more grateful for the words i said 9 years ago.  and they mean just as much to me now as they did then.  some would expect them to mean more, but that's kinda hard when they always meant everything.  i could of course sit here and go on and on, but that's not really me when it comes to this. i'm not rainbows and unicorns and i'm not so certain feelings are that big of a deal (i'm more of an intent girl myself). and my intentions today are the same as they were 12 years ago.  LM/TM/I+4

Sunday, September 12, 2010

what did you do this weekend?

they say when you own a home you never run out of projects. i hope that is not true. i don't know how much more concrete i can move. seriously. well thanks to Katie for the perspective on all our hard work. i wish i could say we were done, but there's more to do. maybe the hard part is behind (well, in front of us) now!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

busy busy busy

well, i'm no help these days. a kink in the neck that started Friday left me useless all weekend. i could barely lift my glass of wine Friday night and had to take my G&T without ice cuz it was simply too heavy. but i did my best to oversee (haha) the progress on the yard. and boy did Nacho move it along!
so far we've had 4 tandem truck loads and we have 1 more coming this week. we have to finish the berm at the northmost part of the yard and just some back fill in my vegetable garden and some low spots in the yard. then it's on to planting!! hooray!
but that's not all folks. wait! there's more! because we apparently have a concrete fetish around here, nacho has decided to completely redo the "rip rap" wall on the beach. he was so taken with the ones now buried under the berm above, that we wants to be more organized about the ones on the beach. yes, NACHO WANTS TO BE MORE ORGANIZED! i'll take what i can get. so here's the beginning of what i hope to be our final relationship with busted concrete!
so that's 5 of about 25 baskets that we'll be constructing to reconstruct the rip rap wall into something more solid and appealing. i have a few photos of how we actually make the cages but when i've got complete photos for the process, i'll post them. i know, a cliffhanger. how will you ever survive. it insures you'll come back for another visit though.

Monday, August 16, 2010

that's progress

i know i've got some HUGE gaps in time for this season and i promise i'll go back and post a catch-up type of thing. but i couldn't let this major event go by without posting Nacho's progress on the gabion wall. he rented a Dingo (his word not mine) and it did not eat our baby. instead, it built the berm. this is a big deal at our house. we're so close to getting our yard back to looking, well, like a yard. here is his hard work paying off!

and this was how it all started...
quite the contrast eh?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


after a very lengthy and legitimate break, i'm gonna get back to posting. actually lots has been happening. some good and some heartbreaking. the heartbreaking would be the reason for the absence. but it is time to move forward! as much as i don't want to, that starts today.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


you would think that as much technology as i work around all day long i'd make sure we were all webified at home. top of the line shiny stuff. latest and greatest. you'd be wrong. my crappy, cheapy little web cam and stone age scanner are proof that i refuse to spend money on certain technology until it forces me to do so. i've had my little MicroTek ScanPro for at least 11 years. i can't even get drivers for it beyond Windows XP. therefore, we will always have a computer in the house that has XP cuz, well, the scanner works.

but i didn't come here to talk about the scanner. no ma'am. it's the web cam. you know, that thing producing the low-grade quality picture to your left. go ahead, look, i won't go anywhere. i have no idea how long i've had it. probably only 4 years. but let me say, it has been the most utilized $60 i ever spent...besides that spree in Swinger's World. this camera time and time again will not give me a reason to get rid of it. crappy software? nope, always seems to magically work the minute i say i'm trashing it. crappy picture? nope, you can tell that's tree can't you? horrible online support? nope, wouldn't use it anyway. this thing infuriates me constantly, and then pulls through at the last minute with the high-quality image you see today? it even got blown off the deck in a storm and it's still working. oh, the blank screen of late? well, that was just an experiment to force you to use your imagination. kind of a "think for yourself" exercise! you're welcome!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

my new favorite blog

i don't even know how i came across this one. i'm such rss whore that it's possible it got it in my feeder. but i LOVE this woman! i don't always understand her postings, but i love her stuff. i read the True/Slant interview this week and liked her even more. i think she is a blend of my friend Moser, my friend Leigh back in Tallahasse, and myself (cuz really that's about as well as i can draw).

Saturday, May 1, 2010


with all the work that went into installing the new well, we gained a little space in the garage with the removal of the old one. we've long talked about doing away with the wall between "my" garage and nacho's. we decided a more practical approach was to widen the door between our garages. so nacho started work on that today. we hope to finish tomorrow.
so this is the start - tearing down the supports for the old door frame....

and this is the result. once we cut the cinder block this will be a nice opening and a lot easier to move stuff to and fro (how often do you get to use the word fro without talking about hair!).
and really, you can't post remodeling work without a photo of a hot carpenter guy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chambered Nautilus

only i would care about this since it is the moniker for my alma mater.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

my bday gift to nacho

i buy him something every year on my bday so it's a win-win. this year's gift will be.....

Monday, March 22, 2010

World Water Day

this is worth the 8 minutes!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

pinecone fire starter

i was tickled when i saw this in my feeds today. amazing how a good design site can take something we rednecks have been doing for years and class it up!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Espresso Maker

I am in love with this. Not just for what it does but how beautiful it is!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sarvers 2.1

my apologies for not being able to shoot drywall better.
and apparently the theme of "you can never have too much deck" continues....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sarvers 2.0

between vacation and laziness, i haven't taken many progress photos but here are a few i snapped of the Sarver's progress.

Starting with their new deck. Yes this probably does look somewhat familiar. The inspiration came from our neighbor Ray who also used chain link fence rails/posts. This is the Sarver's "retro" twist on it!

Okay, it's impossible to photograph the interior of a place in progress. And when you never saw it to begin with, well, what's the point. But here will be Donna's new kitchen/dining room.

And here we have a view of the view from the new living room! Nice door guys!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Money doesn't grow on trees

but apparently it can be found while shoveling snow at my house!

Sunday, January 31, 2010


This weeks's construction update brought to you by Nacho Celebrity Vacations - We Do the Work, So You Don't Screw It Up!

let's start with the Kim's since i didn't have anything to post last week. they are doing an addition to the East (river) side of their house. so basically, just bumping it out. here we have the new lower/"basement" addition. just think, all thyat just to storre a ladder!

and here we have some of the stringers going in for the roof/floor

you guys will be keeping the upstairs "deck" right? i mean it's the only one that took longer than ours.

and of course, Heidi's addition. i don't really have good pics of this. because of all the stuff laying around her construction area, it's actually hard to get a good photo. with Terry doing the work, i have faith a better picture is coming soon!

and this is looking in the newly "raised" garage. you can see the addition off to the right. if you were standing in the garage, you'd notice it's unusually tall and the doors are about 2-3 foot off the ground (see the next pic). so the obvious question becomes "why". the plan is she'll be backfilling the garage in order to raise the floor about 2 feet. and her yard elevation will completely change as well. that will be a huge improvement for her for any future "normal" floods - if there is such a thing anymore.

and then, the mother of all projects, Sarvers. Barry did walk me through the interior Sat, but i didn't have the camera with me so no photos to prove it. for now, these exterior shots will have to do. yeah, i don't think Donna is gonna have to worry about water in the kitchen anymore, unless it's a leaky faucet.

hmmm, that sliding glass door looks awfully familiar! come to think of it, mine is missing. coincidence? i think not!

Monday, January 25, 2010

so how does one raise a house?

Heidi gives the phrase "raising the roof" a whole new meaning

Construction Zone

okay, this is way late, but thought i'd post some old and some new. down on the river, we do it big and we all do it at the same time! construction that is! nacho and like to think our little gabion project has inspired people, but really, a good flood was all it took.

Ray's Wall: if it's possible to have sea wall envy, then i've got it. watching this thing go in was amazing. the finished product more so. guess what i'm asking for this year for Christmas!

Heidi: like many people on the river last year, Heidi's place suffered some pretty severe flood damage. so she qualified for the controversial grant that allowed you to move it, sell it to the government, or raise it. she went with the latter. you may recall a pic i posted in Nov. there's lots more to this than this pic. there's now an addition on the end facing you. i'll try to get pics later this week. let me just say, her brick guys were something else. they were there at amazing hours and really nice guys! they even letter Butterz inspect from time to time!

Sarver's: but by far, the biggest so far has been Sarver's. and boy does Donna deserve it! too bad i don't have any before pics but this first photo shows what was left after most of the house was demoed.
so because of the way the original house was built, cinder block on a slab, they can't raise it. so they just build on top of it. the shorter structure on the left, was the garage and the rest was the house. so everything you see in the photo above will be the new garage space. ahhh, can't you just smell the storage?
and this is what it looked like from the river before they did this....
the huge opening on the bottom left is the old picture window that once was their living room. that will now be a small garage door - again, jealous! the smaller window on the right was the master bedroom window.
so as you can see, Donna is gonna have to buy all kinds of trinkets and dusters to fill all this new space!

the Kims: no i haven't forgotten the neighbor neighbors. i just don't have anything to post yet. but, again, i'll try to rectify that for them as well.

and what are we working on? NOTHING!!! actually, i think we'd all be a great candidate for HGTV's Curb Appeal - The Block! so if you know someone.....
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