Category Archives: At Home

Lovely August Evening

Sometimes an evening just feels perfect. It’s the middle of August, and sweet friends sit around our patio table; conversation and laughter flow; the air is warm and the breeze is cool; there is a cloudless sky and mosquitoes are engaged elsewhere; there is wine, strawberry and cucumber salad, rosemary chicken sizzling away on the bbq, and the promise of homemade marion berry pie a la mode.

A captured moment..

‘Ta Da’ Moment Foiled by Gullywasher

I’d like to begin at the end of the story.

I stood in the garage in my skirt, tank top, and flip-flops looking at Keith sitting in the VW with the engine running. The look on my face was of disbelief at the Armageddon-style hail storm pounding our house. Just moments before it wasn’t even raining. And if you’d asked me, I would have said that it wasn’t particularly cloudy.

We were upstairs when it started. Dressed to go out to dinner, we decided to open our bedroom windows to let in some fresh air while we were out. “The rain started to pour the second I opened the window!” I said to Keith. “I don’t think that’s what caused it.” he answered. Just a little cloudburst, we thought – we’ll start up the car and wait for a minute.

Back in the garage where I stared out in disbelief.

Keith shrugged his shoulders, turned off the engine and got out. We walked around to the front porch and here’s what we saw.

Look at the size of this hailstone! There were thousands of them.


If it were another day, we might have just enjoyed the weather’s wild ride. But you see, the day started this way – with a truck arriving at 7:30 am loaded up with Dark Hemlock Bark, the final ‘ta da’ touch to our yard makeover.


19 yards of bark carefully blown and spread around our 70+ new plants and over the bare spots left after several hours of Keith and I clipping, digging, hauling, and raking on the previous afternoon. The bark was smooth; it was beautiful; it was plant-debris-free.

After the hail.

Oh well, off we go with our rakes. We’ll be back soon.

Yard Makeover: The First Four Days

Our landscape project started on Tuesday morning with four men clad in rain gear, digging, scooping and hacking out our lawn with pics and shovels then carting it away. The rain fell so hard Monday night and before sunrise Tuesday morning that it woke me out of a deep sleep. I wondered if the crew would show up and was relieved to see them – project underway.

The plan:

The Crew:

Days 1 & 2: digging drip lines, roots, grass and death-row plants; loading wheel barrels with soil then slinging it into mounds, toting 70lb wall bricks and laying that crucial first row until the level bubbles in the middle

At the end of Day 3: sand and bricks in the driveway replaced by Serviceberry trees and the new planter well on its way.

A big pile of crushed granite (gold dust as the landscapers call it) – this stuff is amazing. Pack it down and it compresses like chipseal. We topped the patio steps and path along the left side of the house with it. Much better than the weedy gravel and ultra-decayed weed barrier it replaced.

Almost there at the end of day 4: plants, check; irrigation, check; new wall and planter, check; raised gardens in place, check (no soil or plants yet – soon squash, cucs and tomatoes!). Just the sod to go.

Now the bad news – we won’t be here Monday to see the new sod lawn and the completed project.

Now the good news – we won’t be here Monday to see the new sod lawn and the completed project BECAUSE we’ll be visiting family in California. Before and after shots when we return!

XOXO, Marissa


Yard Makeover! First the trees…

We started our yard makeover with a visit from an arborist – Mike at Arbor 1 here in Bend. He and his business partner spent the day dangling from our trees, frightening the little squirrel family who had taken up residence in a giant juniper tree, cutting away dead branches, removing diseased and non-thriving trees (about a dozen of them) and generally improving the whole look of our yard. Improving, but making it look very, very bare.

Men in our trees with chainsaws…

The carnage.

Into the chomper….this thing was loud!

Clean slate – time to start the makeover!