Monday, March 22, 2021

Update In East Texas/Month Five

Hi, Dear Friends,
Thank you for taking time out of your day to check in with us. 
It's time for an update on our East Texas house. 

If a tree falls in the woods do you clean it up? 
That is the question of the month out in East Texas. 

More than half of our 8 acres is wooded. The other portion, we consider the yard. There is the front yard and the clearing in the back.  As soon as we can figure out the wildflower situation and when we can mow, we'll be mowing. 
My guess is that the yard will need to be mowed twice a month but more on that as it transpires. I already visualize myself bopping around on a ride on mower which we do not own - yet. Bill is in the process of picking that out. 
Before Uri, we were ready to tackle some woodland clean up. The area that borders the yard front and back had an assortment of dead trees. When a pine falls its branches don't seem to be an issue. When a hickory or oak falls, the branches look like a hot mess and they mar the line of sight through the woods. Unfortunately, we have some pine bark beetles so we may lose some more of the pines in the future.  

Bill had his eye on a new chain saw in order to tackle the clean up.  The little chain saw that we used to create the Woodland Realm just wasn't going to cut it out at the new place. 
Did you catch that? Haha. 

It was raining one Saturday morning so we went to town. I wanted to pick up some old doors and windows that I'd seen for the tool shed makeover. and Bill wanted to go the local hardware store. 

The hardware store appears to be a family owned and they weren't big on masks. We're from the big city. Our numbers were much, much higher. We're always masked. Now, there wasn't any mask shaming but it was quite evident that we might have been city slickers. A younger man came up and started chatting with me. I did my classic step back away from him as that has served me well in the last year. I'm from New York. I'm suspicious of everyone. Bill is born and raised upteenth generation Texan. Texans aren't real good at social distancing in my opinion. They're far too friendly to do that. I've tugged on Bill's shirt to get him to social distance quite a few times in the last year. Anyway, "Chipper" (that's what I'll call the young man for the remainder of this story,) started talking about his experience with a chain saw. Bill had his brand new, beautiful Stihl chainsaw on the counter. He was finding out about the warranty and such. Well, Chipper proceeded to tell me in graphic detail about how he almost cut his leg off with one. Bill was stressed already because I was shirt tugging. As Chipper continued his story, Bill was screaming inside his head, "Dude, shut up!" 
I decided that I needed to make an exit at that point. Things were a little too intense.
I told Bill later that I knew we were in trouble in that store and that it wasn't going to be a quick in and out. As soon as we walked into the store, past the birding section, there were buckets and buckets of nails. 
Bill is mesmerized by old fashion hardware stores that are filled with buckets of nails.
He was afraid that Chipper was going to make me put the kabosh on a new chainsaw but 
with a new chainsaw and chainsaw chaps (Thank you, Chipper.), Bill was ready for a nice weekend of chainsawing. 

Then came Uri. It took several weeks to clean up the massive juniper limbs. 
The smaller branches were burned. The larger branches mulched. Bill finally finished cleaning up the juniper so that the long dead limbs and branches could be cleaned out around the perimeter of the yard. 

Bill tended the fire Saturday evening and I tended the fire Sunday morning. 
The front looks pretty good and we are ready to start on the back.

In addition to woodland clean up, I'm about ready to plant some seeds. 
I wanted some very symmetrical raised beds since I have nothing like that in town.

Bill researched and built four raised beds. The area will be surrounded by a picket fence with an entrance through an arbor.

 Bill figured out a genius way to drag the tool shed so that it will anchor one corner of the garden. 
This is in the front yard because it's the best sun and there is really very little going on in the front in the way of curb appeal except the cute house.  

The garden is ready for soil and plants. I can't wait. 
You can see the daffodils put on a good show in spite of Uri. 
The front bed is planted. 

Everything is small but it will fill in. I'll take some more photos as it does. 
We finally got a flag to hang. It's starting to look like ours.  

I finished painting the guest house except for where it is attached to the quonset hut. 
We still need to paint the trim. 

Bill worked on the guest house demo whenever it was raining in the last month. 
We're done with the kitchen demo. He's almost done with the bathroom. 
The bathroom walls were clad in cedar or juniper - I'm not sure which. 
For some reason, either roof or toilet and shower, water was trapped behind the wood. 

Which confirmed his notions that the quonset portion of the cabin cannot be saved. There was mold in several places.
I'll spare you a picture but rest assured it is being taken care of very carefully. 
I was slow coming around to this truth but since I can barely stand to be in that portion, I'm okay with it going. 
Hopefully, he can reuse the metal quonset covering for the boat because it's sitting under a tarp for now. 
That's it behind the camper. 

Unfortunately, I'll lose the cute interior window. I had plans for it. 

I don't know how we will rebuild. It's very important to Bill that we have a kitchen and bath out here.
Once the quonset section is gone, we will be able to visualize how to rebuild. 

The inside of the main house is complete for now. 
I've finally taken some half way decent photos and will reveal the living room soon. 

It wasn't all work. We had time to walk around and enjoy the wildflowers and our dogwood trees. 

We knew we had one dogwood. We didn't know we have about a dozen of them. 

I had the best time playing with flowers. 

We all love our walks. 

Dixie looking at Bill looking at one of his favorite trees. 

Coffee in the morning on the porch is a new favorite. Sunset on the porch is a dream come true. 
That is all for now thanks for stopping by. 
Linking with, 


  1. It's fun reading about your city to Texas adventures. Chainsaw chaps are an awesome idea. Wooded (back-)lots can be lots of work. Thankfully Nature will help you make things look good. Best of Luck...

  2. Love your update posts on the new place. I always feel tired for you guys after I read it, haha! You guys are younger than us so I'm glad you're doing this now! I'm sure you're dogwoods are going to be beautiful. Thanks for sharing what you're up to. It's a joy to see how you're transforming this place one weekend at a time!

  3. I wasn't sure what direction tge hardware store was going. What a difference with the trees gone.

    12 Dogwoods, how beautiful. They are beautiful!

    Sorry about the building being a disaster.


  4. It's hard to believe it is five months, Katie. That time has flown and you have done so much. Well done. (Chipper's gotta go.)