Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. The Hooligans enjoyed it. Blackie got a new ball to replace the one she left behind my tractor. Patches got a new rope toy. She just loves those. She likes to come up behind you and whop you on the legs so you’ll pay attention to her. Levi didn’t get a toy, but got extra treats. I’m not sure what he went through while growing up, but no one taught him how to play.
New Year's Eve found the Hooligans in the house clinging close to me as the fireworks were going off.
They say what you are doing New Year’s you’ll be doing all year. I spent my day cleaning house getting ready for a belated birthday party for a friend. It was also an unveiling of my new garden room that’s been in the works for almost two years. I had a large stack of newspapers I was saving for the garden to put under mulch and several stacks of magazine that I was planning to eventually read, but the stacks kept growing. I was getting close to being a candidate for that hoarder show. It all ended up going to the recycling center. I did manage to tear out a couple of gardening articles and file them away.
When I last told you about my screen porch conversion, I was hauling ceramic tile up several steps of the new deck where the hot tub was moved. My cousin Patrick Staley broke the news that the deck wasn’t stable enough for tile, so we hauled it back down the stairs and exchanged it for a floating wood floor.
I put double-paned windows in it, but had I known what changes I came up with, I would have put even better windows in it. The vinyl siding on the house was recycled and put on the outside walls of the garden room.
Patches, in a moment of terror from a severe thunderstorm, tore off some of it and damaged the new door trying to break in the house. The Hooligans have been terrified of storms after being chased with a 4X4 and shot with a shotgun.
I had just enough leftover pieces in the attic of the garage from building the house to fix the damage. The hot tub was moved out to the new deck before the windows were installed. A ceramic tile that looks like sandstone was used on the wall that the siding came off of. I used 6-inch bead board at a diagonal on the ceiling and used the end pieces on the walls below the windows.
I ordered handmade ladder back chairs from Newberry and Son in Tennessee to go along with the rustic handmade table I purchased. They go out in the woods and cut your choice of wood down and make everything by hand. It was worth the wait for them. I had them shipped as I only had a week to go before my party when they called. I have two more ordered and plan a photo trip to pick them up.
I had an old outdoor ceiling fan – fairly weathered even though it was under the porch – that was taken down to be discarded. It was still good, just nasty looking, and I cleaned it up the best I could and took it apart. I alternated Auburn’s blue and orange colors and after drying and putting it back together, put some Auburn logos on it.
As all projects, this one expanded. The leftover tile was used around my fireplace in place of that fake plastic marble. I used a scrap piece of granite on the hearth. I went to the yard with the tile and made a list of patterns I liked. Then I went back and narrowed the list down, and I kept putting this one pattern at the top of the list. The third time to narrow down, I decided that one piece was it. Of course it landed up being one of the more expensive patterns. But it looks so good and I wouldn’t have been pleased with something else. Next I had Patrick put brick tile on the front porch.
I decided to decorate it with old family hand tools and oil lamps and other things from yesteryear that I’ve collected. Several friends helped to complete the room. Pauline at work gave me a couple of mule collars. Norma gave me a Chief Colbert plate. I found an old Tuscumbia plate online to go with it. Susan gave me an orange and blue Auburn afghan. Lynda, a couple of sun catchers. Julie and Elmo found cast-iron oil lamp wall hangers in Kentucky and South Carolina. Tina, a former RN at my hospital, left me a “may all your weeds turn into wildflowers” photo frame her last day of work. She said she thought of me when she saw it. I found an old photo of my grandparents' wedding and thought it was perfect for the frame as they are my roots. One of my finds was an old tobacco drying basket. I was trying to figure out what to mount in it. When my niece and sister sent an Auburn wreath I found the answer.
Linda sent a Kathryn Tucker Windham book, "Count Those Buzzards, Stamp Those Grey Mules," a collection of old wise tales and superstitions. One that I had heard of: If a snapping turtle bites you, it won't turn loose until it thunderes. One I hadn’t heard: To make it rain, hang a dead snake belly up on a barbed wire fence.
Finally, almost two years later of working as Patrick had time between jobs and I had money, it was time for the unveiling. Last Saturday, the house was packed. We went through three sets of dinnerware and started on paper plates, two sets of silverware and started on plastic forks. We ran out of chairs, and folks were sitting on the floor around the coffee table. Three pots of coffee later, we had three loads for the dishwasher. I think all had a good time. Those not knowing each other were friends when they left.
Now that the party is over, it’s time to turn my attention to the garden to get it back in shape. Between Rocky Mountain spotted fever, flu and a knee injury, it’s been fairly neglected the last three years. I normally don’t make New Year's resolutions, but getting control of the garden and turning an old greenhouse into a screen room is on the list for this year.
Hackberry, blackberry vines, privet and other weeds have taken over my flower beds. The plastic siding on the green house has gotten brittle and is breaking and falling off. The lawn-chair set in the garden room will be moved into the greenhouse, and I’ll find something that is more in line with my garden room décor theme. I had planned to have Patrick replace my fiberglass tub shower with a walk-in ceramic shower, but I haven't found a tile yet with a little bit of blue that I like. So the screen room is next until I find what I want.
I promised Mom I would put together the adult tricycle she got for Christmas after the party. We spent this past Saturday doing that. More of our tricycle assembly in my next post.