By Lydia | Jun 17, 2014
Hello, bloggers, it’s been a while since I took some time to write, but we have been busy at the Waterhorn Ranch since our daughter announced her engagement and we volunteered to host it for them on our property of weeds.
We all do things for different reasons, but if you have children, then you know that whatever example you set is what they’ll probably end up doing. In our quest for living the country life, we left the city behind and have been working on a 1947-1954 homestead that needed lots of TLC. Our offer to host a backyard wedding put all of our projects on hold, but we did it for love and it made it all better once we had the wedding behind us.
Had we known how much drama and work it would be, we might have thought twice about it, but in the end, we would have still done it. Our plan to update the 5-plus acres and landscape the backyard had been on the back burner, but this event thrust our plans forward in a big way!
In January 2014, we began to plan the May 31 wedding to be held in our backyard, which, at the time, consisted of a run-down barn, abandoned well house, a large chicken coop, a few tall trees and lots and lots of weeds! In the Lost Pines area of central Texas, most of the soil is completely sandy and doesn’t hold water very well, so planting things always means amending the soil; luckily, we have lots of chicken and rabbit poop to help it.
One of our projects for 2015 was a wooden pergola, a water feature, a fire pit, and a lawn to give us a backyard, so we moved our target date forward to May 31, 2014. I downloaded a template of a wedding planner and sent my daughter (who lives in New Mexico) a questionnaire of the type of things she would like for her wedding. Although she said she wanted to keep it simple with about 50 people in attendance, we wanted to do our best to make it nice and memorable on a small budget. Besides the major things, I received daily pictures of cakes, candles, chalkboards, photo tree bench, bouquets, and other decoration ideas from my daughter. Somehow, we managed to go from pasture to wedding venue.
We soon realized that the wedding plans would be almost exclusively based on items from Pinterest so I used it as a valuable resource to avoid re-inventing the wheel. If you haven’t been on the site, you can bet that there is at least one thing there that you’ll want to recreate. I copied everything I could to make decorations and found online designs for pergola and yard updates.
Since we both work weekdays, we came home every day with our to-do lists in hand and ready to check at least one thing off every day. During the week, we collected our two dozen or so eggs, tended to the two new Rottweiler puppies, 45 hens, 23 rabbits, 13 baby chicks, checked on the five beehives, and reviewed our project list. Our plan of attack was to do hardscaping first, then add compost, more compost, flowers and water. We’ve been in a drought for three years, but the chicken and rabbit poop compost helped things immensely.
We erected the pergola next to the barn, which ended up directly over the 1947 abandoned septic system. Miraculously, each of the four corner posts ended up barely touching the corners when we dug the holes in the ground. With all the large rocks we dug up in the process, we added a water feature and then added vines and flowers around the fire pit and pergola. By the end of April, we finished clearing the weeds and landscaping, but all of the tractor work destroyed any existing grass and weeds so we planted grass seed and prayed for rain. A week after we planted, it rained for four days in a row … voila! We have grass!
We constructed two makeshift tables (one of them was from the potting shed) and made a couple of tables out of wine barrels and cable spools (yes, they were from Pinterest ideas), and we used a canopy (that we bought to make our greenhouse) as the cover for the tables in case of rain.
My two sisters and their families came to help us a few days before the wedding and made the cakes and helped prepare the country barbecue for 50 people.
So the wedding is behind us. We have a real backyard. We will now resume our regularly scheduled programming of tending to small critters and going fishing! Cheers!
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