How to cheaply decorate your dining room!

diningroomredo.complete.103015

When we moved into our 1,000 square foot little house in the country a couple of months ago I knew our dining room would be a multi-function room, which is a very common occurrence in American today. I put off sprucing up the place as I had to sort through a mountain of boxes that had been in storage for a few years. Let me break it down easy peasy! 

 

De-clutter your space

The first place to start with a room you’re unhappy with is to get rid of the items you know you don’t want in the room. Or maybe you have items in there that you need but they’re a big ol’ mess. Take the time to relocate those items out of the room so that they aren’t in your way. For me, this was removing the few boxes I had yet to unpack. I knew they didn’t belong in the dining room so they were just hindering the overall appearance.

 

Clean up EVERYTHING

Once you have your room broken down to just the furniture pieces that are going to stay in it I think the next best step is a great deep cleaning! I clean the walls, clean the windows and window sills (vinegar and water all the way), sweep and mop, dust baseboards, dust all furniture, etc. I do this so that I have a literally “clean slate” to start with and build upon.

dresser.final

Use a piece of furniture for a different use

This is a great new trend but I’ve been doing it for ages; using furniture pieces for other uses. One of my favorites is to re-purpose an old dresser and use it for numerous other things. I haven’t had a chance to paint this dresser the way I wanted to just yet but I knew I wanted to use it as a dining room buffet because it provides so much storage which is paramount in a tiny house! So I used this to store all of our off season dishes, holiday dishes and small appliances not regularly used. The top is used to put decor items on and sometimes the theme will change up throughout the seasons.

 

Organize items in your room

Bringing the dresser/buffet into the room I made sure to organize the items as I put them in the buffet. I used the top row of drawers to put in small holiday decor items like silverware, napkins, napkin rings, etc. Then I used the middle row of drawers to house the fancy platters and dishes and the bottom drawer for small appliances. Putting these in an organized manner will save me TIME when I go to look for items I need in the future.

 

Bring in some color

In the next few months I’ll be painting the walls in the dining room and I know at that time they will be a very pale gray. But I couldn’t tolerate that temporary sheet over the window anymore. The old curtains I had from previous homes were all in this beige color tone that I just didn’t want in this house so I sold them after we moved in, which left us with no curtains. The heat got to be ridiculous over the summer so I threw a sheet up there, knowing we wouldn’t be having company right away anyway. So when I decided on my future paint colors I knew what accent colors I wanted and that is aqua/teal blue and pops of sunny yellow. So I ordered a double curtain rod on Amazon, ordered these great sheer panels from Amazon because it was the best price around and then picked up these chevron panels at Wal-Mart one evening! It adds much needed color to this area of the home and the curtains are the first thing that get my attention when I walk through the room!

 

Don’t forget window treatments

Some people like blinds, some like open windows, some like curtains that don’t allow in any light. As for us we live in Arizona where in the summer it can literally get up to 120 degrees (or more, truthfully!) and so we do need something to help with heat BUT I am a lover of all things outdoors and I hate feeling closed in. I need to be able to SEE outside, at all times. So I opted to go with the sheers on all the windows in our home (except bathrooms) and then added other panels to them for balance and a pop of color. This works for me because we have abnormally large windows, although not giant, they just aren’t your stand window size. So if I wanted my chevron curtains to be “closed” all the way across, I would have had to buy 3 panels anyway and these came in a pack of 2. If you are of the mind that you feel curtains make no difference one way or another, but you feel your room is bland, that might just be why. Even if I hadn’t wanted the beautiful, elegant or dramatic look of curtains I would have still had blinds on the windows with maybe a roman shade to “dress up” my windows. It totally makes a room feel complete to me, almost like hanging a picture on a bare wall.

 

flowersfinal

Make a flower arrangement

Flower arrangements make a table look beautiful and they’re so easy! I wouldn’t call myself exceptionally creative (although some might) but the day I decided I wanted a fall flower arrangement (because it is my favorite “season” for home decor) I walked into my office where I had recently bought a bunch of orange flowers, yellow flowers and orange leaves from the DOLLAR STORE. I had a random clear vase in a closet somewhere and I used those to put together this arrangement. I honestly don’t know why I even had the orange paper pieces that I put inside the vase but I do know those and the orange bow I got at the dollar store as well. I put those together and it took me a few minutes of tweaking it with my OCD tendencies and I loved it! It got some rave reviews on Facebook as well from my friends! You can do this with any type of flower, any vase, for any occasion!

 

Back to point here which is CHEAP! How to CHEAPLY decorate your dining room! I did use all the furniture I had (dining room table and chairs) but moved in another piece of furniture (the dresser) which I already had in another room that wasn’t useful. But if in your room  you don’t have a dresser but love this idea keep in mind that you can find dressers at yard sales or on Craigslist or even Facebook Buy-Sale-Trade groups ALL the time for $40 or less, and even free on the side of the road. Just put a little sweat equity into them and dress them up a bit.

 

The flower arrangement cost me about $10 in materials with items primarily from the Dollar Store.

 

The 4 curtain panels and curtain rod cost me about $45. Being as they have the biggest visual impact and reward, it was so worth it!

 

So with some cleaning up, organizing, rearranging and $55 in new items I was able to revamp our dull dining room at our new house!

 

Are there any sites you use online to find good online deals on used furniture?

 

I also contemplated making my own curtains with a painter’s drop cloth for MONTHS until I finally gave in and bought the chevron panels.

 

Have you ever made curtain panels by hand? If so, did they turn out or was it a “Pinterest Fail”? Lol!

 

If you like the content of this blog post please considering following my blog and subscribing to new posts by email over on the right side! And if you have a blog that you would like me to check out please just comment with it below and I’d be glad to check it out. In the future be on the look out for more content on home decor, homesteading, home schooling, doing everything as a single parent, etc!

XoXo,

Elizabeth

 

Share Button

09-28-15 Phase 3 of driveway “redo”

Here in this post we pick up on Phase 3 of my driveway “redo” project which is explained in the post about Phase 1 here and then you can check out what I got done just before this in Phase 2 here! I spent the majority of the day working on this project because I wasn’t able to start until mid-morning and by then it was already hotter than I had expected. We were blessed with a few mellow days with temps in the low 90s after the rain we had gotten and on THIS day it decided to get back up around 105-110. But I was at a point in the project that I was very eager to continue and pick up on, excited to be reaching a point where it looked near done, at least to the level of done I plan to get it to for now. So I would work and take breaks and then work some more, using up the better part of a day.


I decided to start with the new driveway part that branches off to the right from the main driveway and leads to that double gate to the future pasture. You can see from this picture that those rocks weren’t necessarily in a good place so they had to be moved again. But what you can’t see is just how many weeds there were up by the fence and to the left of it. I wanted to go ahead and get rid of all of those. 

I began by raking all the loose debris and small weeds from that burn pile over to the gate, raking them up towards the new line for the driveway to “clear the path” if you will.



This took awhile but I do actually enjoy work like this because I’m one of those people who enjoys raking, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, etc because it feels like happy work for an OCD person. =) And then the result was pleasing which was what appeared to be an “intentional” path big enough for 2 cars or a large truck or even tractor! Success!


Here is another view from the other side of the debris and junk ALMOST raked away…


Me, happy to be working outside but it was pretty hot!!!


I am a huge fan of before and after’s and even before and now’s because it is a visual reminder or gratification for me of the progress that has been made. It gives me that jolt of contentment that refuels me to push on.


Once I got the rocks placed where I wanted them to remain, I got all the weeds up to the left by the gate removed and the only thing up there now is that bamboo, which will eventually be removed as well. And then I got everything raked out of the way.


This made me happy and was about the most I plan to do with this area for awhile, other than removing the bamboo and adding gravel. We won’t have a need or use for that gate until next year some time so for now this is what I set out to accomplish and from now on I’ll just keep the road way clear of weeds until the gravel goes down.


Here is a good before and now! I say “In Progress” because obviously this area of the project is not finished but it won’t be awhile and that is alright by me! For now!



Once I got the gate area cleaned up on the far side of this photo I just had to do an In Progress photo of this area, too! But the top photo in the collage above is from the other day before I got all those weeds removed.


Here is a great before and now photo collage of the work done just in front of the house, where the driveway splits left and right and where there will soon be visitor parking room by a new front gate (after the bamboo is gone)! I love this photo collage!!!!!! <3


Then I moved over to the driveway. The other day I had gotten the rocks placed and some of the weeds on the left knocked down but not all of them. So after that side gate area was cleaned up I focused my energy on getting all the weeds off this left side so you can see both rows of rocks and it look like an intentional driveway.


Here I had gotten the weeds at the end of the driveway taken care of and just had a few smaller ones up at the front to tend to.


I got ALL the weeds out of the driveway! Except you may notice that small little bush RIGHT there. Haha! I must say, when I was chopping down weeds I saw this little weed/bush of wild flowers that were blooming  beautiful yellow and I just couldn’t! I thought “Maybe it won’t be too much in the way”. So I get all the other weeds down, I put UP my weed eater and TWO extension cords it takes to reach this side of the yard, haha, and then come back out and spend an hour RAKING the entire driveway end to end. I raked from the middle off to each side to clear any other debris, small weeds I had missed and level out the existing minuscule gravel. So then once all that was done I came and stood back here to take my “after” photo, Yay…only to find just how much that little bush really bothered me. Again…OCD much?!?! So…I had already put away all my tools to get rid of it with AND I was tired and hot and felt just annoyed with the idea of getting everything back out, throwing my cords around and all that fuss just to come remove that one plant. Talk about slapping yourself for wishing you had done something the first time around.


When my pants and boots are this dirty and covered in dust, I know I’m getting something done and working with my body and it makes me feel proud, happy, capable, able and content! <3 Who said a single Mom can’t setup a homestead mostly on her own? =)


View of the driveway “done” for now from the south. I still need to remove the debris from that burn pile and, of course, remove that little bush…and then I’ll feel like it’s truly done until I move onto the next phase in a couple of months. And that next phase is gravel, trees and water lines.


View of the driveway BASICALLY done from the north. (That damn bush!) Ahhhhhh! 


People often know me as Elizabeth, the Realtor, single mom, woman who loves her aviators and who has very long, thick curly, wild hair. And the majority of the time when I’m out and about being social or working they’ll see me with my hair down and I’m typically in a long summer dress and sandals. It is my go to outfit, my “make me feel pretty and girly” outfit. But what most people don’t usually see (only a handful have really) is me when I’m the happiest which is when I have no make-up at all on, hair up in a knot, jeans on, boots on, sweating my butt off, calluses on my hands, bottle of water in my back pocket, etc. Being raised in Arkansas you might think I grew up this way but I really didn’t. We lived in city limits the majority of my life until I moved in with my sister when I was 12. At that point we lived in the country. Prior to that I had summer’s with my Dad or his parents and those were the real boonies and times when I spent as much time outside as I could, being a lil country girl playing in the mud, climbing trees, riding four wheelers, hanging out with my boy cousins! But throughout life I have come to find I am happiest outside. Being raised in the Phoenix metro from the age of 15 to 21, some “city” rubbed off on me but when I started hiking the local mountains for exercise, I realized how much I loved it. That grew and fostered a love of the outdoors in Arizona, even though it is insanely hot. But hiking and running outdoors even in the summer, over the years, I came accustomed to the weather we have here. And so this all brings me now to where I am 30 and I’ve been itching the last few years to raise my son in the country so he may have a childhood covered in mud as I did part of mine. And I do think if I never had a reason to dress up ever again and spent every day on this property working on clearing land, growing a garden, tending to animals…I’d be just fine with that! <3 I have finally found what makes me the most happy in my life and that is being far away from other people, tending to everything myself and learning a lot along the way, teaching my son useful skills he needs to know for adult life!



For good measure, I can’t forget the progress photos of the driveway!


And of course, lastly, the final before and now photo of the driveway from the gate to the house! To some it may not look like a whole lot was done but this took me probably a good 20-25 hours total over the course of numerous days to get this work done being as I did 90% of it on my own. Riley helped with the fire and hauling around some rocks and firewood but for the most part I knew he didn’t need to be working outside in 110 degrees weather because he isn’t used to it like I am.

I am excited for the near future when I can share with you the next phase of this project. As of now, there isn’t a planned date for what we’ll do next but it will include; gravel, 6 new trees and running irrigation lines from the well to said new trees. Until then…

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

09-27-15 Phase 2 of our driveway “redo”

Phase 2 of our driveway “redo”, (you can find the info and photos of phase 1 here) picked up a few days after we had some rain that caused us to not be able to get anything done.


This is where we left off, after placing the rocks everywhere they needed to go to create the shape of the new driveway.


My main focus on that day was to clean up this “visitor parking area” which sits right in front of the house against that line of bamboo. The bamboo will eventually be removed to expose a chain link fence that lies inside all that mess. I will have to hire out help to remove the bamboo as I’ve done extensive research on it and it needs to be pulled out by the root which will require a tractor, at the very least. This bamboo was chopped down and burnt out about 18 mths ago and it returned like nothing ever happened. So once that is all gone and I get to repairing that fence I’m going to put a front gate there right in front of the front porch so that there is an obvious entrance for visitors which is THE reason I’m calling this area the “visitor’s parking area”! =) So it had all these wild little desert weeds everywhere and I still had that tree to contend with that I had cut down a good 2 months ago.


First, I knocked down all the weeds with the weed eater and then got to work on chopping up the tree for firewood, kindling and excess to burn and dispose of what was left.


After the firewood and kindly was hauled off to the shop for storage and the fire was going, I got to raking this area to remove all the loose weeds and just clean up the area.


Riley helped man the fire…his way (playing in the water hose, haha!) while I was working on another project so we could have a set of eyes on the fire.


Me happy and sweaty after a half days work on the driveway project again!

That was all we had time for that day as dark approached. I got a lot more done the very next day to wrap up that phase 3 of the project and now you can see that here!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

09-20-15 Phase 1 of our driveway “redo”

My last blog post Creating a new parking area we left off where I had just been given free river rock from a friend and I used those to create pathways and walk ways in the parking area of our driveway up by the house. This one picks up where I began the driveway process. Ever since I was a child I’ve had a thing for long, tree lined driveways…maybe it’s a southern thing, I’m not sure. But from the first time I came to this property I thought it was odd that the gate was almost centered on the front of the house yet the driveway curves to the left to the parking area. So since I had these river rock I knew I wanted to begin the very early stages of “moving” my driveway to where I wanted it. The end goal is to have a driveway that goes straight from the gate up to the house then you can go left to the shop and where I park or go right to go to the gate to the open field. And then on top of that visitors can pull straight up and have plenty of room to park right in the front, in front of the front porch. Makes sense, right? Ha! So in addition to that I want the driveway to eventually  have 2-3 trees on each side with flowers along the bottom and for the driveway itself to be graveled to cut down on all the dust around the property. So phase 1 of that huge project (that will likely take me a year) is to “move” the driveway to where I want it. So the goal for this smaller project is to use the river rock to create new lines, then eliminate all the weeds and bushes in the way of that, clean up the pathway and just begin using it. Next I will add gravel to the entire driveway. Later on down the road (maybe next Spring) I’ll put in the trees which will have to have irrigation lines ran to them as well as critter-proof “cages” around the trunk of the tree to prevent gophers from digging up the roots so that they can plant properly. After all that is successful I’ll add some flowers!

So on to phase one!!!



Here is a “before” picture of most of the driveway and the front of the house just a couple of weeks after we moved in. I can’t find a better picture taken back from the gate so you can see the whole thing but in this photo I’m standing about half way between the gate and the house and you can see the driveway (where there are no weeds) wandering off to the left and my car off in the distance on the left. In this photo there was still a dead tree just to the left of my flag, on THIS side of the fence line.



 I began by placing the rocks on each side of the driveway where I wanted it to go, straight south towards the house. The rocks on the left you can barely even see because they’re amidst weeds and wild flowers.



Here is a shot of where I’m using the rocks to CREATE a whole new road that goes to the right side of the house to that double gate, which opens up into our side field. This field is now 4 acres of natural desert nothingness and in the future the plan is for it to be cow and horse pasture! So it only makes sense to create a road TO the gate even though it won’t be used frequently for awhile. Planning ahead!!!


Here the rocks are on the left and this is where the driveway will go left and lead to our main parking area at the side of the house.



This is a final shot standing up by the fence line of bamboo by the house. You can see the remnants of that dead tree I cut down that still needs to be dealt with.

I got this done in a few hours in the afternoon by myself while Riley was at school. The following 3 days we had rain and I wasn’t able to work on it at all. But as soon as the rain cleared up I moved on the phase 2! Which you can now find here!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

09-19-15 Creating a new parking area

One day I met a woman via Facebook who has a property nearby that she said they might be interested in selling. After a few phone calls I setup a time to go meet her husband out at the property to evaluate it and let him know what I think the current market value of his property was. While there I noticed he had these beautiful river rocks (some white and sparkly) all over his property purposely placed along the driveway and around trees. I told him how beautiful I thought they were and we quickly found ourselves in a conversation about my little farm and my homestead dreams. This gentleman was older and said property he had inherited years ago as 5 vacant acres and throughout his young adult life and into married life and having children, he put a mobile home on the property, brought in utilities, planted trees, had a garden, raised a family, had horses, etc. Now that time in his life had passed and his children were grown and him and his wife had moved to a different smaller property nearby. One or two of his children had lived in the home as adults as needed on and off again and now the home sat empty and he was contemplating selling it. To be frank, my goal as a realtor is to get the listing to sell the property but in my heart of hearts if I myself had spent 30+ years starting and growing on a property like he had, I can’t imagine I’d ever want to part with it myself.

Our conversation about the river rock though lead him to tell me that there was river rock all around this area in ditches and dry creek beds that if I was ever out that way I should just stop and load up some and that people do that all the time. I made a mental note to do just that.

The next day he called me and asked me if I’d like a bunch of free river rock because at his work they were removing a ton and he was responsible for “getting rid of it” and so as long as I could meet him there THAT day then I could have however much I could take. I was super excited and free that day so I started getting ready. A friend was in the area checking out antique shops and had contacted me to see what I was up to that day. I told him about the rock and since he was in the area he offered to stop by and help me load it up. I threw on my boots, grabbed my gloves and out the door I went. Ten minutes later I was in an RV park and my friend was there waiting and we found the nice gentleman. They helped me load up my trunk and most of what was in that pile fit but there was a second pile that I just wasn’t going to have time to come back for today.

In talking with my buddy I had told him how I was leaving there to go straight to Home Depot to buy a wheel barrel because there was no way I wanted to start working on any sort of project like this (the one brewing in my mind) without a wheel barrel. I didn’t want to be that “old school”. He told me he had a super old one at him that he uses maybe 2x a year and if I wanted it I could have it, I just needed to come get it. Score!!!! He warned me it was really old and not pretty and slightly rusted and my thoughts were “It’s free!!!” And…it will be a back saver on the farm. I’ve already found myself amidst numerous projects wishing I had a wheel barrel but hadn’t made it a property yet.




So after getting home with the river rock AND my new free wheel barrel, I was super excited! The journey of awesome, friendly locals took about 4 hours out of my day but so well worth it!


This is how much free river rock I was able to load! When I got home I thought it really didn’t look like a lot but hey, free is free and so I was eager to unload it and start placing them along the driveway!

MY IDEA!

My idea was to use these as a phase 1 border for my driveway and parking area so that eventually as I have the funds, supplies or time then I will add in some top soil, mulch, add a few ground cover plants and maybe some pretty bushes. And with my recent research into permaculture I just knew I could add a few berry bushes throughout this side area under the trees for color AND purpose!


A few days previous to this not knowing I was going to find myself with a heap of free river rock, Riley and I found this old railroad tie on the property and I thought it’d be a cute feature as a “parking curb” to add where I always park under the trees. So it took us a solid 10 mins to lug it from one place to the other and not sort of any complaining from my little “City boy in transition”, haha! So this photo shows where that railroad tie is and then where we laid the rocks in a half circle under the 2 mesquite trees. I think I’ll have to start calling these trees the “Married Mesquite Trees” because they are so lovely there together, complimenting one another yet growing in opposite directions to create this beautiful canopy shaded area! <3 


A quick before and after of the area from in the driveway.


A more close up before and after on the Married Mesquite Trees.

Then we ran them along the line of 4 trees that border the fence line from the driveway to the front yard. This is where I hope to have many beautiful flowers and bushes one day, welcoming me home each time I pull up!


 




A before and after of the entire parking area of the driveway after just adding the river rock. I love that it adds some structure or definition to the area that was otherwise just wide open dirt. I like structure.

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

09-15-15 Weed clean-up and a new plant!


I was showing a house in Arizona City and came across this beautiful plant! It reminded me of a bird of paradise but I had never seen this color before! My client told me that it is in fact a yellow Bird of Paradise plant! I was so smitten! She told me if I took a few of the seed pods on the plant that I could dry them out and then crack open the seed pods, plant the seeds and within a few months this bush would start to pop!


So, of course, I did just that! Thank goodness for awesome clients always teaching me something new! I am definitely patient enough to grow a beautiful bush for free, from the seed! I’m excited about this!



With all the rain the weeds in the driveway and front yard were getting out of control. One evening on a not so horribly hot day I got out there and got them all knocked down with the weed eater and raked up all in just about an hour! What a productive hour!


I especially love the look of the ground all raked up. I do hope someday that there is grass here though!















What can I say, clean “raked” dirt makes me happy!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

09-10-15 Hair change and outside home decor


I found this neat little magazine at the store one day! It is full of a lot of great stories, info and links to websites and blogs with more info. It might be more worth subscribing to, it was $10 or $15 for just this one at the store!


Riley and I came home one night after dark and although the Sonoran Toads (Sonoran Toads on the farm) had gone away, we see this Tarantula! I do not do spiders. At all. And it was big. I will just say quickly, we killed it. I freaked out and Riley grabbed a rock or something and threw it at it and eventually killed it. The reason I say that I will “quickly” tell the story is because when I put that on Facebook I got a lot of crap over killing a “harmless spider”. Let me say, any spider in my house, in my bed or in my kid’s bed is NOT harmless. So you do what you gotta do!


I am all for all natural. And especially when it comes to my skin. The only unnatural thing that goes on my body or my face is make up and even that I try to wear lightly and not daily. I use all natural products for face wash, moisturizer, make up remover, etc made by a good friend in New Mexico who is an Esthetician and makes everything custom for each customer based on their skin’s needs and she is super affordable! You can find her on Facebook here!

In this picture I’m using a skin lightening lemon cream face mask she made for me once I noticed I was getting dark spots or age spots. I have spent so much time working outside in the last few months and I noticed some spots in a few places on my face that had NOT been there before. I freaked out and sent her a message asking what could be up! She made me this and I’m proud to say how amazing she is!


I went to the dark side! Lol! I’ve had brown hair with blonde highlights and blonde hair underneath for about 3-4 years now. I like the ombre (spelling?) look, felt it suited me. But I was also looking for a change and with everyone’s excitement in the beauty business for people to go dark in the Fall, I thought I might as well, too! So I took it back to a dark chestnut which is actually my natural color. In this picture on the right just the day after coloring it it even seemed SO dark to me but it only took  me a few days to fall in love with it! Now I’m happy as a clam with dark brown hair!



I met a new client a couple of months ago who had this adorable burlap wreath in her house so I asked her where she got it and she said another local lady made it. She got me in touch with her and I quickly sent her my request for yellow and black and white chevron! Yes please! She quickly made me this wreath and I love it! I can’t wait to repaint the front door, hate that color. But either way…I look forward to having this woman make me a few more for my front gate and different holiday ones. I just have to figure out how she needs to make the ones for the gate so that they’re wind proof since we get a lot of that out here.


I picked up this metal H sign for our front gate! I’m really excited about it, it is just the right size. Although it is just silver metal and I totally need to paint it because I’d rather it be some nice color. I don’t like it alone on the gate right in the center so I need to come up with something to add with it, after it is painted so that it looks better. Little changes here and there and this place is coming to life!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

09-01-15 Storm damage, road runners and babies

September welcomed us with some nice changes! Riley was settling into his new school and we were getting into some new morning and evening weekday routines!





AND a new baby! My cousin Amanda had her 4th baby girl, Amelia!!! I love babies and babies love me! It was a treasure to get to go spend time with this 12 hour old baby girl!!



Just a fun picture of my 3 loves! My now 11 year old son (his birthday the end of August) and our 2 fur babies!


We had a pretty big storm the end of August and since this was in the BACKYARD I didn’t even notice it until a day or two after the storm. I haven’t been doing a ton of work outside so when I walked out to put clothes on the line I was greeted with this in the far back corner of the backyard. Sadness.



So, that’s no good. Thankfully, since we’re still in a lease purchase agreement and not the owner yet I called the seller about it and he said he’ll have someone out soon to get it all taken care of. Not to mention the part that fell down was part that was put up new not much more than a year ago so it was their work, which they should basically warranty, especially since it is a contractor we regularly use.


One day mid morning I’m hanging out on the couch watching my Cooking show addictions (Pioneer Woman) and out my front window onto the deck I see this little guy. A road runner!!! He was just hanging out on my porch railing like it was nothin’! It just amazes me all the wild life out here that just approaches you or…hangs out on your porch! Lol! I’m not scarred of these guys although I wouldn’t approach it to pet it or anything. I did also find amusement in the fact that it is Riley’s school mascot, lol!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

08-26-15 Second snake experience

So on this beautiful August day I had been out working and I come home midday all happy and gleeful to be home! I pull into the driveway, up to the gate and stop. I put the car in park and before I even open my door I notice something odd. I notice right at the middle of the gate on the OTHER side there is a gopher sitting there. I found that odd as every time I pull up (there gophers are ALL over the property) they usually scurry off, afraid of the car. But this guy didn’t and was just sitting there. So I was perplexed and stopped what I was doing. As I watched it about 15 seconds later it started doing this weird lil “dance”! It was on all fours and it would shake all over and move its tail around rapidly, then it would stop, then start again. So since it seemed to be facing something, I decided to back up my car so I could see over the hood. As I backed up a few feet I saw a 4 FOOT LONG SNAKE slowly moving, stretched out, along the bottom of the gate, parallel to it, going to the left. I freaked! Thank God I was in my car but my first thought was “I will not get out of this car, I’ll sit right here”. Because, of course, since I had been working I was wearing a dress and sandals, not properly dressed to deal with critters!!!!


So, of course, I had to take pictures. Right here is where the snake slithered to the left of the gate and in this pic the snake is just below that brush, although you can barely see it. But on the far right just above the bottom of the gate you can see said gopher.


What was happening, or so it seems, is the gopher was doing this odd little dance and ushering the snake AWAY. The snake continued to move away from the gopher, never trying to eat it. Which I found interesting since I’m pretty sure most types of snakes will or would eat this type of small gopher. So in the picture above you can see where the snake continued to move to the left, away from the gate and my driveway, towards that overgrown mesquite tree. The gopher is still right behind it.


Every time the snake would move further away, every foot or so the gopher would move closer to it and do its little dance again and the snake just kept on going. By the time it got here to the side I had already called my neighbor who had said after my FIRST snake encounter (see here: First Snake Experience) that if I ever saw another one to call her asap and she’d send her husband over to either relocate it off the property or kill it, depending on what kind it was. So I called her and he was on his way over. And I did film a quick video as well to try and capture the odd little dance the gopher was doing.


A friend told me they could barely see the snake in this photo without blowing it up but I swear, without exaggeration, that it was at least 4 feet long. Which to me, is a big snake, and no baby!!!

What ended up happening? The neighbor’s husband came over (first time I’d even met him, lol!) and there I was in my car with the window down looking all girly and ridiculous, terrified of this snake and the snake was gone. I had watched it move under that tree and the gopher had stopped moving for a good few minutes so I figured maybe the snake went into a hole. So when my neighbor showed up, his truck scarred off the gopher and it ran away, unlike before. So he comes in, opens my gate, I pull through and he goes over to see where it was. He went all under where that tree over hangs and didn’t find anything. He said hopefully he was gone and I wouldn’t be seeing him again. 

Let’s hope!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button

08-07-15 First snake experience!

So I take Riley to school in the morning and come home. All the wind from the storm the night before had blown some items out of the burn pile and I don’t like random trashy things all over so I start walking around to pick stuff up. I walk up by the shop and there is a grocery bag so I pick that up to put stuff in. Then I’m picking up cans between the shop and the gate to the backyard. I got probably 5 or 6 and then I see another can over under this covered awning storage area off the back of the shop. I walk over and bend down and as my  hand is literally…literally 6 inches from the can, I SEE IT! A SNAKE! First I should have started with how terrified I am of snakes, all of them. I don’t know enough to know which ones are poisonous and which aren’t I do, however, know that rattlesnakes are common here as are other numerous poisonous snakes. We are, in fact, in the Sonoran Desert, people! 

So as I reach down I see this BABY snake. But, it is still a snake and the first time in my adult life I have seen one alive, near me, in person. (First time was a tiny garden snake in Arkansas when I was about 12 and even that one freaked me out and it was from a distance of about 15 feet) So it is just stretched out up against the side of the shop, 6 inches from my out stretched hand and maybe 2 feet from my feet, my flip flop feet! I freak out, INTERNALLY and slowly back away keeping my eye on it. Of course, my fear is that it is going to lash out towards me and chase me, right! So once I get about 5 feet away I literally turn, jump and SKIP away to safety! Okay, not a joyful skip, maybe a scamper is a better word because it wasn’t like running, more like quickly taking giant steps at a fast pace! Lol! Freaked out is a gross understatement!!!

Once I’m safely about 15 feet away, curiosity sets in. Fears subsides a bit because it was no more than 12-18 inches long, definitely a baby snake. And since it didn’t react in the least as I fled the scene, I thought…”Maybe it won’t chase me…” So then I decide I want to SEE it, scope it out, see what it’s doing, if it’s still there, etc. So I slowly, SLOWLY walk back towards it. I get about as close as 6 feet, always with the option to flee in mind. I look at it for a bit, of course, I didn’t have my camera or phone with me. But that damn thing blended in perfectly with the color of the ground, so deceptive! I got to thinking if a baby is here a Mama might be near but…I do not claim to know a lot about snakes.

So I leave the area! I go inside and then I remember…it’s laundry day. And said snake is on the other side of the fence, right next to my clotheslines. The snake is so small, of course, it could crawl right through the fence into the backyard, where I needed to put clothes on the line. 

I pondered it, was terrified and I remembered a friend telling me that snakes generally bite when they are scared or threatened and so don’t sneak up on them or happen upon them without notice. 

Note to self #1: Don’t be quiet and do announce myself. 

Then I remembered that some poisonous snakes are more deadly as baby snakes because they haven’t learned how to use it yet. Ehhh! 

Note to self #2: I should fear said baby snake as much as a large one, just in case. 

Then I remember that some snakes can be scarred off by dogs, goats, chickens, etc. Just any animal bigger than it that is aimlessly wandering around can make a snake run off and hide, if it has a chance. 

Note to self #3: Bring guard dogs!

So the laundry was done in the washer and I prepared myself. I put on my boots to protect my feet and calves in case one struck at me (you might laugh, I was hardcore serious) then I loaded up my laundry, put my phone on iHeart radio to blast music, brought my dogs out with me and opened the back door singing along loudly to the music to “announce” myself! Lol! No sneaking up here, I was loud and with every piece of clothing I hung on the line I checked the fence line looking to see if I saw any snakes. I was terrified. Then once I got all the laundry up and, of course, the dogs wandered off because they didn’t know they were supposed to be guarding me, I got curious again. So I decided to slowly sneak over to the fence line and see if I could still see it in the same spot through a hole in the fence. I found a good hole, could see to the area and…IT WAS GONE! Ahhhh!

I swear, for DAYS upon days I thought about that snake every time I went out back and I totally boycotted that covered storage area by the shop, lol! My only solace in the days after was that it was a baby snake and that nothing actually happened. Although, it did make me realize I need to rattlesnake train my dogs with us living out here. They’re both totally “city dogs” and have no “animal avoidance” skills, yet!

XoXo,
Elizabeth
Share Button