Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Playground-Part 3

(note: This has taken forever to post, blogger and email have been finicky, finally got it going, maybe, for a while).

At some point in the afternoon, about 3:00 I think, LAD finally got SO cranky we went in for a nap. It took him about 2 minutes to conk out and he didn't move for at least 2 hours. At about 7:00 I decided I better wake him up, it was time for a trial run. So in about 7 hours, plus the time it took me to lay out and organize all the pieces, we had this. Enough for some action!

LAD was very excited and shimmied right up the ladder and zipped right down the slide and thankfully not off some open edge! Imagine my nerves while he's tromping around on that top deck!

The next day, when we got home LAD was asking where the swing was, UH, in that big box over there honey!!! And he's asked each day since. The big Lloyds are going to have to take a vacation from AG work to finish their project-yeah right!

LAD and I have since installed all the railings around the top and bottom decks. I can't do the railing on the middle deck yet as I discovered we have attached the wrong board to the top of those posts and I need multiple tools to remove/reattach, etc and wasn't sure I could keep control of all those tools and LAD at the same time (control, yeah right). He was very helpful when attaching the railings, he inserted the screws into the pre-drilled holes and
helped me run the drill.
And I also discovered we attached the slide to the left side when I think it should have been attached to the right side, closer to the ladder. I'm not sure it really matters, we'll see when we attach the swing, off the end opposite the middle deck.
Good grief-LAD has a playhouse with 3 decks! The area under the middle deck is intended to
be a sandbox, since he already has a nice covered one, we'll see what that turns into...
All in all I have to say the kit was a very well designed product. The directions were relatively good, once you figure out what they consider back and front, and their interpretation in their drawings of "in front of" and "in back of". All the wooden pieces were stamped with the letter/number designated to them which made locating and organizing them much easier-that was time well spent. So far, all the hardware appears to be included. And is had such a nice cedary smell.
It will need a coat of water sealant, maybe this weekend!
More to come...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Playground-Part 2

Scroll down for part 1...

Backing up a step, the playground came home on Saturday night, the big Lloyds went to work Sunday morning for a while. In the mean time, LAD and I went outside to start opening boxes! Just like Christmas!

The two boxes on the left each weighed nearly 200 lbs, Yikes. First off, I started reading the directions and LAUGHED OUT LOUD when I read the part about "assembly will take at least 16 hours", "at least 2 people required for assembly". Holy crap, if Lloyd had only read that before shucking out his bucks poor LAD would probably still be swinging on the clothesline pole!

Anyway, I started laying out all the boards and organizing them into piles of the same pieces, etc and counting to be sure all were there. It actually took LAD about 45 minutes to realize I was doing something interesting then the project became that much more difficult! HA!

But we got it all laid out and amazingly enough, all the pieces appeared to be there. Note: I did not open the hardware bag; I was NOT going to count nuts and bolts and screws, especially with little curious fingers in the area. I figured if we short a nut or two we could surely find something else in the miriad of tool boxes in our home.

Finally about noon the big Lloyds showed up and we broke out the Makitas and all the batteries and dove in. I have to say the instructions were very confusing as we went, until we got the framework up, but looking back at them now, they seem very clear. Note to self: study the directions/diagrams again and again before starting. And they appear to have been actually written in English and not translated 5 times.

Uh, this isn't looking too promising yet...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Playground-Part 1

Grandpa Airplane thought LAD needed a swing set. OK, no problem, we had been thinking of getting him something for the backyard, besides the toddler swing hooked onto the clothesline pole. So I shopped around online a little to get an idea of what was out there. I'm not sure you can just by a simple "swingset" these days.

So off we went to Lowes.

Grandpa splurged and LAD made out like a bandit, again.
This is what the finished product looks like, well sorta.

But first we had to do a little yard preparation.

Break out the torch, and the clothesline poles are history. Randy started to try to dig them out, after about 5 minutes of digging, well scraping the dirt away from the 2 foot diameter concrete base, he decided it was a lost cause and gave up. We suspect the poles probably went in 3-4 ft deep, no digging that out with a simple shovel and foot.

Then came the extra large evergreen tree that hasn't been trimmed since we've lived here (10 years). The two Lloyds started hacking at it, and it actually doesn't look too bad now (just don't look tooooo hard). Then there was the clean up.

I think LAD made about 5 trips to the firewood pile with his wagon loaded down! He's a very good helper. And it later took him a 4 hour nap to recover from it!!!

More to come!

The Garden, Up Close

Again using the Nikon 60 mm macro lens for most of these pics. We didn't grow the corn, it just takes up too much space in our small garden. We tried it once, but didn't have much luck. It's so abundant when it's in season, and our neighbor's son always plants a large patch at his crop farm, and they very generously share, so what the heck! You see the accidental cabbage became some critters late night snack. I did actually pick one, not previously snacked on, yesterday. I also picked an acorn squash a couple of days ago, which I actually have no pictures of! How did that happen!!! The pumpkins are also accidental, volunteers from last Halloween. I also planted a few herbs in the protected strawberry area: basil, rosemary and lemon verbena, which are actually doing quite well. I've had to control the volunteer petunias, I think they would actually take over the whole garden if allowed to, and would probably even crowd out the squash, they are pigs. The poor broccolli (not on the photo) is still struggling along, they actually have a few leaves on them. They've tried so hard, it will be really had to actually pull them out of the ground come fall time. They will have to go into the protected area next year!
We've actually continued to get strawberries, turns out these are ever-bearing, so make fruit all season. Yummy, well sort of. LAD and I picked 3 a couple days ago, and together, I'm not sure they made a whole bite, even for him. But that didn't stop him from scarfing them down. I did pick one more tonight, which reminds me, it's in the garage in a bucket and it's 12:44 am and no one is stirring, not even a mouse, so I'm off to see just how yummy it really is!
P.S. And as my friend Janet puts it, click on the photo to bigify it!
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Bubbles and chalk

This was sometime in the last week or two. Using the Nikon 60mm macro lens. Yummy.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Playground pics

There's a park area to our west, about 4 houses down. It has tennis
courts, volleyball courts (now sadly overtaken by grass), a shelter,
and a few of those old time animals on springs. It's near the pool
and baseball fields. This spring we noticed they appeared to be
breaking ground for something new, and be still a kid's heart, look
at this fancy playground they erected!! There are 2 other parks in
town with fancy playground equipment like this, but none so close to
our house. And this one is slightly different in features than the
others. No matter, LAD enjoyed it. And they have pea gravel all
around it, the best for a bull dozer we had to bring along, I guess
he just knew!
I used the Nikon 60mm macro lens. That lens is so sharp and the
shallow depth of field it can create is amazing. Of course I had to
take some macro shots! Who knew there were so many textures on a playground!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

2008 IA State Fair

LAD and I went last Sunday, first Sunday of the event. It was a very nice, weather-wise day, so I think EVERYBODY in the state of IA decided to go that day too. Next year we will be back to going during the week, second week that is. We saw plenty, but my photos weren't all that great. My friend Janet has some really nice photo collages here and here, if you're interested. We did get to see Lily , Janet's cat, at the Cat Show. I've never been to one of those before and it was quite interesting, not so much for a 2 1/2 year old, but he has to learn patience, right? He wanted to go PET them all. The house was packed, standing room only!! Lily didn't win a ribbon for best household cat, but she did get Best Decorated Cage! WhooHoo!!
I think LAD liked getting to sit in the firetruck the best. They put a headset on him that had some kind of recorded firetruck stuff on it. Then the driver seat became vacant and he promptly pounced into it! I had to drag him out of it, kicking and crying (not quite screaming). He would have stayed in it ALL day if he had the chance! Then later we saw Chopper 13. He was very impressed! We didn't do too bad on junky fair food, we each had a hand dipped corn dog, which was very tasty, then later we had a funnel cake, and a few lemonades scattered in there, and I think that was about it. We never saw the fried pineapple on a stick, they said it tasted like pineapple upsidedown cake. Sounds Yummy! Another new food this year was the "Salad on a Stick", we didn't catch up with that one either, maybe next year! Oh, and that yellow girl, that's Shawn Johnson, carved in butter, the 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist in the All-Around competition! There's also a dairy cow standing behind her, at the state fair. You can just see her nose. Yeah, you're wondering, why on earth, I dunno, it's just a tradition I guess!

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Random Summer pictures

Just some random pictures from the last few weeks. Can't wait for the
tomatoes to start turning RED!