Category Archives: Before & After

Mostly photos of before & after rooms/projects around the house

How Many Elephants?

Week 3: SAM_1893 So as we are waiting for delivery of the gravel, sand and pavers over the holiday weekend, I was chatting with my friend, Michelle. I was mentally worrying the logistics of deliveries (oh please, let the gravel come first; nope, here comes the first of two paver deliveries and the timbers) when she asked how much gravel was being delivered and I absently responded 26 tons of gravel, 13 tons of sand, etc. Her response which actually got through my crowded brain was “Wow….so 26 elephants worth of gravel!” So when the gravel finally arrived and was dumped in the area….I kept looking at it and thinking, “That doesn’t look like 26 elephants worth of gravel…hmmmm.

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And when the 13 tons of sand was delivered and the 11 tons of pavers, again I thought, “That doesn’t look like that many…..”

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five elephants Throughout last weekend, we all got a kick out of using elephants of measurement and all agreed that although there were huge heaping piles of materials, it didn’t look like that many elephants! A little research after the fact found that the average weight of an adult elephant is between 2-7 tons. Taking the average, let’s say 5. So 5 elephants worth of gravel, 2 elephants worth of sand and 2 elephants worth of pavers.Throughout the last two weekends, while actually raking and spreading gravel and sand, lifting and maneuvering the gas-powered tamper machine, digging the trenches for the timbers and setting the pavers etc., I am now much more inclined to go with the original elephant math!
SAM_1935 Friday, May 23: Delivery of materials and initial spreading of gravel (girls only: Bobby, Kelly & Laurie)
SAM_1942 Saturday: Continuation of gravel spreading, cutting of half pavers, tamping and laying down of yet more ground cloth (Ray, Bobby, Kelly, Laurie and hired helpers: Daniel, Ted and Victor).
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Girls enjoying the fun power tools!
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Stupid tree root from the poison ivy tree which took up at least 2 hours of time trying to dig it out.
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SAM_1976 Sunday: Raking, spreading, tamping and leveling of sand. First few rows of pavers laid (Ray, Bobby, Kelly, Laurie, Tammy and Daniel).
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SAM_2007 Monday: Continued setting of pavers (Ray, Bobby, Kelly & Laurie)
SAM_2011 Week 4:Saturday: Gungho and sure we can finish this. Hard pushing and by 3 p.m. on Sunday, we are 70 pavers short. Almost finished. Sand in the pavers makes it look amazing!!!
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SAM_2021 Week 5:So this weekend, we have the last 70 pavers to put down and there is sand to sweep in and we need to trim up a few pavers and finish backfilling with gravel. Then, Kelly will begin with the magic pixie dust and turn this space into an awesome retreat for morning coffee and sunset cocktails!
tired elephant Overblown project almost finished? Check! I am one tired, happy elephant.


Patio project – take down that tree!

As you can imagine, planning a patio requires a lot of prep work – starting with clearing the area.  In the case of MH, this means removing a tree.  Specifically, a dead tree covered in vines (including poision ivy) but still a very large tree.  Here is the tree years ago before I went on my “killing” mission.

Tree covered in vines

Luckily, over the past year or so I have been on a mission to kill all things viney or with thorns.  This particular area has been sprayed (repeatedly) with brush killer and vines have been cut at the root.  Luckily, those things actually worked and we were able to get through many of the layers of vines – some of which had actually leapt across to the roof! 

After some brush killer and vine cutting
After some brush killer and vine cutting

What an eyesore!  Luckily, with Laurie’s patio plan, the tree had to go and we had Ray and my dad to help take it down.

Grateful for my dad - he can handle the big chain saw
Grateful for my dad – he can handle the big chain saw
The interior of the tree was hollow and at one point we could see through it!
The interior of the tree was hollow and at one point we could see through it!

With the tree gone, the area was ready to prep for the new (gigantic) patio.  Woo hoo!  First, we started by tilling the soil.

Pre till
Pre till


Post till
Post till


Then we tamped the soil to compact (for the base).

post ground tamping
Post ground tamping 

Now we are ready for the next steps – preparing the base!

What have we been up to you ask?

A few things 🙂  First, over the winter we worked on raising funds for upcoming projects.  That meant making and acquiring more items and selling them.  As you can imagine, most of the projects at the hall are expensive and while we are willing and able to put in manual labor, materials and professionals still come with a cost.  In order to offset these costs, we started to buy things at auction and create/fix up items with the intention of selling.  Mostly we take our items to local consignments shops but we also use ebay and craigslist.  Here are a few examples:

Chair we no longer need
Repurposed footstool


Tutu puff ball light (handmade)
map shade
Lampshade with map (visible when turned on)
Euro pillow (reversible) – silk

You never know what kind of crazy items we might find or make 🙂 

We also discussed the plans for this year – Laurie has decided it is to have the porches redone (thanks to Denny) and build a patio!  Here is where the patio will be going:


Side of house (moving towards back)
Long ago “before”


Progress has been made – additional posts to come 🙂

We hope everyone had a wonderful winter and is enjoying this gorgeous spring!