Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Horse Arena

It's been about four months in the making... but the new riding arena is finished!

The process started in early Spring with the "wrong" excavator.  Unfortunately, even after the wrong excavator came back to fix his mess... it was never right.  It was not level and the sand still had 'deep pockets' in many locations (this can cause significant damage to horse legs and tendons).  It did not drain but held water puddles for weeks.

We then found Tip Top Horse Arena Services right here in the Grand Rapids area.  They do excellent work and have a following by some of the "big name" horse people.. so we knew they would do a good job!

And.. we were not disappointed.  They fixed the mess and the arena is now level and drains very well.   The base and footing has been done now for a few weeks (and it's been used), but just today the base units were delivered.  We got the boards from a big box store to save money.

Base units are lightweight enough to move, but sturdy enough to hold the railings/boards.  
By using these base units, we can easily take them down in the winter and store them (or to drag the arena smooth again during the warmer months).

Steve & Maggie ready to drag the arena 

Arena before it was dragged and the fencing installed
Maggie May.. just supervising!

Steve & Maggie drawing the arena.  Riding the Ranger is one of Maggie's favorite things to do. 
Here comes the arena fencing (tractor in the background)
Horses seem unfazed by the commotion 
Two Sweeties!
 We now have a great place to ride and work with the horses.. very, very happy!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend - Walk About

Since it's been quite sometime since I've just posted some random pictures of our property, I figured tonight I'll document what our property looks like in Spring of 2016!  

C'mon... and take a walk around with me!

Main Door entrance floral grouping

Finally.. the gardens are starting to "green up" and look lush again.

Everything is still pretty small... May 28 2016.  We added the stone border around the beds this year.

Myrtle Vinca was planted around the large trees in the front yard this Spring.  Since the area is permanently shaded and grass simply won't grow there, we figured why fight it?  Let's just put some myrtle there and mow around it.  
Driveway Urn
My favorite thing to do in the Spring is plant the urns on our new driveway pillars!  The pillars make such a statement ... they were one of the best additions to this old property!

The new birch trees that we planted last Fall next to the pillars are also doing well.

Iris' in bloom... ahhh, just take a deep breath of that glorious smell.

Vegetable Garden - May 28, 2016
The vegetable garden was planted just this week (a little later than normal). 

We're going to have a very 'fragrant Spring' with our honeysuckle that is growing on our garden shed.  It's loaded with buds that are about to open up.

The clematis that was planted last year is also doing well as are the perennials that were planted at the base of the clematis to keep the roots cool.  

Spring Gardening Project - Back Deck Bushes

Boxwoods don't do well in full sun.  We found this out the hard way... we've had them along the back deck, facing South, but they would always start to turn brown (burned).  We wrapped them in burlap this winter (of course, it was a mild winter), but they still didn't look like that neat hedge I wanted.

Without any hesitation, the man at the nursery suggested the Mountain Fire Japanese Evergreen Shrub.  It does very well in full sun, is hardy, and has multiple colors in the Spring with little "lily of the valley' flowers.  And.. because it's a evergreen, it stays green all year.  While it's not the look I was going for, I was pretty impressed with all the features and interest that this bush will provide.

So, these bushes are being planted around the deck and we'll trim them back when needed.  We are also using all of our 'extra stones' for bed borders.. we have a lot of them!

While our home is looking pretty great from the outside.. it sure is a lot of work.  A condo is starting to sound good!