FM Summer Report

 Happy Summer, Everyone! It is late July. It is hot outside. What else to do but report on Facilities Manager projects and chores. Plus, Tamara enjoys a break from writing about green stuff, i.e., plants, flowers, vegetables, and kitty barfs. Settle in! Enjoy!

I mowed the orchard grass in June. It was nearly up to my neck and so there was plenty of debris to rake. I let it seed-out so the mowing would spread the seed, and it worked fine, but I mowed, raked and then mowed again and, sigh, raked again. But I like the work, and was able to introduce my Dickies overalls to Team Work Clothing. Thanks again for the nice gift, Tamara!

This is the original deck for the house built in 2001. We discovered the rot last fall and so Replanking The Deck became the main project for 2022. I came to appreciate crawling around on my hands and knees with a crowbar and hammer in hand. Whew! I need to stretch and bend more.

While it is warm now, it was very wet and cool here in April. And I was glad for that. Imagine working this this south-facing deck area right now? Pass the butter and hand me the steak knife, I am done. Heehee. But it was just right, weather-wise.

Spotted this ring-necked pheasant taking a nap one morning on the understructure. I saw him the next day, too, but he has since disappeared. Come back, Mister P!

Ah, the new redwood planks. Well, 2" x 6" boards. I stained and then coated them with a marine-quality clear-coat. Love the color.

The stain is kind of a wash as I rubbed the stain off as soon as I applied it. See detail below. 

Love the grain.

An old friend asked for some of the planks for shelving. I cut them to size and then used several coats of Australian wood-oil to protect them. I thought they came out quite nice. I know that the wood is more than 20 years old and not strong enough to walk on, but perfect for a plant shelf. 

The lower deck did not need replanking. But it needed sanding so Tamara and I tag-teamed and made it ready for the stain and clear-coat. We did this before the recent heatwave. 

Now, I did not rub the stain from the planks. I just brushed it on for a more intense color. This deck wood is only about 10 years old, and it was painted so I felt it best not to "wash" it. I like the contrast between upper and lower deck.

Tamara moved her pots and planters back into place. Oh, yes, I used my circular saw to rip-clean the spaces between the planks on the lower deck. The spaces were jammed with dirt, seeds, bits of this and that. It will drain the rain away much better now, and the new coatings will extend its usable life. 

It's time for . . . 

Time for . . .

Someone please throw a . . .

A party! To initiate the new deck I turned into Sausage Manager. We hosted our friends -- the Darr family -- for the Fourth of July. Man, oh, man, the FM-turned-SM, loves him some bierwurst (bottom right). Tamara here - while FM loves his bratwurst, I appreciated the salads. Just sayin'. 

Our sweet daughter Annie loves herself some sunshine. So cute!

Our son Hobbes loves himself some warm floor in the greenhouse. Annie, Hobbes and I all celebrated our birthdays recently. And we all are doing just fine. 

Summer is just not right without a homemade lemon cake. I think this lasted two maybe three days! Hey, FM is not just a pretty face in overalls! Tamara here - and it's gluten free for me. FM makes a mean lemon cake. 

Another little project. One that means a great deal to me. My father, Raymond, built his tiny birdhouse ages ago, and I brought it home from Idaho and hung it on the oak tree. Doug the squirrel decided he did not like the opening so he chewed it up and that kept our dear chickadees from using it. So I brought it down, mounted it on a piece of hemlock, made a new hemlock roof, and added a bit of oak with a new entry just the right size for a chickadee. We are hoping for a family next year. 

For my birthday, Tamara gifted me a cast-iron pizza stone. Well, its really just a big griddle, but it works well. See above. Do not look below! Gads! Tamara here - apparently there's a learning curve when it comes to making pizza. We'll get it right.

This is what happens when you prepare your pizza on a porcelain plate. Just try to remove it in order to slip onto the stone/griddle. Whoa! While it was tasty, it was an embarrassment. Abstract Expression was an mid-twentieth century art movement. Just a thought.

A beautiful flower at 7 in the morning. Tamara here - it's Cistus 'Blanche'.

Our beautiful boy rolling for a tummy rub on warm pavers.

Some lovely echinacea. I love the late-summer bloomers. 

Felix the prickly pear cactus. I believe the wet spring really influenced massive growth for some plants. Last year Felix had one or two blooms. 

A facilities manager and his Bengal. And I note my overalls resting behind me. Our day is complete.

I hate to say this but this is a pose my dear understanding wife sees often. When not chasing FM chores or projects, your author enjoys reading on hot summer days (all days, actually). And then, of course, napping! Tamara here - I see this a lot. I've never met anyone who reads more than FM, and that's the truth. This and working around the garden, that is what occupies nearly all of his time. Thank you, FM for all you do. You are appreciated and go ahead and read to your heart's content.

So it has been an active summer with nearly two months to go. I look forward to outside and inside stuff to do, books to read, cats to rub, chickens to feed, weeds to clear, more lemon cake, and hanging out with Tamara, she who humors her Facilities Manager.

Have a happy summer, everyone. We look forward to your comments, so please give it ago. Happy gardening and enjoy the heat because when it comes January  . . . well, we can think back and, you know, hey, take a nap.


  1. You have been busy! The deck looks great. And I bet the pizzas were tasty, despite the learning curve.

    1. FM here: Thanks, Erin. Pizza is my reward, you see. I plan to try this weekend with some Italian sliced meats. Yikes!

  2. Fabulous job and delightful read!

    1. FM: Hey, Gail. Thank you. Much appreciated. I like to write almost as much as I like to read. Haha, kidding!

  3. Anonymous6:46 PM PDT

    This post has two things I love: cats and pizza... Although I don't own a cat, I adore them and happy to see Annie and Hobbs up close. Napping with your cat after a long day's work is true happiness. I usually try to resist pizza but occasionally indulge, and I promise, there's no such thing as an ugly pizza! Tomato, mozzarella and basil is my favorite too!!

    1. FM: Wise words on the pizza front. As to the cats, Hobbes woke me at 4:44 a.m. with barfy sounds, and I still love him to pieces.

  4. Great jobs, FM! I love the deck color. Any chance to see the cats is appreciated.

    1. FM: Hi, Kris. I love the color as well. But I am going to build a big, long table for under the big-leaf maple tree with the leftover redwood. That will be pure redwood with the marine-coat. I can't wait to cook up some sausages and brauts and break out an Octoberfest party. As to the cats, they are our kids.

  5. Lookin’ good you two!! Apparently you’ve got our heat and we’ve got your rain… tho’ for some reason the monsoon seems to be running either east or west of Green Valley, so far! But the cacti (succulent, not the software, haha) don’t seem to mind, they’re happy with even just humidity, no really…

    1. Anonymous2:17 PM PDT

      FM: Thanks, Leen. We could use a little rain right now, but the heatwave ends today, so they say. Cheers.

  6. Your new deck look fabulous. Love the rubbed colour. You have had a very busy summer so far. We have several projects on the docks but with the hot weather things have pretty much ground to a halt. Reading is the perfect activity for a hot summer's day. Enjoy.

    1. Anonymous2:28 PM PDT

      FM: Thanks for the comment, Elaine. In the recent heat, we have been morning-only farmers. Afternoons are spent reading -- I've Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" on the nightstand right now, at Tamara's recommendation -- and napping with the felines. We compete to see who can become flatter! Take care and happy dirt work.

  7. Barbara H.12:24 PM PDT

    So much done! And important stuff, at that!! Cats and barfy sounds - I know that dreaded sound well. Your cats are lucky to live in such a paradise with such talented people.

    1. FM: Thank you, Barbara. I appreciate your comment. I will now try to convince the felines!

  8. Anonymous11:13 AM PDT

    You 2 are both so talented & inspiring! It was so good to see you (FM) . I love this blog. Thanksđź’–

    1. FM: Thank you for reading, and sharing your thoughts. Come by and see us sometime when we hold an open-garden! Cheers.


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