Monday, September 24, 2012


I hate taking old tires to the landfill, so I decided to try to find another use for the set I had to replace this spring.  I settled on trying to grow potatoes in a tire tower.

So this spring I set 2 tires up and filled them full of soil and planted some potatoes.  After a couple of weeks, the plants were looking really nice so I added a 2nd tire and filled it full of straw.  And a few weeks later I added a 3rd tire and more straw.

The potatoes are supposed to grow in the straw and be easy to harvest.

So today, I took the towers apart.  There were no potatoes growing the straw, though I had a few growing in the dirt.

I'm not sure what went wrong.  Though I think the lack of sunshine and all the torrential rain we had this summer was partly to blame.  I'm also not sure if I packed the straw in tight enough.  I know the potatoes need to develop in the dark, no sunshine allowed.  And the dirt was really wet.  I have a lot of clay in my soil here.  So even though I mixed in a lot of potting soil, I think next year I need to add some sand.

Anyway, the few potatoes I got were pretty good.  I cooked most of them with a roast chicken tonight for dinner :-).

My potato plants are looking pretty ragged after all the rain the past 2 weeks.

2 tires and the straw removed.

A few nice looking potatoes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Yard Work part 2

So here is an update on my yard work.  Greg got the crushed gravel spread out on the pads he made earlier this summer.  I like how it looks.  I'll let it set and compact over the winter and spring and then decide if anything else needs to be done to the gravel.

Between Ditch and Kitchen Back Door

Under the overhang 1

Under the overhang 2

Crushed Gravel Cap for Fire Pit Area

Adding to the end of my driveway.
Next spring I'll get started on roughing up the rest of the back yard and getting it planted.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Yard Work

I haven't been blogging in a while, so I need to get caught up.  I'm getting a lot done around my yard this summer, but it's slow going with all the rain.  There has been a lot of waiting for the ground to dry out, but we are making progress.

So here is what's been happening.
Gravel Delivery in the rain

A couple of weeks ago Greg ordered some gravel for me.  As you can see, it was really raining so these 2 loads sat in the driveway for a couple of weeks.  Finally last Monday the side yard was dry enough and the guys came up and dug 2 drainage ditches, laid down road fabric then filled them with washed drain rock. This is really going to help with the snow run off next spring.
Filled drainage ditch
Fire Pit Pad
They also moved the gravel out of the driveway and around the back of the house to fill in under the overhang, and they built me a pad that is eventually going to be my fire pit area.
Pad under the overhang...waiting for crushed gravel cap.
And yesterday the crushed rock was delivered.  Greg is hoping to get it spread tomorrow on the gravel pads he built last week.  
Crushed Gravel

Then today Greg delivered the rock he found me to mark my driveway.  It needs to be scrubbed and rained on a few times.  I want to get some stainless steel 4 inch house numbers and have them mounted on my rock, and lit up with a small solar powered light.  I don't know if I'll get that far in Sept, or if I'll wait until next spring.  

Discussing how far back to place the rock.

Add caption

Rock that needs to be washed.

It is all a work in progress :-).

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Living Room Chairs

I finally go tired of sitting on my camp chairs and bought a couple of these Rebecca Chairs from sohoConcept.  I wanted something pretty low profile, and now that I have them in place, I think they're going to work out pretty well.  I'll try them out for a couple of months, and then probably buy 2 or 4 more of them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Last Day in Paris

Today is our last day in Paris. We started with a tour of Notre Dame and ended with a nice dinner at Julian. Here are our desserts.
It rained most of the afternoon, so I took a nice nap!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sacre Couer

This morning we had a 2 hour guided tour of the Montmarte neighborhood. Lots of great old narrow streets full of shops and cafes. We also went up to Sacre Couer to take a few pics of the view out over all of Paris. It stretches out as far as you can see. We didn't get inside, the line was quite long.
Then we stopped for a snack and did a little shopping before we came home. (Chocolate Crepes)
Later I'm the afternoon we did the hop on/off bus tour which is great on a rainy day. It's nice and warm and dry on the bus.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


Today we went out to Giverney to look at Monet's house and gardens. I took most of my pictures with my regular camera, but here are a couple I took with my phone. It is about an hour drive out of Paris. Very crowded, which I'm told is normal. And it was cold, with a lite drizzle. Great flowers!
We got back to Paris about 6:30 pm and climbed up the Triomphe to take a few pics. 200+ steps, here is looking down the stairwell.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Sainte Chapelle

So tonight we went to Sainte Chapelle for a concert. It was only an hour, but great. Sainte Chapelle is under renovation, but is so beautiful.
Then we walked back across the river and caught a taxi home. Cold tonight. I think I'll stay in and order room service.

Friday, April 06, 2012

April 6th...Paris

We are having a wonderful time in Paris. Today is Mary's birthday so we went for a Champagne cruise and then to O Chateau for a wine tasting dinner. The crew at O Chateau are great. Our cruise was delayed 40 min so they offered to come pick us up. There was a music concert going on by the river and cops everywhere. Traffic was horrible, so getting picked up was wonderful.
And the dinner was great. Excellent food, 4 wines paired with the different courses. And Lionel really knew a lot about wine. It was fun to eat back in the tasting room instead of out in the main restaurant. A good time was had by all!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Expedia FriendTrip Update

I originally planned to do several blogs about our trip, but I just ran out of time. So instead I'm just going to post the e-mail I sent a few days back to all the participants, detailing out itinerary.  I do want to say that this has been a fun trip to put together.  And Janet at Expedia has really made it easy.  We did depart a bit from Expedia's normal services, but all of the activities we have planned are based on the activities Expedia sell on their web site.  You really can put together a great trip on their web site.

If our flights are all on time, we all arrive in Paris on Wed morning by 8 am.  We'll get picked up by the Supershuttle and taken to our hotel.  We should get there by 9:30 am.  We have 1 room paid for Tue night, so we'll have at least one room to go too early, and hopefully we can check into the others in the morning, but that's not guaranteed.
I'm trying to get 2 massage times confirmed on Wed morning, 10:30 am and 11:30 am (so far no response from the Spa).  So we'll have to flip coins to see who gets those. Plus maybe we can book a body scrub or 2.  We'll have a credit at the hotel for $1000 each.  We can us it to pay for Spa Treatments, hotel meals, tips to staff, Wi-Fi in our rooms, etc.  Just remember that the hotel prices are listed in Euro, and our credit is in dollars, so the credit is worth about $750 Euro.  (Hmm, I wonder if we can get the hotel to purchase concert tickets for us and charge them too our room?  If not, we may need to eat at the hotel a couple of times...or have several
Wednesday night we need to meet our guide on the Left Bank at 6 pm so we should plan to get a couple of taxi's and leave the hotel by 5 pm.  We'll have a late dinner once our tour is over at 8 pm and then catch a couple of taxi's to the hotel.
Thursday is a full day at Versailles.  We'll get picked up at our hotel about 9:00 am, dropped off at Versailles with a guide for a tour of the inside, and later the garden.  We'll have time for a nice lunch there, and then get picked back up at 4:30 pm, so depending on traffic we'll get back to our hotel 5:30 - 6 pm ish.  Then we have the evening to explore a bit and go out to dinner.
Friday we have a non-guided tour of Malmaison in the morning.  We'll get picked up at our hotel at 9:15 am.  Malmaison is open in the morning from 10 am to 12:30 pm, so we'll leave there at 12:30p and have the driver take us back to our hotel.  Then we have the afternoon open to do what ever.  We'll get picked up at 5:15 pm Friday night to head out for our river cruise and then to dinner at 8 pm. 
Saturday is an open day, we can do what ever we feel like.  There is a big local market close to our hotel, it's open from 7am to 2:30 pm.  I'd like to walk around at least part of it for a while, I like to look at markets.  And our hotel is close to the Champs-Elysees which will be fun to walk down and see all the sights.  We will also have 2 day tickets for the Red (there also blue & green) hop on/off buses.  The full circuit is 2 hours 15 min.  It could be fun just to ride around and get an overview of Paris.  Or use the tickets and get on or off at different places.  There are lots of museum's to see, etc. And we do have 2 day museum passes to use.
Sat night, either concert or Eiffel Tower.
Sunday is Easter.  St Joesph's Catholic Church as a 9:30 am mass in English, so we'll need a taxi for those who want to go.  We get picked up at 1 pm by a driver & guide and we'll go out to Giverny for the afternoon.  I think seeing Monet's gardens this time of year is going to be great.  I think we'll get back to Paris about 6 pmish.  I don't know what will be open for dinner, we may need to arrange something through the hotel, or just eat there.  Room service one night isn't a bad idea either :-)
Monday we'll get picked up at our hotel at 10 am, and take a 2 hour tour of the Montmarte area and get some pictures up at Sacre-Coeur.  Our guide will leave us there, so we can have lunch or do what ever as we find our way home.  (Eiffel Tower, or go to the concert at Sainte Chapelle, have a nap, book a spa treatment, etc.)
Tuesday we have the Notre Dame & Gothic Paris tour (which includes a daytime walk through Sainte Chapelle).  Then we're on our own at 12:30 pm to do what ever.  We have a dinner booked at Julien and will need a taxi (or 2), so we should plan to leave our hotel by 6:30p - 7 pm.  (Lourve is closed on Tue)
Wednesday morning we head home, the shuttle will pick us up at the hotel at 7:30 am.
The weather in Paris has been good all week.  Next week it looks like we could have some rain showers.  So bring a rain jacket.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flor Carpet Squares

I've been looking at the Flor carpet squares in magazines for the past few years.  They have some very interesting ideas. I like all the different colors and the different textures.  Most of their carpet squares can be used with heated floors, so I've been contemplating buying from them for a while.

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail advertisement from Flor with a free shipping deal.  I've been wanting to add some color in the 2nd guest room, it's pretty bland.  So I decided to order a few carpet squares and put a long runner of color across the floor in that guest room.  It's long enough that it will extend on either side of the Murphy Bed when it's in use.
The box with my order was waiting for me when I got home last night.  So this morning I've been playing with their configuration.  I know I had a plan sketched out when I ordered them, but I have no idea where it went.  Probably in the trash when I cleaned up my desk a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not sure this is the final configuration, so I haven't stuck them together yet.  (Flor holds their carpet squares together with a 'dot system'.  Basically these big sticky round patches that attach to the back of the carpet squares at their corners).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Expedia FriendTrip - Grand Prize 8 days 7 nights in Paris

It's almost time for my next travel adventure, so I guess it's also time to start blogging about it.  This one starts a  year ago.  I was messing around on Facebook, and started playing a game on Expedia's page called The Expedia FriendTrip Game.  Basically you had to like their page, then invite some of your friends to also like their page and join the game.  There were 6 or 8 possible trips to win, and to get an entry, you and 5 of your friends had to sign up together. Expedia was also giving away a daily $250 gift certificates, and I thought it would be really fun to win one, so I tried to enter everyday.

Then in May I got an e-mail from Mary, and she's forwarded me something that I initially though was a scam or SPAM.  I was checking e-mail pretty early (before coffee) and I almost deleted it without actually reading it.  It said I had potentially won a trip, and I'm thinking, yah just like I almost win Publishers Clearing house every  So the first thing I did was Google the company sending the e-mail, Marden Kane.  It turns out that they specialize in running sweepstakes, etc. for lots of big companies.  So then I called their NY office and verified that I was a potential winner.  At that point, I was awake and didn't really need coffee :-), though I'm not sure that I was 100% convinced we'd actually be going to Paris.

Here is the e-mail notice:

Dear Expedia FriendTrips XXXXXXX:

Congratulations! As the official judging organization administering The Expedia FriendTrips Game we are thrilled to announce that you have been selected as potential grand prize winner of the trip to Paris/South of France.  
The approximate retail value of your prize is: $16,600. This prize includes $3,300 per person which can be used to cover any tax implications as reviewed below or as spending money for incidentals during the trip.*
In order to receive your prize, please review the following carefully:
The pilot of your plane (Lori Murray) has been notified and will be responsible for the following:
The Role of the Pilot:
- Ensure all passengers complete and provide all documents on time as requested by Expedia.
- Confirm at least 4 registered people will be accepting the prize. 
Note: If less than 4 registered people on a winning plane complete and return documents as requested, the Pilot on the plane and all Passengers will forfeit their prize and a new plane will be selected. If a Pilot chooses not to accept their prize, they must appoint an alternate Pilot from the registered Passengers on their plane.  The new designated Pilot must accept the prize and agree to accept the roles and responsibilities of the Pilot.
- Once confirmed, the pilot will work with their passengers to determine and communicate travel dates to a designated Expedia Travel Expert.
All passengers  must complete, sign and return the following documents within 5 business days of the date of receiving this e-mail:
- W9 form (attached)
- Affidavit of Eligibility (attached) (must be notarized)

It turns out that Marden Kane had UPS'd me a winners notification packet, and since I was out of town, it was setting on the porch by my front door.  I got a hold of Patty and had her go up to my house later that day, she found the box and opened it for me, then called and read me the info.  I'm really glad Marden Kane followed up with e-mails to the others on my trip, or I might not have found out about it in time to respond.
Winner Packet
Once the paperwork was all finished, we had a year to use the prize, and then we had to figure out a that worked for all 6 of us.  That was probably the hardest part, trying to arrange 6 schedules to get a week off at the same time.

So here is the luck group.  We leave for Paris on April 3rd for a week.   I'll have more to say about our itinerary in my next blog entry.







Sunday, March 04, 2012

300th Post - More House Building

I guess this is a bit of a milestone, it's my 300th post on this blog.  Originally it was going to be all about trips and traveling, but then I decided to build a house (another sort of a trip) and most of the posts have been about that.  So I guess it's fitting that this post is about some new things I've had done at home.

While I was at work this last time, I got another book case built in my bedroom.  It was really great to get home and see it all installed.  It makes that room look more finished.  Now I need to do some re-arranging and get it filled up with books :-)
New Bookcase

And, I also got reading lights installed in the Murphy Bed in the 2nd guest room.  They're pretty nice, 3 different  levels of light and they have a sensor that turns them off, if they are mistakenly left on when the bed is closed.
Murphy Bed Lights

I'm really glad to get these 2 projects done!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

February In Hawaii

Hunakai - Hawaiian Sanderling

I was in Hawaii last R and R, we spent 9 days on Kauai and 3 days on the Big Island.  One afternoon we were up at Ke'e beach and saw these cute little birds.  I don't know much about birds but figured they were some sort of sandpiper.  So today I did a little google searching, and have decided they must be Sanderlings.

At Ke'e Beach

Anyway, they were pretty cute and I enjoyed watching them run around the edge of the surf. 

Kauai was a great trip.  The weather was a little cool and windy, but mostly in the 70's which was a LOT better than the -50's at work the week before.  Ugh, I'm tired of winter and we still 3 months to go.

Mahalo to the folks a the Parrish Collection.  We rented a house in Poipu from them it was wonderful.  Hale Hapuna had plenty of room for all of 8 us, and what a view!  We spent several hours each morning on the lanai, drinking coffee and watching whales between Poipu Beach and the Spouting Horn.

Hale Hapuna

Other highlights included:

Celebrating Birthdays:
Carol - Virginia - Sharon
Trips to the Beach:

Crowd watching a Monk Seal at Poipu Beach
Having Dinner with Doris and Bob:
Bob - Lori - Doris
Capt Andy's Sunset Cruise that included whales and big sea turtles:
Sachiko - Virg - Valda - Lori - Penny - Sharon - Carol - Darlene
Good Food!
Submarine trip to the reef in Kona Harbor:
Sharon - Valda - Brad - Anne
The Sea Horse Farm out by the Kona Airport:
Sea Horses in a blue tank.