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So, a few days ago, I posted about my work in building the frame opposite of my house wall to help support this shade sail I got. Well, it’s finally finished!
I got the hooks and tie downs screwed in and decided to hang it….
Ummmm….yeah. That’s just not gonna work….but I persisted and tried hanging the rest of it to see just what my problems were…
I really do love the simplicity that is my house. I’m in a quiet little corner of the neighborhood and technically have a corner lot, although they didn’t finish out the street on one side of me. I hope they never do.
My house pretty much has NO trees to speak of. There’s woods on two sides of my lot. And I have a noxious Chinese Tallow Tree in my back yard at the back of the lot. Trouble is, the sun travels over my house and beats down mercilessly on the side OPPOSITE the trees. I’ve been here through two summers now and I’m heading into my third. The poor AC unit just hasn’t been able to keep up. When it’s 80+ outside, and you have your AC unit set on 77, and you come home at the end of the day and the house is about 82…there’s a problem. And moreso when the AC will run 12-14 hours per day to try to keep it at 77 which it just can’t do.
I purchased some blackout curtains this year though for the hottest side of my house. And I also got some foam sealer to put in around the windows on the back of the house that catch the brunt of the sun during the day. Since Spring/Summer temps have showed up early, I’ve already gotten to experience a HUGE improvement on doing just those two things. My AC unit can actually *maintain* the temperature it’s set on now. It may run for hours at a time still, but at least it’s not oppressively hot, and it will actually shut off once the brunt of the day’s heat goes away.
Naturally though, this isn’t enough for me. My kitchen and living room are on the hot side of the house. And my house is brick. So there’s a wall that BAKES all day long in the sun. I’d wanted to install a patio cover or a pergola or something to shade that side but…well…money keeps you from doing the things you want to do.
Well, about a month ago, I happened across a shade sail that was considerably larger than the ones I’d seen previously. See, once the heat started rolling in early, I started having “mini freak-outs” about my electricity bill for the summer months. I started researching the aluminum patio covers you could buy from the big box stores. I started looking at the materials for wood to build my own instead. The aluminum patio covers were easily $1300. The cost for the wood alone for that option was still looking to be about $500 at a minimum. No labor. I was actually hoping to beg and plead friends for help if I went that route. Knowing me, however, I knew that wasn’t going to go over very well. And this was just for an area of about 10×20 feet. So. I started looking around on eBay (yes, I am a bit of an eBay whore…) for alternatives or other ideas. That’s when I came across the MTN Shade Sail, 24×24 for about $140. Still a bit pricey to me BUT! The side area next to my house is about 20×25. So that size sail would be IDEAL to cover that huge area.
I thought about it for a few hours. Mulled over it. Got sad about thinking of spending any money at all on something I couldn’t reasonably predict would help me to eventually pay for itself in a reasonable amount of time to justify the initial expense. And then. It warmed up outside and I was quickly reminded why I’d considered it in the first place.
So let’s take a look at the overhead view of my house so you can see the area I’m talking about adding shade to. Take note of the shadows too.
You see the driveway? Immediately behind that is the start of my fence that “squares up” to the side of my house before angling off. The shade from my fence never reaches the house mind you…
Now, to the project…
So, I was really trying to work on another blog post. And it’s still there, sitting in draft mode, waiting for me to conjure up the words to really talk more about what’s up there in that brain of mine. BUT! Well…today I got sidetracked!
Ya see, okay maybe you don’t since I haven’t talked about it yet, but I have a yard that needs some love. It’s wide open with lots of grass and pretty much no trees to speak of. The Chinese Tallow tree in the back yard doesn’t provide any shade to the house so it may as well be useless.
Since moving into the house in 2010 and suffering through a couple of brutal Southern summers here in South Carolina, I’ve been on a mission since last year to try to find SOME way to shade my house. I’ve spent hours and hours just looking at different plants on eBay for some inspiration and ideas.
This particular idea didn’t come from eBay though. It came from this house around the corner from where I live. And sorry, you’ll have to deal with a screen capture from Google Maps for now because I haven’t gotten brave enough to just park my truck in front of their house to take a picture of their tree. That might be kinda…creepy.
For some odd reason, I happened to notice the tree one day coming into the neighborhood and it’s growth habit interested me, along with the bark and the leaves. So I snapped a poor picture on a drive by of the house to ask my friends on Facebook. THAT is when I learned that it was a Eucalyptus tree. Hah! Well, that lead me to start researching, because I just simply can’t have something in my yard I’ll hate.
Well! I have to say that doing so has turned me on to a pretty neat little treat for a plant. Eucalyptus trees have natural insect repelling properties. Fleas, ticks and mosquitoes don’t really like them. AND they smell good! AND they’re also fantastic for floral arrangements They also grow about 6-8 feet per year with a height somewhere between 20-40 feet. PERFECT for adding some much needed shade to the house.
Last year, I decided to get some seeds off of eBay and try to grow my own. I set a few out in November, thinking that we’d be rolling into cooler weather and that they’d have all season to kinda just think about growing but not have the obligation to. That backfired on me when it sprouted. So, I brought the little seedling in the house and within a couple of days, it just disappeared. I’m pretty sure I had a small rodent visitor that bypassed all my other seedlings and took out my baby Eucalyptus. I was NOT happy. I abandoned trying to do anymore seeds until Spring came through here. Well, wouldn’t you know it that we kinda skipped Spring altogether and jumped right into early Summer temps for almost the entire month of March?? I set a bunch of seeds out sometime that month. And as of last week, nothing was really doing anything, even the two pots of my remaining Eucalyptus seeds.
Frustrated and feeling it necessary to get the tree started this year, I searched on eBay again to find a seller in Florida, Wellspring Gardens, with young, live Eucalyptus trees. I had some eBay Bucks to use (kinda like free money) and made my purchase. Wouldn’t ya know it though, after I made that purchase, I noticed ONE of those pots finally had a seedling. I’ve decided that I’ll just plant that one somewhere else in the yard as long as it survives. I’m hoping it does as it would be pretty cool to have something I’ve grown from seed in my own yard
It took a whopping TWO days to get here from Florida (and that’s a good thing by the way). I had already dug the grass out of the area I wanted to plant it in, and when I saw the mail lady in the neighborhood, I started digging deeper at the hole. I’d say there’s about 6-8 inches of quality dirt in my yard before you hit clay. Lots and lots of freaking clay. I chopped up some of the clay I dug out and mixed it, along with some potting soil, in the deeper part of the hole.
I then stalked the mail lady from my back yard, waiting for her to come around the bend and bring me goodies…
When she pulled up, I expected her to have to bring a package to the door or something but no…she opened the mailbox, deposited the mail and drove away. I’m standing there thinking, “Great, I’m gonna hafta call the Post Office and see if I can go pick up my plant now.” But lo! There in my mailbox was a Priority Mail box! I knew the plant would be tiny, but I really had NO idea just how tiny it was going to be!
It’s in a little, 3 inch pot, and really, maybe 4 inches of top growth out of the pot. But oh it’s PERFECT! I’m actually THRILLED it’s this small. Here’s why.
In my research on growing Eucalyptus (this is a Silver Dollar Eucalyptus for the record), it was determined that it’s best to get them small, before they become root bound in their pots and plant them. Apparently, it stunts the growth of a Eucalyptus significantly if they are kept in an environment where their roots can’t spread. So, where a normal Eucalyptus might grow 6-8 feet in a year, one that is root bound in the pot might only gain about 2 feet. That’s pretty significant if ya ask me!
Today was a good day for transplanting too. It was a cooler day with a light rain/mist pretty much all day. I’d say about 15 minutes after arrival, I had my cute little Eucalyptus tree planted…although, it’s hard to call it a tree when I have blades of grass that are bigger than this thing…but I’m optimistic. I’ll soon have a beautiful and USEFUL tree in my yard, both for shade and those annoying pests
I didn’t always know that I didn’t want kids. I mean, growing up, it was one of those things you did as a girl, pretending to get married and have babies and do the whole family thing. Which, I honestly can’t say I did a lot of that really. I wanted to climb trees, ride bikes, play in the dirt and all that other “tomboy” stuff. I didn’t care to play with dolls much.
On through high school, it was just kinda one of those expectations. You’d just one day have kids because that’s what you do when you get involved with someone. I didn’t question it much. But, I never really babysat either. I did other things. I didn’t want to watch someone else’s kids, even if it meant some money. I wasn’t good with them then!
I did get pregnant at 19 and it didn’t exactly work out. It’s likely a good thing though because the guy I was with was a control freak and had every reason to believe that child porn was his thing. And that’s actually just the tip of the iceberg to the hellish things I saw him capable of.
Realizing the possibility of child crimes, seeing how children were being raised (and how they still are!!!), and my general lack of interest in kids period, coupled with birth control options, I just realized that they weren’t for me. I didn’t want them. Maybe ONE day, but not any time soon and no way no how was I about to leave that control in someone else’s hands.
I actually had no idea that “childfree” was a quickly growing lifestyle choice. And initially, I caught some flak from people who figured I’d change my mind later down the road or that I was “still young” etc. I wish I could pinpoint when exactly I learned that there were other childfree people out there. Either way, I’m glad I did.
There was actually a point in time with my last long term ex where I had to attend his brother’s wife’s baby shower. Part way through, I sent him a text, every bit serious, “This makes me want my uterus removed.” His dad thought it particularly hilarious and I’m sure he had a chuckle soon, but even still, I think the ex thought he could one day change my mind. There was another situation after his nephew was born where he wanted me to hold the kid. I flat out refused because I didn’t want to “break it.” I didn’t think it was a big deal, but it apparently upset him because, “it might be the only time I get to see you hold something so small…” Meh, not good enough for me. I was already an additional mother figure for his other two kids, that was plenty.
After being a “step mom” for four years and then charting off to new waters in my own boat, I finally decided that 100% kid-free is how I wanted to live. I started dreaming of the day I could get fixed so I’d NEVER have to worry about being “oopsed” (guys will do that too!). And it was natural that I could make my own choices about whether or not to get involved with a man that already had kids, which just wasn’t going to happen again.
Well. That day came
I was heavily involved in pit bull rescue from 2007 until 2011. I ran a rescue for crying out loud! Yes…I am that crazy. It’s not easy at all. It takes a special kind to do it. And if it weren’t for having to “take care of home” FIRST, I’d probably still be in eyeballs deep. Being able to make a difference for the dogs is an intensely gratifying feeling.
So, that leads us to Dan. Dan, Dan, Dan. What a boring name. People suggested changing his name to “Zorro” or something else based on his looks because, well, you have to admit, they’re striking. But by the time Dan actually came to me, the name “Dan” had stuck. But it still needed some “flare.” Hence, “Superman Dan.” By all intents and purposes, I wanted Dan to be a “superhero” in a way. A dog that would be out there front and center making new waves for the breed. We’re still a little behind that, but he is by all means, a fitting “superhero.”
Dan’s story began somewhere in Missouri or even Illinois. On July 8, 2009, he was plucked from the woods and taken to a temporary shelter located in the heart of St. Louis along with just over 400 (yes, four HUNDRED) other dogs. The puppies born to pregnant mothers soon sent that number well over 500. You can read more about the largest dog fight raid and rescue in US history here.
We didn’t get the list of dogs needing rescue until the end of September in 2009. If my memory serves me correctly, there were almost 250 dogs on that list. Thirty-something pages. It wasn’t the full 500+ because there were still restrictions on sharing dog information from jurisdictions who had not yet released custody of the dogs. I still have that list. I had to print it out because I simply couldn’t get my bearings straight on looking at THAT many dogs on the computer. It was very overwhelming.
I remember seeing the picture above of Dan in the line-up and IMMEDIATELY felt drawn to him. I wanted him in my own home for me to work with. Sadly, at the time, it wasn’t an option. I was already going to be bringing one dog home from MO that needed a place to hang out for a short period of time before going to a new foster home. And it just wasn’t a good time for me to have a foster dog in the home. My relationship was on the rocks and I needed to put some effort into that first. I relinquished the idea of him coming to us at all. I really figured that with his handsome looks, he’d get snatched up by another rescue.
In November of 2009, it was confirmed that my rocky relationship wasn’t going anywhere. I began my hunt for a house. I knew Dan was still available and in “safe keeping” mostly and hoped it wouldn’t be too long to get into my own place so we could bring him in. January 2010 rolls around and I STILL hadn’t found a house. And I was STILL living with the ex who was thankfully over the road driving for the majority of that time. But, I got the dreaded news. Dan was suffering in boarding and needed to get out ASAP. I don’t remember the full chain of events, but my ex, bless his giving soul, told me I could bring him to the house because he knew it would mean a lot to me. So, January 16, 2010, I drove out to Atlanta to pick Superman Dan from the airport.
This dog…I actually got to meet him briefly when we made the trip up to MO in October of 2009. He melted my heart then. INCREDIBLY happy to be alive and just DYING for attention. They had him in a larger stall set up instead of a crate like a lot of the other dogs and he couldn’t stop bouncing he was just so hungry for attention. And when I put my hand up to that gate, he blew me away with just how gentle he was in an effort to lick my fingers. He won me over right then and there.
Another volunteer went with me to get him and oh am I glad for that! We sprung that lanky boy out of the crate he had to fly in and he could hardly contain himself! And when we got him in the car, he didn’t know what to do and decided to try to eat my seat cushion! Bless my Marva though, she started petting him and calmed him down enough that he slept for nearly the entire 5 hour ride back into Charleston. He may look a little “choked” in the pic above, but I promise, we wouldn’t have done that to him
Well, I finally got moved into a new home in March of 2010, thankfully. And Dan, he actually got adopted in May of 2010. I thought it was a fantastic match and things were good for a year. Sadly, I got a call in June of 2011 from the shelter saying Dan was there. Contacted the adopter and he told both myself and the shelter he was going to get him. Three weeks later, the shelter calls me again to further horrify me that Dan was STILL there! My heart broke AND swelled with anger at the same time. HOW???
And I’ll never know the real reasons why he was abandoned there. What I do know is that after that second call, I left work early and drove the almost 2 hours to go get him. My love for this dog is immense and it hurt SO badly to see that he was left in the shelter for THREE weeks! I’d have gotten him sooner had I known the adopter wasn’t going back for him. He’s just too awesome of a dog to sit in a kennel and have such limited interaction! And for someone to be so spineless as to let him just sit in a shelter instead of owning up that for whatever reason or another they weren’t going back for him….Ugh it makes my heart hurt still.
Anyway, I suppose the real point to my post is to share with you all one amazing freaking dog that needs a new home still. I’ve since closed the rescue but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on him. I can’t. I love this dog with every ounce of my being. People tell me too that they think he’s already found his forever home. While the sentiments are nice, I am NOT the best home out there for him. He LOVES meeting people. He loves going out to different places and being wherever he can possibly be with his family. Why is that a problem for *me*? Well. I live alone. I don’t have nor do I want kids (and holy crap he does back flips over kids!). I’m mostly a hermit. To be quite honest, Dan is really the only reason I leave my house and go traipsing around the neighborhood. He requires that exercise or it’s “hey I’m gonna run laps around your house and propel off your furniture with wild abandon!” And yes, I do have that kind of sense of humor with dogs that even though it does bother me a little bit, I understand why he does it and can laugh about it when he does
That’s the extra fun part about Dan. He is happy to be alive. HAPPY. It does not matter that he came off of a chain out in the woods, he’s practically bomb proof with anything. He has little fear of anything at all and is 100% ready for ANYTHING that you want to do. Like hanging out with people on the 4th of July blowing up fire works? Give him people and he does not care one bit. Thunderstorms, whoopdedoo. Give him a chew toy and he’s content. Now, if it’s raining, expect him to be prissy paws and not go outside to get those wittle toes of his wet. His personality is so incredibly unique and SO true of pit bulls. I could gush for days!
I think back sometimes to a few things I was told shortly after getting him. That he wasn’t a favorite at the temp shelter because his energy level was through the roof. And that he was almost a “borderline” dog as far as being released BECAUSE of that energy level. And I look at him today and marvel at just how LUCKY he is to be alive and in one piece. And not mangled up from dog fights either. He’s also opened my eyes even further to just HOW much interacting with and exercising your dog can make a difference in their demeanor. When he’d been adopted, it was a mere month later and he had run of the home, because he was getting one on one attention and guidance. This dog is BRILLIANT. Absolutely brilliant. But because people are so easily scared off by work and exercise, they pass by dogs like him EVERY DAY. I guess they think they’re too much work or that it wouldn’t be worth it.
Yes, Dan is mischievous and looks for fun and games in nearly everything he does, but once he gets his exercise, he calms immensely. He’ll lay on the couch and cuddle or curl up in a ball in a chair to just get some down time.
He walks well on leash. You can take him running with you. He LOVES car rides. He’ll go swimming for tennis balls! And best of all, he is a NATURAL at running with you while you’re on the bike. Who doesn’t want a dog that you can do these things with??? Seriously? I have had SO much more fun with him (and he’s much happier) now that we can go out on bike rides. He loves being able to get out of the confines of the yard and run all bow-legged down the street, tongue flying out with absolute glee on his face!
Simply put, this dog is amazing. And he came from a fight bust. Off a chain in the woods. I can’t say I’ve ever met a dog that’s much happier to be alive than he is. Nor that’s as bombproof as he is.
But here he sits, still in my home. No interest in months. *sigh* That’s partially the nature of pit bull rescue though. The dogs just don’t move fast, especially with an older dog who has a “dirty” background. People have NO idea what they’re missing out on.
We’ll get there though. I know there’s a home out there that is just looking for a happy go lucky loves EVERYTHING kind of dog, we just have to find these fine folks. Dan deserves so much more than I can give him, but he’s safe with me no matter what. So, if you happen to know someone looking, send them my way
I bet you have
I’ve been attending networking events recently, and actually just got my personal business cards to take with me to these. My web address leads to here. I’m sure I’m probably shooting myself in the foot here a bit too by doing so and needing solid work to sustain me. I mean, those who have a lack of belief in God are considered LESS trustworthy than those people in the GLBT community, and we see what kind of public uproar people have about that particular lifestyle. (Which I should add, is most ridiculous – get out of their bedroom!)
Word on the streets is that it’s because, to believers, they typically feel that nonbelievers have no “guide” to go by that helps them determine right from wrong. That they have no system to base their morals from and because of that, they just simply can’t be trusted.
So. Let me get this straight. If you, assuming that you’re a believer, were stripped of the Bible or your other chosen book of religion and could no longer study the teachings, would you really dive into this black hole of bad behavior, just because there was no governing document to “keep you in line?”
If religion brings you peace, so be it. Having no religion brings me peace. AND! I’m still a good person. I’m still trustworthy, dedicated, devoted, and loyal to those people who I know and have earned those values from me. There are even times where I’m entirely too nice to people I DON’T know because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
Judging me based on my beliefs, or lack thereof, means you’re going to miss out on an awesome person. I have fantastic contacts in my circle of friends and acquaintances. And because of my blunt honesty and ability to be direct and not beat around the bush, people come to me frequently for advice, ideas, and recommendations. If I was truly untrustworthy, people wouldn’t come to me for a damn thing. And I believe that to my core.
I worried a lot when I started this blog. Well, maybe not so much the blog, but adding the direct URL to get here, and deciding I was going to put that URL on my business cards to pass out to mostly strangers who would likely come to the site to learn more about me. I recognized that I was in fact going to be judged. After a few weeks of thinking about it, I realized it was something I had to do. An envelope that I needed to push, not only with the public, but myself.
See. Changing the public’s perception of a specific term does not happen through silence. It happens through demonstration. And if I’m to persuade any of the public to view nonbelievers as they are – individuals – then someone needs to step out of their little, comfortable bubble and show them that painting with a broad brush misses MANY important details.