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Archive for the ‘Outdoor Living’ Category

Played golf for the very first time yesterday.  I’ve driven balls a few times at the Grand Sierra aqua range and it was great fun and good for just learning how to swing a club. But, it really isn’t the same as actually playing.

Grand Sierra Bay Aqua Range

Grand Sierra Bay Aqua Range

So my husband and I took the day off work and went out to play. I was as nervous as they come. I worried I would never get through a round because of my lack of experience. How many rules of ettiquette would I break? Am I going to have balls going off into other people’s fairways? Are my husband and I going to end up in divorce when I beat him with a club? (he is teaching me and well, that could happen, right?)

I really shouldn’t have worried.  The Eagle Valley Golf Course in Carson City NV has the best group of people working there I could have imagined.  Everyone was encouraging and relaxed. The others playing the course were just as easy going and pleasant. I need not have worried at all.

Eagle Valley has 2 course, the East and the West. We played the East. Par 5 but very mellow. I haven’t seen the West course but it is recommended for the intermediate to advanced player. Obviously, I’m not an experienced golfer, but I highly recommend playing there. Not only are they a great group of people with a fun course, but they are affordable too!

Our family lives outdoors. We love our home but prefer to spend as much time outside as we can. Golf is something my husband has always wanted me to try so nowI can check another experience off of my list. Of course, I can see this turning into a vice now. Northern Nevada is known as a golfers playground so there are many, many courses to explore. From the many beginner options to the adventurous Jack Nicklaus designed course at Montreux. But, right now, I will be a regular at Eagle Valley.

New Vice

New Vice

Next, it is the kids turn!

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I had a large vacant spot by the kids pirate ship that just seemed to be a waste of space. I also had a need for a protected area to plant tomatoes to protect them from the local critters that like to eat my plants to the ground, given the chance.

So I mention this dilemna to my husband and he built me a creative raised bed with scraps from our never ending wood pile.

 

Upright boards and 6" Round Posts

Upright boards and 6" Round Posts

Then he used some rope leftover from the pirate ship project to make a decorative perimeter. He was able to flow the look of existing wood retaining wall by using the same wood, but changed the direction of the boards and added  the rope to match the ship with a nautical touch.

 

Adds a Nautical Touch

Adds a Nautical Touch

It did take a yard of dirt to fill, but that was affordable and easy. We just filled the bed of his truck at Moana Nursery

 

Jeni Gave Me Heirloom Tomatos and I Use a Florida Weave for Support

Jeni Gave Me Heirloom Tomatos and I Use a Florida Weave for Support

Then Jeni brought me some tomato plants and VOILA! A new garden is born. My only wish is that I had a picture of the garden from this morning. We’ve had so much rain lately that the plants are thriving and blooming.

I use a Florida Weave to support the plants but instead of matal posts, I cut back some willow branches to use instead. They will root and I can transplant them in the fall. And I use standard twine for the weave. We keep a huge roll in the garage since it only has about 2 million uses!

This is also on the edge of our patio, so it provides a few other benefits as well. It is another addition to the defensible space around our home, I love to dine outside and actually watch food grow (for some reason, what I’m eating always tastes better!) and it is convenient to monitor water/bugs/etc when I don’t have to hike out to maintain another section of the property.

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With more and more people losing their homes, do you wonder where they will go? An apartment maybe, or I’ve heard of people walking away from their mortgages because they can rent a nicer home for half the price they were paying to own….

So my next question is who is making money right now? The rental owners or the banks with mortgages? The banks are working hard to correct their balance sheets but the investors in rental property are where the money is, and will be for a while.

I’m wondering where this is all heading. I would like to sell my home to upgrade in acreage but I’m caught in the same trap as the majority of people these days. But the smart people are always the ones to take advantage of a crisis. I want to be one of those people and I want to know all of my options.

Buying houses now, that sometimes cost less than when they did brand spanking new 4 years ago, is where the economy seems to be going. Those who were financially strong through the boom, and continued to keep financial stability during the bust, are the ones who are snapping up properties now. Especially if you realize that people have to live somewhere, the affordable investment is more secure than the 401k or IRA of last year.

The rental investor can offer such competitive rates and of course there is demand. Any industry that people create wealth in has to have a demand and investors able to take advantage of the situation. Of course, the demand stems from home owners not able to keep their investment but still needing a home and DESIRING a nice home to live in.

The investors with the courage to snap up short sales and foreclosures for 50% (or less) of their value will continue to make a profit for years to come. With the affordable prices, they are gaining a real estate asset immediately. With demand, the business model is a sure bet. With desirability, they are proud of where their money is parked.

Affordable. Demand. Desirable. Today wealth isn’t created like the automobile industry at the turn of the century or even the computer industry in the 1990’s, it is real estate. Where will your investment be tomorrow?

Me? I’m thinking it is time to quit my relationship with Wall Street and channel my funds into making my home a rental property. I have been a landlord before and it is a huge responsibility. At least it is if you don’t want to be a slum-lord. But, my husband and I are looking at our options. If we can’t sell our home for what we owe maybe we should rent it. We have been approached by rental opportunities but we were wary. I think it is definitely time to come up with a game plan and pursue this path.

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If you’re looking for a house, you know what a real estate fantasy is. It is the house you feel guilty looking at when the time isn’t right. But you keep going back to it, and looking and drooling.

 

You know someone lives in this house but you’d like to give them the boot so you can have it.

This is my current manifestation fantasy.

I have a fetish for luxurious baths. 

View & Fire? I would never leave

View & Fire? I would never leave

Elegant

Elegant

 

1 Fireplace is nice. 4? Now that is decadent.

In the bath

In the bath

 

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

 

While dining

While dining

Cozy in the living room during storms

Cozy in the living room during storms

Rustic combination of timber and rebar. It is elegant and intriguing.  Contemporary and sleek.
Even up high is gorgeous

Even up high is gorgeous

Unique

Unique

The views from every window. Every deck. Every landing in this house are envied by everyone to experience them.

Views are devine

Views are devine

 

Granite is nice, and other properties I shrug and think ‘meh’.  This kitchen design is comfortable for 2 or 20. I can’t explain why. It is the flow and the space that is maximized and yet intimate. The granite is used to gild this wonderful space, not overwhelm it.

Room to work

Room to work

Spacious for entertaining

Spacious for entertaining

 

Indulgent. Comfortable. Sumptuous. Grand. Lush. Indulgent.

Yeah, I think those words work.

 

Yes, I know. My mind is a scary thing.

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My local source is Dry Creek Gardens in Reno, NV
My local source is Dry Creek Gardens in Reno, NV
Slope plantings according to height, placing the tallest against your fence and the lowest closest to your outdoor area. Choose plants by density of leaves to create a thicker barrier. I would recommend a mixture of evergreens with deciduous trees or shrubs mixed in to give seasonal change while keeping a year round barrier. Then choose lower growing plants to fill in the bottom and act as a border.
 
Give thought to colors of leaves and flowers when making selections. Don’t hesitate to consult with the experts at your local nursery, they are always happy to help. When you actually decide to place the plants, do not forget to give them room to grow!

 

This will not cure all sound problems, but it will help muffle and absorb most of it. A garden will add beauty to your landscape and peace to your space.
I intentionally do not give plant recommendations because every area is completely different. This is to give you an idea of using textures and colors together to create a pleasing garden that will help suppress sound.

 

 

 

 

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This is something I swear we will enjoy forever. Privacy fence structured to work with wind and not block your view! 

From inside the house, you still have a viewWe had this style fencing around our back deck in Alaska to maintain privacy around our spa. We used this to surround the entire deck, but changed the angle to avoid sight to and from neighbors and roads. The beauty of it equals the practicality when you want your investment to last.

Ours faces our neighbors so we have privacy to enjoy our views and our outdoor room. In the spring, there is a lilac that grows like a weed on the outside that provides more privacy in a natural way. From our living room, we still have a panoramic view of the valley!

wall-angle2Ours was built by framing the area needing the privacy screen with 2×4’s. Using fencing slats that are set at the desired angle, then cut spacers using 2×4’s. At the top and bottom of the frame nail in the spacer, set the slat, nail the spacer, and repeat until the frame is filled. This privacy wall is raised about a foot and a half off the ground so the winter snow can melt under it, without rotting the fence.
This technique isn’t new but I don’t believe it is as widely used as it should be. Here is a book with more detailed instructions

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 First Rule is the old cliche, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

While not completely accurate, I’ll give it credit as a good start. You have to set the boundary that you allow people to cross (even inadvertently)
The sturdier the fence the better. Many people do not care for chain link, but it is excellent for outdoor insulation. My fence is cattle panels that are galvanized wire panels attached to wooden posts. Not particularly attractive or ugly, just very boring. But sturdy so I don’t have to worry about neighborhood dogs plowing into my yard. I have enough dogs and don’t need anymore help! 
Useful for Keeping the Wildlife from Eating the Garden!

Useful for Keeping the Wildlife from Eating the Garden!

But I digress.
 
 
With a sturdy fence you have a multitude of options for making it more private because you can attach something to it. This is an economical and attractive solution. It is economical because you can buy what you need in sections to suit your needs. With the design and sturdiness of bamboo fencing, it will survive wind, rain and snow. 
You can read my earlier post on bamboo fencing to get an idea of its many uses.
 
Maybe you have a privacy fence already and you don’t need to worry about this. If so, you may want to read my post on gardening. This is where the sound barrier comes in.

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