Saturday, September 21, 2013

Curb Appeal

Our front porch leaned worse than a drunken sailor. The thought of ripping out all that cement was overwhelming. The thought of the cement bill was prohibitive. We didn't know what to do. Then my brother, who flips houses, came by and told us build over the top. 
So that is just what we did. We decided on a deck style instead of the cement steps. I'm surprised how much we sit out front now that we have the deck. Not that we sit more than a few minutes here and there but that is more than before.
 The deck is a great addition I can see already but I insisted that the top step had to change from before. You were always off balance as you leaned off to the side to try and get the door to open past you. With off setting the step to the side that gives you room to stand beside the door the problem was eliminated. No more leaning and the door brushing against you as you open it.  
Another improvement was that the porch is not attached to the house. It is its own structure and the posts are cemented in the ground. The frame is made of metal, my husband's favorite material. I think a simple wood porch would have taken far less time to build but hey, the hubby was happier. A happier hubby means he stays on the job. The best part was we had all the metal in a scrap pile in the back yard. It did mean that he had to make a number of brackets that welded to the posts for the wood to attach to.You can't have an all metal porch. Can you imagine it in the summer heat or winter when it becomes an ice pond. Nope, it was going to have to be a combination of metal and wood. 
The steps were part of steps that the coal mine threw away. They have grippers on them and so we decided to include them as part of the menagerie of wood and metal. Kirk added to them and bent the railing while adding a piece or two from scraps. If we were staying, I'd love to have garland of pine cones and needles going down the outside railing of the stairs but that isn't happening.
 The black railing Kirk was tempted to build himself but the time just wasn't there so we bought railings and he cut them and fit them to work with our dimensions. The light green colored cement board around the bottom is left over from the accent areas outside of the house on the back and sides. This would add balance. I repainted the cement board and used the left over paint to paint the cement around the bottom of the house. Not a huge change but the light green color is nicer than the natural gray. We decided on light green instead of the darker green because we didn't want the porch to be the focal point but instead the rock and door.  
When done the porch looked good but it had the appearance of a box on the front of the house. Hmmm... our brains went to work.

I decided on plants on the right side. Red Barberry plants would pick up on the red color and the tall ornamental grass in between the barberry has a red tint. When they gain some size that should be a lovely accent. The brick trim around the plants is from my father's yard project. They were left overs and he gave them to me a year ago. Love hand me downs!
Now to choose the ground cover around the plants and on the other side of the porch, shale, bark, or river rock? We'd love river rock but the bit we put in the back of the house for a walkway by the garage was costly. I'm afraid it would cost close to five hundred. That would really push the budget. We need to take what money we have left and work on the bathroom so it is off to price choices. So much to do and so little money to do it with but with imagination we will find a way.
It is left-overs and talent that built that porch for about 500. And talents is what you get when you take the time to learn. Boy have we learned a whole heaping lot while remodeling this house. Through those efforts we have gained a greater sense of worth. Talents have created things we had no money to buy. It is what gives us choices. And at its basic level it is an ancient law of the Bible. Remember the story of the talents? If you develop them, you will be given more.
Must be a work of the devil because you don't hear of many people with hobbies anymore. We have become a society of consumers. My daughter wanted to move back to Wyoming because she missed the rancher's walk. Some of you know what I'm talking about. The one that says, been there, done that, and what ever comes my way, "I'll get er done". The confidence of having handle hard problems before and ready to tackle more. Something she found missing in those around her in the city. So many buy there way out of problems and what confidence does that bring when times get really hard? Our government tries to do the same thing, buy its way out with money it doesn't have. I say the government is a reflection of the people it governs.
 A friend of ours went to England and the group from Wyoming started counting pickup trucks. The guide asked why, to which he replied, you don't have very many. She asked if there were lots where he was from? He told her he had three in his yard alone. She said what do you do with a pickup? Oh my!, how do you survive without one? Those people must be totally dependent on others. I'm sure there are some in the countryside there with trucks but I can't imagine not having one. If I had just one vehicle it would definitely be a truck. I unloaded manure out of ours today and several times a week I used it to haul things.  
This lack of doing things for ourselves has led to the lack of common sense. Something not common anymore. Sense comes from the been there, done that experiences which builds knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge with wisdom.
I believe we are a nation of unfulfilled people. Our Heavenly Father commanded us to develop our talents. Made in his image we therefore need to be creative as our father obviously is very creative. Therefore it is inherent that we need to be creative to be whole.  When one does not feel whole he becomes an avid consumer to gain a momentary glimpse of it.
Lately I have gained a great deal of confidence. I was a much better help gutting the bathroom this time. Maybe you don't think that is a talent but the more I tear sheetrock and tile, the better I am at it. This equates to a "I can do" powerful feeling. When I unloaded round bales off the trailer to pallets with the tractor a couple weeks ago all by myself, I had a "I can do" feeling. My confidence is soaring lately as we do more and more for ourselves and I feel like I can accomplish other things that might come my way. It increases my faith in myself and my faith in a loving father who helps and guides me as I learn.
What are your thoughts on this principle of talents? 

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