Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pool Work at the Bamboo Lagoon

This is the first home we have owned that has a pool. Five years of renting the house out and having to rely on inconsistent renters and somewhat lazy pool companies meant that the pool was a big project for me when finally moving to the house. As you can see from these first two pictures, the pool was covered at the end of the last season by the pool company but it wasn't done very well. They took parts off the pump and filter and "hid" them, which means it is halfway amazing that the pool is even functioning without us having to spend a small fortune to make it happen.

We were hoping that the water on top of the tarp would evaporate but no such luck. Mom and I had to unscrewed boards that were fastened to the deck on all sides of the pool, and then pull the tarp from both sides down towards one end of the pool. Foolishly we thought we were going to be able to pull the water and debris on the tarp up onto the deck and keep it all from going into the actual pool water, but reality was that there was no way, we were going to be able to pull the equivalent of a water bed up onto the deck. We did skim most of the debris off and we unfortunately didn't think of siphoning the water off until after the task was completed.

Once we got the cover off, we realized that the water beneath was in pretty reasonable condition. The pool was not filled with algae and the water was clear. It was very low so first off we had to put the hose in it to start filling it to get it to a level that would let us turn on all the equipment and see where we were on things. It took almost two days of running the hose almost non-stop to get the pool filled to the skimmer basket. I am terrified what that water bill is going to look like...LOL. Once the pool got to the right level, I went to check out the pump house and noticed water pouring out of the bottom of the pump from two different spots. I opened up the pump skimmer area and found two black screw in plugs beneath the basket and used them to close the two spots. Next, I tried turning on the system and realized that there was a cap of some sort missing from the top of the filter dome. I searched around some more in the bottom of the pumphouse and found another cap and put it on the filter dome. This reduced the water squirting out but didn't completely fix the issue (meaning there was probably a missing o-ring). I decided my best bet might be contacting a new pool company to have them come out and show me how everything is supposed to work so I didn't accidently mess something up.

Later in the week, my cousin came over and I turned the pump back on so he could see what I was talking about regarding the water squeaking out, and at this time, we discovered the leak in the solar heating system. We turned the system back off and I waited until my visit with the pool company. Joe came out and showed me how to run everything. He tested the water, found that it was pretty well balanced but obviously needed chlorine. He added 6 lbs of chlorine to the pool, gave me an o-ring for the top plug on the filter dome. We discussed vacuuming, skimming, brushing, testing and chemicals. As we were getting ready to close things down, he noticed water coming from another spot at the bottom of the filter dome. Turns out there was yet one more plug that the old pool company removed and "hid" from us that was missing. We managed to locate it and close that hole and everything seemed to be working well.

Since then, I have been running the pump as I should, testing the water, skimming, and vacuuming. The water is pretty good, while there still is a bit of debris on the bottom that I am working on getting rid of. It is a maintenance job on a weekly basis but for the most part, it has come along really well. Fixing the solar heating is next on the agenda and I am eager to see how warm the pool will be after that is done. I still have not swam in it, but that is coming up this week for sure. I am looking forward to getting the last of the debris out of it so it will be clear and clean!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Spiffing Up The Bamboo Lagoon

Here is a peak at the new purple fountain grass I got for the porch (at least until we can afford a cool bamboo for it). I also got the little gecko put up as well.

Today, the horseshoe was put up, the retractable clothesline was installed and the place is starting to come together (as much as it can with most of our stuff still in other states). I need to get the two kitchen cabinets done, a run to recycling for cardboard, and the locks changed to feel like today was completely productive. Assuming we get up to the 90 degrees we are forecasted, a dip in the pool might also be called for.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hanging Plant

This window in the mini office just screamed for a hanging plant, and fortunately for us, there was already an anchored hook in the ceiling. I found the plant at a local nursery but couldn't find a hanger that worked for me so I decided to make one of my own.

I purchased some twine and I had some washers and followed directions that I found on the Internet and it came out pretty good, if I don't say so myself. It did take some finagling to get the plant into it but it balanced out in the end.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beds At The Bamboo Lagoon

Due to the fact that the house had renters in it for 5 years and then sat empty for 9 months and on top of that had a property management company that didn't do its job, it is a wonder that any plant life in the yard is alive. The sprinkler system in the front yard does not extend to the left side of the driveway and the beds in that area have been neglected for many years...

I decided a while back that the bed sitting beneath our blue spruce needed some plants in it and they needed to be plants that could handle being in the shade. I loved the hostas we had at our house in WA and thought this spot might be great for hostas and ferns.

So I purchased some homeless plants (the sad little plants I see at Home Depot that just need a good home and are usually discounted), and set about to adding a few to this bed. I know that they look a little spaced out but the hostas come back each year a bit larger than the year before so I don't want to crowd them out completely. We'll see how good they look next year when they come back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hanging Baskets

While out visiting nurseries this weekend with my mom and aunt, I found some cute hanging baskets and a few flowers to put in them. I finally got them transplanted into the baskets yesterday and then the baskets hung today. I think they look pretty cute.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Flag Is Up At The Bamboo Lagoon

Finally got the flag pole mounted and the flag flying late yesterday...took it down for the night since we don't have a light shining on it, and then put it back out this morning. Need to get back on the email list for updates when it should be flying halfmast...haven't had to do that since we lived in NC and had a flag pole in the middle of our front yard that we flew a flag on everyday that we could (weather permitting).

Every house we have owned has had a flag pole or mount at it, so it seemed reasonable that we would continue the tradition here, even though one was not already installed when we bought the house. It feels nice to see it flying.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wind Chimes

If you know me at all, you know that every place we have ever lived, I have wind chimes hanging. This was true at the Hobbit House and it is true here as well. I only have two chimes at this time (which is a low number for me normally) but this is partially because we have several more in our stuff that is not here yet.

I have hung both of the ones we have here on the front balcony since we have that slider open a lot and it makes hearing them much more likely. I like both of these chimes quite a bit, and I definitely think they liven things up here at the Bamboo Lagoon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Temps At The Bamboo Lagoon

Finally figured out a spot for my new thermometer at the Bamboo Lagoon. This spot is just outside the back sliding glass door. It doesn't have any direct sun on it so it will give me more accurate readings.

I have found that no matter what news source I tap into in order to find out the temps outside none of them seem to be least this will give me my own temps if nothing else.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Storage For The Pool

Found that we needed a spot for putting all the pool stuff, minus chemicals, so it could be near the pool, but not out in the open all the time. This little "trunk" was the right size and the right price and required no tools to put together to it was a perfect fit for what we needed. We still need to find four hooks to put the poles on along the fence but other than that, we have organization and order...LOL

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mini Office At The Bamboo Lagoon

So when we bought the house, we found it kind of odd that on a split level, there was only one bathroom on the main floor and it was in the master bedroom. Normally there would be at least a 1/2 bath for guests on the main level so that they didn't have to go down to the full bath on the lower floor.

There was this little room directly across from the laundry room on the main level and it was tiny and strange. Only 6 feet across and about 5 feet deep. I decided we would use it as a little office when we eventually moved into the house, since there was no closet and it was too small to be used for much else.

While the internet and cable was being installed, we noticed that there was an exhaust fan in this tiny strange room, and it dawned on us that it used to be the 1/2 bath for the main floor and for some reason was converted to a room. It has no overhead lighting so I am planning to replace the exhaust fan with an overhead light as soon as I have the time and money.

In the meantime, I was able to get our mini office set up, the new network configuration done and all our devices hooked back up to the network. One more thing off the To Do List!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cover For Deck Blind

Before the house was painted last fall, there was Evergreen Clematis growing on this chainlink. It had to be pulled back in order for the painting to be done, and in the process of that, it was killed. My uncle hung up two pieces of lattice work over the chainlink but it didn't really cover anything and kind of looked unfinished.

Today, I was able to find this cool piece of reed fencing, doubled it up and zip tied it to the chainlink to hide the old fence and give the deck some privacy from the neighbor. I think it looks a million times better.

Update: Turns out the Evergreen Clemantis is not dead and is making a comeback on the back side of the reed fence...yeah!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hammock At The Bamboo Lagoon

We always have a small hammock or two that we keep in our camping stuff or in our luggage so we can have them with us where ever we might be. They fold down to pretty small so they are easy to carry with us. Since a lot of our stuff is not here yet, and I am not even totally sure where our small hammocks are, I decided to get one that we can use at the house regularly, but also can take with us if we want, to a park, or camping.

Due to the fact that the hammock and the hangers are not permanent, it makes the whole thing easy to move around.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blind Out The Heat

The only window on the back of the house that gets direct sunlight in the afternoon is the masterbath. The other windows are covered by the back patio cover. This means that the masterbath gets really warm in the afternoon and the only way to get ventilation is the little tiny louver window at the bottom. I decided the best fix for this would be to just buy a bamboo blind to cover it from the outside that would still allow ventilation when needed.

I found this cute blind in the clearance rack at Home Depot and it was a perfect fit. Now the bathroom stays nice and cool and the filtered light is pretty awesome from the inside as well.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Home For Herbs

Just got down here yesterday and wanted to make sure I got these guys set in a spot where they would get some sun, but I wouldn't forget them completely. This spot is on the backporch, so they are easy access to me when cooking. I still need to get the basil into the main pot so it won't die on me, but at least they are getting water and sun for now.