Sunday, October 1, 2023

Our Renovated Backyard Patio and Porch

Well, it took two years, and it cost me a couple of vacations, but the backyard patio and porch are finally done!  Yippee!  The photo below is the finished product of our year long endeavor.

Before I continue, I'll give you a little back story about this space.  This patio was done once before, for my daughter's wedding.  She got married in our home and we had the reception on the patio (see this post HERE).  But the patio and white fence didn't last long, because groundhogs kept getting under the bricks and dug tunnels.  The panels also weren't treated wood (just the posts were) so they quickly rotted.  


The beautiful patio space which once held my daughter's wedding ended up being a place to store and chop wood.

You can see how the fence panels just rotted away and fell over.  A fence, or barrier of some type is needed in this space because there is a four foot drop off.


The first thing hubby had to do was order some fill level out the patio from all the damage the groundhogs had done.  He also dug down and put chicken wire along the edge to keep the groundhogs from digging under the patio.  It's been two years, and so far, no groundhog damage, so it worked.  All the patio bricks had to be pulled up and he made the decision to flip them over and use the flat side instead of the rough side.

Once the ground was re-leveled on the left side of the patio, he had to move all that wood!

Next, he built a fire pit.  I had a hard time figuring out why he built the fire pit first when there was so much more urgent work that needed to be done, but he said he couldn't arrange the patio bricks until the fire pit was in place.


He used a smaller red brick to create a basketball court.

He built an extended lean-too to keep the firewood dry.

We decided we really liked the view of the woods and didn't want to block it with a solid fence, plus, it is a great cost savings not to have a solid fence, so our new fence is just beams, cross bars, and cattle fencing.  

We did have plans to paint the beams white, but we never got around to it.  I'm kinda digging the natural look anyway.

Now the old porch was just a walkout but we decided since we barbecue out here and attract so many flies when we do, that we wanted to screen in the porch.  We learned from our first screened in porch (see that porch HERE) to have the lower portion solid.  We have a cat who destroyed the screens trying to open them.  With the bottom solid he can't do that much damage.

The solid bottom is metal, white on the inside, grey on the outside.

In the front of the screen porch, he built a raised bed filled with rock to solve drainage issues.  One of the reasons the old fence rotted away was poor drainage issues so after years of watching where the water travels hubby put in drains and spouts to carry the water away.

And here is the new raised bed filled with river rock.

The inside of the porch was chipped and faded paint.


Now after hubby did all the hard labor, it was my turn.  I gave everything a fresh coat of paint.  We decided we really liked the black stain on the other screen porch we did, so we used it here as well.  It looks so much better with the floor black instead of red.  It provides such a nice contrast to the red and white.

There are stairs leading up to the garage.  We added a screen door there too.  It use to be open and then all these leaves would constantly come down the stairs, like a wind tunnel.  It made such a mess.  Adding a door prevents that now.

Sadly, I didn't buy any new patio furniture and just used what I already had.  I didn't think it was worth it.  It costs so much money and it doesn't seem to last long, plus, we really don't use this porch much, just a few times a year.  Our house has four porches, and this one is way in the takes quite a long walk to come out here to just sit a spell.  My front and south facing porches are more easily accessible so that is where we usually sit.

Hubby built this table many years ago, but he added the benches this year.  The Tiffany light was given by a friend and hanging out in my closet for years, so we hung it here for decoration.  We could plug it in if we wanted light, but were not out here late at night, so we never needed to.

The view of the new patio from the screened porch.  So far Jackson, our kitty, hasn't destroyed this one.

My husband's new basketball court.  Even the little grandchildren enjoy playing on this one, I'm sure as they grow older they will really like it.

I'm not allowed to put flowers anywhere near the basket ball court.  My side of the patio is on the right, near the fire pit.  Next year we plan to put window boxes over the upper beam and I'm gonna grow vines that hang down.  We also have plans to add narrow flower beds at the base of the fence.

From this view, you can see the walking path into the vegetable garden.  

I placed potted plants in the raised bed.  Whatever I put back here seems to grow really well, which is a shame, because hardly anyone sees these flowers.  I don't know why things grow so much better back here.  It faces east, so it gets morning sun.  I think most plants prefer to receive morning sun and afternoon shade.  Also, because it's completely fenced off, animals can't get back here to I guess I do know why things grow better back here after all! 😂

And that's it folks! Our backyard patio and porch is finally done!  Whew! Glad that is over, now I can go on vacations again!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Fall Color in Iron County Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

Every weekend during the fall my husband and I go leaf-peeping.  We chase the fall colors across the state, starting at the top and ending in southern Wisconsin.  This was the first weekend of our fall foliage hunt, and since the colors are just starting to turn around us, we had to drive all the way up to the tippy top of Wisconsin and a little into Michigan to see some WOW color.

This is the route we took.  We drove 3 and a half hours to Mellon Wisconsin and started our day in Copper Falls State Park.  From there we hopped onto Highway 77 and hit two waterfalls:  Upson Falls and Gile Falls.  We spent the night in Ironwood, Michigan, then went hit three more waterfalls before driving home:  Interstate Falls,  Superior Falls, and Potato River Falls.  

Copper Falls State Park

We had been to Copper Falls State Park way back in 2016.  You can read all about that visit HERE.  It was summer time during our first visit, so I was curious how different the park would look in the fall.  I didn't think the park had a lot of color because there are not a lot of deciduous trees, mostly pine.  Nevertheless, there were spots of pretty color here and there.

We took the famous "Doughboy trail where you can see two waterfalls:  Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls.  The waterfall views on this trail are truly spectacular.

The paths are easy and well-maintained making it accessible for everyone.  Some parts of the trail are even wheelchair accessible, although there are a lot of steps on other parts of the trail.

There are so many beautiful, photogenic bridges on this trail!

Of course, I had to stop and take a picture on every single bridge!

The viewing decks to see the falls are fabulous!

The red/brown color of the rock makes these waterfalls so much more interesting.

I should mention it was a misty day, but it never rained hard enough to spoil our fun.  It mostly lightly rained in the morning and the afternoon was just cloudy.

Upson Falls

Our next stop was Upson Falls.  This little waterfall is a hidden gem located in the town of Upson.  Below is pictured the lower Upson Falls, but if you follow the river upstream just a bit, you will discover the upper falls which are a true beauty.

There was no formal trail to get to the upper falls, but it is such a short hike, we managed.  The woods and mossy rocks were just exquisite!

And here is upper Upson Falls.  Gorgeous, isn't it?

Corrigan's Lookout

Some very friendly locals we met at Copper Falls State park directed us to an overlook where they said we would see fabulous fall color.  They were absolutely right! It was magnificent and only a short 1/4 walk through a forest to get to the overlook too.

Giles Falls

Our last waterfall of the day was so tricky to find.  Even with directions I had to stop and ask a local and we still barely found it.  Everyone said "Look for the row of boulders" but the boulders all had tall weeds growing in front so they were obscured from view.  And, there were also "No trespassing" signs posted, so we didn't know what to think of that.  Why would they advertise a waterfall if you weren't allowed to see it?  Well, we disobeyed the signs because we saw other cars parked in the lot, and we followed a very short path to the falls.  These falls were very lovely I just wish they were more accessible to the public.

After checking into our hotel and freshening up, we had dinner at "El Tarasco".  The atmosphere left much to be desired, but the food was fabulous.  It is a very popular place for the locals as everyone seemed to know each other....if locals eat at a restaurant, it's usually a good one.  We ordered "Fajitas Texas" for two and it was INCREDIBLE.  People from another table had to come over and ask what we were eating because it looked so appealing.  It's loaded with large shrimp, delicious veggies, tender sliced beef, plus chicken.  YUM! We ate our fill at the restaurant and still had leftovers for two more meals.

Interstate Falls

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel then drove five minutes to "Interstate Falls".  This is such a pretty trail and a popular place for the locals.  There were so many benches to just sit and enjoy the solitude of the woods.

The path is short and easy.

See the house in the upper center of the photo?  Those are very lucky homeowners as they have a great view of the falls.

Superior Falls

Superior Falls was my favorite waterfall of our trip.  I just loved the tall rock formations surrounding it and how it spills into Lake Superior

The photo above shows Lake Superior in the background.  The falls would be behind and to my left of this photo.  The water falls over the cliff then into a pool and short river before going into the lake.

On the way to our next and last waterfall we spotted a pair of swans!  This was the second time on this trip we saw swans. 

Potato River Falls

Everyone said that if you're in the area not to miss Potato River Falls, and I would agree.  It was definitely one of my favs.  There are two trails to two different lookouts:  the Upper Potato River Falls and the Lower Potato River Falls.  Both are short trails, but involve a lot of steps.

Upper Potato River Falls

Lower Potato River Falls

The Lower Potato River Falls is definitely the more spectacular of the two waterfalls.

I hope you enjoyed my fall leaf peeping journey.  I'll be back next week with another adventure.

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!