Monday Musings

Well, so much for Monday Musings.

Would you settle for Monthly Musings? I won’t bore you with the details again, but if you caught Missy’s post last Friday (make sure you check it out if you missed it!), then you know that saying we’ve been busy lately is like saying that it’s been really warm outside lately.

If you missed that weather reference above, just know that it was extremely hot in Iowa for the entirety of August, and we’re still staring down the barrel of a few more 100-degree-days before the heat finally breaks later this week. We’re all ready for some cooler temps!

Anyway, now that I’ve finally forced myself to sit down for an extended period of time and write, let me fill you in on a few of those details you’ve been missing out on!

Operation: Take Back the Yard

First we did this.

Demo Day 1_3

Then this happened.

evils 1_6

And since then there’s been a lot of this going on.

Concrete Removal2

Like two weeks ago, when we were out in force putting the “Labor” in Labor Day (rim shot!), furthering along the never ending process of beautifying the backyard. But by late Monday evening we had made some serious progress in our endeavor, and couldn’t be more excited by how things are shaping up around here!

Unfortunately, we had to take out a few more trees along the way…

Take Back the Yard 04

…but they were small, shrubby, and, uh…see for yourself:

Take Back the Yard 01

Growing through a rusty old chain-linked fence. Not just around it, but the tree had actually engulfed and absorbed the actual chain links themselves. They wouldn’t be much good even if we wanted to keep them.

Once the dust settled, and our four dump-truck-loads of concrete were hauled away…

Take Back the Yard 07

(Seriously, there was enough concrete foundation under that old shed to build a three story house on top of.)

…we were left with a completely transformed and completely awesome backyard space. He is the scene from before we started any work last year:

Demo Day 1_1 Demo Day 1_2

And those same areas, now one year later:

Take Back the Yard 06

Take Back the Yard 10

Take Back the Yard 11

So much space!

All that’s left to do is burn up the brush pile we’ve been accumulating:

Take Back the Yard 08

…and finish off barrel-burning the shed wood that we haven’t gotten around to yet. (Barrel used to collect all the nails in said shed wood 😉)

Take Back the Yard 09

But still…we’ve come a long way, baby!

Bonus! During the course of our demo, we dug up some solid concrete pavers and were able to keep enough in-tact to create this sweet make-shift patio at the bottom of our deck:

Take Back the Yard 05

Not sure how long that will stay (we definitely want something permanent there eventually), but this will work just fine for now!

Gettin’ Saucy With It

This past weekend was applesauce weekend!

You know, just in case you didn’t get the hint by our dozens of apple-picking pictures we’ve posted to social media over the past few days 😉 Two years ago we were able to help out with the process of picking, slicing, saucing, and canning, but missed out on the adventure last year thanks to our littlest taking up most of our free time. However, this year we were back in the game, helping harvest the bumper crop…

apple crop

…and making some of the finest applesauce you’ve ever had. Yet it’s been a funny sight to see: thanks to the lack of rain this summer, most of the ripe apples aren’t much bigger than golf balls!

Apple Tub

But when I say bumper crop, I mean it: what the apples lacked in size, they made up for in quantity. There are literally (and yes, I mean literally) hundreds upon hundreds of apples dangling from the branches on the Florer Farm apple trees this year.

On Saturday everyone was getting in on the act, from the picking…

Missy Picking Apples1

Lola Picking

…to the washing…

Apple Washing1


Take Back the Yard 12


Mashing Apples

…and canning…

Take Back the Yard 13

…we spent nearly a full day filling the shelves with fresh applesauce. So much win.

(For those interested, make sure you check out this post from 2011 to make your own!)


  • While we’re sick of the oppressive heat and longing for a soaking rain shower, we’re in no way, shape, or form ready for cold weather. Fall, feel free to show up and stay as long as you want! We definitely had enough of winter last year.
  • Ten more wake-ups until our long-belated trip to Kansas City! Since we figure on concert-going, brewery-touring, and barbecue-eating most of the time we’ll spend down yonder anyway, we actually just booked our hotel in the ‘burbs to save some cash. Any last minute recommendations for us?
  • It hasn’t all been strictly business as we make our outdoor improvements. Check out the latest addition to the party patio:

Take Back the Yard 02

Take one old fence post (from the abandon shed), add one stationary bottle opener plus one bottle cap catcher, and voila! Missy came up with the idea and I implemented it…by way of post digging at 9:00 PM by head-light and using a bag of leftover Quikrete from last year’s construction. I may or may not have over-engineered it a touch…

  • Still experimenting with VSCOcam app for editing my iPhone pictures. I want to love the app, but there are soooo many choices and presets that make any picture look amazing…it’s hard to choose just one! Plus how much fade is too much fade?? And I’m waayy too indecisive to make quick work of the process (story of my life), so I’m still battling through the learning curve. If you want, check out my grid and let me know how I’m doing!
  • Getting the itch to home brew again and have a lot of wildflower honey to use up. Thinking about making this Honey Porter for fall. Whaddya think?
  • Yeah, Miss-Miss just brought this late-night snack home from her run to Target…

Phish Food

…I’m so outta here. Happy Monday, and have a great week!

This entry was posted in All by Tom Hardinge. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tom Hardinge

Loving husband to my wife Missy, loving father to my four daughters Sienna, Rowan, Jovie, and Lola. I'm a chronic over-packer who loves good coffee, good music, running, waffle tee's, fleece pants, and Jesus Christ!

One thought on “Monday Musings

  1. Pingback: Monday Musings Quickie | Chopped | living in pursuit

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