The Steps Fairy

6 04 2009

We have lived in this RV for four years now.  For four years we have been struggling with these small, uneven fold-down steps.  My knees give me constant trouble and I know that these steps are partially to blame. We have partially disabled family and neighbors who can barely get into the RV because of these dangerous and difficult access.

In my previous post I mentioned that AJ’s dad, (Allan Sr.) came to stay for the weekend. On Saturday morning he proposed to finance a project that made me jump for joy. We drew up some plans, he went to Home Depot and upon his return we all set about building a set of proper wooden  steps!

There is not much more to say than he is awesome, the steps are awesome and we are exhausted and thrilled about the project that took most of the weekend.

The old steps


Imagine using these for four years!


The planning stages

Reviewing Plans

The Steps Fairy with all of the lumber in the Volvo station wagon.

The Steps Fairy

The frame is done. Time for a beer.

Frame Complete

AJ installing the deck boards.

Adding Deck Boards

Looking good.


Losing daylight.

Getting Dark

Stopping point.


Sunday morning. Deck boards installed, making final cuts.

Working Hard

Railings cut, sanded and installed.

Ready for Cleanup


Completed Steps in Place

Side view

Finished Steps Side View

Completed project with potted herbs in place. I can’t wait to step out the door and snip fresh herbs for cooking.

All Done with Pots in Place

The steps are so beautiful and well built. The builders have some final bolts to install; but the steps are fully functional and have increased our quality of life immeasurably. What a great weekend! Thanks Dad!

Notice the gouged and cracked slab. This is a major project in the near future. We are currently asking the Universe (and people on Craigslist) for surplus tile. I intend to create a mosaic with broken tile and flat beach stones from Hutchinson Island. Once we do this we may never want to move.

Tomorrow we go to look at the free bamboo and create our plan of attack for that project.

Week in Review – The Thriving Landscape

6 04 2009

It’s been a nonstop busy week. AJ’s mother, Karen and her beau, Mark stayed with us last weekend and through Tuesday morning. We worked hard the rest of the week and on Friday afternoon got news that Allan Sr. (AJ’s dad) was on his way. Exhausted and with a marginally functioning brain, I fear that I was a terrible hostess. A good night’s sleep, some great coffee and a hearty breakfast found me in better spirits by Saturday morning.  The remainder of the weekend was filled with more abundance and goodness on behalf of Allan Sr. It seems to be a trend that our quality of life drastically improves on a weekly basis. I will share all of this in my very next post, but first I want to give a progress report on the flora in our mini-Eden.

Tillandsia Fasciculata

This beautiful native airplant was rescued by AJ and given a new home in the dead hickory tree which we now call “The Mushroom Tree”, due to its proliferation of shelf mushrooms. The native bromeliad has put out four flower stalks since we adopted it; two former stalks still drying and releasing seeds as a new one emerges.

Tillandsia fasciculata

New flower stalk

Tillandsia fasciculata flower stalk

Old Seed Heads

Tillandsia fasciculata Seed Pods


Tillandsia fasciculata Seeds

Although these native bromeliads are difficult to grow from seed, they do put off numerous pups. Today I made “Tillandsia Crabs” by placing some pups from another plant into some shells I have been holding onto for years.

Tillandsia Crabs

Tillandsia Crab

The Edible Landscape

This is a cactus I salvaged from a debris heap. I knew it when it was a massive and mature cactus so large that were it to fall on a person it would cause serious injury if not death. The cactus produces large, sweet fruit; which I eagerly anticipate. For now I have it in a pot with purslane and pink purslane at its base. Purslane is an edible weed, rich in omega 3 fatty acids. I made a delicious salad for dinner using some collected from my garden. Good stuff!

Purslane & Moss Rose

Oasis2 still awaits soil. This is my project for next weekend. The pole beans, lima beans, watermelon and musk melon are all from heirloom, open pollinated seeds from A promisingly prolific tomato plant is from my friend Robert.  All await their new homes in the future raised bed. Stay tuned for the details of this project.


Victory Seed Company

I can’t say enough good things about Victory Seed Company, other than I wish they would have warned me about how prolific their seeds are! Assuming that not all would germinate, I planted too many, too close together. Everything I have planted is growing fast. I did a mini-harvest of spinach, lettuce and a few other herbs to add to our dinner salad. I don’t think we will have to wait longer than a week or two to really begin eating from this garden.

Baby Bibb Lettuce from

Baby Bibb Lettuce

Baby Sage from

Baby Sage

Baby Spinach from

Baby Spinach

Baby Carrots from

Baby Carrots

Baby Pablano Peppers from

Baby Pablano Peppers

The Flea Market Tomato Plant

This tomato plant has at least 20 tomatoes and counting. Can’t wait to see how they taste!


Gift From the Universe

Last but not least, behold The Dumpster Chair. I have been looking for a small chair or bench from which to reflect upon my garden. Friday I took the trash out and discovered this little treasure in the dumpster. A nice coat of white paint should restore it to its former glory. Another project for another day. For now, it is the perfect garden seat.