Backyard Slope Completed

So, so nice to have one element of our backyard completed. I'm so happy with how it turned out, and aside from being very pleasant to look at, it is uber-low maintenance. The slope was first covered with felt to assist with weed control, then a wave pattern of river rock was placed to cover about 50% of the slope, then groupings of slow growing, heat loving plants were positioned across the remaining area. After that, the drip system was put into place to ensure that even while on a sloping hill, water will be delivered directly to each plant's root system.

The barely visible small plants along the slope rock border are ground spreading lantana. They look somewhat colorless now, but will slowly grow into lovely purple and white color spots similar to what has occurred in my front yard over the six months since being planted there:

Pretty much all that is left is to finish the half circle planter you can see roughly laid out in the top photo, plus the laying down of artificial turf. We have another storm rolling through this weekend, and since the ground may not have time to dry out quickly enough from last weekend's storms to permit installation of the turf this week, it may have to be pushed off into early March in order to have time to dry out from the upcoming storm. Assuming, that is, that there isn't another storm lined up behind the upcoming one - that darn atmospheric river of rain we keep hearing about. So, for now it's terrific to have one big element in the backyard done.

Today is all about housecleaning, Spanish homework, and vacation planning. We have five more weeks at home to oversee completion of our remaining home improvement projects - the backyard, and a custom office build. Once we get to the end of March, we're back to our usual travel-heavy schedule, starting with our 30 day trip to the East Coast.

I needed this time at home after last year's amazing array of trips. For most of January, in fact, I didn't even want to see a travel ad, much less contemplate booking a trip. Come February, however, I did find myself getting excited by the idea of traveling once again, and over the course of the month we've actually gone ahead and put the 'big rocks' in place for 2018. I put down a deposit on a three week hiking adventure in New Zealand for early 2018, which we'll turn into a six  week trip by adding in a few more on-our-own travel weeks. I also bumped our previously scheduled two week cruise up New England and into Canada from Fall 2017 to Fall 2018. And our summer plans for 2018 are to RV through Utah and Colorado.

Since this year is going to be scaled back travel wise, primarily consisting of visiting our family and granddaughter on the East Coast, plus lots of repeat California coastal and wine country RV'ing, the planning was easy, hence why I got a jump start on 2018. There will be a lot of detail planning for our New Zealand add-on weeks, and a similar amount for our summer RV trip to Utah and Colorado, and it's my experience that a year ahead of time is not too soon to get started. It takes time to identify the truly exceptional, and I thoroughly enjoy the research involved in coming up with detailed day-to-day travel itineraries. Our self-directed trips have all been outstanding. Exhausting at times, yes, but always unforgettable.

Plans and Goals for Today
Cross Fit class
Do Art Alliance newsletter write up of last week's trip to Norton Simon museum
Clean remaining shutters
Spray paint outside light fixtures black (currently white - photos if project turns out nice)
Sweep and dry mop wood floors
Complete Spanish homework before tonight's Skype session


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