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The pleasure isn’t always worth the pain

It’s that time again! Time for spring projects around the King ranch.

I love coming up with plans for updating our space. Winter is so hard on our old farmstead, especially since it’s home to three dogs.

Now that the weather has turned nicer, our fur-girls spend a bit more time outdoors. For the most part, that’s a good thing. However, our 11-month-old Golden Retriever, Willow, has turned out to be a bit more tenacious than any other dog we’ve raised.

If she isn’t dragging a tree limb around the yard or chewing our landscape lights, she’s pestering Belle the Bloodhound, digging under the trees, jumping in our goldfish pond or pulling the landscaping fabric from underneath the mulch. As of late, we’ve been prying frogs from her jaws, both intact and in pieces. My backyard looks bad enough without the carnage Willow leaves in her wake.

Last year we removed part of our 20-year-old deck and tried to seed the exposed ground. After a winter of snow and with the wet spring we’ve had so far, along with 12 paws continually running across it, there aren’t many blades of grass pushing through the packed mud.

Our solution? Build more deck ... again.

At first, Mick and I thought we’d just make a nice patio-type area with some stone pavers, add a fire pit and have a relaxing, pleasurable place for our outdoor table and chairs.

But as we spent time walking in circles around the home improvement store, we got more and more confused as to what we really wanted and how much planning is actually involved in that type of patio. If we use the larger pavers, will we get it done in less time? What if we go with the smaller pavers? We’ll spend hours on our hands and knees trying to get them all level. How much dirt will we need to level the area before we even start? Can we use sand to do that? What’s the difference between play sand and the pricey stuff they’ve got displayed near the paving stones? Do we need to get the plastic grid system to lay underneath? Didn’t we raise three kids to help with this kind of stuff?

What did we do? We went home. 

So anyway ...

We went back to the home improvement store the following morning with measurements and plans to build a wooden deck. After all, decks we can do.

What we discovered we can’t do, however, is build a deck without knees popping and backs aching. 

For our next project, I think we’ll be reminding our kids of all the things we’ve done for them over the course of their lives and tell them it’s time to pay it forward ... to us.

Contact Dana King at 641-792-3121 ext. 6522 or

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