Making Good First Impressions

It’s always good to make a good first impression and the first half of 2020 saw two improvements to the public face of the farm. One was planned, i.e. budgeted; the other was not but timing is everything and, therefore, determined it prudent to use credit. In both cases, I hired out the work because I recognize when something is beyond my skill set or would otherwise necessitate an astrological alignment of resources – mostly labor related – that does not come easily.

The first improvement was the rear fence. When I bought the property, there was an old, falling over, split-rail fence with turkey wire attached. Because, as I’ve shared before, the orientation of my property has my rear property line tight against the sidewalk of the development behind me, and I have dogs, I felt the need to put up a privacy fence. The boyfriend and I simply added 2×4’s and pickets to the existing fence until I could afford a proper, permanent fence. This year was the year. Sussman Enterprises did the demolition and install in mid April and Gentile Painting, LLC stained it last week. I’ve used both contractors in the past and will use them in the future; I  have nothing but high accolades for them both. I chose a semi-transparent stain to give it a rustic look in a finish aptly names ‘Ancient Oak.’ Here are the before and after photos:

The second improvement was unplanned but a happy coincidence. One day in January, I was working from home due to a nasty intestinal bug. A red pick-up truck pulled up to the house and honked their horn. Somewhat annoyed, I walked outside to find out what was going on. The guy in the truck said he was worried about dogs. After I told him that the dogs were in the house, he proceeded to tell me that he was doing a big paving job around the corner and was looking for somewhere that could use the recycled asphalt and noticed my driveway. He wanted to know if I’d be interested in them laying a new driveway for me. (Truth be told, my driveway was in bad shape. There were a lot of spots that were going to need to be repaired but I hadn’t planned to do anything beyond filling them.) After some discussion and negotiation, we agreed on a price that was close to what it would have cost to replace the gravel but recycled asphalt is a much better product, hardening to a solid surface under the sun. Plus, I feel good about it being an environmentally responsible option. And, they agreed to remove the center grass strip which I had wanted to do for a long while. It was a win-win situation; they could use the recycled asphalt and not have to haul it back to their yard and I got a new driveway. That company is J. H. Paving LLC and they did a great job. They just finished this weekend because after the initial work turned out so well, I asked them to come back out and widen the drive a couple more feet. Here are some before (from when I moved in) and after photos:

I still have a lot of overgrowth to clean up and landscaping to do along the driveway but it has made such a difference and I’m overjoyed by the unplanned but needed improvement. And, at some point, I may seal coat both the new recycled asphalt and the regular asphalt by the house.

I feel good about how the property looks now whether from the development behind me or from the street out front. I’m sure my neighbors feel the same. 😉 Still lots to do but now I’m returning my focus to indoors for the rest of 2020. Stay tuned!