Ever wonder what happens when the sight of your newly installed 5-in-1 weather station interrupts your loving wife's lovely view? Well, I can tell you exactly what happens.

The saga of our weather station, a practical but not very aesthetically pleasing technological addition to our home's exterior, began with big plans some months ago. What started with the purchase of a few AcuRite temperature sensors and a communication hub quickly expanded. This all happened when I realized that I was routinely checking the WeatherBug or The Weather Channel app to see the current temperature, wind direction, and other related information at our new house when we're not there. However, each time I checked I had to remind myself that the nearest reporting weather station was a good distance from our home and therefore was not entirely accurate.

In addition to this, I have dreams of someday building a vegetable garden in our front yard and would love to know how the specific micro-climates in our town will affect how those fruits and veggies will grow. And in order to really understand this, I wanted to have some solid historical data so I could watch the trend over time.

In short, since I already owned an AcuRite hub and a few temperature sensors, I went ahead and purchased one of their 5-in-1 Pro+ weather stations to add to my existing system. This would allow us to monitor temperature, rainfall totals, wind speed, wind direction, and humidity.

Once I had the weather station up and running on our network (which really only took about 10 minutes to setup using the AcuRite app), the next most important piece of the equation was coming up with the all important decision of where we'd mount the unit. As of right now I'm most interested in the weather down on the water, so I decided to mount the weather station to the first piling on our pier.

I was especially keen on getting the weather station in place ASAP last weekend with Tropical Storm Hermine spinning just off the coast a somewhat short distance from our home. I really wanted to see how fast the gusts of wind were getting up to. We had friends visiting for the night, so with our ideal destination in mind, my friend Matt and I took our tools down to the pier to mount the weather station.

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Slow and steady progress across multiple major projects feels quite nice!

But before we get to our "tortoise and hare" style of renovating, we have a few fun things to update you on this week, including a live TV morning show debut!

First off, last Friday was National Dog Day, or #NationalDogDay if you were paying attention to the Internets. It's a day when you're supposed to celebrate your four legged canine's contribution to your life a little more than on other days. But in Old Town Alexandria pretty much every day is National Dog Day.

Our city is so incredibly dog friendly that many stores place water bowls and dog treat trays on the sidewalk near their door, shops advertise their dog friendly stance with "Pet Friendly" signs placed in their window, some restaurants have a "dog menu" for when you're sitting outside eating and your pup is under the table, there are several dog (and cat) specialty stores, there's a local weekly "Yappy Hour" in the courtyard of the Hotel Monaco, and we even have multiple parades where the highlights are either the dog show just before or the packs of dogs with their owners marching during the parade.

If you're a dog lover, you really can't beat Old Town Alexandria, and that was the focus of a live "Great Day Washington" segment for which Lulu was invited to be a model.

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As the old saying goes, "it's a jungle out there." And we'd have to agree.

This summer has felt like a battle against the elements when it comes to our home's vegetation. Take our ivy, for example. When we purchased our home in 2003 it was one of the few things, along with the large tree, that seemed to be growing in our urban "garden." 

While it was thin, a little scraggly, and did little to provide a much needed bit of greenery to inside of the yard as well as the outside of our wall, it was what we had to work with.

For the last 13+ years we've been slowing cultivating our relationship with this green monster. Sweeping away cobwebs, removing dead vines, and carefully trimming and sculpting the mass into a thick, lush, and sometimes overbearing bit of foliage. What was once a haphazard stringy collection of vines is now one of the favorite parts of our backyard. In some places the ivy is up to roughly 18" deep and adds a significant amount of privacy in the way of extra wall height. Today those scraggly lengths of vine now look like a border to a secret garden.

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Today we're really excited to share a good amount of progress on our salvaged bead board storage bench!

Yep, that's right, we're starting to actually get stuff done...who knew that was possible with our projects?

Our last updated we gave you a glimpse into the start of our beadboard application. After a weekend worth of effort we went from a stud-wall skeleton covering our HVAC return duct to a partially complete beadboard covered bench and wall that helped us see the direction we were headed.

Over the last few weekends we were able to carve out a little bit of time to make a whole bunch more progress.

I don't know about you, but I'm a little bit obsessed with hidden panels, secret compartments, and other aspects of home decor that appear to be something other than what they actually are. This obsession started as a child, likely while watching Scooby Doo when Shaggy would invariably accidentally stumble on a dusty book on the shelf that when pulled would open a secret compartment. (Though we always knew which book it was as kids because the cartoon coloring was just a *little* bit different on that one book.)

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As we've been working on projects at our country house we've been trying to strike that delicate balance between major overhaul projects, minor upgrades and facelifts, general upkeep and maintenance, and just trying to have a good time with friends and family. 

We've been getting up to speed on crab picking...

...enjoying 4th of July festivities on the pier...

...and have been having fun in and on the water.

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