WAY OUT HERE - Have hammer. Will work ... on way too many projects

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Hi, my name is Erik and I'm a projectaholic.

Yep. You heard me. I'm addicted to projects way out here at Walkers Ranch.

I've always liked building stuff, fixing things and planting whatever might grow. Once we moved way out here though, I knew I had a big task at hand.

I've probably mentioned before that when we bought our little piece of paradise it was nothing but tumbleweeds and dust devils. But I saw way beyond tumblers and dust.

I also have a secret - I can see into the future!

Oh yes. When I first laid my eyes on what would become Walkers Ranch, I saw it as it will be 10, 20, 30 years from now. A blessing and a curse.

A blessing that I can envision the possibilities and truly "see" everything as it will be (or at least should be) years down the line. But also a curse, because until that vision is fulfilled I won't be able to rest contentedly!

Yes, I really lose sleep thinking about projects I'm working on, projects I should be working on and projects I wish I was working on. It's a sickness, I know! But these are great projects I'm talkin' about.

Well, actually, in the beginning there was a lot of clearing and burning off tumblers. I guess the clearing part isn't quite as fun as the burning part. Tumblers make a seriously fun inferno though! Controlled, of course ... most of the time.

Constructing buildings is the best part of the disease. It started with a small storage shed, but soon progressed into a chicken coop and then an even larger chicken coop.

Of course, those coops then needed to be fenced in with a 5,000-square-foot barnyard, complete with a 1,000-gallon cement pond. Plus, of course, trees encircling the pond.

I planted those trees as one foot, bare root, starts. Now, just six years later, they have completely engulfed and covered the pond. A perfect shady sanctuary for our poultry pets during the summer.

Anyhow, before I knew what was happening, I started building a workshop. Because, obviously, you can't have a ranch without a shop. It's not a huge shop, but I built the entire thing by myself, with only my two hands and my tools. Cause, if you want a job done right ...

Somewhere along the way, I built the Rusty Nail Saloon, in the house. What's a ranch without a saloon, right? Plus, it doubles as my "office", so it's a practical saloon ...

At one point, I added a little deck off the back door. But once I completed the little deck I realized it really should wrap all the way around the front of the house - so that turned into a quite a big project. Although, it's still a work in progress.

Then there's the fences. Always more fence line to put in. It's a long way around 10 acres. I especially like barbed wire fences. They truly have a way of sayin', "If you don't belong here, git!"

So then there's always the indoor projects as well. The master bathroom remodel is really cool - complete with a custom Columbia River rock backsplash! I really need to get that project finished (Mrs. Walker keeps reminding me of this!).

There's always more painting to do as well. Plain white walls are a little boring for us. Not that we're all color splashy, we just like some nice subtle color instead of the old standard.

Right now I'm getting started on an outdoor kitchen/bar, complete with built-in barbecue, a wood-burning stove and, of course, a beer fridge. Yeah. That's gonna be really cool. I've been looking forward to this project for a long time.

Oh yeah, I gotta get the little auxiliary shop here at the house started too. It'll be nice to have a place right here at the house to keep some tools and stuff in addition to the main shop.

Oh, and I've really been wanting build a mini-golf course out back too. How cool will that be!?!

Then I gotta fence in the vegetable garden so the ducks don't eat all of our veggies. I need to add that to the project booklet.

Yes, I admit, I really keep a project booklet. It's broken down into months and even weekly chores and projects. Hey, at least I'm organized and I don't get lost in the overwhelming sea of "too much to do!" OK, maybe I do just a little bit, but I get a lot done too.

What is it with this innate need to create things and build an empire?

My uncle, Allan Winship, once told me that he's about two to three years behind on projects. It sounded funny at the time, but now ... Yeah, that sounds about right for me too. At least I'm not the only one!

Burbank-area writer Erik D. Walker, author of "In Pursuit of the Perfect Burger" and "Excellence Everyday," both available at amazon.com, can be reached at erikandtina@walkersranch.com.

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