Sunday, April 25, 2010

Building raised beds and regrading the back yard...

Last Thursday I started on my biggest project outside, digging in the backyard between the house and the pool.  There is at least a twelve inch difference between the pool deck and the top of the basement wall, with the land all sloped towards the house.  We have gotten water in the basement once this year and hopefully I will be able to prevent it from happening again by digging out the basement wall and regrading the area.

I managed to tear up almost a third of the area that I need to, before the rains yesterday and today stopped me.  The single plant in the bed at this point is a rose bush that had been growing up against the house in front of the phone junction box.  I am hoping that it survives the transplant, since it had lovely red flowers last year, most of the root system was directed away from the house though so I am not certain that I will be successful with that one.

The amount of dirt I had to remove to get below the top of the cement block was incredible, and to tell the truth I still have a few more inches to go on a lot of it to be able to slope the ground away form the house and have a narrow planting bed against the house.

I think that once it is all done that it will look great, there is just so much digging that needs to be done.  So far the finished bed has two rose bushes, one moved from the front of the house, with a third to be moved from the front sometime this week.  It also has curly parsley, chives, oregano, eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme, lavender, and catnip.  I will likely add some more to it as time goes on, but for now it is started.

Now I just have to dig out the other half of the yard, regrade and transplant what I need to, and dig down to the footers along the house.  The last may take a while, but not too long I hope.

New trees

Now we have five poplar planted along the driveway for fast shade, they are almost as thin as the stick holding up the reflector.  I also took the sod between two flowering bushes that we planted last fall, and put it on some of the exposed area left from grinding out the stump from our monster tree.  Where the sod was removed I put two of the poplar trees, and later will be adding bulbs and day lilies for added color.  Eventually we will add concrete to the driveway to straighten out where it used to go around the largest tree.

Up front we put in our first fruit tree, a four in one cherry tree that we picked up from the Andersons.  The four cherries are; Bing, Lapins, Montmorency, and Stella.  The Montmorency is a self fertilizing tart cherry, good for pies.  The Lapins is a cross that is also self fertilizing, but it is a sweet cherry.  The Stella is another sweet cherry that is self fertilizing.  The Bing is the only cherry on this tree that isn't self fertilizing, but the other three are all good fertilizers for it.  The only section of the tree that did not have full leaves was the Montmorency, but since they were all like that at the store, I am making the assumption that it is just a little later in pushing out leaves than the rest.

and the Trees Came Down

Our house went from having three nice sized trees out front to zero over the winter.  All three had a fungal infection that made removing them the only option.  The largest was so rotten in the middle that I could stick my hand in the middle of the stump and reach around underneath it.  So we went from the front of our house having plenty of shade, most coming from the monster tree next to the driveway, to nothing at all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Finish Coats of Paint

Both downstairs bedrooms got painted last weekend, and my parents got the living room painted yesterday.  The upstairs bedroom ceiling is done, and most of the woodwork is finished.  We have started to strip the paint from the doors, and also have a functional kitchen.

The smaller 1st floor bedroom in a blue, on the left.

On the right is the larger 1st floor bedroom, done in an aqua.

The living room and hallway are a light sage green.

The peach and green look good where the kitchen and the living room come together.  I am also glad we decided to paint the arches with ceiling white.

The black door is no longer black, and the wood looks really nice.  I think that all the doors will eventually be taken down to wood as we have time, but for now it will just be the ugliest.

Demolition in the attic has made it easier  to see just what fun we will have to deal with in the coming months.  The revealed  cast iron vent stack can now be extended, it currently only sticks out of the rook about two inches above the flashing.  

The pipe hanging in the background is a wood burning stove chimney.  That needs to be removed, the main chimney will need patched where that was cut into it, as well as likely need a new liner.  Once it is gone we can move on to the bathroom and add the vent fan that it needs.  The electricians will also be able to get back in there and add some plugs easier.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Paint and stripper

Today was another day of primer.  The living room got a second coat on the walls and a coat on the ceiling.  Our short hallway got the same.

The linen closet in the hallway got its primer on and is ready for final paint inside.  It will also need shelf paper, but we have plenty of that left over from Tisha doing the kitchen.

The pink closet is no longer pink in the slightest.  I also finally had time to work with the stripper, and it looks like I will be able to take it all the way back to wood with a little finessing.  So no more black paint.

The last of my tray of paint went into the stair way going up.  I just didn't want to drain it back to the bucket, and I wanted to see if I will be able to manage one coat or will it take two, or more.  At least the nasty colors have been disappearing one by one.  The upstairs bedroom is the last one to go.

The hardest part is figuring out the new colors in the living room and upstairs bedroom.  We could do another color in the stairway going up as well.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Paint, Paint, Floors, Fans, and Fridges....

Last weekend I also put a final coat of primer in the 1st floor bedrooms, as well as finally putting down the final coat of polyurethane on the wood floors.  They all turned out great except for one section of the living room where I had run out of poly and tried to stretch what I had to cover the floor.  My advice here, don't run out of poly.  The strange thing was that I used less than three cans for the first coats, so can't figure out why it would take more than three cans for the final coat.  It must be a difference between the satin and the gloss finishes.  When we get everything else done I may come back and redo the last section of living room, or not.

While on my way to the house on Saturday I passed a moving sale that had a table and chairs for sale.  This is it in use in our kitchen, it holds our unpacking extremely well.  It came with four chairs and has a two foot leaf for the center.  Perfect for when we entertain or just need the room, like we do right now.

Tisha has been lining the shelves in the kitchen cabinets and drawers so we can put all my previously stored items away.  One quick cycle through the dish washer for most of them, and away they can go.  Though there is a lot of hand washing going on as well.  So far it looks like we will be able to easily combine our two kitchens into this one.  We still see a garage sale in the spring, though we may call it a renovating sale, or move-in sale, considering the items we will likely have.

This morning I was able to get the ceiling fan and light hung in the bedroom formerly known as ew pink.  I had to wait for my dad to get there to help hold the motor while I wired it up. It was just easier to do it that way than to wait and try to do the wiring in that tiny space.

After painting the ceiling in the small bedroom, I got my dad to help paint the living room with its first coat of primer.  Getting rid of that dark brown made it look so much better.  Tomorrow will be its second coat of primer, more primer in the bathroom, and primer in the upstairs bedroom.  Primer Monday.

We got our appliances delivered today, so I was able to wind down my day by making the various attachments need to make them work.  We will have to run a lot of water through the refrigerator before it stops tasting of new plastic, but it will be worth it in the long run.  It is a lot more than we had planned for, but the original fridge would have stuck out into the room too far.  Making it difficult to use the sink and just be generally annoying.  Putting the appliances in, really made the space a lot smaller quickly.  We also have a spare freezer in the basement for stocking up at sales or large meat purchases.

New Roof, Kitchen Painting Finished

Last weekend I came home to a new roof, it looks so much better than the old one.  It was a gray day though so  it got tested right away.  The rain went where it was supposed to, so I think we can safely say that it works.

You can see the difference that a new roof makes to our quality of life.  No more shingles clogging up the gutters. No more wondering, what is that in black stuff in the valley.  Also a lot cooler with a lot of the heat reflected away.

I also finished up painting the kitchen, which means that we were ready for the appliances to be delivered.  Unfortunately they couldn't get them to us early enough on Tuesday, so we had to wait until today to get them.