Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wish we were sitting here today

It's raining again. We've finished some details of the shed and are ready to start on the fence, maybe this weekend if things dry out. In the meantime, here's a photo of where we'd like to be hanging out - in the side yard, in the sun.

We found these chairs at Marshall's (we live dangerously close to one), and then found the small iron tray stand and tray at an antique shop when I was in NH. I painted the tray and stenciled the same design in the center as is on the chairs. Sadly, you'd have a wet bum if you sat out there today. Go away, rain!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hole-y water table, Batman!

We rented the hole digger and dug the last 5 holes in the yard, for the back corner fence. It went quite well, for a job that generally sucks - especially where there are roots.

However, it looks like it will be a while 'till we can construct said fence. The water table is only about 18" belowground, as illustrated here:
We are having the coolest and wettest summer since the Little Ice Age (mid-1800s), and it's totally messing up the schedule.

So, on to other projects while we wait for the ground to dry...and wait...and wait...

At least they're screening the original Batman movie downtown this coming week - if it doesn't rain (yeah, right) it will be outdoors.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dining room light is finished - 2.5 years later

Back in February 2007 we bought this old thing from ebay.

This was before we remodeled the kitchen, and we were looking for an old light to hang over the little breakfast table. I think it cost something like $30, and we figured it was worth snagging to see if we could make something of it. It turned out to be solid brass, after all.

It was missing the canopy and we wanted longer chains - so we found some square old brass chain on ebay (again) and we asked Rejuvenation to fabricate a simple canopy for us. They worked from the photos of the fixture and did a perfect job getting the scale and style right. In the meantime, we decided it wasn't the right scale for the kitchen, so we got a different (vintage) light for that spot.

Then I found a painted light shade I liked, and went on a mission for the next year or so to find a mate - similar, but not too matchy. After a while, I found one that's a great sister to the first.

Over the next 2+ years, I've been occasionally pulling this thing out, polishing a few links of chain at a time, and otherwise making extremely slow progress. With all the rain we've had this summer, polishing chain became a nightly activity (3 links per night!) and I finished the whole thing about last week.

Ken then helped me wire the fixture (I've done it before but this was complex - for me - with the two sockets). We used Sundial Wire again - good stuff. After some tribulations having to re-drill the old connectors to make the wire fit comfortably and an early-morning installation-fest, we installed the light this morning, stopped at the store to pick up two dimmable CFLs (the old light had one bulb so we needed another - but the old one was first-generation dimmable and not great; the new ones are much better, FYI) on our way home from a mid-morning meeting, and viola! We have a new, period appropriate dining room light.

And now we're selling our leftover light restoration parts on ebay. Need any square chain, anyone? It's a total bitch to polish, but it looks cool!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The coolest car in the neighborhood

So, yesterday we did some planned stuff in the morning, then somehow got onto a new task we weren't planning on starting just yet - the back fence. All we really wanted to do was do a little measuring and figure out the general spacing, so we could start thinking about it and figure out if we had all the right lengths of wood, etc.

Which quickly morphed into, "well, this would all be easier if the hedge weren't here".

Which quickly turned into, "let's just take down the hedge* now".

Which quickly became, "the hedge is down, let's clean up all the leaves and garbage and make a run to public works".

We're very lucky that our city Public Works yard - which is less than a mile away - lets you bring all your yard junk over for free. Stumps, shrubs, leaves, grass - whatever. And they're open all the time - sunrise to sunset in the summer. Which is super.

So we piled everything onto and into the Suby and took a run over there. It looked quite a lot like the Grinch's sleigh, or something. We did get a thumbs up and 'not bad!' raised eyebrow from a guy in a big ol' pickup truck on the way. People are always amazed how much crap you can haul in a Suby.

I digress. So we drove to public works and found out...the only day they're NOT open till sunset is Sunday! They closed at 3:00 and we got there at 4:00! So we had to drive back home with our unwieldy load and park it in the driveway all night. We were quite sure the neighbors had a laugh.

The real bummer was that we were going to go get iced coffees at Dunkin Donuts after we dropped the load, but we weren't going to make the extra detour down a busy road with all that crap on the roof. Anyways, we dropped it off first thing this morning then got coffee - so it worked out fine in the end. Just silly, as usual.

* By the way, we're not tree-killers. This part of the hedge - about 12 of 100 total feet - was pretty well dead from shading by overstory trees when we moved in. We rescued what we could back then, but the plan was that it would need to eventually be removed or replaced - it was really ratty. When we pulled it out yesterday, we could just pull these huge stems out of the ground - they were basically standing deadwood. A fence section will replace this hedge section.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Reaping the rewards

This is the time of year that the gardens start to earn their keep. Not only have we put up a bunch of snap peas for winter, but the flowers are starting to really do their thing. Eddy and I just ran between the raindrops to collect this bunch.

Now if the rain would quit again for a couple of days we could get started on our last fence project.

Friday, July 17, 2009

We solemnly swear put tools back where they belong. To put them back clean, dry, and happy.
We will occasionally even sharpen the pruners and clippers. We promise to avoid, at all costs, having the garden tools become a huge tangle from which no tool can later be extracted without major bouts of cursing.

We pledge to put the lids back on things, and put them on their shelves, not on the floor. We intend to keep the twine, ties, and other expendables restocked. We won't create tripping hazards by leaving everything strewn about.

We will always sweep up after a big potting mess, and will wipe up big spills. We'll avoid making loads of big cuts in the bench - though it is a workbench - and will make sure it's always presentable. We will do our best to stack the empty pots and fit them in their places. We will remember to occasionally see if there are un-used items that can go to the yard sale pile.

Do you think we can do it? You might have your doubts if you ever saw the garage in the pre-shed days. Only time will tell...

By the way, here's where you can get the totally cool tool hangers.

And, thanks to all our friends who brought over vintage shelf brackets to add to the collection. The shelves were salvaged from our own kitchen - they were the original pieces to which the wainscoting would have been attached if it had survived - sub-baseboards, if you will. We kept them and were thrilled to repurpose them in the shed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Postcard from the edge

I'm away at a supernerd - I mean, work - conference this week, so I don't have any house photos to share. But - I visited a pottery gallery near this conference venue - the conference happens every two years and I like to check out their new work each time I'm here.

Although the glaze is glossy - typically not my fave - I love (LOVE!) the celadon color and the really quite organic and lighthearted design.

See that thing in the right front corner of the photo? It's a garden ornament, and I got one - though mine has dragonflies & frogs and other creepy crawlies on it. The artist even threw in a heavy duty bamboo stake! You just set the ornament on top. The thing was so cool that I had to pick one up to tuck in next to the shed and bench (more on that when I get back) despite a long-standing dislike of yard art. I think since this is truly art, it transcends our self-imposed yard art ban. We'll see if Ken agrees.

At any rate, we did finish the interior shed organization and the last garden bed (frantically) before I left. The sun obediently appeared the day after my bitchy post about the rain, so I guess that worked? I'll have to try controlling the weather more often. More details when I'm reunited with the camera...

A reminder to support your local artists, artisans, and farmers this summer - get out to those galleries and festivals and keep the local businesses thriving.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Another complainer

And that complainer would be me. Now, I like the rain in general, but COME ON. Can we please (please, please) get some sun!?! That last photo was taken during the one millisecond of sun we've had since about June 1.

As I was standing in the yard with Eddy at 4 pm today - JULY 8th - and eating a bowl of hot oatmeal as I grumbled to myself about the peas getting knocked over by the rain again...I realized that I've officially hit the point of being completely fed up with the weather.

Let's go, sun. And that's an order.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Put on your happy fascia!

Not only was the sun shining - all day - but we got the fascia boards on the shed. These are the last part of 'major construction', so we crossed the shed off the priority list(!). We have a couple small trim jobs to do, and need to fill it with perfectly organized garden tools & supplies, but it's essentially done!

The light was gorgeous as we finished cleaning up this afternoon. We put a row of cinnamon ferns in and they're so fab, we'll get some more to put along the fenceline at the nursery sale next week.

View from the sidewalk now. Wahoo!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Three times a day




Phew! Almost done...