Monday, June 29, 2009

Sew much to do, Sew little time

Groan, groan, I know. When I run out of bad puns about sewing, perhaps I'll stop posting about sewing. =) Looks like I haven't posted about sewing since February! It seems like I haven't done a lot of sewing in that time either.

It was hard when things were getting packed up, and then there were boxes everywhere in the new house and nowhere to put a sewing machine. But somehow, in the midst of all that, I have done a few things.

An acquaintance wanted this chair:


A friend wanted a new cover made for this glider and ottoman (this is the new one, the old one was red):

I've also been continuing mending and hemming and altering and etc. This is the craziest thing I've had to repair recently:

And the patch worked out pretty well:

In the beginning, for the sewing room, we had our bed and a thousand boxes. I moved out the boxes and moved in a table.

But then we got to planning and thinking (and I got to complaining about my honey-do list!) and Jeremy built me this!

Much better. Now if we can just get the upstairs finished so we can move the bed out of here...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Secret Garden: chapter 3

Yes, the yard keeps blooming and all sorts of things have been popping up - or finally blooming anyway. The fruits are growing and ripening too - such a wonderful time of year!

After waiting for months (it seemed) our peonies finally bloomed, two big bushes of pink and one of white.

Our kitalpa tree suddenly burst into bloom last weekend. It is a sight to see.

As promised, here is a picture of our rose bush in full bloom.

One of the few flowers we purchased, but we just had to have nasturtiums!

Yet another mystery flower. This is more of a vine and I've found it curling up a fence in the back, and one in the front. Anyone know what it is?

Solomon's Seal. We've just got this one, but there are several false Solomon's Seal around too. I've seen some better ones, as far as all the bell-like flowers hanging off it. Perhaps it will be better next year.

Is this the infamous Bellflower? Or something else entirely? I'm not sure. It's probably another "weed," but I think it's lovely (even though it's growing behind our garage).

And now for the aforementioned fruits. Our raspberries have been growing and I just saw today that some are starting to look like this!

Our cherries have been growing bigger and turning red. Some of them feel like they might be ripe - I'm not sure when to pick them. Most people who come by the house pick one to try - and then pucker up like they've bitten into a lemon. These are definitely sour pie cherries!

With all this greenery come bugs and insects of all kinds, very colorful too. I've seen monarchs flying around many days now, after our milkweeds.

I think there are more chapters still to come!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hello, shiny new roof!

That's our roof finished, though not the best shot since it's a cloudy day. Here's a better one from when they were putting the roof on:

It's very shiny. =)

Yes folks, that is a metal roof. Steel to be precise. Why a metal roof you ask? Well, there are several reasons.

1. A metal roof can save you money on your a/c costs because it has a higher heat reflectivity than other roofing products. During the summer it makes buildings cooler by reflecting away sunlight and reducing the amount of heat transmitted into the building. Likewise, it makes buildings warmer in the winter by reflecting inside heat from the underside of the roof back into the building. (courtesy of these guys)

2. Metal roofs have a very long life. Our roofers said we'd never have to replace the roof. Well - that may be going a bit far, but I suppose it's possible the house will cave in before the roof has to be replaced. Metal roofs will often be backed for 50 years (hard to get a guarantee like that on asphalt!) They are resistant to fire, mildew, insects, and rot, and shed snow easily (a plus around here).

3. Steel (what the roof is made out of) is recyclable. Asphalt shingles are not. So, if we ever do have to replace the roof, all the material could be recycled - instead of going into the landfill, like our old asphalt roof did. =(

Some other info, in case folks are wondering: our roof won't blow off in the wind, isn't super loud (or even that much louder) when it rains; won't rust; and should hold up fine to hail.

We're pretty happy about it. Now we just have to think of what color to paint the house. Any suggestions??

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This would be nice...

...for Jeremy mostly...

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

I don't think I could pull more weight than me and my bike. =) But, now that farmer's market season has started again, we're trying to figure out how to get a ton of stuff home on our bikes. Jeremy's bike actually. I don't have a basket or paniers or anything! When we lived with the family they lent us their Burley and that fits a lot of things. Then a neighbor lent a little cart he'd made. We haven't had a chance to use it yet and now it's buried in the garage somewhere.

But after yesterday, when Jeremy's bumpy bike-ride return from the market caused three bunches of scallions to fall out of his paniers, lost on the bike trail, we'll be looking into better vegetable-transport options.

Like, perhaps, a new MADSEN Cargo Bike!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Revised garden beginnings

Some of you were amazed at the large selection of seeds we got this year and our plans for a monster garden.

Those plans all happened before we plunged headlong into this incredible house adventure. Jeremy did manage to plant a couple trays of seeds which were growing nicely back in April.

But...there's something about being abandoned and not watered for days and not planted outside at the proper time that makes a plant just give up. Almost all our seedlings died.

I finally went to the community garden on Sunday (the deadline day!) to claim our little 4x8 plot and plant the only surviving stragglers: chard, parsley, and loveage. They're so leggy and they've never been outside that I'm doubtful they'll survive. In fact, there was a pounding, driving rain on Sunday night that snapped off a couple stems. A friend down the street had over-planted and taken care of his plants, so I got some extra tomatoes, basil, and chard from him. So here is our sad little plot:

Back at the old house, all eight chive plants came up with a vengeance and are looking quite nice. We still need to dig those out and bring them to their new home. And, most surprisingly, the lettuce self-seeded and we had a lovely patch of lettuce! I picked some on Monday for dinner:

It looks like a bean might have self-seeded as well, further down the patch, and the family's patch across the path looks to be full of melon or squash plants. I'm not good at identifying them till they actually have fruit/veggies on them!

We'll see how our baby garden goes this season and we're looking forward to a much more impressive garden next year!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It gets worse before it gets better

I have to keep reminding myself of this as I survey the construction zone around our house. Here is our house in March:

It looks a bit abandoned and sad, but not too bad on the whole.

And here is our house today:

Now there is no roof, it's tarped, windows are boarded up, and there are notices taped to the front window! Not to mention the piles of shingles, wood, and ladders surrounding the house on all sides.

I remember in college they decided to replace the old ugly wooden lamp posts with new metal ones. The new ones were definitely nice, but it meant digging up the whole quad to run new electrical. There were piles of mud and dirt and holes in the ground for months. It was awful. But the project was finally completed and in the spring they hung two huge hanging flower baskets from each new lamp post all through the quad. It was spectacular.

At that time I reflected that change was like that. When you're making a change, things sometimes get worse before they get better. When you organize a room or house, it turns into even more of a disaster during the process - until it all comes back together and is much better than before. I can't think of a remodeling project this isn't true of.

It's also true of the the alterations I've been doing this year. When someone gives me a shirt or pair of pants to fix, I have a moment of panic as I'm ripping out zippers or cutting the bottoms of pant legs off. What if I can't put this back together!? What if I've wrecked this piece of clothing!? Although, a friend of mine remarked yesterday that if the item is already unwearable, I can't make it any worse! So far, in every instance, I've been able to get everything back together and fixed and looking better than before.

Sometimes, when you want to make a change, things get worse before they get better. I guess this simply means: change doesn't happen instantly! It takes time and you have to be patient.

So, patience Aimee! The construction will end (some day), the yard will recover, and we'll have years to enjoy our home construction-free.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

plumbing and roofing and building, oh my!

I certainly hope last week will have been the busiest week of this whole project! Our builder had some delays which pushed his schedule a bit, but we had the roofers set to come out soon (in two days!). Then we heard it was supposed to rain this weekend so we wanted to get things covered up. (Oh, and Jeremy had to take a last minute trip out of town for a week, so he wanted to work on roof tear-off before he left yesterday.)

The plan was for Jeremy and I to take off all the shingles and for us to replace any bad sheathing. We got started on that early Tuesday morning and worked all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and were still going with the last bits when the roofers arrived at noon on Thursday! When we took shingles off the first floor bedroom space we discovered what an awful job had been done there in the past. Multiple fixes and patches of different kinds and thicknesses of sheathing, and underneath the roof joists were bowing down they were so rotten. So we asked our builder to replace the sheathing - which also meant replacing the roof joists! That was an all day job that took away from putting up the fascia, which has to be up before the roof goes on.

In the midst of all this, the rest of our HVAC system was installed and hooked up on Monday and then the plumber came Wednesday and Thursday to move some pesky in-the-way plumbing pipes. Then we had to have a preliminary building inspection on Friday, as well as the plumbing inspection! Now we just have to clean up the piles of shingles that are all over the ground around the house.

Enough chatter - here are the pics!

Oh yeah, we have windows now! Anyway, here is the south-east corner of the upstairs, with the plumbing pipes running over the floor.

And now the pipes are in the wall! (and some below, running on the ceiling in the bathroom. But more about the bathroom later!)

Here's the upstairs once we took off all the shingles and tar paper. I was very tempted to just cover the roof with a sheet of glass and leave it this way. But I'm sure that's not to code.

This is the roof of the kitchen addition after we took off shingles and tar paper. With a few exceptions, the rafters and 2x4s and sheathing of this house are just beautiful! I can't wait to find out some more history about this place.

Now the roof is covered in paper, in preparation for the roof to go on.

Here's another shot of the house after the roofers left. They papered everything they could and the rest had to be tarped.

So, this is the view when you walk up the stairs now! I kind of think of the upper floor as a tree fort. =)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Secret Garden: chapter 2

Well, our flowering yard is still at it!

Here is a flower I discovered out behind the garage. I'm not sure what it is (perhaps "just" a weed), but it seems to like the shade better than the sun. I replanted it in a sunny spot (before I realized) so it sort of withers every day in the sun and then comes back to life when it gets shady.

I just found these the other day. Perhaps they're bluebells? I thought they were bellflower, but we have a lot of those and they haven't bloomed yet.

Even our clover is blooming!

This amazed me. A neighbor left these irises in a bucket for us just after we closed on the house. I probably planted then a month, month-and-a-half ago - and one of them is blooming! I didn't think I'd see blooms at all till next year.

This is a Jack in the Pulpit, a lovely woodland plant. These are the big leaves...

...and this is the other part of the plant. A bit odd. We've got several of them over by the ferns.

Another mystery plant, over by the neighbor's house. Queen Anne's Lace? Not sure. It's growing in amongst the Virginia Water Leaf. I don't know if that stuff blooms.

This is Lily of the Valley. When we moved in they were marching through the whole north side and into the neighbors yard. We don't mind them too much and I guess the neighbor doesn't - but he doesn't want them filling up his vegetable garden - which they're trying to do. So we've been pulling them out and feeding them to the chickens. The chickens love them and the Lilies are still popping up everywhere.

Our first Poppy! This beauty bloomed on Sunday morning, the last day of May. It has a LOT of siblings in the yard... we're excited for these others to bloom too!

Our old fashioned roses have been budding for awhile and they just started to bloom on Monday.

The rose bush is enormous and covered in buds, so in a week or two or three this should be fabulous looking. I'll post when it gets there!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A word from the chickens

Hey, what about us!!

Yeah, we live here too!

Yeah! We want our own blog post!

Yeah, let's hear what's going on with us!!

Actually, I guess there isn't a whole lot going on with us.

We like hanging out in the run, eating bits of green stuff, taking dust baths on the warm days:

And we like sleeping (if someone would stop disturbing us with the video camera!)

Hey, [munch, munch] that's a lot of [munch] stuff! [munch, munch..]