Sunday, September 21, 2014

More storm damage

.....when will it stop?

We just noticed that the top of our sycamore tree is broken off.  I would guess at least 6 feet is broke off and hanging by a thread.  It's such a shame because it was a perfect shaped tree, too.

Unfortunately we had another storm tonight after sunset so I am bracing myself for tomorrow's discoveries.  The wind has been quite brisk the last two days and the amount of twigs falling from our trees has been endless.

The weather forecast today was for rain by 1PM so there was no need to try and paint today so we worked on trimming the fruit trees, climbing rose bushes, and cutting down the rose bushes along the sidewalk that leads to our kitchen door.  Those bushes have never been cut back and were getting to the point where they were starting to separate down the middle.  I was able to cut down half of them before the wind really picked up and the sky starting getting dark.

Tomorrow I'll try to finish the rose bush trimming get mentality prepared to paint all week because the weather is suppose to warm up and not rain.  Yippee.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Interesting honeybee fact

Interesting honeybee fact.
It's about that time again. When the weather gets colder and the queen bee cannot mate with the drones (male bees). The female worker bees kick them to the curb to conserve resources!

This made me laugh.  Probably not so funny for the male bees.  I wonder if they (drones) were the dead bees we saw the other day. The more I learn about these bees the more fascinating I find them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

We're loving the grey color but not the yellow jackets

We really love our color choice but those darn yellow jackets don't like me getting anywhere near them.  I zapped a couple with my can of aerosol hair spray.  I put the Final Net on them...LOL

R has the storm windows sanded but unfortunately one pane broke.  These storm windows have two large panes and of course the window that lost a pane was one that had a cracked pane and a good pane.  Guess which one broke?  Of course it was the good one.

So tomorrow I am going to prime them and if I have time I will give them one coat of the Ultra White.  I also need to paint the window box because it hasn't been repainted since we installed it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Let the painting begin

Let the painting begin until it rains yet again.

The only thing that keeps me from screaming about the lack of painting is that I am not alone.  Many of my fellow Midwestern bloggers are also facing the challenges of rain and the declining temperatures and daylight hours.

Today I actually was able to paint some trim with a top coat of Ultra White in semi gloss and painted a few shingles with a top coat of Anonymous in a satin finish.

My painting layout might look odd and it is but I have to paint what I can from the ladder before I move the ladder which is heavy and awkward to move.  The bay window is very difficult to paint because of the curve which makes for odd ladder placement that requires me to place the ladder on already painted areas.  Because of this I have to wait a day or so for the paint to cure before I place the ladder on top of recently painted trim.

I really like painting the grey color because it goes on so nicely after the tediousness of priming. Once the primer coat is on the shingle it is much easier to paint the top coat because the shingle is smoother so the pant flows nicely.

R was busy sanding and removing old glazing from the storm windows while I painted today.  I will paint the storm windows indoors tomorrow if it does indeed rain as is predicted.

Several days ago, I had to relinquish my paint brush to R so he could prime around the area where the yellow jackets have been hanging out.  I usually don't let R paint.  He's a dabber and I am picky about my painting but since I cannot afford to risk getting stung, I handed over my paint brush.
R put on his beekeeping garb and painted away.
When he was done priming he handed me the brush.  He was so proud because I never let him paint. I had to throw the brush away.  He had paint ALL over the handle and the bristles were bent and broken and sticking out all over the place.  It was a sticky mess. So today I painted as close as I could get to the yellow jackets and when the time comes to paint the final coat, I will don the beekeeping jacket and paint the shingles myself.
I only have half of the white trim painted with the top coat but I like the contrast of the white and grey.
On the beekeeping front....we had a scare the other day.  There were about 10 dead bees laying on the opening of the hive.  Upon closer inspection they were just small exoskeletons and we observed the worker bees pull them out of the hive and fly away with them (usually a couple of feet away) and then come back.  We think that during the several days of rain that the bees just did a little house keeping during that time.  R did remove the roof to look in and said the hive is full of bees and that they have already sealed the inner cover shut with propolis.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm blaming it all on McDonald's and the weatherman

Unbelievable.  Two steps forward and one step back.

Weather has made it slow going on the priming but I'll be back at it tomorrow.  Thursday was a very very hot and steamy day.  I was priming away but needed to take a lot of breaks to sit in the shade. R on the other hand was on his way to meet a guy who was interested in buying his race car hauler.  It has been difficult to get R to sell the remaining odds and ends of his racing equipment.  He has raced something with wheels since his teens and he's getting to the age where he receives AARP and social security literature in the mail everyday so to say his racing career was long would be an understatement.  Letting go wasn't easy but I had finally talked him into selling the race car hauler.

Notice the placement of the orange ladder near the peak.
He left the house and I climbed back up on the ladder.  Five minutes later my phone rings.  I almost didn't answer it but thought better and got down from my ladder to check my phone.  It was R and I knew right then and there that it was not good.  I called him back and he said he was in an accident about 1.5 miles from the house.  It seems that a lady decided to cross 5 lanes of traffic to go from Arby's to McDonald's and ran right into the driver's side front fender of his truck.  Totaled her PT Cruiser and did about 3K of damage to R's truck.  She was unclear WHY the cops told her it was her fault.  Because MI has no fault insurance and because the truck was a 2004 we only had PL PD on it and on top of that we have had it for only a month.  Geesh.

So I stopped painting and went to the scene of the accident, which was during rush hour in front of our county's largest hospital by the exit of I 75.  So you can imagine the congestion.  The good news is we were able to yank the front bumper forward so that we could drive the truck home.

Friday was no better.  The weathermen here in Michigan suck.  Their weather prediction is horrible. Storms were forecast for noon to 3PM.  It barely rained at 5PM and by 6PM they said it was over. We have been leaving the two extension ladders up against the house because the fiberglass ladder is extremely heavy and the shorter extension ladder is aluminum and I am currently using that ladder.

At 830PM we experienced quite the storm.  It was dark out but we figure we will at least have a few twigs to pick up.  My mother then called and said she was without power and she lives 7 miles from us.  So at that point we are happy to have power, cable, and Internet.  When the sun came up we see that our yard looks like a war zone AGAIN.  So all of today was spent picking up limbs and we are only 2/3 of the way done.

Just as we are getting ready to call it quits for the day R says to me "you're not going to like this."  I say "like what?"  He says "that." and points to the peak of the house where the ladder was leaning against the house.  The storm was so fierce that it moved the heavy fiberglass ladder and it was caught against the drip edge which it had bent.

So now we have to fix the drip edge that just two days ago was perfectly fine because we got a thunder storm after the weatherman said the threat of rain was over.  Alex who reads my blog and lives north of me commented recently about our weather guys and their inability to predict weather this summer. I love how they think they can predict this winter's snowfall when they can't predict rain within a 5 hour time span. 
So tomorrow I am back to priming and R will finish cleaning up the yard.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

In between the rain showers

It was a beautiful sunny morning.  I had visions of getting oodles done today.  I walked outside and thought to myself "kind of hot out" and then I turned around and as I turned the sun went behind a big dark cloud. In the time it took me to go to the mail box and return (with a bill in my hand...go figure) it had started to rain.

It rained hard for 15 minutes and then stopped.  Any other problem....but today I wanted to sand the trim and use electricity.  Both a NO NO when wet.  So change of plans.

I knew I could move the small concrete bird bath to the other side of the bed and then prepare the area for the concrete bench that R picked up curbside.  Of course I would need R to help because all the pieces were HEAVY but I could do the prep work.  Then the sun came out and it got HOT, like steamy hot.

R came home and we used the furniture dolly to move the bench.  The pedestals are heavy but easy to maneuver.  The top was a whole different story.  First off, it is heavy but on top (no pun intended) of that, it is cumbersome because it is curved.  We finally got it onto the dolly but of course the driveway is uphill (both ways...LOL) to where we were going and did I mention it was HOT!

First, we leveled the pedestals but then we realized that there was no way we could pick that heavy top up and place it on the pedestals.  So we used one of our favorite tools....the hydraulic floor jack.  We laid down a scrap piece of plywood so the top would slide on it and we would also be able to roll the floor jack on it.

Once we had the bench top positioned in front of the pedestals R lifted up the side of the bench top so it was standing on it's edge.  I then moved the floor jack next to the bench top and R lowered the top down onto the jack.  I then started raising the jack as R steadied the bench top.  Once we were higher than the pedestals, R slid one side onto one pedestal and then did the same with the other side.  I then helped him position it evenly on top of the pedestals.

Now came the true test.  Is it still level?  We leveled the pedestals but with the added weight we were not sure if it had sunk into the dirt.  R placed the level on the bench top.  He didn't look happy.  He moved the level 180 degrees and still didn't look happy.  I said "well?"  He said "well, look for yourself."  It was dead on level.  I asked him "how did we do that?"  He said "I don't know, but I'll take it."

After all this time I am still amazed when something works out...LOL  We will finish off the black mulch once I kill and remove the remaining crab grass.  The trumpet lilies will be moved later in the fall to an area where the deer cannot munch off the buds just before they open.  #ithappenseveryyear

Notice how it is sunny in the photo above.

We could not sand because the wood was still slightly damp so we moved on to another project in the same flower bed.  The remaining dogwood is copping a lean to the north.  The ice storm really put a lot of pressure on the dogwoods.  Only one of the three survived but I can't handle seeing a crooked tree every time I drive into the driveway.  So we decided we would stake the tree using our favorite method.....two metal fence posts, a section of old hose, and some rope.

R used a small sledge hammer to drive the two fence posts into the ground.  He was just about ready to add the rope and hose when I said, "we have to spray paint them black first."  R left to get the spray paint and by the time he was raining.  I swear I am not making this up.

It has rained on and off all evening and now into the night.  I just went outside and it is lightning to the south.

So on the agenda for tomorrow.

Plan A if it is dry.

1. sand the trim.
2. epoxy nail holes in the trim and the wood storm windows.
3. sand the epoxy smooth.
4. prime the trim and storm windows.

Plan B if it is damp outside

1. move the dirt on the east side of the garden shed.
2. lay the flag stone walkway.
3. plant the remaining hosta plants on the east side
4. plant the remaining irises on the corner of the garden shed.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Both of these sashes will go up...

.....and down, if it is the last thing that I do.

All the windows were painted shut when we bought the house.  The bottom sashes were easy to get open by just gently removing the sash stop after first scoring the paint with a utility knife to help eliminate paint chips. Once the sash stops are removed the sash is free to go up and down.

If your sash is just stuck in a few areas and not entirely painted shut you can buy a tool that looks like a pancake turner with little sharp points on the flat part and a saw blade cut out around the edge. You wiggle this tool between the sash and the sash stop to break the paint free from the sash.
Today I finished removing the last of the paint on the outside of the windows.  Unbelievable how thick the paint was in some places.  Once I had the paint removed from the stiles, I could see where there was a little paint keeping the upper sash from moving.  Then a light bulb went off in my head.  Hacksaw blade!!!!  So I ran into the house and retrieve the hacksaw blade that I used to remove the paint between the wall and the baseboard.
It worked like a charm.  All the upper sashes now move a little.  I didn't want to jimmy the window too much because I plan on replacing the cord this winter and at that time I can remove the parting bead and finish the job.

I was able to move two of the top sashes back up into place so that the sash was no longer crooked in the opening.  That always bugged the heck out of me.

Over the years I have made all my bottom sashes operational but I want and need the top sashes to also work.  Why have double hung and only use the bottom sash?  If you lower the top sash a little and raise the bottom sash a little you can get great ventilation because the warm air rises and goes out the top and the cooler air comes in through the opening at the bottom.

An operational top sash also works well during a rainstorm if you have an extended eave. By closing the bottom sash and lowering the top sash you can have an open window without the rain coming in, unless of course it is straight line rain then just close the windows and head for the basement.

While I was at it, I also removed any loose glazing compound.  Seriously,  glazing compound whether removing it or installing it, is one of the most tedious jobs.  When I had my first house, I spent an entire summer just reglazing the windows and repainting the exterior of the sashes.  It looked great when I was done but that was many years ago and there is now no way I could stand on a ladder for that long.  Just the thought of it makes the bottom of my feet hurt.

Two days ago we installed the 1 1/4 inch square piece to fill in between the drip edge and the trim board that we added to the peak before we finished shingling.  It worked out perfect.  I primed and painted the pieces before R installed them so I will only need to touch them up when I paint.
 That hammer was up in the window was 3 days before I finally remembered to bring it inside.