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 day...no 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 returned.....it 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.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Worked until the storm hit

The last couple of days have been slow going tedious work not worthy of a post of it's own but I thought I would bring you up to speed on where we are at on the shingling/trim project.

We finished the shingle work and the last three pieces were a nightmare.  R had to work in his beekeeping garb because of the yellow jacket nest.  He was HOT!!!  Of course the last couple of days have been some of the warmest so far this summer.  Because of the yellow jackets he had to wear long jeans and the jacket and gloves.  After going up and down the ladder several times he felt the need to stop and cool off.


The shingles are done and we cut the extra narrow trim piece we decided to add to fill in the space left by the removal of the old broken trim.  I was able to get two coats of primer and two coats of paint on the pieces before the rain hit.

We also removed the three storm windows and the hangers.  Tomorrow we will epoxy the holes and sand the window trim.  I also noticed some old paint that I can now get to with the heat gun.  The storm windows need window glazing, sanding, priming, and painting.  I love how they have the wavy glass.  
 Looks like I better get my paint brush ready.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Shingles and flip flops

There's an old adage that says you learn something new every day.  You know what I learned today? Climbing a ladder while wearing cheap flip flops is difficult.  Wearing good flip flops and climbing a ladder is tricky but do it in cheap flip flops that are on their last flip and flop and well...you are living dangerously.

It took us a good 7 hours today to finish the shingles and trim board on the left side of the peak.  I wish I knew how many times R and I walked up and down that ladder.  I seriously thought we would not finish the left side but once the sun went behind the trees and we were working in the shade, we really picked up speed.

The first thing that we did today was to go through the scrap plywood and find the thickness that we needed to shim out the 1x4 trim piece so that it was flush with the existing 1x4 corner trim.  We ripped long pieces of 3 inch wide boards out of paneling that I think was 3/16th thick.  That was a scrap piece from a demo and it was stained to match the wood paneling so it was probably from one of the kitchen demos.

We air nailed the shim in place.  Next was cutting the angle on the end of the trim board that would go in the very top of the peak.  R used a small torpedo level to find vertical and scribed a line.  When he adjusted the blade on the saw he found out the angle was 45 degrees.  Once it was cut, he held the trim board in place at the peak while I marked it for length at the other end.  We then nailed it in place.

We started filling in the shingles at the edge of each row.  Every one was a custom angled cut and because we shimmed out the trim board we were able to tuck the shingle under the trim.

The trim we removed was installed like a piece of crown moulding and because of this we have a space of about an inch between the drip edge and the trim.   I have an idea but that will be the last two pieces that we install because I need to first try out a couple of designs.  But don't worry....I'll use scrap wood.

Grandma Cat said it was too hot to shingle so she slept under the rose bushes where it was cool but close enough to hear if someone was opening a can of cat food.  The proverbial kitty sweet spot. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Curbside Treasure

Wow....R is on a hot streak.  I was shocked when he said "look what I picked up today."  He said it caught his eye because it was sitting on top of a closed trash container.  Most of the time when you see that, it indicates that the item is too good to throw away but that they no longer want it.
Look at that.  A plein air easel and paint set.  It took me a while to figure out how to unfold the legs but once I figured it out....it all made sense.  Included in the set is an easel, mixing palette, carrying strap, a brush, oil paints, acrylic paints, and watercolor paints.
About 3/4 of the stuff that R finds I either CraigsList or donate to Goodwill.  I think I'll keep this one.
R is a lot like a shark who has to keep moving.  R's wheels on his truck are constantly in motion and because of this he covers a lot of miles. I'm the opposite.   I take the shortest distance and if I don't have to leave the house...I don't.
Again, Grandma Cat wasn't really impressed.  She doesn't know it just yet, but she is going to move in with my mother who needs the companionship and Grandma Cat needs a home.  Grandma Cat showed up last November just before the snow started to fall.  We kept her fed and as warm as we could in the barn during the winter. Once spring had sprung we got to know her better and tried to find her humans.  She's a smart cat that knows a lot of words but she really wants to be the only cat (we have two indoor cats who demand that the world revolves around them) and we think that she was an indoor cat.  So an indoor cat she will be, again. Grandma Cat will soon be Condo Cat.
This is a first for my mother.  She has never had a pet inside the house and until Grandma Cat, she never petted a cat.  Grandma Cat will have to train Grandma (my mother) but I am sure Grandma Cat will be spoiled.  My mother has already been buying up kitty stuff.  So after Labor Day, R will take my mother and Grandma Cat to the vet and then she goes to the kitty spa for the works.

Once Grandma Cat is living with Grandma (my mother) the tally for relocating cats will be 11 since May. We have a boy cat that is a real sweetie who is on the shy side, that we would really like to find a home. The ideal situation would be with someone who has cat experience and can work with Morrie and give him a lot of attention.  He loves to sit on your lap and is just a good little boy.

Tomorrow we are back to working on the shingles.  R removed the trim piece under the drip edge on the left side.  It went fairly fast because we were not trying to save the trim because it was cracked and rotted.  He used a chisel to split it and then used a pneumatic grinder to cut off any nails that he couldn't pull out.  We then moved the ladder to the other side and he started to remove that trim.  Amazingly, 3/4 of it came down in one piece.  He stepped down the ladder to get the last 2 feet of trim and was promptly stung by a hornet That is 3 hornet stings this summer for R.

I don't know what to do since we are no longer using pesticides and insecticides in our yard.  I did purchase a vintage wasp jar several years ago for catching wasps.  I think I read somewhere to put Dr. Pepper in it.  I wonder what box of stuff the wasp jar is in and will I be able to get to the box. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adding a second story....

.....to the bee hive.  The bees needed the space and I think everyone can relate to that situation.

The second box was needed for honey storage for the bees to store enough honey to get them through the winter.   Plus, their population is expanding and no one likes to be cramped.

So Monday morning we drove to our beekeeper's house and bought another 10 frame deep box.  I spent an hour or so in the afternoon on priming and painting the exterior.

Grandma Cat checking out the box and frames before installation

While we were at the beekeeper's house I asked a lot of questions.  One of those questions was "how do you make the smoker smoke?"  The answer was dried sumuc, specifically the dried flower head or what is called sumac bobs.  My brother in law had told us that is what he used but I didn't realize that that is what most beekeepers use.
In our area the sumac is the staghorn sumac and we are lucky or unlucky, in some cases because it spreads easily, to have a large patch of it behind our barn.  I cut a large handful of stalks to dry but by evening they were still too green to stay lite in the smoker.

This was R's first official beekeeping duty.  So we were both kind of anxious about how well it was going to unfold especially since he would be going in smokeless because the sumac wouldn't stay lite.  We waited until just before dark for R to suit up.

First up was removing the roof.  Bees were flying around but really not agitated more just disturbed.  Next was the inner cover which he lifted off gently.  He then set the new box on top but first making sure that there were no bees resting on the edge of the lower box that might get crushed.  The box was very gently set down so that it didn't move the lower box.  All the while he was working on the hive, he made sure not to make any sudden movements.  He then reassembled the box by putting the inner cover back on and then the roof.  He then stepped away.

I can't wait until we can move the hive and replace the shingles and windows #looksohsouglynow

We watched the bees for about 30 minutes and slowly they went back into the box and then it was too dark to see much of anything until morning.  Morning came and everything looked great.  Bees coming and going.
All was well with the hive.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Curbside Treasure

This is by far the heaviest curbside treasure that we have found to date. A vintage concrete curved bench.



The concrete bench is an exact match to the bench that we found buried in the yard.  That bench is straight and is now sitting along the narrow walkway that leads to our cast iron fountain.

We haven't decided on a location just yet.  First we need to do a light sandblasting to remove what is left of the black paint.  We prefer our concrete in it's natural state and have several bird baths that need their paint removed, too.  In time.

Today we worked on the shingles and we are almost done with the field but ran out of shingle nails.  I even checked the ground under the ladder and found 5 more nails.

 Grandma Cat says "These humans wear me out."

Tomorrow morning we pick up another super for the bee hive.  This means that R gets to play beekeeper for the first time when he adds the second super.