Thursday, July 30, 2009

Iron Gate Update

We are getting close to the end of the iron gate restoration.R needed to do a little grinding on the bottom hinge, so that the thick flat washer we added as a shim would lie flat. We needed to add the shim so that the two individual gates would line up.Notice he has on his grinding shorts again.
Notice the floor jack holding up the gate? We used it so we could align the low gate to match the high gate...looks good. The gates were very heavy AND awkward to handle. Their center of gravity (COG) was high and to the hinge side. It was much easier to maneuver around on the floor jack, especially the all aluminum (NASCAR racing jack) floor jack. Looking level and straight.At one point, the installation required 2 floor jacks and we just happen to have this extra floor jack that R just picked up for 2 bucks at a garage sale 2 weeks ago. The seller said it no longer would pump up. Most floor jacks have rebuild kits available for a minimum amount of money. It's usually a bad O ring. Install clean oil and away you go. But this was not the case. R has had his fair share of floor jacks plus he was a journeyman machine repairman (hydraulic tech) for almost 37 years, so he knows that sometimes all that is required is to break the rust layer that has developed. So with all the expertise he could muster, he lifted the jack about 6 inches off the ground and let it hit the floor. He then expertly tested the floor jack for usability. worked. He raised the saddle or pad, as some call it, up all the way and down all the way. The handle worked effortlessly. He placed something heavy on the saddle and it remained elevated without drifting down. Not too shabby for 2 bucks. Plus it was a 2 ton jack instead of a ton and a half.
I also added a extra sedum called Autumn Fire to each side of the Autumn Joy that was already planted there.
Tomorrow we work on the latch mechanism and then the gate restoration is complete.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gates, Treasures, & Buick Pro Am

Work progressed on the gates today. The north side is 95% complete. R wants to give some areas a second coat so the paper he used to protect the bricks is still taped to the pillar in the photo.
The south side gate has received one coat on both sides but has yet to be installed. We didn't even attempt to hang the gate because by the time the paint had dried it was after 7PM and neither one of us wanted to start what could be a long and strenuous ordeal.

While I was out by the gate this evening picking things up, I had someone stop and comment on how hard I was working on removing the brush along the fence. He said he had been watching me all week while he was installing the electronic scoreboards. He said every day he would go by and more and more was gone every day. He gave me a hug and said I was a hard worker. LOL

Yesterday I hinted at a curbside treasure that I had painted. Here's the back story. R was driving along when he saw a guy walking back to his house after putting out the trash. R said he had put out a lot of things. As he drove by he saw WROUGHT IRON FURNITURE. He slammed on his brakes and started backing up. At the same time someone else saw the furniture and slowed down but R was already there so they left. If he would have been 30 seconds later...the furniture would have been gone.

R brought home 4 wrought iron chairs and the matching table. The furniture had it's original white paint but it was starting to show some small rust spots and someone had started to spray paint the table red. The table is metal mesh like the seats. I normally don't like that type of table but this is a very heavy table and the base is reminiscent of the old glass table bases in that it has a place to sit a pot of flowers.

I currently needed two of the chairs to go with a small side table I purchased for 10 bucks. So I got out the spray paint and now I have two chairs and a small table to use for taking a quick break while working in the yard.Ahhhhh.....the Buick Open madness has started. Normally we don't get the rude people until Sunday or Saturday at the earliest, but not this year. Today we had 3 young ladies and let me just say up front.....I use the term 'ladies' loosely. It was approximately 3 in the afternoon so if you were located anywhere from tee 10 to 13 there was a very good chance that the last foursome had already gone through. Since Tiger and Bob Seger teed off at 7am they might have been out there for some time. I can appreciate the fact that they might have been hot and tired but that still does not give you the right to trespass. I caught the threesome as soon as they entered the yard on the south side. They were parked in the yard of my neighbor on the north side. I asked them to turned around and go back to the street. I said please...they said no. Now these girls were probably no older than 20. I think they thought 3 out numbered 1 but unbeknown to them I had been in a sorority and lived with 40 girls at one time so three young girls were hardly going to intimidate me. I so wish I had my hose close by.....they looked so warm. R saw what was happening and he started yelling. They didn't turn around until R got close. They were mumbling as they walked away. R went back to working on the gates. But like a lot of young ladies that age....they just couldn't walk by without running their mouths. But they weren't done. When they were driving their cars by us, they laid on the horns and gave us the one finger salute. Classy young ladies. Maybe they were upset because they didn't get 'The Nuge's' autograph. I doubt if these girls knew who Bob Seger is, or the original 'Bad Boy' himself Bill Laimbeer.I can't imagine what it will be like on Saturday and Sunday. Oh and I almost forgot. I had two guys in a pick up truck stop and ask me why I wasn't allowing cars to park in my yard this year. I told them 'I never let people park in my yard.' He said 'Yes you do.' I said 'No' but that wasn't good enough for him. He continued to argue with me and insisting that he indeed usually parks in my yard. I finally convinced them that it was my neighbor who's yard they park in. The driver looked at my neighbor's driveway and said 'They don't have a sign.' I said 'they are done for the day and took the sign down.' That's when Einstein finally realized he usually parks next door.

FYI........Even though Ted Nugent is nothing more than a rock and roll Dick Cheney, Stranglehold is in my top 5 favorite songs of all time. Maybe it's because the original version had someone other than Uncle Ted on vocals.

Top 5 songs in any order on any given day.
Moon Dance...Van Morrison
Gear Jammer.....Thorogood
Any song by Led Zeppelin
Hotel California.....Eagles I'm embarassed by that one but I like it.

FYI......Bob Seger early stuff is my fav.

FYI.....Detroit Pistons just are not the same without 'The Bad Boys' and Laimbeer deserves a head coaching job in the NBA. Dumars missed the boat when he didn't sign Laimbeer after giving Curry his walking papers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Iron Gate Update

Wow...lately all everyone wants to know is "when is R going to finish the gates?" Today my father had back surgery. When we finally got to his room after his surgery, one of the first things he asked was "is R done with the gates, yet?" Yikes!!!! R is going as fast as he can. Here's the photos to prove it.

Remember when the south side looked like this??
Well it looks like this now.Isn't that chain link ugly? We have some ideas how to remedy the ugliness, but until then I will just paint it black and hope that it fades into the background rather than stand out like a silver rusty sore thumb. Once the lilacs get larger the fence will disappear no matter what we do.

Also notice how the light fixture now needs painting. Just like any other home improvement project spawns at least 3 other projects, thus creating a never ending list of projects that need to be completed.

And remember this?And it looks like this now.R look at the sky.....I think it's going to rain.Time to hustle.I just realized something....R's grinding clothes look like his painting clothes. I swear he has more shorts than just those nasty cut offs but what can I say......he's grew up during the 60's and 70's when cut offs were the casual attire of choice. The wife beater t shirt makes him look like he should be in an episode of COPS. Maybe I should pixelate his protect the innocent.

The sky is getting darker.And then it started raining.

In my haste to show the painted parts of the gate, I completely left out the bar straightening procedure. I don't actually have photos of said procedure but it involved a big sledge hammer, a port a power and this...A torch. When all else fails.....use fire.

We still need to hang the south gate and finish painting the north gate. The square posts will need a second coat and we need to attach the latch mechanism so we can rid ourselves of the chain and use just a padlock.

Here's an up close photo of the grinder and the grinding discs that R used. The disc in the grinder is actually disc number 5. Look at how small the disc is compared to how big it was when he started.Just in case you thought R was the only one working, here's photo proof that I, too, was hard at it. I painted this metal garden kitty that I received for Christmas. It was originally brown but I needed it to be black. Isn't he cute?I also did some mowing and I sprayed painted some other items, but I'll wait until tomorrow to talk about those pieces. Hint.....more curbside treasures from two years ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Primed and Ready To Go

That's right....we're primed......the entire wrought iron driveway gates are primed. In spite of the weather R prevailed.

It rained on and off. Did that stop R from grinding......nooooooo.

It was windy and I am not talking little breeze type wind but more like a steady 25 mph wind. Did that stop R from spray painting primer on the gates......noooooooooo.

It was hot and humid then cool and windy. Did that stop R from finishing the grinding and priming.......nooooooo.

R still needs to straighten a few bars before we paint but we needed to get this far before we stop for any given time. Straightening the bars will just take an hour or so then touch up the primer.

While R worked on the gates I was busy clearing out the brush along the fence line on the outside by the street. As I was picking up rocks I saw something round and flat. I picked it up and sure enough, it was money.....a quarter.I said to R, "Hey, I found a quarter." He said, "Good work, take the rest of the day off." It was 7:15PM and we had been at it was over 7 hours straight.

That's right ladies.....he's all mine and you can't have him.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Race is on to Beat the Rain

R was just minutes away from getting in his truck and starting his 3 hour drive up north to race his sprint car when my phone rang. It was Gavin calling to say they had canceled the race due to rain. Gavin and Barbara drove the rig up north last evening. Pulling a long race car enclosed trailer is a tedious chore plus an expensive one.

So R got busy with the gate again and that is when the blue sky turned to black and it started pouring. I saw the clouds coming. I got R's attention and pointed to the sky but he just kept on grinding. I heard the thunder, I yelled for R, besides being hard of hearing...he was engrossed in his grinding, so I reached down and unplugged his extension cord. He looked at his grinder and even though I couldn't read his lips because of the face shield and dust protector covering his mouth.......I still know exactly what he said.........I believe it went something like this, "What the @#$% is wrong with this @#$% thing!" Then the rain started.

It rained hard for 15 minutes then it stopped. So R hauled everything back out to the gate and continued to grind until 6PM. He says he needs "30 more minutes and then I can prime." The forecast calls for rain nearly every day next week. So the final black satin coat maybe a week away. He will just be glad to not have to grind anymore.

Here is R grinding away in his grinding attire.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Iron Driveway Gate Update

The work on the iron driveway gates has been going slow due to rain. It seems like it does not go more than 3 days without raining.

One side is completely primed while the other side is about 3/4 scraped and de rusted. R still need to straighten several bars but he'll do that just prior to priming. The final black satin coat will not be applied until everything is primed and the south gate is reinstalled.
Primed and ready for paint and the primed gate to be reinstalled.The other gate before R started the prep work.

Several roadblocks could cause the final coat to not be applied until after NEXT Sunday, not this Sunday but NEXT Sunday.

1. R has a race on Saturday night at a track approximately three hours from here. Best case scenario is we return home very very late Saturday night (3am Sunday). Sunday will be spent sleeping and cleaning the race car so I see very little getting done on the gate Sunday.

2. Starting next week is the Buick Open. Whatever is going to get done must be done by Thursday at the latest. Too many people and golf carts to be able to spray paint and use the grinder or welder.

3. R wants to race next Saturday at Eldora Speedway, Tony Stewart's race track in Ohio. If we decide to go we will leave very early Friday morning to make Friday afternoon practice and the Friday night dance at the Eldora Ballroom, and will not return until Sunday evening. R and I do not dance but the Eldora Ballroom is legendary and as gear heads and race junkies we feel it is our duty to attend.

4. Tiger Woods will be at the Buick Open so we must prepare to be bombarded by hoards of rude people trying to get a glimpse of Woods in what will probably be the last Buick Open. For the life of me I can't understand why people feel that the buying of a ticket to a sporting event give them the right to trespass on my property or litter my property with paper, bottles, and empty beer cups.

I feel bad for the charities that receive monies from the Buick Open but I also feel that the Buick Open and township officials have taken advantage of the citizens who choose NOT to allow parking (for a price). They allow people to over drink on the course and when these people leave they become obnoxious and dangerous to everyone else. They also do absolutely nothing to try and keep the unnecessary noise to a minimum. We've had to listen to rap music, honking horns, air horns, yelling and shouting at cars trying to lure them into their yards, and loud trucks and cars driving back and forth for no apparent reason other than to see what is going on.

On to a lighter note. Our neighbor, Gary, came over and spoke with R and I about how great the yard looks. It's great to hear that our work is being appreciated by someone else. Our neighbors probably had to watch our home decline for more than a decade. I know it would make me not even want to go outside. So we will be very happy when we can paint the sides of the house that face their home. Unfortunately that is the north and east side of our home and we planned that to be the last.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Found a Curb Side Treasure, too!

I realized after I wrote yesterday's post that I, too, had recently found a curb side treasure.All it needs is some new fabric.
Of course I don't know where I am going to use it, but it was screaming at me to rescue it. So rescue I did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

R Scores Another Curbside Treasure

Lately, when it comes to finding curbside treasures, R has been on a hot streak.

Several weeks ago it was a picnic table and a Sears Craftsman 5 hp compressor. Sunday's score was not curbside but almost. I drove past a garage sale and then noticed they had older wrought iron furniture for sale, so I stopped. I looked at the wrought iron love seat, chair, and chaise lounge (with white rubber tires still intact) and the tag said $20.00. I thought to myself "cool, I wonder if it is $20 a piece or $20 for all three pieces?" I looked at all the other trinkets and found a $2.00 plate I just had to have, so I headed toward the prerequisite garage sale card table with the cash box. Seated behind the card table and guarding the cash box were three women, so I figured I had a fairly good chance that one of the cash box guards was the owner of the wrought iron furniture. As I paid for my plate I asked, "how much for the patio furniture?" The woman that I believed to be the head cash box guard, a title which is usually bestowed upon the owner of the home of the garage sale, said "$25.00." Say what???? I couldn't believe it. So I said "thank you" and left. But I wasn't done. I got into my SUV and called R. I knew he was just down the road and could be called into service at a moments notice when haggling is required. He answered the phone and said he was just coming up on the sale. I told him what transpired and told him to stop and see if he could get the furniture for $15.00. Several minutes later he pulled in the driveway with the furniture. I asked "what did you have to pay for it?" I just about died when he said "$15.00" he then paused for a moment and said "but I have a date later." Funny guy that R.

I was willing to pay $20.00, heck I might have even paid $30.00 for it but it was a matter of principle.

Today's score was unbelievable. R found this at the curb waiting for the trash man.This rocking chair is in seriously good condition. It is so comfortable, too. No labels but I think it is the original fabric. Springs seem to be in good condition and seat is firm with original horse hair and padding still intact. Also the rocking chair is very heavy. I'm not sure of the wood, maybe cherry or mahogany.

I was surprised that the rocking chair runners were not cracked or repaired. The only problem I see is the worn finish on the chair arms. Actually that doesn't bother me because I would expect to see that.

Sorry I forgot to take a photo of the patio furniture....oops!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Asphalt Driveway Sealer

Several days before we left for the Antiques Roadshow we decided to get our asphalt driveway resealed. The driveway suffered from years and years of neglect. As you know from previous posts, we finally found the edge all around the driveway. When we purchased the house, the driveway was nearly entirely covered in leaves, pine cones, seed pods from trees, and dirt. It literally took us years to uncover the entire driveway. Neglect has also caused the driveway to severely crack. Not just big crack but entire areas of small cracks. Plus the driveway just plain looked bad.

Here's a before photo of the driveway as you drive in past the gates. You can see that previous sealer is completely worn off in the area of the tire tracks.Here is the after photo.The company we hired sprayed hot sealer on the asphalt driveway and it soaked into the driveway almost immediately. They were also able to fill some of the cracks. This photo is of a section directly in front of the flower bed that has the lavender, roses, and hydrangeas.Here is an after photo of the same area.We decided that the driveway needs some immediate attention before this winter. The sealer we had sprayed will hopefully keep the next layer of sealer from soaking in. We will attack one area at a time. We purchased some cold patch to fill any voids or missing areas on the side. We also bought several different crack fillers. After we fill the cracks we will put down another layer of sealer.

Hopefully this will give us several more years before we need to have the driveway resurfaced. Given the size and length of our driveway.......I can't imagine what that will cost.

Monday, July 20, 2009

You too, can be a Roadshow Appraiser Part Two

OK, here is the verdict on what the Antiques Roadshow appraiser had to say.

If you want to guess first. Stop. Do not scroll down. Go to You too, can be a Roadshow Appraiser and look at the items and take a stab at the appraised price. Then come back here and read on.






Item #1 I paid $400 4 years ago. Appraiser's verdict between $1800.00 and $3600.00 Price will go up if I can get info on the Society Nationale des Beaux Arts and prove that the painting was indeed exhibited on March 12, 1933.

Item #2 I paid $400 5 years ago. Appraiser's verdict $1200.00. Appraiser agreed painting was from 1890's but American not French and that frame is from 1910 era.

Item #3 I paid $75.00 4 years ago. Appraiser's verdict $150.00.

Item #4 I paid $240.00 4 years ago. Appraiser's verdict $250.00. Appraiser said price would be higher if painting was older because buyers prefer their religious art to be old.

How did you do???? I think I did pretty good considering I just buy what I like and could care less if it is worth more. Of course I am happy that my choices are worth at least what I paid for them, I just wish my investment portfolio had done as well over the last 4-5 years.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bare Iron and Rain=Rust

Yesterday R was able to get the gate primed so today he started on the iron part that is attached to the pillar. The weather forecast today was for a 30% chance of showers and at 1PM in the afternoon it was mostly sunny. By 2PM it was mostly cloudy. By 4PM it was sprinkling on and off. By 5PM it was raining big time. Unfortunately by 430PM R had the iron stripped of paint and ready for primer. He was able to get about 10% of the bare iron primed. Tomorrow we will lightly sand and immediately primer the bare iron.Take a look at how badly rusted this piece is. Nothing we can do about it. We are hoping when it is painted that it won't stand out. Fingers crossed.While R prepped the iron, I was busy spraying Round Up on the weeds and grass growing in my hosta beds. I've been waiting for a non windy and non wet day to spray. The rain started about 2 hours after I sprayed so I think I'll be OK.

While it rained I use the heat gun to strip paint off the interior trim of one of the dining room windows. Stripping revealed that these windows were always painted. The window trim in the living room had a layer of shellac or varnish on the bare wood and then painted. The paint in the living room required very little heat to remove the paint and work went very fast. The dining room was slower but paint came off easier than the exterior trim.

It looks like the trim was tan early on. Later and probably during the 50's, the Calamine pink color made it way to the trim. After that it was white. Three colors but about 8 coats of paint with the last coat being a sprayed flat coat. The detail was hidden with all the paint. Once I repaint, the trim will have sharper detail.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Iron Driveway Gates

Gear Acres has wrought iron driveway gates. I do not know if they are original to when the house was built but I do know they are old. The pillars on either side are a combination of split granite rocks and brick. This is the same design that is on the outside of the chimney for the living room and the granite is similar to the fireplace in the family room. So based on those details, my gut feeling is that the pillars and gates are original to the house.Currently they are painted bright red. They were red when we bought the house. Some of the wrought iron is slightly bent. I'm speculating a late night run in with a large chrome bumper. The gates also have a lot of rust and peeling paint.Originally we had planned to take them down and sand blast them. Well, we took one off the hinges and just about fell over. We had all we could do to lay it across the garden tractor trailer. R has been grinding off rust and paint chips. He also used a come along chain to straighten the bent parts. Normally R would have used the port a power to bend them back in place but he couldn't find a good location to attach it with out doing further damage. Yesterday he spray painted primer on the gate. He is currently working on the remaining wrought iron that attaches to the pillar. We have absolutely no idea how we are going to lift it back into place. We definitely need two men and a boy for this job. Currently we have one man and a very short very tired woman.

We will refurbish the other gate while it is on the hinges. If the wind ever lets up, I am going to attempt to spray paint them. The gates one way or another will be satin black.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sprucing Up the Mailbox

I have this thing about mailboxes. It's really the first thing a new visitor to your home will see when they come to visit. But some people totally neglect their mailbox. I've seen very expensive homes with rusty mailboxes and leaning mail box posts. Some people just have plain ugly mailboxes. Check out the link under Favorite Links called Ugly Mailboxes.

My mailbox post was looking pretty bad. The paint was peeling and the black numbers were no longer black thanks to the road salt and snow plow.

Here's a before photo.
Looks much better with a fresh coat of paint.
The day lilies planted at the base are burgundy and pink. Day lilies can survive the road salt and dry conditions.

Tomorrow I start painting the entry gates. R has been grinding off multiple layers of paint and rust. He spent some time today straighten the bent wrought iron. The bend was just about car bumper height. Looks like someone didn't notice the gates were closed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI on the S.S. Badger

For our return trip to Michigan we decided to take the car ferry across Lake Michigan. Once you arrive at the dock for your voyage, you are directed to park your vehicle, leave the window down, and the keys in the ignition. S.S. Badger personnel load your vehicle on to the 410' 6" ship, unless you rode a motorcycle, in which you drive on to the ship yourself. Looks like the S.S. Badger is a hatchback.Here is a view from the upper deck looking down into the cargo area. R says they load the semis last so that the heaviest cargo is in the area of the propellers. I guess this keeps the propellers deep into the water. The Badger operates on coal, a domestic fuel. It is the only coal powered passenger ship still in regular service. It recently underwent a retrofit to burn coal cleaner.Originally when the Badger launched in 1953, it not only carried passengers and cars but also rail cars. Eventually with the decline of the rail road, the Badger was retro fitted to carry just passengers and vehicles. It's current carrying capacity is 620 passengers and 180 vehicles.

During the 4 hours it takes to cross Lake Michigan you can sun yourself on deck in a lounge chair. Notice how R is shielding his face with his Antiques Roadshow ticket.Or you can play bingo, watch a movie, walk the deck (6 times around equals a mile), drink, sleep, eat, or shop at the Boatique. The bingo area was hopping. They even had a karaoke contest. The bingo caller also kept the passengers informed about local happenings in Ludington. I heard him tell the crowd......

"Last night the Ludington police station was robbed."

"The robbers took all the toilets at the police station."

"They started an investigation, but they have nothing to go on."
The lake was extremely calm and the sky was nearly cloudless.As we neared Ludington Mi, we picked up a Coast Guard escort.Can you explain why people always wave at large boats full people???
and why do we wave back??? I felt like Queen Elizabeth.
Once we arrived in Ludington, the unloading began. Ship personnel drive your vehicle off the boat and park it with keys in ignition. When you see your vehicle, you hop in and drive off. I should have used this opportunity to upgrade my vehicle.Passengers wait here for their vehicles. Notice the ship in the background called Spartan? I guess this is an old ship no longer in use. It currently is used for spare parts to keep the Badger sailing.