Sunday, October 14, 2018

Building a Peaked Roof on a Flat Roof

We have been VERY occupied with framing this roof.  The back and one side of our house has a hip roof design but the front of the other side have a gable roof design.  Since the flat roof area is inset into the hip roof on the back we had no choice but to finish building out the hip roof.  But this left a 40 inch bump out and we decided to frame that roof area with a gable roof design.
The photo above was taken during the tear off phase and before we installed new framing underneath to make the area flat.
We used new wood for the joists but the attic decking is old wood we are reusing.  We used joist hangers and R said he jumped up and down and it felt very sturdy.

I have no idea how many times we framed the hip roof portion only to take some of it back apart.  Thank heaven for screws.  The hip roof design is complicated enough but when you have to incorporate it into a nearly 100 year old hip roof and you are rookie hip roof framers.....well, let's just say I am glad that our neighbors live more than an earshot away because we had some really intense discussions.
But today we rounded a corner and installed two sheets of plywood and it was wonderful.  They went right into place and we breathed a collective sigh of relief.
My photos aren't great because we were running out of daylight.

Tomorrow's plywood installation will be tricky shapes but the pieces will be a lot smaller.  Today when we installed the 2 full sheets we kind of cheated.  The plywood is thicker than most roof sheathing and because of that it would be impossible for the two of us to get that plywood sheet on the roof without either one of us or both.....breaking our backs, falling off the roof, destroying our already old injured shoulders, or and we laughed about this....that we would be found dead under a sheet of plywood with only our feet sticking out like in the Wizard of Oz.

How did we cheat?  We cut the sheet of plywood right down the center lengthwise.  This cut the weight in half and made the handling a lot easier.  We made sure to butt up the cut edges so there weren't any gaps, not even the slightest.

But on a prettier note.  The photo above are of the last of the roses blooming in our yard.  Clockwise from top left is a Red Knockout rose bud, Pink Fairy, Red Knockout rose, and the white roses are Gourmet Popcorn.

The leaves are falling and the temperature is dropping fast.  This week's forecast is for high temps in the 50's all week.  I can handle that as long as it doesn't rain.  Sunny and 55 degrees is actually perfect working weather.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Harvesting Milkweed Seeds

Finally a day of no rain.  I have been working at cutting down all of my cone flowers and today I started cutting down the milkweed.  I thought that I would talk about Milkweed and how to harvest the seeds from the seed pods.
I love the close up photo of the individual flowers that make up the larger milkweed flower.

Milkweed plants get a bad rap and I think it is because of the word 'weed' that is part of the name.  The flowers have a wonderful scent and last for quite some time.  Also the plant stalk is strong so the can withstand a strong wind or rain storm.
The Monarchs love them but they are also favorites of the bees.  The top photo is a honeybee, the middle photo is a bumble bee, and the bottom photo is a Monarch.

There are a few things that you need to know before you start cutting down the milkweed stalks. 
The milkweed plant contains cardiac glycosides which are like digitalins that are used to treat some heart diseases.  These glycosides are absorbed by the monarch butterfly larvae whose sole source of food is the milkweed foliage.  This is what makes the larvae and adult Monarchs toxic to birds and other predators. 

The sap can be very irritating if you get it on your skin. But it can be very dangerous if you get it in your eyes.  To be safe always wear gloves and safety glasses when cutting down the stalks which is when you will be exposed to the milky sap.
Collect the seed pods before they split open.  Inside the seed pod are round flat seeds.  Each seed has a little tuft of silk attached to it.  This allows the seed to float away in a breeze to grow elsewhere which expands their territory.

Planting seeds that have the silk attached can be a real pain.  But thanks to YouTube there is a person or two who have perfected the method for removing the silk and leaving just the seeds.

 Mona Miller

Shane Simpson

The seeds need to winter over before they will sprout so plant in the fall.  Sometimes it will take a year or so before it sprouts.  But you will have plenty of seeds to sow so that isn't a problem.  Milkweed is a perennial plant and will die back in the fall and sprout again in the spring.  Each year the plant will grow a bigger taller stalk. First year plants may or may not have flowers.  Plant the seeds where you ultimately want the plant.  Milkweed plants do not transplant well especially full grown milkweed plants.

Sow the seeds into loosened soil and then kick back and wait until the next year.  Also, pat yourself on the back for helping the Monarch butterfly.

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