How I Spent My Summer Vacation

One of the problems of having a camera that you can tuck just about anywhere, is that it can get tucked just about anywhere. So for a couple of months I’ve been without my take it with me camera, my little Pentax Optio. But it recently resurfaced at the bottom of a bag of stuff I brought back from the studio, and with it, a few long forgotten pictures. So here’s a brief recap of progress on the house.

I started off the summer finishing the top of the fence. The Cecille Brunner roses we transplanted are doing great and the one over the gate even bloomed, providing a nicely scented welcome to our front yard. I can’t wait until we get the whole front covered in roses.

After finishing the top of the fence it was time to start working on pickets. I figure I need over 300 pickets. Here’s the first batch that I finished cutting, waiting to get painted.

I’ll be glad to get those up on the fence so people can finally see what the whole thing is going to look like. But that project got interupted by the fair, and now it’s into prime painting season so they’re on hold for awhile since I can paint them indoors. Can’t waste the precious fall weather on indoor projects.

After last fall’s heat gun incident, I needed to find a safer way to strip the paint on the exterior. After reading lots of reviews online, I finally decided to try out a Paint Shaver Pro. It arrived last week and I got to try it out for the first time yesterday. Right away I love it. In one afternoon I stripped the rest of the south side of the house. With the heat gun it would have taken me about a week or more. Plus I didn’t have to call the fire department, which is a huge bonus. It does scar the wood a bit, but most of the marks will sand out, and it’s a lot easier sanding the bare wood than it is sanding through layers and layers of paint.

Today’s project was to work on the top molding and the window trim. A lot of the window trim needed to be replaced as it was rotted, plus it allows me to prime and reattach the siding behind the trim. Redwood has a way of dissolving nails over a hundred years so it’s good to get everything re-nailed. I’m getting pretty used to finding wacky things done to this house by previous owners, but what I found today made me chuckle. Behind the window trim, insulating the space where the window weights used to hang, was a pair of workman’s coverups. I don’t know the R-Value for used clothing, but it has me wondering did the workman save these for just such a purpose? Or did he just blow out a knee and decide right there to recycle them. If I find a pair of jeans and a shirt in the next window, I’m really going to be wondering.

Honey Do List From Hell

This weekend Lori and I didn’t have to go anywhere, and the weather was really nice. I was very tempted to take one of the motorcycles out for a spin, especially since this is one of my favorite times to ride around here with the poppies and lupine in bloom.

But since we’ve been out of town so much lately there’s lots of catching up to do, and I feel real guilty when I don’t make use of the rare good painting days that we get in Ferndale.

So I attacked the chore list with gusto.

Saturday it was mostly just the stuff that has to be done, like mowing the lawn. Sunday though was a little more interesting as I juggled several projects at once. 

Fence Slats

Fence Slats

For several months now I’ve been working on making the slats for the arbor in front. I bought the wood for this project during our Thanksgiving trip to Melody’s so you can see it’s taking awhile. 75 slats had to be cut with the tail design on both ends, sanded, primed and painted with two coats of latex. I’ve felt like I’ve been working on an assembly line the last few months. This is what happens when you pick a house so you can’t hear your neighbors.  I am so looking forward to making the 350 or so pickets.

In between coats drying I also put a couple of more colors up on the gable. Now it just needs the blue half balls attached and the gold leaf center. The balls are in the garage getting coated in epoxy before they get painted. The gold leaf will wait for a day without too much wind.

Front Gate

Front Gate

I also finally got our front gate hung. It was made with leftover parts from our front porch restoration. I would like to thank Steve Courtemanche for building it. I designed it, and bought the most expensive piece of wood I’ve ever bought for the frame, an $80 piece of old growth redwood. But I just couldn’t seem to get around to actually assembling it with the amount of other projects I have going on. So thanks Steve!

After I finished with the gate hanging, I noticed that our boxwood hedges were long overdue for a haircut. They were all halfway into that 70s afro look. So I decided to tackle one more project. When I got the wheelbarrow out to pick up the clippings, I picked a few nearby weeds. I’m not sure why, but picking weeds is like eating potato chips. You can’t just pick one. So I kept at it until three wheelbarrow loads later my back was sending me urgent warning signals that unless I wanted to spend the next few days lying on the floor, I should stop. Right now!

At 7:30pm I finally gave up and went inside to have dinner. After dinner I called mom since it was Mother’s Day after all. I missed that she was too far away to visit. She’s been very good to Lori and I this year, and it would have been nice to thank her in person. Plus, even though she always has a Sonny Do list for me when we visit, it’s never as long as my own list.