June 24, 2017

What is up Must Come Down

Monday afternoon I got home from work to find the willow tree had dropped several large branches. Although these were tops, there were several large sections that my little 12" chainsaw didn't have a prayer of cutting up.

From back porch
From back porch
From back porch
From back porch

Picture from kitchen bay window
From back porch

After having no luck getting local tree services to call me back, even after leaving a couple of messages, I resorted to begging for help from the good folks on the pellet burner / wood burner forum I frequent. Several people offered help, but most were 2 hours away. I finally accepted the offer from a guy that lives an hour away, just across the MA/NH border. Friday I had a rare evening off and cut off the smaller limbs. I filled the truck so it was ready for a dump run and still had 2 more piles that were large enough to fill the truck once each.

  Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard

I made three dump runs this morning. The guy from the forum came early this afternoon and had the logs cut up in no time and helped straighten out the fence panels so I can once again let the cats out of the house. I made 3 more trips to the dump, and all is back to normal.

  Fishingpol straightening fence
Fishingpol straightening fence

 This picture was taken before adding the wood chunks in the next two pictures Truck full of wood 4th trip
Truck full of wood 4th trip
Truck full of wood 4th trip

However, the wood was really dry for a willow, and we found a carpenter ant nest along with woodpecker holes from the birds getting a tasty treat. So, that means it is imperative for me to get that willow taken down this summer. Now, if I could just get someone to return my calls.

Oh yeah, the insurance adjuster was here Friday morning (I remoted into work while waiting for him), climbed up to the roof and found damage to a couple of the seams so I have to call a contractor to come fix that too. The adjuster gave me a name of a general contractor that is experienced with standing seam roofs, so I will try to get a hold of that company Monday.

Posted by Bogie on June 24, 2017 at 06:46 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

June 17, 2017

Beautification Project

After seeing the results of the work I had done last week, I decided that the parking area needed to be more separate from the yard behind it.Yesterday I took a vacation day and put in landscape timbers to add definition and separation. Additionally, it will help keep the bare soil from running into the hard pack of the parking area. I bless the neighbor who gave me some timbers last year as I had enough to get the 3 rows of timbers put in without having to go get more. I also had rebar left from putting in the garden at the front of the house, but naturally was two shy of what I needed.

It started raining just after putting in the last timber so I took the opportunity to go to H*me Dep*t and got 25 sections of sod and as well as rebar (who knew that no local places that sell landscape timbers actually carry in stock the means to anchor said timbers securely?). I laid the sod when I got home, in the pouring rain. Yes I was very wet and muddy when I got done :D.

Lasndscape timbers and sod-closer
Lasndscape timbers and sod-closer

Today I got a late start as the cloudy, cool day just wasn't conducive to my being ambitious. Eventually I put down the book I was reading and went to Agway to grab a few plants then went out to play in the dirt.

Long shot:

First row of plants

L-R; Leucanthumum Snow Cap aka Shasta Daisy (also in next picture), false indigo, 2 hostas (the one in front is so far homeless), and creeping phlox in the background. Unseen behind the phlox are a couple of iris that I still had from a batch that Cop Car had sent a couple of years ago. The phlox has been in an overwintering bed for at least 2 years.


First row of plants

L-R; Hosta, two Veronicas, False Indigo, Leucanthumum. Way in the back are, so far unplanted, day lilies that have also been in an overwintering bed for a couple of years.


First row of plants

I also took extra soil and cut in around the pieces of sod, so now it looks like a patchwork quilt. But the edges should hold moisture to help it fill in between the sections.


First row of plants

If it wasn't threatening rain all weekend, and into Tuesday, I would have been moving pellets into the basement and garage. But I am happy with the progress of the yard, so am not complaining.

PS - Hey Cop Car if you still have irises that need a new home, I have room now :)

Posted by Bogie on June 17, 2017 at 08:44 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (6)

June 10, 2017

New Look for the driveway

I decided to widen the driveway a little as well as make it so I can back the truck to the shed during winter without having to snow blow an extra 20 feet of berm that the town's street plow leaves at the side of the road. This meant getting rid of the lilac tree and the forsythia. Additionally, I wanted the two stumps pulled, one on either side of the driveway, from the cedars I had cut down in 2014.

I hired a local guy who does hardscaping as an evening/weekend job. He started on Monday after I left for my night job and he worked in the never ending rain. This is what I came homer to (before and after pic shown)

Driveway head on - before
Driveway head on - before

Mound of dirt from rocks-stumps gone


He did not get to work on Tuesday as it was raining even harder, but he resumed the work removing the rocks that were jumbled at the side of the driveway. By Friday it had really taken shape and everything was done except bringing in hard pack to fill in between the retaining wall and asphalt, as well as a "parking pad".

Rough rock wall
Rough rock wall
Rough rock wall

Today he finished up so that the hardpack is down and he even brought in a load of loam to lay over the areas of disturbed dirt. I no longer have to pick which side of the truck I can access if I need to back up to the garage door (like this afternoon when I brought home some plywood). And now, the truck is on the parking pad so I can move the car out of the garage in the morning without shuffling vehicles.

Parking pad
Parking pad

Oh, and added bonus, after complaining thru their website about the propane tank STILL being there, they came and picked it up on Wednesday so the view from the back porch is much better. Today I spent some time digging a trench to remove the 25 feet of gas line from where the tank had been and the house. Then, of course, I filled the trench back in and used a tamper to solidify the ground.

Propane tank gone

So now, planting stuff in the area cleared during the driveway renovation is hopefully, coming soon.

Posted by Bogie on June 10, 2017 at 08:56 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

June 03, 2017

Take a Good Look

Posting before pictures. Going to have some work done so it won't look like this much longer. The work that is to be done will leave it looking rather shocking, but I am going for better functionality so don't say I didn't warn you.

Driveway head on - before
Driveway head on - before

Posted by Bogie on June 3, 2017 at 09:25 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

New Plants and Old Trees

So last weekend these two azaleas followed me home from Agway and they smelled so good that I kept them :)

To the left is Mandarin Lights and to the right is Gibralter. I planted them on Sunday in that spot just switched. They are under the willow tree but will get plenty of filtered afternoon light so should do well.

Manderin Lights and Gibralter Azaleas

I never got to see the crabapple in full bloom this year even though it promised to be spectacular. Just before the full show we had very high winds that blew all the petals off. So last weekend, the Black Cherry put on a nice show. The first two pictures were taken on Saturday and the next two were taken on Tuesday - a rare sunny day.

Black Cherry blooms
Black Cherry blooms
Black Cherry blooms
Black Cherry blooms

A-N-D, the poison ivy is back. Fortunately it looks like my vigilant spraying last year knocked most of it back and there are just a few plants showing their faces. Some in spots where it wasn't before and some in places that were heavily infested. These pictures were taken last weekend but I found two more plants today in the front yard where it was so bad.

In the first picture the dark green plant is poison ivy - in a new spot.

Poison ivy and other look alikes-sm
Poison ivy and other look alikes-sm

Still rainy, dark and cold most days with just a few hours of sun thrown in every 4-5 days just to tease us. The main floor pellet stove is firing on a regular basis in the early morning hours. There is standing water all along the edges of the property and some of my water loving plants are looking like they are ready to throw in the towel. So, all is normal here with little challenges on every front - but that is better than having huge challenges so I'll take it.

 

EDIT AT 9:15 - Saw tow lightning bugs - besides flowers, nothing says summer is coming like seeing those bugs at night!

Posted by Bogie on June 3, 2017 at 09:02 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 29, 2017

Window Treatments

At the beginning of the month we had a couple of sunny, 95*+ days. I started thinking of ways to keep the house from heating up so badly and the simplest is to keep the sun from coming in the windows to the east and south side of the house I had already taken care of the west side bay windows. My house being older, does not have "traditional sized" windows so I had to special order. Fortunately, H*me Dep*t had a 20% off sale going for Bali window treatments, so I took advantage.

For the south facing window in the living room, there was special consideration to be given since it is just behind the pellet stove. Technically, it should be fine with any type of window treatment, but why take chances? So, I went with a metal blind. I got really lucky as the color I picked closely matches the bay window curtains. I ordered a cordless blind so there was no potential for cats to get themselves in trouble (the white item to the right is a plastic stick that opens/closes the slats).

Window Blind behind stove

For color comparison, here are the drapes on the bay window

Living room drapes-curtains2

For the window above the kitchen sink, I wanted more of a shade. Then I ran across shades that I could see thru - icing on the cake. Of course, I can only see thru it when it is lighter outside than in - and the see thru works opposite; people can see in if it is lighter inside than out. But I don't worry about people being able to see my microwave on the opposite wall, so it was perfect. The see thru picture below was taken this morning - a very cloudy, dark, gloomy day where it is just slightly brighter outside than inside with the lights off.

Window shade above kitchen sink
Window shade above kitchen sink

I still need to get a treatment for the bay window beside the refrigerator (south side), but that is shaded most of the day by the willow tree and it has large plants in it to also help keep sun out. Plus, I am having difficulty figuring out what to put there since access to open/close is not good and I can't place the rod above the window as it would interfere with opening a cabinet door.

UPDATE: Well, that was quick. While I was thinking of it I measured the actual space needed and found that I could indeed install an outside mount shade to the kitchen bay widow and the cabinet door would have just enough room to open all the way. So, while the sale was still going on for Bali shades, I ordered the same type as I have on the other kitchen window, except motorized so I'll be able to use a remote. I got a bit of sticker shock with the motorization, but then adding up the costs for the motorized  drapes in the living room, found that it was  in the same ballpark. I will just have to make sure that I keep the plants trimmed so none of their branches/leaves stick outside the plane of the shade.

Posted by Bogie on May 29, 2017 at 08:17 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

May 27, 2017

Once I get Started . . .

 . . . I just have to add on. About 3 weeks ago I installed some flooring where I store pallets of pellets in the basement. Well, I decided while there were no pellets there that it would be the perfect time to put up some sheet rock over the rigid foam insulation and Reflectix foil. This all sounds good in theory, but that wall had never been framed in and with all kinds of plumbing hanging down along the wall I couldn't really install a 2x4 along the sill. Add to that that I have never done framing of any sort, much less that had to be anchored to a concrete wall and I was feeling that the project was probably beyond my abilities.

And then, somehow, some way, I ran into metal furring, also known at hat channels and after some research possibilities opened up. Happily, I work with someone who would lend me a hammer drill so all I needed to buy were materials. Two weeks ago I went to pick up the furring materials, which come in 10' strips. I found that from the dash in front of the passengers seat to the far back corner of the truck was just under 10' and made for a nice snug, secure fit against the hatch just below the window. I couldn't quite close the window but had it secured with rope for the 30 mile trip home.

  10 ft strapping to dash

10 ft strapping to hatch-trnd

Hatch not quite closed-trnd

Drilling holes is no fun even with a hammer drill. But I got it done and last weekend I had a full wall of furring strips, plus the started furring strip for the wall behind the stove. Additionally, I had one of the 4.5" PVC "trim" board installed at the bottom for the sheet rock to rest on so it is far away from any dampness from the floor.

  Metal studs along wall to safe
Metal studs along wall to safe

Sunday evening I installed the other PVC board and got up two sheets of sheet rock but decided the pieces that would go behind the safe would have to wait. These would be difficult as at 800 pounds, and being anchored into the concrete, I was not moving it (I tried before doing the flooring - it's the anchors that kill the deal).

First 2 pieces of sheetrock

Last night, being the first Friday night I haven't worked (filling in at another place), I decided to tackle the part behind the safe. It was a bear wrestling those things in as there was just enough space, but finally I persevered. And, I got it taped and first coat of mud too.

Wall by safe sheetrocked

 I'll only get one piece of sheet rock installed on the other wall, but that is all I need before lugging in 3 tons of pellets - if it ever stops raining that is.

Posted by Bogie on May 27, 2017 at 09:04 AM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 14, 2017

For my Mother

Wow, now this is a short landing!

Posted by Bogie on May 14, 2017 at 07:12 AM in Plain News | Permalink | Comments (3)

May 13, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Happy Mother's Day to Cop Car!

I hope you have a pleasant day filled in whatever way you find the most fun/relaxing/adventurous - whatever you wish.

Posted by Bogie on May 13, 2017 at 08:07 PM in Seasonal | Permalink | Comments (2)

Basement Flooring

Last summer I installed flooring in half of the basement. Since the floor is damp during the spring I had to put in an Air Gap system, then install the plywood on top of that. A couple of weeks ago since the pallets of pellets I keep in another corner of the basement were pretty much empty, I decided to do the same thing.

First I cleared out the 10 bags of pellets, the pallets, and other miscellaneous stuff from that corner.

Bare basement floor
Bare basement floor-side-trnd

.Then I installed the Air Gap system

Basement floor w air gap-trnd

Then I covered with plywood. I was pretty proud of myself for doing a "once and done" cutting of that piece with the hole for the floor drain.

Basement floor w plywood-trnd
Basement floor w plywood-trnd

I also covered the rest of that Air Gap with another piece of plywood for now. It will probably come back up as I will need to have a fire proof material there in front of the stove. In fact, I may be cutting out to the drain for that reason, but the stove is off for the season, so it makes walking on it easier to have it all the same height.

Maybe next summer I will get the rest of that basement floor covered :)

Posted by Bogie on May 13, 2017 at 08:05 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)