September 04, 2017

A Lot of Short Projects

Even though the pellet stoves have been off since late in May, last Sunday I finally got around to cleaning the pellet stoves and their exhausts. In my defense, I have never had a last burn in May, so I kept waiting for that really cold snap in June (I've seriously burned as late as June 28). Then I ended up with having a massive amount of planned, and unplanned outdoor projects that HAD to get done, so the stove cleaning was not at the top of my list. The downstairs stove was relatively clean as it was apparent that I had cleaned it shortly before its last burn in the spring. However, since I shut of the big stove several weeks before I shut down the main floor stove, the other stove was pretty dirty so I spent a lot of time on the P43.

And, the cleaning was none too soon as on 8/31 the house was at 66* when I got home from work (the high outside had been 65* - and low that night was supposed to be in the low 40's). The main floor stove was also on most of the day on Friday, and again yesterday as the days have yo-yo'ed between summer and fall temperatures.

 

While I was cleaning out the stove exhausts with both a lint eater, then the LBT (Leaf Blower Trick), I noticed that the exterior paint on that side of the house was suffering. Since I was planning on painting the new porch overhang a second time, I power washed the siding so it would be ready for this weekend.

Saturday I painted and caulked the lower side of the house (the brown portion is still fine, just painted the cream portion), as well as all the way to, and around the front door. I painted the overhang last, and somehow forgot the caulking that needed to be done, so that part is still waiting for me.

Friday I had gone to a different H*me Dep*t than what I normally patronize and found a couple of trees (I was only looking for one - LOL). So, Saturday I got one of the trees planted - an Autumn Blaze Maple that should have orangish red leaves in the fall. This second mapleis an Acer Freemanii as opposed to Acer Rubrum that the October Glory is.

Acer Rubrums are in the general family of Red Maples, also known as "swamp maples". Red maples love wet areas so the October Glory is really happy in the lower portion that I planted it in and there is noticeable growth since I planted it two weeks ago.

The Acer Freemanii is a cross between Red Maples and (get this as an irony) Silver Maples, with the best characteristics of both. They have really nice color from the red maple side and faster growth from the silver maple side). They are very adaptable to soil conditions but are not good for wet areas, so it is perfect for where I planted it - just in front of the Willow stump.I was fortunate that the general area I wanted to plant the Autumn Blaze in was free of any huge willow roots. Previously I had stomped around to see if it might be possible (you can hear where the roots are if you stomp hard with a booted foot). The first picture is from the pen, the second from the living room window, and the third is of the growth of the October Glory (you may not be able to see the lighter green leaves at the tips of 3 of the branches - those are the new growth).

  Autumn Blaze Maple from fence
Autumn Blaze Maple from fence
Autumn Blaze Maple from fence

 

On poison ivy patrol I pulled some young shoots that had grown in the shrubs by the fence over on the other side of the house. Oh, and while I was painting, I found a vining poison ivy that had hidden itself in plain sight - in a rose beside the front door (which I never use, which is why I hadn't noticed before).

  Poison ivy in rose
Poison ivy in rose

And finally, the neighbor had gotten his truck moved so I mowed that area real quick since it was to rain on Sunday.

And that was my Saturday :)

Sunday was HOG meeting, reconcile checkbook (which hadn't been done since April), and some other indoor general projects. The remnants of Harvey were much kinder to us than to those in Texas, leaving 1.5" of badly needed rain.

Posted by Bogie on September 4, 2017 at 07:27 AM in At Home, House Work, Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 27, 2017

Roof Repair and Other Work

As I had stated in an earlier post, the roof was finished last Saturday but I didn't get to take pictures until after the post. So, here they are.

The left side of the roof is where the repairs took place. Approximately half that side was damaged toward the edge.. You can also see the overhang.

Roof repair side

In this picture you can see the overhang much better and tell that it is a little wider than the porch part. I should have no issues with snow sliding off the roof and hemming in the storm door.


Roof repair side

From underneath. I painted it soft yellow yesterday so that it would match the siding and be protected from moisture.


Roof repair side

Since they were working on that side of the house, I had to find a new project to work on. I had several shrubs in my holding garden, along with some flag iris (siberian iris - whatever you want to call them), and I thought they would make a great addition to my sitting area.

From front to back; Flag iris, Variegated Weigala, two Ninebarks (I've lost their tags - they could be Coppertina, Centerglow, or one of each :) )

Ninebark-variagate wiegala and iris shrubs

The next day I went to Home Dep*t to pick up other things, whcih I didn't find there, but I did find other things to bring home. Mums were in, and I had been looking at the planters by the back door thinking how sad the summer flowers looked, so I figured I would bring some home. I got them planted the same day.

Mums in planters

The other prize I brought home was an October Glory maple, which also got planted that day. I placed it below the stump from the willow (a couple of feet lower), so it will take quite a few years before it can provide any shade to the house. However, unlike the silver maples in the back, which only turn a pale yellow and then directly to brown, this will provide some nice fall color. The first picture was taken from the yard, the second from the living room window so I can compare year-to-year growth.

October Glory maple tree from yard
October Glory maple tree from yard

I did manage to get some more pea gravel while I was at HD, so other than staining the landscape timbers, the fireproof area under the pellet stove and dryers exhausts is complete. Yes, I realize I made different patters. No, it wasn't intentional but these pavers were drops from cutom cutting for a pathway, so I had to work with the sizes/shapes I got (that's my story and I'm sticking to it ;D )

Pavers under pellet stove exhuast
Pavers under pellet stove exhuast

Posted by Bogie on August 27, 2017 at 05:29 AM in House Work, Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 20, 2017

Fireproof

Back in July, while preparing for the taking down of the willow, I started a project that I left incomplete because time and materials restrictions (very end of linked post). I knew I had to get back to it before fall, and last Sunday I started back up on it.

The project isn't complete but the intent was to get it far enough along that nothing was in the way of the roofers, and all divots from the tree service truck parking at the side of the house could be filled in. I didn't take any pictures since the project wasn't complete - and I expected to finsh yesterday. At least I accomplished my mission, which was a good thing as Tuesday afternoon I got a text that the roofers had dropped off equipment and would be starting on the job on Wednesday.

So I ran out to take a picture of what I had done :)

Below pellet stove pipes before roof

It's hard to see, but there are largish patio pavers below the lower stove exhaust and the exhaust for the dryer. That is a CL find I'm rather proud of - free, along with a bunch of other pavers and retaining wall block!

Long story short, they started the roof on Wednesday, and they finished last night, so I haven't had a chance to finish up that section yet.

Posted by Bogie on August 20, 2017 at 05:39 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

August 05, 2017

Yard Art

After the doings from last Sunday morning (see previous post), I went to Tractor Supply to get cat food. I always have to wonder around and see what they have and have lusted after some yard art 6' tall metal windmills in the dark bronze color that I favor. I even knew exactly where one would go. However, I was not willing to shell out what they wanted, so I have always just looked.

Well, last Sunday they had a sale and although the windmill I really wanted was only $10 off, another was $25 off. The only difference between them was the motif (I wanted the horse, the cheaper had choice of doves/rooster). Ah well, not like I was going to be looking at the tail of the windmill much anyway. So, after much internal debate, I grabbed a cart and the windmill made its way to my car.

After getting groceries and putting them away, I started putting together the windmill. And in short order, I had it in place.

Windmill full picture-trnd
Windmill full picture-trnd

Blades are turning slowly in this pic - not that you can tell.
Windmill full picture-trnd
Windmill full picture-trnd

Naturally, we have had perfectly still days for the last week. So still that 80 degrees feels much hotter. So, I'm guessing we won't have any wind until I have to take it down for the winter.

Oh, and at the base of it is a whole bunch of the iris from Cop Car that I planted Saturday afternoon (use your imagination since they are just rhizomes right now).

Posted by Bogie on August 5, 2017 at 05:28 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (5)

July 23, 2017

Timber

Thursday night I came home to this at the side of my house

Tree truck front

 

The willow is about 2" out of the shot - on the right hand side.


Tree truck front

Talented driver - I am proud to be able to get the Explorer in there :)

Tree truck front

Friday afternoon, the willow was but a memory.

Willow stump

 

That is a large shrub pot for size comparison.


Willow stump
Willow stump

 

Posted by Bogie on July 23, 2017 at 07:38 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 15, 2017

Projects are not in Short Supply

I've been looking at the new flower bed beside the driveway thinking it was missing something. I finally figured out what it was, the timbers had no definition and kind of melted into the rock mulch. Then I realized that the timbers to the other flower beds around the house were stained brown, so it was time to do the same with the new timbers. Some was stained last Friday evening (7/6/17) with the leftovers from the previous projects. I had to get more stain and then I finished it up today - I'm really pleased with the added depth and definition the dark color provides. Of course, then I had to re-stain the timbers to the flower beds I put in a couple of years ago so they would all match.

Stained timbers new flower bed
Stained timbers new flower bed
Stained timbers new flower bed

I power washed the back porch and ramp then sprayed it with a eucalyptus mixture to kill mold and algae. Then with some scrubbing and a rinse, it looks much better. No pics, but it was green and now is the natural wood color again.

I still had some pea gravel left at the base of the willow tree that I needed to move for when the tree is taken down. I decided that it needed to go on the side of the house closest - under where the pellet stove exhuasts run. Weeds have finally started getting a foothold in the sandy soil over there and combustible materials should not be below the exhausts as a safety precaution. So I weeded and hoed and raked in prep. I dug a footing for landscape timbers to hold in the weed barrier and stone. But before putting the timbers in, I realized that out of the 3 timbers I have left, only two match. Great! that is all I need. But, before I got them set up, I realized those two timbers don't match the timbers in the front portion of the house, so those are on hold. However, I did get the rest of the pea gravel on the weed barrier (not enough - naturally). I'll get back to that project sooner or later, my main goal was accomplished so I called it a night at 6:15.

Pea gravel under stove pipes
Pea gravel under stove pipes

Tomorrow I mow then get to pick from a list of things that need doing. I did power wash the back side of the house at the same time as I did the porch/ramp, so I should scrape the peeling paint and then get some new paint in. We'll see . . .

Posted by Bogie on July 15, 2017 at 09:01 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (5)

Good Deads Deserve a Rest Day

Last weekend just did the chores that needed to be done; mow, laundry, dump etc. I also mowed the neighbor's front yard as his wife has been sick so he hasn't had time to take care of the yard. The grass had gotten quite high (some 4-5' high) and I had a heck of a time getting it beat down to a reasonable level using 3 passes for most of it. I exercised the old mower and used up the tank of gas that has been sitting in it since I got it home from the repair shop. Toward the back I started getting into wet areas and the mower kept stalling so I called it good. There were some pretty flowers though, so the birds and insects should be happy with it. The yellow flower spike is Common Mullein and there seem to be several uses for every part of the plant. One plant was shoulder height and another just slightly shorter.

  Mowed neighbors yard
Mowed neighbors yard
Mowed neighbors yard

I also moved the one ton of pellets left in the yard to the other side of the tree in preparation for future work in that area. But Sunday, Sunday my accomplishments were going to the grocery store and doing a load of laundry. The rest of the time I read and napped - several times :D

 

 

 

Posted by Bogie on July 15, 2017 at 08:47 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 01, 2017

Mulching

Had a guy come over and look at the willow tree this morning, for taking it out. $1200 and he'll clean it all up. Another couple of hundred to grind the stump down, but we can do that later. Also talked to him about taking down a couple of small trees in front, by my shed so that will add another couple hundred. I'm good with the prices he gave me as I assumed around 3k for the willow alone as it's in a bad place; swamp on one side, house on the other, can't go backwards for the crabapple/gardens and he'll have to have a power guy to take down the line to the front plus watch for the big-azz plum tree that part of the willow is currently leaning on in the front. No crane will be used.

Turns out I worked with his wife for 6 years (she was married to someone else at the time), so we chatted for a while about people we both knew and worked with. They are 2-3 weeks out for taking down the willow, but that is okay as out of the 6 companies I contacted (most, several times), only 2 responded. One said they don't go to my town (20 miles away) when their website clearly states "all of Hillsborough county". Ah well, at least the guy I've got is kind of local - the two most local companies didn't even respond at all.

Then I got started on hauling pea gravel that I've had tarped up for the last couple of years and is left over from several gardening projects. The tarp full is under the willow tree, on the south side of the house. I shoveled it into the 4-wheel cart and hauled it over to the new garden on the other side of the house to use as mulch. Most of the pea stone was shoveled into place although the top portion I was able to dump and rake out.

Pea gravel from front

 The area bracketed by unstaked timbers and without gravel will be ready for plants when I get them. Also kind of thinking that those two timbers need to be permanent instead of temporary for holding down the fabric. And yes, there will be a small tree or large shrub (most likely) in the vicinity of the tree rings. Just gotta decide what I want there.

Pea gravel from side

Posted by Bogie on July 1, 2017 at 05:39 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

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 (3)

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)