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Mud Be Gone
Posted on 05/09/09
Finally, we can unload the car without standing in the mud between the concrete driveway tracks. Not much more to say. It went pretty well, I'm happy with it. I still need to figure out something for the areas just outside of the concrete tracks, on the lower end of the slope. You can see that we drive over the gras turning in and out of the driveway. I'm thinking I may just pick up some random stone the next time I'm up at the PA house.

At some point I'll pick up another 500 bricks and take it all the way back to the fence, and fill in the space between the driveway and the house as well. I found few people on Craigslist selling used bricks for about a dime each, so that's definitely a possibility, maybe in the Fall. I definitely need to put some kind of stabilized surface beneath the Westy before next winter, even if it's just gravel, since it just sinks into the grass right now.
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Free Brick
Posted on 05/08/09
I dig all of this brick out from under our back porch, not a place I like spending time, as you can see. About a third of them needed to be cleaned of old mortar, which wasn't too bad. I'll be using all of the brick to finish up as much of the driveway project as I can. There's probably almost this many more under the porch, but they're currently laid down as a floor in the dirt. Before I'd be able to get them I'd need to get everything else out and then buy enough gravel to replace them under there.

You can also see the collection of retaining wall block that the previous owner left behind. I've used a few to build a small raised planting bed in front of the house, and I have some ideas about what to do with the rest, but that's for another post.

Also visible here behind the house is one of the barrels I'm planning to use as composters, and an old Rollfast tandem I picked up a few years ago.
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Posted on 05/03/09
Finally got those shrubs planted. Korean boxwoods of some kind. You'd think I'd be more specific, what with my fancy landscape architecture degree and all. Yeah, you'd think.
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Dark Roof, Light Roof
Posted on 05/01/09
I'm glad I took this picture when the roof was only half cleaned, so you could see how dirty it was. This is what happens when the thing sits in the woods in Pennsylvania for a few years (at my old place). A nice white roof should keep the interior a degree or two cooler in the sun, right?
Looks like I may have to clean out those cargo box drains pretty soon. Gotta get this thing all cleaned up for the Maine trip this summer.
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Brick, Block or Window Well?
Posted on 04/19/09
Not sure what to do about this. You may not be able to tell from the photo, but I had to dig down three or four inches to expose the sill on this basement window. The board on the ground was installed as kind of a dam in front of the window, and the earth had been piled up against it.

I'm trying to figure out what to do here. My first instinct is to pull out the window, call a mason, and have him (or her) simply brick it up. I have three other perfectly good windows in the basement, none of which are below grade. in fact, this particular window happens to be six feet from the side door, so egress definitely isn't an issue. I could remove the window and replace it with glass block, but it'll still be below grade, so that probably won't help me. The cheapest, easiest alternative is to dig down and install in a window well, but I've never liked them.

Not sure what I'm going to do, but I need to decide soon. I want to dig up this area and plant tomatoes before it's too late.
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Formerly the Dining Room
Posted on 03/29/09
Other than when we had guests, we rarely used our dining room. Bearing this in mind, we've converted it into a playroom for the baby. Just need ot pick up some baby gates and it's all done.
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Old Bricks, New Use
Posted on 03/28/09
The center part of the driveway is grass, and mud (mostly mud), and we keep driving over it, making it worse. Walking over it, or unloading the car means dragging mud into the house on your shoes. Not pretty. Behind the house, under the porch, there are stacks of old building bricks which I'm going to use to fill in as much of this as possible. I know it's not the perfect paver, but it's free, so it works.

I only had a few hours to work on it, and as you can see I didn't finish by quitting time. I used up the clean bricks that I had, as well as some of the easier to clean ones I could find. Once I find another free day I'll get back under the porch and pull out every single brick I can, and spend a few hours with a hammer and chisel cleaning off the old mortar (which is a strangely satisfying job actually). I know I have enough to pave up to the transition, but I'd love to go another five or six feet so there's brick under your feet when you're unloading the
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Foundation Bedding
Posted on 03/18/09
Well, I dug the bed, now I just need to buy some shrubs, topsoil, and fertilizer, dig some holes, plant 'em, backfill, mulch, water, weed.... on the plus side, even without the shrubs it already looks a hell of a lot better than it did. Yes, I'll touch up the paint, although what I'd like to do is replace all the shingles.
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Teeter Toddler
Posted on 03/17/09
As the parent of an almost-toddler (who's already a grabby terror in her walker) I'm seeing the potential for disaster in some of our tippier furniture. I'm concerned about three pieces in particular, two small, lightweight tables in the living room, and a chest-high bookcase in the dining room. There are some commercial furniture straps available, but they're expensive for what they do. I decided I should be able to take care of this with things I have in the basement already.

The tables were secured with screw eyes and string, and as much as I hate the textured plaster/lath walls in this house, they do allow the screws to grab easily almost anywhere. Two sets secured each table, and the string can simply be untied or cut if you need to move the furniture. The tables are free to move slightly, but cannot tip over. Although I didn't photograph it, I also used some string and eyes to limit the travel of the drawer in the small round table shown, since it had no built-in stops.

The bookcase w
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Family Portrait
Posted on 03/08/09
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