Twitter Facebook Flickr
Fixing A Hole...
Posted on 10/04/09
A few weeks ago I moved the refrigerator away from the wall. It had been making a godawful racket and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to fix it. I was shocked to find that the floor below it was spongy and soft. I grabbed a few of the tiles, which came up easily revealing the soft, waterlogged subfloor. Ack. As it turned out, the refrigerator had no drip pan, probably hadn't had one for years, and the floor was rotted through. I put some boards below the fridge, rolled it back and tried to forget about it started thinking about how I was going to fix it.
The biggest concern with a job like this is always "What am I going to find when I start pulling this apart?" After finding another spot for the fridge (and not knowing how long it would have to stay there), and tearing up some tiles I started tearing up the wet, rotted floor.
I likened this step to debridement, the removing of dead tissue from a wound. I removed all of the d
Permalink   Share
Garden Update
Posted on 07/18/09
The tomatoes are out of control. The photo below was taken before I spent some time cleaning them up a bit. Compare it to the one I posted previously to see what I mean. The cherry tomatoes are exceptionally hardy and have reached 6' tall. Although I've since pulled them back and tied 'em into the bamboo trellis I built, they were lying across all of the other ones forcing them down to the ground.
The sunflowers are nice, although I've had to add some bamboo to keep them upright. We had a bit of a storm last night.

Other than that, we have various peppers coming in (jalapenos, green, yellow, red), as well as yellow squash and green beans. The beans seemed to have been ravaged by something, as well as one of the pepper plants. The broccoli was pretty much a bust, althogh I've been told I can try again with another planting in August. the brussels sprouts are in, but apparently won't be 'sprouting' until the fall.
Permalink   Share
Farming The Suburbs
Posted on 05/10/09
Amy took Mother's Day off and we built a few new raised beds and planted everything we bought at Tatham's yesterday. We've got peppers (yellow, red, green, and jalapeno), tomatoes (roma, cherry, and beefsteak), an eggplant, broccoli, brussels sprouts, zucchini, string beans, yellow squash, zucchini, and a strawberry plant that made it through the winter and is already bearing fruit. We even have a few sunflowers in the brick bed next to the house!
Permalink   Share
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.
Permalink   Share
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.
Permalink   Share
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.
Permalink   Share
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.
Permalink   Share
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.
Permalink   Share
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
Permalink   Share
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.
Permalink   Share