Archive | November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

After receiving 4 inches of rain in 36 hours, we had a beautiful clear afternoon on Wednesday, then temperatures dropped to mid 20s last night. I woke to find crystal flowers growing all around my dome, where the soil is loosened and there is a little grass sprouted in places. I even went outside in the cold to get pictures, it won’t last long, but is beautiful. The tips have a little red dirt, but the water pushed through the ground surface as it froze and is pretty white shafts of ice. I just had to share this unusual sight. (Click on the picture to enlarge).

ice crystals

ice crystals

closeup

closeup

 

 

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Fall or Winter

It’s nice to be at home in Seneca again. I stayed in Roanoke for 2 1/2 weeks, with the crew to work on the house. I got to see a few friends, but stayed close for questions. I just couldn’t get into the area of the basement to sort and toss stuff, but will do so next trip. Looking at the landscape here, I feel like I’ve been gone a lot longer. There are so many leaves down, and we’ve had a couple of rainy and windy days which keep bringing them down. It just feels chilly.

rainy fall day with most of the leaves down

rainy fall day with most of the leaves down

I brought back some extra vinyl flooring that was used in the kitchen, and I like the colors for the dome. It has gray like the walls, a warm yellow shade, and red like the clay that will be tracked inside. Since the stain and sealant have not worked out, I need to do something else. Once we can move all the furniture outside, I think putting down vinyl will be the best choice. I will be talking to someone in the flooring department before making a final decision, of course.

Sharon has put down landscape timbers and added gypsum to the soil in the area where we plan to plant blueberry bushes. We have discussed using a sort of hoop house frame to put up a barrier against birds raiding the ripening berries – we don’t want to share. It will be in a central location, hopefully easy to pick. Blueberries usually are. We are planning to have a freezer full, after a few years growth. Articles we’ve read recommend snipping off buds the first year, to give the plants healthier start. Discipline. Besides, the plants are rather small at planting.

bed for blueberry planting

bed for blueberry planting

We may be delaying fruit trees, cannot decide the best location. We have to be careful not to plant too close to the next construction site. Between sufficient sunlight, compacted soil, equipment for construction and the septic system, which cannot be too near tree roots or edible plants, we are hesitant to plant. I think Sharon is going to plant a small section of strawberries, but I only want them in raised beds. Vining fruit like cantaloupe, on the other hand, I will likely plant next spring.

Bad weather – has been really cold last couple of nights, but warmer last night with more cloud cover and rain. I see 2.5 inches in the gauge since yesterday. At least the ice has stayed at higher elevations. It is still not weather in which I want to be out and about – it is so good to be retired and not required to get out in the nasty weather. I do miss my attached garage in Virginia, but not the weather they are having now, wintry mix and high winds.

Final Approval on Bath

exterior of new bathroom

exterior of new bathroom

The bathroom was approved Thursday afternoon. The crew was mostly packed and ready, so headed for SC about 2:30. Unfortunately, their van had been limping along since they turned off the freeway into Roanoke, and I understand it died along the way. Doug had sort of expected it and had contingency plans, but they got home late.

new springs on door in fixed up garage

new springs on door in fixed up garage

I was out in the afternoon, arrived home to open the garage door and pull the car in, when I spotted a spring hanging down. My father replaced the springs 19 years ago, and I can’t remember if they’d been replaced since. I was able to reach the garage door company a few blocks away and they schedule repairs this morning. It was just replacement of the springs, no other damage, so I am glad it happened when it did. Besides using the room as a workshop with equipment stored, the crew finished painting the ceiling and walls, replaced the leaking ancient faucet, and replaced some rotting wood around the door frame. The garage looks good. A big plus, this house and the neighbor are the only houses with attached garages on this block.

The new bathroom has an unfinished floor, but usable fixtures. I still need to add a little hardware – towel bar, toilet paper holder, doorknobs on vanity, shower curtain and bar. It is quite big.

new shower, shelves to right

new shower, shelves to right

new sink and commode

new sink and commode

 

I am doing some cleanup today, but not a major scrub. Next trip I will start that and staging. I still have quite a bit of yard work, although we did enough trimming to make the house visible and neater from the street.

progress on front yard

progress on front yard

After a few years of living with a messy kitchen floor, I realized I did not have time to refinish the hardwood floor and repair the water damage, which would probably need paint, not polyurethane. The crew put down luan and vinyl, plus the quarter round to finish it. I am happy with the look, and even happier to have it done relatively fast. Doug might argue with that, as he had a lot of measurements to go around corners and radiators and appliances.

new kitchen floor

Rough-in Approved

Frustrating day yesterday, the inspector did not show up after all. He did arrive this morning and passed our rough-in electrical, framing, plumbing. The crew has really jumped on finishing, got sheetrock up while I was at lunch with a friend.

front bedroom in light sage (after forest, chartreuse, and aqua over the years)

front bedroom in light sage (after forest, chartreuse, and aqua over the years)

Yesterday the crew knocked a lot of little stuff off my to-do list, fixing
curtain rods, hanging racks/rods in closets, put a jigsaw puzzle of luan down
in the kitchen while I shopped for vinyl. I even have a pretty bright blue front door. The front railing is not only re-attached (one board warped and pulled loose), but it is painted. This morning the sheet vinyl went down in the kitchen, looks good. I am still disappointed that the hardwood was so damaged, but it is an old house.

front steps

I am doing a lot of re-using with this fix-up. I had a toilet from upstairs, only a couple of years old when I remodeled. I found a good deal on a sturdy sink and vanity. Doug has gotten a couple good deals on damaged boxes of new items. I have an old waterbed frame that will be cut for shelves instead of building in a linen closet. Although we weren’t able to re-use the screening on the side porch, we did use an old storm/screen door.

door on side porch

door on side porch

Although a chance still exists for some snow, it is quite low and definitely won’t be enough to chill the ground, so none should stick. The temperature has dropped through the day, from mid 50s to low 40s, and will likely be in low 20s tonight. Nice to have had a few days in 60s to get a lot done outside.

front yard, in progress

front yard, in progress

I even got outside this morning to prune the large holly away from the house. It is quite a plant, one I’ve sawed a foot from the ground a couple of times, grows back nicely. Lately I have been keeping in more of a crape myrtle shape – like an umbrella – but branches keep growing out to touch the house. There’s still a lot of yard cleanup and pruning to do, but inside is going very well.

The chaos of having three extra people in my house, plus having it as a construction zone, is wearing me out. I will be so happy to finish up here and head back to my cats and new home. Next trip I’ll be doing major scrubbing and at least the start of staging.

Polishing Up the Old House

what an improvement to have white walls in the basement

what an improvement to have white walls in the basement

Almost all of the painting has been completed; the new bathroom is now awaiting inspection Monday, with final inspection a couple of days after that, if all goes well. The screened porch is re-windowframed and new screening is going up, new door is installed. Well, not really new, as I had saved my old screen/storm door a few years ago when I had the back door replaced. The front porch railing has been repaired and painted. lots of little repairs that would take me a long time are done.

new bathroom with shower stall

new bathroom with shower stall

There’s a good bit of landscaping work, and I haven’t been able to dig into my stuff in the basement, as it is crowded with construction. I’ll have quite bit for Goodwill to pick up. I have a lot of throw-aways in my attic. It’s not a
good idea to have long-term storage in a room that gets so hot in the summer, as things deteriorate.

front railing repaired and painted - holly bush behind really needs pruning

front railing repaired and painted – holly bush behind really needs pruning

I admit to having a wish list that may apply more to my wants for the house, and I have to keep re-evaluating and eliminating all but necessary changes. I am finding it hard to get used to the lighter paint colors, but I knew they
were needed. It sure looks good to have freshly painted walls. The living room looks great, but I wouldn’t want to live in it. My taste is for more saturated colors and a cozier feel. It is airy and bright and feels large – it is rather large for the neighborhood. I am starting to think more about the next house (the cottage has always been temporary in my plans) and what colors and designs I will have. One definite, I do not plan to put up any type of wallpaper – removal is such a pain!

painting done in living room - light makes it look yellow, actually the color is more accurate in doorway at the right

painting done in living room – light makes it look yellow, actually the color is more accurate in doorway at the right

Working on the Old House

Well, I am back in Roanoke this week and lots is happening. I brought the crew with me and a to-do list of things that I need completed before I can list the house. Some are my tasks, and the big ones are for the construction crew.

basement before work started

basement before work started

There is only one actual construction project, for completing the bathroom in the basement (I will have a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom house), and I did get a permit. They have done the framing for the walls, and drilled a hole through the brick wall outside for a vent, tapped into the water line, and are running electric line from the box. The waste lines were already roughed-in when the upstairs bathroom was remodelled. The new one is located directly below the main bath, for convenience.

basement with walls framed

basement with bathroom walls framed

Our painter has really done a lot that I was afraid would take me a very long time. He has done the ceilings in 3 rooms and now the outside porch. The screened in porch has required more replacement than I’d expected, but the wood supports around the screening have been in place over 15 years and have rotted with weathering. They have already replaced and painted them. We are using the old storm/screen door from my back door – I had a replacement installed a long time ago and figured I should save it.

new and painted framing on porch - new screen yet to come

new and painted framing on porch – new screen yet to come

Once there is room to move in the basement, it will have a waterproofing paint applied to the outside walls, primarily to cut down on clamminess, as it does not leak. I have used it in the garage, which is also below ground on 3 sides, and it worked very well. The basement walls will be white, for brightness, and the ceiling will be a brown to match the wood of the joists.

Since I brought the crew from out of state, they are staying in my house – a
bit more crowded than I’ve had it before, but we are managing. I have a bed
and narrow windowseat in the guest room, but they chose to skip the window seat for the second man in favor of the twin bed in the basement. My foreman is still fighting an injured back and wanted the couch so he could use the back for support. I’m in my own room. At present, one bathroom, but there has not been a traffic problem. I grew up with 6 people and one bathroom, and remember traffic problems. I like to have an option, and just wish I had not waited to build the second bathroom.