Monday, July 29, 2013


We've been mudding and sanding the garage. Those are not interesting pictures. So here are some other  things we've been doing too.

Limes were on sale so I bought a bag of them. Some went into beer (ahem), some went into limeade, and some became lime pie. I used my brother's filling recipe (4 egg yolks, 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, and 1/2 cup lime juice with lots of zest) and the graham cracker crust recipe from BHG. A truly awesome pie.

This pie was unbelievably good. Really.
We went to the county fair and enjoyed all the nifty stuff. I saw knitting projects that made me really want to take lessons. I saw a small loom that gave me hope I may be able to stop buying shawls and start making them instead. And we saw some critters.

This wagon team was amazing. Well trained and beautiful. A draft horse exhibition followed with log twitching, carriage obstacle coarse, and bareback Simon Says. Very fun.
Eight horse hitch
And my tomatoes are slowly coming in. This is my take on an artistic photo. If you can't eat your food yet, photograph it!
Hope you're ready for your close-up
We also had a visitor. I was sanding the garage wall and turned to see this little guy had crawled in through the bay door. He was about the size of my hand. I put him in a bucket and moved him out to the drainage ditch - I didn't want him getting run over.

Snapping turtles look prehistoric
And now I'll return to sanding. And mudding. Gotta be done eventually.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cats and dogs

This is our cat. Our very angry cat.

Not a happy kitty
And this is why she is unhappy. We're dog sitting!

Isn't he adorable???
Contrary to the photo evidence below, the dog has not really been bugging the cat. The cat has actually been spending an inordinate amount of time making sure she gets within his sight line and then high-tailing it straight up a tree. Sometimes he notices and chases after her; sometimes he just moseys around the rocks. 

Not sure he knows she is up there.
Our dog passed away two years ago and we've been considering adopting a pup. My friend was going out of town and we offered to take care of his dog - sort of a trial run to see if we were ready to bring home one of our own.

 He is a sweetie and well behaved.

Any birds in there?
He happily accompanied me on a long walk every morning. And a short walk every night. He's also a world champion snuggler.
Lots of walkies
But at the end of the visit we realized that we're not quite ready yet. So we'll wait another year and see what next summer brings.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Looking ahead to winter

Despite stifling temperatures these past couple weeks we knew we needed to turn the log pile into a stacked wood pile. The logs had been aging (very unattractively) next to the porch for about six months. That's good but they won't fully dry until they've been split and appropriately stacked. Leave them like this too long and you run the risk of them getting punky (that's a technical term) and rotten.

So we rented a hydraulic log splitter and got to work.

Oooh, hydraulics
We got the splitter for 4 hours and spent every bit of it lifting, splitting, and throwing the wood into a big pile. 
Steady progress
A big pile of wood that's been sitting out for six months attracts lots of really creepy stuff. Ants, spiders, and one really cool snake skin (no sign of the actual snake).

I want hazard pay for this
Ta dah!
We didn't quite get done before Chris had to return the splitter. But the leftovers were fairly small and he made quick work of them with the manual splitter, i.e. the maul.
We stacked it all up and figure we ended up with 3+ full cord of wood. Pretty good. We wanted to put away at least 4 cord for this winter's use and we still have a bunch of trees down and drying that need to be bucked for the fall splitting session.  By the time we're done we'll easily have six cord split and stacked which gives us a nice margin of error plus gets next season's wood drying in advance.

Unfortunately there was a stack casualty when we got up the next morning. Looks like something tried to climb the pile and it tipped over. Argh. Hate re-doing work.

Who climbed the wood pile?!?
On the other hand, when the day starts this beautifully it takes quite a while to even notice any damage.

Just gorgeous

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Drywalling the garage

We got the garage all cleaned out (the porch is, unfortunately, once again destroyed *sigh*) and set up to install the drywall.

We uncovered the garage door openings so we'd have light and to allow greater air flow. Did you realize that curing concrete floors give off a tremendous amount of moisture? Despite a moisture barrier underneath them? Well, they do. And 88% humidity sure doesn't help matters. 

Left bay holds hobby truck; right is the big bay
Once the doors were open we backed in the truck full of drywall.
Should be all we need. Well, may need more coffee.
Then we used my brother's handy-dandy drywall lift to start putting up the ceiling. Holy cow! Love the drywall lift!
Just crank that baby right up there
We picked a corner and got to work. We'd purchased a couple of rolling scaffolds when we did the framing so we had a great platform from which to work. We also have a drywall screw gun which is awesome.
Scaffold, lift, scaffold. Whew!
 It went fairly quickly and the large bay is now completely covered.

Moving right along there
We have lots of outlets and light boxes as this will be a working garage, not just a place to store cars. Which means we had to cut out around all those little blue boxes. Another handy tool was the Rotozip with a drywall bit. Really made quick work of it all. We did make sure we measured and marked first - the professionals seem to be able to "pop" the sheet and then cut cleanly around the box, but we found it best to mark it out.

Using the "pop" method. Once.
Chris is now taping and mudding. We'll do the smaller bay once this one is completed. Didn't want to move the hobby truck too many times and this seemed the most efficient way to go about the whole thing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yet more road work

We've been steadily working to correct our road / driveway issues. We'd made great progress on the road and thought we were doing good on the driveway too. Then it rained. And rained. And rained some more. 

The small culvert got blocked. And the water got backed up. And the driveway was in serious danger of just washing out and down the hill where all that fill would be really wasted. 

There is not supposed to be a pond here...
Chris heroically went in to attempt finding the culvert opening. 

Nope, didn't find it
So we used the tractor to dig the whole thing out (it was totally plugged by the way and we also mushed it when we finally got hold of it).
Creating a ditch in the driveway
And the water just rushed right out.
Not supposed to be a stream here either
Took quite a while for the water level to recede enough to continue work.

See the high water mark on the tree?
 Then we brought in new pipe.

Pipe delivery!
We laid a sand bed, joined the two pipes, and filled in with rock and fines. 

Partially filled; decorative rock in bucket
We used some of our large collection of decorative rock (please, no snickering) to hide the inlet and outlet pipe ends. So far so good!
Cleverly disguised
The final touches are to fill in a few low spots with smallish rocks and then bring in several more loads of fines to put a top coat on the driveway.