Monday, June 29, 2015

More work on the rock patio

We did some more work on the rock patio. Boy is that tough! Rocks are really heavy, you know? So glad we've got the tractor, but even so, the final positioning is usually done by hand. Let's hear it for leverage!
Love that backhoe
The spot I chose for the garden is working out great (warning - garden update coming soon) so I wanted to run a water line out to it. I hated the idea of a hose stretched out across the patio all the time so we decided to bury a line. We didn't go deep - we'll just blow out the line each fall so we don't have to worry about it freezing. 

The water spigot is midway down the house and we needed it about 60 feet away.  
The spigot is very far away
We dug a shallow trench, ran out some Pex, and then started placing rocks so that they'd help hold the water line in place. Chris built me a couple boxes to both support and hide the water lines above ground where they'd connect to the house and eventually to the soaker hose.
Digging for the line
We connected one spigot directly to the Pex, buried a post and guide box, and then buried the line. We used a hose connector to join that spigot with the house spigot so I've got lots of control over water flow and I can hook up extra hoses if I want. I have vague and unformed ideas of eventually hooking up a garden sink out here so I can use it to rinse my veggies so I really didn't want to limit my options.
Post, box, and line in place
A few of the rocks were too thick so I got out my trusty rock chisels and split them. What a hoot!

Took us most of the afternoon, but we got the line buried, the posts sunk, and the rocks laid. We even managed to find a rock big enough to set the grill on.

Can't see the Pex, can ya? Woot!
We decided to take a couple weeks off from patio building to work on other projects around the property. But I'm already loving the functionality of the stepping stones and really look forward to completing the yard.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The porch bed

One of the things I very fondly remember from my childhood is spending the night out on the sleeping porch. So I really wanted a comfy spot on the porch for napping the day away. We got a bunch of pallets, a futon mattress, and set up a spot. It was wonderful! 

Looking for that darn chipmunk
Except the pallets sat directly on the porch slab and leaves would accumulate underneath. And then one day a chipmunk went under there and I realized we were going to have vermin trouble before too much longer.

Accumulated ick
So we figured out the height we wanted and cut some old landscape timbers into legs. They're stacked high enough that even the dog can get under the bed (ha! take that chippy) and it's easy to blow out any leaves that get under there.

Stacked timbers for legs are a nice design
We also cut down the pallets that form the back rest so they're not quite so looming. I still need to sew up some pillow covers and we'll probably put a shelf on the back rest, but it's so much better already! And it's perfect for napping.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Stair landing and living room wall

The stairway landing has been finished since February. With the planer broken though we couldn't finish the boards needed for the stairwell and living room accent wall. Well guess what got fixed! So Chris got the rest of the joined white oak boards planed to the appropriate smoothness and size and we got to work designing.

First we had to decide if we liked the boards horizontal...
or vertical.
Horizontal won quite easily. Then I got to work staining them a wonderful dark brown (red mahogany to be exact).
Staining boards
 The weather was quite changeable so we decided to set up the car port for the stain work.
Before and after
Once all the boards were dry, I laid them out to get a feel for the pattern. Or rather, the lack of pattern. We had two widths of board - 3" and 1.5". I didn't want to accidentally end up with a clear stripe effect. The brain loves pattern and it's surprisingly hard to get a true random look, so a rough layout helped.
So far so good
Then we moved the furniture and got started. The boards would wrap the landing and then travel across the living room wall as an accent.
The blank canvas
We had to also design the dog kennel entrance. Cooper's kennel is under the landing and we wanted it to look finished and attractive.
Cooper is lounging in the chair wondering what we're doing to her house
The first run of board was applied in a level line (no matter how level you think your floor is, it isn't. Check it and run a chalk line) and that made all the rest of the boards easy to install.
The first board
We decided to stagger the boards where they met at the corners so they'd look like box joints (the woodworker's good idea). I'd stain them once we were done so they'd blend but up close they're a really cool detail. The entrance to Cooper's kennel was boxed and molded. We'll be adding a sliding barn door to finish it off.
Unstained grain ends and nearly to the top
And here it is! All enclosed and ready for the stairs to be remounted.
Love the various colors
We mounted the stair stringer but had to put the temporary treads back on until Chris gets the real ones finished. They're going to be out of flame birch and I can hardly wait to see them in place.

I took advantage of the chaos to rearrange the furniture too. The living room is long and narrow and I didn't like how the traffic flowed. I also didn't like that it felt cramped. Now it's easier to walk through  (no more weaving around ottomans) and the room feels much bigger.

I still have a lot of art work packed in boxes. I'm waiting to get the window trim up before doing curtains and waiting to get the curtains up before selecting the art for that space between the windows.
The new layout
I also still have a gap in the west wall art. I'm waiting to find just the right thing to go there. It's driving my brother crazy - he keeps looking to see what I'm going to come up with.
There's now a clear path to the mudroom
Chris's (unfinished) hunt board is now highlighted against the dark wall. That's on his list of fun-projects-to-get-done but I've commandeered it until he gets to it. I kinda like the open look, but he'll add drawers and cupboard doors to finish it off.
Tone on tone
So there we have it. The living room is really starting to shape up. And we can cross another item off the construction list. 

Next up: railings, treads, and dog doors.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Saving a baby deer

We often spot deer when on our morning walks. Usually all we see is their tail flying the white flag as they run away very fast. This time though what we found wasn't an adult but a very young fawn. We tried to leave her where she'd been tucked away, but she got up and started following us, crying and limping. 

When Chris got a close look at her, we realized she had a broken leg. We're not sure if her Mom abandoned her because she was injured or if she got hurt while Mom was out having breakfast, but we couldn't leave her (mainly because she wouldn't let us - she moved surprisingly well on three legs). But her crying was sure to attract the local coyote pack and we didn't have the heart to leave her to her fate. So he picked her up and took her to the house where we called the wildlife rescue group that is nearby. 

She's so little!
They told us to keep her warm, not offer food or water (it just gives them diarrhea), and they'd call us back once they'd contacted their local folks to make arrangements.

Keeping her warm
They called back right away and it turned out that the "local folks" are our neighbors - just a couple minutes up the road. We knew they did wildlife rehab but didn't realize that they were the ones to do the initial assessment and determine the appropriate course of action.

So we hopped in the car, took her to J and D, and they'll get her to the vet. She has a compound fracture but since she's so young they expect it to heal well. Then she'll go back to their house where she'll join the other five (!) fawns they have in the rehab section of their basement. Once she's all healed up they'll either release her back to the woods or, if she's not able to survive on her own, she'll go to an education facility.  Pretty cool that this is even possible. Needless to say, we'll be making a donation to the wildlife rescue to help with costs. I'm so grateful we had someplace to take her rather than having to do something more pragmatic. I'll just leave it at that.