Thursday, November 9, 2017

The OTHER Bathroom

Our house is a 2 bathroom house, though currently
the downstairs bathroom is under going
a complete tear out and renovation.
So that left us with the ugly upstairs bathroom.
You'll recall I painted it last year.
If you can't recall, you can read about it here.
Anyway, here is what it looked like prior to painting the walls a peach color.
Here is a photo from just the other night.
Yes the walls look lovely, 
(and so does the brand new window behind the blind)
but I want you to focus on the flooring.
The yellowish flooring with the creases that held
decades of dirt and grime
that no matter how much, long or hard I scrubbed 
on my hands and knees
would never look like it was completely clean.
Plus, it just didn't match.
But I don't think yellowish grimey floors match anything, really.
So, I was walking the aisles of Ollie's Bargain Outlet at lunch,
looking for cheap good stuff
when I came across some flooring.
Long story short, I ended up finding 6x8ft sheets of vinyl flooring.
I measured the bathroom and sure enough, with the exception of a small strip
behind the toilet, 6x8 ft would work.
So I talked Big E into putting in vinyl flooring.
Oh, I forgot to mention it was only $20!
I was expecting to just slap that puppy on top of the existing floor, but Big E said the old floor had to come up.
This is where it gets a little hairy, 
and I'm not talking about Big E's chest hair.
I, in my "I found $20 easy to install flooring" high,
assumed that I'd cut the caulk that ringed the flooring
and that old floor would pop right out.
I've been involved with several projects in this house, 
and not one has gone completely as planned
so I can't really tell you why I thought this was going to be a piece of cake.
Other than the $20 piece of floor euphoria.
There were 3 distinct layers of flooring in the main floor areas.
The yellowish one, another one that was whitish with flowers or something and a blue/green
old linoleum tile with the tar backing.
And under that, 
original hardwood floors.
Even stranger was the cement or plaster I found 
in the floor.
At first I thought it was the part of the original wall
before the house was added on to.
Turns out it was a chunk of plaster.
It was used to fill a hole in the floor.
I'm not sure what someone does
to cause a hole in hardwood floor 2 inches or so deep.
It added more work because we now needed to fill the hole properly.
It took about 6 hours, 
but I managed to get all the floor up.
Over by the toilet I found 2 other types of floor that were 
nailed in place.
The toilet was also raised up for some reason.
Seriously, even the tar covered wood floor looks better
than that yellowish floor.
It took a little longer to get the floor clean enough for adhesive, 
but it finally got done.
Definitely an improvement,
and worth the hours of labor.
Just a couple of decorative touches and it'll be good for a long time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Mailbox

This was my mailbox.
I always forget to take photos at the very start of a project, 
so this photo was taken just after I removed the offensive object from my house.
The Day of the Dead duct tape really adds a little somethin-somethin.
The tape was actually placed there to keep the mail man from
putting the mail in an open area in the back that
wasn't large enough to fit your hand into.
I really hated this mailbox.
This is the new improved mailbox that I just picked up
and installed myself.
(please look past the road grime staining the siding,
it won't come off so we're painting the house house in the future)
It's definitely more aesthetically pleasing, and
it's close enough to turn of the century style mailboxes to appease me.
I found similar mailboxes online for about $50,
which was why I was still living with the ugly plastic monstrosity.
This piece I found by accident while checking out
a turn of the century pie safe on a site online.
The store is called James and Jess House of Goods in Waynesboro, PA.
I learned this mailbox was only $21.
So I planned a short hike on the Appalachian Trail with a stop in Waynesboro to check out the store.
The mailbox is great.  Not an antique,
but I like it and it works.
The store is fantastic.
Full of odds and ends, some antique some not,
but all very cool.
Not only did I grab the mailbox, but I grabbed a rooster hook for the kitchen
and a small antique lantern that I have in mind for a project.
And I'm still thinking of the pie safe
that I'd like to use in the new bathroom as a cabinet for towels and such.
(but really there still aren't complete walls or a toilet in the bathroom so I'm not really ready for a piece like that).
So if you're around the area, 
I recommend checking out the store.
Even my mom and sister left with stuff.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Turkey Lurkey

This is Fernando the Black Spanish turkey.
I wasn't sure if he was going to be a tom,
but there's no question.
He's not Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner
or dinner at all.
He just spends his days hanging with his duck friends.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Make Way for Monarchs

Last year I started working on making my gardens
a monarch waystation
(you can read about that here).
I was little discouraged because I didn't really see many monarchs.
Actually, I didn't see any.
But I did see some swallowtails, 
so it was worth the work.
This year was entirely different.
I discovered that I have monarch caterpillars all over my milkweed.
And I also see 5-10 monarchs in the yard at any given time.
Hoping to eventually see a monarch chrysalis or 10
on the milkweed soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bathroom Magic

In addition to being visited by the Bathroom Fairy, 
we've also been visited by his counterpart: The Plumbing Fairy.
Here you can see the shower basin in place with the Plumbing fairy
my husband Big E working on the shower faucet hardware.
There aren't many photos to show, 
but we have checked toilet placement,
and added plumbing lines for sink, shower and toilet.
I'm happy to report that there are no leaks
as I was instrumental in helping with checking the lines.
It is important to make sure when checking water lines that you have a bucket handy
just in case you can't tell if the faucet hardware is turned to the "on" position.
Also, remember to empty said bucket after it fills with water
from the turned on shower
so the Bathroom Fairy your Dad doesn't find his bucket full of water.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

More Progress

After some setbacks in the bathroom,
we're once again back on track.
The shower basin we had ordered
turned out not to be what we needed.
So I went back to what I wanted originally- a 42"x42" square base,
and planned to move the toilet
(apparently you can't have your toilet and shower within a certain distance
which was causing design issues, but problem solved).
So the Bathroom Fairy showed up and built the partition wall for the shower stall.
The front (where the ladder is) will be a glass door,
and there will be glass on the top of the partition wall.
More has been done since these photos, 
and I will reveal that progress as I manage to catch up with posts.
Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Phyllis the Polish Crested

One of the new chickens is a Polish Crested.
She's basically crazy.
Because her feathers fall into her eyes, 
she can't see the best.
So if, say, you were crouched by the coop watching the chickens,
and this chicken came running over,
she'd suddenly freak out leaping and sqwaucking
because she didn't see you right away.
My mom named this particular chicken Phyllis Diller.
You might notice the resemblance. 
There's also the crazy factor.
Ms. Diller (the human) was known to be a little wacky.
I always loved Phyllis Diller, 
mostly because she was a guest on the greatest show that ever was:
The episode was titled: A Good Medium is Rare
and it's posted below if you'd like to watch.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mulching: Before and After

 I've been waiting over a year to be able to
share before and after photos of the yard.
Finally, I have a mostly finished product!
This is the view from our back door looking down to the back of the property.
And this is the same view now.
 And another view closer to the garage.
 This is of course the view from the beck of the property
looking back towards the house.
 And the same view now.
 Close up of the old lilac bush that was outside the back door.
It was rotted and not in great shape.
And now it's gone.
The large area in the photo that doesn't have plants
is the future site of the water garden I plan to put in.
There will be a waterfall in the back right corner of the house.
I'm hoping to be able to do that late summer/early fall
if I'm lucky.
Another wider view of the area.
This is a shot of the side of the house
and the lovely yews.

Another yew full frontal.
And here we are yew free.
This was a really big transformation.
We went from the yews to yew stumps 
to nasty grass and weeds 
to this.
A photo of the area on the side towards the back.
The room with all the windows is the laundry/mud room.
And here is the little garden now.
There was a garden there originally,
but it was full of weeds and mint.
Mint is the devil.
DO NOT plant mint directly into your garden!
Trust me.

Another view of the yews from the front of the house.
And the new view.
I'm thinking of planting a climbing vine on the rain spout.
A clematis would look good there,
and it would give the garden some height.
We don't have a front yard at all- the porch touches the sidewalk,
so I need to make sure the areas I have close by really pop.
Here we have some random shots of the new gardens.
We will eventually replace the old nasty wire fence
with a privacy fence.
The rest of the yard will be picket fencing.
I originally stuck my grandson's playhouse in the garden
to take up space.
I've decided to leave it there for now.
I had the idea to use containers 
and let him plant some annuals to have around his house.
The garden angel that was once my grandmother's.
Now that everything has been weeded and mulched, 
and all the plants have been planted,
it's time to make a list of what plants I'd like to add.
I have another hydrangea that was part of my wedding decor to transplant, 
and I'd like to get a lace cap hydrangea too.
Big E wants a rhododendron,
and I've saved room along the side of the house for that.
I need some more milkweed,
and I also want
rudbeckia (brown eyed Susan),  lavendar,
phlox, columbine, hollyhocks, and some coreopsis-
plus whatever else I happen across that I like. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mulching for Mother's Day

 So, I've been dying to get all the flower beds mulched
since last year.
Last year, we dug out a circle around the cherry tree and
gardens along the fence in the back yard.
We only managed to mulch the area around the tree last year.
This year, we dug out more garden area along the side of the house.
Since it was Mother's Day, 
I used it to my advantage and requested slave labor all day for mulching purposes.
 This was the first load of mulch.
We didn't just have mulching to do, 
that would have been easy.
We had to edge and pick up piles of weeds and grass
as we went.
We filled 10 large trash bags of yard waste when it was all said and done.
 In the end, it took 3 loads which equaled about 6-7 cubic yards of mulch.
Everything has been done except 
around the tree.
The transformation is amazing,
and I'll be blogging before and after photos soon.
I still have some areas to fill in with plants
(there's a list)
and hopefully later this summer or early fall
I'll be able to start on the water garden.
I guess now with all the weeding and mulching done,
I have to clean the house.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I Dig Perennials

A couple of weeks ago, my mom, Big E and I 
went to a family friend's house to snag some perennials.
Existing flower beds were going to be dug up
to make way for their awesome new barn.
And since I have tons of garden space to fill, 
I jumped at the chance to score free plants.
We might have gone a little overboard.
We had to stop because we ran out of room.
Granted, the photo shows plants for me and my mom, 
but the only room on the back seat is a small spot for my mom
on the passenger side.
I'm still planting stuff.
It's slow going when you need to weed before planting.
Hopefully I'll have some great photos of the garden beds once 
they're weeded and mulched!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Warning: Fowl Post

Spring has sprung,
and there's a whole bunch of new additions to the coop.
The fowl influx started on Easter with the purchase of 2 ducklings.
That's what happens when you have a grandkid.
On the right we have Scooby-Doo,
and on the left is Shaggy.
Shaggy was named something else by my son, 
but was renamed by the grandson.
This past Saturday I ventured out to the Poultry Swap
 to get some new pullets.
The grandson had some specific requests for new hens.
He wanted an orange chicken
and a green chicken.
He was happy to settle for one that laid green eggs 
after I explained there weren't any green chickens.
So I picked up a Buff Orpington that has been named Velma.
And I got an Easter Egger that has been named Fred
(I'm sure you can tell the grandson's current interest, 
though I'm a Scooby fan from way back).
Let's hope that Fred not only lays green eggs, 
but doesn't live up to the name and lays eggs period.
To finish my purchases, 
I picked up a pearl colored Cochin, a white crested black Polish
and 2 speckled sussex pullets.
a turkey.
This little guy is a Black Spanish heritage breed turkey.
It's one of the oldest turkey breeds and is in danger of disappearing.
So he will not be eaten.
Or she whatever it is.
Currently the turkey has no name,
but I'm sure I'll think of something eventually.
 So far, the lone hen I already had 
(named Donner because she's a cannibal)
is getting along with everyone.
There is some pecking going on,
but over all I think she's happy to have friends. 
Hopefully everyone will manage to got get eaten or pecked to death.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Rock Salad Garden

With the fabulous weather we've been having, 
Big E and I have been spending spare time doing things in the yard.
The latest task we tackled was cleaning up 
a garden area on the side of the garage.
It's been neglected for a while now,
and I think it is a good spot for a new garden 
for lettuces and kale.
It'll save on the grocery bill for tortoise food.
Not only was it full of weeds and nasty Bermuda grass, 
it also had 5 invasive tree species growing in it.
Apparently, this used to be a rock garden.
Or cement garden.
This is one of 2 piles of cement block that was dug up
and hauled out of the garden.
Once section actually had large pieces of flagstone in it
and resembled a chicken.
Big E wouldn't let me keep it.
 In the end, we got it all dug out, 
and it looks great. 
Again, hard to imagine that there was so much cement
in such a small area.
Not sure if I'm going to make a raised bed, 
or just use it as is.
Either way, I'm glad the area looks better, 
and I'm anxious to get the salad growing
for me and the tortoise.
(Though now we have to clean up the piles of crap we took out of it)