Friday, September 18, 2009


We're really into the outdoor projects, Justin and I. The inside is by no means finished but we're running low on summer evenings and autumn is nipping at our heels. So before the rain becomes a daily annoyance, we're getting our house prepped for new gutters. Mostly this means painting the rafter tails to seal up the wood but in the back of the house, it means a small structural repair. You see, when we pulled off the old gutter back there, there was a 4 inch sag in the center of our eve. We should have noticed it because our gutter had a way of collecting all of the rain water in the middle of the gutter and then spilling it over the side. But, we have had a long, dry summer and I suppose we put it out of our minds, until it became inconvenient. Our gutter removal crew (Justin) made the discovery of the sag last weekend when he pulled off all of the silt-filled gutters and our gutter contractor didn't have a plan to address the problem, except running the downspouts to the low spot which seemed pretty half-assed. So we decided to undertake a little structural repair ourselves and Justin dreamed up a pretty clever solution. The short version is that we levered up the low spot in the roof and attached a structural fascia board to the rafter tails to hold everything in place. The pictures fill in some of the detail.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Checkin' off the list

Our to-do list is getting shorter. It still seems endless but we have been checking off the boxes and a pretty good clip these days. Here's a run-down of what we checked off this weekend:
  • buy and plant foundation plants in front yard
  • caulk south facing windows
  • touch-up paint on south facing windows
  • touch-up paint in living room
  • remove hardware and prep interior doors for paint stripping
  • clean out garage
  • remove gutters

As you can see, we were busy! We'll be painting rafter tails this week to ready the house for new gutters. We want to get those on before the rainy season starts.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

We took this holiday literally. We labored. Most of our time since last December when we purchased the bungalow has been on fixin' up the inside. The outside has been a bit of an eyesore, at least to me who is used to lots of flowers. At my last place, I hired a landscape designer to help with a plan and since implementing that plan and tending to the plants for several years, I know what I like and what I don't. With that confidence, I put together a landscape design for the front yard over the last few weeks and this weekend we installed it over the three day weekend.
On Friday night, Justin went off-script and started spreading some of the compost we had delivered. I wasn't ready for 4 days of labor so mostly I watched and made dinner. Bright and early on Saturday, we trucked it over to the rental yard and borrowed a sod cutter. Justin loves the sod cutter. He says it's like driving a Tasmanian devil. Justin drove the machine and I rolled up all of our weedy sod, readying it for the dump. We then spread 12 yards of compost around the freshly barren lawn. That took it out of us for Saturday. Except for a fun visit to the nursery for plants (I need a little bright spot to all of the dirt!). Sunday morning the weather was disgusting-hard driving rain. Although we were planning to rototill all of the compost to amend the soil, the prospect of working in the rain wasn't appealling. Instead, we trucked it out to the burbs to some more nurseries for more plants. It rained for most of the shopping but it sure beat laboring in the rain. By the time we returned home, the rain had let up and we got our rototilling on. By the time we had tilled the yard and raked it mostly even and cleaned up, it was time for bed. Today, we headed out to a couple more nurseries to see about filling out the rest of the plant list (we still have a few more plants to get!). And then we planted. Justin dug the holes and I filled them in. He also built a threshold to go around a basement window to hold back the dirt from the wood around the window.
We are sore and tired but there's a chicken roasting in the oven for dinner and a great view out of out dining room to our new front yard.

Here are some photos:

In process: sod removed and compost spread.

After planting: