June 30, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This is my first garden. I've helped work in other peoples gardens, helped weed a their garden, helped pick their produce, and I've definitely helped eat their garden produce, but I've never grown my own.

So this has been a fun and rewarding experience. The rain has been plentiful and things are beginning to mature.

So here's a peek at what's growing:

Tomatoes. They are small, but are ready for support.

 Peppers (red, green, and purple). They aren't pictured since no fruit is growing yet.

Zinnia's to aid with the tomato growth. I read about it online after this season, I'll see how much they contribute.

Cucumbers. They grew faster than any plant I planted. You can tell from the original marker, I had planted carrots. Unfortunately, they never would grow. Maybe next year.

Watermelon.  I started my watermelon and some other sunflower plants indoors. I must've not given them enough time to grow because many of them died when I transferred them. Also, some critter dug up all of the  ones that were surviving except this one water melon vine. I am praying that this one not only survives, but thrives.

Broccoli. The broccoli is a lot larger than it appears in the pictures. Yet, no stalks and flowers are there yet.

Sweet Corn.  Still kind of short, I don't know if it will get any taller. It might be too cramped.

 Leaf Lettuce. This is ready to harvest. Supposedly, if I cut just leaves off new ones will grow back, so if anyone is needing some lettuce, let me know because a lot of it needs harvested.

My garden has weeds, please don't judge me. :) I am not BH&G ready by any means. Part of that, (yeah, I have excuses ready) is I planted some nasturtium and alyssum as companion plants, and waited before I weeded. After a week or two, I just started weeding it out because it didn't look as if it was going to grow. I left a few seedlings I thought might be those flowers.

Well, I'd better go because these pictures are making me hungry.

June 14, 2014

If You Give a Man a Tractor...

Remember that Sunday I mentioned in previous post where I had wished we rested?

It all started because I had planted a flower bed around the "new" porch at our cottage. Well, one thing led to another and before I knew it I was on the tractor covering up a drainage pipe.

I know the two things seem unconnected. So I'll attempt to explain. Ahem.

If you want to make a brick border for your flower bed...
     you'll ask your husband if he's seen any bricks laying around.

If you ask your husband for bricks...
     he'll ask you how many you need.

If you tell him a bunch...
     he'll ask if the ones he saw lying on the ground that need picked up anyway      will work.

If you tell him that will work...
     he'll ask you if you need help carrying them.

If you tell him "yes"...
      he'll offer you the strength of his tractor.

If you use the strength of his tractor to carry the bricks...
       he's driven his tractor over to your flower bed.

If he's driven his tractor over to your flower bed...
    he'll ask you if you could move a flower so he can put in a drain       pipe there.

If he asks you to move a flower for a drainage pipe,
    he'll ask you if you care if he digs a ditch to lay it.

 If he asks to dig a ditch...
     he's going to ask you to help him.
 If he asks you to help him...
     he'll ask you to get a shovel.


If he asks you for a shovel...
      he's going to want to dig with that too.


If he asks you for the shovel...
      he's going to ask you to drive the tractor.

  If he asks you to drive the tractor...
     he's going to ask you to cover up the hole he's dug.

If he asks you to cover up the hole he's dug...
    you'll do it so you can get back to fixing your flower bed border!

 And that's how we went from a brick flower bed border to laying a drainage ditch.

(More cottage work to come.)

June 13, 2014

The House that Walt Built

Thank God that we are now in the Reconstruction Era!

 we made a huge mess and I lost all  some confidence that we would ever put it all together again. We didn't have the time. We didn't have the resources. We didn't know enough about what we were doing. And so on and so forth.  Actually, that's really the only three statements I made, I just said them often.

In my defense, our carpentry projects hadn't been what one might deem successful. In fact, one might say they were fails to epic proportions. For example, after we moved in to our first apartment in college, Walter decided to build a dining room table since he was in a woodworking class. Unfortunately, he never completed it. In fact, it's quite possible it's still lying in pieces in the woodwork lab to this day. The summer before we got married, my mammaw had an old cedar chest that needed restoring. We decided we'd restore it together. We did a great job of taking it apart-- but it's still in pieces in his dad's garage. Given our history, I had valid reasons to wonder if we'd stick with this.

I had such little faith back then (yeah, I know it was just a month ago, but in teacher time a month is equivalent to at least a year). However, I am now a firm believer that my husband has enough will and determination to accomplish anything he desires. My meltdowns over our current state of affairs might have contributed to some degree.

But, seriously, I have complete confidence that Walter could rebuild this house with his own two hands. He's that awesome. All it takes are a couple of Youtube videos and the right tool ordered with two day shipping from Amazon, and he's got it licked.

You might think I'm joking-- cause that did sound like a joke--but that's no exaggeration nor is it a joke. That's his method.  And his work is very well done. Not just slapped together quickly to get it done quickly. He measures, he ponders, he trials, he errors, he measures again. He overworks. He gets it done right.

And I love it. (Except for when his overwork hurts him).

So, this post is dedicated to him (even if he never reads these things), showcasing his hard work on his week off.

Before, there was a wall separating the kitchen from the living room. As you walked through the hall, on your right was a door that opened to the staircase (watch your head!), directly in front was the bathroom, and to the left was the bedroom. Not a very open layout.

Walter hated hitting his head everytime he walked up the staircase, so he vowed to get rid of the door. I suggested the idea of moving the wall back to show off some of the steps. Walter made it happen. (And his dad helped!)

It makes everything feel so open, I love it! Which obviously, some of this will be closed off. (The bathroom walls have to be put in.

A close up of the header. Walter had to redo the stud layout here since this was a load bearing wall. Also, you can see the heading is angled. which gives it a cool look, but was a little tricky to do.

The other side. The bedroom will be on this side.
This is what it looked like from the bathroom's vantage point. 

As you came in the back door (which is our main entrance since the driveway is on that side), you came in to a tiny hall. To your right was a bedroom door, in front was the basement door (which will stay) and to your left was a regular sized doorway to the kitchen. It was crowded and awkward.

Walter widened the entry to the kitchen and knocked out the wall of the bedroom which will now be a dining room.
Here's what it felt like standing in that hallway when you first entered the house. Rather than "Come on in!", it felt like "Let me out!"

Here's the view from another angle.

More updates to come! We're getting there!

June 12, 2014

Reconstruction Era: The Bathroom

This is the only room in the house that we have to entirely redo. Most we can keep at least the floor. But this room had water damage down to the subfloor. It was also small for our taste.

Memorial Day weekend, we went to work on replacing the subfloors, but for progress's sake, I'm going to backtrack as a reminder of why we are expanding and replacing.

Sometime last year:
First, we tore out the drywall.

Next, we had to clean up the mess. You can see the size of the bathroom here.

Then, we took out the walls.

This shows you the dimensions of the bathroom pretty well. The gap between
the hardwood is where the wall once was.

We pulled up the hardwood. (This was back in December. Luke and
Walter did most of that since I was out of town for a wedding.
They removed the hardwood out to suit our new bathroom dimensions. This included removing
the old floor furnace vent.

Then, due to a long , cold winter, all work was on hold. Which brings us up to Memorial Day weekend. (Walter had spent a few evenings prior cutting out the subfloor.)

Saturday, May 24: Because there was a floor vent, we had to replace the floor joists. Originally, we planned to only replace the two that were cut short. Unfortunately, we had a lot of difficulty getting the new floor joists level with the old ones. 

Walter measuring the beams (2 X 10's).
You can see we successfully installed one joist. 
The first solution was to cut the old beams to level them out with the new. So, we chalked a line and Walter used his Sawzall to slice it. 

It almost seemed more work than it was worth. So, we headed to Lowe's to get three more floor joists. This was the Saturday before Memorial Day. We went ahead and got the beams and put them in so that we could go to work on the subfloor on Monday.

The four right joists are all brand new.

Somehow, Walter was able to easily level out the left most joist with his saw so, we didn't have to replace it.
Big progress made.

Sunday, May 25: I'd like to say on Sunday we rested, but I've got photo evidence that shows otherwise (details in another post.)

Monday, May 26: After replacing the joists, we put the subfloor down for a practice run to see how it needed to be cut. Since I would have to work Tuesday, we tried to do all the two person work ahead of time. And cutting subfloor with a table saw is definitely a two person job. We had trouble getting it to fit, and called it a day around 5 to enjoy a cookout with my parents.

Tuesday, May 27: Walter and his dad worked to fit the subfloor and cut it to fit. By the time I got home, it was time to nail it and glue it down.

Drilling it into place.
The chalk line allowed us to know where the stud was, and we placed screws next to the shapes.
Finally, in place.
Resting for bit.

June 11, 2014

The Reconstruction Era: From the Bottom Up

I've been getting a lot of "We haven't seen any pictures of all this 'so called work' you've been doing at your house."

I tell people that since there haven't been a lot of blog posts, that means we've been really busy. That's a good thing!

But, now, with school winding down (two more days!) over, and Walter unable to use his arms due to inflammation of the wrists (the doctor has ordered him to rest for two weeks), I have a little time to document what we've done.

First, all of the wooden posts that held up our house have been replaced with metal ones. This is a grand feat in itself. It really opens up the basement too.

Walter did an incredible amount of work on this. He researched, he practiced, he had me watch him, he called his dad for help, and one day he gathered up the courage to change them out while his dad was with him to help. Eventually, he had such a knack for it that  I came home from work and all the tree like posts were lying on the ground and red posts were in their place.

Ta da!

It makes the basement look much more open.