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Archive for the ‘Rennovations’ Category

Old Door Old Railroad Town

The warehouse has been empty so long that the floor joists have rotted…but the shell is still here, and the town seems to be gentrifying just up the block.  So maybe this will be repointed, and revived as…something other than a place for swifts and swallows to hide, in between their forays down to the waterfront to chase the mayflies and junebugs?

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Okay, so I need some quality time with the ShopVac tomorrow, but I’m happy.

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See!

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There is something so very satisfying about finally using tools and techniques and materials that have been dormant for a long time.

The little blue cabinet was a gift for me when I was a child; it held books and treasures and was one of the first pieces of furniture in my first house. Arriving at Elsinore, it stood in a corner for years, biding its time to be useful again. Yesterday it was brought into the kitchen, cleaned up, and the baking pans got neatly filed in the lower case (previously the home of many, many children’s books).

But to stock the upper case with cookbooks, I needed to make shelves.

In the basement is the wood stash. Some I acquired from friend’s families, pine from a colleague whose spouse could no longer do woodworking, and batches of redwood and butternut from trees that were felled at the old house.

One piece of pine, cut to fit…. But I needed the shelf to be four inches or so wider. Okay, there was a likely piece of butternut……

This is where it gets fun. I had collected a few old hand planes in the mid-90s, restored them, and set them aside…. But now I could set up my bench with a stop in the tail vise, adjust the blade and turn that rough wood into part of a shelf! Complex joinery this isn’t, of course, but a lovely reminder that old efforts are not wasted, and good exercise, too.

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There’s a section of the yard that I think might really look good with a small pond and a recirculating watercourse leading to it.  Since the likely pond spot is right where water tends to pool anyway in the spring [although not this spring], I’d be working with the land features in a way that might mimic what once was here [have I talked about all the rounded pebbles and river rocks I find 6-12 inches down everywhere in this yard?]

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Maybe not as long as this one, but I think the look is right [and it justifies collecting more rocks!].
If I’m lucky, at some point it might also justify some of these Fish in the Garden

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We had been trapped for a while at the ceramics lab, watching the rain pelt the big plate glass windows near the ceiling, and then worrying a bit as large hail started bouncing against the glass-walled entrance to the building.  The lightning was spectacular! No, we were not about to leave until there was some sort of lull, and yet we knew we were in a flood-prone area and needed to get back to our home on higher ground.

So, a mad dash to the car, and I had buckets of tools sitting on my lap, rather than putting them in the back hatch of the car, and off we go, negotiating brake-threatening insta-lakes and fallen branches.  Another derecho?  We hoped not…

But it did cross our minds what the last storm did, so we parked across the alley and ran in the back door of the house [cursing the overgrown fig tree, and then apologizing, for lo: it doth bear fruit and mightily so] as fast as we could.

When the branch hit, crashing down from a nearby tulip tree, across the driveway, exactly where the car would have been parked and right through where we had run only 2 minutes before, it shook the house so hard that the bathroom door creaked open, much to the delight of the cats.

[Why do I suddenly feel as if I’ve been reading Faulkner all day?]

I had been meaning to re-think what we had in that section of the garden, but this was not quite how I envisioned getting started.  Not sure if the rosemary or baptisia will forgive me, and dangit the Passionflower had _just_ started blooming after two years apparent celibacy.

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There’s a ‘seasonal stream’ at Elsinore, and at the moment that means things are rather boggy in the side yard.  Yesterday I dug out a space for the new baby Yellowwood tree [note to self: buy more compost!], carving out sod and digging a narrow gap in the ring of dirt to let the water continue on it’s way. But in this weather, all the trenches in the world don’t seen enough to manage the flow.

Somehow there’s water coming into the basement, and it seems to be on the other side of the bulkhead doors, which are covered with a tarp, and seem dry at the surface.  I don’t know what to do to solve that problem, although I think I need to do some serious terraforming in the yard this season:  build a ridge to guide water away, bury drainage pipe, I’m not sure what…

And, of course, some of those ideas aren’t environmentally-friendly.  I should be slowing that water down, not rushing the run-off into the watershed….except I don’t think any amount of slowing is going to make clogged soil absorb more….and certainly I don’t want the excess to come into the house to short out the washing machine or drown the spiders! [At this my Beloved starts to worry about my priorities…]

Maybe I have a date with hydraulic cement tonight?

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