Sunday, December 29, 2013

Headers and Baseboards

I know it has been a while since we've posted anything, but it has been a while since we have done anything worst posting.  I won't bore you with details of Colin's work/travel schedule, but instead post photos of some of the headers he worked on this weekend.  He finished the two windows in the blue room, the window in Charlotte's room, and the two windows in Alistair's room.  He also built and completed the headers on five doors/doorways.  We still need to do the header returns, fill, caulk, and paint the headers, but lets not think of that now.  We are admiring the headers.

Colin also put in the baseboard on the north side of the blue room (photo above) and in the hallway.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Playhouse Roof Framing

The mosquitoes are finally gone so Colin did not get bitten to pieces as he worked on the roof framing today.  He also put the fascia on, so we are ready for the plywood to go on the roof.

New Steps

Here is Charlotte, modeling our new back step and path. We look forward to planting the bed either side in the spring.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Stairs and Path

We took the off the old porch stairs (that we reattached temporarily) when Colin built the small retaining wall this summer.  Despite our barrier of a plant pot and a toy stove, the kids climbed up and jumped off the back porch.  We needed some new stairs.  Today stonemasons Jesse and Mark installed our new step and a small landing.  Charlotte was very interested in what was going on.  She sat on the porch and watched for a while, and then later watched from inside, standing on a stool so she could watch through the back door window.
A couple of months ago we spotted a reclaimed granite step at Longacres. Not only did the eight foot stone have the aged patina that we were looking for, but it was also half the price of a new stone.  Jesse and Mark picked the stone up and another one they had that was five feet long.  They used the truck to slide it into place.  Here Jesse is sitting on the stone as Mark tips the truck bed to slide it off.

The landing is made up of four large stones.  Mark and Jesse chiseled the edges so that they fit close together. Calvin and Alistair were eager to help with putting down the manufactured sand.

Alistair also wanted to help Mark put the sand in the joints.  The guys were great with the kids.

I will post a photo of the finished layout soon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dry Stream Bed

During the torrential rain we had in June, I noticed that we had a little stream appear in our backyard.  The water flowed out between those two big rocks in the photo above.  Inspiration hit, and I decided to make a dry river bed that followed that stream.  It would make a great focal point in an area of our yard that is currently very unattractive.  The previous owner had built a small berm on our property line, and added to it when he was fixing the drainage at his shed.  It is just a pile of broken concrete blocks, dirt and weeds.  I can't do too much about the weeds since they are not in our yard.  Hopefully an attractive little garden will distract your attention from our neighbor's weeds.

The first step was to pull up the ferns and weeds that were in my way.  Then I started to build the wall.  I dug out whole bunch of concrete blocks (and left some for slope stability).  I used rocks from our old rock wall by the porch and found a couple up in the woods.  I planted shade loving plants on the lower terrace (maidenhair ferns, a hosta, hellebore, pulmonaria, and European wild ginger) and a rhododenron and Komodo Dragon hosta on the upper terrace.  Unfortunately the pictures below don't do the landscaping justice.  The plants have already begun to go dormant and the leaves are covering everything.  I'll have to post another photo in the spring.

Once the most of the plants were in the ground, I added the smooth river stone we picked up from the street after the flood and added gravel in between.  Again, difficult to see in the photo, but you can tell that this area of the garden looks much better than it did before.  Looking forward to seeing water flow in the spring.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Playhouse Walls

Colin finished framing the playhouse walls this afternoon. We think it is more square than the back part of our house.

Charlotte loves it.  She calls is "My house" and likes to lay down on the floor and pretend she is sleeping.  She was helping Colin by handing him screws.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Playhouse

Today Colin and Alistair started work on the playhouse.  Alistair helped Colin bring more wheelbarrels full of gravel to the site, he painted the cedar floor boards, he gave Colin the screws one by one, and he brought all of his own tools (note Alistair's yellow plastic level next to Colin's red one in the picture below).

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Colin and I are always planning future projects.  We are always thinking of ideas, researching something, and sketching out ideas on scraps of paper, graph paper and on Google SketchUp.  It is fun to dream up projects.  I sometimes think that planning the project is the best part.  There are so many options and possibilities, but once you start to build, you have shut the door on those other options.

Our recent project planning is our garden, particularly the part of our yard that is now the end of our driveway.  Our driveway is plenty long for our one car, and the driveway is the sunniest part of our yard.  We have long wanted to turn that area into a garden.  Finishing off the back steps of the porch is the first step.  Here is the most recent iteration of our project (drawn by me in Google SketchUp):

I had to include the picture below, just because of the car.  I went online to look up the component for the grill and then wonder if anyone had uploaded a Ford Explorer.  They had, and in our unique blue Eddie Bauer edition color!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Drainage for the Retaining Wall

As we learned recently with the recent flooding, drainage is very important.  Water comes down the hill in the spring, and water (and snow) fall off the porch roof.  Colin started to install a perforated pipe and landscape fabric to drain the water away from the wall.  We're not sure of the water's final destination.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Building a Short Retaining Wall

There have been a lot of trucks in our neighborhood this week.  Most of the truck activity is related to the massive flooding and road damage we had on Tuesday afternoon.  There were three payloaders clearing mud and rocks on Tuesday, and there was a lot of truck activity on Saturday when they rebuilt the road at the top of our small hill.  We also have had trucks delivering material for our latest project.  We are building a small retaining wall at the back of our porch to raise the level of the ground.  We would like to have a more level slope (rather than one that slopes steeply towards the house).  Monday, we had some landscape timbers delivered, and on Saturday we had gravel delivered. (The same gravel truck brought gravel to our neighbors up the hill.  They had some significant part of the yard wash away.)


Yesterday and today, Colin installed most of the retaining wall.  It was hard work in all this heat and humidity.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Crocuses

Spring is finally here! (Although we had snow on Friday.)  I am nearly done with raking all the leaves that blew down over the winter.  The crocuses are beginning to bloom and the daffodils and three random tulips are growing.  The bleeding heart and some of the monarda are also starting to grow.  I think we might have a hellebore flowering within the next week as well.  Very exciting after a long winter.