Friday, July 16, 2010

More Touch-up Work

New front door paint!  Here is the before, and the after.  Same with the newly refurbished front porch lights.  The door hardware was simply wire brushed clean, and looks like new, too!  We never mind spending a little labor to achieve that fresh, like-new feel!  Sure beats spending $$$ for new, eh???  The best part (besides saving money?) ... that is the last of the pink!!!

An Empty Bird House ... NOT

We started scraping and caulking the back of the house this week.  Last week while Tom was in the far north I painted the lower portion trim.  This upper part has really been through the harshest environment with a full southern exposure, and is taking a longer time to prep for painting.

Under the eaves was an old birdhouse.  When Tom dropped took it down on Tuesday night I  had opened up the top, and while it did look like a current nest, there was no visible sign of a little bird inside.  They must camouflage well! It had been placed on the deck, and imagine my surprise when, while I was washing dishes, I spied a small brown bird standing at the opening.  As soon at it left another one flew in, and then I spied a large yellow open mouth just inside the opening.  Both parents made about 4 trips while I watched from inside the house.  That also explains why Dolly the cat has been sitting in front of the birdhouse staring to intently at it earlier in the day.

When I told Tom after he got home after work he didn't hesitate to pull the ladder back out, and reinstalled it back where it had been.  So far I haven't spied the parent birds flying in, but then again, we hadn't even realized they were using the house.

In the meantime we'll keep our eyes peeled for the debut!  In keeping with our updating plans we'll take spruce up the little house late fall once they have definitely moved on.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


One of the unknown bonuses of moving to our new-to-us house are the raspberry canes growing between one of the family room windows and the deck.  They have been producing abundantly, and we have just about reached the end of their growing season.  There are now 6 quart size freezer bags stowed away for treats later on this year.  We have some strawberries, but unfortunately, our May/June rain kept their feet wet, and not much was produced.  Drainage is a serious problem we have to address.  It took a while when we first moved to Texas to adjust to the idea of real rain, real high humidity and heat.  After our 3rd year there, we were finally able to keep a yard looking good.  This climate is different than any I've lived in before.  Much more seasonal, with a nice level of humidity, as opposed to the high in Houston and the low in Nevada we had been living with in years past.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Down to the Ground

Last huge project involved Mary and Peter.  While Tom and I were busy brushing, caulking, and painting they were busy trimming the lower branches from a pine tree in the back yard.  This almost 40' beauty was, unfortunately, planted too close to the house.  After the tree was trimmed as high up as Peter could reach, he and Tom hauled our rented 32' extension ladder around.  Tom trimmed up as far as he could with that one.  Next came several heavy duty straps joined together across the yard, and attached to the upper part of the tree. While Tom made an initial notch on the tree trunk, we secured all pets inside, and then Peter, Mary and I pulled as hard as we could on the rope.  Tom continued to saw, and finally the giant came down as planned.  The dynamic duo continued cutting, limbing, lopping and hauling the branches away.  Mary and Peter have plenty more work to get the limbs bundled for pick-up and the trunk stacked.  You can see in these pictures the tiny chain saw Tom had to use.  (He was the proud owner of a real size Stihl, but it was sold before our move to Texas.  You might guess who still hears about that decision.)  One of these shows the narrow space this tree was occupying.  I often wonder why people don't remember that trees are supposed to grow, but still plant too close to foundations, and other trees!  We have plenty more yard work to keep us all busy, not to mention all the painting on the back of the house!

Up and Down, Up and Down, Up and ....

The major project was to paint the neglected trim and stucco of this house.  While painting several neighbors stopped by to chat.  One informed us that he thought the painting had never been done.  That was verified when we wire brushed.  After overcoming my reluctance to dance on the top of tall extension ladders, we were off and running.  The tall dormer over our front entry required renting a 32' extension ladder.  We sure like the results.  As another neighbor said, looks like a new house!

Do You Believe in Resurrecting the Ugly?

Another side project Tom tackled prior to actually painting our house was to resurrect the two really ugly porch lights on either side of our garage.  This picture of before is of one of the two by our front door.  They still have to be taken care of.  Wish I had taken a before of the two that were exposed to weather.  They were truly hideous.  But, with a little time using a brush wheel and power drill Tom stripped off all the peeling paint.  Then after 3 or 4 applications of flat black spray paint, tada!, like new lights.

Fixin' Up the House

Tom had a long four day weekend beginning with Canada Day on July 1, and ending on Independence Day, July 4.  Back on June 13 we came home from morning Mass only to discover a balky garage door.  Fortunately, it decided to stop closing after we returned home, and not prior.  And perhaps best that it didn't happen at midnight when we returned from Michigan to pick Mary and Peter up at the airport after their Houston sojourn.

Tom and his trusty sidekick, Peter (our son), investigated and found rust had pretty much destroyed the cable mechanism and hinges.  These garage doors were wooden, and though we knew they would have to be replaced eventually when we bought the house, we certainly had hoped to delay it until after the wedding in January.

But, God is good, you know?  Tom drove to Home Depot, and sitting in the middle of an aisle along with several sale items were two garage doors the right size and price.  We needed three so Tom negotiated with the floor manager and got a third that was insulated for the same sale price as the two uninsulated ones.  He drove home, got my enthusiastic nod of approval, hitched up our little trailer behind our Jetta, took Mary with him to the orange box store and picked them up.

When they got to the checkout counter another surprise awaited them.  He had negotiated the price to around $250 each.  When he checked out the price had dropped to $199 each!   We had to paint them to match the house (another post), they are now installed, and look fabulous!