Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tale of two kitties

Sweat Socks, as I named our neighborhood cat, has been coming by lately for a free meal. I named him that because of his neat white feet.

Then Morgan started calling him Sweaty Kitty. And then just Sweaty. And now it's spiraled into Stinky, Sweaty Sweat Socks Kitty.

Poor Sweat Socks. He doesn't seem to mind, though. We can call him Brittany for all he cares, so long as we continue to feed him.

Sweat Socks was checking the progress I am making at removing the Lonicera and Hedera that are dominating the fence row on the western edge of the back yard.

Just that section from the tree to the start of the shrubs filled a yard waste can to overflowing, but it looks so much better.

Most of my efforts on my days off were spent fixing this Echo string trimmer that Morgan bought at auction a few weeks ago. She bought it cheaply because it was not running and the seller said it needed some carburetor work.

That was an understatement. But for $12.50, it's a bargain.

I received a carburetor kit and new fuel line in the mail last week and after a bit of tinkering, I think I have it running pretty well. It still tends to lean out if the throttle is opened quickly, but I'm going to continue to work on it. A new bilge and some more work to clean out the idle circuit jets should do the trick.

Lastly, I started planting some of the plants that Morgan bought and spread a little compost in there with them as well. We need quite a bit more compost.

Perhaps some more Hosta and Solomon's seal would be nice. I like very much what's happening along here, though.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Go fish!

Morgan, the queen of Craigslist, bought a 29-gallon aquarium and all of the periphery for $25. The tank gives a new home to her fish, Hamburger Bun and Starvin' Marvin, and also gave Morgan an excuse to go and buy two new fish, Twinkie and Ho-Ho.

Hamburger Bun really likes his new digs.

Starvin' Marvin, left, is not too sure about Twinkie, but I think they will all learn to get along in their new home.

We also visited a nursery east of Goshen where we found some Peony and planted them in the new heart-shaped flower bed that I made.

The snakes seem to have moved on, thankfully, but I did find two toads hanging out.

And then I worked on weeding the Vinca bed and cutting down the unwanted eastern red cedar and hackberry trees. We are thinking a dogwood or two would look good in this bed, in the center of the photo above.

It's starting to look good and with a little compost it should perk right up by spring.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

152 Going going GONE!

The ugliest thing I bought but it is orange!

Tad's antlers. Wait until we all hear the story of how he took down this big ol' mule deer. I can't wait!

My office - it's getting there. Little bit by little bit.

Not sure how I feel about these two yet but I think I like them. A lot.

One buck. That's all I paid for both of these pieces. They are a perfect match to the love seat thingy I have on the deck. I will just slap some paint on them, get some cushions and voila! I couldn't pass them up for one buck.

Andy's gas weed eater. $12.50. He will have fun with this.

I got this sweet little rolling cart AND a charcoal grill buck! We left the grill because it was horrendous. Yes, there is even some junk we won't bring home. This little gem needs some new paint and then he will be home to plants or a serving tray or whatever. One buck!

Gold mining pan! I loved it. ALso a piece of petrified wood that is fabulous! I love this picture because in it is one of the bird houses that Andy's grandpa made (everyone says they were poorly made but I think they are all wonderful and I am certain he meant for the roofs to come off - air conditioning) and the little upholstery/cloth rooster that came from my childhood. This and another like it used to be Christmas ornaments on our Christmas trees all the years I was growing up. Before that they were frame and hung in my bedroom as a very young girl. It's so nice to have little pieces of our histories and families scattered around our home.

Petrified wood. I love the idea of these pieces of petrified wood that have to be thousands of years old.

Four bucks for the decanter. It also came with these two old green glass cups/brandy snifters/somethings. They are currently in the dish washer so they didn't get their photo op.

Petrified wood. This is really a neat piece - much nicer that I photographed it.

Petrified wood. The colors on this one are just beautiful!

Same piece as above.

Probably my favorite piece of the petrified wood (i have lots now!) My toe snuck in the one shot but it gives some scale.

Geods! I bought several of these. Some of them are still uncut/unbroken. My plan is to mash a couple of them open with Tad to see what we find. I can't wait! I heart mashing things!

Tad's antlers.

Rocks. Lots of rocks. Agate, crystal, geods, petrified wood, quartz, and ummmm rocks.

Petrified wood. Another pretty one.

Yes, that's right. I went to another auction today. FUN! I called up my friend Alice, whom or who (just let it go, Grammar Nazis) I met at the last auction I attended, and conned her into coming along. I will note that she needed no conning at all. So off we the auction!

This was an estate sale of a nice gentleman who apparently ran a rock shop. Lots and lots and lots and lots of rocks. Several tons of rocks, in fact. I know that Andy will be delighted to find I only brought home a few hundred pounds of rock! When I was having to schlep all of my rocks to my truck, that previous statement does not feel like an exaggeration but, fortunately for Andy, it is. I did buy a lot of rocks though! I also bought some other stuff. Alice bought lots of stuff too. I bought so much stuff some of it didn't fit into my truck and had to go home in Alice's van. It made me sad not to have my new found treasures here with me but she will bring them over tomorrow night when her and her family come over for dinner. Juli and Joe are joining us too.

The problem with that was we didn't have enough chairs for everyone to sit as there will be 8 of us. Notice I said "was". Not a problem anymore. I bought a fabulous chair for my desk - an old oak swivel rocky type chair that is almost exactly like the one my mother had all those years at her office desk. It pleases me to no end to have one just like her old chair. Same goes for the desk I bought. They are touchstones of sorts that I get to see and touch every day and they never fail to remind me of my her. Also in the seating department is the crappiest ugliest old wooden chair ever. It's in need of some gluing (Honey, I love you.) and probably a coat of paint wouldn't hurt it either. But! But but but but! I got it for ONE BUCK! So with two new chairs (new to us) we are up to six chairs! Then when I got home I remembered that we actually have one of the chairs from my dining set down in Maumelle and we have a couple of lab stools that I bought from the last auction out in the garage! Hells bells! We could have NINE people for dinner if we wanted to! Anyone want to come over tomorrow night for pizza?

We spent over five hours at the auction and it was great fun. It's always hysterical to see what people actually pay money for. It's also hysterical to see and hear Alice in action and see what she buys. She did get this extremely cool old type writer for a buck that I am jealous over. I bid on a 400lb (yes I said 400 pounds) Jade rock. I didn't figure there was a shot in hell I would get it, I didn't truly want it and would have had no idea what the heck to do with it, but I just thought it would be worth 20 or so dollars to be able to call up Andy and say, "Ummm Honey? I need to borrow Super Truck and you and three other dudes. Why? Well uuummmm uuuuuhhhhh I might have accidentally bought a 400 pound rock." Heh. It ended up selling for about 75 dollars if I recall correctly.

Oh! I wasn't the only one who got treasures! Andy got a gas weed eater for $12.50. It needs some carburetor work and I knew he would have a good time with that. My favorite buy was the 10 point mule deer antler rack that I bought for my son. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to buy it for Tad because I knew he would be over the moon excited to have it and would hang it in his room, over his bed. I got home and called him about it. He is, as predicted, over the moon excited about it and plans to hang it over his bed. For now it is sitting on our mantle and I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I actually like it.

So yeah, we had a great time. I am afraid Andy is probably about to put me on Auction Probation. I am already on Plant Probation. It was worth it though. We had a grand time and Number 152 served us well. I may just frame that bid card. In case anyone is wondering, Andy didn't get to come because he is off shooting the Hog game. This worked well for me since it left me free to raise my hand and bid until things were....going gooiiiiiiiiiiinnnng GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE!

Love on!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is more my speed

It's not plumbing and nothing that runs on gasoline has been able to beat me so far, so I like my chances with the riding lawn mower. It's an Ariens from about 1995 with a Briggs & Stratton 319cc 8HP vertical-drive-shaft motor and a vicious case of surging.

The theories involve at worst, the governor springs, and at best, just some trash in the float bowl.

Judging from the amount of grass in the gas tank and how it improves every time I turn the idle mixture screw, I'm betting on the latter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The ugliest part of the house

This is a sight that strikes fear in the hearts of most people: The cutoff at the water meter. It means not-so-fun projects inside and is not so easy to turn with a Crescent wrench. No wonder the water guys who work for the city are so huge.

I think I invented a few new words as I turned this shut and then open again — and I never took French before! I used some penetrating oil, which seemed to help a bit, but this was tougher than I thought it would be. Funny how it's always something that you assumed would be easy that ends up being the hardest part of the job.

What needed to be replaced was a cutoff valve that services the faucet in the master bathroom. It began to leak once I had tightened it and then loosened it while replacing the ugly faucet that had been there since Star Wars.

I was afraid I would have to cut off the old ball sleeve and put on a new one, but I took the advised chance and tried to reuse the old one with a new valve before doing something so unpleasant. After quite a bit of wrenching in modest increments, it seems to have sealed up.

And then Morgan came home and started peeling the awful wallpaper off the walls in the master bathroom.

At 9:10 p.m.

I wonder when her fun will begin to wear off so I can jump in and help finish this one. Maybe we'll have bought a wallpaper steamer by then. Or a magic wand.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And then it started to rain

It's Tuesday, my day off, a day that I normally work on the house, but it's raining. And it's been raining for days on end. I really had my heart set on doing some work outside, so I put on my boots and just got rained on.

First, I reworked a forgotten flower bed on the southeast corner of the yard near the street with the idea that Morgan can now plant a few Peony and whatever else she wants.

I neglected to shoot a photo of the two copperhead snakes in a nest under a rock in the bed. There were two; now there are four snakes. Some have heads, some have tails.

Then I mowed and edged the front lawn after finishing with the pressure washer on the front sidewalk.

The rest of the daylight hours I spent weeding the Vinca bed, making my way down the hill towards the back yard a bit more until I filled both of the yard waste cans and decided that I had been rained on enough for one day.

Once the sun went down, I put up a smoke alarm to replace the AC-powered one on the ceiling that was missing.

I wanted to get the one that talked instead of just whined an alarm sound. I thought we could get the one that said, "Get out! It's a fire!" or "Hey Morgan, your bagel is done!" But they were too expensive.

Don't you just love the happy green light?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A tale of two sickies

Morgan has been positively thrilled at the opportunity to use a very nice pressure-washer that Charles and Marsha Williams have lent to us for the week. She caught the head cold that I fought over the weekend, but she was up and at 'em Wednesday morning power-washing the driveway, sidewalks and the deck.

After drawing and washing off the heart, she decided it would be funny to draw a large penis on the walkway leading to our front door. And then the school bus full of elementary school children drove by.

I just ran inside.

While Morgan was in Mountain Home, I started working on the flower beds along the eastern side of the house and then started weeding and building a short rock wall around the Vinca beds. Once I get the horse manure and compost spread and the soil turned, the flower beds will soon be home to Hosta, crested iris and Hydrangea, replacing the stink tree, poison ivy and weeds that had set up shop there.

I have nearly gotten all of the horse manure spread in the front bed. This is turning out to be a lot of work since it is so full of roots, rocks and a huge northern red oak stump.

And yes, that's poison ivy in the gutter.

The Linoleum in Tad's bathroom was installed on the outside of the mill work so over the years water from the shower has damaged the particle-board decking around it. I thought it would be a good idea to lay down some quarter round to hold down the buckling edges until we can work on replacing the flooring.

Matching the color of the existing molding was tricky, but after a few experiments I think I got it pretty close. Practicing in the bathroom before I start cutting quarter round for the rest of the house will prove useful, I think.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So we are still slogging away at it. Random pictures tonight because I am sick and mostly I just don't care tonight about the house. My son is unhappy. That makes the house and everything in it seem fairly inconsequential, try as I might. At any rate, we are still getting things done and making repairs as we go. Apparently we are living in a house that was built on top of a rock quary - hence all the rocks in the yard.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Settling in

I am nearly done removing the yews that were in front of the house and in the way of the planned perennial flower garden. We have arranged for horse manure to be delivered Friday, and I will be putting several bags in this bed. When compost is available later this fall, I will add some of that too.

I added mulch around the azaleas that are on the east side of the house and made a wandering sort of border with all of the rocks that I keep digging up in the flower garden. I would love to have had some compost to add to the bed, and I may do so when we can get some later this fall.

I finally found time to assemble a shelf and get the garage organized a bit. Pegboard would be nice, but for now it's nice to have everything out of the mound of cardboard boxes and where I can find everything.

And lastly, I installed a new shop light in the recessed light in the kitchen and Morgan found these really great lenses to replace the awful 70s grids that were in them. It looks and works really good now. Or, at least it looks better.