Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Address Sign

I think I may mentioned a few weeks back that we were making an address sign for our house, which is nestled in the woods. Of course, I sat on the project and got nowhere. That is, of course, until now. I finally cut the piece of wood and painted it white. R and the kids will paint the address on it, and then we'll work on getting it up on the end of the driveway. I'm hoping to get it done before the new year, but you never know.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fixing the Chairs

Our chairs were in serious need of some TLC, and there was no time to waste. The chairs we have are actually well made, with no screws or nails holding them together. This means that the pieces were molded together to fit perfectly with bracers and joints. I'm no wood expert, but you can tell a lot of time and effort went into the details. I would have simply screwed and riveted the pieces together, which would have made the junctures strong but unsightly.

Eventually, through continual use every day, the bonds weaken, the chairs become a bit of a hazard to sit in as the legs and supports begin to separate. On a number of occasions, the top of the chair has literally fallen through and hit the floor, usually with one of us sitting in it. Needless to say, this is not a good thing when you have a bad back.

I finally decided that something had to be done. I could have secured the joints with screws, but that would have spoiled the spirit and look of the chair. Instead, I opted to glue them together and hope for the best. In terms of glue, one of my friends recommended Gorilla Glue, which I went out and bought, but then my buddy KM, who works a lot with wood making drums, flutes, and assorted pieces of furniture (he's an artisan) told me that the only thing Gorilla Glue has perfected is advertising. He said the best product is Titebond. Say no more.

In an interesting twist of serendipity, I actually had Titebond because when I went to get Elmer's Wood Glue, they didn't have it. I think it was Woodstock H&H. Either way, they had Titebond, which I'd never heard of, but went for it. Lucky me.

I fixed the chairs, and so far, they've held up pretty well. At the very least, they don't fall apart when we sit in them, which is better than they were before. Best of all, I did it myself, winning some man points with my Mentor, I hope.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Loving Our Roof

Our roof has been doing a great job of keeping the snow from getting crazy up top, but there are times that I could argue it’s doing too good of a job. The pitch on the front of our house is fairly steep, but because it’s facing North, it doesn’t get much in the way of sun exposure. Consequently, the snow doesn’t clear as efficiently. Not like the back, at least.

This comes back to haunt you, however, and in a big way. Once the weather warms up a bit, the snow/ice slides down with a vengeance, and just happens to cover up the walkway out front, on a fairly regular basis, no less. Best of all, because it’s frozen, it not only weighs a ton (thus breaking my back when I shovel it), but it takes quite a bit of effort to break it up. Good thing I’ve got my new shovel with the steel edge. It’s like a Navy ice breaker cutting through the Antarctic tundra.

I realize I’m whining about all this, but I’m grateful that we have our new roof, because it accomplishes on its own what I’ve had to do in past Winters, which is clear off all that darn snow. Plus, when we had shingles, the back wouldn’t clear because it has much less pitch. I had to go up there and rake it, and it wasn’t fun being up that high with snow pouring down over you. I realize I’m losing man-points in admitting this, but such is life.

It was also hard because we kept getting ice dams, which are a chore to clear, especially way up high. As much as I seem to complain about clearing snow off the ground, we love our metal roof, because I’d rather be clearing it with my feet on the ground than 25 feet up in the air. We were also having leaking issues with our old roof, which we have not seen this year.

So, I have to give a resounding thumbs up to our standing seam roof. As our contractor friend said, it’s way to go in New England.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can't Avoid It Forever

With the snow we’ve been having, it’s been a lot of fun, but at some point it all comes back to haunt you, especially when it begins to melt. At some point I’m going to have to start cutting a trench to help keep the melting ice from the roof from splashing against the house. As anyone who has worked on houses knows, water is your worst enemy, and the last thing I want is rotting wood.

Speaking of wood, the time to start thinking about cutting/splitting wood is right around the corner. I’m kind of excited about it, I’ve got a plan to finally get it right and have dry wood to burn. We’ll see where this one goes.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring-ing Into Action

Now that Spring is in the air, it’s time to think about the projects that have been in limbo, and the #1 priority is to get that barn finished. We made decent progress last Summer and then lost steam with the dumplings and then with the onset of Winter. Bummer. The first things that need to be done are to get the plumbing in, which will require R’s input as to a layout, and then a call to BS to get the job done. I hope he’s not mad that we bailed out over the Winter.

Also, need to order siding, which they can’t deliver until the roads are no longer posted, which will probably be in April/May. Once the siding arrives, need to paint and install, which may entail a call to JH and his magic bag of tools. I miss that guy. After the siding and plumbing, I’m guessing the water needs to be hooked up, and then the electrical followed by the interior walls and the floors. I can’t believe what goes into making a house. I will have to consult with my Mentor as to what follows, or PR, my brother in law/resident guru.

As for the home front, the FEBP has obviously stalled, but it will require some siding and painting. The dormers need to be finished off, and I realized that a trim board needs to be put up all around where the flashing for the roof was installed. This will require some time on the roof, which is always a drag.

I have the clapboards for the front step, which will need to be installed and painted, and then the front step finally secured. I have to say, I’m glad we addressed the front porch leak problem. There are assorted interior projects, the most pressing of which is to attack the trim and make it brighter. This will require a warm day where I can leave the doors and windows open for ventilation. Also, we need to finish the front vestibule, which will require flooring and some drywall, but again, I think I’ll need JH and his magic bag of tools on that one.

Let us not forget firewood, the garden, and then all the lawn care and yard maintenance. Boy, it makes you realize that Winter is the time to relax and have fun, because once Spring/Summer kick, there’s no time to even sweat.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Tapping Into Year 2

I knew this would happen but am still disappointed it did. I just can’t seem to figure out how much wood we’ll use on a per/year basis. I stacked about 10 cords of wood, figuring 5 would do us, but we’ve plowed through year 1 and are now tapping into year 2. The bummer of all this is that year 2 wood is not as dry, and I’m experiencing this now. I hate it when the wood hisses when it burns.

Oh well, I’ll just have to cut and stack more. Do we really burn that much wood? Part of the problem is that the cool season seems to start sooner than I remember, and I need to cut and stack earlier.

As you might have guessed, I have a plan. We’ll see how it goes in implementing it.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Search and Rescue

The weather was a bit warmer yesterday, so much so that I thought I could dig through the ice and snow with a shovel and find our thermometer. I have to confess, I miss having it by the window. So I set out an a search and rescue mission through the frozen wasteland.

The snow is easily three feet deep, and hard as a rock in most places except in the back, which has southern exposure and constant sun. This makes it a little tricky, however, because it also warms the snow on the roof, which is leaning over the edge and just waiting to fall on top of your head.

Fortunately, it didn’t take too much time. In fact, soon after I started to clear the snow, I found it. I stuck it back into its bracket and got out of there before the avalanche came down. Now we’re back in business, and I’m glad I at least made the effort to find it rather than resign myself to a fate less than desirable.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lost Our Thermometer

One of the victims of our metal roof, besides all the shrubs that line the perimeter, was our thermometer outside the kitchen window. The pic shows the empty bracket where it used to be. Normally the roof hangs out far enough so that the snow falls about a few feet away from the exterior wall. However, what happens is that snow freezes into a thick sheet and gradually slides off the roof. As it extends off the edge, it bends down and eventually curls back onto the house.

If you have neighbors with standing seam roofs, you’ve probably seen this in action. It’s pretty impressive sight to behold, and dare I say, a bit menacing. You don’t want to be standing under it when it goes, like our thermometer was. One day, the snow fell straight down and ripped the thing off its bracket. It didn’t stand a chance.

I’m guessing we’ll find it in the spring, when all that ice and snow melts.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Addressing the Problem

We are kind of nestled in the woods, and people have trouble all the time finding our house. This is especially true for deliveries, and I can’t tell you how many times FedEx or UPS has pulled into our driveway and asked us if they’d found the right address.

In order to address this situation (no pun intended), we’ve decided to make an address sign. I’ve got lots of leftover wood scraps, some of which are fairly big. We’re going with the yellow pine that I used on the front step. I’ll cut out a squarish-rectangular piece, paint it white, and then let the kids and R go crazy with making the numbers.

I have a bracket which I’ll attach to a tree out front, and voila! Suddenly we’re on the map, not that we weren’t in the first place.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Lize Rixt for the pic.