Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

Here’s our pumpkin for this year, carved:

Jack-o-Lantern 2016

Mr. E’s best work so far, I think. πŸ™‚

Happy Halloween!

Advertisements

Fire Starters with Wax and Fir

October 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

Amanda at House Revivals shared this lovely crafts project:

Amanda House Revivals firestarter_tutorial_christmas

Amanda at House Revivals.

Such cute – and fragrant, I bet – fire starters! Visit her site for more photos and full instructions. Thanks for sharing, Amanda!

(Note: I do not not publish sponsored content, or accept gifts or discounts to write about products. Blog posts are based on my personal opinion.)

Summer Basement Project

October 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

This post really should be called Years-Long Basement Project, for it has taken more than this summer’s effort. It has been in the works for a long time, but I think we’re finally achieved the most important.

We knew we didn’t want to finish our basement, per se, because we have plenty of living space as it is. But we didn’t know what the β€œsomething” we wanted to do was. And that turned out to be the biggest problem – because we weren’t set on anything specific, for the longest time we couldn’t decide on a plan.

I’ve always found the color of unfinished concrete incredibly depressing, however, so it had to be painted at the very minimum. I landed on the idea of a darker floor and white walls, and found inspiration photos both for the space in general and for a green floor.

Mr. E worked on roughly finishing the ceiling a few years ago:

Ceiling Test After

Then life happened again, and the project pushed off as non-critical. Last summer we had the walls treated with a white water repellant and the floor painted.

Painted Basement North Wall

We then started adding shelving and rearranging the space, but stalled yet again – which turned out for the best, for we needed to have a lolly post added to address structural issues.

Basement New Support Post

This past summer we finally built a little more storage and arranged everything both in the garage and the basement. (I’ll post about the storage we built another time.)

We have boxes and bins and bags to group the smaller items and protect them for dust (and spiderwebs). Items are in zones: pantry-related (extra cans, jams, bottles); additional food prep items (like canning jars and Mr. E’s brewing supplies); household supplies (like light bulbs, batteries, recyclables to go out, paper products to go in, potting soil & plant pots); tools and the like (hammers, screw drivers, drill, etc.).

Finished Basement East Wall

We also have a few large storage tubs for seasonal items and decor, some pushed into corners, some on the shelves. The heating vents are still visible in all of their silvery glory, which sometimes bugs me, but not enough to take action.

Finished Basement South Wall

The main achievements are the improved color situation and sensible storage. Ahh, it’s so lovely to have dedicated places for everything!

Summer 2016 Recap

September 7, 2016 § Leave a comment

Whoo boy, what a summer we had! Mr. E, especially, was incredibly busy with a book project, but mostly it was the weather that we were dealing with. It was sunny and dry. Very sunny, very hot, and very dry. It felt like I was barely outside all summer from staying away from the worst of the heat so often.

Apparently both July and August broke heat records around here, and there was so little rain that we got three (or four? I’ve lost track) town notifications about first curbing and then forbidding outdoor water use. In our seven years in this town I can’t remember that many restrictions. Already in July, the grass was brown and the rest of the plants droopy, and the August proceeded to be equally bad. I’m so glad it’s fall now, both for cooler temps and (hopefully!) more rain.

Mr. E did careful early morning hand-watering (which was still allowed by our town) in his garden, and we were lucky to get decent crops, considering. The very first handful of potato, below, wasn’t big, but we got more afterwards.

Very First Potato Handful 2016

The tomatoes still continue to produce nicely:

September Tomato Vine w Fruit and Flower

Yum! There’s not only green tomatoes ripening, there are more flowers!

The non-homegrown food was good, too, with a lot of homemade dishes from local ingredients both sweet and savory:

Summer Strawberry Cake 2016

This summer we’ve had three to four turkey hens hanging around on and off. Here are two of them perching on the high-bush blueberry enclosures:

Two Turkeys on Blueberry Enclosure 2016

The really funny thing about the turkeys is that this summer they seemed to have had something against the potato patch. We saw more than once a turkey go to the patch and start pecking and pulling a potato plant until she got it all the way out of the ground. And then they’d just leave it there! We’ve never seen or heard of this kind of turkey behavior. We started shooing them off away from the patch after a few potato attacks, and that did the trick. Phew.

In other mysterious but great news, the ant colony that’s been pestering us for the past few years seems finally to have moved elsewhere. WO-HOO!

In not so great news, I suffered a fatal computer crash with all the headache that entails. I’ve been back up and running for just over two months now (let’s hear it for regular data backups!) and have more or less learned the basics of the replacement software I didn’t have before.

We also rearranged our basement in a big way (following the installation of the new lolly post) which affected the kitchen, and built a bit more storage. I’ll post about that later, though.

New Growth

June 2, 2016 § 2 Comments

Mr. E has planted a small garden again. This year we’re getting, among other things, potatos. And not just accidental potatos either; these guys are planned.

Early Potato Sprouts

The photo above was taken three weeks ago or so. Since, they’ve definitely spurted:

Potato Sprouts Growing

The last week of May turned out to be quite hot, but so far everything in the garden is doing fine.

Volunteer Strawberry

May 24, 2016 § Leave a comment

Last year, Mr. E planted strawberries. We didn’t get any – critters got to them before us – but the plants are blossoming again. There’s even one that’s somehow gotten outside the patch:

Volunteer Strawberry

This one was among the first to have flowers; the rest have caught up in the last day or two. Here’s hoping we’ll get to enjoy some this year!

Dealing with Snow and a Downed Tree

February 9, 2016 § 3 Comments

We had a snow storm last Friday. We were out to shovel the seven inches / ca. 17-18 cm of sloppy, heavy snow three times. It started during the night and went on most of the day, but by early evening the sky was clear already – and absolutely beautiful! This is the sky just before sunset, which was gorgeous, too, but I didn’t get a picture of that because nature served something else to distract us.

Pink Sunset in Feb 2016

A tree came down, completely blocking the street and the top of our driveway!

Tree Blocking Our Driveway

To the left of the pole in the picture above is our driveway.

Our nextdoor neighbor had just driven past on his riding snow blower to clear his niece’s yard up the road; likewise, Mr. E had just finished clearing the top of our driveway. The two of us were, in fact, standing in front of our garage about 10 yards / meters away from where the top landed, talking about the shoveling when we heard a crack and saw the tree come down. (Oak, we think.)

The fire department was out almost immediately to clear the road. It took them a couple of hours to chop the trunk, haul it aside and check the wires. By then it was too late for us to do anything about the top half that lay on our property.

Saturday morning we came out with loppers and saws. I snipped off smaller branches to make it easier to get to the trunk, and Mr. E sawed off the larger branches and cut the smaller trunks into manageable pieces. We staged the various sized parts in piles all around our driveway before hauling them off into the woods.

Larger Branches Ready to Haul off

Smaller Branches in Piles

Tree Trunk Pieces Downed Wire

Fortunately the day was sunny and bright – a joy to work in – for there was an awful a lot of tree to move, even though it wasn’t a particularly large one. I certainly have a new appreciation of how much of a tree’s volume the upper branches form!

All in all, Mr. E and I got off easy: the only damage was to the loppers, which I broke trying to snip off a branch that was a little too thick:

Broken Loppers

What makes me really happy is that no-one got hurt. Even the damage from the downed wires was limited: three households down the street lost their phone & Internet overnight, but I believe no-one was without electricity. There was no property damage, either. We were all very lucky.

There is still one piece of wire looping down to the ground (like a U), but it’s not obstructing anything, and we have four pieces of tree trunk to the side of our driveway that we need to cut and move. Lots of firewood in our future! πŸ™‚

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the DIY Action category at Kotona ~ At Home.