Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No Pix Today

So it's been a while, not because we haven't been working hard (oh, we have!), but because I lost my camera's battery charger in Louisiana, and replacing it hasn't been as high a priority as procuring various doo-dads for the house. I kept thinking it would turn up and waiting to post till I could provide pix. I've finally recognized the inevitable and will be getting a new charger for my faithful and hard-working camera soon.

Meanwhile, here's a text update.

Most exciting (for me): I learned how to drive a riding lawn mower! The Vests very benevolently gave us one of their spare riding lawn mowers, which has been something of a salvation for us. After all, when you own a substantial spread like we do, a push mower just doesn't make the grade! (I speak jestingly, but it's actually the sober truth. Even on the riding mower, it takes well over an hour to mow our little almost-half-acre. With a push mower, it takes the better part of a day.) It was actually rather fun--the wind in my hair, the smell of cut grass, and when you're done, a real sense of accomplishment. Come next weekend, however, when the heat index is in the 100s, I'll probably be singing a different tune.

Also in the garden: We've begun a mulching and edging project that we will complete in installments over the next month or so, a few bags of mulch and pieces of edging at a time. We've had, due to time and budgetary constraints, to throw a lot of plants in the ground without prepping any beds for them, and the bermudagrass has been throwing a fiesta amongst our shrubberies. Now that most of the big projects are out of the way, we have begun to turn our attention to the Burmudagrass Problem. We've cleared and mulched and edged a little corner chunk so far. Modest but satisfying.

Our roses are mostly chipper and bloomy, especially The Fairy, Cramoisi Superieur, Wild Blue Yonder (warning: highly doctored photo--is nowhere near that blue), and Comtesse du Cayla. Our ginkgo, on the other hand, just sulks and mopes and looks chlorotic. And this even though we haven't had a summer this cool and wet since the Cretaceous, when Texas was covered by the Tethys Sea. Ingrate.

On the arboreal front: we've planted 2 lacey oaks (Quercus laceyi/glaucoides), 1 red oak (Q. texana or Q. shumardii?), 1 bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), and 1 white oak (Q. alba), as well as a pear and 5 desert willows. We still have a couple of palms to place (Matt got all of these super-cheap at the nursery), and we need to acquire a baldcypress and a 'Little Gem' Magnolia. And at that point, there will definitively be No More Room at the Inn.

Matt's big project: He's begun tearing down shed #2, the one that covers the hideous oubliette. I particularly regret our lack of a camera for this project because seeing the shed half-stripped is kind of impressive. Especially as he's only given it 6 or so hours of him time. Man vs. shed: one man, one crowbar, one victor.

On the inside: I caulked the bejeezus out of our clapboard hall closet (two tubes of caulking, and there were some spots that I never got to) and finally painted that sucker. This was two weekends ago; I still have specks of latex in my hair. Having a place to put our sheets, paper towels, and light bulbs really made a difference in terms of organizing the rest of the house.

In the bathroom: Matt wrestled with our leaky master bath toilet, not with complete success. He has now replaced a valve, the wax ring (twice), and added a "superflange" (sounds a bit like a blaxploitation movie, no? You'd think it would fix our leak and come with its own matching Cadillac). To no avail. We may have to call in a plumber and/or replace the dratted thing.
(Camera is back in order, so I'm adding in pix--MU 30 Aug 07)
Hall closet with copiously caulked gaps

The baseboards: We bought a couple of 10 x 1 planks to use as baseboards in the kitchen and living room, though we haven't yet worked ourselves up to installing them. One of the complicating factors is that we are trying to match the original baseboards in the kitchen and living room. The problem is that the original baseboards are 1-1/2" thick planks nailed directly to the studs with the wallboard resting on top of the baseboards. The thickness of the wallboards makes the baseboards appear to be only 1/2" thick. For a variety of reasons, we won't be able to replicate this unusual relationship between baseboards and wallboards in the dining room, nor will we be able to find planks that are 10" tall and only 1/2" thick. What this means is that we're going to have very weirdly thick planks as baseboards at the bottom of our walls. So you can see why we've been procrastinating.

Upcoming projects: Next week I plan to order faux (i.e., plastic) plantation blinds for the living room and master bed. No more tissue paper curtains! Maybe a few more of our neighbors will drop by once our home has adopted a more reassuringly middle class appearance. If we don't need a plumber, we may also spring for some new (brushed nickel!) drawer pulls in the master bath and a spray bottle that I can put our ceiling paint into to aerosol-ize it and spray our (disgustingly dingy) AC vents. If only I'd known about this product when I painstakingly hand painted the bathroom shutters with a weency plastic brush with split ends!

When the camera is back in operation, I'll work on the promised Manor/Elgin profile.

Onward and upward!

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