Saturday, January 12, 2008

Edith Returns; So Does Mr. Ugly Car

Naked Came Edith
We sent Edith off to Elgin Furniture Refinishers to be dipped and stripped. Edith is one of the tall, narrow, painted antique doors that we'll be using for our closets. We retrieved Edith today and sent off Flossie in her place. The cost only came to about $56 each, so it was definitely worth it when you consider the time it would have taken to strip the many layers of paint off by hand.
That's Edith as she originally looked on the left; stripped, on the right.

She turned out handsomely, though the refinishing guy told us she was made of pine, not mahogany. Bit of a downer, that, but she'll still make a very attractive, period-appropriate addition to the house (and I was a little doubtful about the mahogany claim). We'll need to get the paint out of the crevices ourselves (the guy recommended using a dental pick), then hire a carpenter to cut the doors to size, then sand, stain, and varnish them. Then we'll install the hardware and get a carpenter to hang them.
Edith, closeup

So this project could go on for a while.

A complicating factor is that we can't seem to find a bloody carpenter anywhere in Elgin. We have an immediate need for one to make us some built-in shelves in the study (for which Chuck & Ladonna gave us a very generous Christmas present). So far, the only people I've come across are affiliated with "design studios" and cabinetry shops. As you might imagine, these people are well outside of our price range ($3,500 for a bookshelf?!?). I don't need a shop, fer cryin out loud--I need a dude with a tool belt and a saw. So the search continues.

Mr. Ugly Car: 1, Plucky 1st-time Homeowners: 0
Meanwhile, the Battle of the Buick drags on. I may or may not have mentioned that for a while Mr. Ugly Car appeared to have moved out. We thought: divorce! Hurrah! No more hideous Buick! But then he moved back in (and brought his sofa with him). Not good. Once more various cars were parked on our property, wearing ruts in our sod and flipping us the metaphorical bird. But then we hadn't seen him for a while and last weekend some of the women of the house apparently summoned the cops. We though: Restraining order! Excellent! (Not to seem to bloodthirsty: no one appeared in any way damaged during the cop-summoning incident). But now he's back, parked in our yard again, and what's worse, he's been leaving Corona bottles at the base of our Chinese tallow!

The vile handiwork of Mr. Ugly Car

There's a cache of about 4 or 5 empty bottles nestled at the base of the tree where he parks. From this, we must deduce that he knocks back a bottle or two on the way home, doesn't want the Old Lady to know about it, and as a genial 'fuck you' to Matt and me, stashes the evidence in our yard.

What sort of knuckle-dragging barbarian does these things?!?

We ♥ Mother Earth; Mother Earth ♥s Us
Incidentally, we only found out about the Coronas because we finally decided to attack the east side of the house. The pecans and the cottonwood have been shedding like mad--there was a 6-inch crust of leaves covering most of the east yard. There was no point raking until the trees were bare--our yard is huge; it's not the sort of thing you want to do more than once per year. Now that it's January, we figured it was time. So I started dragging off branches (cottonwoods drop branches like you wouldn't believe) and Matt raked. Thus the Corona bottles.

A happier by-product is that the leaves inspired Matt to make a compost heap. It's the sort of thing all gardeners ought to have, but we haven't been able to before now (because of renting, apartment-dwelling, &c.) He knocked it together in no time out of spare fencing components from the partial dismantlement of the hurricane fence. Clever Matt! We're so green! (Go to our next entry and scroll to the bottom to see the compost heap in action)

So today we transport the 5 metric tons of leaves from the side yard to the compost bin. Yeehaw.

Snapshots of Winter in Elgin

The baby Bur Oak Mom & Dad gave us. Check out the fall/winter color!

Glass slag hanging from the gazebo. We get our slag (yes, we have a slag habit) from The Living Desert on Hwy 71, SW of Austin.

Our big, old, not very productive, but venerable pecan.

A little bit of New Orleans in Elgin--I made two king cakes with cream cheese filling (1 for work, 1 for us). I had to make my own purple using blue sprinkles mixed with a lot of red food color. Turned out pretty freakin' awesome, if I say so myself--tender, moist, sweet--YUMMY.

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