Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sash Locks and Garden Goings On

Installing Sash Latches
One of the results of our recent bout of weatherizing (which we totally have covered now, Mr. President. Can I interest you in replacing our HVAC system, though? I totally promise to blow the savings in a consumerist frenzy at Lowes. Hugs and kisses, your faithful constituent, Melanie) is that with our windows no longer painted shut, we needed to install some form of lock or latch on the newly liberated sashes.

Old-school windows like ours require old-fashioned sash locks (see pic below). However, the bottom piece of the top sash wasn't really designed to have a latch attached to it in the way shown in the picture--it's a narrower, beveled piece of wood--not strong enough or wide enough.

Package showing typical sash lock installation

I knew there was a way to make the darn things work, but for some reason, I had trouble figuring it out. I felt like a toddler who can't figure out the shape-holes game--I kept twisting the pieces around in different configurations and they kept not fitting together right.

The shape-holes toy

Anyway, for anyone as spatially challenged as myself, here's a pic showing how you do it:

Yeah, I know, we need to scrape the paint off the glass. Mañana, mañana...

Works like a charm. And so wonderfully antiquey. Seems like something we would have had on the camp on Grand Isle that was built by my great-grandparents. (Actually, I think the hurricane-optimized windows operated by crank, but they could have had this kind of latch. Would have matched the cracked brown linoleum with big bunches of roses and the claw-footed bath tub.)

In other weatherizing news, I added more closed-cell stripping around the windows in the living room, and that seems to have made all the difference--am now warm and snug. I also installed pieces of foam behind a bunch of our faceplates and caulked around the electrical boxes. Not sure that's really going to make much difference, but I was on a tear. Leave no faceplate uncaulked. That was my motto.

Now all that remains is to finish installing quarter round in the living room and dining room and caulk it in.

Movement on the Gutter Front
Meanwhile, we've taken another step towards gutterdom. We bought almost one whole side of the house worth of fascia (with a gift card from my mother-in-law's BFF, Lucy. Thanks Lucy! It arrived just when we were feeling motivated, which was great.) We put down one coat of primer Monday. And once again (how?! how, I ask you?!?) I got paint in my hair. I keep picking at it (and washing my hair), but I keep finding new little streaks. Anyway, I expect to get the priming done this week and maybe start on the painting next week. At which point, my hair will be completely white.

Needless to say, there is no real urgency around this project. Here's my weather station's graph of this year's rainfall, as displayed on the wunderground. That one tiny 0.4" spike of moisture? That's where I was testing the rain cup to see if it was actually in operation.

Seedlings Galore
My Recession Veggie Garden--which is entirely in containers in the greenhouse this year--is starting to look like it might add up to something.

My lettuce, for example, is looking kind of lettuce-like.

Lolla Rossa' lettuce seedling

I've got a number of artichoke seedlings coming up that are nice and stout.

'Violetto' artichoke seedlings

I have a plethora of spindly little lemon basils.

'Mrs. Burns' excellent lemon basil seedlings

And while the peppers have been very shy about popping up, I do have at least one sprout of each variety. The guajillos have been the least petulant so far.

Guajillo pepper seedlings

But my pride and joy is the radishes. Look how big they already are! I recently received a shipment of watermelon radish seeds, so we'll see if they do as well. It's probably a bit late in the season, but I'm going to try a few seeds since the D'Avignons are being such good sports.

D'Avignon radish seedlings

Other Garden News

The Meyer lemon is still blooming away, smelling lovely, and making weency little green baby fruits. I love the colors on this plant--the cool, ivory-mottled green of the leaves, the flush of purple on the buds, and the buff-colored anthers.

Meyer lemon flowers and embryonic fruit

We've also got some sort of kalanchoe coming into bloom. Not a huge fan of kalanchoe foliage, but these shiny, shell-like flower buds are really cool.

Kalanchoe flower buds

And finally, Matt has propagated something he's tentatively calling 'Louis Philippe.' It's a dear little thing, whatever it is. Like so many chinas, it manages to look spunky, dainty, and tough all at once. So endearing.

Possible 'Louis Philippe' rose cutting

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