Friday, April 10, 2015

House Update 4.10.15

There's nothing too interesting to report on our renovation project. It's pretty much been more knocking out walls and removing staples and nails from all of the wood.

The inside of the house is pretty ugly right now, so I didn't really get any pictures.

Removing those long-ass staples from the wood is a P-A-I-N.  So Mark's dad made the most innovative little tool for removing them....

.... how cool is that?! And they just pop right out. I told him he needed to get a patent ASAP so he could make loads of money.   That has really helped cut our time in half. So now, pretty much all the exposed areas are clear of staples.

Today I started ripping the walls from around the fireplace and found this:

[sigh]. This house is "like a box of chocolates," but not in a good way.

On the flip side, it is a relief to find all of these areas so we can address them. And we know we won't be breathing any of that crap once our new walls go up.

At this point, everything else is hinging on how soon we can get drywall up and ready to paint. The other projects should come in quick succession: paint, kilz on subfloors, new cabinets, new flooring, possibly new vanities, new bathtubs, etc.

Not surprisingly, our previous goal of moving in by June was a little foolishly optimistic. I'm betting on late summer, early fall, at this point.

After spending most of the afternoon working inside the house, it was time to do some yard work.

The grass was really starting to get away from us, so it was time to break out the mower and the weed-eater. Unfortunately dad's riding mower is temporarily out of commission, so after making one grueling pass with the little push mower, Mark switched to the weed-eater and managed to get most of the yard whacked down.

I told Mark that we are now officially home owners, after many years of having maintenance workers mow our lawn at the park.

All Rangers look good in green.   Yes, indeed.

I spent some time getting to know the flora in our yard (oh wait, I was supposed to be picking up limbs to prep for mowing. oops).

Purple Phacelia (my namesake, of course -well, screenname, anyhow)

Canada Violet

Miami Mist (Notice the watermark? Ha, I saved it like that and then realized the picture was sideways)

Blue Phlox is blooming all along our stream bank

Blue Phlox and Miami Mist

The leaves of Spiderwort - Virginia Spiderwort, I'm guessing

This was a new one for me. I believe it is Cow Parsnip. An ironic name, considering it is toxic to livestock (and humans, unless the root is boiled in several changes of water).

There were a few unwelcome finds as well....

This invasive is Garlic Mustard. It smells and tastes of garlic, and is supposed to be good in a salad.

I had already had my salad for the day, so these just went bye-bye. Garlic Mustard is a huge problem in riparian areas.

Here is another unwelcome invasive....

This is the very plant that killed Socrates - Poison Hemlock. These all got whacked down shortly thereafter.

Ugh. This is Ground Ivy, another introduction from Europe. The only way to get rid of this (short of a nuclear blast) is herbicide. I HATE this plant. It is growing rampant all over my parents' farm and there are some patches at our place too. I hope sheep like it.

We were mistaken about our signature leaning "elm"....

It is in fact a Box Elder (Acer negundo)

I'm not exactly sure why we thought it was an elm, but it doesn't matter; we love it just the same.

Box Elders are a short-lived, weak-wooded member of the Maple family. They can apparently be tapped for syrup, only it isn't nearly as tasty as Sugar Maple.

Ian got to spend a lot of time playing in the creek.

It was in the 80's, believe it or not, so that icy water felt pretty good.

I turned over some rocks to look for creek critters and found this little guy:

He is a Mayfly nymph. They spend 2-3 years as larva living in a stream before transforming into adults that only live 24 hours. Isn't nature strange? The presence of mayflies is a good sign - it means the stream is high in oxygen and low in pollution.

We made in interesting find on our wood pile:

These are logs cut from a Weeping Willow that got knocked down in a storm at Mark's dad's place. They are sprouting! Weird, huh? I know I have read that you can use willow twigs to help cuttings from other plants sprout. So, we decided to try something....

Worth a shot, huh?

The more time we spend here, the more it feels like home to me. I get excited about all of the ways to make it our own. I know it will be really easy to get ahead of ourselves once we move in, and try to do too much at once. It's nice to have moments already where we can slow down and enjoy the beauty of this place.

Until next time.....


  1. It is definitely beautiful and your son will grow up right with all of that nature to play in! About your cut willow wood, when I was a kid growing up in IL we used hedge (Osage Orange) to make most of our fencing posts from. Dad would cut what we needed and then we'd use the rest of it for firewood. Anyway, we needed a really big post to hold a gate for a bull, and Dad cut a nice big hedge post that we set in concrete. That thing sprouted as concrete.....LOL!

  2. Oh that property is just too beautiful for words! Once all the big stuff is done for the house, it will be so worth it! Also, my grandpa used to chop willow branches and plant them around his property all the time. I've never seen a log do that, but I'm sure he'd say it will grow into a big and beautiful tree. Thanks for the update- I love reading and seeing the latest. :)

    1. I'll be interested to see if it really works! :)

  3. Beautiful! Willow wood is easy to bowdrill with, if you feel inclined to practice. Looking at all your mold pictures makes me shudder thinking about the old trailer home I lived in the whole time I was pregnant. I'm sure the house will be amazing when you get done with it!

    1. I have ALWAYS wanted to make a bowdrill. We still have plenty of willow, so I may have to finally make one.

      Ugh. Mold is no fun.

  4. What a beautiful place you have! I had no idea willow logs would sprout - how amazing. :)

    1. Thanks. :) Me neither! I'll be eager to see how they do.