Showing posts from February, 2023

Light vs. Easi-Lite

  The Optimistic Owners Prior to uS (OOPS) got as far as drywalling the stairwell, but not installing a light. There was, however, power to the switch box and wire to the attic with extra length at the end, so there was flexibility as to placement of pendant light. All I needed now was a scaffold, and wouldn't you know it there was one leaning right there in the hall--a solid wood door I picked up free to replace the hollow core ones that came with the place. It spanned the gap beautifully, doorknob and all, and instantly attracted the cats. Stepping in the middle of it might've been dicey, but standing at the edge provided better footing for drilling the 4" hole for retrofit ceiling fixture. Cats on the ladder impeded my progress, but eventually they let me climb back into the attic to poke the Romex down through the hole. After that is was short work to wire and hang the light, an antique I picked up off a free table years ago. One of those items you take a shine to and

Sick Burn

We've been going pretty hard lately but today Sarah and I both ran out of gas and lethargy overtook us. Didn't do much except burn the brushpile that's been accumulating in the driveway over the past few weeks of yard work. We'd prefer to compost it, either here or municipally, but a lot of it was invasive plants that nobody would take. As a human, I'm genetically predisposed to find fire alluring, fascinating, and hypnotic. As a child pyromaniac, I narrowly avoided burning down our garage, and more than once melted my sneakers stomping out runaway fires my friends and I had started in the name of science. I'm more careful now. Today's burn was difficult to start as the pile consisted mostly of blackberry vines, alder roots and shoots, wild rose (sounds charming but isn't), and scotch broom, much of it still green and none of it what you might call "dry." But all it took was a cardboard box, some kindling, and a blowtorch . Strategy was to conc

Goatpen Takedown

Woke up unsure about what to do today, ended up taking apart the old goat pen and chicken coop.  It was a well-constructed enclosure, about 20x40 feet, but of no use to us. It could have been the basis of a deer-proof garden--a good start with 6' high hog wire firmly stapled to 13 evenly spaced pressure treated 4x4 posts, 10-footers dug two feet deep, set in concrete. All sturdy and straight, it was almost a pity to dismantle but it's the shadiest part of the yard and it was best to open up the space. With Dogyu bar (aka whaletail), hammer, and end nips, I removed the staples. At first I did each individually, using cat's paw to pry them out one by one. Then I realized it went quicker levering the hammer claw under the wire; this method worked on all but the largest, stoutest staples. I did it carefully because the wire will be reused to protect the hugel beds and trees Sarah is planting. I considered digging out the posts, but that seemed too hard and possibly bonkers. I

Reuse Is Such An Ugly Word

I reuse, and reuse is good. Man, English is hard. Same spelling, different pronunciations. And don't you want to say royce ? You know, like the pitcher, Jerry "Rolls" Reuss? An umlaut here would help: reüse. And the verb could be spelled reüze. There, fixed it. I reüze, and reüse is good. Today was all about it. I finished the front deck planter, constructed from 1x8 cedar boards I salvaged when replacing a fence for a client a few months ago. The 6 legs are pressure treated lumber of various dimensions gleaned from here and there. I built two six foot long U-shaped sections separately and connected them in place at the large center posts. Eleven plus feet long, two feet tall, and 16 inches front to back. The legs sit atop the ground and the box has no bottom, with inch gap at lower edge for drainage. Plus you don't want your cedar in direct contact with the ground--that's how a lot of these boards rotted in the first place. Cedar weathers well, but it does rot. I

Theater of the Absurd

Things get pretty random around here...   Hood Canal is not a canal; it is a fjord.   And canoeing its shores at golden hour does evoke a distinctly Scandinavian vibe, like a 1960s postcard.

Down in the Sumps

Today felt like remodel whack-a-mole. A more methodical approach is theoretically possible, but in reality our priorities change with the weather--quite literally. Clear days trigger a move to outdoor work, and last week's cold snap really brought home the urgency of the need to seal all the air gaps in the place. This house is a sieve, and to make matters worse it is heated inefficiently with a mix of electric wallmount blowers and random plug-in space heaters which have led to jawdropping electricity bills. The walls and attic are nominally insulated (to varying degrees of R-value ), but most of the crawlspace is not. Pulling the subfloor and remedying that is a job for summertime. But even more important than insulating is sealing air leaks. Where to begin? There are small gaps everywhere--doors, windows, floors, baseboard... As I sat on the saggy couch contemplating this conundrum, I felt drafts like icy daggers emanating from the cold fireplace. We haven't used it yet, wil