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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Upstairs bathroom door

Pics: Top to bottom. Door lock with layered paint that needs to be removed. Interior of lock. Same lock with my specialized paint removal tool, a free plastic dinner fork.

I am beginning to tackle the upstairs bathroom remodel. I should probably call it a readjustment or finishing rather than a remodel, I am not gutting anything like I did downstairs.

First job is to paint the door. When I bought this home, most of the interior of my house was farmhouse white. Which is nice, bright and clean. Until kids or dogs or cats are involved. (Who am I kidding, me too.) I am liking more and more that trendy beige-y taupe paint color, I bet it hides everything. Nothing can hide on my white walls. Have a kid that doesn't wash his hands? Just look on the door edge. Have a cat that smooshes her nose on the edge of the kitchen door while waiting for her food or a dog that pushes open the bathroom door when you are 'busy'? Well, glory be, white lets you see all those lovely nuanced moments of everyday life. In two plus years the upstairs bathroom door is disgustin'. It does not help that everything white is painted in a flat chalky white that rubs off on you, and gets a smudge on it if you walk by. I used to think that they painted the house in a primer. Now, I just think they bought the dang cheapest paint they could find. If MacDonald's had paint available on their 99 cent menu I swear my house would be painted in it. Thank you MacDonalds for sticking to food products.

Back to door. Took off the hardware to strip the layers of old paint off. It looks like there are only three coats of paint on these, not including the black paint on steel that was the original color.

My handy trick for removing a million (or three) coats of paint off of metal is simple hot water. Hot water that you keep replacing to keep it hot and something to scrape the paint off. Here I am using a plastic dinner fork, but I have used a paint scraper, pottery tool (for detail) or a brass brush. I was smarter this time, and took a pick of the lock innards. I am not always so mechanically skilled to put things together correctly, the downside is I love taking things apart. I think those two are a lethal combination for having things work correctly, so pictures save my butt.

To see the downstairs bathroom door hardware finished product click here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Betty MacDonald's Egg and I

A friend and I were up in Port Townsend walking through the shops. We went into William James, Bookseller (best bookstore ever) and both bought used copies of The Egg and I. Having never read this Northwest classic we thought it was high time to read it.
End result... it is a pre-Depression tale of : newlyweds move from the big city Seattle to the country and a chicken farm and meet stereotypical country neighbors and various wildlife all under the snowy flanks of the Olympic Mountains. It is definitely dated, has some things that made me cringe in my 2011 sensibilities, but she is a good writer and it was a quick read.
After it's 1945 publication, The Egg and I was such a huge hit that Hollywood bought the rights and made a movie. The road where they lived for four years - which gave her the fodder for her story - is now the Egg and I Rd. in Chimacum, Wa. I drive by it on my way to Port Townsend, and for twenty years just thought someone was a nutty fan of author Betty MacDonald and named the road for her book. Little did I know this was the road she lived on! Their little place is long gone, but I swear there are a couple old homesteads that fit the era and descriptions from her book --she did not have nice things to say about her neighbors. Funny, it is a road that looks and drives like a kajillion other roads around here, but now feels different because of those tales created 80 years ago.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lawn tractor maintenance

Pics: Detail of the right side of my lawn tractor. See that thing with the black cap sticking out? I didn't notice it for two years-- the easiest oil change plug I have ever seen in my life.

Ours is a LA102 John Deere little green one I bought with the house. Or,more accurately, I paid the seller $650 for it when I got the keys to my house. The realtor would not give me the key if I did not give him an envelope with cash. It has been one of my favorite things... I use it to haul manure, dirt, and of course, mow the lawn. My fence building men even used it to haul the large batches of cement to fix the round posts.

I just spent 40 minutes crammed underneath it (I suppose I could have driven up a ramp or somesuch so I could fit better- I didn't) cutting off hay baling twine that had wrapped around the blade. After about 10 minutes of cutting through different colors....I realized what I was cutting was multiple layers of baling twine, and that stuff is tough. I did not think I had driven over THAT much twine. I will be more cautious in the future, this was grueling. I also changed the oil for the first time in two years. I feel shame in even typing that, I am one of those "hyper vigilant about oil changes" type of gal. I thought it would be really hard, really involved, with all sorts of special tools needed, so it took me about two years to get the gumption up to tackle it. (This realization does not bode well for my bathroom tile which is still undone two months after I put the shower in...) (hopefully, I will cut that two year timeline down to maybe one year for the tile)

When I sat down next to the mower, on my mat, with tools, oil and filter next to me I realized.... this mower does not even have an oil filter. And to drain the oil? Is the simplest little notched plug - no screw, no wrench needed - sticking out from the side of the engine. When I started it up with new fresh oil, I am fairly sure my greenie was purring. Note: I am sure you know this, but disconnect the spark plug wire or battery before hauling off on the blade to unwrap anything. You don't want to be startin' your mower engine when you have your arms and hands all wrapped around the blade.

Lastly, a follow-up note: Today I asked the Master Gardeners at the farmers market what was wrong with my peach tree (fungus/damn rain), linden tree (some sort of leaf eater), and was my mystery plant a weed (yes, a Class B noxious weed for Washington - wild carrot - more commonly known as Queen Anne's Lace.) I knew it was too healthy to be one of my 'real' perennials.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden - Land of Mushrooms

This dangerous looking mushroom popped up in my raised bed. With our moist-- who am I kidding... WET and cold spring I have seen more exotic mushrooms randomly showing up. Orange, white, lacy, round, toadstoolish, small, big, purple... all sorts of things are out there. They in particular like the horse manure compost. My mom used to mushroom hunt for morels and shaggy manes when I was a kid, but I also heard too many stories of someone eating the wrong ones. Those types are pretty much instant death. I will stick with my little package of button mushrooms in the store, thanks. (Note: This mushroom is a shaggy mane - the little 'shaggy' whitish mushroom next to the tall black topped stalk -- so much for the accuracy of my poison assessment, I am, however, still not eating it!) (Note 2: I did not like mushrooms as a kid, but these were pretty good)
The bottom right greenery is in my perennial bed acting very much like I planted it there. I am thinking it is a weed, but will wait a bit since I tend to just shove random things in this bed and honestly don't remember. Tomorrow is farmer's market day, and there are always master gardeners present. I may take this and a sample of my peach and linden tree leaves... some bug is doing strange things with those and I want to know if I should worry.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rhododendron Garden, Garden Garden, Informal Horse Training.

Today I went up to Port Townsend and the Rhodie Garden,
Weeded the mini weeds growing in the raised beds with the broccoli and peas, and did some informal horse training with Bey. It may look like he is sauntering by, but he is actually being trained not to whinny like an insane horse when I remove his friend from his field.
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