9.28.2012

Flooring To Do: More than Half Checked Off

The good news is that we're two weeks into the flooring list with two weeks to go and we have 22 items checked off with 18 to go and we built a fence. That has me feeling good about things not getting insane as we're leading up to leaving on the trip. Famous last words though, right?

The bad thing is that several of the items left are a bigger deal (cutting out for the eventual door to the bathroom and making the closet bigger) but we've also checked off one and almost checked off another one of the bigger items as well.

Without further ado...this week we checked off 8 items. Not quite the 2 a day I was hoping for, but hey, we built a fence damnit.

The nook is now complete: all the misc items found a home and the space is clear (and please excuse the phone photos again from this post)


Chris was very annoyed to come home and find that I had somehow managed to shimmy the dresser myself out of the office and into the front room. Now you see it


Now you don't


The art room, like the nook, has been cleared of all the miscellaneous items


Though it is now being occupied by the tools and materials we've been using to patch the floors in here (don't worry, all the boards end at the same point on the right because the wood around the border of the room runs perpendicular)


There was some visible surface damage to some of the boards due to what we're assuming was termites (based on our own guess and that of the flooring contractor when he came to do the bid). But, we've patched floors before so it was pretty easy.

We also cut down the shelf in the art room too, leaving it some room to breathe on the top



We've still got to move this sucker out of the room and into the front room. That will take an excellent game of Frogger to complete.

The remaining 3 items we checked off are all in the hallway, and we're almost done in there, hooray! We have almost finished patching the floors. Remember the horrible patched someone made?


Well now it looks like this


The reason we're not done patching the floors is because after I unpacked the middle closet and removed the furniture from inside (2 items checked off), we removed the closet doors and trim (another item checked off), and well, we discovered more floor that needed to be patched


The good news is that the hallway is ripe for a makeover


The bad news is that it make take a little more work than we anticipated to clean it all up


And the front room? Now that the art room, nook and closets have been emptied and dresser moved in?



It's on its way to getting pretty full. And we haven't even touched our bedroom yet...

Have a good weekend everyone!

9.27.2012

Most of the Fence is Up

Yesterday Chris and I got about 80% of the fence up, hooray! We still have a bit in the corner that needs to be replaced, but that's also a portion that we didn't tear down, so there's still the old fence in place. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have, but our camera was experiencing technical difficulties so all the photos were taken with my phone (and I just spent about 15 minutes emailing myself each one because for some very fun reason my phone will not hook up to the computer). We're hoping to write a more in depth post about how to build a fence next week, so for now this is just a brief summary of the project

When we started yesterday morning we were here


Chris had gotten all the fence posts in last weekend and we were ready with all the 2x6's, 2x4's and fence slats. This is now the 3rd fence we've built and the two biggest considerations this time around were cost and simplicity of building. The cost was a big concern with our neighbor (who agreed to split the cost of the materials with us) and we really wanted the build to be simple so we could get it knocked out in a day.

We settled on a plan of 4x4's as the posts between sections, a 2x6 at the bottom between all posts with a 2x4 sitting on top. Chris ran the 2x4's through the router to carve out a groove in all of them so that the slats would sit inside. We would run all the slats right up against each other. Normally you overlap them at an angle, but that requires more material, making it more expensive. Lastly, a 2x4 (again with a routered groove) would be fastened on top of all the slats and attached to the 4x4 posts.

We started off measuring and cutting down the proper lengths for our bottom 2x6's and 2x4's


Once we got the length right we moved them into place and attached them to the 4x4 posts


And once we had the 2x6 and 2x4 in place it was time to bring over the slats (about 12 per 6 foot section) and set them into the groove


We used a mallet to knock them in place and make sure they were up tight against each other. The plus side with using more slats and over lapping them is you're less likely to see small gaps into your neighbor's yard, but again, material cost was a big consideration. By knocking them up tight against each other we anticipate a little gap here and there as the boards expand and contract, but nothing too bad.

Once all the boards were in place on the bottom we brought over the 2x4 for the top. This was probably the hardest task because we had to place the 2x4 on top of all the boards and push and knock them board by board till all the slats were tucked into the groove


At the ends of the sections there was a small gap so we had to cut down one of the slats to fill it in. It usually ranged from 3" to a full board (7 1/2", so it wasn't too bad). If it ended up being a sliver of a slat that was needed we just ran a few of the slats through the table saw to cut them each down by 1/2" so by the time we got to the last piece it wasn't too noticeable (no one wants a 1" slat on the end, that would look a bit ridiculous).

Once we got the top 2x4 in we attached it to the 4x4 posts


Then it was just lather, rinse, repeat for the other 5 sections


When we got to the 5th section a branch of the tree was unfortunately in the way


So we got out the reciprocating saw and cut it down


And then we kept motoring through the 5th section and onto the 6th


Once we had all the sections built it was just a matter of completing the final touches: we used a crown stapler and knocked in a couple staples on the top because the 2x4's were a bit bowed so we wanted to make sure everything stayed in place


And then we used the reciprocating saw to saw off the top of each of the posts that extended above the top 2x4.

And by about 3pm we were done!


We've still got this small corner to tear down and replace


But we will likely do that when we come home from the trip. We just wanted to make the backyard secure before we left, but we've still got that flooring to do list to complete, so we'll see if we have enough time to finish this corner in the next 2 weeks.

It is wonderful having a pretty fence to stare at. What once looked like this


Now looks like this


That's a nice improvement! Though we still have to get that ginormous roving rain barrel hooked up...

9.25.2012

When Your Yard is a Landfill

This weekend our backyard looked like a bomb went off. Some of you may thing we're very productive and get lots of work done, but the trade off is that sometimes we don't pick up after ourselves very well...

Towards the front of our house we still have the shit pile from the front yard that we have yet to get rid of (now with more shit from when we removed the cemented in tree at my parent's), along with 2 pressure treated 2x4's we've been meaning to return to HD for several months and the many bags of concrete we got for the fence (and no, it's no fun at all to load 15 bags of concrete onto your cart, then into your car, then out to you backyard)


Then we have a ton of wood


The wood on the left and leaning up against the garage is for some benches that Chris needs to repair/rebuild at his job. And the ones on the right saw horses are for the fence.

Then there is just some crazy disarray


Patio furniture stacked willy nilly to make room, drainage materials stacked and waiting to be installed with the last rain barrel and a whole bunch of other crap just strewn everywhere.

But the best is this big ol' pile of crap


Pieces of the old fence, pieces of the rotten garage that Chris pulled off, pieces of the hallway closet, and just a whole bunch of other shit. There are nails and screws sticking out of everything and it's just a huge eyesore. The good news is that while the pile looked like this on Saturday morning


It now looks like this (but our beans are now more dead)


My dad and Wendy get a free dump load coupon to their local dump each year and figured we could make better use of it. YES PLEASE! So naturally they gave me "proof of residency," so we could snag their coupon and we loaded up the truck full of crap and headed off to take it to the dump. We had a 2 cubic yard load and based on fees in our area, using that coupon saved us around $60. Score! And now our yard only has a few piles of crap left in it. Like more wood for the fence


But some of that wood already got used up


That's right, while I was away all day Sunday working the Raiders game Chris got all the post holes dug and set in the posts


Hooray, we're ready to finally start building the fence! (I'm sure our neighbor is happy)


Chris is feeling a lot better and we've got corresponding time off in the next couple of days so hopefully I'll have a completed fence to share with you soon!

9.24.2012

The Front Yard: How It's Holding Up

It's been about a month since the front yard Before & After so I thought I'd post about how things are holding up. The first piece of news is bad: the penstemons in our mosaic planters are not happy


They have looked like they might come back from time to time, and I started off by cutting the dead growth when they first weren't looking very happy. But it looks like they're totally on their way to DEAD. The other plant in the planter (of which I do not know its name...) is very happy however, so that's nice.

There are one or two (though off the top of my head I can only think of one) other plants that have similarly decided to end their short little lives, but other than that the yard is blooming and happy. And out of the 70+ plants that went in, I consider the front yard planting a great success.

Here's a pretty good comparison so far



It's not a huge difference, but I can definitely see a lot more color in all the blooms and the shasta daisy is super super happy. I love these flowers (of course I don't know the name...)




I love the multi-color blooms on the some plant, it's so cool! Wendy and I have been meaning to put together a binder of all the plants and how to care for them properly (because I'm an idiot), but we've been so busy we haven't been able to get around to it yet. I promise (Heather) it'll come soon! :)

Here's another comparison shot



There's not too much of a difference. The shasta daisy over here is currently about ready to burst into a bunch of blooms, the emerald carpet manzanita is starting to spread, and the coral bark has become a lot more happy (when we first planted it the leaves were starting to brown a little and they have gotten lighter with all the happy sunlight).

I am happy to report that we are - so far - very happy with the landscape cardboard weedblock that we put down


It really does keep the weeds down really well. I think because landscape fabric is actually a fabric and allows light to come through and weeds to poke through breaks in the fabric it's not as successful. But the cardboard is an impervious surface so the soil below doesn't get any light through that would allow weeds to grow through it. The trade off is that wherever there isn't cardboard, weeds SHOOT up because the cardboard helps keep the soil really fresh and full of nutrients so the weeds are very happy when they do find an escape.

For instance, they found the little hole we cut for the plant and sprouted out the side



And the large hole that we had to cut away for the coral bark is always littered with weeds


After I cut away from the cardboard to dig the hole for the tree I should have put down filter fabric in it's place, so that was just stupid of me. It's on the to do list to move the mulch to the side, roll out some fabric and spread the mulch back, but we'll see when I get to that... :)

The crazy thing is that if a weed sees any speckle of light it shoves its way to the surface if at all possible


If you can't tell, this weed is actually growing out sideways in a break it found in the cardboard


All in all though the weeds really aren't too bad and I would really recommend the landscape cardboard as a successful alternative to fabric. I spend about 30 minutes every 2 weeks in the yard cutting back dead growth and doing really minor weeding, so I think we had a solid conquering of the front yard :)