Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hiatus (definitely) over!

July was a month of transition. A new job, no school, tons of small projects, and tons of catching up to do. However, the hiatus from working in and around the house came to an unceremonious end, as we kicked the work into high gear to get ready for next weekend. More info to come, along with pictures of our dining room renovation!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Exterior progress, and priming for a start on the interior

The garden is chugging along! We're gathering notes on improvements that we want to make, and are planning for the fall season and for next spring. A few more raised beds, a ground plot, and a greenhouse are all planned for the future!

We're starting to get some small fruits of our labor, but the late start due to a late freeze, and the drip irrigation not being installed until the end of May led to a late harvest. We're hoping to get a bit more out of the garden before the heat kills everything.

On the inside, we're still in a holding pattern, waiting for funding and time to do some more work. We're looking to start with re-drywalling the entryway and dining room (and checking for any termite damage), and then getting new trim up in the living area. We're beginning to formulate a kitchen remodel plan, but don't know exactly when that will happen. Perhaps next spring?

I've been a bit busy over the last few weeks fixing some plumbing issues. The faucet had started leaking in the master bath, and so I had to replace it. As part of that, I needed to replace the drain pipe as well. Upon further investigation, I realized that I needed to replace all of the drain under the sink, all the way to the wall!

Here are a few tips from that experience:
  • There is ALWAYS a proper pipe for the thing you need to do... don't compromise and silicone things together (this is why I decided to replace the whole thing... there was a pretty sketchy silicone job on one of the joints)
  • Avoid rubber adapters like the plague. If you need to use a flexible line, make sure it's the same diameter at both ends. 
  • Also, avoid vinyl flex line... It's practically impossible to get a watertight seal!
  • Plumber's putty makes a better seal than silicone, in my experience. The first run-through, the silicone didn't adhere to the drain nor the sink. The second run-through had no leaks using plumber's putty
  • Assemble the entire thing outside the sink before trying to install it. You'll find so many issues doing that.
  • Get a pile of towels and a bucket or two... water will leak, and it will soak into the cabinet.
  • There is a right direction and a wrong direction for the little plastic O-rings between the pipes. If you get it right, it's watertight. If you get it wrong, you can tighten it to Hulk-like tightness, and it will still leak.

One of the big outdoor things that needs to happen ASAP is a trellis structure between the raised beds. Currently everything is growing on the ground, and while that is OK, it would be so much nicer to have the cucumbers, squash, beans, and tomatoes growing up rather than out.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Good Recipe: Grilled Zucchini

This was a good recipe we had last night alongside crab legs. I think it could have used a little more marinating time, but overall it was a good recipe.

4x Zucchini sliced longways
Pinch of salt
Olive oil (enough to coat the zucchini when marinating)
Fresh basil leaves, torn
roasted garlic, minced

Freezer bag

1) Slice the Zucchini and place into the freezer bag
2) Add olive oil, salt, and garlic to the bag
3) Tear the basil leaves and add to the bag
4) mix the marinade around in the bag and let sit for an hour or so (I didn't do this step, and it still turned out ok, just a little bland
5) Set the grill to a medium-high heat
6) place the zucchini on the grill and let it cook
7) flip the zucchini and let cook for a bit longer
8) Serve hot.

Monday, June 2, 2014

To-Do List for this summer: Indoors becomes a priority again

As of early this year, we had put a hold on major indoor projects, because the outdoor projects needed to be finished before the summer heat took hold. Now that we have raised beds, drip irrigation, no giant pile of branches next to the patio, and producing blackberry bushes, we can focus more on the interior work. The only major exception is a sun shade that needs to be installed over the tomatoes, but that will be 30 minutes' worth of work.

The interior work will consist of a few major projects and a bunch of minor ones. The major projects are
1) entryway/sitting room remodel - The project is almost done in the entryway, but I am not entirely happy with the results. I had bought the incorrect thickness drywall, and it doesn't look quite right. Since we are tearing out the drywall in the sitting room anyway, we may as well tear out the small parts that were installed incorrectly and redo those as well. Once all of that is torn out, I'll take stock of any additional termite damage, fiberglass insulation that needs replaced, and electrical rerouting to be done before closing the walls back up and painting them. Further, there is still a small piece of footer that needs to be removed in the new entryway opening, and a row of wood flooring needs to be added to cover the hole.

2) Trim - Since we tore out the wood paneling, much of the baseboards and the trim went along with it. This needs to be remedied, and will be replaced after the entryway project

3) Cozy Room Fan - I hated that fan so much that I tore it out before having all the materials needed to replace it. We have a new fan, but I want to rewire the outlet to have independent fan and light switches. This will be a relatively minor project, but will involve traipsing around the attic for an afternoon.

4) Mantle - Ever since we ripped out the old mantle, we've been looking for a new one. We'll look to find something to serve as a mantle this summer, and install it once we find it.

5) Paint and resurface various pieces of furniture - Lauren's main solo project this summer is painting and resurfacing a few chairs and cabinets that she has found at sales and flea markets.

Beyond the main projects, we also have some side projects involving plumbing, patching holes in walls, replacing light fixtures, massive amounts of portrait/picture/painting hanging, and rehoming some furniture. We are planning for a garage sale in August, so it's hard to find temporary storage room at the moment. We're hoping to remedy some of that, but it would be nice to hang some shelving, clear out the shed/organize it, and find final homes for much of the stuff in the house.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Traveling and not worried about it!

Things are growing well, especially now with the drip irrigation system fully installed and set on a timer. The potato cages have made the potatoes into superstars! They've grown about 6 inches even since the above photos were taken! I'm going to add a shovel full of compost to each in order to promote more tuber growth, but I'm super happy with the results in the potato cages! 

The rest of the vegetable garden have similarly grown a bit since the photo, but you can see the little black drip irrigation tubes running through all the beds. They're doing a great job keeping the plants green and growing! We've got some small veggies on the way soon! 
First Bell Pepper of the season!

The kitten got into the compost, trying to figure out why we're throwing all the perfectly good food in the yard!

I got the irrigation done just in time, as we've been traveling, and will be traveling for the next 2 weeks! We went to the Indy 500, and Lauren loved the track tenderloin!

The tenderloin is a meal just itself!