I Finally Made Progress on the Bathroom

Yesterday I made a plan for today.

I sanded the wall over the sink in the bathroom.

Instead of a light sanding with a sanding block I used a ceiling sander on a pole to smooth the wall.  I sanded quite a bit until there was so much dust I had to pull out the shop vac to clean up the mess.

I wiped down all the upper area of the walls with vinegar water.

Washing the walls with vinegar water removed any remnants of wallpaper glue and the dust on the sanded wall.

The wall was painted with wallpaper primer.

I used a wide brush to cover the wall with primer to help the wallpaper to adhere.

Next step: hang the wallpaper.

I finished my entire list of tasks.  I’m ready to start hanging the paper.  Woo hoo.

What prep task do you dislike?


Don’t Make Plans for Me

Tomorrow is another (4th in a row) rainy day so I’ll be stuck in the house.

After a light sanding this wall will be ready for wallpaper.

Happily stuck in the house and finally working on the pink bathroom wall.

I’m hoping to do minimal sanding.

I have my sandpaper block ready.

Vinegar water is especially effective cleaning formerly papered walls.

A gallon of white vinegar to wipe down the walls.

Wallpaper primer and paint brush.

And a can of sizing to cover the wall.

I’m eager to get to the wallpaper.

If I get all that finished I’ll be happy.

Do your best laid plans get scuttled?

Hummingbird Nectar

After checking out our local pet stores and discount stores for hummingbird feeders, I decided to just order two from Amazon.

Hanging planters became raggedy a bit too soon for my liking.

The plan is to hang them on either side of the door of the Cottage where last year we hung plants.

2 inexpensive hummingbird feeders from First Nature

Since we’re having hummingbird feeders we will also need nectar to fill them.

Use refined granulated sugar for hummingbird nectar.

After much research the recipe is easy: 4 to 1, water to sugar. Translated into easy terms that’s 4 cups of water to one cup of sugar which exactly fills our two 16-ounce feeders. Don’t use honey, brown sugar, unrefined sugar or sugar substitutes, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.

Sugar water

Boil the water until the sugar is totally dissolved.  Boiling kills germs that might cause premature spoiling.  Do NOT add red coloring because it is not necessary and might cause harm.

We have hung one on each side of the door to the Cottage.

Then fill the feeder and wait for the birds.

We’re having 7 days of rain.  How ’bout your weather?

Attracting Hummingbirds

Ever since Sug had a deck added to the Cottage I thought it would be a wonderful vantage from which to watch hummingbirds.

A variety of red plants.

First we have to attract them.  I have seen hummingbirds in the yard in past years but I was not focused on keeping them there.

This canna will grow to about 4 feet tall with bright red flowers.

I have read that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red so we bought a variety of both red-leafed and red-flowered plants to attract them.

Red salvia splendens can thrive in part or full shade.

Hummingbirds especially enjoy flowers with a trumpet-like shape where they can insert their long beaks.

I’m hoping these bronze-leaf celosia will also have attractive red flowers.
This might be another variety of celosia.

We’ll plant them at the corners of the new deck.

Coleus is grown for the color of its leaves, not its spiky flowers.

I have no red in the yard so the Cottage will have the corner on hummingbirds.

Do you have hummingbird experience?

Rain Expected

The temperature today was 93 degrees.

After the area in front of the house was graded Charlie raked the loose soil to even it out.

However, for the next four days the forecast calls for rain everyday, all day.

Charlie used the same seed spreader he used for the back yard.

I suggested to Charlie that he get the grass seed scattered on the area he prepared because four days of rain might create a crop of weeds.

He spread the straw by rubbing between his hands.

This time we’re using Scotts Turf Builder Contractor’s Mix .  Once the seeds were cast and raked in Charlie spread some straw over the same area.

Soon the tan front yard will be green.

Spreading the straw causes stress on the human back.

The front yard has changed improved over the past year.

The foundation planting we did last last fall has taken hold and is growing well.

How difficult is it for you to make planting decisions?

Building the Deck

The Cottage deck was begun like this.

The ground in front of the Cottage is bare with a slight swale running left to right for drainage.

The carpenter is the same one who built the gabled roof over the door.

The framing was built first.

He started by framing the area with pressure treated 2 by 4s and 4 by 4s.

The deck is supported by short 2 by 4 legs on top of buried cement blocks.

Then he dug holes under various corners and buried concrete blocks as a base for the ground level deck.

The decking boards run perpendicular to the Cottage.

After the deck was framed it was topped with 5/4 decking boards set very close together and screwed in place in the traditional way.

The edge of the deck still needs to be finished.

The deck runs the width of the Cottage — about 20 feet — and is 8 feet deep. The boards will ultimately be trimmed evenly and edged with a banding board.

Before — The Cottage in 2012
The Cottage has been transformed.

In about 60 days Sug plans to seal the deck.  The pressure-treated lumber needs to dry out before applying a finishing treatment.

The Cottage bistro set.!

In the mean time I’m sure she’ll pull out her red bistro set so she can enjoy her morning coffee under the dogwood tree.

Where do you have your morning beverage?

Personal Mission Statement

Number 3 on my 101 task to accomplish in 1001 days is to write a personal mission statement. Writing a mission statement is a process not a one-time task.

Change is inevitable.

I have started with the following information.

Steps for Developing a Personal Mission Statement

Step 1: Identify Past Successes.
I spent some time identifying four or five examples of my personal success in recent years. These successes could be at work, in my community, at home, etc. I wrote them down and tried to identify whether there is a common theme (or themes) to these examples.

Our house has changed a great deal over the past 20 years.
  1. Success at work leading the household and managing the money
  2. Success at church being perceived as a believer and music leader
  3. Success at home transforming the house into a welcoming and practical but beautiful place to live
  4. Successfully transforming finances into a retirement nest egg
  5. Success at traveling to learn more about the world

Themes: past successes all relate to leadership, steadfastness, and creativity.

Step 2: Identify Core Values.
I developed a list of attributes that I believe identify who I am and what my priorities are. The list can be as long as needed.

  1. Spiritual
  2. Creative
  3. Decision-maker
  4. Intelligent
  5. Practical
I want my life to express my values.

Most important overall core value: Spirituality

Once the list was complete, I narrowed my 8 or 10 values down to around five of the most important ones (listed above). Then I chose the one value that is most important to me.

My next assignment is to:

Step 3: Identify Contributions.
Make a list of the ways I could make a difference. In an ideal situation, how could I contribute best to:

  1. the world in general |
  2. my family |
  3. my employer or future employers |
  4. my friends |
  5. my community

Step 4: Identify Goals.
Spend some time thinking about my priorities in life and the goals I have for myself.

Travel is high on my list.

Make a list of my personal goals, perhaps in the short-term (up to three years) and the long-term (beyond three years).

Step 5: Write Mission Statement.
Based on the first four steps and a better understanding of myself, begin writing my personal mission statement.

Examples of personal mission statements:

“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.” (Denise Morrison)

“I define personal success as being consistent to my own personal mission statement: to love God and love others.” (Joel Manby)

“To help others live the lives they would if they only knew how.” (Andy Andrews)

This is a tough and thoughtful task which takes, for me, great concentration and consideration.  I’m working on it.

What value is most important to you?