Don’t Be Jealous

My friend and Cottage tenant, Sug, finds yard work therapeutic.

Sug likes to mow and we have a big yard.

She likes to mow the yard.

The garden is just a heap of weeds in August.

She pulls weeds in the garden.

Front of the greenhouse is ready for grading.

After she cleaned out the space in front of the greenhouse Charlie realized he would need to dig out the some soil and level the ground.

I’m sure Charlie can find an appropriate step in our pile of bluestone.

I suggested he take one of our large bluestone slabs and make a step in front of the greenhouse.

We’re inspired by this stone patio with fire pit.

Then he said if I would draw a plan up for a small patio and fire pit he would consider implementing it.

A rough idea.

I already have a plan in mind.

What would you want in a fire pit patio?

Specimen Plant

I have been working on planting plans for the foundation of the house.

The west foundation plants have a lot of growing room.

I started with some easy areas: back door, west side near the driveway.  Both areas are doing well so far.

The electric box on the left front of the house needs concealment behind a stunning plant.

The front yard needs a specimen plant that will eventually become a tree to hide the electric box that is mounted on the front of the house.

A sweet little “Cream Puff” cedar.

I saw a picture of a “Cream Puff” deodar cedar which I thought would be perfect.

“Snow Sprite” Cedar

When I went to order one it was out of stock everywhere so I ordered a “Snow Sprite” cedar instead.  It has been very slow arriving which turns out to be a benefit.

I’m excited to plant what I expect to be a tiny specimen.

My computer informed me that a “Cream Puff” is now available from Japanese Maples and Evergreens on Amazon. So I ordered it and canceled the first order with no problem.

The Cream Puff Cedar is slow-growing so I’ll have to wait a few years for it to fully mask the electric meter.

The “Cream Puff” is a dwarf deodar cedar with white tips on the ends of the branches. It is both humidity tolerant and deer resistant. I’m hoping the habit of this tree will eventually look like this one.

Would you buy plants through the mail?

Window Film Forever

In the renovation the windows in the new areas of the house are Anderson 400s.

Removing the protective film made a huge difference in the conservatory.

They are installed with protective plastic film on the window panes which I was quick to remove from the conservatory windows because the scenery is great.

The scene outside the conservatory windows is woodsy.

So all the downstairs windows were unfilmed a few years ago.

The window above the bumpout on the back of the house still had its protective film firmly attached 3 years after installation.

Unfortunately I didn’t remove the film, which is on the outside of the window, on the master bathroom casement window and the master closet sash window.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out my bathroom window and there was a person on a ladder.

Over time the film became stuck to the windows and difficult to remove.

A razor blade was needed to scrape the film and light adhesive from the window.

While the ladder was up against the house for this project Charlie moved it to the back of the house so I could reach the casement window.  Before I could climb the ladder Sug brought her window cleaner and a razor blade scraper up the ladder and removed the film and the adhesive left by the film.

The sash window is the master closet tilts in by forcing the windows past the vinyl jamb.

While she had her supplies together she moved to the inside of the master closet where we both learned how to flip the windows to the inside so they, too, could be defilmed and cleaned.

The stickers were also removed from the round window in the master shower.

These two three windows were the final ones to be cleaned. Check, double check, and triple check.  Thanks to Sug.

How do you remove gunk, adhesive, and stick-um?

Waspy Vent

Charlie told me that the vent on the side porch had a hive in it.

The porch vent is high up and barely noticeable except by ambitious wasps.

It didn’t surprise me because wasps are continually starting new nests hanging from the porch ceiling. We knock them down as soon as they are started.

The master bathroom vent is above the round window at the back of the house.

I was more surprised to look up into the master bathroom vent on the second floor of the house.  It was almost filled with a wasp nest so much so that the exhaust flap could barely open.

This is not an easy vent to access.

Charlie climbed our tallest extension ladder with a can of wasp spray and sprayed the nest very well.  After waiting about half an hour for the spray to work he knocked the nest down much to the dismay of wasps who hadn’t been home at the time of destruction.

Easy painting inside and out with a small foam brush.

He also painted the plastic vent cover with the house color: Sandy Hook Gray.

Screen cuts easily with regular scissors.

While Charlie was working on the vent Sug cut a piece of screen to fit the grated cover.

A simple piece of screen should keep the wasps out of our vent.

Charlie painted the grating and returned it to its place on the vent hoping to block entry of returning wasps.

How do you reach inconvenient places?

Seemed Easy Enough

A couple of weeks ago I discovered (after almost everybody else in the United States) that a total solar eclipse was going to cross the continent on August 21, 9 days from now.

We live about an 8-hour drive north of the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse of 2017.

After clearing our calendars and hemming and hawing for awhile we finally decided to try and make it to a region where we could be in the path of totality — a place where day literally turns to night.

The route could easily take longer than expected if others get the same idea we have.

At first I thought we would head to Smoky Mountain National Park but they were selling tickets to the best viewing area which have been sold out for ages. Instead I mapped the 6-and-a-half-hour route and made an AirBnB reservation for the night before within a additional two hour drive to the eclipse area.

Eclipse glasses should cost about $1 each — they’re not fancy.

Next on the to-do list was to get some solar eclipse glasses so we would be able to view the sun as it is covered by the moon.

Children’s solar eclipse glasses.

Unfortunately all local brick-and-mortar stores, Lowes, REI, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, were sold out as were their on-line counterparts.  The only option left to me was to buy children’s models which I ordered from Amazon.

If you miss this one there’ll be another total eclipse in 2024 from Mexico to Maine.

I’m hoping the glasses will arrive in time for our trip.  I’m also going to try to get a pair from our local library which will begin to distribute a limited amount on August 14th.

Are you planning to view the eclipse?

Easy Peach Treat

Charlie gets crates of peaches in summer.

We get peaches by the peck in August.

Some he peels and freezes.

Grilled peaches.

Recently he cut about a dozen peaches in half and put them on the grill with olive oil and brown sugar.

The perfect end to a summer dinner or as a side dish with chicken.

He closes the lid on the grill and cooks them until golden brown.

The juice is syrupy and flavorful.

They’re delicious plain or with ice cream or yogurt.

What’s your favorite food to grill?