Between a New Rock and a Hard Space

Charlie took apart (understatement) our flag stone patio to make way for coming additions to the house.

The stone terrace was outside the kitchen door before the renovation.
The stone terrace was outside the kitchen door before the renovation.

I asked him to save the stone of the approximately 96 square foot terrace so I could use it for another project.

We've been storing the stone to the right of the propane tanks behind the Cottage.
We’ve been storing the stone to the right of the propane tanks behind the Cottage.

Due to brick trim, planters and other allowances I knew we had a good 80 square feet of randomly shaped stone to use for a round patio in the back of the yard.  I just wanted a place for a couple of chairs and maybe a small table which might inspire a dejeuner sur l’herbe.

Do you remember your geometric formulas?
Do you remember your geometric formulas?

I wanted to figure out how big a round patio might be.  Recalling my geometry I know the area of a circle is calculated from the equation  πr2 or 3.14 times the radius of the circle squared.

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

The equation: 80 square feet = 3.14 X r X r can be solved by dividing both sides by 3.14.

Which produces: 25.477 = r X r.

More simply: 25 = r X r, so r = 5.

Now I know I should have enough stone for a 5 foot radius (10 foot diameter) circle.

I'd like to locate the patio in the present location of part of the vegetable garden. I think Charlie will veto.
I’d like to locate the patio in the present location of part of the vegetable garden. I think Charlie will veto.

Now I need to find the perfect place to lay out my 10 foot (or less) diameter circle.

Do you remember anything about geometry? Or algebra? Or did you tell you teacher, “I’ll never use this!”

Surprise Arrival and Removal

We have 2 oak trees in our front yard which are dead.

Arrows mark the 2 dead trees in front of the house.
Arrows mark the 2 dead trees in front of the house.

They’re not only dead but they’re hanging over the roof of the house.

The tree on the left is dead.
The tree on the left is dead.

Charlie called our local electric company who indeed agreed to take down these dead trees for fear they would fall in a storm and knock down power lines.

The tree crew showed up with a bucket truck and a giant chipper.
The tree crew showed up with a bucket truck and a giant chipper.

On the first day of July, without warning, the tree removal crew with two bucket trucks and chipper arrived at The Glade to take down the trees that had died along the street .

Charlie's has been keeping me posted on the progress of the tree removal via texts and emails.
Charlie’s has been keeping me posted on the progress of the tree removal via texts and emails.

This is a very tricky take-down due to the trees’ proximity to our house and electric/telephone lines.

The branches of the second dead tree were just visible above the roof.
The branches of the second dead tree were just visible above the roof.
Now only live trees remain.
Now only live trees remain.

The process took about 6 hours.

From the master deck the easternmost tree is visible.
From the master deck the easternmost tree is visible.
The tree for the top photo is also gone.
The tree from the photo above is also gone.

I’m glad this happened before we put in new foundation plantings which will undoubtedly get more sun than if the two large trees had remained.

Do you have a yard or garden issue that has perplexed you?

The Big Dead Tree

In case no one has figured this out Charlie is the talker, the wheeler dealer, the make it happen guy. He loves talking on the telephone.

The large tree at the center of the picture is dead.
The large tree at the center of the picture is dead. (Photo from 2013.)

Two years ago we had a big dead tree that needed to be taken down.  It still needs to come down but now I’m ready to proceed so Charlie is once again calling for estimates.  Two years ago I was looking for a price under $1,000.  It seems we’ll be lucky to come in under $2,000.

The large tree in the left of the photo is the dead oak tree.
The large tree in the left of the photo is the dead oak tree.

The tree is way too big for us to even consider doing ourselves. If it would fall wrong or one of us get injured that would be devastating.  The one thing I insist upon is that the tree removal team be insured.

The oak tree that needs to be removed is behind the garden in the center of the photo. Much of the weedy greenery around it will have to come down.
The oak tree that needs to be removed is behind the garden in the center of the photo. Much of the weedy greenery around it will have to come down.

Since we have more or less been ignoring the area under the tree Charlie has a bit of work to do before the tree fellers get to work.

This large dead oak tree came down in 2013.
This large dead oak tree came down in 2013.

We lost an oak tree in the front yard in the front yard in 2012 which was taken down in a joint effort by the local electric company and the county.  Now we have 2 more oak trees which seem to have the same fate.

Arrows mark the 2 dead trees in front of the house.
Arrows mark the 2 dead trees in front of the house.

Apparently in Maryland there is a serious disease killing the oak trees: Oak Wilt. Unfortunately the dead trees are dangerously close to our house and hang over power lines so they will have to come down in the near future.

Do you have a potentially dangerous situation?

HOW Did It Happen?

I came home from work one afternoon to find one element of our gallery wall lying on the kitchen island.

Our kitchen hall gallery wall.
Our kitchen hall gallery wall.

As I was getting ready to rehang it Charlie told me it (the frame) was broken.

The frame not only fell apart but also cracked.  There was no glass in it -- phew!
The frame not only fell apart but also cracked. There was no glass in it — phew!

That’s no problem,

The frame is rustic so the visible repair is not bothersome.
The frame is rustic so the visible repair is not bothersome.

I can fix a small frame with glue.

The smoke alarm is a good 6-feet away from the picture that fell -- almost in another room actually.
The smoke alarm is a good 6-feet away from the picture that fell — almost in another room actually.

When I asked how it happened that the frame, which is hanging over 6-feet off the floor, fell down, this is the story I heard.

The hall.
It’s a wonder the pendant light is still hanging.

Charlie was making a grilled cheese sandwich and used an oversized pan lid.  The lid got so hot that it started to smoke and set off all the smoke alarms in the house.  The smoke alarms were screaming “FIRE!, FIRE!” and a siren was going off.

Looking up toward the ceiling the smoke detector is not near the gallery wall.
Looking up toward the ceiling the smoke detector is not near the gallery wall.

To try and stop the mayhem (instead of turning on the kitchen exhaust fan) Charlie fanned the alarm in the mudroom with a towel. He must have really been waving that thing because the picture which was over six feet away was knocked off the wall.

The joints are numbered.
The joints are numbered.

It must have been quite a scene.  Anyway, this frame was easy to glue back together because its maker (it looks totally handmade) numbered the joints so I just matched the numbers after putting a small bead of Gorilla superglue on each.

A pencil drawing of an old mill.
A pencil drawing of an old mill.

The picture, a pencil drawing which I had done in college, just slips into the back and holds there mostly by friction.

My grandmother had this hanging on her wall for a long time.
My grandmother had this hanging on her wall for a long time.

I hung it back up and told Charlie all about our EXHAUST FAN.

How do things happen at your house?

The Ironwork is History

Since we changed the location of both the back and front entrances to house, we took down the ironwork that was holding up the small roofs over the stoops.

The roof over the front stoop used to be held up with arabesque ironwork.
The roof over the front stoop used to be held up with arabesque ironwork.

This ironwork may or may not have been original to the house but it was there when I purchased The Glade in 1997. (The house was built in 1946 and the ironwork may have been added in the 1960s.)

The former kitchen entrance also had a stoop held up by ironwork.
The former kitchen entrance also had a stoop held up by ironwork.

Charlie dismantled the porches as he was our main demolition guy. (I wanted him to do the deconstruct rather than the contractor so there would be more care and less destruction.  I’m sure it was the right thing to do.)

The ironwork was listed at $100 just to keep scam callers from calling. (Free things almost anybody will take.)
The ironwork was listed at $100 just to keep scam callers from calling. (Free things almost anybody will take.)

From time to time I have listed the ironwork from the porches on Craigslist hoping someone would want it.

When Charlie removed the kitchen porch roof the ironwork was no longer necessary.
When Charlie removed the kitchen porch roof the ironwork was no longer necessary.

Our purpose was not so much to make money but to have these large, awkward, heavy pieces hauled away.

We've been using some iron railing removed from the back porch (which has since become the conservatory) as an entrance to the potager.
We’ve been using some iron railing removed from the back porch (which has since become the conservatory) as an entrance to the potager.

Fast forward to yesterday a man came for the scrolly supports for a garden he’s constructing for his wife. He was delighted that it is the heavy old style iron instead of look-alike aluminum.

We've been "storing" the ironwork under the trees just beyond the vegetable garden since 2013. It's usually covered by tall grass.
We’ve been “storing” the ironwork under the trees just beyond the vegetable garden back by the lawn chairs since 2013. It’s usually covered by tall grass.

We ended up letting him have the ironwork for $25.  He’s happy; we’re happy.

What’s your experience with Craigslist?

Plans to Use Our Old Wood

When Charlie took down the old siding before the additions were put on the house we ended up with lots of 65-year-old building material.

Charlie removed our old shingles where the new additions were connected to the old house.
Charlie removed our old shingles where the new additions were connected to the old house.

We got rid of the old asphalt shingles.

Charlie removed all this sheathing from around the house.
Charlie removed all this sheathing from around the house.

Under the shingles, under the tar paper was sheathing.

The new conservatory had lots of vintage sheathing.
The new conservatory had lots of vintage sheathing that needed to be removed..

This we saved.

The lumber has been outside weathering.
The lumber has been outside weathering.

This old sheathing is 1″ by 7+” true.

Old 2 by 4s are actually 2
Old 2 by 4s are actually 2″ by 4″.

Same with the old 2″ by 4″s.

We'd like to build something like this.
We’d like to build something like this.

The plan is to build the conservatory sink vanity from this wood.  I’ll need to strip the nails and maybe sand the wood although I am going for a rustic look.

This is the sink we plan to use on the vanity.
This is the sink we plan to use on the vanity.

We’re going to use the suggestions from here to get started.

What’s your next building project?

Making More Room

Last year when the old kitchen was demolished Charlie carefully removed our 60-year-old, all wood cabinets.

Removing the cabinets from the old kitchen.
Removing the cabinets from the old kitchen.

Then we moved them to the Cottage thinking we might find a place to use them in the shed or Cottage.

The cabinets were stacked in the middle of the room.
The cabinets were stacked in the middle of the room.

But even better our son asked if he could give them to his friend who needs cabinetry in his trailer.

They're going to try to reuse the old laminate countertop.
They’re going to try to reuse the old laminate countertop.

In the first load they took the old white laminate countertop and a few cabinets.

They loaded and removed the base cabinets first.
They loaded and removed the base cabinets first.

Hopefully they’ll be back for the rest. Even Charlie had to agree that “we just can’t keep everything.”

How are you lightening your load?