Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reno project chapter two..and other ramblings

After an awful LOT of tedious sanding, crack and knot filling, and then sanding again, now this floor space making project is getting to be more fun. Today I started the whitewashing of the underside of the 2x6 t&g that will be the kitchen ceiling. After a bit of trial and error I settled on a mix of 1 part water to 3 parts paint to make a wash that will reflect light but still show the pretty grain of the wood.
30 pieces of 12' t&g and 14 2x8 joists to paint, I might be finished by the end of the week...

You just slop on the paint and rub it into the wood with a rag.

Then follow with a dry cloth, wiping off any excess paint. This is just some ceiling paint I had leftover from a couple of years ago. Easier to do this now than up over my head once it's in place.
Yesterdays storm has left us with a couple inches of icy snow. Here is a crowd of robins from 2 days ago. Poor things, I don't know how they're going to find anything to eat now. When I hear their calls it sounds like spring can't be far away.

Spring has sprung for sure in the plant room upstairs. Delicious mesclun mix is ready for salads and sandwiches. I plant a few varieties of seeds every day. A great discovery this season was Gardens North in Annapolis Royal , NS. where I found seed for Trailing Arbutus, mayflower, my all time favorite flower fragrance. I have missed mayflowers in spring ever since I grew up and left Nova Scotia. As kids we would pick bunches and stand at the side of the road holding them out to passing cars. People would stop and buy a generous bunch for a nickel and a really big bunch for a dime. That was our Juicy Fruit Gum money.
Sure hope these tiny seeds will germinate...but I'll be keeping the flowers this time around.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Climate change: It's awful but it's giving me guilty pleasure..

What's wrong with this picture? It's the freaking middle of january, it's Canada, and I'm working outdoors all day! A few years ago normal at this time of year would mean most of the four foot page wire fence disappeared under snow, and the  neighborhood snowplow guys laughing on the way to the bank.
Here's our front yard today...
    So there's another project on the go, involving lots of sanding outdoors, just waiting for a day like today.
Here is the view looking down on the kitchen from upstairs in our rental cottage. It's a cathedral type ceiling obviously. The plan is to create more space for the guests, especially a playspace for their kids, since up to 6 people in 24'x26' is kind of cramped. So the kitchen part will be floored over with 2x8 joists and 2 x6 t&g boards. (

The lumber needs to be sanded to get rid of bumps and inkings, and knotholes and dings filled. I save the sawdust, and mix it with white glue or carpenters glue for an inexpensive filler for the larger holes.

Here's an edge chip glued back in place and held with rubber bands.
I use this stuff for finer cracks and nicks, thank goodness they have now come up with a human friendly type of wood filler that doesn't knock you back with noxious fumes. The reason I'm going to all this trouble is because I want an open type ceiling so that from down below you see the exposed joists. I'm going to whitewash the joists and underside of the t&g with a dilute paint/water mix so that the grain of the wood will show through. The upper side will be lightly stained and varathaned.
My trusty old old sander has seen better days. Yes, that's a vacumn cleaner bag duct taped to the dust catcher hole. The thumb button that keeps the machine running without using the squeeze trigger quit long ago. It's very tiring to keep your finger pressing the trigger constantly, but there's a fix for that! Just use a rubber band from a bunch of broccoli, wrap it around the trigger and run a large twist tie through the rubber loops and twist. With a bit of trial and error adjustment with the twist tie and rubber band tension you can find the sweet spot where you only need the slightest finger pressure on the trigger to run the machine. The rest of the squeezing is being done by the tension of the rubber band. Alas, my poor old sander fell on the deck today and the front handle snapped off. Maybe if this gets pathetic enough DH will buy me a new one for mothers day..

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What a perfect winter! A little snow for Christmas, gone in a couple of days, and now it feels like one long fall season with soft bare ground and +7C forecast for tomorrow. Very nice for getting outdoor work done.
We are lucky to have a skilled backhoe operator close by to address our erosion woes. After roadbuilding above and behind our rental cottage we have been getting an awful lot more water cascading down the hill after every rain. So much so that it would be a matter of time before the cottage fell into the hole that was growing at an alarming rate. We lined the muddy banks with landscape fabric and I built a kind of sluiceway to direct the water flow out over the eroding edge.

Amazing how he can carefully place those huge boulders with that unwieldly looking bucket.

The 10" plastic culvert was dug out of the driveway (above) and replaced with some scavenged 15" concrete pipe.
Which gave us enough pipe to complete the drainage down to the ditch along the driveway.

Come spring I think planting some low growing bush conifers will disguise the edges of the landscape fabric and make things look more natural.
That's a lotta rock! Now I'm going to go soak my old back...