Saturday, January 21, 2017

Snow Morning

...didn't last long (that's why this blog entry is called "Snow Morning" and not "Snow Day").
But here is what it looked like:

First view (through the kitchen window).
No matter the weather, you gotta feed the ducks.
The ducks were a bit disturbed by the snow. When Melina opened their door, they ran out, looked at the snow, and ran back inside. But, hunger got the best of their worries and they came back out. A few courageously sampled this mysterious white substance. Sometimes the snow would stick and they would have silly-looking snow mustaches at the tip of their bills.
Time for mutual snaps...
 This was our live Christmas tree a couple years ago. Wouldn't it look perfect now to add a few ornaments?
The silent bell at the gate.

 The soggy meadow is snow-resistant - still a pretty view. I like the conceptual disconnect between the lush green grass and the white snow
Odd, naturally-formed snow balls discovered in the runoff at the edge of the road.
 Our place in the snow.

 Zane loves snow and smelling all the newly chilled scents.

The woman who inspires and shares this all.

Even melting snow creates patterns.
The 32s first snow (maybe, I only know it spent the last few years in SoCal.)
 Shameless plug...

Carb-loading the ducks with some organic, whole grain rice. It's like candy to them!
Zane likes rice, too - at least when the ducks are getting it. But, he has to stand aside and look on with envy.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sunday Drive & Walk (April 24, 2016)

First up: Morning coffee in the greenhouse...

Along Allred Rd

Mariposa Lily (one of my Dad's favorite wild flowers)

Along Stockton Creek, near Hwy 140

Found some mint growing in the creek  - packed a sample to take home

Love the rock colors highlighted by sun and water.

 Walking the Stockton Reservoir trail...

Yerba Santa


My Nikon pocket camera just wouldn't focus on the flower below, so Melina had a go at it with her Canon. She got!

What is this strange thing winding out of the bushes towards me?


Thursday, August 20, 2015

For a Duckling...

Rude Death Doggerel (Elegy)

And the stealthy bobcat,
of our little duckling
he did break it's back
and was to eat it,
but outcry was heard
by dear Melina
and he had to beat it.

The little duckling
now limp and still
the bottom of a hole will fill
to grow a tree
(planted by the dear Melina).
A tree to grow
bright and strong
in memory, loving and sweet
of our little duckling,
loving and sweet,
that the bobcat did kill.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Barn" Renovations

Melina asked me to fix up an old shed on the property for safe storage of chicken/duck feed and various gardening tools and equipment. She's reading over my shoulder right now and objecting that she didn't ask me to fix up the shed...just that she commented on needing a place to store garden and animal stuff. I would note that we were standing near the shed at the time of our conversation.

Anyway, the 10 x 12 shed sits next to an old well East of the house, and probably housed a pressure tank and a breaker box  in the old days. But then some prior owner drilled a deeper new well farther back on the property and the shed fell into disuse. By the time we bought the place a couple years ago, the roof was rotted, some of the interior framing had termites and dry rot, and a window was broken. I have to say it was never in very good condition - someone had done a very amateur and cheap job of stuccoing the exterior walls - the framing was wrapped with #18 gauge wire, tar paper was added, and chicken wire, and then a lumpy, clumsy application of stucco base - that's as far as they got. Aside from the "stucco," nothing of the framing or slab was level or plumb, and the framing was old (and probably local) full-size 2 x 4 cedar (that is, with dimensions varying by almost a half an inch). No matter, at least it was cedar, and had partially resisted the rot, water damage, and termites (doug fir framing, under the same conditions, would have collapsed into a pile of rubble years ago).

The "Shed." Note the fairly flat roof. The old well is off to the right by the blue bucket (we installed a manual pump to provide emergency water should the main well fail or electrical power is off for an extended period).

So, my late-June-through-July task is rebuilding the shed. And somewhere along the line I noticed that the shed had acquired the title of "The Barn" in our discussions - a somewhat glorified name, given its size and construction. But, from here on out, it's a BARN!

Well, as any remodeler knows, even for a simple project you need a rough sketch of the work to be done and the materials, but the first serious step is to collect the tools that will be needed - also known as marshaling EVERY TOOL KNOWN TO MAN: demolition tools, electrical tools, woodworking tools, metal working tools, drills, chop saw, hand saws, Skilsaws, tool belt, levels, plumb bob - I'm going to stop here because list could go on for pages.

The first step was removing the whole roof and its four or five layers of old and decaying rolled roofing, some rotten top plates, and a variety of other detritus. The original roof was sheathed with 1 x12 inch cedar planks (when this and the two or three rolled roofs on it had all failed, someone threw down some OSB decking and another rolled roof (the OSB had rotted back to chunks I could crumble in my hands, while some of the cedar planking is still reuseable). Then, a bit of new framing above the old front wall to increase the pitch of the roof. And, of course, new roof framing. I'm not going to go into all the sordid details; I will let the photos tell the story to this point.

The start (below): framing already added to front to raise the roof pitch to 3-1/2 in 12 (the original roof was almost flat). If the framing looks old it is because I tried to re-use lumber that was scavenged out of the demolition...and anything else we had laying around.

Adding upper fascia board to rafters (pay no attention to the man standing on the top of the ladder and flouting half a dozen OSHA rules -- but note I have a six foot ladder to jump to if I lose my balance).

 Prepping rafter for fascia outrigger; some roof sheathing has already been added.

 Nick and I roofing; we roofed "Texas syle" - that is, no tar paper underneath the shingles.

 Measuring for a small section of the T-111 8-in OC siding.

Upper section done (except for 1 x 4 corner trim and painting)

Stucco patching. The base stucco was weak, poorly-applied, and holey, but I am leaving it up. I am loath to haul another batch of stucco to the dump (we removed a bunch from the exterior of the bedroom we converted to the greenhouse last year).  

Framing for a small storage loft. Here, I am shimming to an old cedar stud that is 3/8" smaller than the others.

I still have to buy some topping stucco and have a go at applying that. I've no experience, but the walls can't look any worse than they do now...
(to be continued)

Well, we went through about 14 50lb bags of scratch coat stucco to get the ugly old stuff covered. That seemed adequate and I decided to skip the topping coat since I don't know anything about stucco texturing anyway (and I was getting mighty tired of applying stucco, even with Melina's ceaseless help). The old side window was replaced with a dual-glazed, double hung window I've been saving since it came out of my first Isleton remodel project about 20 years ago (justification enough for my "I know this will come in handy sometime" prediction back in 1994). I reglazed the door light and then had to glaze it again - my first effort broke when the door fell off the bucks. Then, a lot of caulk and a bit of trim. 

As for the paint, I've been buying up yard sale paint and paint mistakes at the hardware stores in town for the last couple years, with an eye towards mixing up a green similar to the house color that I could use on the garage (turns out the barn came first). I purchased a brand new gallon of generic yellow to mix in, I got it real close (I know I'm cheap, but I also like the adventure of mixing paint colors - once an artist always an artist). Melina decided she wanted a barn red/orange for the upper section of T-111 plywood. I didn't like the idea - thought they would clash -  but realized that the barn was for her use and she could have it any way she wanted it. I applied the upper and lower paints with a high pressure spray rig I bought at a yardsale. The machine worked great, making easy work of the eaves and other "pain-in-the- a__" areas. I also brushed and rolled it in behind the spraying, where needed, to get good surface penetration (spray applications can sometimes be very superficial).

When I starting thinking about a trim color, the leftover yellow paint caught my eye and I realized I was looking at a paint scheme that was an analog of a certain color scheme I obsessed about (a little) in my early days as a painter just out of high school - the green and red were colors of late summer weeds in vacant Santa Clara county lots: burnt sienna, grayed greens. The other color was the ochre yellows of dried grasses. I realized the barn was meant to bring these colors to a real fruition. I thought my first mix of the yellow was too bright, but Melina liked it, so...and now I have to agree with her. They work!
How does it all look. Well, I'm going to refer you to Melina's blog, which nicely covers the "before" and "after" photos of the project. I am very pleased with the result and Melina is too.