Monday, April 21, 2014

Us vs. The Feral Cats, Season II

If we've talked to you about our yard at all, we've talked to you about the feral cat colony next door. It's a long and sordid story, but to summarize: There's a feral cat colony. Next door. There are at least 7 of them. They poop in our yard. 

This has led us to experiment with some wacky approaches to keeping them out of our raised beds, where we grow food we'd like to eat. Last year, we built frames and grids. 

If you look closely, you can see kitty paw prints in the middle bed. 

We regrouped, and had a banner tomato year, and ate leafy greens into the winter. 

It's time to prep the beds for the new growing season, and we took a new approach. Here are our beds as they looked post winter: cover crop on the left; fall-sale blueberry bushes quickly planted in the middle and far beds for the winter; weeds on the right. Notice the left and middle beds have nearly exploded in their rottenness.

And now: Two beautiful new beds, and Collin's brilliant hoop-house hack.

We created a basic hoop-house framework with flexible PVC pipe, and covered them with bird netting. Two days in, and no kitty incursions; plenty of room for veggies to grow and relatively easy access.

For anyone interested, here's some work we've done on the front of the house: removed grass and native plantings on the right; removed grass and rock garden in the parking strip. Note: we did not buy those stones; I simply removed the grass and minimal soil that existed there. New crabapple trees courtesy of Friends of Trees!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Three hundred words for "White"

In real time, we've moved into the house. We've replaced a furnace. We've unpacked some things.

But in blog time, we're just up to our paint job.

Questionable decisions had been made in the basement. The ceiling had been well-insulated, but newspaper had been stuffed in the patchily-insulated walls. And no one had ever waterproofed the cement walls, which were spalling in spots.  You learn all kinds of new words as a homeowner.

I was most pleased with the colors we picked for the living and dining rooms.

The master bedroom turned out a bit differently than I'd expected. I love the way the blue looks with the brown, but I haven't fully embraced the yellow ceiling.


But you can see how our spackling skills made a difference in the state of the un-replastered walls:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Natural Light

It's great to be reminded of all the wonderful things about our new home that we love -- like the natural light that it gets.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap

 In order to make our newly plastered walls as smooth as a baby's bottom, and to save a little money, we took on the task of sanding.  It's kind of a messy, tedious business.

This made me think of E.T., every time.

Weeks later, the dust continues to settle. But! Our plaster walls were whole again, and ready to prime and paint.

Collin demonstrates the improper use of eye protection.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Getting plastered

While I loved the gothic feel of our crumbling, water-stained plaster walls, we decided to go for a more finished look for the house.  With four rooms of rough, crumbling walls and a desire to move in by the end of the month, we called in the professionals to skim coat everything they could.

So Collin's office went from this:

To this, mid-wallpaper removal:

To patched holes:

 To two coats of plaster.