Monday, March 22, 2010

The Peak

Under the threat of rain, I managed to put up siding all the way to the peak on the west side. Last week I bought three clamps from an outfit in Vermont that sells snow guards and fastened them to the seams of the metal roof. Then I bolted a 2x6 across the clamps and used that as a base for a 16' ladder. It may look sketchy, but it's really quite safe. I've got what looks to be three more days on the siding. At the end of the day today, I started to assemble the base of the green house. It should be up and running by the end of April.

Friday, March 19, 2010


After a less than memorable winter, it seems as we've been enjoying spring for a few weeks now. I set up the old cold frame with spinach and mizuna, and I've already moved the bunching onions I grew from seed into a row in the garden and covered it with cloth. Of course, a spring snow storm could prove a challenge, but when the weather is this ridiculously nice it's hard to hold back. In our old garden in Brooklin, we usually started sowing the real cold hardy stuff in the middle of April. As soon as the ground can be worked. By that rule we could have been out there sowing peas a few weeks ago. Once the greenhouse is up and running, all the usual dates will change and we'll be cheating mother nature on both sides of the growing season.

Mark showed up today to tie up the last of the plumbing. The outdoor faucet, the outdoor shower mixing valve, and a filter. We discovered the need for a filter after our washing machine repeatedly failed to perform. The screens on the water line going into the machine kept clogging with sediment.

I have a long list of things to do from now until next winter. Finish the porch is the biggest project with the biggest price tag. Finish the siding. Install drains along the drip line on the north and south sides. Build book cases. Build desk and shelves adjacent to kitchen. Stairs. Trim everywhere. I doubt I'll get to it all.

Friday, March 5, 2010


With spring right around the corner it's time to think garden. Last weekend I went to a meeting for the local community greenhouse project. They've got a near wholesale price on the materials and great design ideas, and while it's true that I'd like nothing more than to build a state-of-the-art greenhouse, it's also true that I have other uses for what would amount to a couple thousand dollars. When I built our first greenhouse about six years ago, I had to buy a 20' x 100' roll of greenhouse plastic when I only needed about a fifth of that. My plan, then, is to go with what I've got. For a couple hundred bucks in materials I can build a very basic greenhouse (12' x 32') and use the plastic I've got to cover it not once but twice (8 years worth). I'll use the greenhouse project folks to buy enough polycarbonate panels to make some nice cold frames to go inside the greenhouse for the winter.

I been slowly finishing the drywall returns on the windows upstairs. I looked into buying a sander that attaches to a shop-vac so I could finish the windows downstairs without covering everything we own with a layer of joint compound dust. But then I read a suggestion that was worth a try: Sand with one hand and hold the shop-vac hose underneath. For someone doing this sort of thing professionally, I suppose this arrangement would get tiresome, but for what I've got to do it worked like a charm.

Chickens are loving the weather. I've got to fence them in some time soon. We're getting about a dozen eggs a day. Half for us. Half for the neighbors. And every now and then we give a dozen to friends.