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Front porch project begins

The Wandering Monk and I began the front porch project yesterday. It was a day of breaking old concrete (him), wheeling concrete slabs and bricks uphill (me), wheeling cartloads of dirt downhill (us), and generally sweating in the sun.

Our progress was satisfying, though nothing for the world to admire (so far). As usual with projects on Ye Olde Wreck, though, we’ve “come a long way, baby” from that day, just over five years ago, when fools rushed in and I bought this place.

Here’s what the front entrance looked like in May 2013.

The overview:

The lovely details:

Within a year the situation at that corner of the house had improved remarkably:

Eventually that wall acquired skirting and a porch light. Otherwise it’s remained in that pretty-but-porchless state for four years, endlessly flummoxing Mormons, Girl Scouts, politicians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh-Day Adventists. (Friends and UPS guys all know to use the back door.)

Yesterday we got the literal groundwork laid for a porch.

We also bought supplies, though once again we were fortunate to have all of the decking and materials for parts of the understructure already on hand (unused last year when we had to change plans on the Great Foundation Project). Good thing. It’s scary how expensive treated lumber has become.

Before day’s end we cemented two of the four needed posts into the ground, but had to quit before doing them all. I was too tired to get pix at that point.

Given how listless I’ve been lately, I was surprised to feel okay when we were done. Sore. Stiff. But not wiped out. There’s something about sweaty labor — and about clear progress. It might not be exactly energizing, but it’s certainly encouraging. Okay, maybe it helped that most of my last couple hours of “work” involved drinking ice tea while I waited to assist.

More sweaty labor for me this morning while the Monk bears most of the burden of digging postholes and cementing in the remaining 4x4s.

Yesterday, the Monk’s first task was to finish removing a concrete path that time had already buckled and shattered

It didn’t help the integrity of the old walkway that Jim Beam and Jack Daniel, using their standard boozy logic, had assumed that pouring a thin layer of concrete over a base of loose bricks constituted “reinforcement.” Still, that made the path relatively easy to demolish.

The largest pieces will become light-duty stepping stones someday in the future.

The small pieces and the remaining bricks are mine to deal with this morning. Can’t say I’m looking forward to that. But I am looking forward to the possibility of achieving more attractive and useful progress by the end of today.


  1. Comrade X
    Comrade X June 27, 2018 8:48 am

    Looking good!

  2. Pat
    Pat June 27, 2018 9:13 am

    Yes, it is looking good!

    And it’s exciting to watch the house grow as you build it. Claire.

  3. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal June 27, 2018 11:10 am

    But where’s the pit under the porch for the trap door? You’re not going to leave that part out, are you? If you scrimp there, you’ll someday regret it.

  4. Claire
    Claire June 27, 2018 1:17 pm

    That’s funny, Kent. Would you believe The Monk suggested the exact same addition about an hour ago? Great idea, but I think the “no soliciting” sign that’s going to go up as soon as the porch is done will have to do the job.

  5. DistOne
    DistOne June 28, 2018 5:43 am

    Your ambition and “stick-to-it-ive-ness” continue to amaze me. Great job!

  6. rochester_veteran
    rochester_veteran June 28, 2018 7:05 am

    Coming along, Claire! It’s so much better looking than when you bought it in 2013!

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