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Category: Home improvement

Behinder and behinder …

I apologize to all the people to whom I owe either thank yous or emails in general. In the best of times, I can be a slow correspondent, but right now a lot of Life is happening. Nothing bad, I promise. On the contrary. But extracurricular writing is taking up hours upon hours (surprising and pleasant hours) of my time. In between writings, The Wandering Monk and I have been working like hell to turn a quarter acre of weeds and trash into something resembling a real lawn. The Monk has been great, especially considering he’s laboring for free and…

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We are about to venture Across the Street

I’m noodling one of those philosophical blogosauruses (blogosauri?). With luck that’ll be coming along soon. But Sunday, between rounds of making notes for that, Ava and I made an inspection tour of our property. (The land is hers as much as mine, as any four-legged critter that dares step foot on it quickly learns.) As we walked, Ava took advantage of the “facilities” and read her pee-mail while I drew plans in my head. Though The Wandering Monk and I aren’t yet done with the inside of the house, our attentions are starting to turn to the land and how…

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Suddenly summer projects

Recent summers have been heavy with house projects, from tearing down walls to building up rotten foundations, from installing new doors to laying patio blocks. Not so much this summer. After a spate of small indoor spring projects … nada. The last nine days, though. Whoof! On Monday the 5th the big rock garden began to form. It was finished on Sunday, then the very next day the tree guys turned up to begin taking out rotted and dangerously leaning trees. Here are pix of it all. This (above) is the house as of Friday. Rocks in place, but not…

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Practical freedom tip #432: Teach your children

Part of this week’s wall-building endeavor involved a lawnmower-powered hoist. Like so: Yeah, it looks cumbersome, but it was surprisingly productive and cut the projected time for the job by a full day. The hoist was The Wandering Monk’s work, but powering it with the riding mower was the brainstorm of his minion, a 14-year-old boy from my neighborhood. The mower belongs to his family. When the guys were wrapping up, I requested, “Please ask your mom or dad if I can reimburse them for use of the mower, or at least replace the gas we used.” “Oh, they don’t…

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Shift happens

About a week ago I walked under Ava’s overhead dog trolley and it brushed the top of my head. My head is not eight feet above the ground, where the wire is supposed to be. Thinking the wire had slipped loose or stretched, I took my little wrench over to the tree where it’s anchored, figuring to tighten things up. I ended up tippy-toeing carefully away. The only thing keeping that tree from tipping into my house is the branches of the (fortunately strong) old cedar tree it fell into. No surprise, really. The tree (an ash maybe? I’m not…

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Building a wall: the prelims

The rock wall/rock garden project begins on Monday. I already killed a whole bank of grass and weeds (an early and encouraging victory in my recently declared War on Lawns). My act of vicious, premeditated herbicide is supposed to make it easier for The Wandering Monk to carve through and shape the soil of the bank, but that’s still going to be pick-axe work. Ugh. The quarry brought out the rock yesterday morning and dumped it across the street. My instructions had been “rock of the maximum size one man can handle and some slightly smaller, everything between 60 and…

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Walls, vegetation, and motivation

One day last week, I couldn’t bear being inside my house or inside my own skin. Normally, solitude is joy, but there are certain days — and I’ve had a lot of them, this gloomy spring and summer. I wish I could tell you I get through such times by meditating or some other spiritual practice worthy of a true hermit. Ha. Truth is, at the itchiest of those moments the only cure is to escape from the hermitage. And usually to shop. Oh, not for designer shoes or fancy clothes, unless I can get them from a thrift store.…

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Another room approaches completion, but of course not without various “adventures in renovation”

When I heard The Wandering Monk muttering phrases like “close enough” and “we can live with that” as he wielded my four-foot level, I knew that I — or my house — had corrupted him. The Monk is a stickler for precision. Ye Olde Wreck has a different view of reality. I can’t tell you the number of times The Monk’s tried to build something straight or level and I’ve had to remind him, “You can’t do that. It won’t line up with everything else.” Don’t get me wrong; starting at the rotted foundations, we’ve raised rooms by as much…

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A whole head full o’ nothin’ but spring

Written Sunday evening; posted Monday morning from my car, grabbing a few minutes wifi. —– I’ve beat my brains this weekend trying to come up with something brilliant for you. I’ve got nothing. But aside from feeling guilty for the nothingness between my ears, having nothing is a blessedly pleasant state. I’ve been sewing. And cleaning junk out of the laundry room in preparation for the next round of serious minioning for The Wandering Monk. And buying fabrics for $1 a yard from one of the local thrift stores, which just inherited 20 boxes of sewing supplies from some woman’s…

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Quite a random ramble

Random action produces random results. The last two weeks have been busy-busy, with little time for reflection. It’s been the kind of busy-ness that leaves you (meaning me) tired and depleted but barely able to point to any accomplishment. At the end of the day, I ask myself what I did and can recall a lot of activity, signifying nothing. In the last week, I even attended two Dreaded Social Events. One of them was actually a hoot; but that sort of thing saps all my creative and spiritual juices, sometimes for days afterward. Oh, I also managed a smattering…

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