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Category: Home improvement

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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On the other hand, sometimes I almost regret my scrounging “triumphs”

I wrote moments ago about two glorious vintage sewing machines I got within the last few years for almost nothing. Like most of my scrounged or bargained purchases, they bring me only happiness. But occasionally … You may remember this door. I scrounged it out of a landfill four years ago this week. Well, finally I’m at the point of having a place to install it. But I think I’ve learned to hate it. Several summers ago, I spent hours — OMG HOURS! — outside stripping and scraping and sanding. When I stopped, it was still … shall we say,…

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The construction bug bites again

I feel as if I haven’t been holding up my end of the blogitude. After last Friday’s small (but challenging, don’t you think?) freedom question, I meant to post meatier content within a day or two. But the spring construction bug bit me. I’ve been even farther offline than usual the last five days, taping, mudding, and painting. Then The Wandering Monk became unexpectedly available for indoor projects (thank you rain, rain, rain). And we’ve been working on this: Those French doors (bought on some great sale, of course; never do it any other way) have been leaning against my…

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Home improvement mavens: Do I do this or do I not?

NOTE: If you’re just here for the politics, you’ll probably want to skip this one. But if your also read Living Freedom for arts & home improvement, I’d appreciate your thoughts. —– This winter, The Wandering Monk and I are tackling the remaining interior home improvement projects. As many as we can, anyhow. With luck, in the next two years everything but the flooring will finally be done. This winter’s projects aren’t big, but they’ll make a big difference. There’s one I may or may not do. It’s been on my mind for a couple of years. One day I…

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Merry Christmas from my house to yours

May your days be merry and bright and may your new year be full of light. Christmas Eve is my Christmas, so I’m signing off now. I’ll be back in a few days. Meanwhile, I hope I posted enough blog content over the weekend to keep you going for a while. Now I leave you with some merry, bright, and sunny views taken around Mo Saoirse Hermitage* in the last two days … —– —– Mo Saoirse = My Freedom in Irish Gaelic. Mo Saoirse Hermitage is aka my house, formerly known as Ye Olde Wreck. It’s a wreck no…

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