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Category: Home improvement

Construction: Next few days

With The Wandering Monk in disappearance mode, I’ve been scrambling to keep up with summer house projects. Yesterday I worked on gutters, soffits, and trim. The toughest bit was removing a 28-foot section of old aluminum continuous gutter. This is a much more formidable object than you’d think — especially when it has raw metal edges and you’re on the fifth step of a ladder in the general direction said object is trying to fall. But isn’t falling because you have to yank and hammer on that one last stubborn connection that’s holding it to the rafters. And you just…

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Walkway, beginning

This was today’s main project. Not a big project; it was rainy and I got covered in mud from handling used concrete and 3/4-minus gravel (which has a lot of fine gritty stuff in it to encourage it to pack down). I came inside early. But I’m happy with this beginning of a front walkway. The kid rocked the area yesterday (over black plastic, of course, sloped slightly away from the house). I came back today and added a few cartloads to smooth the gravel, level it up, and give something more to hold the stones. I’d become a little…

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Eight yards

I’m sorry for the irregular blogging the last few days. I’m racing — shoveling, hauling, painting, sawing, and prepping — to get house projects done before the rains descend. The good news on this front is that the kid showed up and put himself to work. The 13-1/2-year-old boy who lives next door spent Monday afternoon leveling dirt and today’s afternoon helping me spread some of the eight yards of gravel delivered this morning. The gravel arrived this morning when I was only half dressed. After dog-walking, I put on my sweats and heavy gloves and spread rock until and…

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Two moments in the last 24 hours I wish somebody’d had a camera

Yeah, I know all you smartphone people have cameras in your pockets. My dumbphone has a camera, too. But it’s not worth much. So this morning I didn’t get a photo of the car that had a) a big sticker identifying the owner as a member of one of the local tribes and b) a big sticker supporting one of the local sports teams, which depicts a stereotypical Indian leaping around doing a war-whoop. Tolerance. It’s what’s rural. —– In the second case, I couldn’t have taken a photo, because part of the subject of the picture would have been…

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More reasons to like The Wandering Monk

He’s such a great problem solver of the Redneck Engineering variety. Problem: A corbel (bracket) on one of the gable ends of Ye Olde Wreck has given way and let a corner of the roof sag. The corner has to be jacked up and the corbel repaired or replaced. But that corner is over the junction of two lower roofs. There’s simply no place to set a jack or even safely wedge a prop to hold the sagging structure. The Monk’s solution: A lever made of two laminated 2x4s. We had plenty of scrap wood of various sizes to hold…

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Laddie, losses, and maybe a few random Tuesday thoughts

Laddie and friends have arrived at Joel’s Gulch. Nothing but the bare notice so far, since it was late when they got there. But all who made it happen can be proud of themselves. I’m sure we’ll be hearing fun updates soon. —– Good news is most welcome in a summer that’s had too much of the other kind. The week MamaLiberty died, I learned a local acquaintance had also departed the world. S was in his early 60s when he died of cancer. I never knew S well, but I’d known him for decades and done business with him.…

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During those few moments it’s actually summer

If I owe you an email (or for that matter, a blog post), please bear with me. We’re having another mini-summer and I’ve been out taking advantage of it. Today I scraped and repainted a few peeling fascia boards and set up a 60-foot overhead cable dog trolley (in hopes of eventually replacing Ava’s deplorable makeshift yard). Just as I was conditioning her to her newly enlarged (“But what’s that thing hanging over me, Mom?”) space, the lumberyard truck arrived with two yard guys and 168 long-awaited 8x16x1.5 concrete blocks. The blocks are as ugly as … well, as plain…

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Lawn murder, gravel, and oh my aching back

The kid didn’t show. The 13-1/2-year-old boy whose father said he’d be glad to help with some shovel-and-wheelbarrow work is nowhere to be found — though he lives next door. I don’t think Dad forgot to tell him about the potential gig; Dad’s a hyper-responsible mill supervisor and a very involved, but traditional father. He’s eager for his oldest boy to take responsibility. As soon as I knew it would come to having to chase the kid down, I knew it wasn’t worth chasing him down. Maybe next year. —– Now I have this large area, about 30 x 30,…

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Construction matters

Whew. Another weekend away from the computer, working outdoors. After feeling like a vampire bat in a cave of gloom for nine months, it sure feels good to work in the sunshine. Or even in the slightly-less-wet gloom, which is what we had yesterday. The Wandering Monk finished his part of the east wall project on Friday, then returned yesterday at no charge to remove the scaffolding and help with a few extra bits. Nice guy, that Monk. Since then I’ve been painting trim. There is a lot of trim on this house. It’s very good at covering old idiocies…

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Maybe that side has some potential after all

Maybe the ugly and unregarded east side of Ye Olde Wreck has some potential after all. The Wandering Monk isn’t really headless. He’s just the one bad angle in an otherwise happy shot. I told him I had no great expectations for the east wall renovation — that I merely wanted to get it done, check it off the list, and move on to more gratifying work. He told me it would be “beeeautiful” when we finished. Hyperbole, I thought. But you know, it’s getting there. Skirting, belly band — even seemingly small things like replacing broken shingles or covering…

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