Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tearing out the last of the Chain-link fence

2+ years after we purchased the house, we have completely rid the property of the old chain-link fencing. Below is a shot of the last remaining panel as of yesterday morning, 8am. I had already removed the panel & post that went down the hill to the sidewalk.

By 9am I had removed the actual fencing and the post at the top of the hill. As that post was at the top of the hill, I could just dig into the hill to reach the concrete and then pull it out. Mighty heavy, but it didn't require my usual technique: the sledge-hammer. Seriously, provided you don't need to be certain of getting all of the concrete base out, a sledge hammer works wonders. Dig around the post base some, then wail away. It will either loosen up the whole post so you can pull it and its base up, or it will crack the concrete base so you can pull up the post itself. OK, so it's not quiet, and it does dent the posts so they aren't very usable, but I doubt many people plan on re-using old chain-link posts.

After Mary and I hammered this last post into sumbission, we sank the new fence brackets and BAM! We have a new front fence and are 100% chain-link free.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fencing on the cheap

On a trip to Lowe's yesterday Mary saw some metal fence panels which resemble the vintage wroght-iron we have across our front yard. It's not a perfect match, but the tines profile is the same, and it has gates, too! $300+ later, we had purchased enough panels and gates to enclose our front yard, meaning we can sit out there with the dogs and not worry about them making a dash to the park across the street!

The only new part in the photo below is the gate, which blends in nicely.

On the left is the antique fencing, and from the gate to the right is the new.

We still have to complete the west side of the yard, but that will entail removing a stretch of old chain-link fence and posts and also drilling into concrete, so that will have to be done another day!

Summer Push

I put together a list of projects which I hope to complete before summer. One of those is to bury the gutter drain line which lays across our walkway around the house and across our yard to the hill in front. This is not as simple as grabbing a shovel, since the gutter downspout is above our concrete walkway and I have to get beneath a 6 foot stretch of concrete walkway.

So below shows the story in pictures. Using a concrete blade on the ciruclar saw, I cut the one large concrete piece in half (so each was light enough to move...with help... barely). Then cut a notch for the drain pipe. Then dig, dig, dig. Oh, since I was under there I also dug out an extension of the French drain I ran up to the concrete walk.

Once done digging, I laid new drain pipe out the the edge of the hill. Backfill with gravel and move the ungodly heavy concrete back into place and done!

Gone batty

Below was a small project from last week. We have a Bat House! Being so close to the river, our neighborhood has more than a fair amount of mesquitos. We see a decent number of bats at night, so I thought I'd put out the welcome mat for our flying friends with the hope they will do what they do: eat hundreds of mesquitos every night. Using a plan I picked-up from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, I built it and mounted it to the back of our shed. Cross your fingers that some bats move in!

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's not easy being green

With all of the construction over the past 2 years, we had zero grass in our backyard. 100s of nails and 1000s of concrete bits, brick bits and other construction debris, but no grass. I was able to get some to root last summer/fall. But to give you an idea how much, here is a photo from this past March: Only a few tufts of grass survived the winter.

Ahhh, and now a photo from this morning: ITS GREEN! OK, it's not fairway quality, but this was no easy task, given our 2 dogs and the fact we often invite friends with dogs to visit. I love Spring and having a green yard makes me happy.

Polishing a Turd

Below is the shed in our backyard. Its foundation is not level due to the large tree you can see growing right next to it. Even if it was level, it is simply ugly as sin.

So I decided to polish the turd with a new coat of paint. Of course, brown hides flaws better than "empire gold," so once done, I realized it needed more help.
So, I cut some trim pieces to hide the seams of the siding and to run along the roof-line. It's still a more shack than shed, but I did have 3 different neighbors say they liked it!

Returning to the woodwork

Here is the result of this weekend's efforts. This is the coat closet off the dining room.
Before, with the unstained woodwork:

After, including the quater-round along the baseboard molding.

I also spent a couple of hours scraping paint off the door jam to the closet and the edge of our mantel. It's a big improvement, but not one that shows up well on camera!