We live in such a large country that while one area can be experiencing winter storms other areas will find beautiful warm weather. For the past three days, while Cat and Pat had accumulating snow I had beautiful 80 degree days perfect for adding the curb appeal I didn’t get to last summer.
Work progressed in spurts, but it progressed. I wanted to first enclose the underside of the deck to keep the cats out. That didn’t go as planned when the blades I purchased for the jigsaw were too big, luckily I have a multi-tool with a cutting blade that took care of cutting the lattice.
Since I didn’t have a saw the framing of the lattice couldn’t be completed this weekend which left much not finished but I was pleased to get the lattice temporarily in place between the stairs and ramps to build my planter bed. Remember this pile of bricks and blocks we collected from all over the property?
That pile went to good use. First I was able to build the raised planter I desperately wanted to hold hostas and maybe a couple of Shasta Daisy plants or maybe a handful of ice plants. I also plan to add bulbs for spring color in the back of this planter while waiting for the Hosta to bloom each spring. I wanted to save some bricks for another planter bed so as you can see I used cinder blocks in the back and hid them with a single layer of brick along the top.
I still had plenty of brick left, my plan was working and formed the flower bed where I wanted it along the lower ramp. I ran a single layer of brick along the back of the planter, by the ramp to prevent dirt from sitting on the wood supports of the ramp.
My one neighbor has been stopping by regularly to bemoan the constant blowing away of her trash cans and asking if I think this or that scrap would help to keep her trash cans in place. Most days she receives a quizzical look from me as I try to picture what she’s talking about. Sunday, I looked at the various concrete blocks and weird rectangular chunks I’ve found in the yard and under the deck and decided to surprise her. I lugged the blocks down to the corner and began a wall around the trash cans.
I’m pretty sure there could still be more blocks I haven’t come across yet and will gladly donate them to her when and if I do. For now she has a plan to work with and is happy to see a solution taking shape. This may not be the prettiest enclosure but are trash cans on the curb ever pretty? She’s happy and that’s all that matters, well that and the fact I found a use for these blocks to get them off my property. 🙂
The neighbor boy has been here helping every day and asks for any scraps as I cut and discard them. The scrap pieces of lattice he took home along with some broken bricks to enclose the patio area he has begun to build for his mother. He still has some work to do, such as gluing the strips together once he has enough of them but for now his mother is pleased as could be.
You can see in this photo just how much land this family has with their home. That little strip between the road and the house is all that belongs to their house, they have no side or back yard, which explains why the young boy likes spending time working outside at my house where he has room to move.
I was sore and needed a break. I took my first trip to the library this year. We joke that Pennsylvania has four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road work. Well, it’s road work time again which I am not happy about.
The sidewalks around here, where there are sidewalks, are so bad that I have to ride in the roads. They have scraped the streets that I need to use to get from my house to any of the businesses which is making for a very rough ride. If you think it’s uncomfortable riding on those streets in a car the jarring is much worse in a wheelchair. They aren’t just working on the road you see but have begun to scrape the street which intersects this one.
Back home it was time to tackle more outside work.
From a distance I can see the image of my home beginning to take shape but suddenly I realized I didn’t like the retaining wall. The concrete blocks suddenly look as if they belong to another home being so drastically different from the house with its white trim.
My little buddy was gone on this afternoon but his brother arrived just as I sat down to have lunch asking if I had any work, he was bored. At first I wanted to just shoo him away and have my lunch in peace but then I realized that I could get a start on the blocks by having him take a scrub brush to them and prep for painting.
I dragged out the white porch and floor paint I originally purchased for the bathroom tile. I’ve used this same paint on the railings and sides of the deck now I added it to the blocks. This is all I got done in three hours when the temperatures began to fall and I had to quit.
My little buddy’s brother doesn’t have the same staying power as his younger brother. He wanted to help paint but after getting this far announced he really wanted to help but his hand was tired. 🙂 That was fine by me I enjoy working in solitude.
The road construction has rerouted traffic to my street. While not appreciating the increase in traffic -its usually so quiet here- I had to chuckle at the number of people who stopped to ask about the paint I was using on the blocks (did I need a special paint? was it expensive?) to expressing shock that you could paint concrete. Neighbors stopped to tell me how surprisingly good they look painted as well.
In the course of the work I also found myself a new handyman (as I was reviewing this he showed up and started the work) who will be building the retaining wall on the opposite side of the drive way with those stones you see littered about and replacing the plywood at the bottom of the ramp with pavers, also found on the property.
I think the groundhog that built his/her exit hole right at the base of my ramp has left so now I can have that filled back in and leveled for a proper landing there.
I have a whole list of jobs, too hard for me or my little helpers to assist with, for this young man who is supplementing his minimum wage job to support his family by working for me. I offered $10 an hour and use of my tools and I had a worker. You can see in the corner of the above photo that my little buddy is back and supervising the current work. 🙂
I also solved the problem of why the other “licensed” handyman hasn’t returned my calls but instead answers my son. When I moved here I did what a lot of people do, I kept my cell phone number. When I called the handyman to schedule work he saw the area code, knew it wasn’t from the Pittsburgh or surrounding area and ignored both my call and voice mail. He’s apologized profusely but he still hasn’t arrived to do the work.
Just when I thought the handyman situation was worked out, my son called this morning giving me an opportunity to reverse roles on him. Turns out he has just bought three new houses, two of which need work before they can be rented, and this particular handyman now isn’t calling him back now about starting the work. My son is ready to severe ties with him and I had to remind him he insisted I learn to be patient.:-) There’s a huge difference between what I want done and getting repairs on a home so you can rent it but I at least had my chuckle for the morning. On the upside my son is trying out a new guy and if my washer isn’t done soon he will send the new guy out.
Progress…I see progress.