Friday, September 27, 2013

Outdoor Projects

On Monday I finished the horror of necessary bookwork--not a task for which I have much aptitude and made more frantic by J.'s hap-hazard [non] record keeping.
I felt, quite self-righteously, that I was due some 'time out'.
On Tuesday I served a hearty mid-morning meal [meant to sustain the man of the house for some hours] pegged out a load of wash, tended cats, did a small amount of tidying.
Armed with a mug of tea, I headed downstairs anticipating that I would finish the quilt which has been in progress for several weeks.
J. meanwhile, had driven the Dodge truck--Ole Snort'n Nort'n, to the end of the driveway where he could stand on the back and lop off some offending branches from the scraggly redbud trees.

Feathery lichens on redbud twigs.

I had happily discovered the perfect fabric for quilt borders, hauled it from the depth of the cupboard and gotten out the tools of the quilting trade when J. appeared on the stairs.
'What?' I demanded, my standard greeting when he looms into my space.
'I thought we'd go look at paint chips and get some paint  for the garage--to match the house.'
I stowed my rotary cutter, scissors and pincushion back in the drawer of my sewing table, switched off the lamp, patted Teasel-Cat who had settled in to help.
If there is anything for which I will interrupt my plans, it is DIY Home Improvement.
We collected paint chips at Wal Mart, but couldn't locate a clerk to help us.
We drove the few miles home, matched a color chip to the yellow vinyl siding of the house, then went to Ace Hardware on the other side of town where, within minutes, an obliging and knowledgeable young man was mixing 3 gallons of 'Cheery Yellow' paint. 
It is as perfect a match for the house siding as such 
things can be.

The small garage was 'farmer-built' over 30 years ago of recycled and inexpensive materials.
Mr. Rogers [who built it] told us the rafters were yellow poplar, salvaged from the home of his mentor, Dr. Nell.  [The doctor returned from a night time house call up in the hills to find his home, his wife and all but one child were swept away in the infamous flood of 1907.]
Mr. Rogers wryly recalled that as he was framing the little building the wind came up and skewed the uprights.  He took his tractor and pulled them back into square--or as nearly as he could!
The pressed board siding has taken the worst beating on the south side of the building.
There is a ramshackle lean-to tacked on the end of the building.
We store firewood in it, and the garden rakes and shovels are lined up on the wall just inside the entrance.
During the summer months I don't go farther in than reaching for a spade or rake--no telling what lurks in the cobwebby depths.

Painting in progress.

At the end of Thursday most of the garage has had two coats of paint. The doors have been painted to match the prefabbed shutters which we purchased at Lowes.
Today Jim added painted 'trim' along the eaves.
No photo yet.]

The roses along the east wall of the garage were not pruned this summer.
I tackled them on Wednesday, cutting them back severely.
Mint planted to billow around the shanks of the bushes had rampaged in the wet weather and clambered up to wave at the top of the tallest rose bush.
I am over mint as a garden addition.
My roses don't seem to be suffering from unsightly exposed ankles and shins and I don't particularly like mint tea! In spite of yanking up yards of roots I'm sure we'll never be completely mintless.

I left several branches of the roses untrimmed as the garden spiders have placed their egg sacs in the 
twiggy shelter. 

A giant mantis was walking up the garage door.
D. spied it and fetched out my camera.

If these creatures were large they might be scary!

What is this ugly thing?
G. turned it up while grubbing about in the overgrown bit of ground that edges the car port.
Whatever this may be, it is hard to imagine that it could morph into something less grotesque.

Through all the painting, pruning and weeding, Willis the Cat keeps watch.


  1. my brother told me lichen is a sign of unpolluted air, but you might expect that in the beautiful countryside where you live.I was very interested to learn the history of your garage! I love any "provenance" that comes with an older property.
    The garage is looking very smart. We have the painters here this week, doing battle with the pebble dash!

  2. Kath; We also like to know the history of any place we've lived. We know that our 28 acres was formerly part of an older, bigger farm. The small 1980 'ranch' cottage replaces a farmhouse which at some time suffered fire damage and was torn down.We asked around the neighborhood for photos of the older house, but no one produced any.
    I am always excited by the transformation made by a few gallons of paint!

  3. It appears that Willis has supervised a very good painting project. The garage looks really nice.

  4. Lillian; Thank you! The clean yellow paint will be a fine backdrop for photos. I've spent three years trying to avoid that peeling blue siding!

  5. The garage looks oh so 'cheery' now and I know you'll enjoy seeing it during the cold, gray winter months.

    What a 'giant' praying mantis and that ugly creepy crawlie is not something I want to see in person. :-)

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

    1. Lorraine; We are admiring and enjoying the 'cheery yellow' from all angles! As one who is constantly gardening and 'tweaking', you surely share the pleasure of such accomplishments.

  6. Mac says your critter is probably the larva of a polyphemus moth that has parasites, perhaps wasps laid eggs on it. He's my bug man.
    Looks like you're having good weather up there, I like your garage!

    1. Janet; Thank you for asking Mac to look at and identify the 'grub-like' creature. I checked on it this evening and it is where daughter G. parked it in a cluster of rocks near the carport. It appears to be entering another stage--sort of drawing into itself and making a very fine thready covering. Our weather has been lovely--if only it would last for at least six months!

  7. What a lovely name for paint - "Cheery Yellow" - and indeed, that it is! Quite a transformation, and I hope you managed to get back to your quilt!

    Creepy crawlies - OK at a distance. Tam currently squeeking in horror as there is a bat flying about upstairs, and whilst they may look small when dead (casualty of pouncing cats) they look like Spitfire planes when on the wing . . .

    1. Jennie; I prefer that creepy crawlies stay outdoors--and I'm not fond of bats regardless of how many bugs they may catch. It could be conditioning but I tend to think of them as rather 'occult' creatures.
      I did get the borders stitched onto my quilt and now have to catch up with the quilting ladies--they keep rather capricious hours in their little shop.

  8. What a contrast between Willis, the gorgeous cat and the UGLY THING! Your garage looks fantastic after what was obviously a lot of work. We have so many things that need doing here - we just don't know where to start.

    1. Em; Willis does have quite a lordly air about him--always supervising any activities in the dooryard. I hope the 'ugly thing' is going to become something beautiful--can you imagine encountering it if it was any larger?
      Over the years I've never known when Jim was about to tackle a renovation, but I'm quick to become his humble helper!

  9. The garage looks nice. Our garage was farmer built also. When we had it re-roofed last summer the builder kept complaining about how hard it was to nail the shingles. Turns out they used oak boards for the sheathing! Had to laugh at your "over it" comment on the mint. I always run mine over with the lawn mower hoping to kill it, but it comes right back!

    1. Jane; I hope your roofer had a nail gun! Anything constructed of oak has such a sturdy and enduring sense about it.
      Re the mint: can't say I didn't know its tendencies--definitely more invasive in this warm and humid climate. It has rampaged into the lawn where J. does mow over it.The spearmint seems to be less invasive than the apple mint.

  10. Those lichens are just so beautiful, we don't have any like that over here. I had to enlarge to get a better look.

    1. Briony; I love the detail of the lichens--I think my camera is capable of a finer photo--if I had the patience to study the manual.
      There are especially pretty and delicate lichens on the old apple trees in our dooryard.