Sunday, June 29, 2014

Progress in House and Garden

This may not look like progress.  The renovation of the bathroom at the 'other house' has proved a lengthy and messy business.
J. discovered a discouraging con-togglement of leaky pipes and badly worn fittings behind both bathtub and sink. Here he works to install new fixtures and Pex lines to replace ancient copper.

It seems to require this entire battery of tools and implements!
Note the mug of iced tea for refreshment.
I took the above photos on Thursday.
I had a appointment at the chiropractor on Friday morning, so rode to the other house with J. in order to commandeer the mini-van--leaving him to drive one of his cars purchased this spring on impulse.
[Best for me not to discuss those vehicle transactions!] 
I decided that rather than returning to play plumber's assistant, I would go home after my errands and attempt some much needed tidying and meal preparation.

The kitchen sink area--with the sink properly re-installed and a new faucet.
I am sorry to report that I damaged a small area of the sink finish today, by soaping and rinsing a paint brush that had been doused in varnish remover. 
I should have thought what a caustic substance that is!

We have been watering the garden at the other house every day for a week.
A few showers which were most welcome at home didn't occur there.
We are harvesting the first of the cucumbers from the vines just visible at the left of the photo.

Blueberries and blackberries need picking nearly every day at home.
J. thinks the yield is less than in previous years, but the quality and flavor are fine. 

First tomato harvested from the home garden, sliced and shared for supper on Friday.

Volunteer sunflowers. 
I am drawn to these with each new blossom unfolding--trying to capture their bold beauty from every angle.

I wondered what was growing in the neglected circular bed on the front lawn of the other house.
I recognized platycodon when the first fat buds began to open.

I discovered two shrubs of hibiscus blooming near the east boundary of the new property.
These are referred to here as Rose of Sharon--hibiscus syriacus--perhaps.

Flamboyant color in the shady dooryard.

The January freeze killed my buddleia to ground level.
It was very slow to put forth new growth this spring and isn't going to be the showy attraction of former summers.  Still--the fragrant blooms of its much diminished presence will entice the swallowtail butterflies.

It is so typical of Kentucky climate that plants which should bloom sedately at the end of summer rush into flower in June--leaving me with a suddenly shabby 'gone-by' garden as July arrives.

A mimosa tree is nearly crowded out by invading locust saplings in the back yard of the other house.
The fragrance of the delicate feathery blossoms has fought quite successfully with the homely odors from the farm next door.

I didn't take my camera today.
There has been progress.
The beautifully crafted vanity cabinet has been placed in the bathroom and the gleaming new faucets fitted.
Beadboard went up around it, J. has declared the water leaks cured with the installation of the new lines.
I dragged out sodden bits of flooring [oh yes, the sub-floor under and behind the old vanity had to be replaced!] sorted and put away tools, carried more paint cans and clean brushes and rollers down to the basement storage room.
Rain fell copiously overnight, so there was no need to water the gardens.
I leaned in to the flower strips to tweak out a few weeds, then gave the shrubbery along the front of the house a good trimming.
Home to a shower and fresh clothes; the soggy old towels and cleaning rags from the plumbing job laundered and pegged on the clothesline, a load of assorted 'work clothes' washed, tumble-dried, folded and put away.
J. declares that the bathroom renovation will be completed this week.
We bought the tile which will be used on the floor and the tub/shower surround; paint for the wall above the beadboard wainscoating is mixed and ready.
I have it in mind to strip the wallpaper and paint the third bedroom--I think I can handle that job on my 
own, however, considering the complications that arose with the refurbing of the other rooms, I suspect I would be wise to wait a bit.
The monumental struggles with the plumbing have put J. in a frame of mind to be done with renovating for now!  I doubt he would appreciate me trailing lengths of limp wallpaper down the hall--or making the unwelcome discovery that the drywall underneath needed his attention.

With work completed on the main floor of the house and the finishing of the basement rooms a somewhat distant possibility at this point, we shall likely begin moving over more of our worldly goods with the thought of maintaining a 'presence' in both houses until a buyer appears for this one. 
The area real estate market, while not booming, was encouraging at the point we listed in the early spring.
Our realtor gloomily admits that there has been a slow-down in viewings and sales.
He--and we--hope that a sale will be timely!
Until then--we wait.


  1. I have just spotted clary sage amongst your photos - beautiful and delicate. Think you are both very brave with the new house, a DIY husband is a godsend.
    My family are restoring their Victorian terrace house, and living amongst the mess, but it is almost at an end..

    1. Thelma; I am very taken with the clary sage and hoping I can start more from seed so that it will blossom next year. This is a second renovation for us and the first of building and renovating that we've not lived, as you say, amongst the ongoing construction.

  2. No doubt you find this back and forth business tiring but soon all things will come together. Your garden is way ahead of anything here in Ontario. It will be weeks before we see a ripe tomato. Picking blueberries off the vine would be a real treat for me. Deb

    1. Deb; I'm thinking seasons in Ontario must be very similar to northern New England. [We are both native Vermonters.] It does seem strange still to have gardens so far ahead of what we were accustomed to.

  3. Boy, oh boy, you two are busy. Renovating is always hard work and unforeseen things show up that you didn't count on. It takes a LOT of tools too, I know from past experience. I MISS seeing tools spread out for jobs. SIGH!

    Stripping wall paper does not sound like fun at all.

    You've got some pretty blooms.

    Hope your week is a good ne ~ FlowerLady

    P.S. I get those email notifications for just about every comment I leave on other blogs. I think that is some kind of glitch, and I just ignore it and keep commenting. The comments do show up on blogs, so I don't know what the problem is.

    1. Rainy; You do know about renovating--the mess, the tools all out, and FINALLY--the finished space! As long as I can ignore the weeds [sort of] the flowers help to raise my spirits.

  4. Nice to hear that it's all starting to come together and I bet you are both so glad you don't have to live in it whilst the restoration is carried out! Lovely garden photos and I am sure that the new garden will be an absolute delight with all the plantings shared from your old garden.

    Blackberries here have been flowering and starting to set green fruit, and my only Blueberry bush has green fruit on it still.

    1. Jennie; J. has suggested we move a bed over to what will become the guest room and stay there one or two nights per week so that we will be there to garden in the cool of early morning. That might be good for the garden--and better than working in the dreadful heat we'll have for at least the next 6 weeks. It might not be good for my sense of disruption.

  5. You have been working way too hard!!! If or when we move again it will have to be a move in ready place, I definitely don't feel up to any renovations.

    1. Janet; I'm deciding I'm really not up to this renovation either! Its a good thing mine is the supporting role rather than needing to do most of the painting as I did in our current house.

  6. I am impressed at your skills in renovating that bathroom, and all the tools needed and used. I want to say that Eggnog sitting in the basket is a precious photo.

    1. Terra; Jim has a good deal of experience at new house construction--which in some ways is simpler than tackling a renovation.
      Eggnog is a dear cat--elderly and frail now, tatty-furred, but still her sweet personality.

  7. Building work is very tiresome. I love your new sink though and, when it's all finished, it will all seem a distant memory. Great shots of the garden and flowers.

    1. Em; The kitchen sink is actually the one that was in the house when we bought it--but it is looking ever so much better with the shiny new faucet set. It had been improperly installed and not anchored in place.
      Some of the flowers have settled in very well, others are a bit in shock.
      The veg garden is very encouraging.

  8. DIY remodelling projects can often seem like one step forward and two steps back, as you've experienced with J's plumbing challenges and your mishap with the new sink. It's exactly the kind of mistake I'd have made. At least the beautiful blooms in your garden must lift your heart during this challenging renovation time. Thanks for the lovely, colorful photos.

    Levi Eslinger @ Capital Plumbing