Monday, April 25, 2011

Pumping iron...Cast iron

The tub was delivered last week.  It's a lovely cast iron tub from Kohler that we bought online.  It's wider than a standard bath tub and fits perfectly into the space where we took the shower out.  The problem is that the delivery company would only bring it into the garage and it weighs 470 pounds!!  Andy recruited MS for some assistance with the heavy lifting and he also did some online research on "how to get a cast iron bathtub upstairs".  We rented an appliance dolly and promised MS a home cooked meal as a trade for some physical labor.  But before we could eat dinner or move the tub there was some wood chopping to do.  In hindsight we probably should have moved the tub first, but it all worked out in the end.

Chopping stance.

Had to provide the proof.

Look close -- they're still smiling. 

Test lift.  

After a few trails of up one step, down one step it was time for a new strategy.  

Made it! (almost)   Giant thanks to MS.  He got stuck with most of the lifting and was still able to smile at the top.  Plus, there were promises of Andy's famous Bananas Foster for dessert.

Final doorway maneuvering.

It's a least in the right room of the house but it's not in the correct position yet.  Because it is such a perfect fit there is very little wiggle room.  Andy needs to remove some plumbing before the tub can be positioned in it's final home.

I can always tell what Andy was working on because the installation instructions get stapled up around the room.  Just in case you're passing through and need to figure out how to install a cast iron bathtub.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fabric headboard

When we purchased the new bed we looked at headboard options.  We really prefer not to have a footboard and we liked pictures of some fabric headboards we saw online.  We did some research, found a few DIY tutorials and decided we would attempt to make one ourselves.  It took me awhile to collect all of the layers becuase the foam and upholstery fabric were expensive and I had to wait for each to go on sale. 

Andy made the frame with 2x4s and a sheet of OSB then we used spray glue to attach the foam, added a layer of batting, a layer of liner material (I used a queen flat bedsheet because it was cheaper and I needed the width), and then topped with the upholstery fabric.  Andy bought a compressor before we moved anticipating all of the renovations so we used the pneumatic stapler to attach the layers.  The final product was heavier than I expected and we still have to bolt it to the bed frame, but it was complete enough to put in place.  After a few months of having a blank wall behind the bed we had to get used to the new headboard, but we are both pleased with the end result.

 Back of frame.

 Attaching the foam and allowing the glue to set.

Final Product!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Garden

For several years we have been part of a CSA (community supported agriculture) over the summer months that provided weekly boxes of fresh, organic veggies.  However, the CSAs in this area are much more expensive and since we now have a yard of our own we thought we would try our hand at a vegetable garden.

It didn't take us long to discover that the deer pose a serious threat to just about anything that grows (and a few things that I would consider inedible) so in addition to having to try not to kill our own plants we have to make sure that the deer don't have a chance either.

Andy ordered a deer fence setup online and installed it around the garden this weekend.  The garden itself was a weak attempt at a no-till or lasagna garden.  Our soils here are rocky, not very well drained and with all of the tree roots we didn't want to till the ground.  After a visit by my mom which included a Home Gardener's seminar we decided that our soils are just too wet and that raised beds were really going to be our best hope for a productive garden.  One of the presenters at the seminar recommended some fancy (read expensive) wood types for the frames, but in an effort to save some money we went with pine 2x10s.  It's certain that they will eventually rot and need replaced, but we were willing to give it a try.

Original garden with deer fence.

 Cutting the boards for the frames.

 Some of the frames in place. Kodak had to help too.

 Screening the topsoil/compost mix on top of the bed and using some of the endless wood chips from our tree removal to create the paths.

 Making lasagna or adding some layers.  Soybean meal, newpaper, leaves, dirt, peat moss, and more screened dirt on top.

 Hard at work.

The almost finished product.  The dirt was still a bit too wet and we ran out of peat moss.  Three of the beds are ready for planting and hopefully we'll get the other three done this week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


We really love our semi-wooded lot, but there were several trees that needed to be taken down.  One in the back was dead and would have fallen on our not so friendly neighbor's fence and pool, one was not unhealthy but was located where we want to eventually put a shed, and the final one in the front yard was leaning severely toward the house.

These are photos from our first visit to the house last fall.  The tree to the left of the walkway had several branches that need to be removed and the another tree to the left of the walkway and in the second level back (leaning to the left) was dead and needed to be removed.

This picture doesn't do it justice, but it's the only one I have.  The tree on the left side of the picture leaned in over the house and also needed to be removed.

We got a few estimates and the uniform theme was that tree removal (especially for our trees - 50-60' tall and 18-24" diameter) is very expensive, and all guys that cut down trees are certifiably crazy.  The guy that we hired even wore a shirt with his company logo and a line of trees on the front that said "Who cut one?".  Now I admit that on most days I would find this entertaining but it was not so funny for a guy that had tree limbs swinging like a pendulum in front of my office window.  Andy took off the day they were here, but to hear from my office a loud "heee-hawwww" followed by a swinging limb it was a little unnerving. 

 Bucket truck parked in our front yard overnight.

 They look a lot bigger on the ground.

 Stump removal time.  You can see that the bottom of the tree was rotten and completely hollow, so I'm glad we had it taken down when we did.

 These machines are ridiculous. Once he got the truck backed in it only took about 5 minutes to get rid of the stump.

 The remains.  Andy wanted to keep some of the wood, but we just had too much so this tree was listed on Craigslist and it was picked up yesterday.

 Only the stump remains of the tree behind the driveway.  It's too heavy to lift.

 Our new wood pile.  Andy has a lot of chopping to do!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More work on the bathroom, a few crazy deer, and some relaxation in between

I've been slow to update the blog because there really isn't much to look at right now.  We ordered the cabinets and the counters, bought the floor tile, decided on the tile for the shower, bought the faucets and the doors for the new closet.  We've been busy -- but mostly with the planning.

Andy did work on exposing the plumbing so that the baseboard heaters can be re-routed, new plumbing can be added for the second sink and we can reconfigure the plumbing for the tub.

 Removing the sub-floor.

 Removing ceiling tiles in the family room to expose the plumbing for the heaters.

 Removed the old closet door and framed out for new drywall (the paper is just a temporary cover to keep some of the dust out of the bedroom).

 Old closet door that will become a wall.

 Removed the old bathroom door to prepare for new door installation (the new door needs to swing the opposite direction).

We're also continuing to work on getting a garden started.  We continue to tend to the newly started plants in the basement and made some attempts at a layered "lasagna garden" in the backyard.  I wanted to add some pictures of the garden, but we got snow the day I took the pictures.  We still need to install the deer fence before we move any plants outside.  As you can see the deer are as brave (and stupid) as ever.

 Somewhere under all of that snow is a garden.

 Tomato plants are doing well.  Hopefully that continues and I don't figure out how to kill them.

 Cabbage, peppers, and a few miscellaneous.

 This was between 5:30 and 6 pm.  I came downstairs from work to feed Kodak and there they were right in the middle of the backyard.

 Looking right at the camera.

We also delayed our housework for a few special occasions. Our favorite nephew turned 2 and we traveled home for his birthday party.  We also attended the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in NYC to support our wonderful friends and a great cause.
 New drum set!  

Festival after the walk.