Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Thanksgiving Day Project

Three piles of leaves, all piled up pretty. There didn't seem to be any sense in raking the lawn more than once, so we just let it all fall before we started. These leaves are in a compost pile now. Most of them. Some of them I just raked into the woods. :)
Andy and Mindy and the boys are in Utah for Thanksgiving, but all of the other West siblings and their parents are in Chester. The project for the day was to fill the woodshed - and it's all done. It was a good job for the day - everybody helped, everybody who wanted to got to drive the tractor, and we have almost 2 cords of wood tucked away in our shed. We also extended the front of the shed by two feet for more protection from the elements. Bring on the snow!
The work crew, with the full woodshed behind us. It is a good feeling to have the winter's heat all set aside and prepared.
So... I don't know why Chris looks so ridiculous, but here was our table for Thanksgiving. We borrowed two long tables from some friends, added a sheet of melamine to the middle, and ended up with a table nearly 8' square. It left lots of room for a great centerpiece, and plenty of food to make the rounds as well. A lovely meal, and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for. I mean... for which to be thankful.
We will not be together for Christmas this year, so... in the spirit of family togetherness, we held a vote, put on some Christmas tunes, cut a tree, and we all opened one present from each other. It made for a wonderful day and a good memory. And we all promised not to feel bummed if our presents feel small this year on the real Christmas day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Woodshed

Why lift with your knees when you can lift with hydraulics? We are getting ready for winter here, so most of the progress this week was focused on either cleaning the house to prepare for holiday company, or cleaning up the yard to prepare for snow and cold. The woodshed was moved away from the house - to put it on a better foundation, to better expose it to light, and to simplify the area around the house.
This kindling pile will probably last us all winter. We split this from left overs and scraps of ship lap exterior boards and tongue and groove interior boards.
The woodshed in its final location. At least for a few years. It gets plenty of sunlight, but that's moot, really. By the time the wood gets to this shed, it will have already dried properly in the sun and wind for a year or two.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Stone Walls

We have done some stone work outside recently - this wall is on the West side of the house, right outside the kitchen windows. It is about three feet from the house, and will become a planting bed of some kind.
Last spring we made a mental checklist of things that would make the next winter easier. A woodshed was at the top of the list. Digging under an ice and snow covered tarp for wood every weekend was not always pleasant, and the wood wasn't always as dry as it could have been. This shed will hold about a year's supply of wood; just under two cords. It is built from leftover 2x8s and sheathing boards from the house, and placed on top of a 4'x13' pallet that came with the roofing. When we move it into its final position, I will have a few more pictures.
This is another wall that has seen some progress. We scraped away a lot of soil to get to this point, and the grades will carry water away from the house. The far end of the wall will circle around a patio - possibly stone of some kind, possibly just a nice circle of lawn. The close end of the wall needs to have a drainage line plumbed under it before we finish the wall and the grading.
We were not the first people to use our piece of the planet. An old, debris-covered stone wall was uncovered this week up near the driveway entrance. I wonder who built it, and how long ago? We added a few rocks to this wall, and it adds a welcoming touch to the entrance.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Pantry Shelves

I have rededicated myself to the blog, and will actively post weekly again. Sorry about the lapse. :)

We worked on the garden over the last few weeks. There are eight trailer loads of packed leaves on the garden, along with 50 lbs. of pelletized urea. We tilled it under on Saturday, 10/31. Every year the soil will get better, and we look forward to aiding that natural process.
The tilled garden, seen from near the house. Only the kale remains.
We built shelves for the utility/storage/pantry downstairs. Most of them are flat, but one 36" section is built to facilitate the efficient rotation of cans. For the rotating can section, we used 3/4" plywood for the sides, 1/2" plywood for the shelves themselves, aluminum drywall trim as the shelf stopper, and ripped 2x4s at an angle for the back end. All four shelves are built the same, but the top slanting shelf is adjustable, so it will accomodate anything from a 2 5/8" soup can to a 4 3/8" fruit can. We used a router to cut the shelf supports in the sides, and 1/2" metal screws to attatch the drywall trim.
This is a very pretty time of year in New England. This is oak and honeysuckle in a windowbox.