Monday, April 14, 2014

Getting there! More in-progress photos of painted cottage . . .

Just wanted to post a few more "in progress" photos of the house and garden.  Husband just finished up painting the front of the house (YAY!) although I don't have all the photos  yet because the scaffolding, etc. is still up and I need to wait til it's down.

We also had another huge repair to do---crumbling City of Taylor sewer lines have to be replaced and we had to pay the city to install a tap into their main line---something they should have required homeowners to do when they completely re-did the streets back in 2006, but didn't. Now anytime these old pipes have to be re-routed (and most of them will have to be sooner or later), they'll have to dig up the street-AGAIN.  Sigh.

When I write my book on how to buy an old house (and what NOT to do), there will be extensive issues about old plumbing in it---believe me! :-)

So, here they are, working hard at it:

Bright and early, at 7 am

The very efficient City of Taylor crew--got the job done fast

Now, house pics!

Almost finished---still needs more green on the window sashes and the front screen door re-do

LOVE that little attic window!
 It never occurred to me that Victorian houses are painted the way they are to show off every little bit of architectural detail.  So when I read that, I decided to do the same thing with this 1930s jewel.  In the original photos, you barely even notice the little attic window.  Using the two colors on it, and the third (brown) color for the brackets, really shows it off.

And while Husband was hard at work finishing up the front, I was in the back working on a "little" project---scraping and sanding the old paint from the original wooden awning that will go over the left-most windows on the front.

That's a lot of scraping and sanding!

More pics, added later:

Here's the amazing custom light fixture my sister and brother-in-law made for us.  LOVE it there over the front porch!

And here are a few pics from the garden, taken right before the April cold front and wind storm/hail came through:

Coral honeysuckle, hummingbird magnet grows on a re-purposed clothesline pole.  Wrought iron from the old greenhouse shed decorates one side of it.

Perennial onions are blooming, and are always a delight to bees, butterflies and people!

And the back porch garden. . .

And just for grins, another look at the BEFORE:

Happy trails from Texas!  Come on, spring!

bobbi c.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Love that yellow!

Spring has sprung here at the cottage and Husband Rudy has been as busy as the Easter bunny!

I must say I'm having a very hard time concentrating on my current novel work-in-progress, the handful of short stories I'm trying to finish up for a new collection hopefully coming out in the fall, and my own garden.

I think the house is breathing a sigh of relief, too. :-)  It's been white since who-knows-when.

Here's the BEFORE photo.  1950s aluminum siding, chalky, flaking paint, two front doors, one leading into the bedroom.  UGH.

Yesterday, three years later.  Primed and ready for color!

More later!

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

Friday, March 28, 2014

One step forward, two steps back. . .

Or maybe that should be TEN steps back.  Although the front of the house is ready for primer and Husband has done magic with hiding where the former second front door used to be (YAY!), other things have slowed down.

It's the amazing disappearing front door!
Since I last wrote, we've had a "spot of bother" as my Brit friends say.  First, during my garden shed re-do, I somehow managed to rip some of my organs and/or perhaps set some kidney stones loose.  The doctors are indecisive.  They suggested aspirin and rest. Riiiiight. 

I'm not sure HOW it happened, but if I had to guess, I'd say it had something to do with the behemoth clawfoot tub, antique wood doors that weigh 50-lbs. each, and my mule-headedness about not bothering Husband when trying to move them around. Yep, that could do it.

Gee, that thing can't be THAT heavy, can it?  I'll just give it a shove and get it outside!
So that project is temporarily on hold while my innards heal.  Hopefully.  Stay tuned, because there's more. . .

 I walked into the shed last week and the STANK  knocked me over.  We've had issues out there before with the ancient plumbing and the fact that some unnamed agent sold the place as a two-bathroom dwelling with nothing more than an toilet and a big hole in the floor out in the cottage.  The problem with cement slabs is that you have no clue what's under them. Surprise, surprise! as Gome would say. 

So.  Long story short.  Crumbling clay pipes.  Sewage from the Big House that flows downhill.  Underneath the cottage.  $1,000 to tap into the city sewer at the street.  Many bijillions of dollars more to get the pipes from the house to the street.

Not to mention the Likely Demolishment of the Garden.

So, maybe it's time to re-assess what I was going to do this spring, and concentrate on plants in pots out back where I KNOW they won't be digging.  Or I hope they don't be digging.  Maybe I'll get more writing done?  I'm a "glass-half-full-of-tequila" kinda gal.

But, if I EVER again speak the words "I want a house nobody else wants," just shoot me, 'K?

Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What to do, what to do? Some answers, finally!

Dear friends,

Ever since we bought this house over two years ago, I've pondered exactly how I'll use the little cottage in the backyard. It's hard to know how you'll use a space until you've actually used it.  Make sense?  LOL.  I knew I needed a space for garden stuff--all those piles of tools, rakes, shovels, hand tools, pots etc.

I decided to tackle the little room that used to be a laundry facility for the Two Sisters who lived here before. It's where the claw foot bathtub used to sit.   After more pondering and lots of note-taking, I decided that it would be the Garden Room and the other part of the building will be a workshop for ME, studio space, and quiet room where I can go to write (hopefully) without interruptions of an Internet nature.  (I'll get back to you on that. LOL)

So, first order of business was to get the room cleaned up and some paint on the walls.  I decided to go with white for now, something I've never done.  In this photo, you can see the Big Mess of tools and such that I have to deal with.

And here's all the other "stuff" that's in the room now.

Some of it can go into the wonderful little cabinets that hang on the wall to the left, including a 1950s medicine cabinet that hangs by the front door.

But mostly, it will go into the big cabinet that I'm planning to build all along the back wall, using old doors we removed from the house.  That will be a big project--the largest I've tackled, and I want to do most of it myself.  Right now I'm measuring, doing sketches, and want to use up as much scrap wood as possible.

Although the house was mostly empty, two things that got left behind were antique ironing boards, made of wood.  The base on one was broken, but the other one is in really good shape.  After removing the FILTHY covers on them (three layers), I was surprised to find some amazing antique pine.

I love how this one has been repaired over and over.  There must be two dozen screws, nuts and bolts in this.

The second one, believe it or not, is our future coffee table for the living room--after some sanding, that is.  I've been looking for a long narrow table for years without any luck.  It seems that most tables are made for McMansions these days, or are square.  The Two Sisters were hoarders of broom handles, too, and left behind an array of different colors---red, turquoise, green, etc.  Those will be the legs of the table.  But that's a project for Another Day. :-)

One of my favorite projects so far is my garden hand tool storage door.  This old door once lead into the garage.  Now it's screwed shut and caulked to keep the varmints out.  I used cup hooks, screwed them into the door and hung my trowels, etc. from them.  The garden gloves (which I can NEVER find) are on a binder clip hanging from a cup hook.  The big loppers at the top are there temporarily.  Eventually there will be a shelf across there for small pots.

 A bunch of fresh cut rosemary helps de-stinkify this old room.

And I FINALLY was able to unpack and hang my collection of cement and ceramic sunfaces and garden plaques.  I actually forgot I had this Greenman one.  I think he fits, don't you?

 Until next time,

Happy trails!

bobbi c.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Year's Progress on this Really Old House

Dear friends,

The weather continues to be an issue here at the crazy old house, but it finally got warm enough for Husband (AKA "Mr. Fix-it") to finish pulling the old aluminum siding off the front of the house.  With a little monkey-like agility, he was able to climb up and get the last pieces off the top gable.

With the metal off, the house looks smaller to me, but that's OK.  It actually *is* a bit smaller, since it lost 2-inches of thickness.  I love it that I can see the eaves now.  For the first time in over 50 years, the wood can breathe!

1930s bungalow/cottage remodel, coming along
It looks unbalanced to me since there aren't windows immediately to the left of the door.  I'll  have to come up with some magical decorative tricks to make it look more balanced. Any brilliant ideas? It will probably involve some kind of tall plant.  The railings *might* get re-configured, eventually, so that would help, too.

 I cannot WAIT to see this painted! But first, lots more scraping and sanding. And caulking.  And a little bit of pondering about possible trim to add to the gable end, decisions about door color, etc.

Here's a reminder about the colors:

As for the garden, my resolution to start seedlings inside early has fizzled.  It's just been too cold and wet to mess around out in the cottage, where I hoped to set up a light stand.  And my motto is Out of Sight, Out of Mind.  So I'm trying to figure out a place inside where I can start some tomato and pepper seeds, some place warm where I can keep an eye on them.  The best place?  Of course, right where my desk is, underneath the south-facing windows.  Hmmm.

The last thing I need is an excuse NOT to write! I'm making notes for the second in the "Lowell's Crossing" Texas 1880s mystery series and working on a slew of short stories.

Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, all!

Dear friends,

Thank you for visiting my Earthly Gardener blog this past year.  I've loved all the comments, suggestions and new friends I've made here.  Hope everyone has a safe, happy holiday, with dreams of the new year, and new gardens.

I will leave you with this quote I just ran across. It pretty much sums up my philosophy of life:

"I never had any other desire so strong, and so like to covetousness, as that one which I have had always, that I might be master at last of a small house and a large Garden." ~Abraham Cowley, The Garden, 1666

My dreams of living in the small house and having a large yard came true a little over a year ago (after one year of remodeling)----now *all* I have to do is turn the rest of it into a garden. Simple, huh?  :-)

 Happy trails from Texas!

bobbi c.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The extra door is GONE, BABY, GONE!

For those who are keeping up with our "remove the extra door on the front of the house" project, here are pics from the bedroom, one a work-in-progress, and one an "after" shot of how the wall looked with the door removed.  You'd never know it was there!

One more project to cross off that mile-long list!

And this is what it looks like from the outside, on the front porch:

Luckily, we kept scraps of the antique siding when we tore down the greenhouse.  Some sanding, caulking, wood putty, more caulking, etc. etc. and you'll never know it was a second front door.

bobbi c.