Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Battling onwards: the lawn that never sleeps...

Once more it is summer here at the Quirky Old House.
Once more into high grass, carpenter bees, hornets, and ground hogs.

So far this year the hornets have been limited to the porch--which is a vast improvement over last year's constant of Hornet-in-the-House and "get it the fuck out--before the cats try to eat it or it stings me!". Yes, them hanging on the porch is a big improvement, and eventually when that gets insulated and sealed then the stripey buggers will stay away.

The carpenter bees on the other hand, will continue to roam around and I don't mind since they're not hostile and are really pretty cool.

The ground hogs are not rampant (well unless you ask mark, and then he'd say yes. they are. they apparently were chasing him last year) They're big, but as long as they aren't eating the tender bark off my japanese maple (which has sprung up an amazing amount since last year--I'll try to remember to take a pic of it for an update), or the bark off the 2 apple trees and the peach tree (all of which are spindly and struggling after the particularly harsh winter we had which rolled right into summer and bypassed spring completely).

So the lawn.
Do you call it a Lawn if it's 5 acres of grass and clover and misc. other plants? Or is that just the part in front of the house (and the patch in the back?) well, whichever, it grows like someone cast a magic spell on it. It's not hard to think about sleeping beauty and the rampantly raging brambles that covered the kingdom (in the books it did. Not sure about the recent movie since I didn't get to see that yet...)

Anyway, yea. Sheep.
Our neighbor was telling us to keep sheep.
That 2 or 3 sheep would keep the grass to a minimum. Of course, there's work to be done if you keep sheep. And to be honest, I know fuck all about them except of course that they have those freaky eyes, and like me, they are prone to depression.
No, really.
Don't you believe me? If you don't you should totally check out this piece:
Who knows, maybe the sheep could teach me a thing or two LOL.
But Mark balks at the idea of getting a 4th cat--I can't see him going "Hell Yeah!" to sheep.
I'd rather have the 4th cat.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Warm at last! :D

Yes, we finally got the wood stove in! YAY!

heat that's our wood burning stove! making our house WARM! Yay!!! (I'm so estatic that the livingroom, our bedroom and bathroom now average between 55-65 degrees! woo! No more 30-45 degree days! YES!) Next year when we get my workshop/office/ workroom insulated that will be warmer than 50 degrees too (right now I'm still using the space heater in here, and the kitchen which is still un-insulated is averaging between 20-45 degrees depending on the weather. But small steps, you know?) Woo! Woo! Woo! WARM! :D Me, the cats and Mark are all thrilled about this! :D Happy winter everyone!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Is Winter here yet? I think so....

We've had a week filled with snow flurries and sleet. I think that yes, it is fair to say that winter's found her way here early this year. *sigh* I was hoping we might make it to mid November before that happened, but

We're still hustling and trying to get things ready for the woodstove. It is pushing it. I know it. Don't I just? But, there are somethings you can't rush. Ah well.

Wish us luck. Maybe by month's end?

Monday, 14 October 2013

It's been a while since I posted!

Quirky Old house is coming along and so far we haven't died in the process of trying to remodel, update and make warm the QOH!

Most of the spring and summer was spent ripping out old walls, removing circa 1970's paneling, installing insulation and rebattening the walls --it's been a lot to do, and sometimes it felt like no matter what we were doing it was going at a snail's pace.

I'm quite delighted to say at this point that we're that much closer to having the house ready to have the wood stove put it--Yay!! Such a big deal (I know it doesn't sound like anything to be excited about but for us it means being warm this winter! Wooooo!) and for me even more so since I won't get frostbite! YAY!!!!

Anyway, by the end of the month I should be able to snap some photos....and maybe even find some before and afters for comparison! ;)

And we found a futon frame at the salvation army for 16 bucks earlier this summer--I'm so looking forward to having the livingroom finished so we can put that together and have someplace to sit besides an office chair! (I know, can you believe we've lived here a year already and the only furniture consists of my work desk, mark's desk, 4 office chairs and our bed? Heh. I have to keep an eye out for a futon mattress....then we'll be able to put the futon together and have someplace to sit (and bask in the warm from the soon to be installed wood stove! Yay!!)
Ok, and to be fair, I'm also looking at it as someplace comfy I could sit down and do some hand quilting...ok? I admitted it! ;P

Otherwise not lots to report -- the kitchen roof has sprung about 5 leaks--but we think it is due to a couple of pieces of siding missing off that side of the house. The leaks only happen when the rain comes from a certain direction...Anyway we'll have to see what we can do about that (although we already knew that long term we'd be re-doing/replacing the kitchen roof.  Yep.

The fun never stops here. Really. ;)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

An Eventful Day....

Today was the day of visitors and heat!

Ruth and Debbie drove out and visited us on their way (sort of) to the Sterling Ren Fest. THey were kindly bringing us a countertop that they no longer needed and that I hope to be able to use in my workshop/studio/office.

That was ok, They came, they saw (Deb's first time seeing our place) and they went (off to the renfest!). After that Mark and I pretty much got down to working on our own projects etc. UNTIL.....


That didn't sound good! Was Mark using some kind of powertool upstairs? (OR was it, like I suspected, something going on with the sump pump in the  basement??)

I listened again just incase it was Mark---but alas, no. So I banged on the bottom of the staircase (the only way I can get him to hear me if he's listening to his music loudly) and tell him there's a bad noise.

This, as usual is greeted with the less than happy reception I'd like.

"Does everything have to be drama?!" Um, no. I just like to report the problems as sooooon as I find them, you know? I'm sorry it cuts into whatever you were up to....

So I say nevermind, I'll go check out the deal in the basement (which of course means that Mark has to hurry down the stairs to try to get there before me. What is that about???)

So we get down there and while we're down there Mark smacks his head on one of the beams, and then on the heating ducting. Great. So now he's super pissed off, and he goes back upstairs to get his tools (and I tell him to bring the flashlight battery while he's up there because the one I had was going dim).

While he's gone I keep hearing a noise that ...doesn't belong in the basement.
What do I find?

A baby (ok, at least not fully grown) groundhog!  It was huddled under the wooden stairway and looking all miserable.  I'm thinking....hmm. How am I going to get that out of the basement?

Mark comes back downstairs and is still (understandably) grumpy about whacking his head twice. I tell him it's not all there is and point out the baby (pre-teen) groundhog. He makes a disgruntled noise and says its the least of our problems right now.

We turn back to the sump pump which we pour some water out of a handy bucket....and it replicates that freaky noise and we think we see wisps of smoke coming out of it. Maybe.
Not a good sign. And the basement is still flowing with water (and that's without any rain today!)

Mark looks at the towel he has nearby and says something about the groundhog. I mention I have a plan....does he want to hear it? He does. We agree on it and I go back ot my office/workshop and  dump out my fabric from the orange plastic sterilite container (you know one of the big deep ones people tend to store holiday crap in?) and the lid, and a spare box.

The plan is one of us stands at the bottom of the stairs and holds the container and the other tries to herd the groundhoglet into the container and swop the lid on before it can escape.
Not the most complicated of plans, but I'm glad to say it worked! :D

We released it into the grass near the maple tree and it bolted off into the underbrush. Betcha that one isn't likely to make a return trip (or fall) into the basement! (I thing it fell into the basement through the open window under the porch/crawlspace. Mark thinks it crawled down the open basement steps sometime this last week. I'm pretty sure I'm right though! :P

Anyway back to the Sump Pump of Noisiness!

Mark figures out how to take the thing out, and is going to clean it.
My job is to keep bailing the sump pump bucket (in the basement floor) to try to keep the basement from flooding (which it _will_ do very well once the thing is off). I realize I am going to need more than the bucket I have and run upstairs (the long way) and collect the buckets and also a cup to use to bail the hole---since it was dark and I wasn't too sure if I'd fit a whole bucket in it.

Got back in time to find that the hole/in-ground cement holding area was now overflowing onto the floor of the basement (not really a huuuuge deal since it's so wet is has a stream running through it right now) but it was still enough to get me freaking and hurrying to fill up buckets.

kept filling and refilling and filling and refilling. I'd do that and haul them to the top of the stairs and give them to mark who'd wait til I had a couple then empty them and I'd be doing more filling. You know, I think those 1 dollar a piece buckets were a great find!??! I may have bought them to use as cheap flower pots but I am really glad that I never got around to drilling holes in the bottoms of them! :D

Ok so I kept bailing and mark was giving the Sump Pump of Noisiness a go over. He cleaned it up and suggested that we should find a spare just in case this one packs it in. So we will. He cleaned it as best he could, got a LOT of gunk out of it and got it back installed.

I'm happy to report that it is still running, now making normal (for it) noises.
And the groundhog is probably tucked in for the night (and eating!) I'm happy it's out of the basement. I don't think the Quirky House wanted it to die there. You know?

Friday, 5 July 2013

Winter is Coming... (no, I'm not quoting Game of Thrones!)

So even with the super hot weather we're having, I know Winter is coming.
It's July, then after that August and then....September--Frosty September. And Freezing cold October...and onward into the winter again!

What does that mean>>> Why am I spending part of my summer fretting about it?
It means we need to prepare more --and better --than we did last September/Winter since we moved in. I DO NOT want frostbitten toes again, nor do I want to HAVE to wear 7+ wool sweaters at the same time to stay functional inside the house.

Since the winter (actually, before we ever bought a house) we have been discussing getting a woodburning stove so that we have some alternative heat options 1) if the power goes out (and our furnace) and 2) wood & wood blocks are still cheaper per season than buying a tank and a half of oil (which we're talking 1600$ if we only kept it to 45 degrees in the house). So yea.

We finally got around to sourcing some local fireplace people and after some trial and error (and realizing who has the willingness to actually BE in the office when you make an appointment) we got a guy/business who's going to install a woodburning stove for us. We've picked out a model--neither of us are in love with it, but 1)it's on sale for 500.00 off the regular price, and 2) we can always upgrade to a different one down the line--so looks aren't as important as function in this case.

So I hear what you're thinking: "Great! How's it look? When is it getting installed?"
Ah. There's the rub!

We have to get the majority of the living-room renovations done before we can have him install it for us (since having it installed and then trying to tackle taking down the ceiling, and doing the walls and crap would surely be a recipe for disaster and possibly a damaged stove!).

It's hot.
It's muggy.
We're both irritated and frustrated and more than a little grouchy.

We have to go shopping at lowes and buy a lot of crap which is going to be heavy and just going to = more grouchy interactions. (I'm not a professional "chippy" and I don't understand instinctively how to move large pieces of wood, sheetrock or other crap)

Anyway, I'm sure this too will pass and although Winter is coming I hope we'll be warmer this time around!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Things have been quiet--but active!

I know, I know. I've been a bad blogger!
There's been all sorts of stuff going on here at Quirky House but I haven't documented ANY of them here....(I promise that this weekend I'll go out and shoot some pics!)

What we've been up to:

We planted a boat load of spruce trees in the yard, some forsythia shrubs, some maple trees and apple and a peach tree.

We've seen a LOT of wild life...
2 foxes
Momma groundhog with 2 babies
Momma Deer and Fawn (*psycho fawn!*)
Micro rabbits
Wild Turkies
Coopers Hawks
Tree Swallows
Baltimore Oriels  I couldn't believe how bright they are--it;s like looking at velveeta or cheddar cheese!
Eastern Bluebirds
Book Scorpion(also called Psuedoscorpion) Very freaky but non harmful so I let it live!
Northern Watersnake (and yes our yard is that wet sometimes) 

Pretty sure that there were more critters but you lose track, ya know? (I never thought I was much into birds but I have to admit that since coming out here it's been fantastic to see and watch them!)
who I am sure when I start my raised beds next year will be all over trying to eat my stuff.

As for the house we're still progressing although it's slow. My task for most of the spring and now into the summer is to try to control the wasp/ hornet population. I'm having decent luck with that so far. :)

We're working on the inside of the place and maybe by the fall the livingroom will be done. I look forward to having some kind of couch or futon to sit on and chill out on!

Annnway. Still alive out here.