Thursday, December 08, 2011

Pasta Salad

Made pasta salad for John's holiday party at work, hope they like it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dinner 112011

Dinner: florence potatoes (named after a woman named florence) home canned green beans, pickled beets, and honey orange marmalade ginger glazed smoked ham.  Here's the ham sitting atop my 1952 kenmore stove, even though we baked it out on the grill.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Window Trim Colors 111411

There are three colors adorning the windows, ruby red for the crowns, a dark sage for the outer trims, and a very dark blackish sage for the inner window trims.  We'll finish the storms on the second story next spring, as the metal will have to be primed first to accept the paint.

House Update 111411

And now with more trim colors!

My clematis trellis has been removed so John can scrape, prime, and then paint the soffit on the west side of the porch.
The east side of the house still needs another coat of paint and for all of the trim colors to be added.

Almost done, one more week and weekend of warm weather is all we need to finish this part of the porch!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My $70 a Month Heat Bill

 Everyone always wants to know how we can have a $70 a month heat bill in the dead of an Iowan winter - in a 1905 Victorian house - well this is how we do it.  NOTE the house is 1105 square feet.

We keep the house at 65F during the day and 58F at night or when we are not home. Caulk around the outsides of every window, door, etc. and do this every few years, oh and LOTS of insulation! We use mortite on the inside for the windows, the windows are original except for two modern windows and it's the modern windows that leak like a sieve. 

Winter 2010

Make sure to change those furnace filters too.  Another tip is to put insulation behind outlets and switches that are on outside walls, these are also major draft stoppers.  Repair any storm windows with new spline and the fuzzy insulating stuff every 10 years or so.

It also helps that we are on budget billing, and the gas company keeps bugging us to pay the new rate which is $59 a month but John keeps refusing.  November is our reconciliation month, and by paying the $70 a month we don't get a "suprise" spike in our heat bill.

edited to add:  The orignal builder insulated the house and big time, way back in 1905, he filled it with woolrock from the basement all the way out the attic rafters.  We're thinking he didn't like being cold. The house maintains and beautifully, it's been 65F in here for two weeks now.

Paint Update 103011

Caulking around the windows.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Scaffold Shuffle

The top two towers have been removed, so we can paint the area between the windows

Setting up another four stage tower, I'm too tired to explain it I'll take pictures tomorrow.

Paint Update 102511

Now with some color!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Paint Update 102411

working one section at a time, slowly but surely the painting is getting done.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's Orange

New garden tub, soon to be filled with weeds, leaves, and other compostable yummies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Painting Update 092411

Scraped and being primed.

And now some paint.  The scaffolding and ladder stages will have to be moved so that he can get the edges of the bump out section.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Porch Progress 092111

From this to:


Now to finish stripping and painting the porch soffit.  I've sanded and primed the hand rails, they will recieve their first coat of black paint tomorrow!  John has the trim to finish on two columns to the right, and then it's the big project taking the railings off of the porch, dismantel them, scrape, sand, prime, and paint the parts, put them back together and re-install.  Somewhere in this I will be winterizing my gardens.

Cleaning up the Trim

Or let there be heat guns, John is using a heat gun and a custom made paint scraper to remove old paint from the trim under the soffit.

West Side Update 092111

The look, what are you doing?  And what do you mean you want me to wash the windows while I'm up here???

Small area to be scraped, sanded, primed, and then painted.  Then I think he said he was going to repaint the entire west side since the rest of the painted area is now going on 10-11 years old.

Porch Update 092111

I hear the scaffolding is coming down later today, so I'll be able to start taking the railings off of the porch and work on them, and clean then paint the column bottoms.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Column Update 091911

Now taped off and getting all striped up!

Now with the tape removed!!! 

Getting closer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ghost Garden

John says it looks like I'm getting ready for Halloween, NOT, I'm just trying to keep my cukes from freezing.

Tomato garden, under cover to protect my maters of course.

Under the fabric, gobs of green maters!!!

Column Update 091611

Getting closer to completion with the columns, the cold weather has slowed us down and big time.  John has this coming week off from work so we're hoping to finish the entire soffit and also finish painting the west side of the house.  Looks like winter is coming early this year.

One more color, the sorjourner blue, needs to be applied and then second coats, touch ups, and we're done.

Everyone keeps asking me if we're going to paint the trims at the bottoms of the columns. Of course, the color patterning will be the inverse of the top, with everything sitting atop a ruby red base.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Porch Redux Update 091111

Detail of the column trim. The larger beaded band closest to the ruby red will be painted the medium green color you see on the soffit next to the column. The little bit of trim under the larger beaded band will be light blue. The smaller beaded trim, beneath the copper band will be a light sage green with a light blue band just underneath it. Should be done by next weekend.  The blue I mentioned will be the same blue as the porch ceiling.

All five columns have paint on them now, the trims need to be finished.

Now to scrape the porch ceiling and get it painted!  The color I have is called Sorjourn Blue, it's kind of a robins egg blue.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Porch Update - 091011

Closer and yet so far away, the new section of soffit is painted, the first coats have been applied to it and three of the porch columns.
The porch rail is my next project, well after I finish painting the south wall of the porch and the window trims.

I have the trims to paint on the tops and the bottoms of the columns, and then it'll be time for paint coat number two.  The roundish trims are a pain to paint around, two shades of the sagey greens and a copperpot stripe in between the rounded trims.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sheltie Heaven

The master bed is way better than a patch of polar fleece any day of the week!

yes she really does sleep like this, she's rather rigid looking isn't she!

Sheltie Gate

Temporary sheltie gate, otherwise known as a skirting table, but it works!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Finally we have tomatoes, just in time to NOT ripen due to a temperature drop.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Porch Redux

John is on vacation this week, the weather is absolutely gorgeous making the ordeal of taking the porch soffit apart for repair. 

Will post photos of the gardens tomorrow.  A long time friend and gardener proclaimed my potatoes to be perfect, so hopefully we will have a sizable yeild this year?