The front window trim was nailed up and the supports for the beams are in place. The living room is back together.
I should have the trim completed later today and then it will be time to spray. I am continuing with the two part process using Chemcraft's water based system for anything that is being exposed to the sun, or that has to match the beams. The "heart" brackets are ready for glue up and I think they are going to look really nice. Once the spraying is done on the trim I can install and then get the furniture in the front room back in place. Then comes the hard part, the construction of the four sliding panels. I have the cherry ready for pickup in Michigan, and I will try to get out there this week. I got a great deal from Hickory & Oak and they have been kind enough to hold it for me because of the emergency trip to China. But in the mean time I needed to mill up the old lumber and make room.
I sent Annie back to China with a nice dinner featuring white chili and fresh honey corn bread. Time to lay low on cooking for a while and concentrate on the house and getting it squared away.
While I was in China the roof over the garage developed a leak near the chimney and leaked water over the lathe. Removing rust from a lathe bed is tricky because you cannot remove any metal or the lathe is no longer accurate. What I chose to use was phosphoric acid and a white scotch pad. Paper towels were cut to match the ways and then phosphoric acid was dripped onto them and allowed to set for 60 minutes. Then the paper towels were removed and the white scotch pad was used gently. It worked out well and between that and the bottoms of the tail piece, tool stay etc the lathe was fixed in less than a day. Fixing the ceiling took quite a bit longer and I did a temporary caulk job to hold until the roofer can come out for a permanent repair.
I stayed in China all the way until the first of July and the yard suffered. My house is taken care of by a neighbor and he only mows the yard. I had planned on being back at the end of May, but I stayed on in Beijing through the beginning of the summer. The gardens that I built are completely over-run with weeds and bushes. At this point there is nothing to do but clear all the beds, gardens and everything. Even the grapes are overgrown. It is a mess.
We got hit with 80+ mph gusts earlier today. It broke a couple of big branches off in the locust tree out front. Check out the video.
It was not a great day, the neighbor was laughing around with us about trimming his own tree. I told everybody I do not climb up in trees, I am too old, and too fat for such shenanigans. But this guy was determined. Next thing I heard a loud scream and he had fell over twenty feet straight down on his head, on the asphalt. He could talk, but he will be hurt for a long time. Not a good thing to have happen, they are nice people.
It is sad to see how badly the gardens have deteriorated over the last 3 years. Especially last year, when I got back so late in the summer, that pretty much pushed them over the edge. There was so much hard work (and money) that went into planning these out and taking care of them year after year. After the landscapers mowed everything flat last year, most of the annuals did not come back. The strawberry patch is gone, and now the blackberries are almost gone too.
I managed to get in and fix most of the front yard last week, but I am seriously thinking of completely removing one of the big beds in the front. It looks like crap, and the little tree is about half dead. I might try and rebuild it but put in only two lilac bushes and tighten the perimeter so it is less work.
After 3 years of this I can say I at least have knowledge about what will last and what will not make it. The key to being successful with this arrangement of living in two countries (with the yard) is to use plants that are really durable and will not lose the battle with weeds. The mulberries are the worst, if they are allowed to take over it is almost impossible to get rid of them without completely removing everything and starting over.
This summer is going to require some work in the yard to make sure things hold up. But the barn/shed does look really good, and it seems to be really durable. I need to add sweeps and a bolt to the door, but other than that it is fine.
The yard and the house look ok, but as usual I have massive weeds and flower beds that need fixing. And the house had that old house smell that I hate. After airing this place out and unpacking I CANNOT WAIT to begin working on fixing the front window and continuing to work on the bathrooms. It feels unbelievably good to be back in the United States.
This was done last week but I just now got some pictures taken. We had some high winds that made doing the top pieces a bit challenging, but I am really happy with the way it turned out.
The weather has been amazing for over a week now and I've started with the inside of the shed. I pulled almost all of the old pegboard out and the insulation. It was covered in mouse crap, old bugs and was just nasty. Over 5 bags of trash came out. I went back with 1/4" OSB and the inside should be finished tomorrow. I am still missing four pieces of siding and a piece of trim on the outside, but it won't get here till next Friday. In the mean time I have to get all of the completed areas sealed against rain. Once thats done it will be a quick fix to put those last pieces in place. Then we are sealed for winter.
The locust trees are turning which is always sort of sad, as it means the end of fall and winter will not be far off.