It's not that I've been holding back on my blog readers, exactly, but there's a point at which you're so busy you can't put down the paint brush/nailer/shovel to write about what you're doing. I suppose "too much to write about" is a good problem to have, but it does tend to pile up like baskets of clean laundry. Sooner or later you feel guilty that you haven't gotten around to folding it and putting it away. So this post is a folding and putting away of home improvement news, a big update with lots of things to offer, including sunflowers at the beginning and at the end. Ready?
There have been a lot of exterior home improvements checked off the list in the last few months and even more going back almost a year. I mean A LOT. As in punch-drunk with exhaustion and still juggling paint brushes, power tools, sunscreen, and wasp spray a lot.
Well, at least I am. The exhausted part, anyway. Boyfriend Tom is one of those cheerfully energetic people who can work their way through a long DIY to-do list with amazing speed. That's mostly awesome. But on the days where I think I might need a nap, or a beer, or some time for my anxiety-predisposed brain to hyper-analyze the situation, he keeps the table-saw running, and pretty soon I've got another paint project to follow up with.
Except for one thing: the roof. That we hired done. It was well overdue; it was past 20 years old and while I had not had any problems with it yet, I didn't want to wait until I did. Here's a before, from June of last year:
Not only was it looking pretty tired and worn out, it was a pale gray that didn't really "go" with the warm red/browns of the brick foundation and chimney So we picked out shingles that we hoped would pull the entire exterior together. Here's tear-off day. The house is old enough the roof was decked with boards rather than sheeting. Still sound, after all these years!
Here is the finished roof:
Not shown is a new gutter and downspout system which went in a few days later, routed in a different direction to address some damp basement issues we'd been having. While it has been too dry of a summer to really say for certain that it solved the problem completely, our foundation stayed dry through the last two flash-flood level rains that we have had, which makes us hopeful.
It is embarrassing to admit how long exterior painting has gone on around here. Seasons. Years, even. Too long. That's totally on me, but I'm going to plead single parenthood. But guess what? It's done! (hugs herself, giggles maniacally)
Here's a "getting close" photo of the south (driveway) side of the house.
We had to borrow a longer ladder to get to the peaky-peak of the gable.
And here's the back of the house, a screen-porch, kitchen, attic bedroom shot:
But we are not done with exterior home improvement yet. Wait, there's more!
Tom, with help from me, and various of our boys at various times, built a fence across our back property line.
We "stole" the design from a fence in a neighborhood where we like to walk. Here's some during shots. We also had the yard all torn up, since we were not only digging post holes, but planning a garden bed.
Here it is finished. We plan to let it weather. I like the silvery gray of weathered wood with garden greenery and flowers.
Here is what my backyard neighbor sees. I think she was as tired of the peeling pink paint as I was, and now we have our backside (ahem) all spanking new.
A vegetable bed!
This was my son Grant's gift of labor to me while he lived at home between college and the start of his new job. It was an enormous undertaking, and Tom is still hauling dirt for it, since it has settled some since we first filled it.
Here's what it looked like yesterday evening.
The bed was done in the last weeks of May. We got a late start on the actual gardening part, but we put in tomatoes, peppers, and summer squash, and we've had a decent amount of produce considering the season was shortened on the front end. The tomatoes caught up pretty admirably.
And here's the fence row again, now in late August:
I got a packet of sunflower seeds that said it was mixed varieties 4-6 ft in height, to fill in some space quickly in a flower bed that was just getting started with new perennials. Um, yeah. Right now we seem to be in the 5-8 ft. range with these babies, and no end in sight. There's a rose bush hidden in there somewhere, believe it or not. The rose will survive the shade in the short term and I don't plan to plant any annuals that are quite so large next year. But they're impressive, aren't they?
While Tom has taken the lead on the outside projects shared here, I've been working on the inside of the house this summer. I'll share some of those with readers soon. It's been a busy year!