Monthly Archives: June 2010

Poulet Palace Renovation Day

And I do mean day!

I took down last year’s old wooden Franken-pen, which had been cobbled together over the seasons. Started as a fence, gained a ramshackle roof, ended up covered on one side because it was so ugly. That’s it in the picture below, hanging off the side of the chicken coop, behind the cabin. So, anyhow, I tore down the enclosure, and moved the coop. Took all day, but it’s done.

Pretty ugly back there. Plus, if I move the coop and pen, I’ll have more room on this side.

It didn’t give up easy – took about two hours to get to this point – but it’s coming down.

The pen is gone! And the only way to move the coop is by the tilt-flip-and-spin method. Notice the boards I put underneath as sliders. I also have it propped up on a cement block, because it’s so heavy, I can only lift it a little at a time.

Meanwhile … well, they had to go somewhere. The girls camped out in the cabin. Let’s just say there was plenty of mess, but nothing I can’t clean up. More mess than I wanted, but not as much as I thought there would be.

I think we can safely cross “wire fence building” off the list of things I have a talent for.

But now, they have full sun and plenty of grass!

The old pen, reduced to a pile of boards.

Now, doesn’t that look better? I have so much more room over here now!

And I continued the rock garden border right to their door. This will be awesome once I get some perennials planted on either side. Doesn’t every palace deserve a grand entrance?

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5-7-5

Rainy day. Whattaya say we totally co-opt Gettysburg Mom’s idea and write some haikus?

It’s easy. The first line contains five syllables, the second line seven syllables, and the third line contains five syllables. Punctuation is up to you. I like mine without. Give it a shot – it’s fun. The topic? Anything spring-like? Rain? Flowers? Gardens? What you see outside?

Here’s the situation over here a/o this morning –

Tomato plants thrive
With frequent daily downpours
Dark skies yield no fruit

***

The neighbor’s graveyard
Is built not of rocks and bones
Old tires stand vigil

***

A quart of yogurt
Expiration July Three
Better get a spoon

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Go Get ‘Em, Tansy

Can I tell you about a plant that has gorgeous foliage and flowers, is a natural insect repellent, is terrific in cuttings and vases, dries beautifully, is super prolific, and likes to be ignored?

I love me some Tansy. Love it!

Here in the Adirondacks, we get a lot of those gorgeous flowers that grow wild in Great Britain. The sort of thing you see English hillsides covered with. Tansy.

We inherited a small field of it that I’ve been cultivating – mowing it back to the ground where I don’t want it, and encouraging it with fertilizer where I do want it. I left most of it, just really tightening up the beds and making some space for a path to our neighbor friend’s place.

Tansy is cold and drought tolerant, and comes back every year thicker than ever, masses of those little yellow button flowers that I like so much. It blooms in August, although I like it in Spring and earlier Summer as well – the foliage looks like big ferns. It’s part of the thistle family. By late Summer, my Tansy patch has grown to about four feet. Only thing they are picky about is this – Full Sun. They don’t like shade.

In addition to its visual properties, gardeners often plant Tansy with other plants as a natural insect repellent. (Great idea for the back row of a flower garden!) The leaves give off a smelly, pungent odor that the bugs don’t like. As for it’s other properties as an herb – stay away. The oil was once used in medicines, but today it’s considered poisonous.

Tansy plants are grown from seeds in the spring, or from a cutting from an established plant. If you’re in my area, don’t bother with the seeds. Just holler at me, and come on over to get a shovel full. If you’re dividing your own Tansy, that’s best done in the Fall. A shot of the thick, pretty foliage is left.

And that’s what I know about that. Go, Tansy!

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In the Birthday Chair

Today was (is) my birthday. Let’s just say I’m not quite 50, but certainly past 40.

We had a nice afternoon in Lake Placid, where I was allowed to get whatever I wanted. I settled on an awesome book called 52 Loaves (loved the author’s last book), chicken nuggets from McDonald’s, and a fancy caramel iced coffee. I’m a pretty cheap date. I even passed up an offer of fancy, imported cheese.

Best part of the birthday? Sitting in my new chair, on my new grass. Here’s a few pics of the view from the Birthday Chair.

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Everything Old is New Again

Who recorded that old song? Peter Allen, maybe?

I’ve always wanted a wooden Adirondack chair. Except, they run $100 and up. Uh-huh. For a chair. An outside chair. Yeah, $100 for a chair is not exactly in the budget. However …

I was helping my neighbor build a porch onto her cabin yesterday. I noticed three seriously rotted Adirondack chairs on her junk pile. Says I, “I wonder if there are enough parts there  to rebuild one decent chair?” As a matter of fact, one chair had much less rot than the others. After bashing two of them apart, I found enough parts to repair the “good” one. Armed with my screw gun, nails, a hammer, a wire brush, two sanding blocks, and a few cans of “Classic Brown” satin spray paint, here’s the play-by-play.

Here’s One Arm Sally upon her arrival. I’ve already bashed off two of the rotten seat slats and replaced those. This is going to be a lot of wire brushing, sanding, and patching!

One of the other chairs had a decent spare arm, but it had a split through part of it. I filled the split with wood putty, carefully attached it back together with brads, and let it sit overnight to dry. The next morning, I sanded it down pretty-as-pie and attached the new arm.

Clean, sanded, and ready for paint! Now if only we could get some sunshine, so I can get the spray cans out! I tested the color on the dry part, but I need some sun to dry out the bare wood.

Hey, looka that! Not bad for say, three hours or so of work. There’s a good amount of rot on the bottom of the main rails, but the patches will last a season or two before I have to toss it or do a major overhaul.

Sweet ride! You have a great day too!

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RV Maintenance Day

Yes, folks. It’s finally time for another lesson in Living in an RV.

Most regular readers know, we live in an RV (1996 32′ fifth wheel Prowler), and a small 10×14 cabin.

Fact is, RVs are (of course) not really meant to be lived in 24/7, all year long, and we’re at one year just about now. It’s a good idea to check things out once a year or more, make sure everything is up to snuff and working like it should. I replaced the pump during the Winter. The AC/Fan is in great shape. I’m having our propane company out to clean and check the furnace. And today, I checked out three of the remaining biggees – the hydraulic slide-out, the condition of the (euphemistically named) blackwater tank, plumbing, and the seals around the outside edges.

As for the plumbing, everything looks mostly okay. Except under the kitchen sink. A rail came off the back of the drawers, and bumped and jangled a PVC pipe around. We have a little bit of a leak. Nothing terrible, and no water damage, but I’ll have to fix it.

The awning needs a little repair on the outside edges. Easy. The hardware store has RV stuff, and I know they have awning repair tape. Other than the climbing, that will be simple. The electric/propane hot water heater seems fine, and it looks pretty clean. Microwave, oven, and stove are in good shape (if a bit dirty!).

Why is there a garden hose running through my living room? I’m checking and cleaning the blackwater tank. To do this, I empty the tank into the septic, run a hose with a nozzle into the bathroom, turn the pump off, and well … have a look down there. To our credit … clean as a whistle. (Well, maybe not a whistle.) But pretty much, not a spec of gunk or muck. I still used the hose and jetted it out though.

As for the hydro slide (the hydraulic system that pushes the side room of the RV out), all I really do is go outside to make sure nothing is in the way, go back in, and push a button to check that it moves and works fine. No real issues, it works fine, but it was a little sticky. Perhaps something involving the rails needing to be greased. I’ll look into that. This is what the underneath of the slide looks like –

As far as the caulking and corner seals go, I suspected that I needed to do a little work. And in fact, I do need to do a little work. I noticed it was damp in both corner closets. Didn’t think much of it, with the potential condensation from the cold and heat, but in fact, I need to caulk outside and seal some things up. I’ll get on that next week. Evidently, this is a “thing” with not-brand-new RVs. Ya know, corners get knocked, caulking pulls away. See how this corner seriously needs some attention? No wonder the closet was a little dank!!

And finally, in the neat-and-tidy department, I’m heading out to Oxyclean the rust stains from where we fill the water tank.

I fear I’ve turned into one of those dad-always-has-a-project type people. I was actually getting ready to use the phrase, “If you want things to stay nice …” Whew. Can I have my sloppy joe for lunch now? Awesome.

You have a great day too!

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Where the Wild Things Are

Well, you know. You don’t have a lot of nice wild plants when you buy an old junk property that the previous owners principally used as a junk yard.

But, we’re trying. Plenty of new plants and trees have been planted, and we make the most of what little was already here.

When we find a little gem of a wild plant, we nurture it. Trim it back to healthy, add some good soil and manure around the base. One does what one can. Here’s a few wild flower shots from around the place. Only thing I didn’t get was our crazy goldenrod – gotta wait for August to get a pic of that. We’ll have some crazy day lilies next month too. For the time being …

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