Tag Archives: landscaping

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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Your Private Tour of The Pines

Well, I finally got to it!

Carole and other folks had mentioned it would be nice to see the whole place, specific things, and what’s where. I got pretty close – this isn’t the whole place – our property goes back aways – but you can get an idea. So, welcome to the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, farm-country-valley-style over here in Southern Franklin County.

Yeah, I know. It’s not quite beautiful around here yet. But we’re getting there. Enjoy the tour!


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Growing, Growing, Dawn

Hey, friends!

Got up just after sunrise today – which is when I should have been taking photos. However, the thought did occur to me by about eight o’clock. I still got a few shots while the light was still good. June is Bustin’ Out all Over here in the North, but what we’re really waiting for is July. 50F this morning. Still, things are growing beautifully around The Pines. Enjoy the flora pics – in a week or two we’re moving on to house demo posts!






Lettuce & Zukes


Annuals & Perennials


Wild Roses


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Wordless Wednesday: Lawn Tractor Cart






Old Cranky Guy Next Door Report for Today – In residence.
Crank Level – Moderate.

Note – Summer house cranks beginning to show up as joiners.


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Mistaken Identity

Often times, when I explain this whole Moving-to-the-Adirondacks thing, city folks are very impressed. “The Adirondacks! That will be so relaxing!” Or if I mention that we are in the High Peaks area they’ll coo, “All that hiking, canoeing, and skiing! You’re going to be living the good life!” Truth is, our life here (I’m writing this from the Adk place) doesn’t remotely resemble those descriptions. Not yet anyway.

There are many little worlds in the Adirondacks. Ours is a small country village where folks own tractors and the six o’clock beer on the porch is still a daily tradition. Another tradition is hard work on your own land. Thats what I was up to most of this weekend. Yeah, I’m thinking about the satisfaction of getting much done, but I’m thinking more about how I am going back to the city dead tired. Completely exhausted. And I mean exhausted. Barely able to get up the two steps to the RV bedroom. (Seriously.)

100_0650We decided we needed more room out back behind the house. Now that all the pieces of the land jigsaw puzzle are in place, I thought maybe we could move the cabin back some. It’s about the size of one of those little tourist cabins – 10 x 15′ and 11′ tall. “Well,” Neighbor and I thought, “It is on 4×4 skids.” Men with a tractor and an idea are a dangerous combination. He brought the tractor over, and we gave the cabin a shove. It moved. It moved a good deal, but the gravel was bunching up and we knew we would get hung up. So we dug holes about a foot deep under-and-below two of the skids, and jacked the cabin up. Shoved some scrap wood under it so it could slide. Used a tire as a pushing pad. And after a mere four hours … it was moved.

100_0648I make it sound easy, don’t I? Nuh-uh. We had to dig through one-inch gravel a foot deep. With drainage rocks underneath it. The jack twisted and slipped out after we got it jacked up. Twice. And after running the tractor through the wet-new-soil backyard all morning, I spent three hours raking heavy, wet dirt. Before this all started, I was out at 6:30am raking down a pile of wet soil 5′ high. Not that I’m not pleased with the results. I am. But, between packing the city house, carrying heavy furniture around for two weeks, driving fourteen hours a weekend, and finishing each of those trips off with an icing of hard labor … well, I’m tired. And not good tired. I’m sick of it tired.

The upside? I feel a little bit more like a member of our little community. I’ve worked alongside various neighbors for a few weekends now, and I’ve realized that to some small degree, I am thought of as smart, able, and somewhat capable of doing the tough stuff. Cranky old Coot Down the Road derides me when I’m not around, but everyone else is on my side, and strongly so. And then again, Cranky old Coot derides everyone when they’re not around. (And I even gave him a present once. What a jackass windbag.)

Coot and all, these folks,  the country hills, the ramshackle sheds, the six o’clock beers, the vegetable gardens out back, and the owner-built houses in this little farming community are My Adirondacks, where “the good life” has a whole different meaning. Yeah, okay. I guess it was a pretty good weekend. Lots to tell. I’ll fill you in during the week.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 400 lbs of horse manure to unload out of the van. And I’m mighty pleased about it.


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The Aesthete

I am funny about how stuff looks.

100_0620I have repainted most of the city apartment (to be taken over by our best friends), even though I really didn’t need to. When asked why, my simple answer is most often, “Because it will look better.” I just finished repainting most of the trim, window sills, and doors; and I’ve spent most of the week saying things like, “Don’t touch that wall. I just repainted it,” or “Get your hands off the moulding.”

100_0568Conversely, I’m starting to get funny about things at the Adirondack place. I think I’m getting better about the whole thing though – I’m picking my battles, and I won’t try to do everything at once. With that in mind, I am still going to plant grass before we tear the house down. I don’t care if I have to replant parts of it. I don’t care if it costs a fortune and I have to replant it five times. I can’t live on dirt and mud for a year or more. And I am going to plant some mature(ish) trees right away. Not too too close to the tear-down house, but yeah, closer than most people probably would. It may be a construction site, but I still have to like being there.

100_0624This will be the last week in the city house. The empty house is not quite as odd as I had expected. Likely because our moving-in friends are keeping some of our larger pieces of furniture. Due to that, it’s not empty empty. The new-paint smell is a little weird – your senses tell you that you’re moving in to a new place, as opposed to moving out.

This weekend will be out last trip to the Adirondacks as non-residents. Next time we drive up, we’re staying. Yep – I get that wiggly nervous/queasy feeling as I type that. But perhaps my head is in the right place – I’m not nervous about getting into the RV and staying for good. I’m nervous about getting everything out of here so our NYC departure is smooth and easy.


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This morning, I spoke to our Adirondack neighbors for quite a while, and my thoughts have turned to genteel planning pursuits.

We’ll be making stuff-runs a few weeks before the RV arrives, so our neighbor very graciously offered to store stuff in her garage, if everything doesn’t temporarily fit in the sheddycabin. The cabin will eventually serve as guest quarters and a work room. Maybe not exactly luxurious to sleep in a cabin full of bookcases, but the double height air bed is eminently comfortable. And it will be nice for guests to have a space of their own.

I think most folks with a dream-and-a-plan start clipping magazine photos years in advance. I found that collecting photos over time really gave me the space to visualize what I want specifically. I’ve taken to calling my preferred “look” Tumbledown-Rustic-Quaint.

insidecabinMost of our furniture will stay with the city house, be sold, or go to the stoop. We will bring some pedestals and plant stands and candle tables (our house here is High Victorian), but the big stuff will stay. Being that the RV is already outfitted with beds and couches and stuff, not much reason to move much more than the essentials. Last Summer, I finished off the cabin with a large standing desk and shelves.

We talked a lot about gardening on the phone today. Maybe not-so-curiously, another neighbor was on his way over with the tiller to dig under and loosen up our good friend’s garden. Gardening and growing a good deal of our own food is one of the things I look forward to most.

raisedbedI’d been thinking that I’d like to make our raised beds from scrap from the old house – just seems right to re-use as much as we can. Thing is, when you’re dealing with a backhoe and bucket, you can’t exactly be guaranteed particular lengths of boards. I ran across this neat plan for the tall raised beds I wanted. It’s just perfect – accommodates my short lengths of wood, and it looks nice. I’ll also add some uprights at the ends with tomato planters on top, so they can vine down. (Hanging tomatoes!)

railfenceA split rail fence along the front of the road and several (dozen) new evergreen plantings should complete things nicely. Curiously, I’m having trouble finding a source for split rain fencing in our area. You would think it would be all over a region full of logging. Have to remember to call a few of the lumber mills to ask about that. I found this photo that is just about exactly what we want the front of the property to look like – a nice wood fence and conifers.

shed-coverAfter talking with some farm friends, we’re going to start the Small Pines Menagerie with just a few chickens, maybe a few ducks. I’m going to have plenty to deal with this season, and we’re going to be away for three days with a show in October, so I don’t want someone to have to look after a goat or somesuch. Chickens will mean getting a decent looking little barn up out back, but that seems easy enough. Past that, my dream of building a cordwood cottage has resurfaced. I think I’m going to do it. Maybe start it out as a shed/extra room and see how it goes. They’re pretty, aren’t they? If it’s under 150 square feet, I don’t need a permit or inspection.

This all should keep me busy enough. Oh, yeah – Remember I mentioned I’d like to write a book, and had been thinking about it for quite a while? Think I might just do that. Add it to the list. But I’m going to keep you in suspense. More on that later.


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