Monday, October 27, 2014

List Maker

"List Maker"..... that's me.  I make lists, I even make lists of lists.  Perhaps this came about from boredom while on one of our many many trips across country as a child.  To fight boredom I started writing lists of things to do after a destination was met.  At work, a major part of my job is record keeping for historical accuracy.  Everyone knows if one needs information either past or present, you call Doc.  I love lists!
One of my lists that I caught hell for and snickered at for the first few years, was my "Halloween Record Book".   But now it is a tradition that everyone accepts as part of the experience.  The grandkids love to count out loud as they hand treats to the costumed trick-or-treaters and then make the tally marks in Poppi's record book that MeMa has covered in Halloween fabric.
Once an old used expense record book with the used pages ripped out.  It is now covered in Halloween fabric that MeMa had in her sewing box.

In the beginning years it was just simply tally marks next to the year and a total in the far column.

I still make the tally marks but MeMa has started adding notes on weather or events such as the 
"Annual Giant Pumpkin Parade".
Hope all of you have a wonderful fun filled and safe Halloween.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Balloon Has Landed

The "Balloon" is actually my baby sisters greenhouse with a wayfarers past. It has been moved about the yard in the past to accommodate changes in the landscape so was never really secured in its spot. Then one day as my sister looked out her kitchen window she saw her greenhouse changing its spot in the landscape with the help of a good wind. Over the last year it has blown across the garden several more times. So last Sunday with the help of the "Crew" the "Balloon was forced to land...permanently.

My brother Steve (on the right) and I discuss the foundation while the balloon lurks behind us.

Sister Terri gives it her approval
Last block in place
Foundation built, my father joined the rest of us from his photo taking and we all took a corner and lifted it for one more airborne trip up and over to its foundation.
Secured in its place, there will be no more rolling about the garden for this greenhouse.

There is still some finishing work to be done such as missing panels replaced and the door will have to be rebuilt. But we all retreated to the house for a very delicious lunch that my sister had prepared and a glass of my favorite scotch....Thanks little sister! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gathering Seeds For 2015

Wish I could say it was planned but in reality it was just this gardeners dumb luck! A few Sunday's ago it was clear, dry, warm and no wind. A perfect day for gathering seeds from my few favorite annuals, so the seed jars are full and labeled for 2015. The very next day we had winds that topped 45 mph for most of the day and night leaving the gardens looking a bit of a disaster. I went out the next morning to put a few things right and skim debris out of the pond and  noticed not a seed head left on the annuals.
I much prefer perennials, no seeds to gather. They come back bigger a stronger each spring and then about the third year you dig the clump, divide it and you have enough to put back in the garden and enough to share with other gardeners.  Biannuals are off the list....well except for Lupines, but they are easy enough with their abundant and easy to gather seed pods that I start in the greenhouse every second year. Annuals.....while pretty to fill in pots or those little blank spots in the garden are a fussy bunch of plants that take too much effort for a busy gardener. Over the last forty years here at Menagerie Manor I have had my favorites but have narrowed that list of annuals to just a few favorites that I put the extra effort into saving the seeds to assure their survival.

Peony Poppy (Papaver paeoniflorum)
Burgundy Cosmos
Love-in-a-mist (Nigela)
Blue Honeywort - Cerinthe major 'Purpurascens' or as we call them Bee's Bottoms because they are usually covered in bee's and that is the only part of the bee you see.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Expensive But Necessary

It has been a such a long time since I posted anything that I was wondering if I would remember my password.....obviously I did.  I took a couple of weeks off and spent a great deal of my children's inheritance.  We have talked about and fretted about having the tile roof removed from Menagerie Manor for several years.  When I say tile, people think I am talking about terracotta barrel tile but in reality it is concrete tile with a color glaze on top.  After thirty nine years sitting up there in all of our northwest weather the glaze has disappeared leaving the exposed concrete which is water absorbent.  Each 9x15 tile weighs six pounds but without the glaze when it rains day after day the water soaked tile almost doubles its weight.  A while back I told our family that if Oregon is hit with a major earthquake to just toss some roses on top of the heap because we would both be under it.

Although it gave the house a lot of character, its removal was long over due

A good example of the damage to not only the roof line but the rain gutters as well

 We decided that the company that restructured the sagging porch earlier in the summer would be an excellent choice after getting several bids from other companies.  So Owen from "His Builders" was thrilled to take on this big project.  I decided to stay home from the office to not only monitor the progress but to make available the facilities for the crew members.

The company was started by Owen's father and has now passed down to his two sons Owen and Nathan.         
Crew members are mostly family as well.

Owen's younger brother Nathan (with hat) was the "job boss" and turns out he is a young man in an
old world craftsman's body.  Nathan is gifted also with more patience than any I've seen.  
He handled every hurdle with the ease of someone with many more years of experience.

Once the scaffolding was in place the dirty and noisy job of removing the tile began.  It took four and a half trips to the recyclers and I am sure the neighbors were glad to hear the last tile hit the dump box.

There was no plywood underlayment, only a thin foam board that had a foil moisture barrier on one side, this was also the point of the tear-off that they started looking for damage and dry rot.

Rain gutters that slopped so bad that they spilled rain water out and on the ends of the face boards causing the ends to rot away. Birds nested under the tiles as well.

All of the knee braces were pulling away from the side of the house causing severe cupping or bowing to the face boards that that rested on them leaving the face boards in need of replacement.

The guys got quite the chuckle out of my answer to one corner where the eve sagged badly.  
I had my son Ian use a bottle jack to push the eve back in place and then I jammed a 4x4 under to hold it in place for about the last three years.

Same corner but the 4x4 removed, knee braces bolted back in place and they fashioned metal caps for the exposed ends of the braces. 

New face boards, painted and ready to be installed.

Nathan cut the end off one of the face boards to use as a template in replacing all three sets of face boards 

Years ago when we had the garage and sunroom added to the house the contractor put these two sky lights on the south side of the garage which is the hottest side, so we had this crew move them to the north side were they were supposed to be.  Even though the new parts of the house had composition instead of tile we decided that all three roofs should be replaced so everything matched.

One of our biggest concerns was the overall safety of our Koi fish, so we had it written into the contract that they would build a protective cage over the exposed area of the pond.

The crew built a wood frame over the pond and then layered plywood and then tarp to make sure the fish were unharmed in this whole process.

At the front of the house the upstairs dormer window had a tile covered roof over it that had sagged badly the only way to bring it up level was to add braces to each end.
 Nathan carved them out to look just as though they had been part of the house since 1916

They replaced the tile with this beautiful "Copper Penny"

After two weeks of hard work the crew stood back with this happy homeowner and marveled at the straight lines of the once sagging roof with rain gutters that will now direct water to their downspouts instead of out the ends.

That evening MeMa and I stood back and looked at Menagerie Manor sporting her new look and could almost hear her big sigh of relief.