Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Porch Stairs!

We have been having wet weather here for the past couple of weeks, with flooding and tornados and torrential downpours. We caught a break today with clear skies, so today was the day we replaced the front porch stairs, which were bad to begin with but were certainly not helped by all of the rain. We had to resort to roping them off so no one would fall through. Remember?

Kudos to Dan, our neighbor's carpenter friend, who did the bulk of the work. Dan took the time and care to make sure the steps would be really solid for years to come.
He shored up the header, put down cement pavers where the stringers would meet the ground (the old stairs completely rotted out), and cut new stringers. We had mistakenly thought we could use the pre-cut stringers that we got from Lowe's, but Dan determined they would not work for our install, so he cut new ones.

Wouldn't you know it? The clear skies gave way to threatening clouds from the west, and by the time we were installing the risers, it had started to blow and rain. A quick check on revealed a thunderstorm warning, but at least no tornado. Billy and Chu (our neighbors) helped get the risers in before we had to call it a day.

We were all a little soggy, but happy with our progress.

We will finish up with the front toekicks in a few weeks. For now, it is great to just have working steps again.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 2008 Project Start: Secret Garden

Earlier this year we discovered a woodchuck had burrowed underneath our garage. For Keeley's safety we decided that we needed to get rid of it. First we removed all the junk that had been being stored behind the garage. This exposed the entrance to it's den which we plugged up with some rocks. A week later, we borrowed a trap to use to catch it but never ended up actually using since by then we were pretty sure it had already moved on to find a different home.

We were wondering what we could do with this space to avoid any further destructive animal activity. I've always wanted a shade garden but up until now, all I ever had was full sun. This seemed like a great opportunity to gain some more garden space.

So far I've done some planting and embedded about a third of the stone pathway. I've still got the other two thirds to go. Plus I'd like to add a few more plants still this year and mulch. I'm very happy about how it's turning out so far.

We're calling it our secret garden since you'd never guess that it was there.