Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ladder-Free Landing at Last?

It occurred to me this morning when I asked myself what I wanted to do today, that I could finish painting the stairwell.

It is a complex shape--2 landings, and a couple of 90-degree turns with a vaulted ceiling (at one place 20' high). Of course the floors are not level, and the passage is a very narrow 42" wide below the highest part. The first photo is just to show the resident inspector of high places, and to give some idea of the whole scaffolding set-up, which we took down a few weeks ago.

The second photo above is of the highest ceiling peak. To texture and paint, I have used a step-ladder, scaffolding, and an extension ladder with a leveler on one leg, so that it can be set up crosswise to the steps. I also have a 12' pole for the paint roller. I have painted everything but one or two patches of ceiling and wall, and all the corners where walls and ceiling come together. If I go at it in a systematic way, I could paint all the corners and the missed patches with one more circuit of ladder placement. The hardest part will be to have the paint bucket where I can reach it from the ladder, while being able to turn the long pole in the confines of the hallway, from somewhere on a ladder.

What is encouraging about this is that I will have to do all those ladder set ups and placements anyway, at some point, so why not finish it and have that lovely space free of obstacles.

It seems unreal that any part of the addition could really be that close to done, but in fact it is all nearing completion. The stucco is almost done. The color is on, but now we are waiting for the crew to come back and finish the texture. The downstairs is all painted, but there was a problem with paint colors, and much of it will have to be recoated. What I am really looking forward to downstairs is taking up the construction paper, and having my floor in view (and the cabinets which will be arriving when the stucco crew removes their scaffolding from the outside).

Too, there is still the flooring to put on the stairs and landings, and tile work to complete, but then the house will be liveable, ready to pass inspection. Baseboards and windowsills seem small details by comparison.

Toad Talk

A few weeks ago China-cat had a spell of bringing in birds to eat, and mice to play with and then eat. This morning I stayed in bed later than ususal reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, a book about an amazing doctor and anthropologist who, with associates, is probably responsible for quelling the worldwide epidemic of multi-drug-resistant TB, and changing the way the WHO defines the challenges of disease in poor communities.....

Anyway, China had been running around and sneaking around and playing, then settled down. After awhile, I heard some very quiet rustles and squeaks, and thought perhaps I had another mouse in the house. I looked over the edge of my bed, to where I thought the noises were originating, and there was a toad. He could not have been inside too long, because he looked fairly well-hydrated: his skin was moist. I picked him up and put him on the grass outside, where he can find a good toad home. I think that is the first time I ever realized a toad could make those quiet sounds.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Terrorist Ready"

That's what I keep thinking. My addition is getting its stucco. It is a process with many stages: first they stapled styrofoam with space blanket, adding R-value to the building, and making it into a giant "styrofoam cooler," then they put up the chicken wire. Then, the day they started putting the first coat of stucco on, they covered all the windows and doors with plastic. I know it is to keep things clean and unsplattered, but I can't help having my own private joke, remembering the onset of the current reign of terror inflicted on us by institutionalized terroristophobia, and how our president advised us all to wrap our houses in plastic, seal them with duct tape, so that if there were poison gases released, or anthrax spores, we would be "safe."

So that's where I am, inside my plastic-wrapped cooler, sore shoulders-hips-lumbar-knees, carpal tunnel tingles; slow-moving and creaky like the Tin Man when I get out of bed in the morning.

But the building is beautiful, and I love it, and am looking forward to moving in, though that may be a while.

It's a long way from my goal of "guest ready" in October, but that's still two months away, and I might still make it. You never know--I just need to muster up a little more enthusiasm.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Raspberries for Breakfast

Well, I have just picked raspberries to eat with my yogurt and granola for breakfast, before I begin the first drywall session of the day. I am applying texture to the new kitchen and living room at this point, and have to divide the work to give my arm neck and shoulder a rest. I am very excited about getting paint on the walls of my beautiful new spaces.

I still have a few apricots on the trees, they are tasty, and I enjoy one now and then, but mostly, apricots are done for the year. I met some wonderful people who stopped for apricots, and hope to see many of them again next year. I have begun selling produce, basil, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions are all producing abundantly. Pat and I cleared beds and pathways of sunflowers, mulched some wild places, and have planted arugula, kale, lettuce, spinach and beets.

I am still hoping to get a chicken house built in time to get chicks. Yesterday, I found a great deal on lumber, and have enough now to build the first chicken house.

There was a cloudburst a couple of nights ago, so much rain in town, folks kayaked on south 7th street, or at least one man did, and the newspaper had his picture on the front page. What i got was the most incredible lightning and thunder, and plenty of rain. And the next day, the water in the irrigation ditch was running a clay-rich milky chocolate color. I ran as much of that onto my field as I could get, and will likely do the same today.