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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some Recent Pics

*Yummy brunch at the beautiful Art Nouveau-inspired Loie Fuller in Providence*
*Spring has sprung*
*Skinny Cat, Fat Cat*
*the impatiens cuttings have sprouted roots*
*J.P. Licks-an integral part of our Meat CSA pickup routine*
*Windows open & fresh air blowing on that one beautiful Saturday*
I could definitely stand another one of those sunny, 75 degree weekends....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leftover Pizza

One of my favorite ways to "resource manage" is to make Leftover Pizza. It's a great way to use up any any odds and ends of veggies, cheese, and (pizza-appropriate) meats. I generally roast the vegetables with some salt and olive oil first (not only does it make the veggies taste extra good, but it keeps the pizza from being too wet), and we try to always have some pizza dough stashed in the freezer, ready to go. Our favorite is Portland Pie Company's whole wheat dough, made in Portland, ME and carried by our local Hannie's (Hannaford).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wish List: Garden Tuteur

With our Todd Farm Flea Market excursion less than 2 weeks away, I've got a running list of things to keep an eye out for. One thing I'd really love to find is a tuteur for a fledgling grapevine growing behind the house. It's all that remains of the previous owners' huge and prolific grapevines that we've seen in several old pictures.

Something like these would be nice...
Wouldn't it be fantastic to have grapes (even 1 bunch!) growing in the yard?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Roof

Easiest home improvement project so far...just write a check, and the job is done in a day and a half. :)

And After:

We're really happy with the result!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Random House Updates

Bathroom. New highly-recommended plumber, shower valve fixed, and we are tiling away. We only have a roughly 2'x2' patch of wall left to tile, then grouting, and then (gasp) painting! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! But no more pics until the big reveal...I'm going for maximum impact here, can you tell? :)

Yard. Steven and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather a couple weeks ago and started cleaning up the yard, which had been neglected last year, if not longer. We raked, put our new leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher to use (awesome tool), weeded, pruned the large burning bush, and poked around. I was absolutely thrilled to see some flowers coming up! So far it's daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and...drumroll....the peonies are starting to poke through!

Trees. We had a couple of arborists come out to look at the 3 mature Norway maple trees in the yard and suggest a maintenance plan for them. Most notably, they explained why the leaves were all munched up last summer: winter moths. Apparently, these little invaders have become a major problem in eastern MA over the last few years...they lay their eggs on the tree in the fall, and in the spring the little larvae eat the leaf buds and leaves, severely crippling the tree. The treatment plan consists of one application of horticultural oil in the early spring to smother the eggs, and a subsequent treatment with a bacteria that infects the caterpillars. From my point of view, these natural treatments are a must-do for us, as these 3 trees are a crucial part of our yard...without them, it's a turf field with no privacy and no shade. In addition to the moth intervention, the arborists suggested some structural pruning and deep root injection of fertilizer in the fall. Just add it to the list.

The Great Flood of 2010. This past Sunday, I went down to the basement to do some laundry and discovered a lake!!! (PANIC) Our sump pump was apparently stuck in the "off" position and we had at least 3" of water throughout the whole basement, as well as plenty of soaked debris (dirty laundry, a carpet, wood scraps, cardboard boxes, etc). Luckily, when Steven trudged over to the pump and triggered the float, that puppy started cranking. But our homeowner morale had taken a major hit...we have a water problem!? is our basement going to flood regularly? what about mold and mildew???? did we buy a lemon????

Fast forward to Monday. Turns out we needed to put it into perspective. Two of my bosses stayed home to deal with their flooded basements, and one of Steven's coworkers had spent hours sweeping water towards the 2 sump pumps in his fieldstone basement. Not to mention the serious flooding throughout the city...T stations flooded, train tracks flooded, cars half submerged, retaining walls collapsing, closed roads, rivers overflowing, etc etc. Turns out, our 110 year old basement did pretty well in an extreme weather situation. In fact, it's relatively dry right now, with some pooled water in low spots. (hello, WetVac.)

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the roof did OK, too. Of course it leaked, but a single bucket kept it in check. New roof in a couple weeks!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The roof, the roof, the roof is on...

its way out.

You know how our "major" ($$$) project of the year was going to be to rewire the 2nd floor? Well, we had that all worked out, found a contractor we liked and a price we could stomach...so we gave him the go ahead to start. Except, 4 days before his team was scheduled to come in and start their wire-snaking, wall-cutting extravanganza, we had that big rain storm with near hurricane winds...

And discovered that our roof is leaking. As in, a bucket was needed.

This did not come as a HUGE surprise, as the roof is ~20 years old. But suffice it to say that we were not planning on having to deal with it right away. So anyways, we called off the electrician, and started hunting for a roofer. After several contractors, and a really wide range of quotes (do these guys just pull their numbers out of thin air?), we're moving forward with the works: rip the current shingles off, repair any damaged boards, install a ridge vent, drip edge, ice and water shield, new flashing everywhere, and GAF architectural shingles in charcoal:
I'm actually really excited to have a brandy new roof, and I think it's going to have a big impact on curb appeal. Since our current shingles are A) older than dirt, and B) a greenish gray...

I think the charcoal is going to look really crisp. Oh yeah, and not needing a bucket will be cool, too. :)