Vacation, Anniversary and a little porch work

Took a much needed vacation from work to celebrate our 25th Anniversary and to work on the porch and maybe a little rest.  The weather has been in the 98-100 degree range so that has hampered some of the work on the porch.  I love it, but  Lynn, not so much.  The mere mention of the heat and he is hunting for a cool corner, man cave, with a TV.

What we have done since the last blog post, isn’t much to write about.  We went shopping and got more lumber.  2x6x8 and 2x6x10 for our roof rafters and ceiling joists.  More of those doohickeys that go on top of the posts and joist hangers, and ordered some crown molding that will be used on the trim on the house.  Not able to match the existing trim so we will just have to make due.  Picked out a sagey greenish grey for the trim.  Home Depot called today and said it will not be until Monday, so I won’t get to paint and instal it until a week from Sunday.  Ugh, I hate waiting.

What I did manage to do was put up a trim 2×4 and clean and prime and paint the fascia board underneath.  We also got some aluminum to put under the drip edge to further sheet the water from going down on the crown molding.  The actual trim board around the house is not a good design to keep the water from rotting it.  Living in a very dry climate most of the time tends to help it last longer.  So the aluminum will not be all that great to look at, but it will function better and besides, you really aren’t going to be able to see it that well, and it is only going over the back porch roof.

One of our main goals is to make it functional, nice to look at and keep the critters out.  At one point a few years ago, we had a family of squirrels living in our attic not to mention a very large (vacant) bees hive.  So what we intend to accomplish in the time remaining before the rain and winter weather comes, is to get the roof on and the molding replaced at least on the east side where we get lots of weather.  And call it good.

Lynn is actually incapacitated with his back, so we are basically at a dead stop at this time.  As much as I know about what to do, I don’t have the muscle to do it alone.  I did get some of the hardware on the posts, but we discovered that we actually need to cut a foot off of the posts to make the ceiling  and roof rafters where we want them.  It will still make for a shallow roof incline, but it will shed water and snow.  Also, it needs to be high enough for a ceiling fan, that we plan to put on the porch for ourselves and for Kinzie (our collie) to bask under.  The only thing I can promise is, it will get done before fall.

In the meantime, I get to kick back and read.  I most favorite thing to do.

Annie, the lazy-on-vacation carpenter 🙂

A little of the trim board.
A little of the trim board.
Getting ready for the crown molding
Getting ready for the crown molding
Some post hardware goes on
Some post hardware goes on
Got some tools of the trade.
Got some tools of the trade.

Porch Project Moving at a Snails Pace

Well, I have the next 7 days off and I’m hoping to get some progress on the porch.  Though the temperatures will be in the upper 90’s, it is at least a dry heat and we can somewhat work in the shade.  Went to Home Depot yesterday and picked up more lumber and paint, plus ordered the crown molding that goes on the fascia.

Today I was excited about cleaning the house exterior which will actually be covered up.  Then preparing the eaves by washing, scrapping and painting.  Didn’t get too far in it when I was moving the ladder with the hammer still on the top.  You guessed it!!  The klutz that I am, the hammer fell on my head.  Couldn’t believe I did that.  I said some pretty awful swear words and got a gash of about 1 inch with lots of blood.  Maybe the elderly shouldn’t be allowed to have sharp heavy implements.  Or should be monitored closely.  Remember a couple of weeks ago when Lynn accidentally hit  me in the head with the 4 foot pipe clamp?  Well, I had just gotten over that.  Now this.  Ugh, I think I will be getting a head ache from this one.  I’m just glad it was my little hammer verses Lynn’s framing hammer.

You know when you are working on a 100+ year old house, you are going to find some remuddling.  Well we didn’t escape that.  Where the fascia boards and crown molding will go, the carpentry was cobbled up.  it appears that maybe they couldn’t do it right from being on the roof so there is about a 2 inch difference in the opening from one end of the porch to the other.  It is something we will have to just do some adapting because to do it the way it should be done would require reworking the whole roof on the house.  That isn’t happening.  The part that will needs to be modified is not structural.  Somewhere along the line, someone put a pony wall in and laid the roof rafters on that which is well done.  It was cobbling the extension of about 6 inches to accommodate the crown molding that is  done incorrectly.  The underneath fascia is straight and level, so that will stay.  When you find something level on an old house you want to leave it alone.  So I did get more old rotten trim boards off and a couple more will be coming down.  So I washed then primed the fascia board with Kilz Premium Primer, (the best primer) and put one coat of paint which is a sage green/grey.  I Like earth tones.  I hope it will all come together in the end.

While I was doing the cleaning, scraping and painting on the eaves, Lynn was replacing the floor in our horse trailer.  That needs to be repaired before we go on our trip in August to pick-up on 4 month old colt.  We are naming him Cheyenne.  I will post a picture of him when he was just a few weeks old.  What a beauty he is.  It has sparked some new life in Lynn.  Something to look forward to.

Speaking of Lynn, we will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary on Tuesday.  With all our projects and working on building our dream home and all the other projects in between, I am surprised we haven’t throttled each other.  Those 25 years went really fast as I look back on it.  We lost both our mothers, survived a major flood in 1996, back surgery in 2004, heart surgery for a stint in 2008 and numerous other life events.  But the fact that it appears to have gone by quickly says that it was a happy 25 years.

More in a couple of days.

Annie, the klutzy carpenter.

Cheyenne

1975 horse trailer
1975 horse trailer
Lynn's photo-op
Lynn’s photo-op
Fascia problems
Fascia problems
The other end of the fascia
The other end of the fascia

Prep Work Behind the Scenes

This weekend saw a little progress.  You know unless I am seeing a lot of physical progress, I refer to it as “a little.”  Yesterday after grocery shopping and having lunch, I went outside and screwed down the remaining decking.  Of course it took a couple of hours.  Slow but sure.  As I get older, it takes longer to get things done.

Today, I painted the 7 posts that I have for the porch.  They are 4X6 posts that will be used for the upright posts and the headers that the ceiling joists will be sitting on.  I know, confusing right?  At least it is for me, so I have to think about it and roll it around in my mind.  I see it kinda like a puzzle and all the pieces have to be put together in the proper order and, you just can’t rush it.  I am learning patients, everyday.

On another front when I was cooling off after lunch, I was cruising the internet in search of fascia moldings.  We have to replace the 5 inch molding along the roof line.  It has held up for 100 years and is finally looking tattered and torn.  In other words awful really really awful!!  We need to replace about 60 to 70 feet of it.  Of course I am not finding the exact pattern.   I think we will probably have to substitute something similar.  We cannot afford to have someone duplicate it exactly.  Even the ones that they have in the DIY centers are expensive.  It’s on the weather side of the house, so I would rather have pvc or urethane as it would hold up in the weather.  On the weather sides, we have a hard time keeping paint on wood.  I am open to any suggestions or if you are aware of a company that is affordable, I am all ears.

I am attaching photos of which I am truly embarrassed to be showing, that we have let it get this bad.  But the inside of this home had been the focus, then the front porch, now the back porch.  In between times we are working on the dream house.  I hope I at least get most of those projects finished by the time I retire.  That gives me about 4 years.

Back to painting.  I began painting some of the slats that will be on the railings on the back porch.  I finished 27 of them.  As with all my painting now, I begin with Kilz Premium Primer.  It is the best I have ever used.  It is exceptional in adhering to the raw wood and makes a great foundation for paint.  It also has to wear off my hands.  I tried many primers over the years and finally saw this primer in Fine Home Building Magazine.  If you ever need really good information, that is the magazine to buy.  We have found lots of good information in there.

I follow the primer with Behr Paint Semi Gloss from Home Depot .  We have so much dust here that the Semi Gloss sheds the dust easiest.  It has shown to be a good paint and holds up well.  I don’t get the paint with the primer in it as that is unnecessary when using the Kilz Premium Primer.  We shop at Home Depot as it is the only DIY center close to us.

Next weekend begins my vacation.  I am going to take a week off to work on the porch and celebrate our 25th Anniversary.  25 years of DIY, I am surprised we have made it this long, working together on these project we tend to have some short tempers.  My husband is dreading it, because he said I am trying to work him to death.  He dreads the weekends and says he feels guilty if he isn’t out there working alongside of me.  That bothers me because I don’t want him to feel that way.  I know that he does as much as he can, I just wish we could afford to pay someone to get this done, but until I win the lottery, I guess this is as good as it get.  I think you have to play the lottery to win, hmmm, I guess we won’t be winning the lottery any time soon.  Hopefully, we will include a few fun things, like going to breakfast at the Maple Counter and lunch or dinner at a good restaurant.  Can’t be all work and not play.

Well it is back to work tomorrow (the paying job) for another week, then some much needed vacation time.

Until next weekend, stay out of the heat, and I’ll see you later.

Annie, the happy porch lady 🙂

Final coats on the posts
Final coats on the posts
Slats being primed
Slats being primed
Posts are done
Posts are done
Slats are done
Slats are done
Sad looking trim
Sad looking trim
Missing trim
Missing trim
Above the porch.
Above the porch.

And the Wall Comes Tumbling Down

A productive weekend.  Never as far as we envision, but I’m good with it.

Spent our Saturday going grocery shopping, then a second trip to town to our main hang-out, Home Depot.  Picked up some white paint and some beveled 2×2’s for the spindles on our porch railings and some 2×4 hangers for the posts and miscellaneous things for wiring and such.  What a project.

Sunday we began this morning with knocking down the remaining wall.  We had only left it up so Kinzie wouldn’t get out of the back yard.  Her wonderful domain, but we want to keep her safe and she is never allowed out of the yard unless we are with her.

I hated this wall, so I was thrilled when Lynn said it is coming down.  Yeah!!!  What can I do to help?  Well my job was to cart all the stuff out to the demo pile for disposal later.  I can do that.  Then we replaced the temporary front framed 2x6x12 that helps to give the deck a picture frame style.  I finished demolishing the old porch floor and further exposed the tree stump.  It appeared that not long after it was cut down the porch was built and the tree had some sprouts that made a mangled nest.  I took a picture of that too.

By this time Lynn was hot and exhausted, so we stopped and had lunch.  I think Lynn is done for the day, but I may go back out and start painting some of the spindles (trying to think of a better name because they aren’t really spindles).

Oh well, you know what I mean.  That is what I am going to focus on this week, and have them ready for next weekend.

So take care, and I’ll update you next weekend.

Annie, the happy novice carpenter.

And the East Wall comes down
And the East Wall comes down
See all the tool on the freezer?
See all the tool on the freezer?
Look at the size of the stump
Look at the size of the stump
More Stump
More Stump
Growth from the stump, maybe 75 to 100 years ago
Growth from the stump, maybe 75 to 100 years ago
Looking west into the back yard
Looking west into the back yard
Looking East where the wall used to be.
Looking East where the wall used to be.

Happy 4th of July – Progress on the Porch

Happy 4th of July America.  This holiday gives you pause to count your blessings that we live in a country where we have all the freedoms we enjoy.  If you work hard you can achieve your dreams.  You know we are not wealthy, but we have our health, a roof over our head, food in our belly, and the right to worship as we choose.

Building our dream home is one our dreams.  Granted it has taken a looooong, time but we have worked hard and have enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  With a few detours.  The present one being our back porch in the little house we live in.  So now that I have led into that, here is our progress for today:

A day off work at the office, but a day of work on the back porch.  I did take some pictures as I wanted to record this project and have a look at the before and after pictures.  Today Lynn put up another trim board and cut away some of the obstacles to it laying flat.  Then he cut the deck boards to size, about 10 of them, then went in to get out of the heat and recuperate.  That is when my job began.  I drilled pilot holes so I wouldn’t split any of the boards then screwed them down with 3″ deck screws.  Love to see progress and watching the porch be transformed from something that I was ashamed of to something that I am proud to show off.

My two week project has turned into March, April, May, June & July, maybe August project.  Not regretting doing it.  Just sometimes get impatient with myself that it takes me and Lynn so long to do any project.  We always envision the projects going much faster and smoother.  I guess it teaches us patience.  I should be about finished with learning patience, and I am ready to graduate.

Lynn managed to mow the weed infested back yard on Tuesday.  Looks so much better.  It is dried out weeds, but at least they are all the same height, so it doesn’t look so bad.  Looking at the back yard and front yard, just lets me know what other areas of this house have been neglected.  My wish is that someone stops me the next time I am in Home Depot and offers to do a yard makeover.  I want a rich luscious green lawn with underground sprinklers on a timer and well groomed flower beds with beautiful butterfly bushes and humming bird feeders.  Weeded and no fox-tails in the lawn as they burrow under Kinzie’s fur.   I absolutely hate fox-tails.

Nodded off for a minute in dreamland, but I’m now back awake.  Well maybe someday that wish will come true, but I don’t think it will happen this summer.  Ho hum.  I will just have to settle for a beautiful porch.

Our plan for this weekend is to finish up the deck of the porch and begin the railing.  Back to Home Depot to get the railing material and I will then get out my trusty paint brush and begin more painting.  Oh, I can’t wait.  But for tomorrow I am back to work at being a paralegal and loving that job too.

Take care and thanks for reading my little blog 🙂

Annie, the tired patriot porch builder

This is looking from the back kitchen door out toward the yard.
This is looking from the back kitchen door out toward the yard.
Doesn't that look so much better?
Doesn’t that look so much better?
Porch Deck about 3/4 done.  Then the railing and roof.
Porch Deck about 3/4 done. Then the railing and roof.
Finally got the dryer vent put together and it will stay that way with little screws.
Finally got the dryer vent put together and it will stay that way with little screws.
Next to the stump, not able to dig, so we improvised.
Next to the stump, not able to dig, so we improvised.
We get to remove the 4x8 sheet of plywood and get some more done.
We get to remove the 4×8 sheet of plywood and get some more done.

The Porch is baking and so are we.

  • The weekend started with grocery shopping, of course.  A necessary chore.   Then on to Home Depot for more lumber, stain, and miscellaneous painting implements.  By the time that was done, so were we.
  • Began assessing what we would do on the back porch Sunday, and Lynn went in as he is still recovering from the back injections.  I have been amazed he has been able to do as much as he has.  He is no spring chicken (rooster) as he will be 74 this year, but hopefully the back injections will relieve some of the pain in his back.  So far so good, he has been able to do about 3 times more hours of work without hurting.  Before, after only an hour on his feet and his legs and back would hurt so bad he would have to stop, then it would take him a couple of days to recover.  Needless to say his life sucked, and he hated it.  Add to that, he needed to lose some weight.  Quite a bit of weight.  Which is very difficult when you can’t be the least bit active, and when moving around any, is a chore.
  • It has been almost 2 weeks since the injections, and he has been losing weight easier and has more stamina.  He still has problems with getting winded and dealing with exhaustion.  Hopefully, that will subside as he continues to lose more weight.  We can only pray.
  • While he recovered from the two trips to town, I proceeded to stain the 24 more 2×6’s.  They are ready to be put down.  I stopped for the night and decided to do some laundry, and get some needed house work done.  The plan is to wake early and get out and moving on the porch as it is predicted that we will be having some record breaking highs this week.

SUNDAY

  • Up bright and early.  Had a little breakfast then began lugging all the tools, extension cords, compressor, gloves and anything else that we thought we would need, out to the porch.
  • Lynn cut the pressure treated posts and we put down some concrete square bases for them to set on.  I want to say pavers, but that isn’t what they are.  I’ll include a picture next week.   We couldn’t put a footing in as the stump roots won’t let us.  Remember that monster stump, well we are building around it the same as they did 50-75 years ago when the original porch was built.  Wise people.
  • I played the demo diva again and removed more of the old porch for about another 6 to 8 feet or so.  Attached the dryer vent which runs underneath the porch.  It has been a problem crawling under there and trying to put it back together when it comes apart.  It was constantly coming apart.  Put it together this time and used sheet metal screws to attach it so it won’t come apart.  Much easier to put together when you aren’t laying on your belly.
  • We attached the remaining 11 foot  2×8 along the front.  I am starting to get excited with the progress.  What can I say, doesn’t take much to please this girl.  Just a little progress.
  • Now, with all the demo, we can’t get to the back door, which means that I will need to go out later when it cools down a little and put more boards down.  At 1:30 the temperature was 96 outside so we broke for lunch and decided to stay inside for a bit.  Although we have been drinking lots of water, it is still too hot to try to work in that heat.  It will probably be about 6:00 or after, when we will go back out.  I am doing this on Word and will copy and paste to my blog later and add to it with further adventures of this weekend.
  • Later, Lynn still hasn’t recovered well enough to go back out.  It just isn’t worth it to his health to try.  So, I had some cleanup, of the old porch tongue and groove boards that I ripped off earlier.  Needed to cleanup any debris, so if Lynn feels like mowing down our weeds in the back yard, he can.  Since I won’t be putting down anymore deck boards, we went and got a 4×8 sheet of ¾ “  plywood (out of our scrap pile) so we can access the back door.  That is a must for Kinzie, our beautiful collie building inspector.  She has been spending a lot of quality time with us in the house as it is just too hot for her outside.  She is getting a wee bit spoiled.
  • We may be able to work on it on the 4th as it is supposed to only get in the high 80’s.  So back to work tomorrow and squeeze 5 days work into 4 days.  Love holidays, and you really need them by the time they come around.
  • Well that’s all for tonight folks.  I promise pics next weekend.

Anna, the hot novice carpenter 🙂