Sunday, June 25, 2017

Redirecting Gutters

Bill, Christian and Leif dug a pitched trench leading downward and away from a central back gutter here which used to run along the trellis edge and empty onto the back lawn. They used 3" PVC Structural pipe and fittings which will carry the rain water under the back deck and away from the house foundation.

They also dug around the buried water pipe here leading to the back barn, which had developed a leak. Luckily the leak is in the foundation wall and the area will be jack-hammered to fix it from inside the basement. Fixing both these water issues will cost less than $100, which is wonderful.

Fun Farm Games


One of the older origins of the outdoor game"Cornhole", is a 14th century German farmer who devised it to replace children throwing rocks in a hole for sport (not always so safe). Bags of corn thrown into a hole in a wooden box was the result and the game came to this country with farmers. Any design can be painted on the box, and we chose the Norwegian flag to honor our sheep farming relatives there as well as Christian being born on Norway's Independence Day.

Christian used 2" X 4" boards for a frame and faced it with finished plywood with a 6" hole cut out. The paint is 2 coats of Rustoleum and bean bags are best ordered on-line. The back of the box is elevated off the lawn and 3 points are scored for a bag thrown through the hole, or 1 point for landing on the box. Christian is planning for a summer party.

Kubb (Viking Chess)

This lawn game originates from the Viking Era and is played on a rectangular field where opponents try to knock over wooden blocks across it and then the king in the middle; using wooden batons. Christian built this set quite quickly.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Power Washing The Deck

The back deck of this farmhouse was wonderfully designed and built with 2" pressure treated deck boards, rails and vintage colonial spindles as well as posts. The front steps adjust to the sloping lawn and angle to allow for rain runoff. It was neglected for many years and covered with moss and molds. I used a "ZEP" deck cleaning solution from Home Depot before power washing all surfaces twice with the strongest nozzle attachment. The cracks between the floor boards were cleaned first with a putty knife and then cut wider with a skillsaw where they had warped closed, so this deck will drain properly again.

The views from this deck are beautiful and it feels great to be giving it new life. After a full week of sun on it, we will sand the deck with an orbital 6" sander I got for $15 at our borough yard sale. Christian has picked "Cliffside Gray" Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Solid Stain for this deck which will have white railings.

Laying A Flagstone Path

The path to this old farmhouse had several large cast stones that had settled and cracked, collecting dirt and water. Bill and Christian removed the first five to replace with lovely blue flagstones. The bordering bricks were also taken out, the soil dug out and leveled with dirt and six bags of sand before leveling the new stones into place. The surrounding bricks were power washed afterward.

I have planted Otto Luyken English Laurels and Franklin's Gem Boxwoods next to existing William Penn Barberry bushes, around this path and Bill's sculpture. All attract birds or bees and not deer.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ceramic Garden Tables

Bill has now made quite a few ceramic garden tables which everyone loves as much as his garden seats. Each one is very different than the next and the glazing is wonderful on all of them. Gallery price is $2,500 each and nearly half that price bought directly from Bill. Two are now being custom crated and shipped to Florida. It is exciting to have his work so far from home. He sold two garden seats in Kansas for the same price and a museum there.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Restoring A Vintage Patio Table

This vintage glass topped outdoor dining table is a wonderfully simple design and a very sturdy structure. The glass top is 5/8" thick and edged with a dramatic; wide bevel. It was $40 "as is", and after sanding the metal base with 120 grit paper and triple zero steel wool, it was spray prime painted and finished with Rustoleum white paints we had.

This table will be used on the back deck which overlooks a cutting garden and meadows, so having it white and glass will allow pretty; open views from the sun porch behind it. Storing it is easy since the top simply rests centered on the base. Luckily the porch is always partially shaded and does not need an umbrella.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

An Outdoor Ceramic Seat

This garden seat had broken while being bisque fired, so Bill has glued it back together, filled it with urethane foam and painted it in a"graffiti style" with two layers and types of paint.

It is now a seat for us next to the stream at Christian's farm, where our dog likes to play with the fish and frogs.

We have been redirecting this stream some to keep the far side from eroding away too much. This is a very peaceful place to sit and listen to the stream and woodland noises.

Bill is now making ceramic garden tables...

Restoring A Schoolhouse Light

When Bill bought our first farmhouse, he also bought eight schoolhouse pendant lamps from a Princeton University sale of no longer needed items. We used them all over the house and have now given one to Christian to use in his farmhouse staircase. Bill and Christian polished, rewired and sealed this solid brass lamp which pivots and will light the space well with a strong LED bulb. Christian moved the electrical box first to center the light better.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Subtle Weeping Cherry Tree

It is very hard to find the enormous old weeping cherry tree in front of Christian's farmhouse here, but as you approach the house in Springtime the pinkness of it is a real marker. I love how this tree can cast a veil of natural lace over the front of a house.

This weekend, Christian bought a Golden Weeping Willow for the major bend in his stream which Bill helped him plant after four of us carried it across the stream. Behind it was a large Ash tree they felled because it was dying. I have planted six flats of blue myrtle in front of the house hedge.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Going Green With Paint

The living room of Christian's old farmhouse was painted a rich dark green on two walls with browns and green wallpaper on the other walls. The wallpaper did not survive the ten years it was left empty, so for now it has been stripped and scrubbed everywhere to be made quite livable.

The dining room has a dark green fireplace surround and the living room oriental rug has beautiful greens and browns while the library has lovely apple green walls...

Here are two wonderful rooms with green walls...(images via pinterest).

Below is Bill's sculpture now in the living room...

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Repairing Hand-Planed Wall Boards

Original Cape Cod homes had hand planed wooden walls built to create a bedroom for children
upstairs in the attic. At one time, the wall over this door to such a bedroom, was removed to allow for a drop ceiling. Bill used antique ship lapped/custom fit boards to finish this wall to the roof peak again.

Here is the other side of the extended wall with a reinforced roof beam.


For the past year, Bill has been replacing the old roof beams around the center chimney in this same area. I found similar aged and length replacement beams from an old farmhouse in Rhode Island which have tapered ends like ours. It has taken Bill many monthly visits here to carve and notch the stronger beams into place around a newer; larger chimney of three flues. Each beam was mortised in place and removed continually as another was added, until all four sides were fitted and complete. The roof was supported during the process which raised it nearly an inch. This 1717 house is now finished. WHEW!