Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Remodeling Our Hut: Part 36 Stair Carpeting and Tractor Shenanigans

 The end of September is nearly here and it is high time I update the progress and lack of progress on the remodel. 


 Since it has been over a year since we started this adventure, we're sort of shame-faced we're not further along, but with us, every project takes more time than we originally thought it would.  Add Covid to the mix, and well, everything gets delayed.


Anyway, picking up where I left off in April 2020, we needed to have carpeting installed on the upstairs staircase. 

Carl had fought with rearranging the entire staircase in October 2019.  This is the only area of the house to be carpeted as every professional advised us wood steps would be beautiful, but also slippery and therefore dangerous.  Since I've already demonstrated my ability to descend staircases on my derriere more times than I care to count, yes, please, bring on the carpeting.
 I was able to order the carpeting right from home using our sample number and the carpet installer went to pick it up so we didn't have to leave the house at all.
Before the carpet could be installed, Carl had to figure out how to cover the formerly plastered wall with hardwood and add the step caps to the outside of each step. 
Lots of tedious work.


The carpet installer came in late April and we vacated the house while he worked here alone for the sake of social distancing.  When we came back home, though, we noticed a problem with the installation due to height differences between the riser and the additional wood trim, so the installer had to come back at a later date to do parts of the job over.

Finally, by May 4, the stair carpet was done.

By May 12, Carl was working on the staircase railings.  He had some complicated math to work out, so we put up a temporary handrail for the time being.

With Spring springing up all over the yard, we decided to put a halt to the indoor work and focus on the front garden landscaping.  Everything in the front yard had been torn out prior to the remodel, so it was dismal coming home to a big mess in the front yard.  And besides, the gardens themselves had been neglected for almost a year, and Mother Nature takes back her domain in no time when the gardener is a slacker.  Oh the weeds!

The Quarry Pond was at a nice level in early May, but the landscaping was full of weeds.  I really didn't know where to start, but decided it was high time to downsize a few more areas. 

The Quarry Bypass Trail with the split-rail zig-zag fence was something I really hated to part with, but I had no time to weed the area any longer, so I took out the fence and relocated the hostas to a shadier area near the Formal Garden stone wall.  Now that the plants are gone, I merely have to mow the area.

The hostas are much happier in the shade again.  

 Joel and Abby had been waiting to plant their lawn since they moved in to their new home in December of 2018.  Carl and I went up to help Joel rake up stones and plant grass seed May 23.

The next day, Sunday, May 24, Joel and I took two of our tractors and joined a neighborhood tractor parade of approximately 30 other tractor enthusiasts, going 20 miles around the area to drive by some neighbors who have been struggling with their health. 

Joel is parked in front of me and I followed him the entire route.


Everyone took a break at noon for a lunch at a local golf course where we ate outside.  I never thought I'd drive my dad's 1972 tractor and Joel's 1954 so far from home, but it was fun and worth it to see the smiles on the faces of the people waiting for us on their front lawns.  There's a feeling I can't explain when you see that many old tractors all together going down the road, it never fails to choke me up.  Joel and I left home with our tractors (top speed of about 18 mph) at 9AM, drove the 20-something miles and arrived back home at 3PM. 

 We all need a break from stress and worry during these times, and what could be better than a few hours driving across the countryside on an antique tractor waving to happy people?  

I know it's a day I will never forget.  :-)


Monday, September 28, 2020

We're Still Here

Summer is over and fall is upon us once again.  This year has been challenging in so many ways, but we're still here.

The hut remodel is still dragging on, we are getting down to the smaller details now, but there is still a lot to be done before the snow flies.  I've been absent from blogging due to lacking time to write as much as I'd like.  We've got the ongoing construction here and sadly, the demolition of my late mom's house at the moment, so it seems all we do is work, but I guess it keeps us out of trouble.  :-)

With a little luck, I hope to one day write a Hut Remodel post with the title, 'It's DONE!'  
It's coming soon.  (I hope.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Garden From a Visitor's Point of View

 Easter came and went, very quietly.  Carl and I had some leftovers and watched the rain slide down the windows at dinnertime.  

As soon as the meal (such as it was) was over, Carl went back to work on the staircase.

We'll both be very glad when this part of the remodel is complete.   There is still a lot of work to be done, though. (Stay tuned for progress updates.)

Anyway, the other night I wasn't able to sleep, so I did some online searches for hosta gardens to ease my mind.  My search eventually led to a page about the American Hosta Society National Convention that was held here in Wisconsin in June of 2019.   

As I've blathered on before, we were one of the tour gardens for the approximately five hundred attendees.  If the pandemic had occurred last year, I have a feeling we wouldn't have had a convention and I highly doubt we would have remodeled the house, either.  What a difference a year makes...seems like it was so very long ago.

Anyway, what was I saying?  Oh, yeah, I was looking at pictures of gardens and thought, 'Gee, this looks familiar, someone else must like rocks,' until I realized it was our garden I was looking at.

If you look close, you can see a tourist roaming in the background.
One thing that never fails to amaze me is how different our garden looks when pictures are taken by other people.  They find angles I never dreamed of, apparently.  

So, that said, what follows is a bunch of pictures taken by tourists last June, along with my scintillating commentary. 

 It certainly was a wet, gloomy, dreary June day, but thankfully for us, at least we had no downpours when they were here.

Above is the view out of our new dining nook.  Well, it doesn't look like that right now, due to the remodeling excavation, but with a little luck, we'll get it back in shape soon.

 Below is one of Carl's stainless steel sculptures, in a view I've never succeeded in capturing.

The dome in the Formal Garden with fresh pine needle mulch.  

After the rocks, the second most-asked question when we have tours is, 'Where do you purchase your pine needle mulch?' 

 The answer is we have free mulch for the taking in the Back Eight.  (And my dear friend Ann is The Best Mulcher.  Ann came and worked for two days straight mulching for this convention!)

The third most-asked question is, "Aren't you worried about acidity and PH levels from using pine needle mulch?"  

The answer, nope.  Once the needles have dropped to the ground, most of the acidity has already declined.  No problems here.

Hosta 'Iris Frazier', looking very impressive last year, this conventioneer was a great photographer.

I realize I have never written about the sculpture pictured above.  We entitled this one 'Blue Skies'.  Carl welded this up last May and I stuck my two cents' in and we added the stained glass.  I'll have to devote a post to it soon.
The Escarpment and Hosta 'Liberty', always a showstopper and my favorite plant.
Another view of the Quarry, and another unique angle.
Hosta 'Center of Attention' which apparently was living up to its name.
The old Pan Fountain (Carl's light shades on stands) from a fresh point of view.
Not sure what caught the visitor's attention about these hostas.

This is a seedling bed behind the Quarry Hill which has some interesting specimens of ours intermingled with some named varieties with 'Sutherland Gold' sambucus.

Hosta 'Chiquita' with bright spring coloration.

East side of Quarry Hill, with a 'Miss Kim' lilac in bloom.
Another specimen of 'Center of Attention', just a split off of the main plant.
Carl's rotating ball fountain.  We had to take this all apart for the remodel, and now it's plopped in a pile in front of the shop.  We'll have to find a new home for it. 
Northeast side of the Quarry Hill.  I've never taken a picture of this area which is why I was puzzled at first as to whether it is our garden or not.
The Quarry waterfall (such as it is) and goldfish and koi
Hosta 'Sea Thunder', an older variety, but one that caught the photographer's attention.
Tree grate and stained glass window.
The golden moneywort and a Picea abies 'Glauca Pendula' make an interesting combination.

I'm glad no one asked me what variety of 'daisy' these are; they spread from seed, and are quite prolific.  I've had them for years, but don't recall if it was something I grew from seed or a plant I purchased.  They bloom early for us, in May and with repeat in late summer.  I wouldn't consider them invasive, really, but they do get around.
The blue 'Tardig' in the background with one of Carl's stainless tank heads propped up on a PVC pipe with the whole shebang painted rusty red and my friend Brenda's fantastic Dragon Wing begonias planting adding color to the hosta bed.

We had the 574 and the Manley Wrecking Crane parked for demonstration purposes for the tour.  There were a lot of questions about how we placed all the rocks, and there's no better visual aid.
Yet another view from the top of the Quarry Hill with convention guests in the background (and our house, which doesn't look anything like that anymore.)

The entrance garden at the front of the house doesn't look like this any more either, but we're anxious to renovate it again now that the construction is done.

Hosta 'Designer Genes'
One of Carl's stainless rings waiting for a stained glass insert.
Hosta 'Captain Kirk' with a painted fern.
Random hostas and rocks.
Left to right: Serbian spruce 'Picea Omorika', Picea Abies 'Pendula Glauca', Picea pungens 'Fat Albert',  Thuja occidentalis 'Sunkist' and some rocks.
I think what caught their eye here was the tufa wall in the hosta bed.
The Pachyberm on the west side of the house with a 'Louisa' weeping crabapple.

Our 1930's Aeromotor windmill.
Hosta 'Lady Isobel Barnett' on the East Quarry Hill with a bunch of dwarf conifers.
The Lane Bed and a mix of hostas, ferns and rocks.
Middle of the Lane Bed, with some miniature hosta cultivars.
The Stone House still waiting completion..........
Random 'holey' rock folly.
Hostas and rocks on the Lane Bed, hosta 'Liberty' is the flashy one in the middle with the white margins.
Hosta 'Choo Choo Train'.

Hosta 'King Tut'
The Shop Bed.

We spent weeks sprucing up the garden for the convention, so it was nice to see a visitor's perspective after all the hard work. 

 I doubt we will ever have as many visitors again in one day, so we look at this one as our Last Big Hurrah.  It was fun while it lasted.  We're not getting any younger and my joints are not what they used to be.

But we have the next generation coming up, and who knows?  Audrey may want to follow in her silly grandparent's garden shoes.

She has a great love of rocks already, she's always collecting special specimens wherever she goes. 
                  There is always hope for the future.  

Before we know it, summer will be here.  Brighter days are ahead. :-)