Wednesday, April 30, 2008

random growing things

On one walk through the greenwood yesterday - in order - this is what I saw:

Sweet woodruff.
The Pod People - apparently also known as "Mayapples". I've never seen these before. They're everywhere!
Ferns. Also everywhere.
Here, the ferns and Pod People live together. Waterfront, you know. It's always crowded around waterfront - even a little stream.
Jack in his pulpit!
Toadstools. . . . ah - and (look carefully) ferns and that's a Pod Person in the top left. . . . just a bit of him. Oh, and there's one in the top right, as well. This is really intercultural living at its most multicultural!
Some kind of star moss, about to flower.
Laurel. And this is Lone Laurel - about to bloom.
The most amazing thing? All this is growing wild. Just there. Everywhere.

Monday, April 28, 2008

still only ALMOST done

Everywhere you see white Tyvek on the front of the house, stone still needs to go up.
So close. . . .

growing potatoes

I ended up with some sprouty potatoes and finally did some research on how to grow your own potatoes. I've been wanting to know about this for the longest time. Turns out that - although most people recommend that you buy "seed potatoes" (guaranteed disease-free and not sprayed to inhibit sprouting) - a sprouting potato is a good bet for being put into the ground to make more potatoes.

You can watch the videos about preparing the trench, planting the potato, 'hilling', etc., here.

These are the potatoes in question.

Here they are, cut into plantable sections.

After that, they go into a paper bag, for the cuts to 'heal' before going into the ground.

I have grand intentions of following through on planting - and documenting the results. Meanwhile, the cut potatoes are in a paper bag, in a dark cabinet. Here's hoping they don't first turn green or black or otherwise an offensive rotting colour instead! I haven't exactly been keeping up with gardening stuff. Too busy pointing out that this vent is under the tub, that plug is behind the bookshelves, and trying to figure out how rescuing a bit more attic space could possibly cost $750. (I haven't figured that one out yet).

Meanwhile, Figaro (the required fig tree - this is officially an Italian household, after all) and a new Camellia still languish in their 'boughten' plastic pots. . . . and the Sedum I'd planned to lift and divide this spring is already up and out and way bigger than I can manage on my own, without a backhoe.

I may just give up that idea and leave the overgrown Sedum to the next tenant.

Friday, April 25, 2008

studio fireplace

This is the studio fireplace - before parging. It turned out quite a bit different to what we had expected - but wow - I really think it's cool!Here we were in the planning stages. The switch to a stone keystone really made a difference. Larry [right; John is left] found the perfect stone; I saved it by keeping him from cutting it to make it more perfect. I'm not sure whose idea it was to put the extra brick in, but the guys are right: we may not even parge it, we like it so much. The library window [above] is finally uncovered. That means the roof is finally completed in that area, so: no more water-works there when it rains! Remember the front left corner? Well, this is it. From the inside.

Meanwhile, the other fireplace mantels arrived, but only the library one arrived intact. The other one didn't survive shipment. Thanks, UPS!

The tower is almost finished. . . . but the masons were no-shows today. They're down to a pallet and a half of stone, and I think they need a bit more of a selection to be able to work. I don't know this for a fact, though. I'm just thinking. . . .Something to look forward to next week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

the tower is almost done

With another day like today, and all four masons on the job, they might even finish tomorrow!

I can hardly wait for the scaffolding to come down, so I can finally see the thing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

there and back again

Not that much changed while we were gone.

Florida, it was. The land of Spanish moss and alligators. (or are they crocodiles?) Anyway - here's a picture of the place. 17th fairway, I think it was, dusk.Here's a picture of the stone already up at the greenwood, when we left. Here, you'll see there's a bit more up, after our few days gone. The rain has also taken off quite a bit of the stone dust. . . .Inside, the posts have gone up. After viewing samples, we had ordered the 'rough-hewn' posts. They are rough enough to take your skin off. Plan B: take the sample in to the supplier and request that he make the beams like the sample. Unfortunately, that will entail the making of sawdust. Lots of sawdust.

Live and learn.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

a little more brick. . . . stone

The porte cochère arch is done - on the outside, anyway - they'll probably get the courtyard side done today, now that the wood arch frame can be moved inside.

The arch frame for the tower was apparently built yesterday, which means that the masons can keep moving on the stone tower, as it's just about up to where the arched part of the door starts.

It's slow going, but steady. Meanwhile, brick has started going up, out back, but it's hard to photograph with all the scaffolding in front of it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

a couple more bricks in the wall

The brick is in around the window.The library window is getting stone sills & surround.
The stone is looking good, too!Another consult was necessary. The king, Larry-mason, and Tom-builder in conference over the angle of the wingwall.

moving on

From yesterday, more brick:More stone:
The fireplace inside Houndstooth Studio:Houndstooth exterior (yes, Cindy, the cupola is up!):And I think it's time for a 'big-picture' shot again:It's coming along!

For today: meeting necessary with masons. They're getting a little too precise with the stone, and over-cutting to [to-them] nice, regular, shapes. With beautifully natural stone like that, who wants smooth edges that make it look machine-made?! So often the workers just really don't get it that we like the natural roughness of wood, stone, and hand-crafted brick. . . . They want to get it all smoothed off, polished and shellacked. sigh. . . .

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

what a difference a day makes!

They started with the stone today. This is Dave, Larry, Bill and (in the background) Tom-builder looking everything over.The masons working on the stone seem to be real craftsmen. There's Doc, Bill, Dave, and Alex. In the picture below is Alex [left] and Dave [right]. They use a stone saw, chisel, and hammer to help fine-shape the rocks. It takes a long time. First, they select a rock. Then they look to see where it might go. Then there's the shaping and the trying it out in its place. Sometimes the rock is put aside and another selected, instead. Small pieces are in a container and used for wedges in between the big rocks. It's amazing to watch.Here's the side Doc and Bill have been working on. You can tell they're a bit more into the 'mostly square, mostly rectangular' shapes.Also today: John and the lads finished Hound's Tooth studio's chimney. Looks nice.Inside, the framing is almost done.I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Oh, here's our across-the-street neighbor's entrance. Pretty, isn't it? It's easy to see why so many people fell in love with Bradford pear trees. . . .I'm having such a hard time not going out and buying everything in sight for my garden! We're going to try and content ourselves this growing season with the fig tree acquisition 2 weeks ago. We've named him Figaro.

He'll merit a photo when he produces a leaf.

Monday, April 7, 2008

foreign critters

We met a lot of critters on our recent travels.

This little lamb hopes to grow up to a big guy like this one day.

Meanwhile, three adolescents take a bit of a rest. . . .before further kicking up their heels!"C'mon mom! I can keep up with the big boys. . . . I can!
I wanna kick up
my heels, I do. . . . Puh-leeeeeeze?!"
Now here's an interesting fauna amidst the flora.Don't recognize it? Here. This will help.
Speaking of felines, here's an excellent common lap cat specimen.
And this? The very rare country walking cat.
Now here's a dangerous-looking fellow.
Let's go a little closer.Just as I suspected! A loveable lout of a larcenous beast: Lex Luthor - thief extraordinaire. He swiped golf balls, jackets, gloves, a Wellington boot, and who knows what else. This particular tennis ball was not stolen, but our brazen attempt to bribe him to abandon his life of crime.I have high hopes for his prospects.

P.S. - I guess fish are critters, too. Here's one that didn't get away.

Don't fret - he was thrown back! In time to swim away and be caught again another day.