Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cruising Through the Garden

I may have made the horticultural summit: there are no backbreaking landscape projects looming on my personal horizon. The work that remains can mostly be jobbed out in the judicious interplay of homeowner labor and hired work that is the essence of domestic economy.

A cordless reciprocating saw will, I hope, make short work of the heavy pruning that is due. Other debris I'll mulch with the mower. Doing so feeds the lawn. Follow safety precautions to the letter and wear steel-toed boots.

The most efficient way to edge is with a very sharp border spade. I mow the shaggy strips of sod that result. 


Timing is the essence of yard work. Weeding is trivial when the soil moisture is correct. Early mowing produces lush turf. Plant when it's rainy to get things off to an easy start. The growing season in Western Washington starts in October -30-
More after the jump.

This Old Chair

An heirloom easy chair was too formal for life under this roof. I protected the fine upholstery by hot-gluing a layer of denim over the elegant wool, making sure the glue was applied along edges and seams that would not show should I want to reveal the original covering.

The arrangement has worked out well. I added ornamental patches of fez embroidery that happened to be in the collection. The arms are showing signs of wear, and I'm debating how to patch them. I can stop in at the closest thrift store and pick up a pair of jeans or I can order stick-on fabric patch from the Great Big Hiking Co-op.

Diana Phipps hacks upholstery in Affordable Splendor. After getting a breathtaking $5,000 1982 dollar estimate for recovering the chair's sofa-mate, I flipped the chair upside down, pulled off the muslin barrier to pests, and noodled around with sisal cord and elastic webbing to revive the ruptured springs. It was well worth the trouble, although it took a few hours to complete the work. The chair has held up to a busy family since around 1985.

The two pieces of furniture would be irreplaceable today. My grandmother paid half as much for them in 1926 as she did for her first house a few years earlier. In old upholstered items, look for one that's heavy for its size. That indicates a hardwood frame. There's a non-obvious benefit to vintage padding: it won't kill you if it catches fire. Set magical sliding castors under each foot to relieve strain on old glue joints. Lift a piece on the sides with arms, and always have two people do the work -30-


More after the jump.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Catching Up

I discarded the microwave a few years ago in a fit of simplification. Recently my shopping habits changed and it became convenient to pick up frozen burritos for life support on market day. I muttered something about a microwave to the family scavenger, and he promptly brought one up from the basement stash.


I'm glad of the restoration. It's easy to cook straightforward low-fat vegetables now that they're packaged to go straight from the market basket to the 'wave -30-
More after the jump.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Daily Life

Current opinion by a retired US Navy Seal is that dirty hands are more dangerous than dirty water -30-
More after the jump.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Prettiest Cottage on the Hill

A meticulously conserved turn of the twentieth century house is on the market. It's on Thomas Street east of the Bank of America on Broadway. See it while you still can.

I had a chance to glance around the main floor about ten years ago when the owner was selling a friend's art work. The space appeared to be in original condition. A house of that vintage is built of irreplaceable straight grain Doug fir from six hundred year old timber. The wood grows stronger than steel as it ages. The original walls would have been lath and plaster, that is fire resistant. 


The tiny garden is enchanting, and the owner has set out bags of excess produce when his crops ripen. The property has excellent solar exposure because it is surrounded parking lots -30-
More after the jump.