Garden Fence - 2013 Version!

May 30, 2013

Back in May, 2011 I built the beginnings of a wattled fence for the garden.  It started out quite nice and I thought it had a lot of potential.  Everyone I showed pictures to liked it.  Neighbors who walked by liked.  Seemed like such a great idea.  Here's what it started out looking like:
The idea was to continue adding branches over time and make a nice solid fence. This kind of fence has been known to last many years, and as it seems I do a new fence every year or two - this seemed a great idea! You know the old saying, " laid plans," ? What I didn't plan for was this:
Thaaaat's fell for it didn't you?  I can hear it now...awwww he's so cute!  What a sweety! He's so adorable!  Well, all those things are true for sure...but what you don't know is this adorable representative of the Man's-best-friend club made an absolute mockery of the wattle fence!  Oh he wasn't vicious about it or anything.  As a matter-of-fact, soon after it was built I found Linus in the garden.  I couldn't believe it!  I went out and looked and couldn't find one stick out of place!  It took a few days before I actually watched him - he simply nudged a brunch up, and gingerly stepped through.  Good grief!  What is his fascination with that garden??
So what now?  A new fence!  I belive this must be at least the fifth version of a fence for the garden, I'd like it to last awhile!  Here's the simple requirements:  1- It had to be durable, 2-it had to look good and 3- it had to be Linus-proof.  That's it...nothing special.  I started thinking this through last fall.  A million trips to Lowes and Home Depot and considering all kinds of options later... the first order of business was to remove the wattle fence.  Good-bye formerly great idea.
Then it was time to do a rough fit to see how it would look. Thaaaaat's right! The wrought-iron looking fence! I thought it would be a nice contrast to all the wood going on in the back yard. We let it sit for a couple weeks to see if the layout was going to work for us.
Turns out, the layout worked just fine. So I removed that bit of grass that was on the inside of the fence, then dug a trench for that plastic border stuff that helps keep the grass from growing back into the garden.
Then it was just a matter of getting it all lined up.  
Oh, and for the first time I added a little 4'x4' raised bed to the garden. We have pretty hard soil so I thought this might give some of the root veggies a little better chance!
There you have it!  2013's iteration of the garden fence.  And look at those strawberries coming in!!

The Hint of a Patio?

May 21, 2013

I don't even know what else to call this thing. Pavers under the garden bench? Eine Kleine Patio? Well, whatever it's called - it's about time. I love my little garden bench but sitting on it in summer always left the ankles exposed to all the mosquitoes that seemed to hover under the bench. On top of that it always looked a little sloppy because not much grass grew under there, and occasionally a neighborhood cat would decide it was a great place to sleep - at least until Linus came out!
So this season I decided to do something about it.  First I laid out the 16" pavers to get an idea of positioning and so I'd know exactly where to dig.  The nice thing is this was a small project so the digging was minimal.
Then I just laid out the pavers, leveled them, and swept some soil into the cracks. I wish I knew the name of the pavers, but they are a kind of oldish looking brown with gray and I really liked the design. I got them at Lowe's for about $4.50 each.
The whole project took about an hour-and-a-half.
This is a good shot because it puts things in perspective. Believe-it-or-not, I actually like the fact that there are at least four different types/styles of pavers going on in the back yard!
One more project done!

173 Has A New Roof!

May 19, 2013

1927.  That's right...86 years, that's how old the roof was on ol' 173!  Well, yesterday marked the end of an era. The Bangor slate roof, original to the house, was replaced with shingles.  Believe it or not, it was a difficult decision to make. When we bought the house in '97, one of the things that attracted us was the slate roof.  We had a roofer look at it and he said it was in decent shape but needed regular maintenance. With said maintenance we'd get anywhere from 15 to 50 more years from the roof.  Well! That sounded great! I wish we had the internet back then, well I suppose we did but certainly not in its current iteration!  I found this great site called Slate Roof Central, which gives a great tutorial on identifying and caring for slate.

One of the more common of the PA black slates is "Bangor" slate from Bangor, PA. It is a smooth surfaced finely grained slate that lasts about 90 years. - from Slate Roof Central
So every year or two we'd get some maintenance repairs done.  The problem is, 173 is a tall house with a steep-pitched roof and I gotta tell ya - I ain't goin' up there!
So every couple years we would have to dig around to find a reputable roofer who could do slate! Then came 2012...yet another roofer went up there and when he came down he told us what he found. The slate was just really getting brittle and was crumbling badly.
It had to be replaced.  The roofer gave us an estimate that included so many details that goes into a roof that I had never before considered.
After about eight months of mulling, thinking, studying, considering and delaying... the decision was made! So here are a few pics of the project: First I have to say I love the care and consideration the crew gave to the side of my house:
And my neighbor's house:
After removing all the old Pennsylvania Bangor Slate, they put down a new roof deck...
Then of course...the underlayment (felt paper):
Then they did all their stuff and in two days time, a new roof!
Now, a new roof isn't flashy, and in a picture you can barely tell, but in person - a world of difference! And a new roof, while not flashy, is a big deal and here at 173 - it's done!

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