Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fear and Trepidation

If you are the owner of an old home, you will then relate to this story -

I noticed some rot on the fascia on the roof over the front porch.  Okay, no big deal.  Just rip down the old board and throw up a new one, right?

Well, if you are an old home owner, you know that things are usually not that simple.  

Almost every time I rip out some old wood, there is usually a lot more damage hidden away.  A 1 hour job ends up taking 4!  Water is the enemy of all structures.  When you find some damage, you have to figure out where it is coming from, or you will have the same problem again.  So it was with some fear and trepidation that I tackled this job.

I got some 1 x 6 boards from 'Home Desperate' and primed them.  I pulled out the ladder, hammer and pry bar and tackled the fascia.  I struggled with it at first, but once I got it partially separated from the framing, it came off fast.  I was relieved that only the fascia was damaged.  It appears that water was finding its way down the overlap between 2 sections of drip-edge. No problem.  I put up the new fascia, painted the front of the fascia, and wrapped the corners in sheet metal flashing for a clean edge.  Whew - just a 1 hour job.  Dodged that bullet!

Being Memorial Day weekend, I hung a red, white and blue bunting over the porch.

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 21, 2010


I threw on one of my favorite cycling jerseys and went for a ride after work.  It was a warm afternoon with light winds.  About 7 miles from home I had a flat (darn it).  As I was standing on the side of the road pumping up my tire, I noticed a fellow approaching.  He asked if I had everything I needed and offered me a ride.  He had the look of a cyclist (the thin build and shaved legs are a give-away)!  He left and I went on to get 22 miles in (at a 20 mph pace - pretty good).

Anyway, thank you for the offer, whoever you were.  Though it was not needed, it was appreciated.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Letters From Home

We went to an ephemera auction today.  Ephemera auctions offer paper items for sale, including books, magazines, legal documents, advertisement, trade cards, postcards, stamps, letters, posters, photographs, etc.  There were a lot of interesting items for sale, though nothing we had to have.  Frankly, when I pick up items at auctions, they either have to be utilitarian (like tools) or have obvious decorative use (like pottery, etc.).  Many of the objects could be used as decorative items, but the most interesting were more personal, such as the photographs and letters.

Many of the photos were from family albums. Generation after generation of people were in the albums and boxes.  There were score of letters, some appeared to be years worth of correspondence between husbands and wives from World War II and other times.  I remember when my father was overseas in the 60's.  He wrote to mom every night.  She would write back.  Those were the days when you couldn't email, whip out your cell phone, or Skype back home. We would get a phone call once in a while, but it was costly.

It was sad that these items seemed to find there way from someone's estate into the hands of strangers.  I was glad that there are people who find such ephemera of interest, but I couldn't help to think that such items should be in the hands of a family member.

In time, my mom and dad disposed of their letters (probably as a common house cleaning chore).  They both passed over 7 years ago.

I would love to have a few of those letters now...

Auction Update:

As I mentioned in a previous post, we had picked up a Coca Cola sign.  I fitted it to a wooden frame and hung it on the side of our barn.  It looks great.  We'll continue to look for more signs.


Little Suzie Homemaker . . .

We finished cleaning up the ironing board and painted the new toy iron we got / made for our granddaughter.  We put new rubber caps on the ironing board legs, painted the top, and painted the iron grey and white.  My wife will be bringing this out to our granddaughter in a few weeks (along with the antique doll carriage).

This was a fun little project.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So Sad, Too Bad . . .

We had a hard frost the last 2 mornings.  Unfortunately, the bleeding hearts did not fare too well.  I know they will bounce back (they always do). My wife really likes them (she has good memories of her maternal grandmother's bleeding hearts).  So sad.

However, as I walked down to the creek (passing by a rabbit which ignored me), I noticed the knotweed took a big hit.  Not bad, so glad!

Auction Update:

Last weekend, I had put in an absentee bid for a Horrocks and Ibbotson 'Ike Walton' fly rod. Usually, they retail for $100.  They were never very fishable, but look nice on a wall.  I went as high as $75, but lost to an $80 bid.  Not mad, just sad.

The wife put in a lot of bids for crocks of various sizes.  Needless to say, she got a bunch of them.  We also picked up 2 green stoneware bowls.  Very glad!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tools and Toys

We  did some antiquing the last few days, and I found a few items of note.  I picked up a couple of wooden clamps (16" opening).  They weren't antiques, but the price was right ($35 for 2, retail is usually over $25 each).  We picked up a Coca Cola sign (~ 48" x 18").  It was probably made in the last 20 years or so.  It wasn't enameled, but the read and white paint scheme will look great on the barn (only $20).  I'll post a picture later after we get it on the barn.

The most interesting find was a wooden bar clamp.  There were 4 for sale.  I just picked up 1.  It is about 5 feet long.  It would have been used for clamping larger furniture pieces and tabletops.  I really liked the wooden screw.

We had small 'bird house' we got an an auction (actually, it was shoved in a crock we bought - it came free).  I had a spare stair spindle from another project, so I made another decorative bird house to put over in the side garden (I sometime call it the white garden as we have other white items there mixed in with the wildflowers).  I gave it a couple of coats of paint.

We picked up a child's ironing board.  We will touch up the paint.  It didn't have an iron, so I whipped up one.  It too will need to get painted.  I hope our granddaughter will like it.  I am pretty sure she will!

Happy Mother's Day

We have a pair of robins that nest in the holly bushes by our deck.  I was lucky enough to see one of them all puffed up and sitting there.  It was cold and snowing here, but the parents were on duty!

I wish Happy Mother's Day to all moms, moms-to-be, and moms who aren't here to share these wishes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Fine Afternoon

I was caught up and work  Since it was a nice day, I left work early.

The Better Half with the 2-Man Saw

Last night my wife and I went to a preview at the local auction house.  I was interested in a 2-man saw and a bamboo flyrod.  Today, the wife went to the local auction house and got a bunch of large crocks (12 gal, 6 gal, 5 gal, 3 gal and 2 gal) and the saw.  She put in absentee bids for a few other items and the flyrod.  We'll find out on Monday if we got anything else.  I was excited to get the saw (and only $25).  The handles are tight, the blade is straight, and the teeth are well set.  It needs some cleaning up and sharpening.  I hope to get to it this weekend.

I took a bike ride when I got home.  I came across a neat barn with a cupola on it.  It was a little rundown, but it was still quite interesting.  We always fancied a cupola on our barn.

I found a large bunch of trilliums along a wooded hillside.  They are some of my favorite wildflowers.

I came home and worked in the yard.  I have kept up with the mowing, but I needed to trim the edges.  I got out the string trimmer and broke bad on the edges.  I then mowed the yard.

I noticed that the bleeding hearts are blooming, as are the lilacs.  New growth is leafing out on the larches.

Even the knotweed is reaching for the sky.  I took a picture 1 week ago.  The knotweed has gone from 6 inches to over 18 inches in 1 week.  I'll be getting the scythe out in a few weeks to knock it back.

Young Knotweed

1 Week Later . . .

We grilled steak and served it with fries and a salad for dinner.  Quite a nice afternoon indeed!

We're off to a big used book sale in Ithaca tomorrow.  Wish us luck.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gettysburg Barns

Road trippin' with my two favorite allies

Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies

It's time to leave this town
It's time to steal away
Let's go get lost
Anywhere in the USA

Let's go get lost
Let's go get lost

- Red Hot Chili Peppers

The wife and I went to Gettysburg, PA last weekend.  It is something we have been wanting to do for years.  We love history and historical sites.

We left on Friday and drove down to Gettysburg.  There was a lot of construction and delays on the highway.  We decided to just get off the highways and see where the local roads would lead us.   We programmed the GPS to get us there and just enjoyed the small towns and the country.  I wish we had more tme to stay a while in some of these towns (we especially liked Bloomsburg, PA).

We stayed at a historic inn in town that was known to be haunted.  The only spirits we saw came in bottles!

We did a tour of the battlefields.  You go to the visitor's center and buy a CD which guides you through the various sites in order of their occurrence over the three days of the battle.  It was great!  We had awesome weather and got a great sense of the terrain the battles were fought over.

Being a 'barn' guy,  I was able to enjoy some of the barns in the area.  Three in particular were interesting.

The first was a 3-story bank barn.  The top story (like mine) would be the hay mow.  The second level would hold the livestock, while the basement would be the collection area for the manure.  The overhang of the second story allowed the farmer to shovel the manure.  This barn was located east of Oak Ridge in the battlefields.  What a beauty.

The second barn was the most interesting.  It is a privately owned barn which adjoins the battlefields.  It is known as the Trostle barn.  The Trostle's owned this barn during the Civil War.  I found this interesting because it is primarily made of brick, and there is a cannon ball hole in one gable!

The last barn is known as the Codori barn.  The Codori farm was located in the fields west of Cemetery Ridge. For those of you who know about Gettysburg, this is the area where doomed Pickett's Charge occurred.  From what I have read, the southern soldiers were clustered about the barn and using it as protection as they moved up the ridge.  What history!

There were other barns about the grounds which were prominent in the battle.  I cannot believe the history these buildings have seen.  It is great they are still preserved.  I would really like to go inside these barns and see how they are built.