Monday, June 18, 2012

Chipping Away At Projects

We've been lazy about updating the blog, mostly from being pooped after real-work and house-work.

Jeremy and Elle at our weddin'
The Back Yard
The pool has come in quite handy to cool off after yard work.  Matt has taken to wearing his swim trunks for outdoor work so he can immediately dive in when we're done.  Close friends, Jeremy and Elle Alcorn, came by for dinner and brought fantastic gifts of a cantilever umbrella, fire pit and tons of bug repellent products.  Our back yard is shaping up nicely.  This is the year of "slash and burn" gardening, probably next year will be more about planting an proper landscaping.

Cool umbrella

Le fire pit

A quick wood holder I built out of
scrap 2 x 4's we had lying about

Creepy Crawlies
While rooting around for some wood to burn that night, Jeremy found some strange "things" all over the leaves of one of our trees.  We figured out they are spider mite eggs, which will hatch sometime soon (the thought of the amount of mites to be released gives me the heebie jeebies).  The eggs are quite dense on the leaves, and even on the branches of the tree.  There are three trees of the same type in our yard and they are all infected.  Spider mites can kill a tree, I wanted to take the zombie apocalypse approach and strike strong by cutting all of the trees down that day.  Matt's cooler head prevailed and we are going to try a tiered approach of pest management.  Step one is lady bugs, we released 3,000 last week and have seen three since then (insert Price is Right losing sound effect here).  They are probably hiding in the siding of our house to spite us.  Matt is sure they hunt at night, but with the degree of infestation I think we need to move up a level.  The next step is to buy "spider mite destroyers" (Stethorus punctillum).  Their only prey is spider mites, and once that population has been depleted...they cannibalize themselves.  The third level is spraying a bunch of chemicals all over the place, but we'd rather not get to that.

Horrendous, disgusting spider mites

Pit Progress
We're chipping away at the Pit slowly and I think we're in the home stretch.  To ease the 9" drop between the foyer/kitchen level and the floor of the Pit, I built two steps.  They each run the length of the opening between the foyer and the Pit, and the kitchen and the Pit.  The treads are nice pieces of oak that we've routed and stained.  With four coats of polyurethane, I hope not to have to refinish them for a long while.

Potpourri of photos:

New register cover...not sure why you would even put a
register directly in front of a door, but we're not going to
dig up the concrete slab it runs through to move it.

After two passes with a rented carpet cleaner, I still
tried  to spot treat the skid marks left by years of recliner
use.  It's been a while since this photo was taken,
amazing what it looks like today.

Pulley system I rigged to lower the bird feeder for
easy filling.  Before the pulley I was just running
the rope over the branch...then the rope broke.

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