Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Cedar siding

    We knew when we agreed to this design that our cedar siding would take some upkeep if we wanted to retain its color. Without a yearly coat of sealant, the wood will fade and eventually gray, and we want to keep it looking fresh as long as possible.

    Even though the cedar was sealed with two spray coats before it was installed, we could tell that it needed a refresh after the winter weather and Utah sun.

    It took both of us about eight hours total to seal, with the majority of that time spent maneuvering very tall and heavy ladders.

    We love the red look and can tell that the wood was due for a fresh coat -- it nearly glows now. So even though it will be kind of a pain, we'll spend the time once a year to re-seal the wood.

    (Also, we were sitting in church a little while ago and noticed this Bible verse from 1 Kings 6:9: "So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar." We had a good laugh.)

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010


    What do you do when you're flat broke but have an enormous living room wall that cries for art?

    You barter away an old red couch... your friends over for an evening of watching you bicker over leveling a huge sheet of painted Tyvek... your husband do death-defying stunts 13 feet off the ground...

    ...and replace the old couch with one you've spent two years saving for! (Found here.)

    Many, many thanks to our generous friend and artist Benjamin Wiemeyer for taking pity on us and doing the barter. We love the painting and the view from the sidewalk:

    (And so does the neighbor kid who just rode past and shouted, "I love your painting!")

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    More yard

    We got the sprinklers in, got the sod down and basically stopped doing landscaping work. There are a few things we have to worry about still, though, including our parking strip:

    Those used to be full of knee-high weeds, then we spent Memorial Day digging them out. The effort was so great, evidently, that we haven't done anything since then. Eventually, we plan to put in some weed fabric, plants and maybe some mulch or gravel to top it all off.

    This is on our south side, just east of our patio. The drain runs to the gravel pit buried in our backyard. The white pipe is a stubbed sprinkler line for drip irrigation, which we hope will someday water a few trees and other plants in that spot. Our next project, though, is to put some more paving stones in that space to create a landing pad for our garbage/recycling/yard waste cans.

    And here we're hoping to place mulch and a bunch of plants down here. But for now (because we don't have the scratch for plants) we are growing a couple of pumpkin vines, which is what the flags marked.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    Yard photos

    The last post was a little long on words and short on photos, so here's a few pictures to prove that we still love you all:

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    The Yard

    Wow. Where to start...

    ...perhaps the best place is with my/our massive underestimation of the time, expense and good humor our landscaping would require. Admittedly, I know nothing of these things, but I now foolishly remember saying things like, "yeah, Tai will get the sprinklers laid in a couple of days, then we'll get the sod in right after. It shouldn't take us more than a few weekends."


    With the first tease of spring in mid March we started planning and talking logistics. I think we made our first trip to the Sprinkler Supply Company in early April for a system design. And even though we are a teensy bit broke after building a house, sprinklers were something we wanted to spend the money on this year, knowing that this was really our only chance to do it well. Once we got a system designed and saw how much trenching this was going to take, we followed the company's suggestion and hired a trencher. Along the way, you realize that you really need another, different tool or you need five more of that one thing or it would be so much simpler if you had that other thing and all of a sudden all the charges on your account point to Lowe's. So it goes.

    Then, the dirt. Oh, the dirt. If we were mud flats before the trenching, we became mud topographies after -- trenches, vales, swales, sinks, mounds, and plains all made it look as though an army of burrowing rodents invaded Lincoln Street. It wouldn't have been so bad if not for the relentlessly precipitative weather this spring. It's hard to lay sprinkler pipe when the trench is under two inches of water.

    Anybody remember this incident? I remember the trauma of being 800 miles away and getting his text: "what's our insurance number?" During this sprinkler process I lived in fear (FEAR!) of getting a similar text or worse. Tai did nothing to assuage this fear.

    The first night he worked on installation I walked up to the front yard to ask him a question in time to watch a 3-foot length of pipe explode from our water supply line with a terrifying WHOP, rocket 30 feet into the air, drop onto the sidewalk across the street in front of two alarmed pedestrians, and give way to a six-foot geyser. The next night's performance featured the end cap of that same pipe exploding off into Tai's face -- without, thankfully, injury to anything other than his manly pride. The following night involved several iterations of "hey, babe, do you think you might want a little professional help?" conversations.

    But, dear readers, Tai is a total champ. These were not setbacks!, he claimed, these were learning experiences! He soldiered on in the face of my sideline skepticism. And, then, four weeks later, we had a functioning sprinkler system. Well, four weeks, many blisters, an incident involving pipe primer and eyeballs, and A LOT of bending-over back cleavage later.

    This is what we see now:

    And life is good.