July Bloom

Some interesting blooms happening in our yard mid July.


Our porch is showing signs of rot, so we decided it is time to replace it.  At the same time, we wanted to replace the front stairs as they were looking a bit tired, and we really wanted to do away with the green and go with natural wood.  Mike flew out from Colorado to help with the project… we started with the stairs since that was the more difficult task and as of this publishing, we haven’t started on the porch replacement yet due to cold, rain, and lack of time.  But the stairs are done and they came out great (we used cedar).  And we get plenty of positive comments about our blue LED tread lights.

Garden Boxes

When Mike came out to visit in late February, 2011, he and Emily designed and began building 3 garden boxes for our back yard.  Then it rained for 2 months.  Finally Emily completed assembly when the weather broke, and we loaded them up with 2 cubic yards of composted soil.

Seeds were planted in early May, and look, plants are sprouting.  Emily is really looking forward to growing her own fresh vegetables.

Gas Fireplace Insert

Now that we have natural gas in the house, we thought it would be nice to install a gas insert into our wood burning fireplace. In fact we kept the cost of the natural gas installation lower by agreeing to install 4 gas appliances; the insert is our fourth.

We got 2 bids for installation, and went with Blue Flame Heating and Air Conditioning again because their bid was a bit better, and we were happy with the earlier work they did for us.

Neither of us care much for “fake log” gas fireplaces, so we opted for a more modern unit that uses broken amber glass as the fire bed. But before having it installed, we decided to redo the hearth as well. The hearth tiles were pretty beat up; we figure they’re the original 1924 tiles. In their place we opted to install large 16″x 24″ porcelain tile with a cool glaze that looks somewhat like rusty steel. We though it was a good transition between the modern fireplace and the Craftsman house.

The below photos show the project.

Light Switch Relocation

For some strange reason, persons in the past placed the light switch in Calvin’s room behind the door… not the most convenient location.  When Emily’s Dad, Mike, was here for the birth, he relocated the switch to a more user-friendly location.  Things finally calmed down enough around here that I could tackle the last step of this project: final plaster touch up and paint.  Once that was done, we could finally hang some artwork in his room, including this cool alphabet piece.

Gas Range

Now that we have natural gas in the house, our next priority (after the furnace) was to install a gas range.  The electric range worked OK, and was practically new, but we both prefer gas cooking.  I found this new (still in the box) GE gas range on Craig’s List and installed it in place of the electric range.  Certainly nothing fancy, but it matches our other GE kitchen appliances.  Some day we’d like to do a complete kitchen remodel.

There was only a single, 240VAC 40amp electrical outlet in this space, so I had to run a new 120VAC circuit and install a new outlet.  This task was pretty easy since the basement is unfinished and there’s plenty of access for running electrical wiring.  I also ran a new outlet to the fireplace in the living room for a gas insert (future upgrade).

The electric range sold on Craig’s List for slightly more than the gas range, so as it turned out, the upgrade cost us nothing.