September 25, 2007
The benefits of the fiber cement include fire, rot and insect resistance, 30% recycled content (fly ash), and low maintenance. Cedar is esthetically pleasing, renewable, locally sourced, and also rot resistant, but may require slightly more maintenance. Cost is about the same for both.
Has anyone out there had any good or bad experiences with either of these materials? The houses on my mom's street are all sided with cedar lap and shake siding that is almost 100 years old, so it's obviously a durable product, and I definitely like that it's traditional in this area.
Our deadline is Wednesday afternoon - please help!
September 19, 2007
I'd say that more than half of the tomatoes we got have succommed so far, and the rest of them are still as green as they were at the beginning of August. This is so disappointing - we planted about 17 plants, thinking that would give us plenty between the two of us for canning and salsa, etc., but it looks like we're going to have to buy all that stuff this year.
There are still some beauties hanging out there though! The above Speckled Roman is huge...
I'm going to leave the tomatoes on the plants for the next few days, but it's supposed to start raining again soon, at which point we'll bring them in and let them ripen on the counter. My mom cut off most of the extra foliage last week hoping that it would hasten their ripening process and prevent the spread of the blight, so we'll see how that goes.
Did anyone else suffer any major crop failures this year?
September 17, 2007
We started out giving the doors just a light sanding thinking that we'd rough the surface up a bit in preparation for priming and painting. The problem with that plan was the layer of latex paint that was improperly applied over the oil paint (no primer), leaving it to peel off and gum up the sander. We really weren't too keen on sanding the lead paint - we got a respirator and were very careful - but the sight of lead dust flying through the air (near our garden!) freaked us out, so we abandoned that plan pretty quickly.Our second option was to use a product called "Rinse or Peel" by Biowash, which is an environmentally friendly paint stripper made with orange oil. It's a thick paste that you spread over the painted surface, and I hate to say it, but I really wasn't expecting too much. Imagine my surprise when we went to scrape the door about 15 minutes after applying it, and the paint pulled off in great gummy sheets! We ended up leaving it on slightly longer the next few times (about 30 - 40 minutes) in order to remove more of the paint layers, and that worked amazingly well, taking us down to almost bare wood.
The best part about this stuff is that you can scrape off the top layer of paste and reuse it on the next door (up to 5 times, depending on how many layers you're stripping at one time). It also kept the lead paint well contained and out of the air.
As for the door knobs and hardware, which were also covered in multiple layers of paint, we tried a couple of different things. At Monica's recommendation we soaked them overnight in vinegar to soften the paint so we could scrape it off.
After all this work, I think I'm beginning to understand why the original owner decided to replace these doors with brand new ones instead of refinishing them (okay, only sorta)!
September 13, 2007
September 10, 2007
This Rock Melon (back) caught my eye because it was so darn ugly, but it smelled absolutely heavenly, so I decided to bring it home with me. The Tiger Melon was something I considered trying in the garden this year, but didn't, so I thought it would be a good idea to test it to see if they're worth growing (they taste much like a Honeydew, but are the perfect size for one person). The Yellow Ruffled tomato was just plain pretty, so I picked it up too.While savouring these farm fresh delights, it occurred to me that I had the makings of my own crop of unusual fruits sitting right in front of me, so I scooped some seeds from each one and set them out to dry (tomato seeds are easier to dry if you soak them in water for several days until the gelatinous coating on them dissolves).
September 05, 2007
We almost always camp whenever we go to the island, but this time we rented a gorgeous little cabin with my mom and stepdad (can you believe they still want to spend time with us when we're living with them already?!). Saltspring is known for its sheep farms, hence the sign at the door (it's not actually called the Whitbread Lamb Inn, the cabin is built on what used to be sheep pasture).
I spent a lot of time sitting here, reading or just taking in the surroundings.
We even had an outdoor shower at our disposal (which I never used because there was also a clawfoot tub inside). Besides, I would have felt a little awkward being watched by this guy...
This adorable Pacific Tree Frog could be seen regularly taking his morning siesta on the ledge overlooking the shower.
We saw lots of other wildlife as well, including ravens (it was so quiet there that you could hear their wings on the air even when they were hundreds of feet away), deer, and several snakes. My mom, stepdad, brother, and sister-in-law even saw orcas (we, of course, were off doing other things and missed it all)!
Watching the activity in the tidepools is always a fun way to while away an afternoon.
The gardens in front of the house were planted with lavender, which was buzzing with insect activity, and a favorite spot of the dog's.
Even though we didn't camp, we made sure we got to the park to take the annual photo on our stump.
I've got many more photos to share with you, despite the fact that my camera decided to quit working part way through the week. Luckily my mom is also a photographer, (and one who can afford the fancy equipment - I got to play with her Nikon all week!).