Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Porch redux.

How do I start this conversation? You see, I had NO INTENTION of starting the porch project this season. This year really. We're fresh off 6 months (yes, six months) of solid non-stop work on SWIETENIA. More on the old boat - a lot more - in later posts.

I was looking forward to a tranquil weekend of boat rides and BBQ's, maybe some weeding in our aforementioned 100% drought tolerant parking strips. But Ginger wanted to open up what I knew to be an ENORMOUS can of worms. I knew the posts were rotten, that the sill plates were shot and I knew it would be a long, expensive, and difficult project. Much like what we just went through with the boat. Which won 3rd place in the Opening Day parade, BTW. See I'll get everything in this post...

Let's look at a before picture:

Acceptable-looking sort of. but enough for another year. Yeah I know there are problems but the layman doesn't and probably wouldn't even notice the death-lean of the step walls. The insurance company doesn't know there aren't any railings. But, alas, Ginger wanted to get rolling on it, so on the hottest May 17th on record, we get going on a project that I predict will last the next six months.

Upside: Chainsawing down that craptastic old lilac was highly satisfying. Thank you STIHL.

What I didn't know was this: That it would take five dump loads - so far - and that good ceiling boards are $0.71/LF right now. We only need, oh, 900 lineal feet or so of those. And a new front door. And a new deck. And a new railing. And new steps. And new step walls. And we have to completely start over on the columns save for a little bit of trim. And the column foundations need a skim coat. And the step walls need a new concrete foundation. And we need new CDX sheathing on everything. And the price of gas was $4.15 today. And this is why I might be grumpy sometimes.

Why are house projects so much less satisfying than anything else? I can sand the boat all day. As tiring as that can be, I guess that IS better than raking petrified raccoon poop out from under my front porch in 90 degree heat with a respirator sliding off my wet, dirty, sunburnt face... Yeah, I'll take the sanding.

"Is this the path to self-actualization?"


  1. Mark--you do love it. Does this mean I have to start a blog? Come on--everybody's doing it.

  2. Sammy,
    Did you really hate that lilac bush?
    Where is the plant of the week Mike said you promised?
    Can I call you Marky Sam the Plant Man and post my gardening questions to you here?
    Here is my first. Last fall I planted a little sugar maple on our parking strip. And turns out I put it in a bit crooked. It is leaning just a bit to one side. Well I'm finally ready to do something about it. But I don't know what. Should I dig it up again and try to put it in straight, or should I just get a post and some twine and pull it straight? I'm afraid if I try to dig it up it might die like the watermelon plant I transplanted last week. Help.
    Signed, Afraid and Confused.

  3. Yup, I hated that lilac. For two weeks of sweet smelling glory you have to put up with an ugly, gangly, shrub with uninteresting foliage and bark. for the other 50 weeks of the year. Blah. But they're drought tolerant and can survive in Minnesota, so they got that goin' for 'em, which is nice.

    Did you find the plant post? Next one in the sequence. So for your Acer saccharum, just stake it. Get a metal stake or a piece of sturdy bamboo and put it in about 18" away from the tree trunk and string it up straight. This way, the tree can still sway in the wind side to side but not in the direction of the lean. Swaying stimulates vigorous structural root growth. Do not dig it up. It's too late in the season to be transplanting plants this big unless you want to water it every day until September!

  4. Thanks for the tip, I'm on it. And I have to agree with you about the ugliness of the lilac when it is not in bloom. I've thought that myself, but always shoved it to the back of my mind because it's bloomed fragrance is my absolute favorite in the world. My next is honey suckle. I think I still want a lilac bush though, especially since I now know they are drought tolerant. My mom said they were water guzzlers, so that put me off getting one this spring.


Look at you, reading our blog!
We like comments....