Saturday, January 31, 2015


When Jill and the kids moved into their house a little over a year ago, they were very excited about the hot tub on the deck.  But alas, that old tub had serious plumbing problems and after much fixing that didn't work, the decision was made not to pour any more time or money into it.  

The tub was in an enclosure that looked like a garden shed.  The shed blocked the deck from having any real view of the yard.  It was scheduled for demolition.

Today was the day.  Jill rented a truck and recruited her brother, her dad, her friend Steve and her Aunt Jan to help.  I was in charge of lunch and whatever. 

When I arrived later in the morning, deconstruction had begun.
Shortly thereafter Jill arrived with the rental truck.  She asked Steve to back it up into the yard.  And there it remained for the next almost two hours, stuck.
Yup, that truck was stuck.  After trying many different means of extraction, Jan finally used her little Subaru and pulled it onto firmer ground.  We put the truck back in the driveway, and work on the shed resumed. 

This work was too heavy for me, so I gardened. 
I cleaned up the dead plants around Irene's tree in the pot on the front porch, and added some pretty primroses I had picked up on the way over this morning.  Then I weeded and removed dead annuals in the beds along the front of the house.

Irene hugged me and said that "Treey" was very happy to be cleaned up and pretty again. 
It was about 4:30 when the shed was reduced to pieces and the pieces had been stuffed onto the unstuck truck. We all helped with the clean up. It was a lot of hard work, and everyone was glad it was done in time to get the debris to the dump.
A local hot tub company will be coming to salvage anything they might be able to use from the defunct tub.  Later in the spring we'll add railings and pressure wash and repaint the deck. Jill vows that there will be another hot tub back in that spot someday, just open air this time. 

There's always work to do in an older home. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Kitchen Project

It was on my list of to-dos for January to clean my kitchen.  I don't remember when I last emptied every cupboard and drawer, sorted and discarded, and scrubbed and cleaned. 

I must tell you up front that scrubbing and cleaning are not my favorite things to do.  

I also wanted to change out the lighting in the kitchen. When we first installed these florescent light fixtures, I really liked them in the store, but I was never happy with the way they fit against the ceiling, and after a while they just seemed too heavy.
I liked the abundance of light from the florescent fixtures that had replaced the standard ceiling lights of the new construction.  The long tubes lighted up the whole space well.  But the lights were ugly and flickering and it was time for something new.

We went shopping and found LED light fixtures that use no bulbs.  In the photo above, the light by the window is already a LED replacement. 

These are the new lights.  But in replacing the old fixtures, we had to paint the ceiling, so we might as well paint the whole kitchen.  

So after days of scrubbing cabinets and drawers, I began scrubbing woodwork and walls.  We moved everything out.
Tom washed the ceiling and the soffits, and he did the taping and painting, while I stayed ahead of him with the scrubbing. 

The first day he got the ceiling and soffits done.

The second day I finished the cleaning and Tom got the walls painted. 

Then we deep cleaned the floors.  I crawled around with a scrubby sponge, a spray bottle of cleaner and a bucket of water to get all of the corners and edges.  Tom used the electric floor scrubber to do the rest.  
We got everything moved back in.  

Because the new lights no longer extended over the peninsula there was a shadow over the stove and counter.  We solved that problem with a different kind of LED lighting, diode strips. 

And now it's all done and all clean and all back in place.

I still have to tackle the pantry, but I need to rest up first.  

And I have a Super Bowl to watch.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pretty Pictures - The Volunteer Park Conservatory

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last week cleaning my kitchen, emptying all of the cupboards and drawers, cleaning and sorting and washing surfaces.  This morning I cleaned the refrigerator.  Now Tom is scrubbing the ceiling and walls in preparation for painting.

None of this is pretty, so instead I will post photos of the garden club field trip we took on Saturday.

Volunteer Park is an Olmstead Brothers designed park in Capitol Hill in the city of Seattle.  We met there and spent a bit of time enjoying some of what the park has to offer before visiting the conservatory.

This is an iconic photo in Seattle.  The sculpture is perched on a platform overlooking a reservoir high above the city center.  We called it the "Doughnut" or "The Tire" but it is actually called "Black Sun".  I know because I looked it up.  I'm not so sure I like the real name better. 
 It frames the Space Needle.
This old park has big old trees.
 Janet, Tom, Sherril and David posed for me so you can see the size of this "shrub". 
 The sculpture is across from the Asian Art Museum, a wonderful art deco building that used to house The Seattle Art Museum before a new building was built downtown. 
 Hellebores announce that even in winter, the soil nourishes life. 

 April was waiting for us at the conservatory.  It has been recently refurbished, but retains its Victorian grandeur. 

It was warm and moist inside.  It took a bit for my glasses and my camera to adjust. 
Lovely orchids were set off by glowing greenery. 

 Plants are BIG in here. 

 The cactus house is still being replanted, but there were some cool specimens. 

 A selfie in a gazing ball. 

We went on to the Arboretum Winter Garden, but I have already shown photos from our scouting visit there two weeks ago. 

We had lunch at Cafe Flora and enjoyed lots of good talk, from flowers to football. Everybody is talking football around here!