Friday, October 2, 2009

Mad Scramble

The open house is in two days, so it's an all-hands-on-deck scramble here. The landscapers are planting/digging/wiring/plumbing furiously. Saturday (tomorrow) should prove to be a crazy day.

The front yard is starting to really come together and we are loving it - very, very interesting design that stops people in their tracks.

We are getting many compliments on the house and the yard from complete strangers, which is very satisfying:

Here's a progress shot during mid-day. They are planting the berms, but haven't put down the woodchips yet:

We have horsetail reeds wrapping the front corner of the house - they sort of look like minature bamboo, but aren't as invasive.

The whole yard is done with low water plants and a rather complicated drip irrigation system to save water.

I'm still frantically pounding away on projects - to the point where my knees are rubbed raw and bleeding from all the kneeling (yes, even with good kneepads on).

Here's shot of a "finished" older (nearly a week now) project - the "trap door" landing at the side door:

The plan is to store hoses, car wash stuff, gardening tools, etc.

It still needs a gas spring counterbalance (yet to be designed) since the lid weighs a stupid-ton, but that will come later. As least visitors won't fall in a hole or off a temporary landing.

I've been working on a ton of different things. Here's the last major project, in process. This is Cathy's "corner office" desk. As everything else, this one turned out to be trickier than I wanted. The alcove that this goes into isn't square and the walls aren't flat (all in the worst way possible - back is longer than the front), so it had to be scribed to fit properly. I won't bore you with the painful details, but to mention that the thing is a solid slab that weighs probably 40 or 50lbs so it's just brutal to heave around.

Cathy decided to go "hot" with the color - it's a transparent orange stain. I think it will look really stunning in the office. The plan is to install it tomorrow (Saturday) - closing out the last big construction project before the open house.

Another project that came late was the fire ring in the backyard, around the sculpture. We had joked about putting one of these in many years ago, so I had already run a gas line out to the planting bed which made this a relatively easy project. Keith thought it would be fun to do it for real, but I couldn't find anyone that had a large diameter fire ring in stock, so, naturally, I resorted to DIY mode - how hard can making a leaky pipe be?

It is made from "soft Copper" piping from Lowes, connected with compression fittings. I didn't trust solder due to the heating situation. Cathy and I were up past midnight (wearing oven mitts) last night fine-turning the number and size of the holes. Nothing fancy or precision here - this is "landscaping accuracy" work:

And the landscapers piled the "La Paz" stones (I'm pretty sure "La Paz" translates to "solid freakin gold" given the cost of these things - hand-picked off the beaches of Mexico, I'm told) on it today:

And here it is all aflame tonight:

A "real" ring would have cost $400-600 - this one works pretty well, all for about $80 in parts from Lowes + some sweat equity .


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