Monthly Archives: September 2012

I’m no Norm Abram

I’ve been told recently that when I get bored, I get grumpy. I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but I do find myself pacing around the halls when there isn’t a large scale project happening at the house. We certainly have enough small projects that need to be completed should we ever list the house, but I don’t think that will happen in the near future. If money were no object, I’d have the third floor finished off… maybe a master bedroom with en suite and a cozy propane fireplace in the corner. We don’t think this house is too small. It has 3 bedrooms and a full bath with room for expansion. There is a point though when you should only dump so much money into a place. We don’t want to renovate when there is a chance for little in return. No matter how much work we do, the house will always be sitting on a small lot. So, there is the dilemma.

I spend a lot of time on Some people knit or work on cars. I look at houses. During one browsing session I came across a house for sale in our neighborhood that had a lot of character on the inside, so I asked our realtor to set us up for a showing. The house was amazing. It needs tons of work, and may need tons of money too.


The previous owner let the roof fall into disrepair and it eventually caused severe water damage on all 3 floors. It has other issues too, like one corner of the foundation that is falling in, or the old furnace that could be used as a prop for a Stephen King movie. It could have other long term issues as well, like heating all 6+ bedrooms and 3,200 square feet. It is a HUGE house, but it has tremendous potential. Hardwood floors on the first and second floor, 6 foot windows, 8 foot ceilings, 3 baths, the potential for a 3 unit apartment… or 2. When we start to compare how much it would cost to renovate, the numbers begin to add up. Windows alone could run over $5,000.

There is always a risk with purchasing an investment like a fixer upper, but the question becomes how big of a risk are you willing to take? And is now the right time? Is it ever? How do you finally make the big decision? Who needs six bedrooms when you don’t have any kids? Is there a need for an orphanage in the area? Has years and years of watching This Old House finally gotten to my head?




Filed under Renovation

Straight out of “Compostin”

I’m sure that NWA had at least a passing interest in composting when they  wrote the lyrics “Mix em and cook em in a pot like gumbo“.  That’s kinda like composting right?  Are you still with me?

To say I have a one track mind is an understatement, so when I saw my first compost bin I knew I was going to have one someday, and quite frankly so did Matt.  There was one problem however,  we don’t have a lot of space to have one in the yard,  oh and I didn’t want to spend the nearly $100 bucks to have one.  Seriously,  $100 bucks for a place to put my kitchen scraps?  Yeah, not so much.  So, when I saw a post over at Young House Love on how to make a compost bin out of a tote, I was in.

We got this bad boy at Walmart for a whopping $8.  That’s more my speed.


I drilled some holes in the bottom and top of the tote to let air move around and *hopefully* make a nice home for some worms.  (Another one of my obsessions currently revolves around having a worm family in my compost bin).


Then I took a newspaper and shredded it to put in the bottom of the tote.  (Do you see a misbehaving puppy in my former lily garden?  See her little mouth open and biting.  That’s what we like to call “Velociraptor” Claire. Women and children first!)


Once that was done we put in some soil and added some of the vegetables we grew this summer that we didn’t pick in time.  Note that our vegetable garden was a pretty big fizzle.  We got some cucumbers but they were pretty bitter, and the rest of our vegetables either didn’t grow or we didn’t pick them in time to eat them.


You’ll probably want to cut up your vegetables before you put them in the compost bin, at least that’s what the internet tells us.  I’m a little bit lazy and couldn’t be bothered.  We’ll see if it makes a difference or not.

We finished by mixing everything together and putting the top on the tote.  Ultimately the bin went behind our shed, a nice shady area away from the house where we made a bed of sand to put it on.

We also bought a container to put kitchen scraps in so we don’t have to trek outside every time we have something to put in the bin.


It’ll take a while before we reap the rewards of our effort.  I’m hoping to have compost for my side garden next summer.  Fingers crossed! Have you ever made a compost bin? How did you do it?

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Can’t see the chicken wire, can you Russ?

We had a few more sections of fence to finish up in order to keep Claire safe and off her leash in the back yard. Some of it had to be done with chicken wire, and the other few sections we finished up with the fencing that we used in the other project. The fencing we were using before from Lowes was out of stock, and they had a delivery date of 3 weeks from now, so we opted to use a smaller height fence of the same style from Home Depot. The first section to go up was the area next to the deck. I had originally intended to use a full height section, but given the change in elevation that wasn’t going to work. I think it was Sara’s idea to use the different size, but I’ll take credit for it 🙂


We may end up doing something for under the deck, but for now we’ll keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t escape. Don’t let her cute looks fool you. She can be a terror.


The shrubs on the side of the property were an easy getaway spot as well, and we didn’t want to use the decorative fencing for this since it would have cost alot more, and it would have been difficult to install with the shrubs being in the way. We decided to go with a 3′ chicken fence from Home Depot, in green.


It was a little more for the green color… but not by much, and it would blend nicely with the plants. The entire time I was putting this bad boy in, I had a line from Christmas Vacation running through my head….”Can’t see the line can you Russ?”.  Don’t know that movie? Watch the scene here.

So here I am with my head in the shrubs.



I used my trusty staple gun to attach it to the shrubs. It was an easy project. Can’t see the chicken wire, can you Russ?

On to the next corner of the house. These sections of fence go in quickly and do a good job of keeping puppies in, and stray cats out. For those out shopping for this stuff, these sections were $5 cheaper at Home Depot. Sometimes it pays to price shop the Lowes/Home Depot, and if you find it cheaper at Lowes… Home Depot will beat it by 10%. I don’t think Lowes will do the same thing, but it may be worth checking.




And that completes the fencing project for this summer!


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Filed under Exterior