Bat Catching Device

We had a couple of bats fly through the rooms formerly known as the dining and living rooms this evening, aka my studio.  We were sitting in the family room, formerly known as the "library" watching the dog show on NBC and out of the corner of my eye I spied two bats flying gracefully past the family room door. 

If you use a fishing net to catch bats make sure to purchase one that has the ultra fine nettting so as to not harm the bats!

House Painting 072112

John - painting the trim over the upstairs window.  We're back to working on the east side of the house, up until today he's been working on the soffit and the trims way up there where you see the pale blue.  This afternoon we took the storm windows out and now the task of repairing the wood, priming it, and the painting it and all of the window trim colors and then onto fixing the storm windows themselves. 

My $70 a Month Heat Bill

 Everyone always wants to know how we can have a $70 a month heat bill in the dead of an Iowan winter - in a 1905 Victorian house - well this is how we do it.  NOTE the house is 1105 square feet.

We keep the house at 65F during the day and 58F at night or when we are not home. Caulk around the outsides of every window, door, etc. and do this every few years, oh and LOTS of insulation! We use mortite on the inside for the windows, the windows are original except for two modern windows and it's the modern windows that leak like a sieve. 

Winter 2010

Make sure to change those furnace filters too.  Another tip is to put insulation behind outlets and switches that are on outside walls, these are also major draft stoppers.  Repair any storm windows with new spline and the fuzzy insulating stuff every 10 years or so.

It also helps that we are on budget billing, and the gas company keeps bugging us to pay the new rate which is $59 a month but John keeps refusing.  November is our reconciliation month, and by paying the $70 a month we don't get a "suprise" spike in our heat bill.

edited to add:  The orignal builder insulated the house and big time, way back in 1905, he filled it with woolrock from the basement all the way out the attic rafters.  We're thinking he didn't like being cold. The house maintains and beautifully, it's been 65F in here for two weeks now.

Porch Progress 092111

From this to:


Now to finish stripping and painting the porch soffit.  I've sanded and primed the hand rails, they will recieve their first coat of black paint tomorrow!  John has the trim to finish on two columns to the right, and then it's the big project taking the railings off of the porch, dismantel them, scrape, sand, prime, and paint the parts, put them back together and re-install.  Somewhere in this I will be winterizing my gardens.

Prairie Potholes - WIP - Detail

Detail from a new piece I worked on today.  Little did I know whilest I was creating in my studio that I would be needing a replacement furnace and central air unit :-( 

Central Air I can live without, well 28 days out of the month during the summer months that is.  The furnace, however, is a major must have for the northern climate I live in, more tomorrow.  We still haven't purchased a house fan replacement, am still waiting to hear what the electric motor repairman has to say.  Which leads me to a question: How did we end up with such a disposable society that even furnaces and central air units are no longer repairable???

Update No. 061211

Ever notice my updates are the date???


We had 4.58 inches of rain on Friday so to say that gardening has ground to a complete halt would be an understatement.  We spent the day working on the inside of the house instead.  I'm moving my studio supplies etc into the living and dining rooms, with John's blessings, and turning my design studio into a dedicated office/library for myself and my wet studio well it'll be a wet studio once again. 

Rumor has it I ""may"" be able to get into the garden again come Thursday, it's supposed to rain again tomorrow and again on Tuesday.  Rain Rain Go Away... Go to Texas and Arizona where it's really needed, please.

Front Porch

All I have to do now is wash the porch and the furniture later this evening, sometime this summer the ceiling will be scraped, sanded, and then painted sky blue.  Then I'll paint the south facing wall, the wall with the oval window, Copper Pot (Sherwin Williams) and then finally the porch floor. I'll paint the columns a ruby red color and the porch rails, after they are repaired, will be various shades of sage green.

It all sounds weird I know but when all is said and done the house will be about 16 different colors, it already has 12 colors on it, and will look like classic Painted Lady.

Porch Clean Up

We spent some time cleaning the front porch this afternoon and now it looks pretty nice, well as nice as a 105 year old porch can look.  John hung my cupboard out there, an old primitive I've had hanging out, and then we put a table under it so now I have a potting table and a place to put pots.  I planted some smaller pots with marigolds, will have to purchase more marigold seeds, and will plant some petunia's tomorrow.  Pictures coming soon.

Raised Beds and Hoop Houses

This raised bed is waiting for it's hoops still, first I need to turn the soil and then plant it with lettuce, chard, and other salad nummies.

Tomorrow I'll add the mesh and then the plastic to the hoops.  The mesh is for later in the season to keep the critters out, the mesh I use is a half inch square plastic netting.

The boards are covering my leek trenches.

Spring and Crows

The crows are back, a few weeks early actually, this means that in about six weeks the robins and cedar waxwings will also return.  Is this a sign that spring will be early this year?  John certianly hopes so as he's itching to finish painting the house.  I've started planning my gardens and will be starting seeds soon. 

Here the crows are sitting atop my house trying to keep warm.