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Friday, August 07, 2009

Keeping Up with the Hatfields & the McCoys

In my futile attempt to keep my home from falling down around me, I try for at least one house maintenance project a year. I despise having to dig up a new contractor/workman. Hiring feels like tossing out bait and praying a kindly woodland deer appears, as opposed to a rampaging rabid wolf that calls you Madame, compliments the decor then effs up your project and ravages your bank account. So this past month I hired a new contractor (in retrospect, half wolf/half deer) and rehired a tried and true tree trimmer of the Bambi persuasion.

First off there was a gutters issue. Way back in 1997 when my house exterior was painted, my gutters took a major thumping. The painter, Paul loved painting, but didn't love messing with gutters, so in several spots he just removed them, then spent hours telling me how useless gutters were. Flash forward to 2007, when my gutterless back porch slowly fell to bits due to water damage. Thank you for the b'jillion $ repair job Paul. Ok, it was my fault, I should have stuck to my guns and made him put the gutters back PROPERLY, not half-arssed in some spots or not at all in others.

Missing Section of Guttering

Armed with an estimate, neither too high nor too low, I went with it. The replacements took one Friday and the end result was old rust pitted gutters gone, new vinyl (uncovered) gutters. Hurrah!

Voila! New Back Porch Gutter

Emboldened by the gutter success, I opted for some tree trimming with Santos Tree Service, that did a good job some 6 years ago. Since last time my HUMONGOUS front yard Ash tree grew right back over the roof and even sent out scout limbs to touch the fireplace chimney. I had NO fireplace fires this past winter, which is the first time that's happened since I moved into this house. Why? I thought I was just too lazy or, scoff if you must, but MAYBE was the great Earth Mother squelching the idea of a fire in my head so wouldn't burnt my house down, reducing it to rubble. Eh? Eh? You buying that explanation? OK, me neither, but it was a good coincidence in any case.

The Chimney: an Insurance Claim Waiting to Happen

Proof, my insurance agent sleeps better these days.

I also wanted the Italian Cypress on the Northeast corner of the house gone - it leaned on the house and gutters and harbors heaven only knows what kind of vermin. I signed the Italian Cypress' death warrent. Bwah, ha, ha, ha, ha!

The Cypress was not more than 2 feet higher
than the roof when I moved in

Arrivederci Italian Cypress!

A motley crowd of back yard invaders is shown below, shortly before their removal. What a mess! The blasted birdy-planted privet took over the corner, shading out my Toyon shrub - a native plant with red Autumn berries. Poor Toyon! It was hunched over, looking miserable, whining "the Privet is picking on me!"

In the first photo, taken during the work, ravaging hoards of volunteer climbing rose shrubs are already pulled out. Clearing the back fence will leave room for the new chicken hutch that will be plump full of pullets by October.

The Privet (tall, hoary bit in corner) is an evil, birdie planted Garden HORROR!

The poor leaning Toyon blinks: The corner is hers and hers alone!

Roto-tilling the last bits of rose roots

So, that is it for this round of home improvements - until next week anyway. Meanwhile, the kitchen is still in transition (has been since DECEMBER!). I'm pondering what the heck to do to the front yard which is looking rather Dogpatch-ish. We shall see...


  1. Claire, congrats on the home maintenance getting done! It is heading down to the 80s next week so I may get back on my kitchen cabinet shellacking project! I am sooooo jealous of your chickies! I have wanted a couple for a couple years now, and have maybe figured out a place to put them...as I type I just figured out the perfect place - but I can't really afford to go into that project, just yet...and Ms. Toyon looks sooo happy to be a single child again! Happy Friday to you! The Auld Girl :-)

  2. So if I post to your comment, and you're already on Blogger.com, you'll get an email about it, right? Ok, lets 'assume'. : D

    Thanks Judy, Not-so-Auld Girl! You're shellacking cabinets! YIKES! I have shellakiphobia meself.

    Oooo you must try for chickens! If you haven't already, you should visit mypetchicken.com and BackYardChickens.com - both sites have shite loads of info. I ordered my 4 chicks & hutch from mypetchicken.com. The other site has a dynamite forum on chickens and such. Join it! You can ask everything you ever wanted to know about 'bwak, bwak, bwaaaaak' but were afraid to ask. Then when you're ready for chicks you'll have no surprises in store (like I did!).
    By the way, hope you totally love your new job!