Archive for September, 2015

Your time waster for the day

Posted September 24, 2015 By Ruth

Cornell has a new Hummingbird bird cam.  Its located in western TX, and I’m MASSIVELY enjoying seeing types of hummingbirds I’ve only heard of before.  Here in NY pretty much all we see are Ruby Throats.  Lovely birds.  But I envy the variety other parts of the country get!

So far while watching I’ve managed to ID a Magnificent Hummingbird:

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A Rufous Hummingbird:

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A Lucifer Hummingbird:

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And I MIGHT have seen a White Eared Hummingbird, though I didn’t get a screen shot to be sure.

 

SO COOL!!!!

 

If you have the time switch it to full screen and enjoy!

Last garden update of the Summer

Posted September 24, 2015 By Ruth

If you’re curious, THIS is the link to look back at my garden costs tracking for the summer.

Based on my lackadaisical method of record keeping I spent $90.15 on the garden.  Round it up to $100 since I’m sure I forgot to record SOMETHING.

And “made” $184 (plus whatever all the melons, carrots, radishes, lettuce, pumpkins, etc would have been which I never did manage to check prices on)

So, definitely a profit, especially since I’d have likely never bought half as much if I’d had to actually buy it all.  But not really thousands and thousands either.  Course, I’m not being massively OCD about keeping up with the garden, nor do I have a full 1/4-1/2 acre in garden, but it’s still a good sized garden for a home garden.  I’ll take it.

The compost tomato plant succumbed to Late Blight, but I managed to salvage a few ripe tomatoes off of it that didn’t appear to get touched by the blight, so I’ll be planting those seeds again next year.

Here’s what mature Long Pie Pumpkins look like:

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The biggest is 13.5″ long, and weighs 5.5 pounds.  The other two are closer to the 12″ mark, and weigh about a pound less.

Anyone want Rattail Radish seeds?  I massively over planted, and since you eat the seed pod on these, instead of the bulb like normal radishes, I have a million seed pods drying now too.  Ok, not literally a million, but since I packed a gallon ziplock (and I do mean packed, I smushed them in) of the largest seed pods that were dry enough to empty out as I get time, and still barely made a dent in the seed pods, I have plenty of seeds for the next few years!  Seriously, if someone wants some email me at ruthcatrin (at) scaryyankeechick (dot) com with “rattail radish” in the subject line (otherwise your email might get filtered as junk).  But unless you have a HUGE radish loving family 4 or 5 plants is plenty!

I planted three tires with Purple Early Sprouting Broccoli and some more normal radishes for fall/winter gardening.  The Early Sprouting Broccoli is designed for the winter garden, and infact HAS TO experience a winter in order to produce heads.  Its supposed to be hardy down to 10 degrees (F).  I’m making plans on how I want to cover it for the winter since our chances of dipping below 10 are pretty good.  I’ll try to remember to keep updating on that.

On the deck side of things, the worst of the bad electrical is fixed, but we’re going to have to have an electrician out at some point to basically re-wire the garage and carport.  Now that we now to look for it, there doesn’t appear to be a single junction box in the entire garage, and in several places they wired in “additional” stuff using lamp cord wire instead of proper electrical wire.  And since the carport was added after the garage its safe to assume that its the same way.  The paperwork for the permit for the new front steps and landing is into the town, they agreed to waive the requirement for footers since this is a “temporary” set of stairs.

My Summer/Fall project

Posted September 11, 2015 By Ruth

Well, lets start by saying that this wasn’t the project I’d PLANNED to do for the end of summer/fall.  I’d PLANNED to be putting in all sorts of ice dam preventatives, including proper vents in that attic space where the wood burning stove chimney is.  I’ll still be putting in vents, but I won’t be doing any of the rest of it.

On the evening of August 15th our front deck collapsed, with me, my husband, and both dogs standing on it.  Thankfully it was less than 3 feet off the ground and we’re all fine (though Arty is now terrified of the front door).

A look at it in daylight and we assumed that the ledger board must have rotted out.  But we could also see that it had been attached to the house with nails (3″ nails).

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Since it was safe to assume that the entire length of it was attached to the house with nails (vs screws or bolts) we made the decision to just pull the entire deck down, salvage what we could of the wood, and toss up a set of stairs.  We’ll figure out a replacement deck at a later date.

That wall where the front door is, is the living room addition done by previous home owners.  Not sure if it was done by the folks we bought from, or from before them (I suspect the folks we bought from though).  When they built the outer walls, the wall sits on a heavy timber that sits on the concrete block wall, then outside of that they put a (NOT pressure treated) chipboard before wrapping the addition with house wrap and putting on the siding.

The deck ledger board was NAILED through the house wrap into that chipboard.

It wasn’t the ledger board that rotted out.  The ledger board was fine, a very nice 2×12 piece of pressure treated lumber.  It was the chipboard that rotted out.  Right up under the housewrap and siding.  The ONLY thing that was holding up the deck in that corner was the small portion of the nails that made it into the heavy base timber.  I have no clue how it didn’t collapse under the snow-load last winter.

We’re going to have to pull down the siding and housewrap, remove the rotted chipboard, make sure the rot didn’t damage anything else, replace it all, and redo the housewrap and siding.

But thats not the worst of it.  We found a few more things when we pulled down the deck.

1: the guy who installed our Direct TV really was as big of an idiot as we took him for:

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Yes, we knew he’d run the cable under and then up through the deck, but we didn’t realize till we were pulling it all down that he’d drilled through the ledger board.

 

2: The former homeowner who installed the security lighting likely did it himself:

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That is the wire up to the indoor switch for the outdoor security lighting, with the wires running from it to the fixtures.  Just hanging like that in the crawlspace.  No tape.  No box.  No support.  And I’m pretty sure those are the ground wires just sticking out random.  That all by itself caused some profanity to be said.

 

3: The fact that the whole house was crooked last winter wasn’t a fluke and we should have checked ALL of the house supports under the original structure as soon as things thawed (we checked the rest of the house, but this corner is hard to get to so we assumed that since the rest of the house looked ok……)

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A bit more profanity was let go as we all looked at that.

We called our homeowners insurance, and they informed (this past Tuesday, cause the local guy is a massive PIA to deal with) us that its “wear and tear” and therefor not covered.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to argue the point.  I have to dig through the policy and look at the exact wording of whats covered…..

Yesterday (Thursday) we had the whole house re-leveled and new supports put in.  The sales guy for the company we hired about drove me batty, but the guys who actually did the work were great.  It was done quickly, with minimal fussing.

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I’m still waiting for the town to get back to me on whether I need footers for a small landing and 3 steps up to the front door.  If we do then we’ll need to breakup the 6″ deep slab that was poured under the deck since there was no permits done on it and I can’t prove there’s footers under it.  I’m really hoping I don’t have to.

And now I need to dig through the electrical code paperwork to figure out if its legal to have a junction box in the crawl space or not (I suspect not, at least technically, though its certainly accessible since that portion is still skirted).  And get those wires supported and taped, and……we still have the side of the house to deal with.

Oh, and its looking like there were no permits on the living room addition either…….