Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I doubt they will have Dagwood Dogs


I have almost finished the deck – but it seems to rain almost every day and this is slowing me down. I only have some of the floor to go – apart from some touching up here and there.

The floor that we have done with two coats looks quite good and only a trained eye could see the blotches and paint spatters.

The touching up I have to do involves me getting on top of the roof. I may not survive this task so am leaving it until last.

But the garden is almost finished and Hermione the garden person was here this morning drawing a plan – so that we know what everything is and what and when to feed it.

A plant died but Hermione replaced it at no cost. It is possible that I killed it by brushing against it on my way out the back gate – but maybe it was just a weakling – and we want none of those in our garden. You have to be tough to survive an Indianapolis winter.

It is Indiana State Fair time and we are promising ourselves we will go. It will probably be a bit like the Sydney Easter Show – but I doubt that they will have Dagwood Dogs.

Monday, July 28, 2014

If I am lucky

I have been a delinquent blogger of late because my list of chores has been extensive. Well – it has mainly been painting but this has been such a trial that it has taken all my energy.

So when we were staining the sides of the deck and the ceiling we did not worry too much about the stain dripping on the floor because we though that it would be covered up when we stained the floor. So our use of drip sheets was haphazard.


We discovered after testing a small area that the drips are readily visible through the stain – which is semi-transparent. So then I spent hours with my orbital sander removing all the spots and smears. This left some areas freshly sanded and others weathered – the deck has been down now for a few months.

So when we apply the stain there are no spots – but the sanded areas are a different color.

We have decided that this is in fact what we had planned. A sort of mottled effect which gives substance and character to what would otherwise be a common or garden variety deck with a uniform finish – how boring.

Today I painted the upper deck – the porch outside Cate’s study – with Dutch Boy paint. This is the paint that was used on the previous porch and I had to paint it the same color to match the trim on the house.

Dutch Boy is horrendously expensive but is the best quality paint I have ever used. It is so thick and rich you could put it on with a butter knife. And when you paint underneath something the paint does not run down your arm.

Tomorrow I am starting to stain the rest of the deck floor.

This has to be done by Friday because then we are going to Elk Springs resort which is in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. We have a cabin with a view of the mountains. 

We are going for three days – and it is a seven hour drive each way – which makes no sense unless you are us and like driving and listening to music. If I am lucky Cate will let me listen to Bluegrass.

I am taking sandwiches because Cate refuses to eat in any roadside restaurant expect Cracker Barrel – where she only ever has green tomato soup. So if there are no Cracker Barrels we starve.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I will have to polish the toaster

We live in an area called Herron-Morton place. During the civil war the whole area was a Union army camp – and a prisoner of war camp for captured Confederate soldiers.

It is close to the city and has many very old homes – some of which are a bit dilapidated - and many – such as ours which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.

Our house was originally built in about 1900 and was known as the ‘Wishard Mansion’ after Doctor Wishard who owned it – and after whom a local hospital was named. We have installed a ‘Wishard Mansion’ plaque on the front porch.

It has a long and sometimes sordid history. At one stage it was divided into apartments - and this probably accounts for the seven bathrooms.

It then fell into a state of advanced disrepair and was restored over a couple of years by a local builder – who lives just down the road from us.

The exterior looks much as (we think) it did when it was built. We are having a local historian rustle up some information – and we hope some photos of the house it its early days.

Inside has been completely renovated – and we are not sure what – apart from the front and back stairs – is original.

Anyway - the local Herron-Morton Place association has asked us to participate in the annual ‘historic homes open day’ and we have somewhat hesitatingly agreed to this.

I think this will involve a lot of cleaning, dusting and gardening in preparation for the event. I will certainly have to polish the toaster.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All in all it was a good day

The deck (unstained)
I have of course seen very little of the Tour de France – and saw none of the golf. Household duties intruded on my plans and since Saturday we have been painting the deck.

This has gone almost according to plan – in that the deck and most of the surroundings are now dark oak. The paint sprayer is a fabulous piece of equipment and the bits that I could use it on were finished in very quick time.

I had one unfortunate incident with some knockabout rose bushes that were innocent bystanders – but I think they will survive.

But of course most of the deck is lattice and other tricky bits which involves fiddling around with small brushes.

Today I have been painting the ceiling of the pergola. This is a particularly difficult job because I have to stand on scaffolding and reach up. As anyone who has painted ceilings will know – this enables the paint to run down the brush and down your arm.

And is it is actually an oil stain it has to be slathered on so I finished the day pretty much the color of dark oak.

However – I did not fall off the scaffolding – so all in all it was a good day.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

He could be Prime Minister

Bohusland Sweden
Life is very busy at the moment.

First we have the Tour de France which is on from 8-12 in the morning US time. And now the British Open has started. This goes from 8-3.

In my spare time I have to shop, cook, wash, iron, garden, erect cat barriers and paint the deck. This barely leaves time for lazing about on the deck in the sun with the cats.

I have recovered from the Lance Lying Bastard Armstrong affair and am now confident that the Tour is as clean as it ever will be.

Certainly Aussie Cadel Evans was clean when he won in 2011 – anyone raised on Vegemite does not need drugs.

The LLBA thing knocked me about for a while as I had spent years defending him from the accusations of the French.

Turns out they were right all along. I recently read ‘Cycle of Lies’ which is the definitive account of LLBA’s sordid history of lies, treachery, character assassination, misogyny  and bullying.

He could be the Australian Prime Minister.

The garden lady finished her work today. My only job now is to keep them alive. I have bought extra soaker hoses and sprinklers.

I may bring them all indoors this winter if we are going to have another one like last year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The skills of a Sugar Glider

Ugly but effective cat barrier 
I have spent and extraordinary amount of time over the last few days on the problem of cat containment. The pigeon spikes failed spectacularly – I then tried wooden baffles which did not live up to their name and did not baffle the cats at all.

Well – they did baffle Sissi - but Monika has proved herself to be the Vasco da Gama of the household and simply dug her little claws in and climbed over the top of them.

After much thought I decided to use wire shelving – on the basis that Monika would not have anything to hang on to and thus would be unable to penetrate this cunning barrier.

This proved to be true and the new fence totally bamboozled her.

So she did the only other thing she could do – and leapt into space from what I thought were parts of the deck that were simply too high for this sort of exercise.

Well they certainly are for Sissi – but Monika possesses the skills of a Sugar Glider and sailed to earth. This caused great panic and I had to chase her around the garden for a while to try to capture her.

Eventually she panicked and tried to get back in over the gate – but of course my impenetrable barriers prevented this and even greater panic ensued.  

My options now are:

Put wire shelving all round the deck. It would look ghastly.

Build up the deck all around to the same height. This would look stupid.

Put netting around the deck. This would look even more ghastly.

Strangle the cats – not out of the question.

Come up with something completely different.

I am now investigating electric fencing – they make special ones for cats. The cats wear collars and get a warning noise and then a very mild shock if they venture too far.

I am investigating and will report.