Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Remodeling Backyard Furniture; Building New Patio Cover

I have been MIA for a while.  Company coming so Frank and I have been finishing up some projects we had started, but kept putting aside to work out in the fields.
The biggest project has been the new patio cover.  Frank is the master at figuring out what wood he needs and finding the best prices.  He does excellent drawings first; makes his list, and starts stockpiling the wood.  One great source of very reasonable wood is our local Ace Hardware.  A few years ago, they started to carry lumber.  Every so often, they go through lumber that isn't selling; or was a special order that someone didn't take; or lumber that needs to be sold soon.  It is outside on pallets in the parking lot.  About once every couple of weeks, we will cruise by the stack to see what is there.  Even if we don't have a specific need at that moment, if the price is right and the wood is something Frank uses a lot, we will buy it and store until we are ready to use it.
Frank is terrific at taking different sizes of lumber and cutting it down to become what he needs.  It takes more time, but worth the cost savings.
So about 6 months ago, Frank started putting together all the lumber he needed for the patio cover.  The size is 18' x 26', a pretty good sized space.  As he cut the necessary parts, he also primed and painted the wood and then bundled it up into the units needed.  The last part were the slats that are 2" x 2" x 20' long that go across the beams.  This cuts the shade by 50%.  It took him the longest time because there are so many.
Frank started putting all the parts together about 2 months ago and got as far as the top slats.  The patio cover is tall, I wanted it that way for 2 reasons.  One reason is because the house is up off the ground 3 steps and we look out onto our back yard.  Reason 2 is if the patio cover was lower, it would cut into our sight line from inside the house.
We kept trying to figure out a way to get Frank some help in putting up those slats, it is tall up there, dangerous and Frank is not a spring chicken any longer and I was worried about him being up there by himself.  And I couldn't help him.  We tried renting scissor lifts, but none small enough to get into our back yard.  Then Frank thought of our new neighbors, the Hysmiths.  He is a general contractor!!!  They are the nicest and cutest young couple, We rarely, rarely pay someone to come work on our place because either Frank or I usually can handle most that goes wrong or needs repairs.  But this required expertise and strength to work up 12' off the ground, walking back and forth on beams, moving wood around and screwing in each piece.  And it happened to be horribly hot at the time.
Within a few days, that part of the patio cover was done, next was the final touch up painting.  Frank painted a few hours each day before it got too hot, each and every one of the slats.  We have an airless paint sprayer, but with all the yard plants, it being next to the house, all the concrete, it would have taken days to just seal off any area for over spray on the house, etc.

While Frank was painting, I looked for new cushions for our lawn furniture set.  I couldn't believe how expensive cushions had gotten.  Just the settee bottom cushion was $85 plus I needed 4 other chair seats and all the pillows.  Celli, my daughter came to visit with the grand kids a few weeks ago, and we decided to go check out fabric sales.  I was able to find all the fabric I needed at 50% off at

Joann's and also used my app coupon and got one item an additional 10%.  So for less than $50 I was able to get all the fabric I needed to sew the cushions and pillows.
I sewed a chair piping and seat cover each morning before I headed outside to work in the veggie gardens.  I knew there was no rush as Frank was still painting.  I did the cushions first so I made sure
I had enough fabric for that before I made the pillows.  A few pillows I did one color fabric on one side and the other for the back side, so it could be reversed.
They aren't the best, professional job, but they are outdoor fabric, and I can take it off at the end of the year to store for next year.
We can't wait for our company to come next week.  Always a good push to get some projects done.  The peaches are starting to get ripe and I need to seal up bags of the dried apricots.  Always something to do here at Windmill Farm.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Zinnias Blooming; Hydrangeas Looking Fabulous; Picking Apricots and Plums; Sewing New Cushions Covers for Outdoor Furniture

We have been busy with a lot of a little of this and that around the farm.
The apricots are ripe and I mean ripe right now!!!  I picked all the lower limbs and up to height after using my orchard ladder of 6'.  Frank picks all the high ones on his 10' orchard ladder.
I got plopped several times with over ripe apricots fall on either my head of shirt, a real mess.  This week, we will be drying them in our out door dryer and make dried apricots, yum yum.
I also picked the pluot/plum tree that is ripe.  I wish I knew the name of it, it was here at the farm when we purchased it.  Sweet on inside but tart skin.
It seems like I blinked and the zinnias started to bloom.  I thought they would grow another foot first, but maybe the heat wave forced the blooms, but it always makes me smile when I see zinnias blooming in the garden.  Loads of color.

The hydrangeas have been pretty fabulous looking too.  I had to water them twice a day during these last few 90+ days.
Frank has been building our outside patio cover for over several months.  We never seem to have the money to just go
buy lumber, so he keeps his eye open at our local Ace Hardware side yard.  They sell lumber and several times a months, they put a stack of wood in their parking lots, called kulled lumber at a reduced rate.  Frank has been checking and buying lumber that he cuts into the widths he needs, stockk piling enough to finall build the patio cover.  After he cut the pieces to build it in modulars, he painted all of them so once they are up, they are painted.
When it came time to put up all the lengths of 2" x 2" xx 16' pieces across the top of the beams, I insisted that Frank not do it by himself and actually I didn't like him to do it at all.  After all, the amazing man is over 70 years old always working like a 30 year old, but up 10 1/2' in the air walking across beams was way too much.  So after saving a little here and there, we hired our neighbor fella, who happens to be a licensed contractor to do just this part of construction.  
He came last week and finished off those top boards which gives us about 50% shade.  That was a nice treat to actually hire someone to do something for us, we always do repairs or building ourselves.  The patio turned out nice.  Frank is painting some touch up spots, wiring for a new fan out there and putting in cute decorative lights all around it.  I will post photos when completely finished,
I took all the cushions off of our old patio furniture and I am making new covers and pillows.

We have some relatives coming to visit in a couple weeks, so our projects have an extra motivation to finish them up so they look nice for company.