Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dining Room Redux... Part 2

When we first moved in, the dining room was painted Ruskin Room Green, and it's a nice color, but under the light of that room it turned into this yellowy, limey color and I didn't like it. So, I painted it red. Rembrandt Ruby. This has always worked for me in the past, red always works for me. We left the frieze alone because we planned to paper it and the ceiling. The problem with the red was that it made the woodwork and the furniture disappear.

When we bought this giant china cabinet, we didn't want it to blend in with the walls or make the room even darker. I am the first one to say that I like dark spaces, but this wasn't quite right, so we painted it again. This time Chris chose the palette and I think it worked out great. Oddly enough, we used the original room color above the plate rail, so we have kind of come full circle. With the new wall colors, the Ruskin Room Green is a much different color. The yellowy tone now looks golden and lovely. The walls and ceiling are also from the Sherwin Williams historical color palette, the walls are Buckram Binding and the ceiling is Indian White.

Chris installed the new chandelier last autumn while I was visiting my brother. A very nice surprise.

I am hoping one day to build a built-in china cabinet for this space, but that could be many years away. In the interim we still need storage, and it so happens that the makers of this fine quartersawn china and buffet are shutting down their furniture division, so we got it for a song. I am so happy to have a place for everything, now we can get started on the kitchen...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Our first attempt at fruit growing.

We are attempting to grow edible things for the first time. We chose Black Currants for two reasons: 1. Grapes need more sun than we get, and 2. Currants are in tons of fancy recipes and I can never find them. I read an article from the University of Minnesota that talked about how much satisfaction I would get from growing currants, so I ordered some straight away. I also ordered some grapes for the only part of our yard that gets any sun. When they arrived, they were sad little twigs and Chris was skeptical. Then we dug the holes and fertilized and mulched and watered just like the instructions said and the little twigs stuck sadly out of the ground and now we were skeptical, and resentful of digging tons of holes in the rocky soil. Finally this week, SUCCESS!! OK, a few tiny buds probably doesn't mean we will have bushels of currants any minute, but it's encouraging.

Updated Photos

I guess you could call these 'after' photos. Meaning 'after' we moved in. We haven't done anything to the living room except put the furniture in it. Someday when we're very wealthy and have tons of time on our hands, we could fix up the ceiling and walls. The walls are covered with canvas and under the canvas is some very interesting wallpaper, and the ceiling has some mild texture treatment to camouflage some patches. I really love Bradbury wall paper and I would love to paper the frieze and ceiling, but that's going to have to wait until the wealthy part kicks in. This is the way it looks now:

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Chipper Fest 2007

So this used to be the scene in our backyard:

Dilapidated garage, small pile of brush in front, HUGE pile of brush on the side. Unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to take a photo of the huge pile of brush, so you'll have to imagine it. I am guessing it was between 4 and 6 times larger than this small pile. When we moved into the house the perennial beds were very overgrown and there were rosebushes that a man could become entangled in and die. There were also horrible bayberry hedges with terrifying thorns everywhere in the front yard. Sometime last summer my lovely, but tough as nails mother in law Judy M. went to town with the nippers and wrought havoc on all that was thorny and bad in the yard and piled it in the back so that we could chip it and have all of this wonderful and free mulch. Chipping was fun, right?

Finally last weekend we got around to renting the chipper. It was going to be a fun and beautiful day outdoors. It turned out to be anything but.
This is a photo of the chipper, we'll call it The Mangler . If you look closely you can see the strained face that Chris is making. It turns out that when you put wood in TM it does one of two things. 1. It will wrench the branch (probably thorny thing) out of your hand practically dragging you in the hopper too, or 2. it will reject the branch entirely and it will rocket back out of the hopper and hit you in the eye. During both of the scenarios your hands are being vibrated so violently that you quickly lose sensation. This is good so that it doesn't hurt when a large branch kicks back into your hand. I don't mean to get bogged down, this is a story of courage and triumph. After 5 hours of deafening grinding and bodily harm, all of the brush was gone. Here is a photo of the spot where the brush pile was:
Inge is proudly surveying the good job we did. Of course she and the other wild dogs had to be in the house for safety purposes. And here is a photo of TM finally at rest and the pile of "free and fun" mulch that we made:
I would give this advice to would-be chippers. Take the brush to the landfill and on the way home buy some mulch.