Loving Late Summer

img_5432

Could the weather be more fine than it is here in Vermont these past few days? I left the house early this morning at under 50 degrees. The temperature rose to about 70 by afternoon. Cool, sunny, a light breeze. Lovely, that’s what it is.

I didn’t do any house staining yesterday. It was just too dang nice. It was a perfect day to stain the house but I went birding and to the dump. I cut all the Purple Loosestrife growing in the ditch and at the edge of the field. I read a book.

Today I planned to stain, despite the temptation to laze. I got suited up, pulled out the ladder, even cut a couple of low branches growing too close to the house. Then I grabbed the paint can and the easy hefting made me remember that I am almost out of stain. So much for that. I could have gotten more stain today, but I plan to go right by the paint store tomorrow, so it can wait a day.

Shore birds are migrating. I saw sandpipers at the lake this morning, pecking along the shore. I passed a flock of geese in a field. I guess they are on the move as well. The orchard where we like to pick apples is picking peaches now. We may need to grab a few of those. Peach jam? Peach ice cream? Can’t go wrong there.

School starts this week. I am back to work full time. Summer, as far as the easy schedule, is coming to a close for all of us. But we have some solid days of summer yet. We will get in some swimming, and some paddle boarding. And some outdoor tasks. I scheduled a chimney sweep appointment. The firewood is stacked. Getting ready for winter, I guess.

My son is not ready for school. I mean, he is ready, in a physical sense, but that kid hates it when summer ends. I can’t blame him there. The Monarch Caterpillars are chewing on milkweed now but soon they will flutter their way south as butterflies. Summer isn’t really over, but it is time to start heading forward to new things. Off we go.

 

Water this Summer

IMG_5235

High water on the Winooski River

I was planning to continue working on staining the house siding today. That wasn’t going to happen. I got up early enough. It was not raining, but it was going to rain. I didn’t want wet stain to get rained on. I would have had to stain it again. So I held off. Good thing. The rain came down.

It came down in sheets. Not for long, mind you, but in that short time we got a lot of rain, tossed around by strong winds. The forecast called for rain throughout the day and we got a few more bursts like that. Staining will have to wait.

I was away for a good chunk of June. My son and I were in New Hampshire last week. My wife was home and reported heavy rain, enough to flood our road, which I have never seen. Three inches of water fell in as many hours. That was mid-week.

My son and I came home on Saturday. As we headed west to Vermont it started to rain. It was a hard rain, so hard we slowed to a crawl it was so difficult to see. Once the rain let up a bit we kept going, slow but steady. We passed route 25A and I considered heading across that way, but decided to try 25C, farther north. But shortly after we turned onto that road we encountered a ROAD CLOSED sign. Maybe we should have taken 25A after all, I thought.

But at 25A we found a couple of rescue vehicles blocking the road. They were not there when we had passed the first time. I asked the man there if the road was blocked due to flooding. “I don’t think you’ll float,” he said, looking at our van, before adding that several other roads were closed. That was good information. Hopping onto the wifi at the store down the road (no cell service to be had), we chose a long route around. It took about three extra hours to get home that day.

I did get started on staining the house this week. We had a few days of sun. Yesterday I had to stop early. A thunderstorm moved in. I’ll get it done over time. I have some summer left. Water is high now. The ground is saturated. With more heavy rain like this, we might get more flooding. I hope we don’t get too much.

 

A Bad Purchase and Tuckered

I painted a lot over the past couple of days. Trim, siding, windows. I’ve been up on a ladder swinging a paint can and wielding a brush. It takes a long time to paint a house. Technically, I am staining it at this point, although I started last summer with paint. I realized this summer, after carefully looking over the rusting cans in the basement, that the house had been stained in the past, not painted as I had thought. Staining means no priming, which saves me a coat. Still, this ain’t no quick project.

I had the idea that I would us a sprayer at one point. I went to the Home Depot and browsed and found what I thought would be the perfect tool. It was a backpack sprayer, made by Ryobi, the One+. It holds a gallon and a half, carried like a backpack, with a spray gun. It is powered by a lithium battery so no cord needs to be lugged up the ladder. It was just what I needed, so I bought it. Once I brought it home I wondered just how much the battery might last, but the manual was of little use, so I looked at reviews at Amazon and other sites. Things didn’t look good at that point.

The reviews were mixed but were either raves or pans–nothing in between. Reviewers gave the tool one star or five stars. The bad reviews talked of leaking and poor spray power and globbing and spitting. I hoped I would have better luck. Maybe these folks were setting it up wrong? Or maybe there were just some good ones and some bad ones, you know, inconsistent manufacturing. I gulped and figured I would try it. But it wouldn’t turn on. The battery, it turns out, was defective, so my wife volunteered to get me a new one while I got started with a brush. The old fashioned way gets the job done again. One day down.

Finally, with the new battery, I was ready to try this beast the next day. I had a huge scrap of cardboard on which to practice. Practice was all I got. That thing is the worst tool I have ever used. It leaked like crazy and had really poor spray consistency. I took it apart and couldn’t get it to stop leaking after I put it back together. It was awful. I could not have been more disappointed. I cleaned it and returned it the next day. Seriously, I have never made a less satisfactory purchase. Not performing well is one thing. Not getting the job done at all is ridiculous.

So I started painting again with a brush. Now, after a day of painting, up and down the ladder, in hot sun and sometimes high wind, hands pooling sweat in latex gloves, I have made some real progress. But I am, as noted, tuckered. Early to bed and early to rise gets the painting done, however. I guess I’m on that.

Foiled

So I got up early enough. My daughter came in to tell me she had a nightmare where I had died. Rough. So I spent some time with her before getting up. I was slow in moving, for sure, but eventually I got some painting clothes on and went out to put the sander together. I had had to order some new parts and I was ready to reassemble and do some high powered smoothing. When I tried to make it all fit, however, one of the screws just slid into its hole. I hadn’t looked closely enough and it turns out I will need another new part. Actually I need three new parts.

So I looked up these parts on the Dewalt web site and, kaching, easy to find what I need with part numbers and prices. All three parts–and I was careful to make sure I only need those three–will cost about ten bucks. So, the dilemma arises again: Do I order the parts and wait a week or two to continue my project or do I get a new sander? A new sander costs 70 dollars before tax when ten dollars will repair the one I have like new. I decided to do both.

I will get a new sander today because I cannot afford to lose two weeks. Then I will repair the old sander and sell it on Craig’s List. I have been wanting to try out Craig’s List for some time and this gives me the perfect excuse. So really I will get  discount, if you will, on the new sander, and I will also get to continue with my work. Not ideal, but it will do the trick.

So I had to spend a bunch of time dealing with all this and I lost the morning. My wife had to split late in the morning for an appointment so that means I’m on Dad Duty. No painting until this afternoon when, most likely, it will rain. So much for getting things done today. I did take a little time to make some calls for an oven repair. We have a digital display that does not display. So much for high tech. The oven works, but it is hard to tell if I really did enter 375 degrees or if I will burn the bread after ten minutes. At least I got started on that.

Delays, delays–that is the theme with this whole painting business. It will take several hours without any delays, but good lord I seem to be stalled every week with one thing or another. I am an amateur, for sure, but I am learning a lot. Next time, and I can’t say I look forward to the next time, it will be easier. Things may be poking along, but I’ve got all that new knowledge. That counts for something, eh?

Painting the House: Slow but Steady

I am tired. I painted all day and got only the tedious lattice work completed on the porch. I knew it would take a long time but sheesh, that was a patience eater. And it didn’t even turn out all that great. Call it good enough.

I opened up the box with a new paint sprayer today. It has a backpack tank and a lithium battery so I can climb a ladder and not worry about hauling up a power cord. I am hoping it will save me some time now that I have most of the small areas completed. The decks should be next, as they need it most. Really, the open deck that gets the sun needs to be finished, but it seems silly not to do both at once. Why clean up twice? So tomorrow I sand, then hopefully do some spraying the next day. We’ll have to use the front door.

Of course, I need to paint the wall next to the deck, so I should paint that first. That means a coat of primer, which needs to dry for a day, then a coat of paint on top of that. So best case scenario I couldn’t get to the deck until day four, if the sanding goes as planned. So maybe I just go for the deck first and use a drop cloth when I paint the wall. Seems silly. So, of course, I will do it right. Do the wall, then the decks.

So I am tuckered and I need to keep it up. Rain showers are in the forecast but not until tomorrow afternoon. I will try to get up early and get cracking. Again. Let’s hope the smoke detectors don’t start howling like last night and wake us all after midnight. I replaced the batteries in all of them, so we should be set, but who knows what strange things might be afoot in the wee hours. I just need enough sleep to be ready to crank. Early to bed for me. With dreams of oil-based primer. And hopefully ice cream.

More Hot Painting

I didn’t get started as early as yesterday, but I did get some painting done on the house today. I got started about 8:30 because I needed new brushes, so I zipped to the hardware store before I could I could begin. I was working on the siding where there is a lot of trim, so it was slow going. I kept at it for a few hours, until 12:15 or so, then washed up and headed in for lunch. This is a big project for sure. I don’t really want to be painting when it is 88 degrees, as it was when I quit, but I need to paint while the sun shines, even if it is hot. Wicked hot.

Tomorrow I plan to paint under cover–walls under the roof of the porch, so it will be shaded, and if we do get those “slight chance of” showers I can keep working. Then I have the lattice to paint. That took pretty much forever when I primed it the other day and I assume it will take close to that or more with the regular old paint. Two more days of painting what I primed, then sanding (the part for my sander came in today) and more primer. Overwhelming, that is what you might call it.

I need to look into getting a sprayer. This house of ours is way too big to paint with brushes. We’ll see. Maybe I can rent one? We’ll see. For now I have brush work to do, and a deck to finish sanding, and some walls to sand. Oy. It will be hot again in the morning, but I will call it quits by lunch time. Then I will have the whole afternoon to sweat.

Where I Left Off

Lattice Waiting for Paint

Paint on House Siding

The Last Paint Left in the Brush

Underestimating

So I got started early on this painting project. My idea was to get things sanded and primed, then maybe tomorrow morning I could paint. I would have time this afternoon to get enough paint to make it happen. I had the primer so I just had to crank. But it weren’t happening.

I had to fix a few boards, take off the stairs (they were starting to rot), and prune the landscaping all around the deck since it was rubbing and scraping. Then I could start sanding. And I did sand. It just took way longer than I anticipated. I had to stop and scrape at times, and change the paper on the sander. I stopped for lunch, and stopped when the sander busted. I thought the pad was simply loose, but it was, in fact, too worn to keep using. And I was missing a screw.

My wife and kids were off to the farm to collect our share of vegetables for the week, so I headed to the hardware store to get some stuff. I got a pad, and some new sanding paper disks, and some new safety goggles to replace my scratched ones, and some batteries while I was at it. But I could not get a screw. It was not to be had in that establishment. I headed home, knowing I would not finish today.

I went from painting tomorrow morning, to maybe just priming tomorrow morning, to finishing the sanding tomorrow, to nothin’. I didn’t even get the sanding done. The wood is just way too far gone. It would probably be easier to just replace all the dang decking, but apparently I like to make things hard on myself. I had the idea to at least replace the stairs today, but I had the little car, and I need a ten foot board–couldn’t carry it with that rig.

Everything is put away now. The majority of the deck is sanded, and all the wall next to it is sanded. I will finish another day. I am hoping I can order a couple screws and pick them up later this week. I won’t be able to get them for a couple of days anyway. This project will get completed. It is just taking longer than I would like. I hope the rest of the house doesn’t take longer than planned. Summer only lasts so long.

Painting Tomorrow?

Summer has arrived and the big house painting project needs to begin. Tomorrow? The weather should be fine. My plan is to get started early: sand and prime the deck and the wall next to it. If that goes well I might be able to paint all that the next day. I say might because we plan to travel to Montreal the next day, see the city and have a fine time of it, thank you very much. If I can squeeze some painting in before we leave, I will be better off. If not, it will have to wait until Friday or even Saturday. Too busy.

I will need some supplies, but not to get started. Once I get that first stint under my belt I will go get the supplies I need–more primer, more paint, a taller ladder. I can get most of the house but our ladder isn’t quite tall enough for the ends. So more tools are required. At least it will save us some cash.

I am fired up for this project. I fear I will not have enough time, but if the weather holds I think I can crank and make it happen. I had better. I should have gotten it done last summer.

So tomorrow I begin and see how far I get. If I can at least get the south and east sides of the house painted–they get the most sun–then I will have been successful enough. I hope to do it all, but who doesn’t?

My immediate problem is the wasps nests in the exterior deck light. One mud wasp and one yellow jacket.  I should rid the lamps of that nuisance this evening. If our insect friends stand for it. I don’t mind having them around. Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you. That seems to be the way it works. But these characters are making themselves a little too much at home, so I will need to suggest they leave or be slain.

Or I could paint their houses as well. But I don’t need more work than I’ve got with this project, eh?

Not a Mouse

A few days ago I posted in the middle of the night how I was being kept awake by a mouse in the walls. Set out some traps, wait for it to come in and bang–catch a mouse.  The traps are still sitting there. We don’t have a mouse. I think we have a chipmunk. The thing is driving me mad. Every night it does more damage. Every night I try to scare it away. Every night I get no closer to figuring out how to get rid of it.

There are plenty of ways to catch a chipmunk, some lethal, some more pacifistic. The problem is that I do not know where to set any trap at this point. It isn’t coming into the house yet, thank the mammalian goddesses, but I also can’t find where it is traveling in and out of the walls. I naively filled in one tunnel early in the invasion. It hasn’t touched that spot since. Now I can’t find any tunnel. The spot it seemed to have gotten into the house has offered no signs of animal travel lately. It has another route in and out.

Rat traps, Haveaheart traps, hot pepper, whatever, I am willing to try it at this point, but where to place any such device or deterrent?  That is the question. My plan at this point is to get some traps and just set them out and about near where I thought it was getting in. Maybe I will get lucky. That will tomorrow’s task. Too late tonight. Maybe by filling in its tunnel it is trying to find a new way out by tunneling in the wall. I don’t know. If I set out traps and they offer nothing, maybe I will unclog the original tunnel and set the traps there.

In any case, this critter needs to go. And soon. Chipmunks are cute, but I am willing to resort to violence if necessary. I would prefer I find a way to simply get it out and keep it out, but that may prove fruitless. Stay tuned for more reports from the front lines.

Painting All Day and a Full Moon

The plan was to get started as soon as I could.  I needed to sand some more, so I figured I needed to wait until everyone was awake, at least.  But I didn’t wake up until late myself.  It was 8:00 before I was really moving about the house.  And I was the first one up.  Coffee, breakfast, water, making plans, all that happened before I got out there.  I sanded with the disc sander, then with the corner sander.  Then I taped.  Then I had to decide what to do with the windows.  Tape them or scrape them?  I decided to try a third method and scrape/wipe as I go.  And I realized I didn’t have a small paintbrush, as I had thought.

After a trip to the hardware store I began the actual painting–meaning dipping the brush into the primer and spreading the white stuff on the trim–at 11:30.  We have a small extension of the house in front of the deck.  It has an additional small piece of roof.  I decided to just do the trim on this section, not including the upper windows above this small roof or the windows off to the side on the same side of the house or the soffit along the roof proper, and I am glad I limited my ambitions.  After two hours of slapping on primer I was maybe a third finished.  I took a break for lunch and kept going.

I painted and painted.  I was not looking forward to the cross pieces on the windows.  They would require the most time and the most care.  The thing is, I don’t even like those things.  They are not necessary to the structure of the windows–one pane would do fine–and the house isn’t so old that that all those panes were the only option.  Plus, they block the view.  I have to bob and weave to see the sunset or to follow the harrier hovering over the field.  I wish they weren’t there and now I have to paint them with care.  I saved those for last.

These are tall windows I am painting at this point, the size of doors.  I decided to leave the two actual doors for later since I need to take them off to really paint them.  I’ll get to those when I paint the upper windows.  Still, that means four full length windows with ten panes each.  Painting those would be a bear I imagined.  I painted one, ten panes total, and it was late.  My family had already eaten dinner.  I wanted to keep plugging away.  I didn’t want to leave it for tomorrow since the oil-based paint needs a day to dry.  But since the remaining window panes had been covered by storm windows (which I removed before starting) they didn’t need primer.  I painted the bottoms where some water had leaked through over the past few years and I was done for now.

I was at it for eight hours.  That is a good day’s work.  The problem is that I still need to put the final coat on, the actual paint.  That will take me another day.  The other problem is that I still have most of the house to paint.  The other problem is that I am just working on the trim.  The siding will need to be painted as well, it just didn’t need it so badly this summer, or so I thought until I spent a bunch of time right next to it while painting the trim.  I have many many hours of work left to get this all done.  I understand why other people hire someone to paint their houses.  A team of people with the right tools who know what they are doing and have the time to just hammer it out?  That would get it done way faster and way better than me.  It just happens to cost thousands of dollars.  I’ll do it myself, at least this time.

I can’t quite figure out why one would use paint instead of stain these days.  Stain seems better for the wood and requires far less work to maintain.  Our last house was stained and (granted is was a little smaller) took me only a few days to refinish.  That was easy.  This is not.  Scrape it all off and stain it next time?  Sounds just as hairy.  Maybe next time I have to get this done, however, I will be better equipped.  I will know what I am doing and will have the tools and equipment.  I might be faster.  Or I could just pay someone to do it.  I hate to succumb to that but whew, this project is a beast.

Anyway, night has fallen and the air is cool and I have some peach ice cream under my belt, and I mean that last one literally.  I am not sure how much I will get done tomorrow.  We plan to head to the Addison County Field Days.  All this playing certainly gets in the way of painting.  One can’t do everything, however, and I, humble homeowner that I am, am simply doing what I can.  At the moment I plan to just enjoy watching the full moon peek out from behind the clouds.  That is enough for the time being.