Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Ladder to the stars. We don't climb on every rung, however. But it's not against the wrong wall. We climb out through the kitchen window:
It makes me marvel at how they built this place to begin with. It all boils down to one rock at a time, and whatever it takes. And it takes time. When you take time to do it right, it's just one foot in front of the other, no undue risk-taking. 
 But you get a rush from the drama and the great view.

White bird

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

O Passion

Passion, overhyped and underrated,
flowers under the radar,
over the edge of the horizon, 
it sets a standard amidst the mundane
and broken down,
out of view.
It gets picked up and trumpeted,
hyperventilating virtue.
In the bigger picture, a larger milieu,
passion need'nt be lost in the cry and hue,
Often misquoted, taken from context.
And context degraded, then passion is too.   

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hose bib in a tree stump.

A cypress tree was culled the other day and it afforded an opportunity to move an unsightly hose bib from an inconvenient location. Kind of a triple play.

A vertical notch was chainsawed into the stump,
the old hose bib was removed from its previous location and repiped 6' closer to the path and routed up the back side of the stump.

The notched out piece of tree stump was trimmed and replaced, enclosing and concealing the pipe. Once a terra cotta hose pot is added to contain the hose, the detail will be complete.

Fixing a hole where the bats get in?

Stringing a wire for the passion flower vine to trail on one day I noticed a hole at the peak of the garage gable. A previous woody vine had evidently caused the stones mortared there to come loose and they were long gone. In the meantine, it must have seemed like an inviting portal to a variety of creatures, I assume, based on certain evidence I found prevalent in there.
I mixed some mortar and set a granite stone, filling the void.

The rest of the garage interior has already been bat-proofed where the wood frame roof meets the granite walls. There is still a bat or two flying around inside the garage each night, but at least there is one less place where they could be getting in and out. I think the gaps at where the doors fit loosely against the granite walls are their last remaining access and I haven't figured out what to do about that yet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The work continues


Not many blog posts lately, but work has been continuous.
Oiling of window and door frames has been ongoing, and now only the last largest ones remain to be done.
The library window wall consists of a 5' x 8' casement window flanked by two sidelights, one of which is also a casement opening.

Typically, we sand the jamb (the frame surrounding the window sash or door), then remove the door or window to sand and oil it while it sits on saw horses. The jamb is oiled and things are then put back together.

Here, the two sidelights are finished while the center casement awaits completion.
Removing the 8' tall by 5' wide, 90 year old casement window from its hinges to place on saw horses is not a project to be undertaken lightly. In fact, even opening it to swing on old rusting hinges requires some lift to disengage it from its resting place on the Italian marble sill.
Instead, I decided to sand and oil it in place. But it must at least be opened about 16 inches or 20 degrees to allow the sander and oil to reach the edges of the frame that would otherwise be behind the jamb. Once I have it opened, I placed a block under the sash where it passes over a marble window seat to hold it firmly in place and support its weight.  I taped a tarp over the entire end of the room where the window seat is to keep the sanding dust out of the room. 

Sanding and oiling proceeds:

  Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Terrace door drip edge

Teak terrace doors facing the ocean take a lot of wear & tear. One door especially gets used more than others. Its drip edge moulding had taken on the shape of driftwood and was hanging loosely by old rusted nails.
I had a local cabinet shop mill up some teak to the profile of the original shape...
and fitted it into the rabet. A little oil once the glue dried and the new drip edge is ready to face west.

A Trip to Mountain Feed & Farm Supply

Occasionally you come across a commercial establishment that clearly is head and shoulders above all the competition and puts the commonplace in the worst possible light. Mountain Feed & Farm Supply of Ben Lomond, California is in this category. It's the kind of store where you should go even if you don't need to buy anything there. It's a mini-vacation from the average franchise strip mall disillusionment we usually experience when we go shopping for needed items to multiply & replenish the earth.
We had been seeking an orchard ladder. We prune and trim so many trees on so many uneven surfaces. There is no better ladder from which to do this kind of work than the orchard ladder.

Mountain Farm & Feed Supply is oriented towards you producing your own food supply. Of course, we're not all in a position to do this, but for those who can and see the value in it, this is just the kind of store you want in your community, just like the fire department.
It reminded me of City Farmers Nursery in San Diego which we got to visit earlier this year. Clearly, a labor of love for the owners who run the place, and an oasis garden day-trip destination for aficianados of organic gardening and healthful living.

"Older is often better" an old friend recently said.

It made me smile. New things can be made of old things, and often that's the best of both! New things built in homage to old things also leverage timeless value.

For example: A portable chicken coop for 4:
Fresh fertile eggs and free range chicken, natural bug and snail control, organic fertilizer and an old-fashioned self-winding cock-a-doodle-doo 'alarm clock'. How many ways do the old things recommend themselves to post-modern times?

This corn-gluten product, called corn weed blocker, has a triple (at least) benefit.
It blocks the germination of broad leaf weed seeds, fertilizes by adding nitrogen to soil, and displaces the use of poison products that pollute both in their manufacture and final use. I use it in our meadow to fertilize and inhibit weed germination. 

These plastic water tanks bespeak a conservationist ethic despite their hydrocarbon source. Made of recycled, reclaimed plastic, versatile in use and durable, they remind us to 'demand the best' and our responsibility to deliver our best.

Thanks to Mountain Feed & Farm Supply in Ben Lomond, California for a positively uplifting experience.