Friday, September 28, 2012

Summer 2012 - A Busy Time

 Story by Louise Lahmann

Some of the garden, looking toward the new studio
 It was a whirlwind summer. We had lots of work done on our home. We added a window and door onto what used to be Al’s woodworking shop and Lorita said its going to be her studio eventually where she can work and be creative. We used a large picture window, we took it out of the living room when we put in new storm windows, and Lorita bought a heavy duty door with a full window in it at the Rebuilding Center that sells reused building supplies. What a difference! Now there’s lots of light out there. Lorita hired a man to come and do the job and he completed the entire task in six hours. He was a busy man. I’ve never seen a job done so well and fast.  It is really nice.

Rachel helping plant seeds
 From the window we can admire the flowers, the garden and the birds eating in the bird feeders and taking a bath in the bird bath. We had a beautiful garden this year and had the best tomatoes. They were perfect, no rot. Lorita said she blenderized banana peels and poured it around them after she read that was good for them. She is the best gardener and she said she hopes to get better. This year her friend Rachel moved to Portland from Seattle and she came over and offered inspiration and help in the garden. They both planted chard, carrots, radishes, lettuce and beets. Lorita had already started the tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, peas and beans from seeds. Everything turned out but the radishes which were damaged by worms. Lorita just planted a fall crop to see what happens, as she’s never done that before.

Heirloom tomatoes - very yummy
We talked about putting a roof on the house and even got two estimates but later decided to paint the house instead. Our neighbor across the street painted his house and we got the same guy to do ours. I decided I wanted a light color because I was so tired of the dark brown it has always been. The contractor, Joe, was very good and did everything we wanted and more. Lorita gave him extra vegetables from the garden from time to time too as he had a family with six teens.

Joe made new columns for the front of our house and we used some old wood shingles Al had stored in the attic. Before, it was just some metal poles and 2 X 4’s on each side and now it looks like the new columns were part of the original house. It makes such a difference and when I walk out the front door the new columns help make everything look more beautiful in the yard.

Joe’s also a handyman and can do many things. He told us our roof didn’t need to be replaced yet. He said later we could do a little repair on it and possibly put larger vents under the eaves. But we should get five to ten more years out of it. Lorita tore down the old rotted picket fence along the side of the yard and Joe was nice enough to cut the metal posts off at the cement so they weren’t sticking up. Lucky for me, Lorita likes gardening and landscaping.

He also pressure washed the metal car shelter we have out front that I park the Toyota under. Lorita wanted to figure out how to make the dark blue shelter fit in with the house more so we decided to paint the trim on the house the same color. Now its the best looking house in the neighborhood. It has real personality.

Now the trim matches the shelter (left)
We had a big estate sale at the same time our neighbors across the street did. Lorita sold many items on Craigslist also and started posting things on ebay. We have been going through Al’s tools and things he collected. Its hard to let go of them but there’s other people out there who would love to have them and use them. I even sold some of my things, as did Lorita.

The house when we bought it in the late 60s
Our neighbor across the street, Sharon, was not able to come back home after her stroke and had to go into an adult care home. Her cousin ended up buying the house and the family had a huge estate sale that was professionally handled. They posted ads and signs. So Lorita said, “Let’s have our sale on the same weekend and take advantage of the free advertising.” We had hundreds of people come through over that weekend and sold over a thousand dollars. We were all surprised that so much went and so many people stopped by. One of Lorita’s friends even brought some stuff over and helped us with the sale. A month later Lorita took the left overs to a friend’s house up in Beavercreek and sold a few hundred dollars more. Last week she said, “I’m done with yard sales,” and boxed the rest of it up and we hauled it to Goodwill. She said it would get more as a write off on our taxes than we would make trying to sell it. She kept out the nicer things and started posting on Craigslist and ebay again.

The house before painting - the fence and metal poles are gone
Lorita has her little projects and next moved on to collecting the metal she had noticed all around the house. I didn’t realize Al had so much metal stored all over our property but Lorita gathered it all, sorted it and sold it for scrap metal, bringing in a few hundred dollars. Now there’s so much more room in the garage, shed and attic. Plus the areas behind the garage where some of it was stored. I think Al saved everything because being the handyman he was, he never knew when he might need it. I’m sure he knew exactly where everything was.
Pile of metal

Now its time to get ready for winter. We got our rain barrels set up and bought adjustable spouts that guide the water there. Lorita said she doesn’t see what good it does because they don’t hold that much water and you don’t need to water when it’s raining so they will overflow, but I like them and they’re here to stay.

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