Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cherry Trees

The cherry trees are approaching six years old. We've never had more than a handful of cherries but they sure put on a great flower show:

I've looked into many possibilities on why the trees don't produce. I think it could be any of these theories: One tree flowers too late in comparison to the other, no honeybees in the area, frost, or that the trees are still too young. This year, if there is an impending frost I will cover them with bedsheets over night to try and eliminate that theory. Stay tuned...

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Garlic Mustard and the New Chimney

Ok, so the chimney is complete. I can't tell you how happy I am to have that done. NOW can all the leaks can go away!?!?!

I recently read an article in the news about the invasive weed called "Garlic Mustard". The article went on to describe how it is destroying the local plant life on forest floors and how there is no natural fungus or parasites that kill it off. It is recommended that you pull it out and either burn it or throw it away because this plant is so hardy that it will re-root into the ground if you just leave it to wilt.

The name of the plant had me wondering. A short google search produced articles about how it was introduced by immigrants as a culinary herb. Adding "recipe" to garlic mustard produced many pages of recipes for pesto. I think the news article I read should have referenced how the roots are like a mild horseradish and that the entire plant is edible as a part of salads, pizza, etc... If it is anything we humans do best, it is consuming everything to the point of exploitation. Making this the hottest new item at your local restuarant should surely descimate this species, making it a "win win" for us and the native wildlife.

Here's a photo of a young garlic mustard plant in my yard:

I also picked this plant and will be making a pesto taken from "Bon Appegeek" after I publish the post.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Updates to the Blog

I have been updating the links listed in the blog - in particular, in the "Tour Our Home" section. We have made many changes to the interior so please take a look at the new links. I will be dismantling the Geocities website since Yahoo has closed their hosting service and wants to charge $120/yr to allow me to edit my website. I moved all my photos from that website over to Flickr and the neat feature about Flickr is that I can link the room "sets" to the blog in a form of a slide show. Pretty cool.

Friday, April 09, 2010

It has been a while...

It has been a l-o-n-g time since I have posted on our house blog but I assure you, we have done some major remodeling with more on the way! We are 99% finished with the interior and have just begun the exterior repairs.

Completed July 2009 was our new roof. We hired Advanced Roofing out of Yorkville, IL primarily because of their impressive work on suburban Chicago historical homes. We had them install GAF/ELK Camelot shingles and also the much needed gutters. It cost a fortune but considering Karl and I plan on dying here, I wanted quality materials and work that will outlast me before I needed to worry about it.


After (ignore the date, my old camera doesn't know what it's doing):

After a new roof one would assume all leaks would be taken care of. Not so! Once spring made its first showing about a month ago, I began seeing water spots on my ceilings on the second floor. I peeked into the attic and all the beams surrounding my chimney were black. Ugh. I had a few restoration specialists come out and was told my chimney need to be completely replaced. Bricks rot and turn into sponges over time. I had no idea, you learn something new every day!

As of this morning, I have a new chimney. As you can see in the old pictures above, some of the components missing on the chimney were a proper cap, flues, and their corresponding rain caps. This new chimney is all new brick, TWO new flues/rain caps, and of course a new cement cap. The guy says it will last another 150 years which fits in with my "anything I fix better outlast me" theme. Work was completed by Valley Chimney Sweep & Restoration.

Here's a close up of the new chimney:

Next, we will be rebuilding the front porch. We found out that it is supposed to be a two story "piazza" design and will be receiving the materials around the end of the month. In the mean time, I'm looking to reproduce my old columns which has not been easy.

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