Samsara

Although it seems there’s been no time to write, there has been a lot of progress around the house the last few weeks. This weekend and last have, in particular, been greatly furthering along our path.

Regards the mudroom, on Friday night after work, we de-constructed it as far as can go without disrupting the capability of doing laundry. There are a few pieces of paneling left on the walls but for the most part all the studs and clapboards are exposed. The yeoman’s share of the work Friday night was taking down the 1970ish cabinets over the washer and dryer. They actually seemed to be of relative quality in construction, thus making them a bit more of a challenge to remove. One of today’s last chores was to clean up the liberated shelf planks and prepare them for being re-installed in April as a traditional shelf with metal brackets.

“Clean up” in this case means scraping them with a carbide scraper and then sanding with the orbital sander. Most of the progress the last 2 weekends has been made with these techniques. Last weekend, while Carole took a nap, I finished removing the last of the paint and sanding the door to the upstairs bathroom linen closet. She came upstairs to check on me just as I had set it up on the worktable. Immediately after her nap, 2 hours later, still bleary eyed from sleeping, she returned upstairs. There are only a few times that I’ve managed to get an “oh” or an “aw” out of Carole with the work I’m doing. But this time, upon seeing the final sanded door, the very recent memory of it’s ratty appearance created enough of a contrast for her that she blurted out a subdued “wow”. Of course, I smiled.

The “door du jour” for this weekend’s heat-gun-paint-removal-carbide-scraper-orbital-sander makeover was the “new” backdoor for the mudroom. A couple of weeks ago, I had taken a window shopping trip to the architectural salvage warehouse to see what my options might be for an exterior door. My constraints for purchase were fairly tight, so I didn’t expect to find what was needed. Such is the nature of shopping for architectural salvage; many trips to the warehouse result in no particular purchase.

The prospective “new” door had to, of course, match to some significant degree the original exterior doors of 118 Henry Street. Secondly, and perhaps the more constraining characteristic, the “new” door had to be 32″ wide or less to fit in the mudroom with the washer. Those of you who may have been possessed to measure the doors in your home will know that almost all exterior doors are 36″ or bigger. Exteriors opening are this big because furniture has to move in and out of them.

Much to my pleasant surprise, there were several suitable candidates at the warehouse. So many, in fact, I had to return home and study my existing exterior doors to get just the correct design. The “new” backdoor appears to be from the 1930’s based on the hardware, has 3 wide flat panels, and 6 lights (windows). The only negative is that it has a cat-flap door cut in the bottom of it that will need to be remediated. No big deal.

While buying the door, I picked up 3 hinges, a mortise lock, a brass door knob set, a mail slot (for when I redo the front doors), and, quite expectedly, a “new” light fixture for the mudroom. I had planned to use a glass shaded one already restored and waiting, but the new one seems so much more appropriate. It’s a bare bulb fixture with a ring of what look like brass flower petals around the base of the bulb.

By Saturday evening, all 4 layers of paint were off the “new” door, except for the molding of the mutins. Between the woodwork in the upstairs bathroom and the 2 doors, all this paint removal has eaten up the last of my carbide scraper blades. I can’t remember which of the home supply companies carry this particular model. Guess I will have to check both out.

“New” exterior door for the mudroom

Some time ago, maybe 2 or 3 weeks, Carole and I extended the raised rose garden around to the front of the shed, enclosing about 30 square feet with landscape timbers. This to replace our container garden of the last 2 years, providing in ground planting of the tomatoes, marigolds, chives, thyme, etc. This weekend, we mixed cow manure and humus in with the dirt and did the first plantings of the spring. we have 3 short rows of onions, some mesculd lettuce. marigolds, pansies (for color), chives, and sunflowers. She started the grape tomatoes in little pots, expecting them to go to ground in a couple of weeks.

Garden extension and first plantings

Speaking of roses, they are going great! The Granby rose that had lain on its side in a pot in Carole’s backyard for 2 years has, no joke, about 150 tiny new leaves. The wild pink Chester rose that started out as a 3″ cutting is about 3′ of canes all bristling with new little thorns and hundreds of the tiny green leaves. We should have lots of flowers come June.