Monday, November 29, 2010

Let the Construction Begin!

The city has signed off on our plans to convert the Dahmer Dungeon into a rec room.

Our contractor is bidding the plans out this week an we expect to start construction before Christmas.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Phoenix Rose, Part Gazillion

On Thanksgiving, Rob transplanted another rose in front of the fence. It had the same weird tap root as the one he did last week.

No idea if it's a climber, but we shall see...

Friday, November 26, 2010

What the cluck?

I'm toying with raising chickens -- for eggs only.

Rob wasn't too keen on the idea initially, but warmed up to it after we did the house tour in Echo Park. We have a lot of other projects that are way bigger priorities, but I could see us having a couple of hens down the road.

Watching these critters is oddly peaceful. I'm pretty sure if I get chickens, I'll never eat Buffalo wings again. But that's also kind of the point.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Mystery Solved!

The overhead lights in our bathroom, bedroom, Rob's office and front porch are on the same circuit. They'll work fine for a while and then just stop, forcing us to use the Christmas lights Rob rigged up a while back.

We finally figured out the lights will work as long as we don't have more than 2 light bulbs on at a time. If we accidentally turn on more than 2, we haven't figured out how to make them start working again -- turning them all off and turning on just one doesn't motivate them to light up.

A couple of weeks ago, when the lights were on strike, we accidentally left the bedroom switch in the on position. They decided to work again at 4am. While we were thrilled they were back, we weren't so happy to be woken up in the middle of the night.

Now, whenever we want to turn on a light, we find ourselves saying things like, "I need to turn on the bathroom light, so I'm turning out the bedroom light." Ridiculous!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nature at Work

Rob got interested in composting and started a bin in June when we still lived in the apartment.

It's been remarkable how much stuff we've put in here and how fast it's broken down. Just when I think there's no more room, I'll realize how much space has opened up because of the decomposition. It always surprises me how heavy the bin is.

er Halloween, we learned the hard way that pumpkins are mostly water and make a mess. But other than that, it's been a pretty easy deal.

We used some of the compost for the first time when we transplanted the roses on Saturday. Hopefully it helps!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Transplant Trauma

On Saturday, we moved two of our phoenix rose bushes. One was a climber that had sprung up by the porch; the other, a bushy one from the middle of the yard. We thought they'd look great in front of the new fence.

Oddly enough, we couldn't find a root ball for either one. The one by the porch had this gigantic tap root that led all the way back under the foundation. We had to hack it with a saw. Rob's convince he killed it. I'm holding out hope.

The bushy one, on the other hand, looks pretty damn traumatized. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Hidden Staircase

Last weekend the Echo Park Historical Society organized a house tour focused on urban sustainable living.

We got some ideas about gray water
and solar, but my favorite thing was this cool trap door that led to the downstairs. Would LOVE to do this to connect our basement to the main floor.

They Just Keep Coming

The roses the previous owners dug up are still going strong. Only one bush has bloomed so far. It's in an ideal location -- plenty of sun and plenty of water from the one gutter that works.

I'm hoping the workers don't destroy it when they do the foundation, but given that it was dug up completely and somehow grew back, I'm betting it can survive a little construction.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spacial Relations

Our plan is to convert the Dahmer Dungeon into an above ground basement while the foundation is being redone.

Once the dungeon has been converted, we'll move into it while remodeling the rest of the house.

Instead of buying the dream fridge now, we bought a small (4 cubic feet) interim fridge that we can easily move and then leave in the converted dungeon for parties, etc.

Fitting everything in after grocery shopping has become a Pythagorean challenge. Can't wait until next week when I have to cram a whole smoked turkey in here for Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Modern Day Tom Sawyer

We bought a stain sprayer and Rob started tackling the fence today. Coats 2 and 3 are tomorrow.

Good-bye Ghetto Gate

Got home from a business trip and was greeted by a brand new fence. Woo-hoo!

Rob's at the hardware store right now getting stain so we can seal this puppy today.

At the farmer's market last Sunday, we ordered some climbing roses from Theodore Payne, so this is going to be looking pretty good in just a few days.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

But Chain Link Is So Charming!

And sturdy!

Yep, that's our gate listing to the side when I try to open it.

Someone hit one of the posts when they were turning around in our driveway and it hasn't been the same since. Not that it was great to begin with, but at least i
t kept the dogs in the yard.

We're replacing it with a classic picket fence covered in climbing roses.
For now, we're just doing the very front piece of the fence so we can get rid of the ghetto gate before it completely falls apart. Later on we'll do the sides of the front yard, but probably leave the chain link in the back.

The new gate will be motorized with a remote, but the motor won't actually work until we redo the electricity -- which is at least a couple of more months away.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

The water heater that came with the house leaked. A lot.

We want to be eco-friendly where possible, so Rob did some research and chose the AO Smith GDHE-50 to replace it. Down the road, we plant to use it for hydronic radiant floor so that we can get rid of the monstrosity in our living room.

The AO Smith is supposed to be even more efficient than
a tankless water heater. By a fluke, our first gas bill covered up to the day before we installed it, so in a few weeks we will be able to do a pretty accurate comparison.

It was pretty expensive but, thankfully, it's eligible for the federal tax credit.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

If It Works...

We have a picture rail in all of the rooms that, someday, we want to use for its intended purpose.

In the meantime, it makes a great clothesline for shirts that can't go into the drier.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Since It's Already Scary Looking...

...we thought we'd put up some black lights and turn it into a real Halloween horror.

Didn't really take much.

Oak Tree, Take Two!

Yep. That's Rob digging up our Engelmann. And with a real shovel, not the ridiculous trowel he used to plant it.

We have a ghetto chain link fence we need to replace (more on that in a future post) and the new fence is going to be set two feet further back than the current one. Our contractor thought the tree was too close to where the new fence will be.

In keeping with the Wicca aura of this planting experience, Rob did the replant on Halloween.