My folks came out this weekend to visit and to help with various projects. We opted to have have my mom paint and my dad work on assembling the playground for the girls. We did a lot of work, but somehow it doesn't feel like we got ahead. I sat down after they left and compiled a list of all the things that need to get done.
- Finish the playground - My dad and I made good progress, but the slide still remains, and until it's done we're paranoid about letting the girls play on it. There's a hole in the side of the playground that ends in a six foot drop. This also includes landscaping around the playground with mulch, grass and a few shrubs, flowers or bushes.
- Assemble 18 screens - Our house came with only three or four full screens. Last fall I built frames for 18 more screens, so that every room would have at least one screen. The frames are assembled and thanks to my mom, they are now all primed and painted, but the screens still need to be stretched on them and then trim placed around the edges to pretty them up.
- Mulch our yews - The area where I took out the honeysuckle recently is a large black spot that all the neighborhood weeds and buckthorn are eyeing hungrily. I've had to wake up a few times at two in the morning, just to go out and wave a torch or club at them. "Back, back damn invasives!" It's the only thing keeping them from walking over and transplanting themselves into the fecund soil. A little mulch and grass seed might keep them at bay.
- Paint the dining room windows - I've refinished the majority of the trim, but the double hung windows are still shockingly off white. They need to be painted a nice shade of brown to match. Unfortunately the current paint on them is in bad shape and needs to be scraped or stripped. I had hoped we could paint them, but after looking at them I now see this is not an option.
- Repair and reassemble the dining room windows - To make it easier to paint the windows, I took all the dining room windows apart. Now is the time to replace the old cotton sash cords with metal chains and add some spring bronze weather stripping. Two windows above the buffet were nailed in place. We'll be converting these so that they open.
- Repair or replace the dining room picture rail - I wrote about this one recently. No more to say here other than that I can't make up my mind what to do about the picture rail.
- Cut, split, haul and stack the various pieces of firewood that has found it's way into my yard - I swear I don't know where it came from or who put it there.
- Make four storm windows - This has been extremely time consuming. I don't really know what I'm doing so it's a lot of trial and error.
- Repair the plaster in the guest room and paint the walls - This was meant to be a winter project. Now it's looking like a next winter project.
- Re-roof the garage - The shingles are getting old and don't match the new house shingles. I ordered extra when we shingled the house. They are sitting in my garage, waiting to be put on. That also includes new gutters and new fascia where it is rotting.
- Do the spring trimming - Various trees, forsythias and honeysuckle.
- Put in the garden - It's still too early, but in two weeks or so, it's going to be time. And as an aside, I've been reading Teaming with Microbes. If you are a serious gardener or just like microbes, pick it up. It's a fascinating read and will change the way you look at soil. Although, I'm not sure it's good party conversation - bacteria, fungi, slime molds and protozoa - yum!
- Start the front entry project - This is the main house project for the year. This is the one project that must get done this year. The roof, gutters and soffit need replacing. We're hiring this one out, so it won't need any work from me - just a lot of oversight.
- Set up blacksmith forge - My dad put the word out back home and he thinks he found me a portable forge. If so, I should have a forge within a month. That will open up a whole new list of projects for me!
There's an old saying, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." I know this, but every time I look down, I always seem to have a shovel in my hand.