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And these days, there’s a lot of doors closing loudly, and being opened, and being closed again, loudly. All of it seems to be loud.

Here we have our new, nicely draft-proof doors.

Let me tell you a little something about them:

  • They don’t swing open on their own in the night with a strong breeze.
  • They don’t let in icy drafts from all edges.
  • The handles turn the way they should.
  • The keys turn in the deadlocks the way they should.
  • They open with THE SAME KEY!

Oooooh, and look! A doorbell!

Ooooooh and look! An outside light!

Ah, yes, you’ll notice that the wood edge has not yet been covered. It will, never fear. And the wood will survive just fine until next month. Also, the cement edge below the door frame was skillfully built up by Rupert.

The old decrepit light had been home to a robin family. I’m sad to say they’ve been evicted. They left their mark on the wall above the light, though (peer closer, you can see it, yes you can). The nest came down, and in it — until the nest got bumped and dropped from where I was saving it to take a picture — was a perfect little blue egg which hadn’t hatched. Here’s the post-catastrophe nest-and-egg reconstruction:

There are also doors on all the rooms upstairs. In hindsight, door handles (as opposed to knobs) were perhaps not the most baby-friendly choice. Twinkle Toes has mastered the art of stretching to reach the handle, pulling the door open, getting her body to the other side of the open door (this move is key, for some reason), stepping back, and pushing the door shut with a loud bang. Then she usually turns and looks at me with a mix of wonder and self-satisfaction.

Little birdie, you won’t be flying away any time soon. You can’t reach the deadbolt yet. 🙂

We have lovely new soffits! We also have new fascia, and a nifty thing called a drip lip. In the process, Rupert removed the wiring which ran from the old antenna (outside, along the wanna-be soffits) and was so motoring along so well tearing down old stuff and cutting off wires that he cut the phone line, too. So we (I because Rupert was still demolishing) called Bell from my cell phone (which would lose reception after I’d finally gotten through to an agent after being on hold for 10 minutes)… long story short, we survived the 24 hours without a phone or internet. By Sunday morning the work on the soffits was complete, and Rupert turned his attention to the inside, and a problem with the floor joists in the kitchen area.

We have arranged for someone to install a seamless eavestrough (yay!), have eliminated one of the on-ramps to the mouse-squirrel-bat super highway, found two dessicated squirrel bodies and have bandied about plans to change the windows and cover the house in vinyl.

After some discussion and a couple of rye and gingers, we decided that next weekend (yes, folks, two days from now) we will 1) put in door frames and doors to all the bedrooms — hey, we won’t have walls, but we will have a door! — and 2) finish the upstairs bathroom. You know what that meant: I had to go shopping.

After two solid days of running around Home Depot and Reno Depot, we have a toilet, a sink, tiles, a light fixture, and doorknobs for all the upstairs doors. Wowee! I’m so excited to be getting a finished bathroom upstairs, that I’m not sure I can believe it will really happen. Maybe it won’t. (But maybe it will! And then I won’t have to stumble down 14 then 4 then 9 stairs in the dark.)

Ah, that last picture? Me trying to take a photo of myself to update my linkedin profile. Seems pictures of me are of three kinds: Terrible expression, child somewhere too close to my face to crop out, or fat because I’m pregnant.

And the purple flowers? Something managed to bloom! (I thought they were yellow and brown flowers, more like black-eyed Susans. They’re aren’t, but they’re pretty, anyway.)

 

First, he assembled the scaffolding. Rupert did this while I was away with Twinkle Toes buying groceries at the farmer’s market and getting pants for Young Jedi, and generally killing time so as not to be home to witness Rupert fall and get pinned under the scaffolding. I was pleasantly surprised when I returned home. Scaffolding was up, Rupert was alive and well.

The old eaves and wanna-be soffits etc have been removed. We can see the insulation — what is it, R5?

All kinds of ugly here:

Closer shot of the insulation. You can see part of a hole in it. There were many many holes in the insulation. That means many many little animals found their way in over the years. (Ask me how I know. Go on. Ask.)

Someone attempted, at some point, to replace the old stuff with pink batting. 

Only a small sampling of the bird nests and wasp nests that fell down. 

The Fat Max crow bar-wielding hero and lord-master of home renovations: Rupert. 

Here, he is doing his part to keep the Red Army alive. 

Ever seen one of these? EW. So gross, it is still outside. But too fascinating to chuck. I want the kids to see this. Apparently, our home was home to TWO different kinds of wasps. These guys, the mud builders, and the other papery nest wasps. 

Yesterday, we put most of the finishing touches on Young Jedi’s room.

There are still a few bits of trim to go on just as soon as we get our hot little hands on a coping saw. After that, there’s the door. and the door trim, but after 3 years in a room with no walls, what’s a missing door?

The room was finished enough that we could move Young Jedi (back) into his room! Yay!

(The kids refused to let me take normal pictures of the room. They kept jumping into the frame…)

(The room looks really small with us in it.)

(Young Jedi slept in his room last night and today I moved his desk in. I wanted to get his toys etc in and organized, but Twinkle Toes was having Napping Issues today. And just in case y’all are wondering, it’s not because I don’t want my kid to have to do some of the work of moving in and setting up. I want to do it alone due to the “disappearing” of items that has to happen while he’s not around. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. Right? I’m not the only one, am I?)

 

Even though I spent the first two hours of my Twinkle Toes-free time stalling with chores like sweeping and vacuuming, I did make one item today — after cleaning off my sewing table, that is (not a task to be underestimated).

Tada!

Fall Rose Dress

The dress is a little blurry because it was windy, and I promise, those wrinkles will come out!

Casa Cat Creek has been experiencing quite the heat wave. I’ve only just now regained enough energy for anything other than moving to the basement where 28 degrees feels cool, and sitting there in a puddle of sweat to moan.

The sun has been unrelenting and the temperature has been up around — or above — 30 degrees for what feels like ages, but is probably only two weeks or so. I’m happy I’m not 9 months pregnant like I was during last year’s heat wave, but I’m not enjoying it!

However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining, and the heat and unrelenting sun, as much as it is making the lawn brown and crunchy, the cedars wilt and me sweat, is fantastic for making cucumbers into pickles.

(It’s also great for bleaching and airing cloth diapers, so get your fluff out on the line!)

Here are my first forays into pickle making:

 

 

I’m following my mother-in-law’s recipe (as I remember it). For the pickles, add fresh dill, garlic and salt, and fill with water above the cucumbers. Add a piece of bread for the yeast which will start the fermentation process. Cover with saran wrap and the lid. Leave the jar in the sun for three days and then refrigerate.

The process is the same for the green tomatoes, only this recipe is a little spicier: Use peppercorns, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.

The jar on the right has been out for two days already. Tomorrow I’ll bring it in. The other two I just set out today.

🙂 Happy pickling!

Casa Cat Creek has been home to a number of critters over the years. Not all of them have been welcome guests, but every year I am thrilled to see the robins return to nest. We find evidence of them all around the property: nests blown down by the wind, fragile remnants of the eggs, and, of course, we hear and see the birds. Two of the nests are very close to the house and see repeat business. Does anyone know the mating and nesting habits of robins? Is it likely to be the same couple returning every year? squatters? the babies? This is something I will investigate.

One of the nests is in the carport, just above where I park my motorcycle. Right now, it looks like this:

The other is right next to the front door. I don’t see any babies in it, but over the past few weeks there has been lots of action with mommy and daddy coming and going. Every time I’d open the door, the parents would fly out of the nest, perch on a branch of the tree in front, and loudly proclaim their displeasure. It was very clear to me that they were warning me to stay away from their babies.

Yesterday, I found one of the younger birds — I think from the carport nest — on the window ledge of our mudroom entrance. It kept trying to fly out through the window, and kept landing back on the ledge as it hit glass. So, (city girl that I am) I donned my gardening gloves, and attempted to scoop the bird up and orient it towards where there actually is an opening. Rupert does this very well with his bare hands, but I am still irrationally worried about things like rabies and bites. I know, I know… not rational.

I was too chicken to properly scoop the bird, but I managed to usher it in the right direction as it made these little attempts at flying, and eventually got itself to the open driveway, where not far off mommy and daddy squawked at me angrily.

Here he is:

 

My Etsy Shop

A little bird told me…

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