Archives May 2020

Well Electrical Repair

On this past Friday night, I noticed that the house wasn’t getting a consistent supply of water, and that air and air bubbles were starting to come out of the taps. Upon further investigation, I realized that the circuit breaker for the well had been tripped. I tried to switch it back on, but it kept tripping. Using a ground fault meter, I was able to determine that one of the wires going underground from the well control box to the well had apparently been damaged, since it was ground faulted.

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I was able to get the well operational again by running a temporary above-ground line from the control box to the well, but I’ll be calling in professional electricians to come and lay a new underground line this week.

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Landscaping Update

Throughout April and the first part of May, I’ve been steadily working my way through a long list of landscaping tasks and improvements. The most noticeable tasks have been adding bark, clearing out a huge amount of underbrush, felling a couple of trees to open up the front of the house, and planting new bushes, shrubs, and flowers.

The bark made all of the planters look significantly better:

I initially wasn’t sure about whether or not it was a good idea to take down the tree right at the front of the house, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. It completely opens up the front of the house and makes the front porch feel like much less of a cave. Here was how it looks before:

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And here is how it looks after:

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After the tree had been removed, I planted flowers in the pots on the front porch, and planted several shrubs.

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I planted an arbor vida to the left of the sidewalk, and added several azaleas and lilacs to the left around the front of the house and the side of the garage.

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More recently, I planted flowers and a bush around the lower patio by the hot tub, and also planted more azaleas and lilacs in the planters around the guest house, along with replacing a diseased yew bush.

In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to do more pruning on the trees at the back of the house, finish adding bark to the planters outside of the library windows, and then plant bushes and shrubs in those library planters, along with continuing to work on the lawn and working to eliminate the moles that have been digging holes throughout it.

Spring Lawn

Over the past month, I’ve worked hard to try to improve the lawn. Along with all the normal maintenance tasks (fertilizer, dethatching, aerating, and mowing) I’ve re-leveled certain parts of the law, and planted a lot of grass seed and patch filler.

It’s a work in progress, but it’s slowly coming along. For at least the early part of the spring, I’m mowing using a traditional push mower instead of a riding mower or zero turn, in an effort to keep the new grass as healthy as possible.

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Storage Unit Furniture Swap

As furniture was replaced during all of the interior design projects at the main house in Verona over the past year, I had been moving it to a storage unit. Some of it has been donated, but some of it I had earmarked to replace even older furniture at the lake house or the guest house. I used an app called Sortly to manage all of the inventory, which came in handy because my wife was able to use it to coordinate donations and I could mark items as on hold to move to other houses.

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As the weather improved this spring, I started doing the furniture swaps. I rented a trailer and hauled a love seat, some shelves, and a number of decor items to the lake house.

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I also replaced the coffee table, end tables, and shelves in the guest house with furniture that had previously been in the main house.

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In addition to replacing the furniture, I also did a number of other small tasks in the guest house. I did paint touchups in the bathroom, I added a new rug to the living room, and I added a piece of wood trim to the ceiling to reinforce some cracking drywall.

I also thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed the garage, which had accumulated a lot of dirt and dust over the course of the winter.

Meanwhile, at the lake house I replaced the dining room table with a new one, since the old one was on its last legs.

All of these tasks were pretty small individually, but they added up to breath a lot of life into both the guest house and the lake house. It also had the added benefit of significantly emptying out the storage unit, which was a welcome occurrence.

Power Washing

When I was cleaning up brush and removing bushes from around the front of the house as part of my overall spring landscaping efforts, I noticed that a significant amount of moss, dirt, and general grime had built up on the front of the house, especially the roof and around the windows above the front porch. Over the course of a weekend, I power washed most of the house and was able to remove all of  the built up grime.

The end result was a significant improvement, and was more noticeable than I expected it to be.

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After that was done, I moved on to other areas of the house. In particular, the back of the house (near the library on the lower level and the sitting room on the main level) had a lot of green algae build up, that was really easy to remove from the vinyl siding with the power washer.

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When I was washing the siding, I made an interesting discovery: I found a large hole in the ground right along the foundation, that I believe has been responsible for some of the seepage flooding the house has experienced a couple of times over the past few years.

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I’m not sure if it was caused by natural erosion or was burrowed by an animal, but regardless I filled it in with dirt, which hopefully will help stave off future flooding.

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Re-Leveling Pavers

Another early spring project ┬áthat I’d needed to do for the past couple of years was to re-level the pavers on the back patio. The house has several sections of pavers: at the exit of the garage side-door, along a pathway heading down to the lower patio, and on the patio with the hot tub. The primary leveling issues were on the first section near the garage, where they had sunk over the years as the underlying dirt and sand eroded. I first removed the sections of sunken pavers, before re-leveling the ground with paver base and leveling sand.

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Once the pavers were back in place, I used an outdoor paver polymeric sand, which functions almost like a mortar and hardens when exposed to water.

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This will help prevent water, weeds, and moss from working their way into the gaps between the pavers and causing more erosion. Once everything was leveled and the polymeric sand was applied, the patio look significantly less misshapen.

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Woodshed Roof Replacement

When I was doing various spring cleanup tasks around the land, I noticed that the roof of the woodshed I built on the back corner of the land had collapsed over the winter. It’s not a complex structure, just essentially a cube made from treated lumber that holds logs in place. The roof is important though, since it keeps the logs from getting wet.

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I built a new roof, and this time I included some additional structural supports, along with a way for water to drain from the roof if it builds up. The Ranger was very useful for this task, since I had to haul all of the wood to the job site about half a mile away.

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With the additional support struts and drainage, my hope is that this roof will last significantly longer than its predecessor.