Thursday, 06.10.2005

Cut the lawn for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I thought that would be it till next year, but unfortunately not! Although the weather has been a bit cool and damp the grass seems to have appreciated it and its still growing quite well. Ground is a bit soft though, so tends to get cut up a bit with the mower.

In other developments we finally got sick of finding places to put things and got a garden shed. We were going to wait till next year and build one ourselves since most of the shop bought ones are pretty flimsy or just ugly. But anyway, we found one sheet steel one that was quite cheap and reasonably large. After a bit of thought we decided to get that and put it up temporarily over winter and then think what to do about it again next year.

Putting up the shed was a bit more work than I thought though. We had to level off some ground and put in gravel to make a base for it and it turned out to be quite a bit of gravel. Mostly we had enough lying around already, but we ended up getting some more, cleaner crushed rock, to fill things in and to put around the house. Putting the shed up took almost a whole weekend as well, and I’m certain the weight of it doubled with the amount of screws it takes to hold it together… But anyway, it is finished and ready to be filled up.

We put the shed off to one side out of the way. No point putting it on top of the new lawn.

Green to match the house

The lawn, which is growing quite happily still,

Growing like there is no tomorrow...

and is looking very green.

Surrounded by an ocean of green

Tuesday, 13.09.2005

Not many updates here over summer, but still few things happening around the house. Where to start with this update is the question. Easiest, I guess, is just to start where I left off last time, with a list.

  • waterproofing plastic around foundations to trim
  • foundations to paint
  • front and back porch to do
  • back patio to tile
  • lawn to put down
  • washing line to put up
  • gardens to do

So, as you can see there are a few things crossed off the list and we have a few more things done that weren’t there to start with. So, back to the beginning.

Mum and Dad arrived mid July. That was supposed to be a bit of a break, apart from one thing I had planned to do about this time, which was trim the waterproofing from the foundations and paint them. In the process of working out how to do that I found that they should also be plastered before painting them! The waterproofing sheet turned out to be quite easy to cut, but it had to be trimmed below the ground level, so that meant moving all the crushed rock back from the foundations. That involved lots of sweating to all involved (thanks Dad :-). Adding the plastic trim to the top edge of the plastic went quite well also even if it wasn’t always so straight. But no-one sees that anyway :-). And then a bit of plastering later (with some expert help) it cleaned up quite well. And finally a spot of paint for the finishing touches.

I like work, I could watch it for hours.   Completely plastered.   All painted up with nowhere to go.

Something else that we had been thinking about, but wasn’t on the list, was somewhere to put the rubbish bin. Seems that having a little hut for the bin is a trendy thing to have and one of the garden construction books we have made it look quite easy, so it was time to make use of our guests again :-). There was quite a bit of wood still lying around from the house and some roofing tiles, so all we ended up buying was a bit of white paint and the metal stakes for the legs. With some assistance from everyone and a couple of weeks working off and on (because of the weather) we progressed from a few scribbles on paper to the finished article (which is still standing too!). And best thing of all is that the rubbish collectors even put the bin back in the right place now.

Test drive.   It stands!   Just like the picture in the book.

I thought we had escaped further work for the rest of the summer, but in late August we had the opportunity to get the lawn done. Everything came up at the right time, we could be home that weekend, the gardeners were free, and Pia’s parents were available as well. So, first up came the dirt. We managed to skimp a bit on that and scrapped by with just 70 cubic metres of topsoil. As we found out later we could have easily used much more than that (some online estimates said over 300 cubic metres!). That was still two truck and trailer units worth of dirt that was dumped either end of the house. Then Lea and Risto bought the gardeners tractor down on their truck Friday with the gardeners arriving Saturday morning. Actually not so much to do apart from stand around and watch (or pick up stones). The tractor spread the dirt and flattened it off. Then the fertilizer was spread along with the seeds. Then the surface was mixed up using the little open roller device. The results you can see further below. Our last job was to get a lawn mower in the end-of-season sales.

A large pile of dirt.   That was a hot day!   I want one of those!   And I have one of these :-)

Two days after the grass was sown the sky opened and it poured down. I had visions of all the seeds floating away and at first glance afterwards that is what had happened. In places the topsoil seemed to be gone and little rivers were cut through the lawn. Luckily that wasn’t quite the case, although we do have grass sprouting in places it shouldn’t be and a few bare areas that will probably need sown again next year. But as you can see below, watching grass grow isn’t so boring after all 🙂

6 days later…

Watching grass grow is fun...

12 days later…

Maybe not so much fun after all

18 days later…

Getting a little boring now.

22 days later…

Getting very boring now!

and its still growing!

Friday, 15.07.2005

Finally finished painting the house today!!!!!!

Now that just leaves:

  • waterproofing plastic around foundations to trim
  • foundations to paint
  • front and back porch to do
  • back patio to tile
  • lawn to put down
  • washing line to put up
  • gardens to do

Tuesday, 07.07.2005

The heat has really turned on the last week. Its been well over 20 now since before last weekend. Bit warm in our yard, but it gave a good chance to finish the bulk of the painting.

Last weekend was a bit of a painting marathon. Finished both end walls using our new 5.5m ladder. Had to do both under the eaves in white and then the walls in green. Bit of a worry what between the ladder being a bit wobbly at full extension and the @”&! wasps that have taken a liking to living in the eaves. Seems that they enjoy the smell of acrylic paint as well :-(. Had to work around the sun shining on the two walls as well, but managed to finish everything by Sunday evening. That only leaves the window frames on the two end walls and the back wall. Had to grab a couple extra 9 litre cans of paint as well and it looks like it will be just enough for everything.

And after a bit of prodding and a grumpy letter later the earthmoving company has finally come to finish off the main landscaping work. They have had a little digger here a couple of days now and have managed put in all the crushed fill for the driveway and front yard as well as around the house and where the back paved area will be. They have also smoothed off all the front and back yards and generally cleaned things up. Still waiting on the concrete caps for the sewage tank, etc, but I guess they should be doing that soon.

The guttering went up during the last couple of weeks as well, so that is just about everything that we need help with. The landscaping, gardening, and paving we will be doing/arranging ourselves over the next couple of years. Hopefully we can get the paving around the back done this summer though. Need load of soil for the grass sometime as well.

A couple of pictures of our new guttering,

Raindrops are falling on my...   No rain here!

the painting,

The painting goes on...

and the half completed yard work.

Dinky little digger

BBQs in the sun soon!

Tuesday, 08.06.2005

Been doing the painting off and on for the last month now. Its a bit slow work though. Doing half of one wall (above the white stripe) takes at least three hours for one wall. Second coat is a bit quicker though, but it still takes a long time going up and down the ladder. Good news is that the back wall green paint is done now, the white trim still has to be done for part of it, although one side and the back porch is finished. The front wall has one coat of green as well.

The white trim takes a very long time, what with having to paint along the green parts. There isn’t much point masking off the edges with tape since it is so rough (and the weatherboards leave gaps) that the tape would never cover it properly. So it all has to be hand done. Same where the green wall meets the white under the eaves.

Once the front and back walls are done the ends are next. Unfortunately our ladder (which someone kindly left for us — don’t know who) isn’t tall enough to reach the highest point. We need one that extends to about 5 metres. That will be another 120 EUR by the looks of it.

Enough about painting anyway. Also in the last month our roof safety system has been installed. It is a ladder, steps, and walkway that allows access to the roof and chimney. Also our snow barriers are also in place now. They should stop the snow sliding off the roof and falling in front of the entrances to the front and back. Next is the rain guttering. There are a few problems with that the moment, but the installer would like to do it quite soon, so hopefully that is in the next week.

In other news we had to get our septic tank emptied for the first time too. By luck we managed to notice before it overflowed too :-). I was a bit worried about the bill (I had visions of 100’s of Euros), but actually it turned out to be just 100 EUR in total. Big surprise, but pleasant. So it looks as if we can get away with emptying it about 2 – 3 times a year.

Anyway, some pictures. First the new bits and pieces for the roof, snow barrier and ladder, etc. View of the front and back (front when only the bottom half of the wall was painted). And finally, the first of the lupins along our road-side to flower this year.

Roof stuff.

Back of the house

Front of the house

Blooming flowers

Thursday, 12.05.2005

Painting season is here!

Spring is here for good now and it is dry as a bone outside. Hardly any rain for days, so a good time to start painting the house exterior.

A few bits done over the last week or so, mainly where the guttering (fascia board) and down pipes will go. But since there was some white paint left I started under the eaves on the back as well. Unfortunately that made short work of 9 litres of paint. According to my calculations that only leaves 75 litres to go to finish everything :-). Oh well. Hopefully it stays fine for a while longer!

A couple of coats of paint definitely makes a difference though.

Only the pillar is painted!   Fascia board is painted

Thursday, 10.03.2005

A little bit of news after quite a long break.

Finished a few more things around the house. The fireplace room is finished now as far as painting, etc goes. Probably needs some curtains at some point, but we have blinds, so it isn’t critical at the moment. We now have the “bottom step” in the sauna. I turned the left over treated wood into a small stool that goes just behind the sauna door. Some of the bits and pieces of stuff that we don’t need is thrown out now and the rubbish skip has gone as well.

Still a couple of things to do. Rearrange the “technical” room so that it can be painted and rearrange the storage room so that everything fits there. I’m not sure how quickly those things will happen though :-).

On a slightly larger scale, the back yard has had its first landscaping done. The digger was here Tuesday night and on Wednesday the yard was flattened out. They came in the middle of winter so that the ground was hard and they don’t sink into the dirt. Sometime during spring they will return with a baby digger and a pile of dirt and fill in all the holes. I’m sure there will be a few since parts of the yard will sink when the snow melts.

The digger and a before and a couple of after shots of the yard from Wednesday.

Big yellow digger!

Snowy yard by sunrise.

Dirty yard by sunset.

A ditch even!

Tuesday, 18.01.2005

Probably not much to report here for a while until spring comes and we start on the yard again.

Since the last entry we have finished off most of the interior work. Although there were only a few things left to do. The final trim/molding around the wooden ceilings in the bathrooms and laundry is up. We bought one 10x pack of wood trim of about 2.5m long which was almost exactly enough for all the ceilings. The architraving around the sauna door has been done as well which pretty much finished all those things. The only bit left is in the fireplace room and is a half round piece for the corner where the brick wall meets the gib-board. There is a gap there that needs to be covered. I will have to paint that piece the same colour as the wall though before putting it in place.

There were a couple of other small touch up jobs that are now done and as of last weekend all the curtain tracks are up as well. I think we probably need to put up something in front of the rail to hide the track and the hooks, but that can wait a while. We even have curtains in some rooms, which looks a little strange at first.

The one major thing left to do is the “technical” room where the heat pump and other such things live. Although that is undercoated now it needs to be touched up, the finishing painting done and skirting boards, etc put in place. Then once that is done the concrete floor can be painted as well. Hopefully that will be done during the next few weeks.

Now that most of the building work is done the storage room can have a proper rearrangement and some of the building materials thrown out. The guttering system and the roof ladder/walkway has still to be put up though, so those things are taking up quite a lot of room still. They will stay there until at least spring, so in the end it is probably nearly summer before everything can be sorted out fully.

Not much in the way of photos at the moment. I hope to do a full “virtual” tour of the house, but that will have to wait for a little while. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures from New Years day.

Midday and still -5.   Gotta watch the step on that driveway!


Saturday, 18.12.2004

Haven’t been very good at this lately :-(. Although not much to tell at the moment either. Things are going pretty smoothly with the house. Still things to do of course, but nothing major.

Most of the stuff now has more to do with cleaning things up and puting everything in its proper place. But that seems to be pretty slow going :-(.

On the actual finishing stuff off subject, there is a few bits and pieces been done now. The flashing under the laundry door entrance is in place now, that just leaves a bit to go on the roof. The front entrance door is now straight in its frame (it was rubbing against the frame). The bits of moulding along the ceiling in the kitchen are back in place now. Part of the trim there had been taken down when the hanging cupboards were put in place. Oh, almost forgot, the new kitchen table and chairs arrive a couple of weeks ago as well and they are all unpacked and in place as well. Makes a bit of a change eating at a 6 seat dining table now :-).

Now all we need are some guests!

Sunday, 29.11.2004

Pretty busy again all week with work, and Christmas is fast approaching, so Saturday was spent doing shopping, etc. But also some house shopping things as well. Got a few bits and pieces for the house and also ordered our dining table and chairs.

Sunday we managed to finish the pantry shelves and clean up the yard a bit more. For the shelves we bought mounting racks for the walls and brackets, then some white laminated chipboard for the shelves. It took a few hours, but it looks like the shelves will stay on the wall :-). That was one of the major parts still left to do and means that we can rearrange the kitchen a bit and get rid of some of the mess.

During last week Pia arranged glass for the interior doors and that has been installed as well, so now they are pretty much finished too. The fireplace room has been cleaned out and we got a nice mat for it (see the picture :-). Although some little bits still need to be done there as well (along with sorting out the furniture).

Outside everything is well and truely frozen now as well. The was a snow storm in the city centre last weekend, but we missed most of it, but there has been snow off and on here since then and a few days of -10 or so.

The shelves are bare!   Safety glass and all!   Cow road kill...

A bit of a nip in the air today.