Outside work

As K. said in the last post, we’re focusing a lot on the outside of the house right now.  When the weather was cold and we were working inside, it was hard for people to tell that any work was being done – except when we’d have massive work party days every month or so.  Now that we’re able to work outside, we can do things that are immediately visible to the neighborhood (even if a lot of times it will look worse before it looks better, like when half of the paint has been scraped off the porch clapboard.)  We’re both looking forward to the day when our house doesn’t come across visually as a huge eyesore that’s begging for demolition or vandalization.  It’s also easy to meet your neighbors when you’re out and about.  I know I don’t really need to go into the importance of knowing your neighbors… and it’s easy to strike up a conversation from the starting point of yard work, snow shoveling, or home repairs.

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“so, your porch needs some work?” since this was taken window frames have been primed and OSB has been replaced with brick walkway (thanks, obsolete ex-chimney)

The other thing we’re doing right now is planting trees and shrubs on the side lot.  We’re way too occupied with stabilizing the house to have a full garden this year, but the earlier trees are planted, the longer they have to grow.  We ordered some plants through the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual tree and shrub sale, and although they are tiny right now, we’re looking forward to a future of lilacs providing color and fragrance as well as a wall of evergreens providing a windbreak for the wind that blows off the river straight through our side lot.

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our chosen paint colors. green = clapboard, white = trim, blue = window sashes, orange = trim detail

Even more than the holes in the roof, the most glaring problem with the outside of our house (at least visually speaking) is the peeling paint.  Well, maybe also the boarded up windows, which have to wait until each wooden window can be stripped, repaired, reglazed, and repainted.  It’s hard to know where to begin sometimes, with a huge project like this.  That’s why it’s good to step back once in a while and work on smaller projects like tree planting that demonstrate to passers-by that the house is being cared for and on the way to being occupied again.

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broken lath bonfire in the side yard
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