projects for a week off

Time flies when you’re having fun.

My sister and I wandered about downtown Marietta a couple of weeks ago. Marietta merchants are committed to maintaining a dynamic downtown business district so, every month or so, they sponsor a “merchants walk” with sidewalk sales and refreshments.

Janice and I were intrigued by some antique, unmatched, painted dining room chairs in one store. We determined we’d try that project.

Last night I got a call from my sister, telling me that someone was throwing away some ladder-back chairs. Probably not old, but a suitable blank slate for our first attempt at furniture painting.

She picked up the chairs and we purchased our painting supplies today. For about $15 in paint and supplies I’m going to have a couple of dining room chairs — or maybe cottage chairs if they turn out badly. LOL

Another project Bud and I have tackled this week is replacing the insulation around the oven in the lower (red) cottage. Mice had created a little mouse condo in the fluffy, white insulation. Campers kept saying they smelled something when they used the oven. It came to a head when Bud’s brother and sister-in-law visited and tried to use the broiler.

The heat from the broiler smoked up the mouse turds and empty nut shells pretty badly. We went down the next day to unscrew the plate from the range top and pull out the soiled insulation.

Now we have to replace that insulation and it’s harder to find than one would initially suspect. Regular insulation isn’t designed for the temperatures reached by a kitchen oven. We’re ordering the insulation from an appliance parts company and hope to get it in and replaced before Katie and Dave arrive to stay in the cottage.

Along with new repairs and renovations, on-going mowing and string-trimming is at it’s peak right now. We’ve had so much rain, at such regular intervals, that mowing has become a timing issue.

I don’t like to mow or trim while campers are on the property — lots of dogs are frightened or annoyed by power equipment so I save those jobs for days when we’re here alone. And then it rains.

So the huge trimming job Vicki Davis performed a month ago is just a dim memory. The weeds are, again, 3 feet tall.

I’ve held my ground in the lawns around the house and am capable of maintaining the campfire area and flower beds, but anything beyond that is on it’s way to reverting to nature.

Actually, we’re battling nature on several fronts here. The mice in the cottages are overwhelming this spring, perhaps because of the mild temps and rain. Between mice and weeds and vines and poison ivy — one or all will take over if we show a moment’s weakness.

I have this visual of our house separated from the overgrown woods by a small mown yard, like a moat. And the mice barely held at bay, chewing their way through the log walls as we sleep.

Oh yeah, and bats have decided that the little gaps between the logs and the trim at the top gables are great bedrooms. We actually love bats, since they eat lots of insects, but the sound of bats waking up and getting to work in the evening is a little disconcerting, especially when it is right over your head.

In the meantime my father has decided to give one of the old woodburning stoves stored on the property to a drinkin’ buddy. Said drinkin’ buddy wants to come get said woodburner but is having trouble scheduling the small army of muscle it’s going to take to shift it. Another project, one from the annoying list.

My sister and I tried a new water exercise class today — water Pilates. I swam for 25 minutes beforehand, fortunately, as this form of pilates is not aerobic. But it was fun, a good stretch, and we were able to chat throughout the workout, so that’s something.

State Route 676 continues to be closed 4 miles east of us, causing us to take a detour through “god’s country” every time we go to Marietta. I’m becoming increasingly disturbed by one farmer’s animals. They seem poorly kept to me, though our county can barely afford a dog warden and I’m certain donkeys and cows won’t rate much attention.

We got our monthly magazine from our electric cooperative yesterday, with a right-wing article about how HSUS’s involvement in farm animal care in Ohio is going to lead to $6/dozen eggs and meat you can’t afford to buy.

Right — like animals have to be kept skinny and dirty to produce well. I felt like writing to the magazine’s editorial staff and suggesting that this author call his articles “editorials” if he wants a soapbox on which to preach right-wing scare tactics. Then I saw the name of the “director of communications” for the magazine — same as the author. Guess they’ve chosen sides.

This magazine also is trying to frighten people about how exploring alternative energy sources (other than coal-to-electricity, their product) is going to put energy costs through the roof. I guess they want us to think the Obama administration is going to lead us down a path to unaffordable utilities and food.

It’s hard to figure what’s more annoying — right-wing reactionaries or mice or bats.

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