Thursday, May 19, 2016


Went with Mariette a couple of weeks ago for a walk in the woods. Actually, a walk in her woods: she wanted to check out the state of her pines and hickorys, and see if it was going to be a good blueberry season.
Pretty dark in the woods, and no interesting long shots, so here are some close-ups.
It is good to go look at the trees now and then.
Some of them were missing - two of the biggest pines, magnificent spécimens all straight and tall, had been stolen. Mariette has a map of the place, showing all the really valuable trees, but she didn't have it with her or we'd have done an inventory. That kind of theft is not uncommon, but it's pretty expensive to prevent unless you live close enough to be a real presence.
Those are pansies, not violets. Note the pointed leaves.
Yes, Ma'am. Duly noted.

The Island of Wild Geraniums.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Home Improvement

So it was decided that we should have a nice wooden terrace behind the house.
It's nice to eat at the table under the cherry tree, but 
1. the chair legs tend to sink into the lawn unexpectedly and dump you onto the ground
2. you can't get the mower really close around the legs

And also, the concrete pad is just an insightly mess. As a thin layer of concrete over dirt, patching the holes and cracks is useless - you have to destroy the whole thing and start over. I dump a lot of weedkiller on it when things really get growing, but it's a losing race. Bernard doesn't want to spend any money fixing it this year, but I'm welcome to do what I like (no deducting from the rent, alas).

JP figured a wooden platform about 4 meters by 2 1/2 would be pretty cheap and easy to build, and I'm out there a lot, so let's just do it. I don't plan on moving soon.
9 2x4's, 27 planks, 6 bags of mortar, a box of really huge screws, and a box of more regular screws. And a rental truck for an hour. A bit more than we'd calculated, but once the terrace bug is on you, you gotta have one.
The first day, he only laid down two of the cross-ties before it started to rain. Better off playing bridge when it rains. After that the weather was more cooperative. 
6 bags of mortar was barely enough to get all the ties fixed and level. In places he needed to fill a couple of inches, and even then on the highest ground the ties are laid flat, not on edge.
Time for the planking! 
Dang, didn't get nearly enough screws. Lucky that certain stores are allowed to open on Sundays. Get the bucket-full this time.
Getting close to the end... Oh, no! missing about a plank and a half. Off to BricoMan yet again.
When we were there Friday morning, there was nobody much in the store, and we could drive around the lot with ease. This time it seemed like Pentacost Monday is actually National DIY day. No matter having to wait around, but just our luck they had sold out of the 2.4m planks. Friday they had plenty plenty. Today, none. Fortunately, they still had 4m planks, so we took one of those.
And there you have it.
Now to find some strong arms to help with the table.