Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hoosier Chimney Cupboard Restoration Part 2

The shellacked Lauan for reference
Tim has been taking advantage of our lovely dry autumn weather and sanding outside.  A cupboard this age is just full of lead paint and arsenic and every other vile substance known to the 20th century.

He's still using 80 grit and trying to take the swirls that someone's orbital sander left.  The cabinet was a little rickety as we were taking it apart but the individual pieces held up well and do not need repair.

The frame is Poplar which is identified by green
and purple streaks on a yellowish background

There are three kinds of wood in it.  Tim says they probably used leftover pieces from their better cabinets to put in their paint grade ones.

There are some nice pieces of red oak
And the plywood is maple.

And remember those nasty shelves?  They actually looked pretty nice under all that gook although a couple of them have deep black stains.

Part 3 to be found 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hoosier Chimney Cupboard Restoration Part 1

Yesterday we pulled the last of the marigolds and the petunias and the last zucchini plant. Very shortly after we went indoors it began to snow.  So we waited until the very last moment. I still have a nice crop of lettuce under a frost cover which should last awhile.  

Earlier in the day, while it was still raining and sleeting and looking miserable we went to our favorite antique mall for a check-in.  It is a very large mall but we can get through it pretty quickly and spot the new interesting items.  We have been on the look out for a second Hoosier chimney cupboard to display my kitchen collectibles and graniteware.  I have one that I bought on eBay and had shipped in some 10 or 12 years ago.  The finish wasn't bad, but structurally it was shot and Tim had to rebuild it saving only the door, face frame and shelves.  We have enjoyed it ever since.

At the antique mall Tim spotted a double door one that was a little later date and the paint was still good on it.  I refused to consider it because we really don't have room for a double and the paint was good enough that I felt someone could enjoy it "as-is" and refinishing it wouldn't do it any favors.

Tim was a bit put out with my vehement veto, but a little while later I spotted just the right thing.  "There.  That is the perfect restoration candidate"  Tim said he wasn't going to point it out because he thought I was in an un-receptive mood that day but I have to wait for something to speak to me.  This cupboard said "Take me home and save me".  We obliged.  For the very reasonable price of $55 we loaded it in the back of the truck and headed home in the sleet.

This cabinet is from around 1930 and is structurally much better built than the knock off version we already restored.  Hoosier cabinets were the affordable "K-Mart" furniture of the day made mostly from cheap Lauan plywood and maple but sometimes from beautiful oak.  This one had served it's time in the kitchen and then was moved out into the garage.  The shelves were lined with newspaper from the Buffalo Courier Express dated February 10, 1953.  The man had spray painted parts of it then obviously ran out of paint and switched to some sort of shellac.  Probably to help protect the wood from what he was about to do to it and I guess it worked.

Someone had in mind to fix it up because they had used an orbital sander on the outside and done a lot of the hard work.  But then they gave up probably because it is just cheap plywood and not one of the more rare oak ones.  When you are picking antiques and reselling them, you have to be careful not to "remove all the fun".  People like us enjoy salvaging these things, but.....


All the seller would have had to done is scrape out some crap and removed the bottle of Mercurochrome and it would have been much more appealing.  It would probably not have cost $55 either.  We got the garbage can and a couple of putty knives and removed a layer of crud.  It already looked better. And we confirmed that it was originally painted "French Grey" (light greenish color) just like my Hoosier.  How appropriate.

Today we moved it into the shop and commenced restoration.
For as much ripping and tearing as Tim does with trees and stumps, he has a lot of patience with old things.  Usually he tinkers with coin-op antiques but he is very good with wood too.  He knows how to take things apart without ruining them.  And, more important to this project, he knows how to put them back together.

We started with the back - you'll see why in a minute.  We carefully slipped two putty knives between the Lauan and the frame and then Tim drove a nail puller between the knives safely driving a wedge and easing each nail out without tearing up the wood.  

This was the most time consuming part but it will save a ton of time and trouble later on.

Because can you imagine trying to sand down this mess 
while it was still INSIDE the cupboard?

And with the back removed, the nasty shelves slide right out for sanding.

Now a lot of people would have stopped there.  But Tim is more than capable of putting this back together, so we kept going.  We wedged the sides off of the face frame.  The frame was face nailed with finish nails, so Tim uses a nipper to pull the nails on through from the back without damaging the front.

We ended up with a stack of panels, carefully labeled with tape

And I began to sand.

With all the pieces able to be laid flat and moved around, sanding and painting will be a breeze.  I'm ordering new replacement hardware and picking up some paint to match what we already have.
Stay Tuned.

Part 2 to be found

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The End of Our Rope

This post falls under the heading "Adventures in Landscaping". It's amazing what sort of adventures we can get into on any given Sunday.  Long ago, at another house, in what now seems like a previous life, we had a water feature.  And around that water feature we had a rope.  It was a nice rope, wound around the posts, reminiscent of the shore.  Tim has it in the back of his mind that he would like to do something like that again.  But we have no rope.  Had no rope.  We now have rope,  Lotsa rope.

The water feature at the previous house
This past summer, at the Tuesday Auction, Tim found a spool of rope.  A big one.
A friend of his wanted the spool, and Tim only wanted the rope.  So for $10...well, actually for $0 because we didn't have to pay for the spool... We just relieved the spool from the unwanted rope. ...we got a Sunday adventure.

This, right here, is the end of our rope.
Today we decided to unwind our rope from Friend's spool and coil it up and put it away.  So we began to unroll the rope.

There is goes... around the garage...

And down the driveway...

A long ways.  But, there is still a LOT of rope.

We were beginning to wonder how much.  And this "unrolling" was more like wrestling.  Someone had unwound a bunch of rope and then put it back very badly. One person would stand on the rope while the other person hauled on the spool.   Then we'd switch.  Because the rope really didn't want to come off this spool.  We tried unrolling together, Tim pushing and I pulling.

It was exhausting.  And then we were still going to have to coil up all that rope.
Finally we got the the other end of our rope.  After going all the way down the drive and then back some, and then the other way again.  We got out the 100 foot tape measure and cut the rope into 200 foot sections.  Two of them.  And a 75 foot section.  And just in case we had a small project, a 30 foot section.  Are you keeping up?  That's 505 feet of rope.  Now if you were to go to the store and buy heavy rope like this you would probably have to pay at least a $1 a foot.  Of course this isn't nice new store bought rope.  This is really smelly old rope.
I have no idea what we are going to do with that much rope.

The Other End of Our Rope

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Buttoned up for Winter

Last weekend we pulled out what was left of the garden.  I put away a bushel of beautiful potatoes, a gallon of beans and some odds and ends of cucumbers.  Then yesterday Tim covered the beds with road fabric.  We plan on letting the raised beds rest next year and this will keep the weeds down and solarize the soil.  I won't be giving up gardening entirely.  I still have my 8x8 bed left for a few necessities like tomatoes and cucumbers.  But this will free up a lot of time to get some other outside projects completed.  Like finally painting the doors to the garden shed.

My 8x8 bed is still active.  I have my second planting zucchini plant and some lettuce.  Last year my lettuce kept going until we had a hard frost of about 20 degrees which was mid November

This is actually the second planting of fall lettuce.  The first one was in the big garden and went with everything else.  Do this is my third crop of lettuce this year. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Big Apple

The garden is put away for the year and it's Apple Season.  The spindly Spy apple tree has begun to drop apples so tonight we went ahead and picked them.  We got 9 this year and as you can see they are as big as usual.  

They were all over 10 ounces and the largest is a new record at 13.4 ounces

A little perspective on size.  It's a Handful!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Harvest Waits for No Man

Once you plant a garden you are committed for the season.  Things will ripen.  They must not go to waste.  The garden does not care that I am hobbling around on one leg.  It has been tended.  It is coming to fruition.

I was out of state for four days for a funeral.
This is what I returned to.

Today's Harvest

I froze a gallon of green beans last weekend along with half my harvest of hot peppers.   Today will be another gallon of beans.  I can't complain, the beans are beautiful and tall and easy to pick.  I also picked the first zucchini from one of the last plants which survived being uprooted by the coons.  The late planting experiment proved to be a success.  One plant succumbed to disease the week I was gone so I pulled it.  The remaining plant is thriving and producing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Late Summer Wrap Up - Without A Leg To Stand On

I have been laid up with a broken ankle for the past week so the Garden is in Tim's hands.  He has been dedicated to watering and dead-heading and advising what needs to be picked.  He even helped my pick beans tonight since we are up to our ears in beans!

The most beautiful purple beans ever

We also have a bed of cucumbers which is battling downy mildew but producing some nice straight cucumbers.
A new bed of GORGEOUS bush beans.
Remind me not to bother to plant beans before July 15th ever again.

A bed of young lettuce and old carrots

Waiting on the bell peppers to ripen

 That makes three vacant beds but one is still harboring undug potatoes.  I also have my fall garden bed prepared and am saving lettuce seedlings to plant there where I can keep them under a frost cover long after the main garden is closed down for the winter.

The fall garden bed with a young zucchini plant
and the frost frame ready to shelter lettuce
The second half of the lettuce babies ready for transplanting
 My strawberry bed is thriving after being renovated in July.  I'm glad I was up to date on garden projects.  All my major cleaning projects were done and things only need maintenance.

The strawberry bed
My carting home of crysanthemums was interrupted after the first trunk load which was one huge glorious Five Alarm Red mum which BARELY fit in my car and garnered compliments while it sat in the office parking lot behind my car.  "Where did you buy that mum?!"  No sense in spending the money on half a dozen more if it is going to be difficult to get out there and enjoy them.

My Barlow Jap tomato plant produced 26 large tomatoes this year.  I don't know if that is a record because I've never kept track before but I can say that the plant obviously had so many fruit that I began counting them as I picked them.  I also had the opportunity to take some back to their home town of Shelbyville KY and give them to my Kentucky family as a special treat.  They were a BIG hit!

The loaded tomato plant before they began to ripen
My ankle ought to be mended in time for planting this year's batch of fall bulbs.  In the mean time, my mother is canning my extra tomatoes, Elsie our Amish friend has been recruited to handle the wild plum jelly, and the apple orchard is in shape and ready for apple picking time.  
If I was going to fall off of my high horse, this was an OK time to do that.

And here is the cause of my broken ankle.
An unplanned (and poorly orchestrated) dismount from Mr. William Pendleton

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Extreme Weeding

It has been said that a weed is merely a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.  I'll take that a little further.  A weed is a plant that is growing where you don't want it.  Sometimes that is entirely your fault.  Today's post on Extreme Weeding falls under the Undo Redo category.

Today Mid-Day

This "flower bed", and I use that term loosely, is along the drive right opposite the house.  It is a tight triangle that Tim did not want to mow (go figure).  So we put an old double blade plow in there as yard art and I began to plant.  I divided and planted Black Eyed Susans and Hosta.  I moved in Bearded Irises and Cone Flowers.  I planted Dahlias and dug the tubers up each fall to winter over.   I bought Day Lilies and accepted gifts of Myrtle, Snow On The Mountain and Daisies.


  Things looked nice for several years.  I added Hardy Mums and Coral Bells.  We fenced two sides to limit the deer traffic through there,  It was colorful but a lot of work.  I had to make a map to remember what was in there and it was not easy to mulch around every little thing.  The Myrtle, which began as a chunk under the plow, spread into every empty space covering the mulch and collecting oak leaves like they were going out of style.

 Over time it began to wear on me.  The Myrtle smothered and killed off the Irises and Coral Bells.  Slugs ate the Dahlias.  Deer ate the Hosta and the Black Eyed Susans.  Things fell into disrepair.  The things that weren't growing well got pulled out, relocated, given away or just dwindled and vanished.  I tried Oregano, Spearmint an Lemon Balm along the back.  The Oregano took over and the ants built a LARGE ant hill in the middle of that.

 It was a challenge, but it did look nice from time to time.
My "rock clump" always made me happy.

This year, with our very dry July, things began to look very bedraggled.  A few years ago I realized that given the choice between a tidy expanse of empty mulch, and a mass of crappy flowers, I'd rather look at the tidy expanse of empty mulch.  This bed needed a major overhaul

The back, along the fence, is very dry.  It gets full sun and the tree roots suck all the moisture out of the ground.  We must constantly police the edges for poison ivy coming in from the woods.  The perennial Geranium and what was left of the Cone Flowers was looking pretty bad.  The Oregano was running amok and actual weeds, as in Quack Grass and Oxalis, took up the unwanted corners.

Weeding was hopeless.  It was time for some Extreme Weeding.  I decided it was time to pull everything out of there.  I've done this before a few years ago when the Yarrow took over and looked just as bad. The Overhaul was scheduled.

The green mass in the corner is what are left of the Black Eyed Susan Deer Buffet.
Next year I will have to remember to spray them well.

This extreme weeding session involved going through with a potato fork loosening the top few inches of soil, and then everything must be yanked out and the roots must be raked up with a bow rake and shoveled away.  I was surprised how much poison ivy was in there after all, and anything in the way of poison ivy was coming out.  I removed the ant hill which was surprisingly (and thankfully) under populated.  I did leave some Oregano in the corner, and I took out more chunks of Myrtle to transplant, evening the edges and beating it back from the driveway and lawn.

We had a little old mulch left, which was the final motivator for this project, and we laid it on thick.  I can tell when yard work has ceased to be fun.  In April we go through and carefully cut each edge.  We lay tarps on the lawn and carefully shovel yard after cubic yard out of the tractor bucket and then expertly feather it out by hand, on our knees, until our rotator cuffs are shot and our knees no longer bend.  It looks beautiful and is a great source of satisfaction.

In mid-August, we ignore the edge, dump piles of mulch directly into the beds and then we shoved it around with bow rakes until it is reasonably smooth.  Yep, the fun has gone out of it.  The object it to block weeds.  We are no nonsense landscapers.  It still looks better than it did.  And maybe next year I will add some annuals around the edge to add some color.

Years ago, when we UnDo-ReDo-ed the house landscape we relocated this Barberry Bush back behind the garage.  It never really took off here, and the irregular chunk out of the drive was a hassle.

So Tim pulled that out,  The Myrtle I removed today went into this area, and the UnDo ReDo is complete.

And here is the backside of the Poop Deck with Hosta, Brunera, and Myrtle previously removed from today's renovated bed.