Tag Archives: deck

A veritable squirrel pantry…..

 

I was sitting in the living room reading when movement caught my eye.

 

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On closer inspection:

 

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Knowing this was not going to end well, I went outside to  chase the little red bastard investigate.

 

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Momma squirrel was back.

 

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When she saw me, she ran.

 

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And I thought, there.

That was easy.

 

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But she wasn’t running because I’d scared her.

No.

 

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She was just looking for a place to stash the apple chunk she’d stolen from the deer.

 

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I found this piece, and 4 others in various nooks and crannies of the table and chairs.

The next morning? 3 more pieces.

So now, everyday when I go outside?

 

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I have to pull half eaten apple pieces out of our patio furniture before the ants descend.

Good times.

 

absolutely-not-

 

I hate that squirrel!

Squirrel invasion.

 

They’re back.

 

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And they’re everywhere.

 

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Momma red squirrel and her babies.

 

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They’ve grown and are venturing out.

 

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The new wider deck railing is a favorite spot for eating snacks. And while it’s cute, there’s a problem.

 

 

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Or should I say multiple little problems. Squirrel poo is now dotting the landscape where we enjoy adult beverages.

 

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And this is a new favorite perch.

 

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I did laugh the other day when one of them climbed on the bracket and saw what he thought was a tasty glob of food.

 

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Only to taste it and discover it was Vaseline to keep the ants off the hummingbird feeder.

 

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Take that you tiny poop factory!

 

Project finale.

 

Railing installation on the last section of deck required measuring.

 

 

So much measuring.

 

 

I figured 16 balustrades, at 5 1/2 inches apart.

 

 

Which the husband started to implement and then chose to ignore.

 

 

Why did he change the spacing?

I have no idea.

 

 

But he continued on his path.

 

 

And shockingly, something was off.

 

 

There he is with the little level again.

Silly man, didn’t he learn anything from the baby barn?

 

 

When he reached the end? He had too much room to leave it open, but not enough room to evenly space a rail.

 

 

So he jammed one in anyway, because at that point he didn’t care.

I did, but managed to swallow my criticism. It was done, and looked a damn sight better than it used to.

Before:

 

 

After:

 

 

Before:

 

 

After:

 

 

I’m pleased with it, as long as I don’t focus on symmetry.

 

 

It’s a cleaner, more modern look.

 

 

But now I can’t decide if the white lattice panel should stay or go.

Guess that can wait till I restain the deck.

Slow and steady wins the race.

 

But it doesn’t get your deck railing project finished any sooner.

We were back at it and it was still hot.

 

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Unfortunately the heat wave coincided with an extended dry spell and our lawn was starting to crunch.

 

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But old railings were torn down.

 

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And rusty nails exposed.

 

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I stained the new wood we had to waste almost 2 hours going to get that morning because someone… I won’t mention who… cut the other pieces incorrectly.

 

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And then that someone  (oops, my bad)  discovered a sander in the barn and wanted to play.

 

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He was fine on the flat surfaces, but scared me to death when he started trying to sand in between. That thing would hit a beam, jump out of his hand and spin wildly across the deck. It happened a dozen times but I could never quite catch it on film.

 

 

In between his legs.

Close to the power cord.

I knew something was gonna give, and it did.

 

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That thing jumped up and sliced his jeans right open. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt, but at that point I said no more sanding!

 

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Which he completely ignored and kept sanding.

 

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After sanding, and almost slicing his leg off?

He hammered nails.

 

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And swept the same portion of deck I had just swept.

Apparently I didn’t do it right.

We did manage to get a few pieces of wood installed before dinner.

With some gentle persuasion.

 

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So this was basically it.

 

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For a whole days work.

Good thing no one is paying us by the hour……

 

 

 

 

Day 4… deck project.

 

Four days in and we were finally ready to start adding the balustrades.

 

 

This involved a large amount of math, which as we have previously discussed… is not our strong suit.

 

 

Measuring was required. So much measuring. The fractions, the division…

Oh! The horror.

I carefully calculated the spacing of 8 rails for each section. I checked and rechecked to make sure it was accurate.

 

 

Which meant 7 of them fit perfectly.

Am I good or what?

 

 

Okay, so there were seven instead of 8.

 

 

It still looked good and things were flowing smoothly.

 

 

Until the screw heads starting popping off.

 

 

Once they were in the railing.

Which made me cringe…. and the husband grab his all purpose fix it tool.

 

 

Have hammer, will travel.

Thankfully no harm was done and we finished 3 out of the 4 sections before calling it a day.

 

 

One more section here..

 

 

Then we’ll move on to the other side.

Hopefully the heat wave will be over by then.

Hot flashing menopausal Maine women with broken toes do not fare well in temperatures over 90.

 

Another scorcher.

 

Temperatures and humidity rose to an unbearable level but the deck railing project moved on.

Slowly.

And with copious amounts of sweat.

 

 

Rotted wood here.

 

 

Rotted wood there.

And then my husband decided to add the piece of J channel that he was supposed to add 16 years ago when he enlarged the deck.

(No judgement on the dirty siding please, we have yet to buy a new pressure washer.)

 

 

The existing piece only ran halfway and the task of replacing it has been on my honey do list for almost two decades.

So off to the store he went, coming back with white J channel, while the old piece is beige.

This was a problem.

 

 

That he knew he could solve.

 

 

Hours were spent on this tiny annoying detail.

The old piece wouldn’t come out without tearing off the siding, and the siding had been caulked around the door and corner post so that was more hassle than it was worth.

 

 

He tried to slide it over, then under, and then up around the old piece but nothing worked.

 

 

Hot and frustrated, he ended up cutting a section of the old piece out and we were left with this.

 

 

A gap which will probably fill with water when it rains, but hey… it matches.

 

 

And if you’re wondering what I was doing during this time?

 

 

I was breaking the little toe on my right foot which isn’t so little anymore.

Ever the helpful wife, that’s me.

For something so small, it’s amazing how much that sucker can swell and hurt.

The result of my injury?

 

 

Husband had to do my job of staining the new wood.

In what little bit of shade he could find.

An entire day, and only we accomplished 3 things.

Yay us.

And the deck project begins.

 

But not before another trip to the store to buy wood.

 

 

(Yes, I know the husband is wearing his mask incorrectly but his glasses kept fogging up)

Two perfect pieces for the top of the railing had to be found. And even though we were searching through the more expensive smoothed cedar boards?

 

 

They were rife with holes, chops, cracks and warty blemishes.

After 45 minutes…

 

 

We moved on to the 2×4’s.

 

 

Is it any wonder our small weekend projects turn into 3 month long slog fests?

 

 

So this is our deck, and those are the railings that will be replaced.

Hopefully by the end of summer.

Of 2020.

 

 

First step…. remove the old railings.

The first few were easy as they had been screwed.

 

 

Then it got harder with massive doubled rusty nails that didn’t want to let go.

 

 

Did I mention we picked the middle of a heat wave with record breaking temperatures to start this project.

How hot was it….?

 

 

Okay, not quite. Though it felt that way.

That thermometer was sitting on the table in direct sunlight.

It was actually this hot, in the shade.

 

 

And for Maine?

That is insanely frickin’ hot.

 

 

But progress was made.

 

 

And halted when rotting beam sections had to be cut out.

 

 

With 1950’s era tools.

 

 

Yes, I’m afraid so.

And you know what happens when you use power tools from the middle of the last century?

 

 

Nothing good.

It’s just wood.

 

No, not that kind of wood.

The kind that my husband wanted to replace this:

 

 

Our deck railings, which are rotting in a few places.

I’ve tried to talk him into ripping the whole deck out and putting in Trek composite…. yours truly is tired of staining every 2-3 years…. but no. He got half of the deck wood at a yard sale, for free.

It must be preserved.

Did it match the existing wider deck planks?

 

 

No. But you’re not supposed to notice that.

So…. we shopped for wood and different railings.

 

 

If you’ve never shopped for wood with my husband you don’t know what you’re missing.

 

 

He used to run a quality assurance shop for helicopters in the Marine Corps and he takes quality seriously.

Does it surprise you to learn that we spent more than an hour searching for 2 pieces….. and he didn’t find any he liked?

 

 

It shouldn’t.

But I did come home with new bronze deck balusters.

 

 

To be continued….

Why is nothing ever easy?

 

Take staining the deck for example.

I do it every few years, and that time had rolled around again.

 

 

So I went to Lowes and had them mix this color.

 

 

A nice warm chocolate brown.

Then I duded up in my paint clothes, gathered my brushes and hacked back the boxwood shrubs that were in the way.

 

 

All was well…. until I opened my can of stain.

 

 

And saw that.

Does that look like a warm chocolate brown to you?

 

 

It wasn’t even close.

And looked positively awful when painted on the deck railing. Like liquid peanut butter.

 

 

Blech.

Way too light.

Knowing I’d have to return it but not wanting to change clothes and drive 40 minutes to Lowes, I ran up to the local hardware store for a darker stain.

Of course they were almost out of stain and only had one choice…. which I bought, went home and tried.

 

 

Nope.

Way too dark.

I was beginning to feel like Goldilocks…

 

 

And trudged back to the hardware store to return the second can.

By the time I got back, the husband told me to hold off staining because he wanted to replace all the old rotted railings with something nicer.

Another project?

I’m not sure I have it in me.

And how long will I have to live with a multicolored railing?

 

 

Stay tuned for this and other equally as uninteresting answers.