Boring House Work

We've been doing a lot of the boring stuff you end up doing when you own a house: all those maintenance tasks that the previous owners were not so keen on. Things like taking a stiff brush and brushing dirt off the sides of the house -- how's that catch you for an afternoon of fun? And pruning plants back from growing into the stairs or through the shearwalls. Nothing really photo-worthy but all essential.

This little project is about the only thing we've done lately that is obvious, and not entirely so. The bottom step was too high: it was cast when the foundation was done, and without a complete understanding of how tall the rest of the stairs would be. Code allows a certain amount of variation, but not the 1/2" we had, so we got a sack of non-shrink grout (basically concrete with small aggregate) and put 1/2" there and tapered it into the sidewalk.

Concrete project

And that, my friends, allows us to finally close the foundation permit. Yay!

In the farming-the-suburbs project, we have the first major tomato harvest. These are Costuluto Genovese. They were... disappointing. Maybe the plant needed to be pruned to improve flavour, maybe we just don't get hot enough, but whatever it was they were kind of mealy and dull. Better than supermarket tomatoes, but not by much.

Tomato harvest

Other produce in progress is a treeful of Key Lime blossoms, plus a bunch of pink lemon blossoms. I'd been picking the blooms off these trees to help their roots get established, but now they can go crazy.

Blooming citrus

And here's my latest project: a path back to the compost/future chicken yard. After much dithering around with ideas about a nice sandy gravel or possibly crushed shells (traditional Victorian pathway material for this area) I finally decided to go with pavers. But because the pavers at the store are kind of boring until they get well out of my price range, I have been thinking of designing my own, making some molds, and setting up a small factory for them in the back yard.

New path

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posted by ayse on 08/20/07

6 Comments

Have you seen the molds at Gecko Stone.com? They have this really nifty one that interlocks with itself like an Escher print.

www.geckostone.com/home.html

You know, it was those pavers that made me decide to design my own. The geckos are nice but not what I'm looking for (I want some space in the pavers for growing small plants), and I like the others but think the price for the molds is a bit steep, given that you really need to have several to not waste concrete. The gecko ones would look awesome in a desert garden, though, done in shades of red and brown.

Those gecko stones are cool! what a good idea..

I saw a project on one o' those shows where a couple broke up a concrete patio and used the broken chunks, stained a mottled grayish stony color, as pavers. I've been thinking of using something like that.. I don't know if anyone would put their patio debris up on craigslist, or if it would be better to just pour a slab the desired thickness and chunk it up.. but it looked impressively nice.

Congrats on closing out your permit! let me know after the inspector comes by.. maybe they have a limit of one foundation permit per street and all the crazy prerequisites they're throwing at us are just a stalling tactic till you're done ;)

And that, my friends, allows us to finally close the foundation permit. Yay!

JUST A YAY!?!?

Dear mother of all that is holy, that's a Mardi Gras Parade and Fireworks and your first true love...

GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

I kind of lost track of your progress, but congratulations are in order!

Also, costoluto genovese is not a particularly good-tasting tomato. As I recall its raison d'etre is to be hollowed out and stuffed with something that tastes better. Have you tried any of the baia nicchia varieties? they're working for me.

Finally, just to live up to my customary pedantry (but with bonus multipliers since I'm referring to another post), quince paste is normally called membrillo in Spain.

I've been remarkably boring in my tomato selection before this year: Brandywine and Early Girl, and of course Roma. I'm disappointed in Costoluto, but it should make decent sauce (though the idea of stuffing it is appealing). I should read your tomato notes more carefully; everything's getting short shrift these days.

And yes, quince paste is membrillo in Spain, but I'm Portuguese, and we call it marmelada. Pttthbt!

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