Not much of a project, and in this case, I really kind of “over-sanded”, but considering it will be entirely covered by his “dinner mat” (lol), it’s good enough, and certainly better than the corrugated insert from a scratching pad, covered with black Gorilla tape!

I initially used three 2x6s, then cut it down to size. This is rough lumber, so I sanded with 60, 80, 120, and 220.

I wiped it down with “odorless” (hah!) mineral spirits, and applied a coat of stain. I kind of wish I’d skipped the 22o because it didn’t take as much stain as I wanted.

Really slopped the second coat on!

Wiped off, and applied leftover Bona Mega. Christ knows that stuff cost enough, and I’m not planning any floor projects for the near future…or possibly for the rest of my life!

I ended up with three coats of poly, so now I just have to leave it for a week to cure, since the dinner mat is plastic, and completely covers the cat table. Not perfect by a long shot, but a nicer way to keep Eugenia the robot vacuum from running up on Miffy’s food, and it cost about five bucks!

I loved my husband, but I did not love the green plastic round table that he bought years and years ago. I’d hoped he would throw it away when we moved from the old house, but…nope! I might have hated it less if it hadn’t been round, but I just don’t like round tables; they take up too much space for the surface area that they provide. Anyway, I had to order some 2x4s last week for work, and since RP would be delivering them to the shop, I asked MN if I could add some 2x10s and 2×6 to the order and sell them to myself. He said sure, and ME even delivered everything to my house on Friday. The 2x10s were for the table and so I can get rid of the bale of straw (that’s another story!) on the patio, and the 2×6 were for a better “table” for Miff’s dinner mat (LOL…dinner mat), and also so I’ve got some random pieces of lumber for little projects.

It’s just ordinary 2×10 yellow pine, so it’s certainly not fancy, but I’m not fancy, either, and it’ll be good enough to put outside on the patio.  While the lumber was stacked on the patio, the white pine 2×6 gained a small, angry resident. I do not think he wants a hug…I think I should be glad he’s little and I’m big. 🙂

2x10s cut, glued and clamped.

I definitely could have done more sanding, but I didn’t care that much; I’ll never make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, so it’s good enough. There was a piece of 1×3 poplar that came with the house, and I’d never found a use for it thus far, so I used it to brace underneath. Sanded and ready to stain.

Not quite…this is pine, so I gave it a “wash” with mineral spirits before staining it to help keep it from going blotchy. You can really see it’s yellow pine!

Wiped on a first coat of stain because I wanted to see if it was going to be blotchy. Not bad for a first coat.

The second coat I applied with a sponge brush, and really whacked it on to let it absorb everything it would.

Waited 15 minutes, then wiped off the excess. It’s a lot more neutral, which was kind of where I wanted to go. I’m okay with this. It’s not magnificent, but I used points for the legs and already had everything else, so the cost of this table, even after the poly is done, will be $13.08 plus tax, and I get a solid wood table with adjustable metal legs. I think I’m going to use the ridiculously expensive Bona poly that I have left over from the floor. Maybe. I might use the Polycrylic that I have left from…whatever the hell I used it for. Don’t know yet.

I brought it inside to do the poly. Partially because it’s raining and chilly, but also because while there is cat hair indoors, there is not “stuff” falling off the trees. My glue blob is readily apparent here, but it was too much sanding, so I said to hell with it. Adds character. 😀

My trusty assistant had to check out the crinkly plastic. Miff loves lightweight plastic drop sheets; when I did the floor, I left a pile of them in the bedroom for nearly a month because he’d pounce on the pile, play for a few minutes, then fall asleep in it.

There. Two coats of Minwax Provincial stain, and four coats of Bona Mega satin poly, finished after work on 05-15-20. The legs won’t be here until next Wednesday, so the poly has a week to cure to full hardness. Beautiful, no, and Bob Vila won’t be knocking on my door with an award any time soon, but perfectly serviceable, and (assuming the legs aren’t total junk) nice and sturdy. Weighs a fucking ton; this isn’t going to blow away!

Last Sunday, I cleaned up the patio a bit and washed the windows, which is why the concrete is wet. I was sort of tired of having the table top inside, sitting on sawhorses, so I took it out and put it roughly in place. The legs will arrive on Wednesday, which will be one week from the last coat of poly, allowing it to cure completely. I’ll just flip it over on the sawhorses, attach the legs, and put it in place. I like the size; big enough to be useful, but not stuck out so far as the round one, and doesn’t look so trashy because it’s not plastic. My plan is to paint Bulky’s chair black to match the legs of my little table and this one, and to stain my rocker the same Provincial as the table. P’s Adirondack chair is probably going to end up painted the same colour as the trim on the house. Assuming I ever get Onje’s table done, that will be stained the same as the big table. It’s not a $2000 patio set, but it’s good enough for us.

So…I’d ordered some bird seed online from Buchheit yesterday, and after work, I went to pick it up. It started raining right at four, so I wasn’t happy about that, but the birds would kick my arse if I let them go without sunflower, mixed seed, and their peanut suet (plus, I needed a narrow shovel because I plan to move some of the cup plants that have popped up absolutely everywhere). As I drove over to the pickup parking spots, I caught a glimpse of what appeared to be Virginia Sweetspire. I didn’t stop because it was raining, and I didn’t have time, but I was pretty sure it was sweetspire. I have a small sweetspire that hitched a ride in a weigela I bought a few years ago (which is busy dying over on the south side, so of course it’s one of the beautiful red ones), but it needed friends even if friends were kind of expensive.

I wasn’t going to buy any plants, but I had a terrible accident! I’ll save typing it all over again; this is what I sent to R and J….

Terrible accident today. I was walking across the patio when suddenly, Ravon’s door opened. Startled, I fell onto the seat, and the keys that happened to be in my hand went into the ignition, and started the car! I wanted to be sure it wasn’t malfunctioning, so I took it for a short drive…to Buchheit. I needed a breath of fresh air, so I got out and walked over to the plants. I had a cart because I was feeling a bit weak, and wouldn’t you know it, I tripped and the cart hit the shelf, knocking two of the Virginia Sweetspire that I’d seen yesterday right in! I had to go inside to tell the manager that their display was dangerous, but as I walked past the registers, the scanner somehow picked up the bar codes and rang up the two plants. Amazing–I know! At that point, it would’ve been quite rude to walk out and put them back, so I just paid for them. Tragic accident. Happy butterflies and bees, though…they love sweetspire!

It’s spring on the Parview flower farm, so of course I’m behind on my posting, since I’ve been working so hard in the fields (read: parking my fat arse in my rocker on the patio).

I’m posting three pictures of the yellow honeysuckle out front because it’s just fucking pretty and it’s my blog, so I’ll do what I want. 😀

Just as pretty, especially in morning sunlight, Canadian Columbine. Looks like a good puff of wind would flatten it to the ground, but it’s tough as all hell.

These don’t look like much yet, but the columbine seeds I tossed out in front of the house in…February (I think) apparently did get enough cold to trigger them to germinate. They don’t look like much right now, and it didn’t help that a cat messed up the neat line I’d made when it decided that was a litter box (I’m looking at you, Fat Ass Owl Eyes), but someday, they’ll be beautiful in the morning sun as well.

Since I posted honeysuckle, I’ll post the little Hemaris diffinis whose larva fed on honeysuckle. I found him while I was clearing crap out of the south flowerbed, and it’s his birthday, so his wings are still soft and not clear yet. That’s the only reason he let me hold him!

I put him on a coneflower leaf where he’d be safe until he’s ready to fly. I love their little stripe-y faces!

Cute little bee-guy on the ledge around the house. He was helping me clear the flowerbed.

Onje, however, was no help at all. This differed from usual in no way whatsoever.

I eventually did finish clearing out enough of the weeds that stuff will grow, and seeding some annuals in the south bed. The coneflowers on the west side look like they’re big enough to bloom this year, and I didn’t see many Rudbeckia seedlings, which is the reason nothing else could grow on that side in previous years. We’ll see how it goes, but at least it’s not full of dead stems and weeds.

The first of P’s “intense blue flowers”. He never could seem to remember they were bachelors buttons. I didn’t shear them; I hope I won’t regret that, but they were just about to bloom, and they’re so pretty.

The old lady’s clematis. I remember that little string of leaves I found over on the north side of the patio. It’s no little string now, and it loves that southwest corner!

Just butterweed. I leave it because it’s native, blooms early when bees need the help, and I’m lazy.

These will get their own page (assuming the C family has eggs this year), but…

Nest beginnings.

Making progress!

Well, my part is done, assuming that Stinky and Mini Stinky don’t think it’s a good spot to dig for worms, and that the neighbourhood cats don’t bypass my efforts to deter them from using it as a litter box. Now, it’s up to the sun, the rain, the soil, and the seeds.

Doesn’t look too bad, if I say so myself, and (elements willing) will look even better once the plants grow…assuming they do! Cardinal climber on either side of the arch, and behind the fence, zinnia (Carousel and Cut and Come Again), scarlet pumpernickel, tropical milkweed, clasping coneflower, and gaillardia.

I laid Bird Block over the beds to help deter cats. We’ll see how that goes.

My assistant was as much help as usual. I’m trying to scoop, he’s actually inside the bag, rolling around.

Not finished because I had to mow the stupid lawn, but I got the edging installed (I’ll give it three stars) and hauled over the six bags of topsoil that I just bought, plus a bag I found that has been over by the garage for probably two years. My upper back and shoulders know I did it, too, because the bags are 40lb damp weight, and they were all wet! Didn’t take long for the sun to dry out the top layer, though.

 

I also leveled the arch a bit better; it’s closer to the ground than I really like, but I’m going to be growing cardinal climber on it, which (I’d expect) will utterly engulf it, and make for a lot more wind resistance, and I do NOT want this thing to blow over because it’d be an epic fucking nightmare to put back up once plants are growing on it.

Today, assuming it doesn’t rain, I hope to get the bags of garden soil and Black Kow over there, and at least get them mixed in, if not get the seeds planted. I just ordered the cheap wire fencing for the inside so my zinnias won’t fall over and make it an even bigger PITA to mow. It’s already a PITA, but it looks so nice that it’s worth it, and makes it much easier to transition between the height I mow the front yard to look nice, and the fact that I half-ass the back yard on the highest setting the mower will go. 😀 Anyway, we’ll see how much my back and shoulders are willing to do if the weather co-operates!

So I’ve been lazy as far as actually posting anything, but progress has been made on the Memorial Arch Project. Not a lot of progress because it’s been cold and shitty so much of the time, but progress!

April 6th, the weather was fit to get the arch and panels in place. The lawn needed mowing, but whatever. I didn’t have a 4′ level, so it’s far from perfect, but there’s only one spot I need to fix, and I made sure it didn’t show in this photo. 😀

Does in this one, so don’t look too carefully.

Last weekend, my accomplishments were relatively few, but I did manage to get the grass ripped out, which I had not looked forward to doing, and which was further impeded by my…”assistant”.

I persevered, though, and eventually got it done.

No picture (too lazy, didn’t care), but I found some pound-in edging on Amazon that was $13-something for 20′, and I bought three rolls. I had points, so in the end, it cost me $10-something in actual money. Good thing I took a break and ordered it, because when I checked 3h later, it was $27.99 a roll!! Anyway, I don’t love it, but at least I won’t have to dig a fucking trench for it, and hopefully, it’ll look okay.

Buchheit has online order/store pickup available now (yay!), so I have the topsoil, garden soil, and Black Kow to make the actual bed, but I’ve been working from home, and it’s been cold and shitty, so I haven’t done anything with that yet. I have to pick groceries up in about an hour, and it’s at least sunny today, so I’m hoping to make at least some progress toward it.

I remember when I started digging up this yard and was very surprised at the near-total absence of worms in the ground. That’s what happens when you use a lawn service that picks up every little grass clipping, removes every leaf, and mows too short. When you’re a lazy fucker like me, mow high and as infrequently as possible, don’t remove leaves unless they’re so thick as to prevent growth of ground cover, and leave grass clippings right where they fall, you get worms. Lots of worms. Big, fat worms.

A little random stuff…not enough to make its own post. I know I post my Canadian ginger every spring, but it’s just so pretty! I fucking love this stuff; it’s tough as nails, needs no maintenance, and is enthusiastic without being overly aggressive. I only wish it would grow in full sun, but it’s a woodland plant, so it would probably just bake to death.

Another maintenance-free plant. They go dormant in summer, so I always forget about them, and they’re down by the creek, so I wouldn’t haul water down there in the heat of summer, but there’s no need. Virginia bluebells are also damned tough…and very pretty!

 

I finally decided it was warm enough to unpack the garden arch I got for P’s memorial floral installation. I was less than pleased to see that there was a little rust, and that it was under the powder coat, so it hadn’t happened in storage or shipping. It wasn’t, however, enough to warrant sending back a big, 65 lb box, and I had to paint the arch anyway to match the fence panels, so I just cleaned it well with a wire brush, then wiped it down with mineral spirits. It was damp yesterday, so not ideal for painting, but I’m pretty good with spray paint–Christ knows I’ve had enough practice–and if it took a bit longer to dry, it didn’t matter because I can’t install it yet anyway.

Initial setup. Pinched my thumbnail once, and my pinky finger enough to draw blood, but overall, not bad. It looks black not only because of the shit lighting, but also because it’s brown-black. They called it “aged bronze” or something like that, but it’s almost exactly the same colour as my mascara, which is…brown black. The gates are crooked because the patio isn’t quite level, and because I made zero effort to adjust them. I’ll have to re-do everything once it’s in place, so not worth the effort.

I propped up a fence panel beside it, just to get an idea how it will look. I definitely like it more than the “matching” panels that would have cost me at least $500. I was going to hold off on these because shipping was $75, but R and Dad sent me the money so I could get them before they were sold out or something. Side by side, I could see a definite difference in the colour, but I’d already got a couple of cans of Canyon Satin Black paint, so that was fine. I think I’m going to be quite happy with this!

Once I started painting, it was easy to see the difference, and with black right beside it, the brown-black looks very brown.

Finished. I did order more paint because I used both cans, but that’s a just in case for touch-ups. It looks the same in a photo from a distance, but it perfectly matches the finish on the panels now.

I’m not sure whether I’ll go over and start working out where, exactly, the arch will go (depends upon how the panels will space), or whether I’ll do the laundry and sit on my fat arse today, but there’s no particular rush. I charged my batteries to mow the lawn, too, but whether or not that gets done remains to be seen; lawn mowing is not my favourite chore (I actually resent having to do it), and it’s not one I’m anxious to get started for 2020.

Just a few…I was taking photos so send to R because they’d got 6″ of snow, and I figured she could use some spring.

Forsythia. This is the little string I got for free with some plant order or another. I stuck it in the ground with no soil amendment, and then the landscapers ran over it with a mini skid-steer when they were leveling the spot where the old shed had been. It refused to die, so even though it’s not a native, it’s earned a place here.

Something broke the top off the biggest (relatively speaking) of my struggling Eastern White Pine trees. I don’t know that I’ve salvaged it, and it was a pretty quick n’ dirty bandage job, but I did try.

Spicebush flowers don’t look like much, but I’ll bet the bees found them anyway!

Elderberry leafing out nicely. Catbirds will appreciate this in a little while.

Virginia bluebell, which refuses to die in spite of the fact that junk plants have overrun what was supposed to be a flowerbed down by the creek, and also the fact that I don’t water anything down there, ever. Won’t be long before I’ll see their pretty purple flowers.

Allegheny spurge by the pond. Again, doesn’t look like much, but again, I’ll bet the bees noticed it anyway.

This one is from yesterday, when I was tidying up the front yard. I get a lot of fungus there because the roots from whatever trees the previous owner had cut down have all started to rot really nicely. I pulled two pieces out of the front flowerbed, and found a little surprise in one of them. Aptly named Pleasing Fungus Beetle, because he was indeed in fungus, and I was rather pleased to see him!

I’ve been working from home due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order (though we’re exempted by virtue of providing parts for essential industries, but no, thanks!) and there’s a lot going on in spring, so I’m a bit behind, but…bees!

I came to get my laptop on the 20th so I could get my remote connection set up, and noticed some of the mason bees had started emerging from the little yellow house. It was pretty warm, and they were okay until they hit the cold concrete; then, they started getting sluggish. I had to leave and go back to work, so I didn’t take pictures (not worth posting, anyway, since it was grey and dismal and they’re small), but when I got home, I hunted them all down and relocated them to the patio flowerbed. These would have been the males because they emerge first.

On the 25th, the ladies started making their appearance. Warming up in the sun on the yellow house.

Warming up on my hand, which was a lot more fun for me. 🙂

So fuzzy!

Also adorable.

Lookit his little eyes! <3

Fuzz on a hyacinth.

I was concerned because when the bees started to emerge, there wasn’t much available; even by the 26th, the crabapple tree had not yet opened its blooms.

They knew better than I, though, because later that day, the blooms began to open.

By the 28th (though I actually took this today), the tree was in full bloom.

I had purchased fancy (expensive), purpose-built mason bee tubes. I was going to build an enclosure, but the bees were so much earlier than I expected, all I could do was grab the yellow-est thing I could find to hold them for now. My yellow paint arrived yesterday, though, so if I can find something to use, I’ll make them a proper house.

Me: Here you go, guys–actual mason bee tubes!

Bees: Nah, we’ll just be using the old house.

Sigh. I know there are tiny larvae of some sort in that house, and they aren’t mason bee larvae, but I need to leave the house nearby because they look for it; as if they know where they were “born”. I want them to use the cardboard tubes, and a couple did check them out, but I was tidying up the front yard yesterday and didn’t spend enough time sitting there to determine whether they were actually using the new tubes, or whether they were checking them out and subsequently ignoring them. We’ll see, I guess; it’s not up to me, it’s up to them!


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