Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Basement Door

Owning our own house makes us very aware of how much it costs to heat and where we can improve on efficiency. As the winter approaches and the air gets colder, we've noticed a few places that the breeze manages to infiltrate the house. The old basement door was a particular problem. The previous owners had built a door from 3/4" boards that wasn't sealed and had large gaps. Even though we have an insulated ceiling in the basement it makes sense to try to keep the space as warm as possible, especially since that's where the majority of water pipes are. The new exterior door went in relatively easily and we'll find out tomorrow if it feels any warmer down there. The new dead bolt latch is also a lot more secure than the flimsy sliding latch that the previous door had.


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How does our garden grow? Well the grass could be better. We thought we'd try to give it a nutritional boost with a treatment of winterizing fertilizer. Aparently it will stay in the soil ready for the thaw after winter. This little piece of kit is a handheld broadcaster. It's a very cost effective way to simplify the whole process. Walking around for 20 minutes and we'd spread the entire bag. Fingers crossed for some spectacular grass. Of course the fact that our garden is mostly in the shade through the summer may actually be the biggest issue.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nelsons in New York

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That leaf blowing post has been up here for a long time. We should post something new. My parents spent two weeks in Connecticut recently. It was their first visit to this part of the country. We did a lot of sightseeing around the state but a highlight of the vacation was a trip to New York City. It's quite a contrast from home in the north west of Ireland. We drove down and parked near Columbus Circle. As it was Sunday there was a large public market covering several blocks along Broadway at Times Square.
Waiting for a train at Park Place subway station. We took the train and headed towards the south end of Manhattan. We visited the site of the World Trade towers and walked along the water by World Financial Center. We didn't have time to take a trip out to Liberty Island but we could see the statue in the distance.
Heading back up towards midtown, we decided to visit Rockefeller Center and the "Top of the Rock" observation deck. It was just starting to get dark so we were hoping to make it there in time to see the sunset over the city. It turns out that many others had the same idea. It was very busy on the west side of the tower as everyone watched the city lights brightening and the golden glow of the sun towards Jersey City.
We had dinner and then walked over to Times Square to see the space in it full glowing glory.We had someone else visiting for a few days. We did some dog sitting and this is Shelby. She's a very friendly little dog and goes a little crazy when she gets her teeth in to her squirrel.
There was a lot of leaf blowing that went on and my parents were a big help clearing the yard on about three separate occasions while Jen and I were at work. Even the gutters were cleaned out a couple of times.And why stop there? We had a slightly problematic spot in the yard that was draining rain water towards our foundation wall. In heavy downpours we could see some drops of water in the basement. Our solution was to install a french drain. Here's my dad digging a trench for the piping about 2' deep and 30' long towards a nearby storm drain. So far the drain has worked perfectly in a couple of downpours.What do you do when you're on vacation and you don't have work boots with you? Well you may notice the solution here. Simply take a couple of plastic bags, wear them over your shoes and tie them at the ankles.Disposable work boots now available at a store near you.