Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We got a church pew

Melissa has been watching for a church pew for awhile.  I have heard for years that she has liked them and that she wanted one for our house.  As we were driving through east Aurora a few weeks ago we saw one out in the front yard tipped over with a piece of paper.  I guessed that it was a for sale sign and mentioned it to Melissa.  She was pretty quick to tell me to circle around the block so she could see it.
We stopped, read the sign that said it was for sale for $25 then knocked on the front door to ask to buy it.  No one was there.  The next four times I went to the house no one was there to be able to pay to get the bench.  Finally on the third day someone was home to pay.  Unfortunately for me it was an older lady who could only take money but would be no help to load it onto the top of our van. I stood looking at it for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out how I was going to get this thing onto the top of the van. God was looking out for me and sent an angel down the block to help me out.  We lifted it on top of the van, I strapped it down and it was finally going to our home.

This picture does no justice.  It doesn't account for the smell or for all of the little and big scratches.  The clamps on front are holding the front piece together after I glued it.  The previous owners had put tape over it to hold it in place.  It was actually split about halfway across the front.  I pushed glue into the creases and the clamps held it all together.  You can barely tell it was split as bad as it was.  That is probably the part of the bench that I hold the most pride.

The bench was actually pretty well constructed.  It is really heavy and after sanding it down (about 25 sanding pads for the orbital sander) and using some stripper for the groves it was ready to go.

Melissa was in charge of staining and sealing.  She did a really good job.

Here's the finished product.  It fits absolutely perfect.  Every time Charlie needs his shoes put on he sits up on the bench with his feet dangling over while I put them on.

This was a great cheap find for something that Melissa has wanted for quite awhile. I am very happy that we finally have one.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

We cut down our tree

It is amazing how far our yard has come since we moved in!  In this picture you can't even tell that there is a tree in the back yard.  There were tons of them!  What a mess we had back then.  We had dandelions instead of grass.  We had weeds throughout and there were about 50 more trees than we have now.

Here's a picture from last summer from about the same angle in the yard.  What a difference.

Here is a picture from spring a two years ago.  We still have weeds, but the other major foliage is gone.  I don't think I ever got a good picture of the full tree, but from this picture you can see three major pieces going up from the main trunk.

Nature took down the back section.  It fell right through the fence in back.  You can see the replaced board in the fence.  That thing got shattered when the tree fell but wasn't too tough to fix.
Then last Thanksgiving as the weather was warm, Mike and Josh thought it would be fun to take down a branch.  All it took was a hatchet to get through the soft wood to take it down.

When the branch fell, it broke into lots of pieces like the ones Josh and Mike are carrying here.  That tree is/was so rotten throughout.

Finally this spring the last of the three branches fell during a storm.  It was the perfect fall.  It landed in our neighbors yard and did very minimal damage.  Plus, then I didn't have to try to figure out what to do with the wood.  The neighbors took care of it all!

Finally, Jay came over and helped get the remaining portion of the tree down.  I think we picked the hottest day of the summer to do it.  It was predicted to be over 100 degrees.  I weighed myself before and after.  Along with the two water bottles and the 32 oz. Gatorade that I drank I still lost 4 pounds out there in about 2 hours of work.  Again, it was brutal.

Here's what we had to deal with:

Don't have a rope?  Use an extension cord.

What do you think?  I used my foot to kick away the base of the tree.  

Jay getting ready to cut.

We just missed the neighbor's telephone wire when this came down.  That was the only real worry that I had when we started. 

Piece #2 down.  Now to cut it up.  Jay did the major cutting while I was hacking away with the ax to split up the wood for fires.  Unfortunately, most of it was too rotten to burn.


Still sweating away.

Most of the tree was taken away by me on my bike to be reclaimed by nature.  Sometimes the kids went with me to help with the reclamation project.

Throwing some small chunks of wood into the river.

They learned that wood floats and rocks sink.

Enjoying the view of the water flowing over the dam.

Charlie insists on holding the handle bars when he rides with me.  As long as he isn't yanking us off course, I love it!

Finished product.  So nice not to have to worry about it falling over every storm we have.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

12. Make wood toys with the kids

Awhile ago I asked Maddie if she wanted to make something with me in the garage.  Her response was that she wanted to make a candy shelf.  I had no idea what it was so Maddie described it to me as a shelf that you put your candy shelf on.  Makes sense.  Hannah decided that if Maddie had a candy shelf then she wanted a brownie shelf.

Mom, get ready, there are a lot of pictures.

 Here is the board that we used to make the two shelves.

 Trying to figure out where to cut.
 This is how high they wanted their shelves to be.  That would be a lot of candy and brownies!

Tools for the job. They were so proud of their new hammers.

Getting ready to cut.

Maddie did a great job helping to measure.

I remember when I was young and I used to hammer nails in, I used bend them all the time.  These two girls were so patient.  I think they hit each nail about 150 times.  Now that is patience!

Look at that proud face.

 Time to paint.

We took a bike ride over to Walgreens.  Maddie wanted a shot of us on our trip over.

I told her she could pick out three things of candy.  Boy was she excited!

As an added bonus, Maddie found a penny and a nickel.  She's always on the lookout for loose change.

Here she is proudly putting her candy in it's place.

While I was with Maddie getting her candy, Hannah was making some brownies with butterscotch chips.

Hard at work.

The bonus of making brownies without any other kids...the spoon is all yours!

Happy and proud.

Brownies in place ready for eating.

Two proud girls!

Meanwhile, I couldn't leave this picture alone.  Charlie dressed himself and put his shirt on upside down.  He tried so hard, now we just have a shirt with a very stretched out neck in it.

38 goals down!