We had to take a hiatus on the greenhouse for a month or so as our involvement in the community play (Skywalker and I played one of the couples in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) ramped up. The play was an amazing experience. We made some good friends :) I'm so glad. Friends are the best. Also I got to spend a lot of time with a sweet person who is an almost-sister who has been on her mission and busy with college for a while. It was a great experience, and I feel no regrets about the projects that needed to be put off (writing, greenhouse, school prep etc).
Skywalker has been bemoaning his lack of tools. But tools are an investment that we have to save up for. Finally, this past weekend, he bought a used radial arm-saw on craigslist. He got it for a pretty good price. It was missing a table, so he very carefully measured and fitted a table to it, using materials from an old treadmill he'd acquired (ironically, from the last play... two treadmills were used for one of the scenes and they were going to be thrown away, and we all know Skywalker and his thriftiness.)
He now has the tool he needs to do a lot of the work. It can now be done quickly and much less tediously. And in the past few evenings after work he has sided an entire panel. He tells me that the rest will go even faster now that he knows what to do and what measurements we need. The wood we are using was acquired from a source we found online a couple years ago. Skywalker has had an eye on this website for quite a while. The funny thing is, the owner of this company happened to move into our ward a year ago. Another not-coincidence in this endeavor. We're supposed to be doing this; Heavenly Father has given us reassurances and signs at every stage of this process. When we were finally ready to buy siding (we used a bit of our income tax return this year for that purpose, instead of devoting the whole of it to paying off principal on our house) we knew exactly what we wanted. And we ended up with a discount that helped, that we were not expecting. Blessings. Anyway, this company has the best prices for siding/tongue and groove etc that we have found anywhere, and they're great to work with, and they have branches all over the Salt Lake/Utah Valley on up through southeast Idaho. Check'em out.
We chose cedar tongue-and-groove siding and cedar-log siding. We got some discount pallets and bundles, so not all of it is utterly perfect, but we want our project to end up looking lovely and natural and whimsical and imperfect so it really was quite perfect. Here is what the wood looks like, after lying in the sun bleaching for about a month.
We will probably just use it like this, sun-bleached with no stain or anything, on the inside. Cedar is meant to be exposed to the elements, and it is lovely as it continues to weather naturally.
For the outside, we kind of wanted a more uniform look to the weathering, though, and we didn't want to wait years while it changed to the silvery color we've got our hearts set on, to match the grey/white/taupe colors of our house. I was planning on using commercial stain and bleaching oil, but following some good advice from the guy who runs this lumber company, we went a different direction. We bought a natural weathering treatment. It's a dry powder that you mix up yourself and paint on the boards and it is really effective. The results were immediate and beautiful, and exactly what we wanted. And it was natural, which we prefer, and much less expensive than what we were planning.
Here is what we've got on the house so far. You can see how the treatment has changed the color of the cedar wood. I think it goes so well with the color of our house. I couldn't be happier. We need to clean up those windows. This is an in-progress picture... you kind of have to have an imagination to know how awesome it looks :)
And from further away, so you can see how it looks with the rest of the house (you kind of have to squint to see where the siding is, and where it's still plywood. The colors are pretty subtle):
So this last schoolyear, Loli had a band trip, and because she is our first, experimental child, Skywalker and I had no idea that this meant she needed to sell 100 dollars worth of band cards. We didn't even know about the trip until two weeks before the money was due, because Loli plays her cards close to her chest. Or something. ANyway, when we found out, we didn't know what to do for a bit. Loli needs to be responsible enough to do the work or at least inform us that work needs to be done to go on this trip she wants to go on.
But she is the first, experimental child. Forging the path. Doing everything new. Not sure how to negotiate things, and she knows how full my plate is with all her siblings. I know how that feels.
So we cut her a break. We paid the band stuff ourselves out of the greenhouse budget, and she became our little laborer for the summer to earn the money. She's been helping Skywalker put in ceiling paneling, holding stuff for him, and a couple saturdays ago, she dug a pretty nice ditch under the north wall so we can lay down a concrete footer. That is the only area where a footer is missing. We're going to lay the concrete before the ground starts freezing again.
She did a pretty good job, didn't she?
The siding should progress fast at this point. And once we've got the new piece of footer poured, we'll move the wall there out slightly so it matches the edge of the house, and we'll side that too.
It feels so wonderful to almost be done with the outside! I've been stressing over that for a long time, because we want our lot and house to look nice. Once we get the siding off the grass, we'll be able to mow that stretch of lawn again, too.