Thursday, December 29, 2011

Counter Culture

About two months after we moved into the house my friend Jennie left a bottle of green food dye on my untreated butcher block. The bottle leaked and the dye soaked into the wood overnight. I didn't take a picture of the damage, but I did snap a shot of the counter after I had attempted to lighten the damage. After numerous treatments of alcohol, lemon juice and salt (advice for a carpenter friend), paint thinner, vinegar and baking soda and anything else i could think of using.

I originally wanted to burn the counter for a rustic rail road tie look, but it was a slow process and it was using much more propane than I expected.  This is after one fat boy.

I also tried pouring a small amount of gas on the surface, letting it soak, and then lighting it, but only the liquid burns, it  doesn't do anything to the surface. Same result from soaking cloth and lighting it on the surface.

After months ( ok, two years) of a half green, half burnt counter I stained it with Minwax Jacobean and sealed with Minwax High Gloss Water Based Poly.

This is after 5 coats of stain. You can still see the outline of the green slotch if you know where to look, but overall I love it.  I feel like it gives out kitchen a much more custom look.

Builder Basic Before

We also finally got some stools too!! Yes, We had those other mismatched stools for two years also. No, I am not ashamed of my sad seating choices or my dirty kitchen.  This is real life.  The stools are Zuo Escape in Natural. I actually wanted to paint them when I first got them, but since the counter color change, I am having second thoughts.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

God Save the Queen

I planted about three packages of wild flowers this spring.  I saw three Black-Eyed Susan type flowers which may have possibly come from the packages, so I am going to call the wild flowers a fail. Luckily we are living in a summer wonderland of Queen Anne's Lace which runs along both sides of our driveway. It makes me smile every time I come home.  I think most people consider Queen Anne's Lace a weed, but I am not going to weedwack, despite the fact that they are about four feet high and fast encroaching on our drive. The intricate blossoms remind me of snowflakes and I have to say I am looking forward to winter. I already bought my Snowboard Season Pass. That is quite the confession coming from a summer lovin' former lifeguard.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Straw Bale Coop

When you live off the grid you are required to have chickens. It is a rule.

I wanted the coop to be super insulated, and with a small footprint so I would not have to provide a heating source. That is what I told C, but really I just have been itching to build something out of straw. I read a number of books on the subject and then ignored almost all advice, as all good almost architects should do. I only found two books that gave enough information and details to actually be able to build a structure. I highly recommend them if you are planning to undertake such an adventure.

We cut a platform from a deck that had collapsed the year before we bought the house. The previous owner had left it in the woods.

Then we stacked the bales. Sounds easy right. It wasn't. Despite getting all our bales from the same place there was a length difference ranging up to about 6 inches. After about two hours and one un-baled bale, we ended up stacking the last two bales end to end. As you can see from the photo, they didn't compress the same and we had to do a little blocking to get the roof level. It still looks off in the photo but it is just the angle.

I almost did an entire post about a chicken coop with out a single picture of our chickens. They watched (Read: were in the way) the entire time their new house was being constructed.