Sunday, August 18, 2019

No photos

I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel. I haven't taken the camera out in a few days, mostly because it's been raining off and on. And we're expecting more scattered showers and/or thunderstorms this afternoon. Although, I must say, we haven't had thunder in quite a while.

A little row of wildflowers, out of focus.

On Friday, Ken and I left Tasha home alone again while we went to a local winery to stock up. As usual, she got excited about going somewhere when she noticed us getting ready. I did hear her bark and whimper a little as we left, but she was fine and happy when we got back home. I think she's getting it. We'll leave her again a time or two over the next weeks so she'll be used to it by the time we have our September meeting.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


We had what we call the "loft" built out in 2010. It's the attic of our house, made into one big room. Because our budget was limited, we decided not to have a bathroom built up there then, but to wait until later. Well, later came this year.

The new half-bath from the outside.

The result is a new half-bath, or wc, in the northwest corner of the room. The plumbing was tricky. At first we thought the drain would go outside the house, down to an underground pipe that would connect to the sewer line on the other end of the building. Our plumber said that was possible, but it would be very expensive. He suggested an alternative that kept the plumbing inside the house, across the attic in the closet space, and down to where the existing toilet connects to the sewer. It turned out to be a good solution.

Here's the "before" shot, but without the furniture we kept in the corner. You can see the closet space behind the radiator where the plumbing was installed.

So, now we have a half-bath in the bedroom area of the loft. No more need to go down a flight of stairs in the night. And it helps when we have guests. The old wc shares a wall with the guest room and, well, one can hear everything. But no more!

Inside the new half-bath. There's a small hot water heater behind the sink so we don't have to wait for hot water from two floors down.

We're very happy with the work and the result. There are still some things to hang on the walls, but that won't take much effort. I also like the way the large loft space looks with the new room in the corner. It adds a little more visual interest.

Friday, August 16, 2019

And now for something completely different

I know that Ken has already shown photos of the work we had done this summer, but what the heck. It's my turn. The work is essentially done, although a few finishing touches remain. These photos are of the wc and bathroom on the main floor. I'll show photos the new work in the loft tomorrow.

The old wc, with new toilet, half-wall, and even a new mirror over the old sink. We had some of the blue paint left from years ago. And while the old paint has faded a bit and the colors don't quite match, it's good enough for now. The only thing missing is a strip of black baseboard on the floor behind the toilet. That's being made now and will be installed when it's ready.

In addition to getting the new half-bath in the loft, we replaced the toilet in the old wc with a new suspended model. That required building a half-height wall to hide the workings, which was necessary anyway to hide the plumbing that goes from there up to the loft. Originally the idea was that the pipes would come down from the ceiling in the wc, but that seemed like it would be too cramped. Ken came up with the idea to bring the pipes down on the other side of the wall, in the much larger bathroom, then through the wall to the wc where the existing drain goes down to the sewer connection.

The column in the corner hides the new plumbing. Notice the now-white pipes below the towel warmer. It took three years and about five minutes for me to paint them. That tile (wall and floor) is original to the house and in good shape, so we've never changed it.

The drain pipe comes down from the loft (and the water supply line goes up) in a corner of the existing bathroom. The pipes are hidden inside a column that our builder constructed. I painted the column the same color as the bathroom walls. I also finally painted the copper pipes that feed and drain the towel warmer/radiator, a small job that's been waiting for three years to be done. I finally got a "round tuit."

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Good dog

So, yesterday was the day. Ken and I loaded the recycling and an empty butane bottle (for the gas grill) into the car. As usual, Tasha was all excited about the prospect of going somewhere in the car, but it was not to be. When I closed and locked the door with her on the other side, I expected to hear barking and/or whimpering, but there was none.

The contrast between the parched grasses and the lush grape vines is amazing.

We took about twenty minutes to dump the recycling and buy another bottle of butane at the supermarket. When we got back home, there was Tasha, happy to see us. No damage in the house, nothing out of order. She was a good dog. I gave her lots of praise and a few treats. Our next trip out will be to a local winery. It will take a little longer and, although we could take her, Tasha will stay home and guard the house. That's what I've always said to our dogs when we've left them. "Guard the house. We'll be back in a few minutes."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

An experiment

It's hard to believe, but in the nearly two and a half years since Tasha has been here, we've never left her alone in the house. Except for very briefly when going across the street to our neighbors, only to ask if she's welcome (she is) and coming back to get her. We have an appointment in Blois in early September and I don't want to leave Tasha in the car. For one thing, it could very well be too hot to leave a dog in the car. And for another, we don't know how long our meeting will take and I'm not comfortable leaving her alone in a strange parking lot.

With the sunrise at my back, looking west over the vineyard.

So, we will need to leave her at home. Over the next few days, Ken and I plan to take short trips away from home (like to the store or the recycle center) and leave Tasha by herself, hoping she'll get used to the idea of being home alone and understand that we will always come back. I forgot how and when we did this with Callie, but I don't remember it being a problem. Callie hated the car, so I think she preferred to stay home. Tasha loves the car, so she may not be happy about not getting to go for a ride.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Not a tomato

This is a sweet pepper, although it looks like it should be hot, like a jalapeño. The photo is from last week and the pepper has grown a little since then. Our garden has about ten pepper plants this year of different varieties, all gifts from a friend who offered us her surplus seedlings in the spring. We haven't had much luck with peppers in recent years, but this year's hot weather has been good for these.

A sweet long pepper. We also have some hot ones out there.

I'm expecting a delivery of fioul (home heating oil) this morning. I like to get it in August before the demand (and price) goes up in the fall. I just realized that school starts again in three weeks. All that means for us is that there will be fewer vacationers around and the bridge traffic might ease up a bit.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tomatoes [3]

Another tomato variety in this year's garden: Homestead. Ken brought these seeds back from North Carolina a year or so ago. From what I found on the internet, these tomatoes grow well in hot climates, which explains why he found them in NC. Lucky for us, this year has been pretty hot here and the Homesteads are looking good.

Homestead tomatoes on the vine.

Our builder stopped by last evening to drop off a container of paint. It's the color he used in our bathroom when we had the new shower built in 2016. I'm using it now to paint the column that hides the pipes that go up to the new half-bath in the loft. I'll put a second coat on today, and then that room will be done!